Stand By Your Principles First. Let the Rest Take Care of Itself.

Back when I first began the transition into the managing editor role in 2015, everyone in the business of conservative punditry was still struggling to come to terms with how to deal with Donald Trump. He was capturing the imagination of a lot of the people who read blogs and listen to talk radio, and writing positive things about him was sure to get you a ton of clicks. In a business where money is directly correlated with clicks, that meant a lot.

On the other hand, of course, there was the fact that Trump was obviously not conservative. He was on the record as an avid, extreme pro-choicer before announcing a clearly-calculated and obviously-fake conversion to the pro-life cause in 2012. Many conservatives rationalized this by saying that Romney’s conversion to becoming a pro-lifer was not really much more convincing. But moreover, his ideas on trade were nonsense, he clearly had no ideological moorings of any kind, and he was poorly educated on even the basic issues facing America.

Many people believed that Trump was not a serious threat to win the nomination. If I am being perfectly honest, I was among those people, having vastly overestimated the Republican primary electorate. But still the question presented itself, “what to do about Trump in the meantime?”

A lot of people decided for strategic reasons to treat Trump and his supporters kindly and with legitimacy for business reasons. To me, that was never a serious consideration. I made a decision right away that I would never say anything I did not honestly think just for clicks. And I’ll be honest with you, a huge part of that decision is that I was fortunate to have a good law degree and a solid career to fall back on if things had not worked out here at RedState. I don’t claim any sort of bravery; I had a luxury many in this business do not have: I never had to make a serious decision that involved either compromising my principles or keeping food on my family’s table.

Perhaps contrary to what many might have expected, this website has experienced tremendous, unprecedented growth since that time. We have more than tripled our traffic from last year and more than doubled our traffic from 2012. But that is not a story about me. It is a story about you, the people who read this site and the other contributors who write for this site every day. It is a story about people who have refused to cave to immense peer pressure and political bullying and accept that the tangerine-faced fraud running for President is a man deserving of any thinking American’s vote.

Thank you all for making this the most professionally rewarding year of my life. Thank you for proving to me that a market still exists for actual conservative ideas, as contrasted to the blind Republican Party fandom. Thank you for proving that there are still people who believe in limited government, increased personal freedom, free market capitalism, and genuine devotion to the pro-life cause.

Today will sadly be my last day here at RedState as I move on to The Blaze next week. After more than 11 years on the front page, it feels more like I’m leaving family than I am changing jobs. But I know in my heart that the site is in the right hands with Caleb taking over, and that you good people will be here will still be here reading and writing diaries and posting comments and sometimes sending hilarious hate mail to the contact form.

As I leave, I can only encourage you all to remain strong. Resist the call to let other people do your thinking for you. Continue to use your own brain and your own reasoning power to evaluate whether either of these candidates or neither deserves your vote. Don’t worry about the end result – the last year here at RedState has been living proof for me that if you stick by your principles, more often than not, the rest will take care of itself. And always remember, you don’t owe anyone your vote. They have to earn it.

Make them do it – this election and every election in the future.

Take care and God bless.

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How Much Will Trump’s Debate Loss Affect the Race?

The consensus among people who are not paid to say otherwise or otherwise invested in a Donald Trump victory seem to more or less agree that Donald Trump lost the debate last night; the question is really by how much. Gravis, who was hired by Breitbart, scored it a narrow win for Clinton. PPP, an equally unreliable source, scored it a 52-40 win for Clinton. CNN’s poll, meanwhile, scored it an overwhelming win on the order of Romney’s whitewashing of Obama in the first 2012 debate.

How well these polls reflect the actual impression of the American public is a completely different question. Personally, I also scored the debate with a slight edge to Clinton, with the caveat that I would say that Trump probably won the first 15 minutes of the debate, which are the most important. In the later stages of the debate, the wheels came completely off for Trump, and who knows how many actually undecided people were still up watching at that point.

Now comes the part where we wait to see whether the debate actually had an effect on the public’s perception of the race, and if so, how much. I tend to think overall “not much” – even if you feel that Trump exposed himself as an absolute failure who is unqualified for the office, he didn’t do so in a way that was exactly new to anyone. For better or for worse, a lot of the country is more or less okay with a psychopath in the Oval Office, as long as the psychopath is not named Hillary Clinton.

But let’s suppose that the public really saw it differently, and that it ends up being scored as an overwhelming win for Hillary Clinton. What would that do to the state of the race?

