Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Antidotes Needed For Coronavirus

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

The coronavirus is throwing our economy and even our presidential election into uncertainty, as the dreadful disease spreads to Europe and South Korea. Fear of contagion is not rampant yet in the United States, but a negative impact on our economy is already being felt and could worsen quickly.

The globalism that Donald Trump was elected to confront has struck back in a big way. Now President Trump is being forced to deal with the disastrous free trade which makes our economy so dependent on the economies of other nations.
It never had to be this way. We enjoyed prosperity for centuries without being whipsawed by what happens in China, South Korea, or Italy.

But those economies may nosedive due to the spread of the coronavirus. A dozen towns in Italy, some near its business capital of Milan, have been essentially quarantined due to the deadly virus, which has spread to more than six regions in that country.

The Italian stock market fell by 5% in one day, because panic and isolation are not good for business. For a virus which originated in China, its devastating impact on distant Italy is alarming indeed.

While the Italian stock market is small compared to ours, the real shock was how this deadly disease has spread so much in an unexpected place so far from China. If this pandemic has become this severe in Italy, then how can the rest of Europe and even the United States remain untouched?

There has been the lingering suspicion that the communist Chinese government has not been candid about the spread of the disease within its own borders. Communist dictators have never been known for honesty and transparency, and they have every reason to mislead the world about the harm they cause.

If free speech were allowed in China then we could all learn from the internet the full extent of the risks and challenges. Instead, we hear only what the communist Chinese want us to hear.

Some experts admit now that a worldwide spread of the disease is inevitable. While Trump deserves credit for keeping coronavirus mostly out of the United States, he deserves the most credit for warning against open borders.

Trump’s tariffs were a step in the right direction to reduce our dependence on the Chinese economy. It’s unfortunate that prior presidents did not take similar steps, which would have helped insulate us from this crisis.

Free trade advocates never warned us about how it would result in an undesired dependency by our economy on health issues in cultures unlike ours. The mingling of unclean animals in a food market in China has caused our stock market to suddenly drop by more than 1,800 points in two days.

Stephen Moore, the nominee by Trump to the Federal Reserve who was then blocked by the Establishment club which excludes any outsider, astutely calls the coronavirus the "black swan" of the presidential election. The term means an extraordinarily rare event that is unpredictable and almost impossible to assess as to its impact.

The biggest threat to the reelection of President Trump is not Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, or Mike Bloomberg. It is the impact the coronavirus will have on our economy which became too dependent on foreign trade because of the policies of Trump's predecessors.

Undecided voters shift to the Republican side when they want more security, as they did when the Ebola virus created panic shortly before the 2014 midterm elections. But if the coronavirus causes the bottom to fall out of our economy, then voters may not recognize globalism as the real culprit.

The media will wrongly blame President Trump for any downturn caused by the disease. During the reelection campaign of President George H.W. Bush in 1992, the media blamed him for a delay in relief after Hurricane Andrew, even though it was the Democrat Florida Governor who blocked the assistance.

More than 20% of our imports are from China, and some American businesses are already feeling the pinch from a reduction there due to the coronavirus. Tourism is also important to our economy and nervous travelers can be expected to cancel trips rather than risk being quarantined somewhere.

President Trump can avoid the reelection campaign mistakes of prior Republicans by getting out in front of this corona catastrophe. The political antidote is to explain how overreliance on trade and migration from China put us in this economic quandary.

Ending the over-regulation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which keeps beneficial medication off the market for years longer than necessary, would yield medical antidotes against deadly new viruses. The free market could then quickly meet this challenge with effective antidotes if the FDA were not impeding and delaying every innovative cure.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work. These columns are also posted on pseagles.com.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Early Voting Sparks Brokered Convention Nightmare

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

A contested or brokered convention is the worst nightmare for the Democrat or Republican Parties, because it fractures the base and alienates the supporters of candidates not picked. Neither major party has had a protracted, contested nominating convention since 1952, and neither party wants one.

The modern presidential primary system has made a brokered convention unlikely. While some candidates establish themselves as frontrunners for a nomination, other candidates drop out and voters then coalesce around a few candidates, and ultimately the nominee.

The staggering of the primaries should have a salutary winnowing effect. After a few primaries the more popular candidates become clear, and eventually one of them secures enough delegates to ride into his party’s convention as the nominee and the flagbearer for the party in the general election.

But pervasive “early voting” undermines this process, leaving a hodgepodge of too many candidates continuing to win votes after they ceased being serious contenders. By mailing thousands of ballots weeks before primary day in a particular state, its voters then choose among many candidates who will drop out prior to the primary day in that state.

California, the biggest prize of all, lists about a half-dozen people on its ballot who have already dropped out of the race. Yet California Democrats have been mailing their ballots in early, well before the primary election day in that state.
Half of the Democrat primary voters in California are expected to vote early by filling out ballots listing candidates who have or will soon lose any chance of winning. These ballots fail to guide the nomination process towards a successful conclusion.

Political commentators act as though the race among the Democrats will narrow by the time Californians cast their ballot, but early voting frustrates that helpful process of elimination. It is unclear whom the early voters would have preferred among a narrower field of candidates.

