Monday, December 11, 2017

Surprisingly, Republicans and Conservatives Shouldn’t Fear a National Popular Vote

Republicans are hesitant to switch from our winner-take-all state laws allocating electors to the electoral college to using the National Popular Vote. The National Popular Vote Plan would award all of a state’s electors to the candidate who wins the most popular votes in all fifty states. There is a fear that such a move will benefit Democrats, since Democrats won the popular vote even though they lost the elections in 2000 and 2016. But the truth is, Republicans are likely going to lose their ability to win the necessary swing state of Florida in the future, and they can win the popular vote by campaigning differently.

The demographics of Florida are changing. More and more illegal immigrants are entering the country. Additionally, Puerto Ricans are flooding the country due to economic chaos and humanitarian crisis following Hurricane Maria at home. When they enter the U.S., because they are American citizens they can vote, and they vote overwhelmingly Democrat. Hillary Clinton had an almost three-to-one edge among Puerto Ricans in Florida last year. Both illegal immigrants and legal Puerto Ricans are counted in the census which is used for determining how many congressional seats and electoral votes Florida receives. This will soon result in an increase in Florida’s electoral votes, which will lean more Democratic as increasing numbers of Puerto Ricans vote (this doesn’t even take into consideration possible illegal immigrant voter fraud).

It is true that Democrats Al Gore and Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but lost the election. But those weren’t true popular vote elections. The Republican candidates they lost to put all their efforts into a handful of swing states, and did a better job campaigning there than the Democrats. In contrast, Clinton’s campaign unwisely campaigned in non-swing states such as Arizona, while ignoring the swing state of Wisconsin. If there was a true popular vote election, the Republican candidates would run a completely different type of campaign, likely focusing on mobilizing their base in rural areas and red states. Regardless, Republicans still won the popular vote in 2004.

A presidential election using the National Popular Vote is not a radical proposal. Critics contend there would need to be a constitutional convention to amend the constitution in order to change the state-based, winner-take-all rule that most states use to send their electors to the electoral college. This isn’t necessary. The electoral college can remain. All the constitution says about electing the president is in Article II, “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors….” In order to change the system, individual states would merely need to revise state law to send their electors based on the National Popular Vote for the presidential candidates instead of winner-take-all. Currently, all states but two, Maine and Nebraska, have winner-take-all systems to send their electors to the electoral college.

Critics also claim that using the National Popular Vote in presidential elections would favor big cities over rural areas. This isn’t correct. Only one-sixth of Americans live in the 100 biggest cities. In contrast, in the current unfair winner-take-all system, only a handful of states decide presidential elections, the swing states. The 10 most rural states aren’t included, nor are 12 of the 13 smallest states. The winner-take-all system does not represent the vast majority of Americans. By the time voting results come in from key swing states, many voters on the West coast don’t bother voting because their votes essentially don’t count. This hurts minor candidates on the ballot in those states.

Under the current system, presidents shower pork on the swing states in order to get their votes. During the 2004 election, President Bush advocated for and got a trillion dollar expansion of Medicare in order to entice votes from the large population of senior citizens in Florida. Presidents take steps to help the coal industry in order to influence Pennsylvania, and the ethanol industry to help Iowa. Battleground states are twice as likely to receive exemptions from No Child Left Behind as fly-over states and twice as likely to have natural disasters declared.

There is another criticism that a rogue state secretary of state could frustrate the National Popular Vote Compact by refusing to certify the results. This is invalid, since plenty of federal and state laws prohibit that elected official from doing so.

Voter fraud will become more difficult under a National Popular Vote, because crooked party operatives will no longer be able to focus their efforts on just a handful of states, and the windfall of electoral votes for their illicit efforts will be smaller. For the same reason, it also reduces the possibility of recounts.