Well, from a baseline standpoint, I think most people would accept (including David Axelrod, who admitted as much during CNN’s post-debate coverage last night) that it’s pretty much impossible to kick anyone’s butt in a debate worse than Mitt Romney did to Barack Obama in the first debate of 2012. Here’s what that dominant debate performance did during the next week of the polls:


About a 4 point swing in a single week. In modern politics, that’s amazing. By this point of a race, there are fewer undecideds than there have ever been, and for a single event to have had such a monumental swing in a race is truly astounding. That having been said, it isn’t anything like a 10 or 15 point swing like you might have seen from an equivalent performance in years past.

As Trump has been aptly demonstrating, you can’t do almost anything in the modern political age to fall behind more than 7 or 8 points, tops. Now here are the next two weeks:


As you can see, a pretty ephemeral result. A number of things contributed to this: Obama righted the ship during the October 16th debate – not winning it outright but again establishing himself as a competent debater who was in fact tuned in to the election at hand. But equally important, the possible lanes for variation have just gotten more and more narrow. If politics were a bowling lane, the gutters at this point would be about 10 inches apart.

What this means, most likely, is that we are headed for yet another final month of the election season that is filled with uncertainty about who is ahead, who is likely to win, and what the state of the race is. I think Clinton probably helped herself slightly on Monday night, but not enough to alter this race permanently – at least in part because such a thing is not really possible in Presidential debates anymore.

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Fox News’ Embarrassing Attempt to Cover Donald Trump’s Posterior on the Iraq War – UPDATED: Cavuto in February Admitted this Clip Is Not a Silver Bullet

Fox News is what they are at this point: a 24 hour in-kind contribution to the Donald Trump campaign. It’s no coincidence that after a debate that he is universally regarded to have lost – even by a pollster Breitbart commissioned to tell their audience that Trump had won – Trump ran immediately through the spin room and into the welcoming arms of Sean Hannity, on whom he had repeatedly relied upon for support of the assertion that there was a person who could confirm that he was opposed to the Iraq War before it started.

See, Trump has decided to stake the future of his campaign on a point that almost no one cares about substantively: the demonstrably false assertion that Trump was publicly opposed to the Iraq War before it started. An especially tall order given that he specifically did offer an endorsement (if an admittedly flippant one) on the Howard Stern show in 2002.

We need spend no time on the claim that Trump told Sean Hannity in private repeatedly that he was opposed to the war. The collection of things Hannity would not say in defense of Trump is a null set, and everyone on planet earth knows it, including both Trump and Hannity.

But the Fox News Network has been busy trying to create an alternative narrative on Trump’s behalf: that former Fox News (and current Fox Business Network) host Neil Cavuto “unearthed” video of a Trump appearance on his program in 2003 in which Trump supposedly opposed the Iraq War on Cavuto’s program before the war started. Here, indeed, is how Fox News’ website describes the flavor of water they are currently carrying for Trump:


So the first thing you should do is, indeed, “check yourself” – by which I assume they mean “check FOR yourself.” Watch the video. It is not, at all, a video of Trump opposing the Iraq War. It is a video of Trump saying that Bush should decide whether to attack or not. That’s literally what he says, that’s his whole point. There is no way a reasonable person can read the whole context of Trump’s statement and conclude that he is staking out a firm (or even flexible) position opposed to the Iraq War – he is saying Bush should hurry up and decide what to do about Iraq so he can get back to thinking about the Economy. In the course of his rambling, pointless rant, he certainly does say “Maybe he shouldn’t do it yet,” but he does that as part of a litany of balancing factors for Bush to weigh, not his own opinion about what should or shouldn’t happen.

Watch the latest video at

People who can speak English and aren’t professional required to defend literally everything Trump says or does clearly understand that. And it absolutely beggars the imagination that there are people who see “Yeah I guess so” as not an endorsement of the war in Iraq but who at the same time see “Maybe he shouldn’t do it yet” (out of context) as a slam dunk clear opposition to the Iraq War.

I mean, the subject of the conversation wasn’t even whether the Iraq War should happen or not. It was “how much time should the President spend on the Iraq War versus the economy?” The question, “should the Iraq War happen” never even really came up. All Trump said was that Bush shouldn’t keep wasting decision time on it, that he should do it or not do it.


But here’s where Fox News gets really dishonest. See, this is not a “new” or “unearthed” clip at all. In fact, it was widely known to exist when this issue arose in February and in fact was one of the points of proof Trump offered back in February as to prove that he was against the war. Here, for example, is commenting on Trump’s use of this exact clip as a defense:

Jan. 28, 2003: Trump appears on Fox Business’ “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” on the night ofPresident Bush’s State of the Union address. Trump says he expects to hear “a lot of talk about Iraq and the problems,” and the economy. He urges Bush to make a decision on Iraq. “Either you attack or you don’t attack,” he says. But he offers no opinion on what Bush should do.

