Author: Juan Ayala

Dangerous Moderates Lurk in the Democratic Party

Juan Ayala| United States

Sherrod Brown and Amy Klobuchar are Democratic Senators. They are not loud voices in the Senate chamber or on social media. However, in an era where the left wing of the democratic party has free reign on mainstream media outlets, they represent those lost in the middle.

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Congressional Compromise: The Partisan Stalemate Isn’t True

By Juan Ayala | United States

Most Would Say Congress Doesn’t Work

It would be very easy to say that Congress doesn’t work-sometimes it truly doesn’t. Moreover, it would be easy to infer that members of Congress also don’t work and are tainted with special interests; that’s the easy and ignorant way to look at it. To that effect, when was the last time you saw a story in the news that talked about bipartisan compromise, members working together, and a genuine sense of honesty amongst those in elected office? The answer most would say is very rare. Then, there are those such as myself that are quite deep within domestic politics. I am here to tell you that most members of Congress are trying to do the best they can.

Continue reading “Congressional Compromise: The Partisan Stalemate Isn’t True”

An Appeal to Centrism

At its core, public policy appeases the masses. The roots of democracy dig into public input. For that reason, I propose rooting for the candidates that rarely get much attention: Centrists. Not everyone belongs to the far-left or right. However, the candidates on the ballots are.

Moving further to the end

“Both sides can be seen as equally insane.” To many people, this statement rings true. For others, it shows how polarizing our politics can be. Now more than ever, people are voting the idea of centrism out. In fact, many moderate Republicans were replaced with further right Republicans in last years midterms. Unfortunately, media outlets constantly give the louder and more radical voices a microphone. As a result, voter turnout is on the rise, while Republican enthusiasm is down.

Victory for Centrists

The victory of Abigail Spanberger against Republican Incumbent Dave Brat, a member of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus, is a prime example of a centrist candidate rising over a more extreme candidate. Spanberger, an ex-CIA agent, ran on a Centrist agenda in the rural 7th District of Virginia; a Republican stronghold. Her platform held many signature Democrat principles, but she opposed single-payer healthcare and vowed to vote against Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House. She was victorious by a margin of 2%. If she had been more progressive, she likely would not have won.

These results are not across the board. However, if fully embraced, more voters would be happy with the actual legislative policy being produced in Congress. Congressional approval is at a low point, and it has been there for a while now. If the middle ground was more represented and given more attention, there would be less extreme candidates winning elections. There would also fewer stalemates in the legislative process. Centrists would, not only enact more common sense measures but also bring more logical ideas to the floor.

How do we define Centrism?

However, it is without a doubt that Centrism is a subjective term. Your middle ground may be different than mine. Another argument from the New York Times quotes that Centrists are hostile and wish for the destruction of democracy. 

The future of politics with Centrism

The citizens of the United States want Congress to work together and do their jobs. In the House of Representatives almost every viewpoint in recognized-whether you are pro-life, pro-amnesty, or pro-single-payer. However, we need more reasonable and logical candidates to run on issues that everyone can agree on, while putting their personal issues aside. With direction, time, and accountability, Centrism would prosper and radical agendas would die in the primary ballot box.


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A Republican Needs to Challenge Trump

Juan Ayala | United States

Trumpism is a poison that has plagued the GOP and middle America. Someone needs to challenge Trump, to bring the Republican Party to its knees, to rebirth the party.

Current support

The Republican National Committee (RNC) has given him their support; “Never-Trump” Senators Rob Portman and Cory Gardner have backed his 2020 run. Senator Romney even wrote a scathing op-ed, while Reps Justin Amash and Will Hurd critique the president frequently.

Among Republicans, Trump has a very high approval rating. Yet, there is still yearning for another candidate amongst young conservatives. Trump is a source of constant agony, whether it’s from his idiotic tweets or policy flip-flops. In fact, 82% of young adults from 18-24 want Trump challenged in 2020.  There is a yearning for quality, moderate and intellectual opponent in the Republican primary. Young people want someone with wit, but also integrity.

Who can challenge Trump?

There are potential challengers on the horizon. Maryland governor Larry Hogan, John Kasich, and even Ann Coulter, to name a few. If the Reaganites and compassionate conservatives of the Bush-era want the Republican party to be the “party of Lincoln,” “party of family values and listening to the American people”, then they need to nominate someone that actually holds those beliefs.

