Tag: GOP

Oil Tanker Incident Brings Out the Worst in the GOP

Kevin Damato | @KevinCDamato

After a surprising attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf region, GOP legislators have once again proven to us how bad they are at their jobs. The incident has brought out the hawkish nature of the GOP, threatening the security of our brave servicemen/women. In addition, they are upending the stability of the Middle East.

Continue reading “Oil Tanker Incident Brings Out the Worst in the GOP”

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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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Republican Nominees for 2020: Who Will Challenge Trump?

Sanders Jett-Folk | United States

The 2020 Presidential election season is rapidly approaching. Despite low approval ratings, President Donald Trump is running for re-election. Many Progressive Democrats are planning campaigns. Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz may run as a centrist independent. On that note, will Trump stand alone in the race for the Republican nominee?

Potential Republican Nominees

No one has officially announced a bid to challenge Trump for the Republican nominee in 2020. However, a few notable party members seem to be toying with the idea.

Governor Larry Hogan is likely to challenge the sitting President. Hogan is a cancer survivor and known as the second most popular Governor in the country. He was re-elected by a heavy majority in the blue state of Maryland. Hogan is also vice chair of the National Governor’s Association.

Bill Kristol claims that Hogan has opened the door to a run for President with recent speeches that renounce divisive politics. Kristol is a well-known conservative political commentator and a fierce critic of Trump. However, Kristol has also stated that he is considering a run for the Presidency. As a commentator and former chief of staff to VP Dan Quayle, he may have the executive experience and base to pull off a primary run.

When asked about a run for the Presidency, former Tennessee Senator Bob Corker simply stated: “I haven’t ruled it out.” Corker is also a repetitive critique of  Trump, which is likely what lead to his decision not to run for Senate re-election in 2018.

Former 2016 Republican Nominees

John Kasich of Ohio and Chris Christie of New Jersey, have also touted the possibility of running for the GOP nomination. Both are have held governor office and ran against Trump for the Republican nomination in 2016.

Kasich recently joined CNN as a political commentator, energizing the belief that he stands firmly against Trump. He has stated that he could run either as a Republican or an independent. On Monday, Kasich’s staff team sent out a fundraising email. The email stated that Kasich is “keeping all options on the table” for a 2020 run. Kasich was one of the final three Republicans left in the 2016 Primary along with Senator Ted Cruz and obviously Trump.

Christie will soon release a book about his time in the White House, titled Let Me Finish: Trump, The Kushners, Bannon, New Jersey and the Power of In-Your-Face Politics. He recently told a crowd in Indian Wells, California regarding a 2020 run, “Never say never.”

Even Bill Weld, the former Governor of Massachusetts and 2016 Libertarian Vice Presidential nominee, has considered taking on Trump. Weld received an invitation to speak a “politics and eggs” event in New Hampshire. It is organized by the New England Council and Saint Anselm College. The event is regarded as a key event for Presidential hopefuls. Weld is supposedly open to running either for the Republican or Libertarian nomination.

Who Is Not Running?

Many of the key leaders in the GOP have outright denied the idea of a campaign, as well as endorsed the current president. This list includes some of 2016’s primary candidates.

Some Republicans, such as Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and many others, have endorsed Donald Trump. Rubio stated that “The president’s going to be the nominee for the Republican Party,”.

Rumors have risen that Vice President Mike Pence would replace Trump as the 2020 nominee. Both the Trump campaign and Pence have vehemently denied such claims. Pence responded to a report from The New York Times that entertained such speculation. He stated that the notion, as well as the report, were “disgraceful and offensive.”

Former Arizona Senator Jeff Flake decided not to run for Senate re-election in 2018. He recently joined CBS News as a Contributor. He used the formal announcement of his new position to rule himself out as a challenger to the President.

“I do hope that there is a Republican who challenges the president in the primary,” he said. “I still hope that somebody does, but that somebody won’t be me.”

With no official challengers for the Republican nominee yet and a continuously growing list of diverse of Democrats who have announced their campaigns, the 2020 election season could be a rough one for the Republicans.


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Movements Are Visionary, Not Cautious

Craig Axford | Canada

Hearings, dialogue and debate are, or at least should be, means to an end in a functioning democratic society. Unfortunately, they’re too often ends unto themselves. Promising to study a problem or hold a hearing “to look into it” is what politicians do to make it appear as though they’re interested without ever having to risk their necks by endorsing a particular idea.

So when likely incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced plans to bring back a select committee on climate change that had been disbanded by the previous Republican majority, it was reasonable for some of the incoming freshmen Democrats to question its real purpose. If committee hearings are going to be held, they’re insisting the hearings be about meaningful climate legislation instead of even more learned testimony on science that’s was settled long ago. As Evan Weber of the Sunrise Movement put it to Politico, “We’ve been talking about the science for the past two decades.”

