Fallacy of False Causes

Stupid Is as Stupid Does

Getting Rid Of The Police, Or Trump, Will Only Enable More Riots

Our political and media elite think that Trump and the police are the cause of the ongoing unrest. They couldn’t be more wrong.

John Daniel Davidson
The Federalist

The conventional wisdom congealing among elites in Washington, D.C., is that the ongoing riots in cities like Portland and Seattle are the result of otherwise peaceful protesters simply reacting to the presence of police and federal law enforcement. If these officers stood down or were simply removed, so the thinking goes, all would be calm.

Video footage and images of violent mobs setting buildings on fire, lobbing bricks and explosives, cutting through fences with blowtorches, and assaulting police and federal officers are all, according to this fashionable theory, merely evidence of the grave threat posed by fascist federal stormtroopers that Trump has unleashed on a quiescent populace.

As Democrat Rep. Zoe Lofgren put it during a House Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday, “People are showing up because the troops are there.” She was quick to add that most of them are nonviolent, which has become a kind of mantra adopted by Democrats and their courtiers in the mainstream press.

For their part, corporate media outlets have settled on variations of the phrase “mostly peaceful protests” to describe scenes of utter mayhem and violence.
Over the weekend, ABC News and the Associated Press published articles saying “a peaceful demonstration intensified” in Oakland, California, after rioters set fire to a courthouse, damaged a police station, and assaulted police officers. Reporters and commentators routinely regurgitate the line that federal officers are “instigating” the violence (despite ample video footage showing otherwise).

In all of this, the assumption appears to be that the mere presence of law enforcement so triggers protesters that it turns them into a violent, rampaging mob. It doesn’t seem to matter if law enforcement, whether federal or local, is warranted—as it most certainly is in places like Portland, where rioters have been staging attacks on a federal courthouse and rioting for going on two months now.

It’s All Trump’s Fault

The repeated public statements of sympathy from Democrats and the dishonest coverage of the mainstream press leave the impression that these violent outbursts by erstwhile “peaceful protesters” are entirely justified. Why? Because of Trump, of course.

This is the other big idea taking hold of the establishment: we wouldn’t even have these riots and unrest if it weren’t for President Trump. In fact, all it would take to quiet our cities would be for Trump to resign.

The logical extension of this idea is that if Joe Biden wins in November, all these problems will go away, there will be no more unrest or violence, we can all go back to how it was before 2016 when Barack Obama was president and everything was okay. This wisdom is so conventional, noted former conservative Bill Kristol laid it all out for us earlier this month:

Imagine being so out of touch with the political and cultural currents of American life that you think a Trump defeat in November will disperse the mobs in the street and quell the “left-wing cultural revolution.”

But of course being out of touch is what the D.C. political and media establishment—and especially NeverTrumpers like Kristol—are all about. They believe every problem is caused by Trump and getting rid of him is the only answer needed.

That’s how you get Democrats pretending that things are bad in Portland only because Trump sent in federal law enforcement agencies to protect federal property, even though the city has been buffeted by riots for weeks on end, long before federal law enforcement arrived. As my colleague Tristan Justice noted recently, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, a Democrat, said on July 3 that “This [rioting] has been going on for more than a month now.” On Tuesday, demonstrators there surpassed their 60th straight day of rioting.

But only when the Trump administration sent in federal officers to protect the courthouse and other properties did Democrats begin raising the alarm about an “attack on our democracy,” as Oregon’s Democratic Gov. Kate Brown said, or decry “paramilitary occupations,” as a trio of Democrat senators did last week.

This is Trump Derangement Syndrome taken to a new level. Cities are being ravaged by violent mobs that openly declare their hostility to law enforcement, vow to tear down our constitutional system, and proclaim there will be no peace until their demands are met.

Trump is not the cause of this unrest, and removing him will not solve it. It may in fact make things worse, since rioters will be emboldened by a sympathetic Biden administration and Democrats all too eager to let cities burn rather than denounce the violence and call for the restoration of order.