See also Politifact, U.S. News and World Report, the Washington Post, Politico… I could go on almost literally all day. The point is, this exchange between Trump and Cavuto has been reported on and rehashed in exhausting detail by virtually every news outlet on the planet before Neil Cavuto “unearthed” it post debate with all the flair and righteous condemnation of Perry Mason extracting a dramatic courtroom confession.

There’s something disgustingly perfect about this entire sorry episode, from Fox News’ perspective. First, they get to act like they are riding in on a white knight to Trump’s defense, to the gleeful delight of their catheter-hungry audience. Second, they get to themselves be part of the story and yet again pretend to be the exclusive purveyor of material that is allegedly helpful to Trump – even though in reality they are in fact about the last news outlet on earth to cover their own reporting.

It’s just that the other outlets didn’t lie about what this clip contained, so they are correct that the vast majority of Trump supporters are hearing about this clip for the first time.

UPDATE: Hey! You know who else covered Trump making these remarks on Neil Cavuto? Neil Cavuto. Back in February. And what he said at the time is pretty hilarious compared to what he is saying now.

Watch, as Fox News says, for yourself:


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Hillary v. Trump: Round One

After all the hoopla, the anticipation, and a series of increasingly negative ads, Hillary and Trump will finally find themselves together on a stage for the first time tonight, as Lester Holt moderates at Hofstra University. This could be either the nastiest debate in television history, or it could be the most boring – and almost all of that will be determined by where the respective candidates believe they stand.

Both candidates would probably prefer to sit back on their haunches and do nothing, if they feel like they can get away with it. This has basically been Hillary Clinton’s entire M.O. since day one of her primary campaign, and her general election campaign has been more of the same. Clinton is counting on the idea that not being Donald Trump is enough to win – and if she still thinks it is, expect her to be very low key throughout the night.

Trump, on the other hand, has to have noticed that keeping a lower profile has helped him in the polls. Trump isn’t especially tuned in to any issues whatsoever, but if there’s one thing he’s demonstrated that he has the capacity to pay very close attention to, it’s his own polling, And it seems that Conway and Bannon or whoever has his ear right now has successfully convinced him that it is in his best interest to keep his head down and let Hillary Clinton destroy herself.

Of course, the complication in this particular calculation – for both sides – is that it’s extremely difficult to get a read on who actually is in the lead right now. The publicly available polling is wildly conflicting right now. Some polls show Trump ahead, a majority of polls show Clinton ahead, and all of them show a very close race.

Adding to the complication, of course, each camp has their own internal polling, and who knows what it shows, or how much the candidates themselves believe it.

Bottom line: we could have a debate tomorrow night where both candidates believe they are winning, in which case it will be a total snoozefest of love and respect. Or we could have a debate where both candidates believe they are losing or are on the verge of losing, in which case the battle between these two could be the all-time nastiest debate. Or we could have a scenario where either one goes after the other, who sits there trying to be as docile as possible. Either way, one thing we’ll know after tomorrow is what each campaign thinks about the state of the race as it stands right now.


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Choose the Form of the Destructor


With less than 50 days left to go until the election, many people have already decided to completely tune out the news until it is over. Lord knows it is an understandable impulse. In addition to being unqualified for the office, old, crooked, and abrasive, the two candidates are also personally distasteful people, neither of whom seems to have a good idea about how to improve the country. I totally understand the impulse to check out altogether and just kind of hope the country doesn’t fall apart until 2020.

It’s an understandable impulse, but it’s not a good one, and here’s why: neither of these candidates is running on a platform of forcing the government to leave you alone more. In fact, they both have alarmingly expansionist views of the powers of the Federal Government and in particular of the office of the President.

Trump thinks the President has the power to unilaterally rewrite both the First Amendment and the libel laws of all 50 states in one fell swoop. He also thinks that the President has the authority to tell local police departments to stop black people on the street and frisk them for guns without probable cause. He also thinks the President has the authority to unilaterally undo constitutionally-enacted treaties as long as they were entered into by “stupid people.” To say nothing of the fact that he bragged in a live debate that the military would follow unlawful orders coming from him because of his strong, manly leadershipness. I could go on, but you get the point. You get the point. Following in the path of Trump’s vision of government leads you to authoritarianism and police state despotism.

Clinton, on the other hand, literally wrote the book on “it takes a village to raise a child” and by “village” she meant “the will of the village as expressed by the forceful intervention of the village’s elected officials and bureaucrats.” Clinton is on the side of people who want to tell churches they can’t not have transgender bathrooms, make disbelieving in global warming a crime, raise your taxes, and so on. You get the point. Following in the path of Clinton’s vision of government leads you to your life as a bit player in the real life version of 1984.

