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Are the Dems Still Ballot-Proof?

Tony Perkins · May 24, 2018

Donald Trump may not be on the ballot in November, but the future of his conservative agenda is. And three waves into this primary season, that seems to be all the motivation Republican voters need.

For the third time in as many primaries, conservatives seemed determined to change the media’s narrative about the midterm elections — turning out en masse in four southern states that will be critical to keeping the GOP’s hold on the House. At least in Republican-leaning states, the “blue wave” Democrats keep promising has been more like a blue sprinkle. That’s not to say things can’t change — they most certainly can, especially with the string of West Coast and New England races still to be decided. But for now, it is clear that conservative voters are far from disengaged.

David Wasserman, one of the analysts with an eye on these trends, says that after a rough start to the year, Republicans are getting some small doses of good news. So far, the GOP seems to be reaping the benefits of a banner spring for the White House’s international policies. After positive developments on Iran, Israel, and North Korea, the Democrats’ lead over Republicans on the generic congressional ballot is nonexistent. After being up by double digits in January, Reuters says the two parties are neck and neck. But, Wasserman warns, there’s still a long way to go. “Republicans still can’t point to hard election data that proves their base has suddenly closed the ‘intensity gap’ in the last few months.”

But they’re working on it! Tuesday’s showing in Texas, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Georgia was the third strong showing for conservatives in states where liberals hoped to make some noise. Our friend Chris Wilson, who first started seeing some positive trends for Republicans in toss-up states like Pennsylvania, says that pattern is continuing. In Texas, the Democrats’ turnout in the runoff resulted in the fewest votes case since 1920!

“D’s hopes of turning #TX even slightly violet continue to fade,” Chris tweeted. “Despite a closely contested #TXgov runoff… Dems can’t reach record low of 449k votes from 100 years ago!” And that’s not all, “In each of the open #TX [congressional districts] where both parties had a runoff, [Democrats] massively underperformed.” Republicans, on the other hand, continued to stream into their polling stations. In Georgia, the party cast 54,000 more votes than Democrats, which seemed like small potatoes compared to Arkansas, where they cast 96,000 more. Obviously, these are states where conservatives should be outperforming liberals. But in a year where Republicans can’t afford to take anything for granted, the outcome was a reassuring one.

Meanwhile, over at Democratic headquarters, party bosses deepened their bench of far-left radicals on the November ballot with wins for LGBT activists, abortion extremists, and candidates who promise a return to the Obama years. In the Democrats’ words: We will impeach. We will abort. We will raise taxes. And that’s exactly the kind of agenda that failed them in 2016. Even now, a full year and change into Trump’s administration, heartland Democrats have pleaded with the national party to return to the middle. “You’re Killing Us” was the message to Washington. A message, so far, unreceived.

Over at Deep Root Analytics, experts are making a pretty solid case for a values-driven campaign. After the May 5 and 18 primaries, we mentioned just how potent social issues are proving to be in this election cycle. Well, it turns out, they’re even more compelling than most pollsters realized. In Pennsylvania and Idaho, where we pointed out that turnout was higher than expected, social issues appeared in “more GOP ads than any other issue — nearly doubling the total number of ads as tax reform, the next highest appearing issue.” In fact, Deep Root explains, there were “nearly two-times as many ads containing a social issue message than a tax message in these primaries.”

What does that mean? A lot if you’re a conservative campaign manager. “While the data we currently have access to does not allow us to comprehensively connect social issues advertising to higher-than-expected turnout, it does indicate something clearly: GOP advertisers relied on social issue messaging as their closing argument…” Obviously, David Seawright wrote, “advertisers believed that messaging on social issues was critical to their goal of both motivating and persuading GOP primary voters during the final stages of each campaign.”

It’s certainly worked in the primaries we’ve seen so far. Of course, the important part is not to get comfortable. I don’t mention these positive developments so that people can get complacent. On the contrary, we want people to know just how important and influential their voice can be. Making America great again starts by making America good again. And that’s not government’s mission, but ours.

Originally published here.

Trumping Expectations: Pro-lifers Celebrate a Year of Wins

When Donald Trump won the Republican nomination, he didn’t have a pro-life record to run on. So imagine people’s surprise when 16 months into his first term this president has a more meaningful pro-life legacy than anyone who has come before him!

Tuesday night, at the annual SBA List gala, conservatives had a chance to honor the man who’s exceeded everyone’s expectations — and not just on life. “I’m very pleased with the progress we’ve made,” said Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), one of the many conservatives who’s found a powerful ally for the unborn in this White House. “These are actions by the executive branch, something that former pro-life presidents like George W. Bush did not do…” In the words of Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway, “He’s just delivered.”

