The Democrats’ religion problem

12522034864_d0253b3da9_zMichael Wear is a pro-life evangelical Christian who was a staffer for Barack Obama, helping him reach faith groups in 2012.  He is now criticizing his fellow Democrats for writing off Christians.

Emma Green, writing in the Atlantic, interviews him about his new book on the subject  and about why the Democratic party as a whole has become so antagonistic to religious people, something that did not used to be the case and something that will continue to limit the party’s prospects in this still very religious nation. [Read more…]

The “current year” argument

new-year-clip-artSome people invoke the current year as a sufficient argument.  As in, “I can’t believe that it’s 2017 and we are still debating abortion.”  Or, “It’s 2017!  How can you believe the Bible?”

Nicholas Pell points out that merely giving the date does not prove anything.  It does express the progressive worldview, that things are getting better and better, so that an idea from the present is assumed to be better than an idea from the past.

Pell observes that many people are conservatives, who tend to believe that the past in some ways at least is better than the present.

The blithe way progressives use the current year argument demonstrates that they assume everyone shares their worldview, that they are unaware of conservatives and are unfamiliar with their ideas. [Read more…]

The worst political predictions of 2016 

15678684406_61ed9b1ec0_z (1)The Cranach Institute is not the only news source that holds itself accountable by checking its annual predictions.  Politico Magazine does the same with the whole pundit community, publishing a story on “The Worst Political Predictions of 2016.”

The point is not just the wrong predictions; of course, hardly anyone predicted that Donald Trump would beat Hillary Clinton.  But what is so amusing about these particular statements, whatever your political preference, is the contrast between the tone of snarky self-confidence, often with mockery of the other side, and the deflating reality.

After the jump, read the predictions about Clinton’s victory, then follow the link to the other 8 topics that the experts were wrong about. [Read more…]

The next scheme to stop Trump

8152000438_8196275d18_mTrump couldn’t be stopped in the Republican primaries, or at the convention, or in the general election, or in the Electoral College.  So now anti-Trump forces are trying to come up with Plan E.

The latest idea is to impeach him in his first year.  Trump’s opponents see an opportunity in his business ties and in his refusal to divest himself of his financial holdings.  They think they can get him in a conflict of interest or in a violation of the Constitution’s Emoluments clause, which forbids officials from receiving gifts from foreign governments.

And, to make sure, Senator Elizabeth Warren is introducing a bill to require the president to put his assets in a blind trust, with a proviso that failure to do so would constitute a “high crime or misdemeanor.”

But Republicans control Congress!  A bill like that would never pass or survive a veto.  And an impeachment proceeding would surely go nowhere.  This is probably true, but it would only take a few Republicans–some of whom don’t like him either–to join with a united front of Democrats to cause trouble for Trump. [Read more…]

Donald Trump news

Donald_Trump_(8567813820)_(2) (1)The Electoral College officially elected Donald Trump president.  Despite all of the efforts to persuade electors to overturn the election results, only six members of the college were “unfaithful electors,” not voting for the person they were supposed to, though this tied a record.  Two Republicans refused to vote for Trump, but  four Democrats refused to vote for Hillary Clinton. (Three other Democrats were also going to refuse to vote for Clinton, but they were replaced by their states.)

Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 2.8 votes, but this is completely attributable to her huge plurality in only one state:  California.  If it weren’t for California, Trump would have won the popular vote by 1.4 million votes.  So if California secedes from the union, as some citizens of the Golden State are wanting to do, that will greatly affect America’s politics.  (See also this.)

Trump is planning to keep his private security force to supplement his Secret Service protection.  This violates tradition.  Some critics say his long-time security detail has a reputation for roughing up protesters.  Former Secret Service agents say having a second security team is a formula for confusion.  But I suspect a president who is so hated by so many people could use an extra layer of security.

Photo by Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (Donald Trump) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

Electoral College Day, then and now

640px-Scene_at_the_Signing_of_the_Constitution_of_the_United_StatesThe Electoral College meets today, with the designated electors meeting in state capitols to cast their vote for president.  In most states, electors are required, by law or by oath, to vote according to the election results of their state.  Nevertheless, this year electors are receiving thousands of e-mails, letters, and phone calls, insisting on the autonomy of the electoral college and begging them not to put Trump in office.  Even Democratic electors are being pressured not to vote for Clinton but a more conventional Republican, in the hopes of attracting enough Republican electors to switch from Trump.

In the first presidential election, each state voted, either popularly or by state legislature, for upstanding citizens and trusted local leaders who gathered together to deliberate on who would make the best president.  They voted, and the winner would become president.  That first Electoral College chose, unanimously, George Washington.  There hasn’t been a better president since.

But soon political parties came into existence, nominating their candidates. The electors came to represent a particular party.  They began to all be selected by a popular vote.  And soon we had the system we do today.  (See this for the history of the Electoral College.)

Would you favor going back to the original Constitutional method of picking a president? [Read more…]