So I mean, one way or another, the size and scope of the Federal Government is going to advance quite a lot over the next four years. You ought to really do something about that. Even if that something is the equivalent of crossing the streams – a plan that seems hopeless from the beginning and likely to end in total destruction (like voting for Gary Johnson or Evan McMullin or starting a new party altogether), now is not the time to abandon the playing field of politics altogether. If you think doing so will mean you won’t have to think about our corrupt government at all, you are wrong. Sooner or later it will be staring you in the face, like it or not.

You can’t just stick your head in the sand and pretend it will go away because sooner or later someone thinks of Mr. Stay Puft and the fecal matter hits the fan anyway.


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Trump’s Ohio County Chair Resigns in Racism Flap

Donald Trump is apparently not the shield against political correctness that Kathy Miller might have believed he was.

Earlier today, we covered the unfolding saga of one of Trump’s Ohio County Campaign Chairs Kathy Miller, who has come under fire for saying in an interview with the Guardian that there was no racism in America before Barack Obama, not even in the 60s. She also said, among other things, that black people did not vote because of “the way they were raised,” and that if anyone who’s black in America hasn’t gotten ahead, it’s their own damn fault.

Now, here’s a few things about what this woman said that bear noting. First, as it’s been pointed out a number of places, this woman’s claims are absolutely absurd and beyond which offensive. For someone who lived through the 60s and 70s within spitting distance of Kent State and Youngstown to say that they never saw racism in the 60s and 70s just beggars the imagination. I mean there are three basic possibilities that might explain that kind of statement from someone with that life experience: a) they are themselves incredibly racist and thus anything that happens to black people is just what they deserve and not racism; or b) they don’t know what the word “racism” actually means; or c) they are lying. If you want a decent breakdown you can read here.

The second thing about her remarks, though, is that the coming of Donald Trump was supposed to foreshadow the return of the days when you could say patent whitewashing nonsense like this and not suffer shaming in public. Political correctness is supposed to be dead, Trump is supposed to be fighting back, he’s going to be standing with his people who are sick and tired having to do the exhausting work of thinking a second before being offensive.

Kathy Miller might be the first of many people to learn that Trump’s magical ability to spew offensive nonsense nonstop without political consequence is not actually transferrable to his supporters or political allies:

Donald Trump’s campaign chair in a crucial Ohio county has resigned after an interview with the Guardian in which she said there was no racism in America until the election of Barack Obama.

Kathy Miller, who was coordinating the Republican nominee’s campaign in Mahoning County, apologized for her “inappropriate” remarks on Thursday and said she would no longer have a role with the campaign.

Well, there you have it. We salute you, Kathy Miller: You might not get to say whatever you want consequence free, but well done falling on your grenade for Trump so that he can continue to do so.


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The NRA Should Strongly Condemn Trump’s Stop-and-Frisk Comments

Donald Trump just said that when he is President, he will encourage the police to stop black people on the street and take their guns.

I know that this is anathema in today’s Twitter culture, but in order to understand how offensive Trump’s latest stop-and-frisk remarks are, you have to go back and consider some context.

Trump was asked yesterday what he would do specifically to stop “violence in the black community” and “black-on-black crime.” His response to that question was that he would institute a nationwide “stop and frisk” policy:

“I would do stop-and-frisk. I think you have to. We did it in New York, it worked incredibly well and you have to be proactive and, you know, you really help people sort of change their mind automatically,” Trump told the questioner. “You understand, you have to have, in my opinion, I see what’s going on here, I see what’s going on in Chicago, I think stop-and-frisk. In New York City it was so incredible, the way it worked. Now, we had a very good mayor, but New York City was incredible, the way that worked, so I think that could be one step you could do.”

Alright, so this requires some more background. What Trump is basically calling for is for police departments to conduct widespread stops that are referred to in legal parlance as “Terry stops,” after the Supreme Court decision Terry v. Ohio, which (in my opinion, erroneously) found the practice lawful under the Constitution. This is the standard the police have to meet under Terry in order to stop and frisk you for weapons:

In view of these facts, we cannot blind ourselves to the need for law enforcement officers to protect themselves and other prospective victims of violence in situations where they may lack probable cause for an arrest. When an officer is justified in believing that the individual whose suspicious behavior he is investigating at close range is armed and presently dangerous to the officer or to others, it would appear to be clearly unreasonable to deny the officer the power to take necessary measures to determine whether the person is, in fact, carrying a weapon and to neutralize the threat of physical harm. . . .

