As Republicans veer left, Democrats veer right

At the Republican convention, Donald Trump and company invoked what have traditionally been Democratic themes:  quoting dubious statistics about how women earn less than men do; opposing free trade; wanting to regulate capitalism; claiming workers are oppressed; cheering gay rights; promising no more war, etc.

The Democratic convention has done the reverse, invoking what are usually Republican themes:  support for the military; character; “USA” cheers; aggressive foreign policy; “faith, family, & values” rhetoric (to use a Tim Kaine phrase).

Read what William Saletan says about this at Slate, excerpted and linked after the jump.

Are the parties just trying to reach out to the disaffected members of the other side?  Is this just the old tactic of playing to your base in the primaries, then going to the center in the general election?  Or does it represent a shift for both parties, heralding some ideological changes on both sides? [Read more…]

The plight of religious traditionalists

Rachel Lu has written an important essay for National Review on the plight of religious traditionalists.  Donald Trump, she observes, has no interest in religious liberty issues or “fake culture war” causes that traditionalists care about.  And Republicans planning a post-Trump party are going the way of “fiscally conservative but socially liberal.”  And progressives, of course, can’t stand conservative religion.  So both political parties want to disassociate themselves from religious traditionalists.

And yet, she says, despite the efforts to marginalize religious conservatives, they have some cards to play. [Read more…]

The new Supreme Court nominee

President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to take the late Antonin Scalia’s slot on the Supreme Court.  Garland is a well-regarded Appeals Court judge, clearly well-qualified and with a reputation for moderation.

Republicans in Congress are refusing to even consider him, insisting that any appointment should wait until after the presidential election.

But couldn’t we expect Hillary Clinton to nominate someone even more liberal?  And who would Trump nominate?  His pro-abortion sister, as he said he might?  Also, pundits are now saying that there is now a good chance that in an anti-Trump landslide Republicans might lose the Senate.  Republicans might do a lot worse than Garland.

Obama is obviously proposing Garland as a safe choice and a way to coax Republicans into allowing him his appointment.  And to look pettily partisan if they oppose a well-qualified candidate with the full panoply of opposition research and personal attacks, as is planned.

Republicans should just praise the nominee but stand on the principle of letting the next president choose.

[Read more…]

Democrats don’t trust the government either

A Pew Research study of people’s attitude towards the government has found that 89% of Republicans seldom trust the government.  But neither do 72% of Democrats.

Back in 1958, a similar study found that three-quarters of Americans did trust their government.  What happened since then, that both liberals and conservatives have become disenchanted with their government?  Has the government changed that much, or have Americans become more savvy about their leaders?  [Read more…]

Should we continue the Syrian immigration program?

The United States has committed to accepting 10,000 immigrants from Syria.  That’s far less than the European nations are faced with, but the attack on Paris has many Americans calling for a halt to that program.  To be sure, most of the immigrants are fleeing ISIS, but ISIS has boasted that it will mingle with the immigrants as a way to invade the west.  Stringent screening is supposedly in place in the U.S., but people are nervous.

House Speaker Paul Ryan has called for a “pause” in the settlement of refugees here.  The GOP presidential candidates are agreeing (except for Jeb Bush).  Twenty-six mostly Republican governors have asked that Syrian refugees not be settled in their states (though they have no authority to stop it).  Republican congressmen are introducing bills to stop the immigration.  One idea being put forward is to settle only Christians, who certainly are fleeing persecution, but the administration is indignant at the prospect of “religious tests.”

What is your opinion?  Are Republicans falling into the Democrats’ stereotype that they are mean and lacking in compassion?  Or are their proposals simple prudence?  What do we Christians do with the teachings in Scripture that we should welcome “the aliens”?  Does that apply here? [Read more…]

If Trump wins the GOP nomination. . .

Republican insiders are realizing what they once thought was unthinkable:  Donald Trump could win their party’s presidential nomination.  This, despite the fact that he violates nearly every tenet of their constituency:  he is not small government; he wants to increase taxes on the rich; he is not libertarian; he is not a free marketer; he is not evangelical (though he has support among some Prosperity Gospel pentecostals); and he is not recognizably conservative (except for opposing immigration).  And yet he strikes a strong chord among ordinary people who do not care all that much for ideology, and he may well get the nomination.  In fact, he may well get elected president.

Walter Hudson asks Can You Remain a Republican with Trump as the nominee? , implying that the answer is “no.” Evangelical blogger Thomas Kidd writes of Donald Trump and the Coming Christian Political Realignment, saying that conservative Christians cannot and will not support him.

So it’s time to ask of you Republicans out there the question that kicked off the Republican candidate debates:  Will you support the Republican nominee for president?  If it is Donald Trump?

Ironically, Trump was the only one back then who said “no.”  The other candidates said that they would.  I wonder if they will stick to their pledge if they all get beaten by a man they consider to be an unqualified demagogue.

But what about you?  Even if you don’t like Trump, would you vote for him over Hillary Clinton?  If you would not vote for him under any circumstances, like Prof. Kidd, will you vote for the Democrat (Clinton? Sanders?), an Independent (Jim Webb?), a third party candidate (who?), or just stay home? [Read more…]


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