What did the Founding Fathers prefer? Not winner-take-all. The Founders debated various methods of the electoral college and almost adopted the proportional system at the Constitutional Convention. They never debated a winner-take-all system. As the states began to adopt winner-take-all, in order to ensure that their favorite sons like Thomas Jefferson won, Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton warned in an 1824 Senate speech, “The general ticket system [winner-take-all], now existing in 10 States was … not [the offspring] of any disposition to give fair play to the will of the people. It was adopted by the leading men of those states, to enable them to consolidate the vote of the State.”

There are a significant number of prominent conservatives who understand what is taking place demographically so they support direct presidential elections. They include former congressmen Tom Tancredo (R-CO), Bob Barr (R-GA), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) and eight former national chairs of the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council. 

So far, 11 states have passed laws implementing the National Popular Vote Compact, and it has passed in at least one chamber of 12 other state legislatures, four of which are red states. It will go into effect when enough states have passed it to total 270 electoral votes. When polled (by a left-leaning polling company), 74 percent of Americans support direct presidential elections. This breaks down to 75 percent among Republicans and 78 percent among Democrats. The left naively thinks direct presidential elections will benefit Democrats, assuming that large urban areas will decide elections. This bipartisan support means there is a good chance it will happen.

The purpose of the National Popular Vote bill is to make every voter in every state politically relevant in every presidential election. This is the only way to right size the political influence of battleground states. Clinging to the winner-take-all system is a losing strategy for Republicans. Under that system, they will likely lose Florida by 2020 or 2024 due to demographical changes. It is better to take our chances with a direct presidential election than suffer certain defeat with the unfair, outdated, flawed current system that can and should be reformed. 

Reprinted from Townhall

Friday, December 8, 2017

Trent Franks' staffer defends him

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Congressman Trent Franks statement on leaving Congress

Congressman Trent Franks statement on leaving Congress

"I have always tried to create a very warm and supportive atmosphere for every last person who has ever worked in my congressional office. It is my deepest conviction that there are many staffers, former and present, who would readily volunteer to substantiate this fact.

"Given the nature of numerous allegations and reports across America in recent weeks, I want to first make one thing completely clear. I have absolutely never physically intimidated, coerced, or had, or attempted to have, any sexual contact with any member of my congressional staff.

"However, I do want to take full and personal responsibility for the ways I have broached a topic that, unbeknownst to me until very recently, made certain individuals uncomfortable. And so, I want to shed light on how those conversations came about.

"My wife and I have long struggled with infertility. We experienced three miscarriages.

"We pursued adoption on more than one occasion only to have the adoptive mothers in each case change their mind prior to giving birth.

"A wonderful and loving lady, to whom we will be forever grateful, acted as a gestational surrogate for our twins and was able to carry them successfully to live birth. The process by which they were conceived was a pro-life approach that did not discard or throw away any embryos.

"My son and daughter are unspeakable gifts of God that have brought us our greatest earthly happiness in the 37 years we have been married.

"When our twins were approximately 3 years old, we made a second attempt with a second surrogate who was also not genetically related to the child. Sadly, that pregnancy also resulted in miscarriage.

"We continued to have a desire to have at least one additional sibling, for which our children had made repeated requests.

"Due to my familiarity and experience with the process of surrogacy, I clearly became insensitive as to how the discussion of such an intensely personal topic might affect others.

"I have recently learned that the Ethics Committee is reviewing an inquiry regarding my discussion of surrogacy with two previous female subordinates, making each feel uncomfortable. I deeply regret that my discussion of this option and process in the workplace caused distress.

"We are in an unusual moment in history – there is collective focus on a very important problem of justice and sexual impropriety. It is so important that we get this right for everyone, especially for victims.  

