It’s NOT about Trump!

I know he would disagree, but it’s really not. 😉

I’ve been asked more than once, “How can someone like YOU support a president like TRUMP?!” The quick answer usually starts out something like this: “Yes, President Trump has a bit(?) of a checkered past and says a lot of things people shouldn’t say (understatement), but don’t we all have plenty of issues?”  Then I move on to explaining that, while there actually is a lot that I do like about President Trump (gasp), what I really love are his policies.  

In this election, the policies of the candidates could not be any more different.  I believe our country, as we know it, is hanging in the balance.  I know this sounds dramatic, but reading the Democrat National Platform and the Republican National Platform, I realized our two parties have completely diverged. I would imagine that most conservatives and probably even most moderates would be surprised at how far the Democrat party has been pushed to the extreme left on the political spectrum.  Here are some of the important issues and the candidates’ or parties’ positions:  

  1. Taxes and Regulation: Republicans favor smaller government, less taxation, and fewer regulations. The President passed the largest tax cut in our country’s history and eliminated a record number of stifling regulations.  Democrats promise to eliminate those tax cuts and impose the largest tax hike in our country’s history, implement expansive regulations, including plans to ban fracking and eliminate fossil fuels, engage in income redistribution, and grow government’s authority over our lives. 
  2. Right to Bear Arms: Our right to protect ourselves, our families, our homes, our schools, our churches, etc. is on the ballot. Republicans promise to vigorously defend the right to keep and bear arms, secured to us in our 2ndAmendment. Democrats promise expansive gun control, including bans, confiscation measures, and removal of liability protections for sellers (meaning gun sellers could be held civilly liable when their guns are used to commit a crime).
  3. Sanctity of Life: President Trump has vigorously fought to protect the unborn, including supporting the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (requiring lifesaving medical care for infants who survive failed abortions), and a ban on taxpayer funding for abortion. Biden and Harris opposed the “Born-Alive” Act, have opposed restrictions on late-term abortion as well as bans on dismemberment abortion, support taxpayer funding for abortion, and are considered to be the most pro-abortion ticket in our country’s history. 
  4. Freedom of Religion: President Trump supports legislation to protect people of faith from being forced to violate their convictions, and supports the view that churches are an essential service.  Biden and Harris support legislation that will prohibit people of faith from asserting their religious convictions as a defense to discrimination claims and have not supported the church as an essential service.
  5. Parents’ Rights and Education:  Republicans view parents’ rights as preeminent in raising and educating children, with the government’s role viewed as secondary and inferior to that of the parent. They support parental involvement and prize educational choice and voucher programs to allow tax dollars to go toward private- or other schools of parents’ choosing.  Democrats view government as the superior authority, supporting legislation that undermines parents’ rights to make educational, emotional, spiritual and medical decisions for their children and opposing school choice and vouchers.
  6. Gender Policies:  Democrats support legislation prohibiting counseling for children (or adults) for the treatment of unwanted gender dysphoria and legislation allowing biological males to compete in female sports and use girls’/women’s dressing rooms. Republicans oppose these policies.
  7. Freedom of Speech vs Censorship: The mainstream media, Hollywood, Big Tech, and academia have aligned with the left in imposing increasing restrictions (including actual censorship) for speech that doesn’t fit with their own accepted narrative. President Trump has fought hard against viewpoint discrimination aimed at conservatives by those institutions and against dishonest reporting and censorship.
  8. Law & Order: Biden and Harris have supported reallocation of funding for police departments, supported bail funds for the release of jailed rioters, and have supported sanctuary cities, discouraging local law enforcement from cooperating with US immigration officials. Republicans oppose reallocation of law enforcement dollars, oppose sanctuary cities, support US immigration enforcement efforts, and support federal reinforcements to assist riot-impacted communities. 
  9. Ending the Filibuster and Packing the Court: Biden and Harris will consider adding justices to the Supreme Court to manipulate the Court’s balance. This will allow them to easily push through their most extreme policies with the Court’s cooperation. Most concerning, it will allow them to grant statehood for DC and amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants, which will virtually guarantee Democrat control of the Senate and change the electorate in a way that will likely give Democrats permanent control of the presidency (see below).
  10. Immigration & Amnesty: Democrats support taxpayer funded healthcare for illegal immigrants, and Biden and Harris intend to grant amnesty for up to 22 million illegal immigrants and eliminate voter ID laws, which will shift the balance of the electorate to the left, likely giving Democrats an insurmountable advantage in future elections. (As a reference point, 2016 outcome was largely attributed to a mere 77,000 votes across 3 battleground states.)
  11. Statehood for Washington, D.C. & Puerto Rico: Democrats intend to grant Statehood to Washington, D.C. and would consider statehood for Puerto Rico as well, which would together provide 4 more reliably-Democrat seats in the Senate. Democrats currently only need 4 seats to re-take the Senate, so this would ensure Democrat control.

