Daily Digest

Feb. 3, 2016

THE FOUNDATION

“What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.” —Thomas Paine, 1776

TOP RIGHT HOOKS

Bernie Sanders Represents New Democrat Party

For liberals across the nation, the rest of the primary race will be tainted with the question: Was it Bernie Sanders who actually won the Iowa Democrat Caucus? Early Tuesday morning, the Iowa Democrat Party declared Hillary Clinton the winner by the thinnest of margins. Despite calls from the Sanders campaign to recount, the party’s chair said the results are final. But there’s plenty to question. At least six precincts reportedly chose their candidate through coin flips, but an accurate number is unknown. Furthermore, Democrat caucus attendees reported ill-trained caucus chairmen, long lines and chaos. And due to the Democrat’s method of simply counting people standing in groups, the official tally cannot be recounted.

One stark fact has emerged from Monday night’s chaos: The socialist Sanders, a politician relatively unknown on the national stage a year ago, has become the philosophical leader of the Democrat Party. As columnist David Harsanyi wrote, “a socialist nearly won Iowa” — and that’s a big deal. The wild-haired Vermonter captured the imagination and votes of Millennials, as 84% of Iowans under 30 “felt the Bern.” As the older Hillary supporters step out of the political process, the Democrat Party will embrace full-on socialism.

Columnist Peggy Noonan hypothesized this is because of Millennials’ experience with the U.S. economy. “If you are 20 or 30 you probably see capitalism in terms of two dramatic themes,” Noonan wrote. “The first was the crash of ‘08, in which heedless, irresponsible operators in business and government kited the system and scrammed. The second is income inequality. Why are some people richer than the richest kings and so many poor as serfs? Is that what capitalism gives you? Then maybe we should rethink this!”

Unless the message of Liberty is communicated in a persuasive manner, Millennials appear poised to repeat the mistakes of the last century. “Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess,” Margaret Thatcher said in 2000. “They always run out of other people’s money.”

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$19 Trillion and Counting

When Barack Obama took office, the national debt stood at about $10.6 trillion. He called the spendthrift Bush administration “unpatriotic” for running up the tab. But Obama’s on pace to nearly double the debt during his tenure in office. “On Monday the U.S. national debt hit a new record: $19,012,827,698,418,” reports The Daily Signal. “This is the first time the national debt has ever exceeded $19 trillion. That’s more than $58,000 for each person that lives in the U.S. today (including children).” Major entitlements like Medicare and ObamaCare are going to put that increase ever more on autopilot.

Obama and the Democrats in particular, with some aiding and abetting from Republicans, used the 2008 fiscal crisis to expand not the economy but government. Last year, Congress effectively suspended the debt ceiling — not that it was doing much good. Presidents and Congresses of both parties happily spend whatever they want when in power, raising the debt ceiling whenever they reach it based on phony fears of default. And the reason is simple: Most Americans don’t actually want smaller government if it means cutting their own favorite spending. Politicians in Washington didn’t sell out the American people. They heard exactly what the people were saying. Until and unless that really changes, U.S. debt will continue to grow at a tremendous rate.

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$12 Trillion Won’t Save the World

Two degrees Celsius. That’s the maximum amount of future global warming environmentalists say the world can tolerate. Anything more, they claim, and our efforts to stave off a climate catastrophe will fall flat. It’s a spurious magic number, but one that was formally adapted into the Paris climate agreement in December. And it won’t come cheap.

“If the world is serious about halting the worst effects of global warming, the renewable energy industry will require $12.1 trillion of investment over the next quarter century,” according to a new report published in Bloomberg. For perspective on just how much money we’re talking about here, consider that gross domestic product in the United States was $17.4 trillion in 2014, according to the World Bank. That’s good for number one in the world. But China, which came in at number two, produced $10.4 trillion in GDP. That means an entire year’s worth of Chinese economic output wouldn’t be enough to cover the low-carbon investments the Bloomberg report says is needed over the next quarter century. So it comes as no surprise that current funding projections are well short of the goal:

The findings from Bloomberg New Energy Finance and Ceres, a Boston-based coalition of investors and environmentalists, show that wind parks, solar farms and other alternatives to fossil fuels are already on course to get $6.9 trillion over the next 25 years through private investment spurred on by government support mechanisms. Another $5.2 trillion is needed to reach the United Nations goal of holding warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) set out in the climate agreement.“

And no doubt that gap will be filled via wealth redistribution. Even worse, these numbers aren’t as bad as depicted in other studies, such as the International Energy Agency’s $16.5 trillion cost estimate. And that’s just through 2030. Instead of redistributing trillions of dollars, the better option would be for poorer countries to invest in energy sources we already know save lives — and let the free market figure out the future of energy.