"But in the midst of this current cultural and media climate, I am deeply convinced I would be unable to complete a fair House Ethics investigation before distorted and sensationalized versions of this story would put me, my family, my staff, and my noble colleagues in the House of Representatives through hyperbolized public excoriation. Rather than allow a sensationalized trial by media damage those things I love most, this morning I notified House leadership that I will be leaving Congress as of January 31st, 2018. It is with the greatest sadness, that for the sake of the causes I deeply love, I must now step back from the battle I have spent over three decades fighting. I hope my resignation will remain distinct from the great gains we have made. My time in Congress serving my constituents, America and the Constitution is and will remain one of God’s greatest gift to me in life."

Friday, November 24, 2017

Please donate 2 toys to help 100 kids this Christmas

Monday, November 20, 2017

Ninth Circuit Justices Grill Maricopa County Attorney In Alexander Appeal

Last week, the case of Lisa Aubuchon v. County of Maricopa was considered by a three judge panel in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The case involves former Maricopa County Attorney employees, Lisa Aubuchon and Rachel Alexander, who allege a breach of contract and retaliation by the County.
Justices Nguyen, Hurwitz, and Eaton heard oral arguments in the appeal by Aubuchon and Alexander of a summary judgment in their case against Maricopa County in which they allege a breach of contract under state law and First Amendment retaliation in connection with their State Bar disciplinary proceedings.
Despite receiving assurances from then-Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, that the cost of any disciplinary action in connection with their duties would be covered by the County, the two women were later denied that benefit by the County.
It is widely believed that Alexander and Aubuchon are still suffering from retaliation by associates of former members of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, for the women’s roles in representing Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, along with his attorney and their boss, former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Pay Attention to the Arizona Governor’s Race

Government reformer Tim Jeffries is presenting a formidable challenge
With all due respect to Senator Jeff Flake’s recent surrender to prevailing populist political winds, and the reasonable assumption that Senator John McCain would face stiff headwinds if he was up for reelection this year, Republican Governor Doug Ducey also has big problems on the horizon as he seeks reelection in 2018. Sure, conventional wisdom could lead one to believe a Koch Brothers’ favorite with all the trappings and advantages of power (including millions of dollars in expected fundraising and independent expenditures) could not be defeated in the historically red state of Arizona.

However, like the 2016 election, the 2018 election is not expected to be conventional in Arizona nor in many other states. Historically, low favorability ratings of Congress and disgust with establishment politicians has led to upheaval. Recent Democrat victories in Virginia and New Jersey are likely another sign next year will be one of upheaval.
In recent years, Republicans have not always prevailed at the top of the ticket in Arizona. Democrat Janet Napolitano won the gubernatorial election in 2002 as well as reelection in 2006.

In the 2014 gubernatorial race, then-State Treasurer Ducey prevailed in the bruising and grueling primary with only 37.17 percent of the vote, versus 62.83 percent for seven other candidates. Despite a significant fundraising edge and the prevailing red state winds at the time, Ducey defeated Democrat Fred Duval in the general election with only 805,062 votes versus 626,921 votes, while approximately 74,000 votes were cast for other minor candidates.

Ducey has lost support over the years since becoming governor. Scars and grudges persist with some of the unsuccessful Republican candidates based on the heavy influence and unseemly negativity of the pro-Ducey independent expenditures (aka “dark money”) that has become standard in Arizona yet loathed by its citizens.

In addition, Ducey’s support for Trump’s candidacy has been lukewarm at best, and history is proving President Trump has a long memory for such things.

Besides the fact that Arizona voters are willing to vote for a Democratic governor, voter demographics are changing. Democratic voter registration has grown even more than Republican voter registration. Concurrently, the ranks of Independent voters have swelled. Today there are approximately 1.2 million registered Republicans, 1.1 million Democrats and 1.2 million Independent voters in Arizona.

So, what could all this and more portend for Ducey in his 24x7 campaign to secure re-election as governor and someday run for president?

Arizona may not be a purple state, but it sure isn’t a deeply red state. Arizonans have been, and surely remain, willing to vote for whomever they feel will advance our state and country.
The voter registration gains of the Arizona Democratic Party cannot be overlooked nor minimized just because the Arizona Republican Party currently possesses an approximate 100,000 voter advantage. Furthermore, it is reasonable to surmise voter energy will be with the opposition party in 2018, especially with a coveted U.S. Senate seat wide open due to Flake’s decision not to run for reelection.