A search for weapons in the absence of probable cause to arrest, however, must, like any other search, be strictly circumscribed by the exigencies which justify its initiation. Warden v. Hayden,387 U.S. 294, 310 (1967) (MR. JUSTICE FORTAS, concurring). Thus, it must be limited to that which is necessary for the discovery of weapons which might be used to harm the officer or others nearby, and may realistically be characterized as something less than a “full” search, even though it remains a serious intrusion.

The basic effect of the Terry decision is that police can stop and frisk you for weapons and drugs for pretty much any reason whatsoever and never will they either face a 42 USC 1983 lawsuit or have evidence get thrown out of court. The Terry doctrine is a blanket license to cops to stop and frisk the outer clothing of anyone they encounter, as long as they are willing to testify that the person in question was “acting suspicious.”

As you might have guessed, this policy has become wildly unpopular in almost all jurisdictions where it has been used with any sort of frequency, and due to public outcry (about, among other things, the racial profiling which it practically invites) many police departments have voluntarily discontinued use of the Terry stop, or at least severely curtailed its use.

So Trump’s answer to the original question was offensive enough, because Trump’s answer to “crime in the black community” is, basically, “tell the cops to stop and frisk more black people.”

But wait, because it gets worse. In a follow up question, Trump was asked, quite reasonably, “how would that help?”

And this is where the context is important. Remember that Trump is continuing an answer to a question that specifically started with what he would do about “violence in the black community” and “black-on-black crime.” He wasn’t asked about crime generally, he was asked about black crime. And his response in total can only be seen as an invitation for police to stop black people on the street and confiscate their guns.

Now the question I have is this – if Hillary Clinton became President and encouraged police departments in the posh white suburbs to stop and frisk people to take their guns away, the gun rights folks would rightly be having a cow. Just look at the way people are reacting to legislative proposals to increase background checks before owning a gun – total rigid opposition and nonstop condemnation of the push to confiscate guns.

On the other hand, one of the two major Presidential candidates is out there actively saying that the police need to be aggressively stopping people on the street and frisking them with an eye towards literally taking their guns. I mean, this is not making it harder or more inconvenient to get a gun, or putting gun owners on a list, or reducing magazine sizes, this is, “hey, cops should be stopping people on the street and taking their guns. Especially in the black community.”

Now listen, even if Trump is elected, he will not have the power to set policy for every police department in the country. Or even a single police department. That is not how federalism works. But Trump apparently doesn’t know that, and his instinct is to say that in a world in which he were given total power, we would have the cops stopping black people on the street and confiscating their guns.

That’s… kind of a big deal, right? Seems like the sort of thing an organization committed to the preservation of the Second Amendment rights of all citizens should be vigilant against and using its considerable political power to oppose, right?

It’s getting difficult to squint your eyes and see Trump as the lesser of the gun-grabbing evils as time goes on. But even if you believe that he is, his comments in this regard should be condemned, both for their overt racial bias and for their disregard of the rights of Americans to have and carry firearms without constant harassment from law enforcement. Even a candidate you endorse as the lesser of two evils should be kept honest.

NOTE: I reached out early this morning to the NRA asking for comment. As of the time of this article’s publication, I had not received a response. When and if they respond, I will update this post with their statement in full.

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We Will Probably Never be Rid of Islamic Terrorism

Since the latest spate of terror attacks on Saturday, everyone has been arguing over the efficacy of the government’s response. Jim Geraghty has an excellent breakdown of the competing viewpoints here. Basically, there’s an argument that the system actually worked; after the first bomb went off, the terrorist was quickly identified and apprehended without further loss of life. Sure, the FBI got a tip that the guy was a terrorist beforehand, but the FBI gets about 1,000 terrorism tips a day. If it had the manpower to chase every one of these down thoroughly, it would be such a massive and intrusive agency that it would change the whole country as we know it.

On the other hand, the pro-Trump forces seem to focus mostly on the fact that officials waited some time before calling it terrorism (the gall), and, of course, for missing the leads that might have led them to the attackers in the first place.

As a result of these two approaches, the two candidates seem to be taking diametrically different approaches to Islamic terrorism as a campaign issue. Hillary seems to mostly pretend that it doesn’t happen or that isn’t connected to a larger, systemic problem. The follies of this approach are self-evident to readers of this site (I hope), and I won’t rehash them here. Trump’s, on the other hand, seems to be to promise that he knows some secret solution that will either totally or almost totally eliminate the problem.