Why Trump needs to go

Trump doesn’t exemplify either of those statements. His eloquence (or lack of) and treatment of women, with Megan Kelly as well as his first wife, have put the party in a bind. Is the grand old party really going to support a man just because he puts conservative judges on the bench and passed tax cuts?

“Isn’t the character argument getting old?” has become a popular defense of Trump. I respond with absolutely not. If a Democrat behaved the way Trump does, conservatives would vilify them. When he said he could “shoot someone” and his approval rating would not change, he wasn’t entirely wrong. And no; Trump doesn’t “appeal to the average American.” Thus, the case for a primary opponent becomes stronger.

Ideally, in the case of a primary opponent, the party itself would shift and those aligned with Trump may be at odds. Make the Republican Party great again. Obviously, this is healthy and this needs to happen.

What can we expect in 2020?

The 2016 election results were far from predictable, and 2020 will be also. Most mainstream news outlets had Clinton ahead by a wide margin. The Huffington Post literally put his chance at victory at less than 2%. If no one challenges Trump and he becomes the nominee in 2020, the best we can hope for is a more moderate vice president or an independent moderate. Either way, 2020 will be one of the most interesting years in politics and the country.


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The Freedom Caucus: Accountability or Hindrance?

Juan Ayala | United States

“[The Freedom Caucus] can’t tell you what they’re for. They can’t tell you what they’re against. They’re anarchists, they want total chaos.” – Former Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH)

“…to solve immigration reform, House Republicans have to break precedent and bring a bill to the floor that offends the Freedom Caucus.” – Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) 

“..the Freedom Caucus has ruined the Republican Party” – Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO)

So, just who is this growing group of conservatives and why should you care?

The Freedom Caucus: A Background

In 2009-2012, President Obama carried out his agenda through the stimulus package and poured money into the economy through government subsidies. Out of this “pork barrel spending,” the Tea Party was born. The caucus consists of candidates that were angry with what they thought were big government bailouts. Thusly, they became part of this grassroots movement to accomplish what they believed establishment Republicans were not.

According to the group’s Twitter, they support an open and accountable government, constitutionalism, and rule of law. Senators in the caucus include Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio. Some notable Representatives in the caucus include Thomas Massie and Justin Amash.

Relationship to Trump

The Republican Party is split over those who are openly criticizing Trump and those who let his rhetoric go by the wayside. The leaders of the Caucus are “brave, tough cookies” for Trump, as he puts it. Others like South Carolina Representative Mark Sanford have a lesser relationship with Trump. Sanford boasted an 80% positive rating with Trump’s voters and many see him as a constitutional conservative. However, his criticism of Trump led to the President releasing negative tweets about him the night of his primary. Many GOP strategists believe that these untimely tweets cost Sanford the race.

How the Caucus Operates

Congress is messy. The procedures and work schedule are an extremely difficult aspect of Congress and the Freedom Caucus doesn’t make it any easier.

Imagine you need 100 people to agree on an issue in your local community about implementing Common Core; you have 40 people in favor and 40 against. The final 20 want it abolished, to get rid of sex education and also want one of their members on the local school board. You have to give them 2/3 of what they’re asking for their support and need 51 people to agree to pass any measure, so a compromise must occur. Clearly, it’s damn near impossible to get there.

The previously mentioned 20 in the example would be the House Freedom Caucus, a group of four-dozen or so hardline conservatives (out of 199 Republican-held seats). Their presence can hinder a bill’s progress. Most notably, they killed the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which was supposed to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Trump infamously blamed them for the death of the AHCA. They have also opposed most immigration reform bills.

Remember, these are voting members of Congress and their opinions can very much impact anyone’s life.

The Growth of the Caucus

There is no official membership list. The founders, Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Jim Jordan (R-OH), court candidates. Contributing to an individual’s campaign is a key part of the Caucus. Following the 2018 midterms, the Caucus adds to its ranks Ben Cline (R-VA) and Chip Roy (R-TX). They expect another five to six members to join their ranks.

New Progressives, Hardline Conservatives & The Future

On camera, Congress is always ready for a 30-second sound bite. It’s the content that gets clicks, retweets and presumably also why Ocasio-Cortez was seated on a committee that also has Freedom Caucus founder Jim Jordan on it. The far-right and far-left are emerging in the House. Consequently, there will be an already uphill battle to achieve a consensus on commonsense approaches.


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