The results from California will not be known immediately, either, thanks again to this disastrous early voting. It takes time to tally mail-in votes, and in a general election the votes from California continue to be counted for weeks after Election Day.
Some Democrats, recognizing the self-inflicted harm caused by this process of early voting, are telling each other not to cast ballots early in primaries. Democrat leadership does not want a brokered convention, or a repeat of their fiasco in Iowa when results were delayed.

“Sure, I’d wait,” said Darry Sragow, an experienced California campaign manager, in explaining why he prefers not to vote early in a primary. “If one of the candidates trips up three days before the primary and I already cast my vote, I’m gonna regret it.”

Regret it indeed, particularly if the candidate for whom one voted drops out, or changes his position in an unacceptable way, or commits an unforgivable gaffe. In each of those situations the early voter who cast his ballot for that candidate is stuck.
It is cost-prohibitive to allow early voters to change their ballots prior to the election, and yet voting rights would seem to require that. After all, a juror can change his vote before a verdict is rendered, and the change will be recognized.

A traditional election, without thousands or millions of mailed-in early ballots, yields results on the night of the election. But time for delivering and opening mail causes weeks to go by before final results can be tallied and announced for early voting in a high-turnout election, causing chaos and a loss in public confidence.

Despite this, some political consultants tell people to vote early. One argument is that people should vote early in case they die before Election Day, which is not an issue for most voters and such ballots are not even counted in some states.

Proportional voting, also fashionable among Democrats, further interferes with the goal of coalescing around a winning nominee. Democrat primaries typically award delegates based on the proportion of votes received, rather than the winner-takes-all system preferred by Republicans, but proportional voting makes it harder to win a majority.

The left-leaning FiveThirtyEight blog, which does extensive statistical analysis to predict election outcomes, declared last week that the likelihood of a contested Democrat convention “is high and increasing.” The socialist Bernie Sanders is considered the most likely nominee, but he has only a 38% chance now of winning a majority of pledged delegates prior to the convention.

A floor fight at the convention would be an unmitigated disaster for Democrats, but one for which they would have only themselves to blame. By promoting early voting and insisting on proportional voting, the Democrat Party has created a system whereby it is more difficult for any candidate to win prior to its convention.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work. These columns are also posted on pseagles.com.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Trump Unleashed

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

Democrats’ dangerous game of impeaching President Trump despite lacking the votes to remove him from office has backfired on them. Trump gained political strength from his acquittal in the Senate, just in time to boost his campaign for reelection.

Trump’s first act was to remove the Deep State bureaucrats who started it all, including the subordinate Ukrainian-born Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, whom Trump rightly called “very insubordinate” for going outside the chain of command on foreign policy. Trump also removed Col. Vindman’s identical twin brother Yevgeny from his powerful position on the National Security Council, and he recalled Gordon Sondland, the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union.

Those firings were a no-brainer, but Trump didn’t stop there. Top Trump officials are rolling out a series of actions to combat the growing epidemic of sanctuary policies by Democrat-ruled states, counties, and cities which try to shelter illegal aliens from deportation by federal authorities.

At 5 PM on February 5 -- virtually the exact moment that Trump was being acquitted by the Senate -- the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published official notice that New York residents are no longer eligible to participate in the trusted traveler programs known as Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI and FAST. These federal programs depend on state driver’s license data.

A shocking new law passed by the Democrat state legislature and signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo prohibits the state motor vehicle bureau from sharing driver’s license data with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known simply as ICE.
As a result of this interference by New York with Trump's policy, he ordered DHS to deny permits to about 86,000 New Yorkers who have applications pending, and to return their $100 fee. Another 800,000 New Yorkers who are already enrolled won’t be able to renew when their five-year permits expire.

Driver’s license databases are the primary source of data for federal agencies to check DUIs or other serious traffic offenses, which disqualify anyone from becoming a trusted traveler. Trump’s new policy does not yet apply to the Transportation Security Administration, which runs the popular airport Pre-Check program, because TSA still has access to state driver’s license data.

DHS acting deputy secretary Ken Cuccinelli warned that in the future New Yorkers might be excluded from Pre-Check, too. If Trump were to shut off TSA privileges for frequent New York travelers, then liberal officials would quickly back down in their defiance.

New York’s radical state AG promptly filed a lawsuit against DHS, but it's becoming less likely that a holdover Obama judge will be able to stop Trump policies from taking effect. With nearly 200 judges appointed by Trump to the federal courts, including 50 to the all-important Courts of Appeals, actions by the Trump Administration are no longer repeatedly slapped down as they were before.

Even if Trump’s new policy falls into the hostile hands of an Obama judge, there’s still the Supreme Court, which has already stayed at least three nationwide injunctions against Trump after lower federal courts refused to do so. The Supreme Court allowed Trump’s policies on DACA, transgenders in the military, and the public charge rule for immigrants to go into immediate effect while courts consider liberal lawsuits against them.