For anyone who thinks Trump might actually deliver on this promise, it’s time to seriously recalibrate your expectations. Ever since (at least) the French-Algerian War, Islamic insurgents have gotten the message that a prolonged campaign of domestic terrorism is basically a magical Rubik’s cube that the West has yet to solve. They have seen again and again that Western countries – especially the United States – can be bent to the will of a relentless campaign of terror. And in cases where they haven’t succeeded in getting their will (such as in Israel) they have displayed what looks like a virtually inexhaustible will to continue trying.

The Islamic terrorists have noticed us now, and so here we are. They aren’t going away. As a country, every time we undertake a foreign policy endeavor anywhere in the world, we have to develop a reasonable timeline and determine whether we are willing to endure a terror campaign that opposes it for the duration, because one is definitely coming. Obviously, like Israel, we aren’t going to just curl up and die or or surrender our homeland, so we face the reality that, for the foreseeable future, a legion of fanatics who are willing to surrender their own lives will be attempting to cause us to constantly live in fear through a series of domestic terror attacks, executed with varying levels of competence.

That is not to say that our government should not be judged henceforth on its ability to prevent as many of these attacks as possible. Part of that evaluation ought to include the extent to which the effort infringes upon the ability of everyday Americans to live their lives without government intrusion, free from needlessly excessive government snooping. One guy puts a bomb in his shoe and millions of Americans have to remove their shoes to board an airplane for all perpetuity (apparently) – is this a smart policy? On the other hand, everyone freaks out about the NSA collecting phone metadata and deep-sixed the program, when it might well have helped catch wind of some of these plots – should we re-examine some of the libertarian anti-tech surveillance pushback? And so on and so on.

I think there’s even a place for an intelligent discussion about some of the things Trump brings up in connection with this issue – although Trump is definitely the wrong person to lead anything approaching an intelligent discussion. I think country of origin profiling makes eminent sense at least for the foreseeable future and right now it is probably correct that many of the people we are welcoming from Syria deserve a much hairier eyeball than they are currently getting. On the other hand building a wall on the Southern border is a nonsense solution because none of these terrorists are crossing the Southern border to enter the United States – that being the most hazardous way to attempt entry into the United States by far. Also slamming the door in the face of all Muslims worldwide only serves to prolong the problem further by helping to foster anti-Government paranoia in the Muslim community, many of whom are already in this country and are dutiful and loyal citizens.

Either way, the best thing Americans can do to combat Islamic terrorism at home is to realize that the problem is not going to go away for the foreseeable future and to develop a certain amount of phlegm about it. This is our country dammit, and nothing they can do can change our planned course of action, whatever that might be.

We know that we must fight them. We must fight them here at home and we must fight them there where they live. In what way and for how long remain issues to be resolved. But fight we must. And we are. But we can’t imagine that someone is going to ascend to the White House and fire a magic bullet to end all terror. It’s not just wishful thinking, it’s dangerous.


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The Professional Pro-Life Movement Has a Lot in Common with Donald Trump

One of the things that’s often said about Donald Trump is that he is the type of person who was born on third base but thinks he got there by hitting a triple. The professional pro-life movement is a lot like that except they have spent their whole existence repeatedly striking out, and now they are desperate to claim that they are standing on third base with Trump. Note that I am not talking in this post about every day pro-lifers, I am talking about the non-profit orgs who have become excellent at milking honest donors for money, delivering nothing in return, and then trying to pretend that they have been tremendously successful.

(Note, I want to single out Americans United for Life here because they are often the best pro-life org out there. I have seen no evidence that they have taken any stance supporting Trump and they appear to be sitting the general election out. If so, good for them.)

I feel like I’m on the record enough about this issue that I can speak honestly about the movement’s failures without having my motivations questioned. Pretty much the whole reason I got into politics in the first place is because I am a pro-lifer. The main reason I have stuck with the Republican party through betrayal after betrayal is because of the abortion issue. There’s a reason that Trump’s defenders come back again and again to the Supreme Court as a justification for supporting Trump. They know what a powerful siren call that is for me and people like me. Their assumption is that we will continue to be suckers forever. And why not? We have been for forty years.

Personally, I have reached the point that I am fed up with these organizations. They have been, by and large, total failures in holding politicians accountable. When is the last time you can recall that a pro-life group claimed the scalp of any of the dozens if not hundreds of Republicans who have betrayed the pro-life cause over the years? It has not happened and it does not happen.

In recent history, Club for Growth and Koch have defeated Republicans like Renee Ellmers who crossed them. The immigration hardliners took out Eric Cantor. The Chamber of Commerce took out Tim Heulskamp for the Agriculture Subsidy Lobby and the squishes. And so on and so on. None of these groups have won every election they have played in but Republicans who are thinking of bucking these groups at least look over their shoulder before doing so.

