Exit Signs: Poll Warns Dems to Back Off Social Issues
In the last 48 hours, there’s been a lot of speculation about what motivated voters to give back control of the House to Democrats. But based on exit polling, we can tell you one thing: it isn’t their radical social policy. Some Americans may be frustrated by GOP leaders or at odds with Donald Trump, but their positions on life, religious liberty, and sexuality are still light years more conservative than the party they just handed half of Congress to.
In a new FRC-commissioned McLaughlin & Associates survey, 1,000 Americans were asked their thoughts on a wide variety of issues — including some that Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has already promised the House will address. The answers we got (which, interestingly, included more people who voted for Democrats on Tuesday than Republicans) might surprise you. When heartland Democrats tried to explain that Hillary Clinton lost because it seemed like she cared “more about bathrooms than jobs,” the party should have listened. Today, those same people are sending the same message — and it’ll be interesting to see if the extremists under Pelosi’s control pay attention.
When they were asked if they approved or disapproved of “government forcing schools, businesses, and nonprofit organizations opening showers, changing facilities, locker rooms, and bathrooms designated for women and girls to biological males and vice versa,” the answer couldn’t be clearer. Sixty percent said they opposed the bathroom policies of Barack Obama and other liberals, compared to just 24 percent who approved. That’s a 36-point gap on an issue that Pelosi has already promised to force on Americans in the new Congress. The Equality Act, the most radical piece of LGBT legislation ever introduced, is about to become a top 10 priority of the Democratic House.
As recently as this year, the Democrats’ own base pleaded with them to stop pushing their transgender agenda and get back to the work of real governing. “You’re killing us” was the headline. “The Democratic brand,” Illinois State Rep. Jerry Costello told Politico, “is hugely damaged, and it’s going to take a while to bring it back. Democrats in southern Illinois have been more identified by [transgender] bathrooms than by putting people back to work.” That seems destined to continue, based on the agenda of House Democrats.
Along those same lines, the majority of people don’t want the federal government to redefine sex to include “gender identity.” That’s especially significant now, as President Trump considers rolling back Obama’s overreach on that very issue. Asked if they wanted to “allow individuals who identify as transgender to get a special legal status related to employment law, federally-funded health care benefits, and the use of bathrooms and showers of the opposite sex,” 54 percent said no. Only 27 percent agree with radical positions of Pelosi and Obama.
On abortion, where Democrats have boxed themselves into one of the most militant positions of all — even going so far as to demand taxpayer-funded abortions in their platform — 56 percent don’t agree. As other polls have shown, the majority of Americans appreciate the Hyde Amendment that Democrats want to abolish — the 41-year-old wall between taxpayers and elective abortion. That’s double the 28 percent in Pelosi’s camp.
But perhaps the most powerful support came on an issue where President Trump stands tallest: religious liberty. A whopping 70 percent of respondents agreed that the government “should leave people free to follow their beliefs about marriage between one man and one woman” — not just in how they live their lives but in how they run their businesses. They’ve seen people like Jack Phillips, Aaron and Melissa Klein, and Barronelle Stuzman personally destroyed for daring to hold a view on marriage that Barack Obama did five years ago. (And, as our poll shows, a plurality still do!) That’s an astounding majority, especially when you see the minuscule number (18 percent) who think like Obama and Pelosi do — that government should be used as a club to beat people into submission on LGBT issues.
The bottom line of the survey is this: if Democrats think they have a mandate to push their fanatical social agenda, they’re wrong. And trust me. In two years, Americans will remind them — like they did in 2010 and 2016 — if they try.
Originally published here.
HHS Prescribes a Health Care Fix
A day after Republicans lost the House, President Trump decided to remind everyone that you don’t need Congress to win on life. If you take a good look at the last two years, you’ll notice that most of the success conservatives have had on abortion didn’t come from the Hill — it came from the administration. With the exception of judges in the Senate, there’s been very little to cheer about on the issue in either chamber. And that’s probably a big reason Americans were so frustrated with the GOP House: lots of promises, but not much to show for them.
Fortunately, this president doesn’t just know how to make promises — he knows how to keep them. So, when the late Senator John McCain sank the GOP’s best chance for repealing Obamacare, this White House didn’t sit on its hands. It went to work, chipping away at the most outrageous parts of the law. And the unconstitutional HHS mandate was one of them.
Last October, HHS announced that it was cleaning up the mess made by the previous administration’s “pay-for-contraception-or-else” policy. At the time, Barack Obama insisted that groups like Little Sisters of the Poor weren’t actually paying for the drugs. But that was a lie. He’d simply invented a sly little accounting gimmick that hid the truth: people of faith were still footing the bill — just through a third party.
Now, 13 months after Trump’s team first issued an interim rule, HHS is making it final. For the first time in years, no religious group, nonprofit, small business, or other employers with moral objections will have to cover pills they believe destroys a human life. It’s un-American — and more importantly, it’s unconstitutional. No one should have to choose between violating their beliefs or paying ridiculous fines to exercise them.
And that’s not all the White House is doing. Leaders at HHS are also making sure Americans aren’t kept in the dark about any abortion coverage in their health care plans. Under Obama, millions of people on the exchanges were secretly paying for elective abortions. Now, as part of Wednesday’s proposal, insurers would have to send Obamacare customers a separate bill explaining how much of their money is being spent on abortion services. “This administration is committed to making sure taxpayer dollars are spent appropriately,” said Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Seema Verma. “Maintaining a high level of program integrity on the exchange is essential, including ensuring that premium tax credits only go to those who are eligible for them.”
Both of these changes are major victories for life — and they didn’t happen through Congress. They happened through the administration. Now obviously, after Tuesday’s election, some things are going to change. But we can all be grateful that the president’s commitment to life and religious freedom isn’t one of them.
For more on what Tuesday means for important issues like this, check out the new op-ed by FRC’s Alexandra McPhee, “Post-midterm Optimism for Religious Freedom.”
Originally published here.
Justice Was Served by Sessions
It may be an election week, but one of the biggest Washington shakeups had nothing to do with Congress. After two years of trying to clean up a Justice Department that had become almost synonymous with the deep state, Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned. To most people, the news isn’t a surprise. The tension between the president and one of his first presidential backers has been obvious — despite Sessions’ impressive portfolio of progress at DOJ.
For groups like FRC, who’ve worked with Jeff for decades, it’s sad to see him go — especially after moving the ball forward on so many key issues. He’s been a friend and ally to so many Americans, especially in the cause of religious freedom. As attorney general, it was Jeff Sessions who was tasked with implementing the president’s executive order across every federal agency. Together, they set out to reassure men and women of faith that the government’s job wasn’t punishing faith — but protecting it.
After eight years of Barack Obama, there’s still a lot of work to be done in restoring true religious freedom. But we fully expect the next attorney general to pick up the torch of liberty and run with it as Sessions did. As he told his employees, everyone at DOJ should be proud of what they’ve accomplished.
“To have led a department like this goes beyond anything I ever would have thought possible. If you had told me when I was starting out as a young Assistant United States Attorney that I would ever serve as Attorney General, I don’t think I would have believed you. But what I’m proud of is not a title or a job. What I’m proud of is this Department — the 115,000 people who work together to pursue our goals. What I’m proud of is you.”
We’re grateful for Jeff’s service to our country and thank him for giving Americans hope that the rule of law still matters.
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC Action senior writers.