I encourage you to read the entire platforms for a comprehensive look at the parties’ policy positions.  Voting for the candidates who share our priorities and are committed to preserving the freedoms guaranteed to us by our Founding Fathers and our Constitution may require us to overlook personality preferences and other lesser considerations in 2020.  Your vote will help determine which of two very distinct courses we will choose for our country.  

Every vote matters, and every race matters.  Vote all the way down the ballot, from federal to local, to elect leaders who share our passion to preserve the values that make this country the freest and most noble country in the world. 

Court Packing (Or…Hello Tyranny)

Even if there were nothing I liked about Trump and I liked everything about Biden, Trump’s opposition to court packing and Biden’s openness to it (read, intention to do it) are enough for me to vote for Trump.  This is a very big deal, people.  

Court packing is the practice of adding justices to the Supreme Court in order to manipulate the Court’s balance.  Democrats have threatened to pack the Court as retribution for Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, a conservative justice who, it is suggested, will swing the Court to the right.[1]  

Ultimately, packing the Court could allow Democrats to take permanent control of Congress and the presidency. Sounds extreme, I know. But keep reading.

If Biden wins the presidency and a majority in the Senate (which is expected if Biden wins), he will be able to eliminate the filibuster[2] and pack the court to shift the balance left. This will allow him to easily push through the following measures, which will virtually guarantee that we will not be able to elect another Republican president or take control of Congress in the foreseeable future, if ever:  

  1. Grant Statehood to Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, which would provide 4 more reliably-Democrat seats in the Senate. Democrats are currently only 4 seats short of re-taking the Senate and that is expected to tighten in November. 
  2. Grant amnesty to ten- to twenty million plus illegal immigrants and remove voter I.D. requirements, thus providing access to voting, tilting the electorate to the left to a degree that permanently changes election outcomes. (As a reference point, Trump’s 2016 win is largely attributed to a mere 77,000 votes across 3 battleground states.)  
  3. Expand the lower federal courts to ensure a majority of Democrat appointees, increasing the odds that even the most radical policies will make it safely through court challenges.   

A few of these policies Biden has campaigned on or shown support for that we should be aware of are as follows:

  • ensure unrestricted late-term abortion and taxpayer funding
  • expand gun control, including weapons bans and confiscation measures
  • repeal the Trump Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (average of $2-4,000 per family savings)
  • raise taxes, reducing after-tax income on every income level by 2030 
  • remove protections for religious business owners against forced violations of faith
  • legislate biological males into female sports
  • protect sanctuary cities

These are just a few highlights.  I would encourage every voter to read the Democrat Platform in its entirety, and I would encourage every voter to compare it to the Republican Platform. The contrast in substance and even in tone is mind-blowing. I think you’ll quickly conclude that this election is not about the personality or demeanor of either candidate—it is about two very different paths for the United States of America. Join me in praying, voting, and fighting for our beloved country.

Praise the Lord who is my rock. He trains my hands for war and gives my fingers skill for battle. (Ps. 144:1)

[1] It is important to note that it should not matter whether a justice is conservative or liberal, because the Constitution strictly limits a judge’s role to interpreting laws, exactly as they are written, not as they wish they were written. Their personal views are not to come into play. Democrats, however, have adopted the view that the Constitution is a living, breathing document, justifying the appointment of judges who are willing to impose their personal policy preferences by expanding on the laws, going beyond what is written. (Americans have been forced by these “activist judges” to live under many unpopular policies, with no recourse.)