Why do you think Republicans in the House turned an absolute gimme issue with the 20-week abortion ban into an absolute PR debacle that set the whole pro-life movement back? Because they knew that after screwing up and flubbing the issue in every possible way, when they finally passed a watered-down version of the bill that they knew would get vetoed, pro-life orgs would praise them for doing so like hapless, poorly-trained seals. And when they let the bill die with absolutely no political consequence for Democrats, pro-life orgs would do nothing other than getting pledges from Republicans to do better next time. Renee Ellmers and Marsha Blackburn, who spearheaded the public embarrassment of pro-lifers, were passed over. Ellmers was taken out by Koch and CFG, and Marsha Blackburn continues to sail uncontested through every election just like she is a conservative warrior in good standing.

These orgs are all carrot, no stick. They are happy to go out and encourage people to elect more Republicans, elect more Republicans, vote Republican for President in particular. Meanwhile, 7 of the 9 judges who decided Roe v. Wade were appointed by Republicans. Roe v. Wade would not have survived throughout all these years without Justices O’Connor, Kennedy, and Souter – all nominated by Republicans and confirmed with the unanimous consent of Senate Republicans. At no point has anyone ever paid a political price for this. So pro-life orgs set their sights on a series of incremental legislative changes to the abortion regime at the state level, which have systematically been thrown out by judges who were appointed and confirmed by Republicans – and again, no one has paid a political price for any of this. You could hardly ask for a more useful set of stooges for the RNC.

Here is how sad the situation is. CFG and the Koch Network both have a lot of donors who are pressuring them to get involved in the general and support Trump. They are refusing, feeling that Trump is not enough aligned with their principles to be worth helping. Meanwhile, the pro-life suckers have jumped in to help Trump with both feet. The fiscal conservatives have shown more principles than the pro-lifers, and the pro-lifers are the ones who pretend to follow an objective standard.

I don’t know what it is about these groups that makes them totally unable to state the obvious: that pro-lifers are being played for suckers by the GOP, which has no intention of ever allowing Roe v. Wade to be overturned. After all, if it were, how would they scare the evangelicals into voting for the Donald Trumps of the future? The professional pro-life orgs are too scared to say this, and to admit that everything they have done for the last 40 years to this point has been an abject failure, because doing so might cause their donor money to dry up. So they continue to play the willing sucker again and again and at no point has it been more evident than their embrace of Trump this year.

Trump, for those who might not remember, is the only candidate in this race who has probably paid for an abortion. He has praised Planned Parenthood repeatedly throughout the course of this campaign. His seven different attempts to answer a question on whether he would support criminally punishing a woman who had an abortion probably set the cause back another decade, because he clearly has no idea how to even properly sound like a pro-lifer. And I haven’t even gotten into the fact that Trump was an open and avowed pro-choicer until, oh, 2012, and that all of the people he surrounds himself with – including his kids – are pro-choice liberals.

If you believe that Trump has actual pro-life principles or that he will honor any sort of pledge to only appoint pro-life justices, then you have to be one of the most monumental suckers who has ever lived. I really and truly mean that. I mean, it would be one thing if we, as a movement, had not been repeatedly stabbed in the back by Republicans who promised the same thing to win our votes, but we have. Over and over and over. There comes a point when even an exceptionally stupid animal like a sheep will learn to avoid its master if its master keeps kicking it in the face every day.

Which means that the sheep is a better critical thinker than most of the professional pro-life orgs, as Kimberly Ross pointed out on Friday in a post that called out SBA List, among others. In response to her post, I got angry emails and tweets from people who have spent their careers in and around the professional pro-life movement asking “HOW DARE REDSTATE ATTACK A GOOD, SOLID CONSERVATIVE?”

Well, here are our credentials on this matter. As you can see here, we have repeatedly published Marjorie’s work and promoted it to the front page every time we were asked. I personally have repeatedly praised their work and encouraged people to donate to them. But I am not going to sit here and pretend that lending the credibility that pro-life orgs have earned to an obvious fraud like Trump is anything but a sucker’s move. I don’t have donors who I have to constantly convince that I’m generating awesome successes. The only thing I or anyone else at RedState has an obligation to say is our honest opinion, and Kimberly’s honest opinion (and mine) is that the professional pro-lifers are embarrassing themselves right now by pretending that Trump of all people is going to be different from the back stabbing Republicans who came before him.

Will there ever come a point – and I do mean, literally ever, where the professional pro-life orgs throw up their hands and say, “You know what? We are sick of being played for fools by the Republican Party. They must be actually opposed until they change their ways.” And if that day is ever supposed to come, why not now? If the Trump Farce isn’t enough to make them say “no mas,” then what will be?