The ranks of Independent voters are swelling in Arizona. Independents outnumber Democrats, and are barely outnumbered by Republicans. It is reasonable to surmise voter anger with intransigent government at all levels will be on display in 2018. This positions Independent voters with more power and leverage ever.

Ducey enjoys some favorable traction with Republican voters in Maricopa County where Phoenix is located. Overall, Maricopa County comprises well over 60 percent of the electorate — but Democratic registration is growing. Furthermore, in Arizona’s second largest county, Pima County, where Tucson is located, various polls show Ducey’s numbers in the tank.

Ducey’s two reported challengers for 2018 are liberal Democrats. Dr. David Garcia is a highly respected educator based in Maricopa County who barely lost his 2014 run to become Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction. Senator Steve Farley is an ultra-liberal yet avuncular politician with an ability to disarm many with his smile and wit. Both gentlemen are not viewed as strong challengers to the sitting governor, but Arizona citizens are restive just like tens of millions of other Americans.

As promised, Ducey has delivered for big business in Arizona, and is advancing his small business initiatives by way of regulatory reform. There is goodness to this, but the trickle down to average Arizonans is not often felt. Arizona’s wealthy are thriving. Arizona’s middle class is shrinking. Democrats accuse Ducey of neglecting the poor. His prolific press release machine does not actually solve the problems of simple average Arizonans trying to claw their way to the American dream.

Ducey has largely alienated Arizona public school teachers with his soaring rhetoric and limited action. His 2017 State of the State speech was very strong in its support for public schools and the plight of low-paid public-school teachers. However, his follow-up proposal to grant them a meager two percent raise over five years not only fell flat, it made him a political laughingstock to rank-and-file school teachers in Arizona.

Ducey is closely aligned with Senators McCain and Flake, both highly unpopular at this juncture. Self-fashioned “maverick” McCain cratered the repeal of Obamacare which significantly angered Arizona Republicans. Self-fashioned political martyr Flake has heaped derision on President Trump at every turn.

A recent and extensive statewide poll that I was privy to review as background for this article highlighted what many people can easily surmise on their own, and that is Arizonans want truly independent, non-partisan outsider solutions. It found that 74.3 percent of Republicans would vote for a “truly independent, non-partisan” candidate for governor. Even more Independents and Democrats agreed. Perhaps, like most Americans, Arizonans are weary of partisan political rancor and limited action that is often glossed over with soaring rhetoric and flowery press releases from both parties.

Ducey appears to have cleared the gubernatorial primary as the Republican candidate for 2018. However, the intriguing and disruptive specter of an independent, bi-partisan, coalition-building candidate for Arizona governor looms large in the person of Timothy Jeffries. As previously and widely reported, Jeffries is an unflinching Roman Catholic and highly successful businessman who came from a broken family to build an impressive “Only in America” success story that continues to unfold.

Jeffries served in Ducey’s cabinet as the director of social services in Arizona for approximately 21 months. The day before Thanksgiving last year, Jeffries (aka “Director J.”) and several of his trusted leaders were unceremoniously ousted from their transformational roles, much to the disappointment and dejection of thousands of social services workers and social services partners throughout Arizona. Approximately 2,000 of 8,000 of Jeffries’ former “colleagues” in social services have contacted him over the past year, and the word is over a thousand of these very same Arizonans have asked Jeffries to run for governor. Jeffries is a rising star in Arizona politics with a knack for government reform, and Arizonans are flocking to him in droves. Many believe he was wrongly fired by Ducey.

The Arizona governor’s race is looking like it will have as much excitement, if not more, than the U.S. Senate race to replace Senator Jeff Flake and the replacement of McCain.

Read more about Tim Jeffries below