[2] The filibuster is tool allowing the minority party to have a voice in opposing unfavorable legislation. It takes 60 votes (meaning votes from both parties) to overrule a filibuster, which ensures that all legislation has bipartisan support.

Don’t Pay Attention to the Polls!

If you feel defeated when you look at the polls, you’re not alone.  But let me share some important things about polling that might change your perspective:

  • Registered Voters vs. Likely Voters – Much of the polling is based on surveys of registered voters, rather than likely voters.  Many, many registered voters fail to vote, so polls that survey all registered voters are not an accurate predictor of election results. Moreover, those who are registered but don’t intend to vote tend to lean more to the left. 
  • National Polling vs. Battleground Polling – Surveying voters across the entire country  cannot predict election outcomes. National polling, at best, is an indicator of the popular vote, which does not determine outcomes.  We’re not a pure democracy; we’re a democratic republic. Each state is given a voice, regardless of population.[1] Candidates must focus on winning large numbers of states, not numbers of people. Therefore, to speak to actual election outcomes, polling must be focused on the battleground states that candidates need in order to secure victory. 
  • Underrepresentation of Republicans – According to Gallup, there are roughly an equal number of Democrats and Republicans. Some research shows that Democrats have historically had more registrations, but the differential has been about 1-2%.  Still, most polls show a bias toward Democrats of at least 6%, with many climbing up into the double digits.  This faulty methodology is thought to be responsible for misrepresenting Trump’s position by 8 points overall in 2016. 
  • The 2016 Surprise – In 2016, the pollsters predicted with confidence that Clinton would be the next president and were stunned by Trump’s electoral victory. Many pollsters discovered, after the fact, that there had been many Trump voters the pollsters had somehow missed. Many battleground polls have shown Trump to be in better position in 2020 than he was in 2016.   What is more, many are predicting that “Trump’s shy vote” will be far greater in 2020 than in 2016.

As you can see, the polls are not an accurate predictor of an electoral outcome, and relying on them will likely only discourage us.  I am reminded of a story in the Bible that I think has application here:

King David had taken a census to count his troops and assess his military position (sound familiar?). This had angered God, which confused me until I made it to the key verse:  “[W]hen it was all done, David was overwhelmed with guilt because he had counted the people, replacing trust with statistics.”[2]

Let’s commit to doing our part regardless of the polls. It is estimated that over 30 million evangelicals do not vote, even while research conducted by George Barna has indicated that if only 10% more evangelicals would vote, it could determine all of our leaders across the country.  

 Let’s not lose heart.  Let’s rally like we’ve never rallied before.   

[1] Our electoral college system provides each state—even the smallest—with electoral votes. This system protects us from having every election determined by a handful of large cities, such as Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago, with combined populations capable of swaying the popular vote.

[2] 2 Sam. 24 (The Message)

The Obsession with Amy Coney Barrett’s Personal Politics (and what it really means)

If you pay any attention at all to Supreme Court confirmation hearings, you’ll find it hard to believe Justice Scalia and Justice Ginsburg were both confirmed by the Senate with almost complete unanimity (and not all that long ago). How could a justice as conservative as Scalia and a justice as liberal as Ginsburg each get the nod from almost the entire Senate?  

It’s actually simple:  It didn’t matter what the judges’ personal politics were, because the Constitution requires judges to rule without regard to their personal views.[1]  

Judge Barrett adheres to this “Originalist” judicial philosophy, so why would any senator be opposed?  Wouldn’t all senators want a justice committed to strictly applying the laws they, themselves, enact?  

Something has obviously changed, and that “something” is that many certain senators actually want justices who are willing to violate constitutional limitations to help them impose policies they can’t get passed in Congress (read: policies not supported by mainstream Americans). But this approach only works if a justice is on their side of the issues, which explains the relentless questioning of Judge Barrett on her policy positions (which she rightfully refuses to answer).   

Politicians who favor policies they can’t pass in Congress need judges (called “activist judges”) who are willing to forcefully impose their policies through court rulings. The American people have had to endure many unpopular policies because of this unconstitutional practice called “legislating from the bench,” a practice that should concern every American, left, right or center. Unchecked power in the hands of “the few” is counter to our entire system of government and historically never ends well.