And the administration shows no signs of stopping. Just this week, pro-lifers celebrated progress they hadn’t made since Ronald Reagan: a change in the family planning funding rules that will force groups like Planned Parenthood to move their abortion businesses out of any office that takes Title X dollars. For more than 20 years, FRC’s Cathy Ruse points out in her new Hill op-ed, Title X funding has been used to pay for abortion counseling and referrals. That ends now. “Title X was never meant to promote abortion, and” thanks to Donald Trump and HHS, “Americans’ tax dollars will no longer be misused in this way.”

Tuesday night’s gala was a salute to that change — and so many others — that have started to rebuild a culture of life in America. Planned Parenthood, not surprisingly, didn’t share the festive mood. When leaders heard that the Protect Life Rule had been officially submitted, they went on a nationwide tirade, insisting the policy would somehow hurt poor women. The truth is, Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics weren’t providing the bulk of that health care anyway. Thousands of non-abortion community health centers serve the same function (outnumbering Planned Parenthood 20 to one), and not a penny of their dollars will be affected.

“If Planned Parenthood wants taxpayer cash, then it should drop abortion services from centers that get Title X dollars and move them offsite. That shouldn’t be too hard for an operation that claims only three percent of its services are abortion services (a claim most outside sources dispute).” Like everyone else, Planned Parenthood has a choice: disentangle itself from abortion or find some other donors. Americans certainly like the idea, telling McLaughlin & Associates that they support the rule by a 48 to 40 percent margin.

But, as President Trump said himself, the fate of so many of these policies rests in the hands of pro-lifers this November.

For the first time since Roe v. Wade, America has a pro-life president, a pro-life vice president, a pro-life House of Representatives, and 25 pro-life Republican state capitols. That is pretty good. When I ran for office, I pledged to stand for life. And as president, that’s exactly what I’ve done. And I have kept my promise.

… We all know what a Democratic majority would mean, especially for the people in this room, on the Supreme Court. These are the stakes on Election Day, and this is why you need to fight for victory in November. We can’t be complacent. What happens, historically, a tremendous percentage of the time: You win the presidential election, you become complacent, you’re happy. “Oh, we won. Isn’t it wonderful?” Then you have another election pretty quick — two years… They say, “Oh, we just won, so we sit back.” The other side has energy, and they win. Every values voter must be energized, mobilized, and engaged…

[V]ote for family. Vote for love. Vote for faith and values. Vote for country. And vote for life.

For the people in the room, who stood and applauded this unexpected champion for their cause, it was a powerful contrast from the administration they’d endured just two years earlier. This was not the man who stood behind the presidential seal at a fundraiser with Cecile Richards and declared, “God bless Planned Parenthood.” On this night, conservatives celebrated a White House that’s writing a new chapter for America — and saving countless tiny lives in the process.

Originally published here.

The Long Harm of the Law

The latest legislative push by liberals reveals the deep ideological divide that exists in America today. In a bill that does the opposite of its title, the Do No Harm Act would seek to elevate sexual behavior above religious beliefs. Plenty of harm would be inflicted on men and women of faith, especially in areas like health care, government grants and partnerships, employment, and small business. But, for once, the duo of Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) are at least being honest about their agenda, making it clear that they want to limit religious freedom to the Left’s newly defined sexuality.

Resurrecting one of Barack Obama’s turns of phrase, Harris claims that the “freedom of worship” is important, but so is “the right to live free of discrimination or fear that one’s civil rights will be undermined because of race, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity.” In other words, when the First Amendment clashes with their new radical agenda on marriage or transgenderism, the Constitution would lose — along with every baker, military chaplain, health care worker, florist, teacher, businessman, charity, or adoption service that disagrees.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the man behind the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) that liberals are taking a hammer to, was adamant. “The original intent was to prevent government officials who think they know better than everyone else from forcing individuals to violate their religious beliefs. The only thing that’s changed is the Left’s beliefs that all people are entitled to religious protection, regardless of where their views fall on the ideological spectrum… The day we begin carving out exceptions to RFRA,” he said in warning tone, “is the day RFRA dies.”

For the Left, this new challenge is certainly a shift in strategy. Usually, liberals like Harris and Leahy don’t fight their losing battles legislatively, where their extreme ideas are more likely to fail. Instead, they duke it out in the activist courts, making gains they could never get in Congress or from voters. They’re either frustrated that the courts won’t totally abandon America’s First Freedom or they’ve been watching MSNBC and listening to their own speeches so much that they believe this is a winning message for America. It might be for the extreme coasts, but it isn’t a message the heartland of America will embrace.

Originally published here.

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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