The incoming Democratic House majority will find it tempting to spend much of the next two years doing little more than poring over Donald Trump’s tax returns, which they will presumably issue a subpoena for early next year. Likewise, the current administration’s cabinet is full of individuals as venal as their chief. It will certainly be refreshing to finally see them all held accountable for their misconduct.

That said, governments don’t build and retain confidence among their citizens merely by diligently investigating corruption. People have proven over and over again that they are willing to tolerate a great deal of unethical behavior in their leaders if, in exchange, they feel they are receiving a reasonable degree of economic and physical security, or even just listened to.

The GOP has mastered the art of creating the illusion that people are getting something in return when they vote for them. Whether it’s so-called “tax relief” or protecting jobs by getting tough on immigration, the Republican Party has consistently been able to convince a significant number of Americans it’s looking out for them even as it stabs them in the back. The antidote to their misleading and often dangerous rhetoric isn’t hearings; it’s direct positive action that translates into real change people can actually see and feel in their lives.

The leadership of the Democratic Party would be wise, therefore, to embrace incoming Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s call for the creation of a select committee that instead of just talking about climate change is charged with drafting legislation to do something about it. She is calling it the “Select Committee on a Green New Deal”.

The select committee shall have authority to develop a detailed national, industrial, economic mobilization plan (hereinafter in this section referred to as the “Plan for a Green New Deal” or the “Plan”) for the transition of the United States economy to become carbon neutral and to significantly draw down and capture greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and oceans and to promote economic and environmental justice and equality. ~ Section 2 A(i) of the Draft Text for Proposed Addendum to House Rules for 116TH Congress of The United States

 Ocasio-Cortez’s resolution is similar in its approach, if not yet in its level of detail, to Canada’s Leap Manifesto. That document translates the progressive principles that emerged from the Great Depression of the 1930s and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s into concrete proposals aimed at achieving both equality and sustainability.

We want a universal program to build energy efficient homes, and retrofit existing housing, ensuring that the lowest income communities and neighbourhoods will benefit first and receive job training and opportunities that reduce poverty over the long term…We declare that “austerity” — which has systematically attacked low-carbon sectors like education and healthcare, while starving public transit and forcing reckless energy privatizations — is a fossilized form of thinking that has become a threat to life on earth.~ Leap Manifesto (Emphasis included in original)

I had the privilege of working as a DNC organizer for three years. I was hired as part of Howard Dean’s 50 state strategy following his election as Chair of the DNC in 2005. Dean’s vision for party-building paid off in 2006 when the Democrats took back Congress, and again in 2008 when Barack Obama won the presidency.

However, the organizing effort that arose from John Kerry’s defeat in 2004 took place in the context of growing opposition to the war in Iraq and a Democratic Party galvanized against the domestic policies of George W. Bush. Then as now, opposition was the driving unifying force on the left. The failure to clearly and consistently articulate what it was for quickly came back to haunt it in 2010.

Yes, there was the passage of Obamacare in 2009, but Democrats have traveled so far from the eloquence and clarity of leaders like JFK and RFK that even when debating universal healthcare they sound wonkish and inconsistent. As I learned upon my temporary return to the United States from Canada last year, even under Obamacare, plans with high premiums and deductibles are still the norm. Mandating the purchase of insurance that doesn’t really provide much coverage is a curious policy to emerge from a political party with a base that consistently argues healthcare is a right, not a privilege.

The Green New Deal and Leap Manifesto offer the left a way out of the political wilderness they’ve been wandering in since at least 1980. These initiatives provide something to be for. They can finally transform the left of the 21st century into a movement that wants to say YES! to something.

By uniting both labor and the environmental movement behind an effort that creates good paying jobs while providing the public with clean technologies that improve lives in both rural and urban communities, the Democratic Party could ensure itself decades of majority status not unlike the one it enjoyed from the 1930s through 1994. It seems like the obvious choice for them to make. So what’s taking Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Leadership so long?

Follow Craig on Twitter or read him on Medium.com

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Liberate the American Public By Voting Third Party

Francis Folz | United States

The 2016 Presidential election will be remembered in history as a watershed moment for the modern American republic. Despite over three quarters of Americans desiring third party candidates on the debate stage, the old guard of both establishment Republicans and Democrats alike shut out any voices outside of the red and blue camp. Partisanship was put in maximum overdrive and on display in the nation that prides itself on freedom, yet limits its choices for representation to two candidates. It is no surprise that voter turnout reached a 20 year low in the latest contest between the lesser of the two evils. But as a citizenry comprised of sovereign, astute people, when do we collectively abandon evil and start voting for only exemplary candidates deserving our vote? That time is now.