New York is the 13th state to grant driver’s licenses to illegal aliens, a horrible policy that helps illegals evade law enforcement. But New York went even further by banning the sharing of information about DUIs, based on the stereotype that Hispanic immigrants, and illegal aliens in particular, are disproportionately convicted of that serious offense.

In her first run for president in 2008, Hillary Clinton tried to take a moderate position on this highly inflammatory issue of driver’s licenses for illegal aliens. By her 2016 campaign Hillary had shifted to the more radical position espoused by the open-borders lobby,

By 2020, no leading Democrat is allowed to say what Hillary said in 2008. Every Democrat presidential candidate today insists that anyone who enters the country illegally has a right to stay here permanently and become a voting citizen, protected by state and local government against federal law enforcement and deportation.

Trump, meanwhile, has long spoken out against the harboring of criminal aliens in sanctuary cities. He has often appeared with the victims or their survivors such as Jamiel Shaw, Mary Ann Mendoza, and Ronil Singh.

On Monday, Attorney General William Barr promised a “significant escalation” of the government’s war against sanctuary cities, counties, and states that have openly defied federal immigration laws in their jurisdictions. Barr announced new lawsuits against New Jersey and King County, Washington.

Now the Democrats’ worst fears are being realized, as their own failed impeachment has “unleashed" Trump. The President puts pedal to the metal to execute the agenda that he ran on in 2016.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work. These columns are also posted on pseagles.com.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Impeachment Discredits Dems, not Trump

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

There are many silver linings in the crashing of the Democrats’ unsuccessful attempt to impeach and remove President Trump. His approval rating surpasses Obama’s corresponding rating at this time, with Trump attaining a 49% approval rating in the latest Gallup poll.

The impeachment failure has a long-term benefit too. Impeachment should never again be a viable option for one political party merely to retaliate against the president of another political party.

The lack of bipartisan support in the House for the impeachment of Trump set off alarm bells which Democrats failed to heed. In our two-party system, no president can be impeached and removed without significant support by members of his own political party, which the impeachment of Trump never had.

Instead, Democratic leaders with delusions of grandeur thought they could make this another Watergate, when President Nixon was forced to resign amid threats of impeachment. Our society no longer takes as gospel truth the liberal television news and other media the way we did in the early 1970s.

Public approval of Congress has been abysmal in recent years, but it was not much higher during the Watergate era. What has dramatically changed between then and now is the lack of public confidence in the media which spins the news during an impeachment proceeding.

Public confidence that the media will report “the news fully, accurately, and fairly” dropped to 41% last September prior to impeachment, and only 15% among Republicans, according to the non-partisan Gallup. Two decades ago, a whopping 55% of Americans had confidence in the fairness of the media.

It was the media that drove President Nixon from office, using congressional Watergate hearings as fodder for accomplishing that goal. Democrats were hoping for a repeat this time, but the liberal media’s high level of influence is gone now, thanks in large part to Trump himself.

The Brett Kavanaugh hearings generated far more public interest and protests than the impeachment of President Trump did. Missing from impeachment were confrontations by protesters with senators in the elevator, like the one with then-Senator Jeff Flake which caused a one-week delay of the Kavanaugh confirmation vote.

Is the confirmation of one new justice for the 9-member U.S. Supreme Court really more important than an impeachment and attempted removal of the President of the United States? Many apparently think so, perhaps because the Supreme Court has wielded so much power over domestic issues like abortion, border security, LGBTQ, and the Second Amendment.

The lack of interest in the impeachment of a president may be due to how there was never any chance of it making any difference. Without bipartisan support there could never be the 67 votes required in the Senate in order to remove a president from office, and thus the impeachment is merely an exercise in futility.

Most working Americans have no interest in a parade of legal eggheads pontificating about whether an action by a president is an “impeachable offense.” If anything, the tiresome rants against President Trump demonstrated how broken Washington, D.C. is, and another election sweep by President Trump is necessary so he can complete the job he was sent there to do.

Some Republicans are suggesting that what is good for the goose will be good for the gander. Now that Democrats have lowered the standard of an impeachable offense to something as trivial as a delay in sending American taxpayer funds to a corrupt foreign country which had no entitlement to the money, Republicans could easily impeach a Democratic President at the next opportunity.

Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), up for reelection in Iowa, has already pointed out that Joe Biden could be impeached using the new low standard adopted by Democrats who tried to get Trump. A future Republican House and Senate could return the favor of routine impeachment in spades, if they wanted to stoop as low as the House Democrats have.

Senator Ernst’s observation should cause Democrats to think twice before voting to remove President Trump. While it is unlikely that future Republicans would ever start this kind of impeachment drivel against a Democratic president, if Democrats persist against Trump then it is comforting to know that it could boomerang on them.

The historical significance of this impeachment fiasco is its death as a purely political weapon. The impeachment antics have struck out with the public, with television, and with protesters.

Never again should an impeachment be based on secret hearings, refusals to charge a crime, or reliance on Deep State bureaucrats with gripes over policy differences. When a presidential election is less than a year away, the people should be ones who decide whether to reelect a president, not inside-the-Beltway career politicians who are too biased to be credible.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work. These columns are also posted on pseagles.com.