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FEATURED RIGHT ANALYSIS

The Primary Known Unknowns

By Louis DeBroux

Still early in the horse race

The results of the Iowa caucuses have shown us several important things. 1) Everybody hates the establishment of both parties. 2) No one trusts the media anymore. 3) Pollsters have no clue how to conduct polling in the fast-paced world of smartphones and social media.

Ted Cruz easily won the Iowa caucuses on the Republican side, despite trailing Donald Trump by as much as 20 points in some polls, and despite the GOP establishment and the ethanol lobby doing their best to take him down. In fact, the establishment’s scorn is a huge part of Cruz’s appeal. Cruz’s net favorability leads all Republican candidates with a rating of +45% (61% favorable, 16% unfavorable) among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, according to a recent Gallup poll. Establishment favorite Jeb Bush has a net favorability of -1%.

The top five vote-getters on the GOP side were all anti-establishment/outsider candidates: Ted Cruz (28%), Donald Trump (24%), Marco Rubio (23%), Ben Carson (9%) and Rand Paul (5%) (though Paul just announced he is ending his campaign). That is an astonishing 89% of votes cast. And before anyone claims that Rubio, among the first Tea Party candidates elected, is now an establishment guy, ask yourself why the establishment attacks against him are second in intensity only to those waged against Cruz. Rubio has a lifetime American Conservative Union rating of 98 (out of 100). He has a perfect NRA rating. Citizens Against Government Waste gives him a 95, and National Right to Life gives him a 100. Without Rubio’s participation in the Gang of Eight fiasco, he would arguably be the undisputed favorite at this point, with heavy support from the conservative grassroots — because he’s a genuine conservative.

Now the questions are these: What does this all mean? Is Trump now mortally wounded? Does Cruz have a clear path to the nomination? Is Rubio’s rise a growing fire or a shooting star?

It’s important to note we’ve completed a contest in just one of 50 states — one that accounts for only 30 of the GOP’s 2,472 delegates. New Hampshire, with 23 delegates, will account for even less, though with the exception of 1996 and 2000, the Granite State has chosen the eventual nominee in every contested primary since 1968.

These two states have outsized importance because they represent two very different constituencies early in the nominating process, and any candidate who doesn’t win one of those two states is highly unlikely to win the presidency. In the last 40 years, only Bill Clinton lost both and still moved into the White House. With Ted Cruz having won Iowa and Donald Trump well ahead in polling in New Hampshire, a loss there makes it difficult for any other candidate to justify staying in the race.

That said, Rubio, though he didn’t win Iowa and is unlikely to win New Hampshire, has a more plausible reason to stay in. South Carolina is after New Hampshire, and in that state he has been endorsed by two of its most popular elected officials, Sen. Tim Scott and Rep. Trey Gowdy. Not too long after South Carolina comes the primary in Rubio’s delegate-rich home state of Florida.

Trump needs to win New Hampshire and then win either South Carolina or Nevada to validate his long ride atop the GOP primary polls. The shocking loss in Iowa damaged his aura of invincibility, and his campaign, based primarily on the idea that he is a winner, may find itself struggling without convincing wins in the next few races. Trump has very deep and loyal support, but he’s not winning over undecided voters like Cruz and Rubio did in Iowa.

Cruz will need to consolidate his win in Iowa with a win in either South Carolina or Nevada to be well-positioned going into the "SEC Primary,” but even second- or third-place finishes in those states won’t be fatal. Cruz is poised to do very well in the Southern states, including his home state of Texas which, at 155 delegates, is the second most delegate-rich state behind California. Cruz also has the benefit of having as much cash on hand as his next four rivals combined (other than Trump, who is self-funded). Cruz has a very sophisticated analytical, social media and ground game, and he looks to be in it for the long haul. His win in Iowa will only improve his fundraising efforts.