Regardless of political affiliation, it is apparent to the majority of Americans that our Republic is coming apart at the seams. Whether it’s the rise of violence against political opponents or blind support for dishonest politicians, both sides of the aisle are engaged in a heightened sense of devoted loyalty to their political overlords, even at the expense of violating long-held principles and dogmas. For Democrats, their political figures have incited violence to rally their base at the expense of civility and their previously-held beliefs in peace and love. Meanwhile, Republicans have encouraged conformity while a newly embraced and adored leader slowly and subtlety moves his base farther to the left. This how Americans continue to forfeit their freedoms while their political powers maintain control. 

This scenario is nothing new to the Democratic and Republican party, which have perfected the art of conning the American public into complaisant support for over a hundred years. After all, FDR and Wendell Willkie conspired to bring the two parties together to create one monolithic, hybrid party in the 1940’s. The two parties have been two different rails of the same track ever since.  It should be no surprise that the Republican and Democratic party continue to team up to create large deficits, initiate endless conflicts abroad, and undermine our constitution and civil liberties. 

The two parties possess a stranglehold over all of our election outcomes by successfully deceiving the public into thinking their candidates and parties are significantly distinguishable from one another. For example, the Republican party proclaims to be the cabal of the constitution, fiscal conservatism, ‘small’ government, gun rights, and life for the unborn. Yet since 2010, Republicans have trampled our Constitution and Bill of Rights, ballooned the federal deficit, grown the size of government, failed to pass concealed carry reciprocity and pro-life legislation.

The Democratic Party promulgates the narrative that they are the faction for the people, the workers, the 99 percent, civil liberties, and peace. Beginning in 2008, Democrats, led by newly- elected Barack Obama, passed legislation benefiting big banks, imploded the healthcare industry by rigging the rules in favor of corporations at the expense of taxpayers, curtailed our civil liberties by reauthorizing FISA 702, and pursued destructive warfare against seven different nations, three more than President Bush. 

If Americans ever intend to recover the freedoms lost at the hands of the establishment duopoly, it will require a third party, as is evident by this years’ midterms. Take the state of Pennsylvania as a case study. Despite 41% of Pennsylvanians approving of the work Bob Casey has done in his second term as senator and only a mere 30% of Pennsylvanians believing the senator deserves a third term, he leads his Republican opponent by double digits in every poll. Lou Barletta shares more in common with his Democratic adversary than Pennsylvania’s conservative Republican base, which begs the question why the Republican party would nominate such a lackluster candidate.

Enter Libertarian Party candidate for US Senate Dale Kerns, Pennsylvania’s only choice for fiscally conservative, socially laissez-faire representation. Mr. Kerns passionately advocates for a sharp reduction to federal spending which has grown exponentially at the hands of both Republicans and Democrats. Also, he plans to take on the Federal Reserve for their role in growing our debt and inflating our currency almost 100 percent in its 100 years of existence. 

The War on Drugs is yet another example of government overreach which has wreaked havoc on the American public. Over the last 40 years, the American prison population has exploded to 800% of its former size as a direct result of America’s toughness on victimless crimes. Coupled with mandatory minimums, more Americans are going to jail longer for misbehavior as deemed by society. To combat these victimless criminals, America has divulged into a police state. Dale recognizes these problems and the solutions necessary to fix them. After all, his campaign is centered around the premise that addiction is not a crime and that no one can run your life better than you. This serves as a stark contrast to Bob Casey and Bob Casey-Lite Lou.

At this point, most people interject and concede that although Dale Kerns may be the best candidate ideologically, he doesn’t stand a chance to win. It’s worth noting Donald Trump had a 1% chance of winning the presidency one day before the election, yet became the first Republican in almost 30 years to carry Pennsylvania on his way to the oval office. It is possible to elect any candidate despite all the preconceived odds stacked against the individual. However, people continue to choose the obsolete red and blue teams instead of principled alternatives. How come? 

The answer lies in an unfounded notion that the establishment parties have ingrained in the American public. We are routinely fed the lie that third party candidates can’t win an election for no other reason than they are running outside of the two party duopoly. That lie is reinforced by minuscule media coverage of outsider candidates and inhibiting them from participating in televised debates. And then whenever five or seven percent of people decide to vote their conscience or against this unjust system, third party candidates are disparaged and delegitimized as, despite the countless flaws and missteps of the establishment nominees. 

It is time for a second American revolution, only this struggle must be fought with dogmas and ideas, forged by a new political party. The old guards of American politics have enthroned themselves as our de-facto leaders, dictating everything from our economy to our health care to our behavior. Unfortunately, it’s abundantly evident that reform is impossible within our current, century-old two party system. It is time Americans embrace the freedom our Founding Fathers intended for us to enjoy, and it starts by embracing and electing third party candidates.


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