Preserving our freedom requires that we confirm Originalist judges like Judge Barrett, who have a record of strictly applying the laws enacted by those we elect to pass them, refusing to legislate from the bench. Her confirmation does not pose a threat to any American who believes the power to make the policies that govern our lives is best left to the body that is accountable to us. 

[1] Our Constitution strictly limits a judge’s role to applying laws, whether the judge agrees with those laws or not. This is a simple “separation-of-powers” issue:  

Congress is the branch that enacts laws.  Senators and representatives have a strong interest in enacting laws that honor the will of the people, because those who elected them can also vote them out of office.  

Judges, on the other hand, cannot be voted out.  The reason is, we need judges to be able to impartially apply the laws without fear of losing their job and free from powerful outside influences (special interests, etc.).  And because the people do not have the power to vote them out, they are prohibited from any and all policy-making functions.  (If we can’t vote them out, we don’t want them deciding how we should live our lives.)

Supreme Court Vacancies: Republican Hypocrisy or Power to the People?

When I first learned of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s plan to immediately confirm a new justice to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I admit I was bothered by what seemed a contradiction.  After all, just four years ago, Leader McConnell led the Republican-controlled Senate in declining to consider President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, for the reason that the next president should make the appointment.  That was ten months prior to the election, and now, with less than two months from the 2020 election, Leader McConnell was calling on the Senate to take up President Trump’s nomination. To be fair, politicians from the other side of the aisle faced the same apparent dilemma, having fiercely urged confirmation in 2016 while now strongly opposing it, arguing that it is much closer to the election this time around.  Are they all just flip-floppers and hypocrites? We know there is no shortage of hypocrisy in politics (gasp).  

Hypocritical or not, to the extent representatives from either side frame this as an election-timing issue, I believe they are getting it wrong.  Proximity to an election is, as we are now seeing, a subjective standard, and it has no support in the Constitution.  And, while Republican leaders’ assertion in 2016 that “the next president should make the appointment” is interpreted by some as an election-timing argument, Republicans argue there is an objective basis for their position, pointing to an important distinction between 2016 and 2020. 

Specifically, Republican leaders argue that the White House and the Senate were controlled by opposing parties in 2016, while they are now controlled by the same party.  As the argument goes, the Republican-held Senate was entitled to reject the Democrat president’s nominee in 2016, just as the Republican-held Senate is entitled to move forward with the Republican president’s nominee in 2020 (notwithstanding the timing of either election). From my perspective, this at least mitigates the appearance of extreme hypocrisy, but what is actually important is that this assessment is supported by the Constitution, by precedent, and by application of simple logic.  Here’s my case: 

  1. As for precedent, there have been 29 vacancies during presidential election years in U.S. history, and presidents have nominated someone for that vacancy all 29 times.  In 19 of those instances, the president and the Senate were both controlled by the same party, and, in 17 of those 19 times, the Senate confirmed those nominees.
  2. The Constitution expressly obligates the president to make the appointment of a Supreme Court justice upon a vacancy on the Court and requires the Senate’s consent for confirmation.
  3. A president’s authority is not diminished during his fourth year in office (as the late Justice Ginsburg herself famously, and correctly, stated).
  4. A Supreme Court with 8 justices runs the risk of a tie and, thus, the inability to effectively carry out its purpose.

In short, when Americans have voted to elect a president and a majority of the Senate of the same political party, the people have fully empowered their officials, including to confirm (if they choose) the president’s judicial nominees.  The people are entitled to that process throughout the duration of their elected officials’ respective terms.  

In the opposite scenario, where the people who have elected the president have failed to elect a Senate controlled by the same party—or, stated in the converse, the opposing party has succeeded in limiting that president’s power by voting to deny his party control of the Senate—then the people have failed to fully empower the president. In that case, the ability to secure confirmation of judicial nominees is subject to more opposition and greater challenges. 

In the present case, the American people have spoken by electing both a Republican president and a Republican Senate. The people are entitled to have their elected officials represent their interests by carrying out their obligations throughout their entire respective terms.