Rubio needs to place in the top three of the next few races leading into the SEC Primary. If he succeeds, notwithstanding recent establishment attacks he may eventually become the non-establishment candidate most palatable to the establishment. And there’s a big difference between being palatable to the establishment and actually being establishment.

In recent weeks, the establishment has become cozy with Trump, but if Trump’s fortunes fall, and if Jeb Bush, John Kasich and Chris Christie continue to run campaigns from the Witness Protection Program, we may see the establishment rally to Rubio, if for no other reason than to ensure the hated Cruz does not win the nomination.

Only one thing is certain in this election cycle: If anyone tells you they know who will emerge victorious, it’s time to fit them for a straightjacket.

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MORE ORIGINAL PERSPECTIVE

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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TOP HEADLINES

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OPINION IN BRIEF

Michelle Malkin: “Latin America’s Zika virus is the latest undocumented immigrant to hit our shores, but have no fear. Self-appointed Zika Warrior Prince Charles Schumer has declared that he is here to stop it. The New York Democrat has a ‘three-point plan’ of attack to build a ‘firewall’ that will prevent an outbreak of the mosquito-borne illness from spreading across our mainland. … While he makes theatrical grand gestures to stop foreign viruses from entering through the front porch, he and his amnesty-promoting pals in both parties have left the side and back entries swinging wide open for illegal immigration. People from Central and South America … make up nearly 15 percent of the illegal immigrant population in the U.S. They flooded the border in record numbers in 2013 as Schumer and company were pushing mass amnesty on Capitol Hill — and as President Obama was implementing blanket deportation freezes in advance of his executive illegal immigrant waiver policies. The Democrat-manufactured border surge ushered in a resurgence of tropical diseases across the Southwest. Meanwhile, laborers here illegally and amnestied migrants who have never been screened for disease obtained Obama work permits to hold low-wage jobs in places like Chipotle, which shut down scores of its restaurants over the past three months after two separate E. coli outbreaks. … The Beltway posturing of open-borders engineers is enough to make you sick.”

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SHORT CUTS

Insight: “Do not blame Caesar, blame the people of Rome who have so enthusiastically acclaimed and adored him and rejoiced in their loss of freedom and danced in his path and given him triumphal processions. Blame the people who hail him when he speaks in the Forum of the new wonderful good society which shall now be Rome’s, interpreted to mean more money, more ease, more security, and more living fatly at the expense of the industrious.” —Justice Millard Fillmore Caldwell (1897-1984)

Upright: “The real source of power in politics resides in personalities, not parties. It’s been hard to see this until recently because the personalities of old were career politicians — Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama — hiding behind the partisan light show like the man behind the Wizard of Oz. Whether or not Trump and Sanders go on to win the nomination, they’ve already played a historic role. They’ve exposed the parties as the weaklings they’ve long been.” —Jonah Goldberg

Excuses: “Because I was told I could not do well in Iowa, I spent very little there — a fraction of Cruz & Rubio. Came in a strong second. Great honor.” —Donald Trump, who led almost every Iowa poll for months but somehow had low expectations

Biggest (Sore) Loser: “Ted Cruz didn’t win Iowa, he stole it. That is why all of the polls were so wrong and why he got far more votes than anticipated. Bad! … Based on the fraud committed by Senator Ted Cruz during the Iowa Caucus, either a new election should take place or Cruz results nullified.” —Donald Trump, who initially tweeted Cruz “illegally stole” Iowa (The fact that Bernie Sanders, who unlike Trump was actually in a near-deadlock with Clinton, is acting like the adult here speaks volumes.)

Please no: “Who’s up for doing the Iowa Caucuses over again on both sides? C'mon, it’ll be fun.” —John Hayward

Observations: “[Donald Trump] says fraud. Iowa GOP is forced to respond. Maybe RNC is forced to respond too. He declares race unfair, launches independent bid.” —Gabriel Malor (And that’s exactly what Trump said he’d do if he wasn’t “treated fairly.”)

And last… “So, it turns out that you can’t call Iowa voters ‘stupid,’ skip a debate in Des Moines because you don’t like the moderators and still expect to prevail in the state’s caucuses. Who knew?” —WSJ columnist Jason Riley

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Managing Editor Nate Jackson

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