I guess it makes sense that these groups are falling in line for Trump, because they have a lot in common. They have both spent most of their existence frittering away other people’s money on projects that were often failures, yet claiming all the while that they are the biggest success stories ever. They can’t admit to defeat, disappointment, or the fact that they have ever been deceived or duped by anyone because they both perceive that this would be fatal to their ability to find new people to give them money in the future. In a lot of ways, they really were made for each other.

The sad thing is that every day pro-lifers are left with the realization that there is no one who is even marginally effective who is in their corner, or who is fighting a meaningful battle for the unborn in DC. The battle is not being fought. It is described, it is promised, but the actual fight does not happen. Which is, as Donald Trump would say, sad!

The post The Professional Pro-Life Movement Has a Lot in Common with Donald Trump appeared first on RedState.

Source: Red State

Trump Basically Says he Would Combat Terrorism By Starting a War in Iraq

By all accounts, Donald Trump is becoming a more disciplined candidate on the trail, mostly staying out of Hillary Clinton’s way and letting America remember that they really can’t stand her. But it’s still tremendously clear that he really has no idea how he would even start to combat terrorism in America. Trump’s rambling, incoherent, and self-congratulatory appearance on Fox and Friends this morning exposed that he still really has no idea where he would even start combatting terrorism – and when pressed for specifics all he could come up with was a line that sounded suspiciously like “fight the terrorists over there so we don’t have to fight them over here”:

Rough partial transcript:

Host: What do you mean by, we have to get tough? Specfically, what is the policy in Donald Trump’s administration of getting tough?

Trump: Well, first of all, these are sick people, these are sick, evil people who want to destroy this country, and the way we coddle them… and we’re afraid to say what the problem is and who they are, and they don’t want to say “radical Islam,” they don’t want to talk about “radical Islamic terrorism…”

Host: Okay, but those are just words. What do you mean by getting tough?

Trump: We have to hit them much harder over there, and we’re gonna have to find out – you know, our police are amazing. Our local police, they know who these people are, they’re afraid to do anything about it, because… they don’t want to be accused of all sorts of things… Israel has done an unbelievable job, as good as you can do, but they profile. They see somebody suspicious, they will profile, they will take that person in…

Host: You tweeted this weekend, under the leadership of Obama and Clinton, Americans have experienced more attacks at home than victories abroad, time to change the playbook. Okay, change the playbook. How?

Trump: We’re going to have to do something extremely tough over there, okay?

Host: Like what?

Trump: Like knock the hell out of them. And we have to get everybody together and lead for a change. Because we’re not knocking them, we’re hitting them every once in a while, in certain places, we’re being very gentle about it, you have to be very tough, and there are countries that are getting hit harder than we are, and you have to get them together and show leadership. And you know, you have to fight, the battle’s over there. And you have to fight the battle.

Gee. Sounds an awful lot like Trump wants to get together a “coalition of the willing” to go over to the Middle East and start a sustained war to knock out terrorists in their strongholds. Not just an isolated bombing campaign, but really putting boots on the ground, getting other countries to go along, and just blasting the hell out of stuff until the terrorists give up.

That plan sounds vaguely familiar, because it was the exact plan for the Iraq War, which Donald Trump has called stupid and moronic and something that had no benefit to the United States (with the benefit of hindsight – before it started he thought it was a great idea).

These are the ramblings of a man who does not have a coherent plan to actually deal with the future. All he does is loudly trumpet the fact that he predicted terror attacks would continue. Well, after the uninterrupted slate of them during the Obama administration, how prescient do you have to be to predict that Islamic terrorists are going to keep attempting to attack us? Not very.

Meanwhile, the policy he proposes is exactly the policy that he has mocked after the fact. The reason that he can do this with a straight face is that he has no idea why he opposes the Iraq War other than the fact that it didn’t work and it was unpopular. It is painfully obvious that he doesn’t really have an informed opinion on the war that reaches any farther than these two facts, because if he did, he would not be proposing to do the exact same thing again.

And if you pointed out to him that he was apparently contradicting himself, he would say, “Well, I would have done the Iraq War better,” or something equally moronic. And if you pointed out that his stated position is that he opposed the Iraq War in principle before it even began (even though that position is an absolute lie, he is sticking with it), he would move on to something else entirely.

Trump might well win this election in spite of himself because his opponent is truly awful. And if he does, don’t be surprised if, in four years, we are all debating the Syrian War just like we were the Iraq War in 2004, complete with the same daily media body count of American soldiers, dying for an idea cooked up by a President who still doesn’t understand the enemy he is facing.

The post Trump Basically Says he Would Combat Terrorism By Starting a War in Iraq appeared first on RedState.

Source: Red State