Whatever happens, the deeper misunderstanding here will likely persist. Trump’s election in 2016 was a manifestation of deep currents in American life. The waves of unrest and disquiet now surfacing in our streets are also manifestations of those currents. They aren’t going away anytime soon, no matter if federal officers stand down, and no matter who wins the White House in November.

John is the Political Editor at The Federalist. Follow him on Twitter.



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Acts 10:1-8 (JDV)

Acts 10:1 There was a man in Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment.
Acts 10:2 He was a devout man and feared God along with his whole household. He did many charitable deeds for the Jewish people and always prayed to God.
Acts 10:3 About three in the afternoon he distinctly saw in a vision an agent of God who came in and said to him, “Cornelius.”
Acts 10:4 Staring at him in awe, he said, “What is it, Lord?” The agent told him, “Your prayers and your acts of charity have ascended as a memorial offering before God.
Acts 10:5 Now send men to Joppa and call for Simon, who is also named Peter.
Acts 10:6 He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea.”
Acts 10:7 When the agent who spoke to him had gone, he called two of his household servants and a devout soldier, who was one of those who stayed busily engaged with him.
Acts 10:8 After explaining everything to them, he sent them to Joppa.


The book of Acts is a guidebook for those who want to witness to those around them. What can we learn about witnessing from this passage? Well, notice that this incident made it possible for Peter and the other Jerusalem believers to connect with someone who they would otherwise never meet. Cornelius was a Gentile soldier living in another city. In order for he and Peter to meet, God had to have been working in the background of both of their lives, revealing, changing, molding them both into the kind of people who would accept each other as brothers.

This passage focuses on God’s pre-work in the life of Cornelius, his servants and fellow soldiers. Tomorrow’s text will focus on how God changed Peter’s mind about Gentiles.

As we seek those to whom we will share the gospel, we should look for signs that God has already been at work in their lives, preparing them for the good news. The signs will be there.

Lord, thank you for your wonderful pre-work of preparation.


get up and witness

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get up and witness

Acts 9:32-43 (JDV)

Acts 9:32 As Peter was traveling from place to place, he also came down to the devotees who resided in Lydda.
Acts 9:33 There he found a man named Aeneas, who was paralyzed and had been bedridden for eight years.
Acts 9:34 Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and make your bed,” and immediately he got up.
Acts 9:35 So all who resided in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.
Acts 9:36 In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which is translated Dorcas). She was always doing good works and acts of charity.
Acts 9:37 About that time she became sick and died. After washing her, they placed her in a room upstairs.
Acts 9:38 Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples heard that Peter was there and sent two men to him who urged him, “Don’t delay in coming with us.”
Acts 9:39 Peter got up and went with them. When he arrived, they led him to the room upstairs. And all the widows approached him, weeping and showing him the robes and clothes that Dorcas had made while she was with them.
Acts 9:40 Peter sent them all out of the room. He knelt down, prayed, and turning toward the body said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, saw Peter, and sat up.
Acts 9:41 He gave her his hand and helped her get up. He called the devotees and widows and presented her alive.
Acts 9:42 This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.
Acts 9:43 Peter stayed for some time in Joppa with Simon, a leather tanner.

get up and witness

Peter’s missionary work involved encouraging the new congregations that were sprouting up everywhere. People knew about his experiences with healing, and Luke includes two examples here. It is important to note that both of these people healed were apparently believers. They were both encouraged to get up — with the implication that once they were healed, they needed to witness to the healing so that those who noticed the change would recognize it as the work of the Lord, and glorify him for it.

The outcome of Aeneas’ healing: “all who resided in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord” (35).

The outcome of Tabitha’s resurrection: “This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord” (42).

Lord, forgive us our past dormancy. We commit to getting up and witnessing to what you have done for us.


National Surplus Destroyed

National a Better Manager of Economy, says Goldsmith

Labour–Destroyers of Value and Wealth 

Arvind Kumar

People need to remember that the National Party is a better manager of the New Zealand economy, says the party’s finance spokesman, Paul Goldsmith.

In an interview with Radio Tarana today, Goldsmith said it was more important now than ever that the economy be managed properly post-Covid.

When asked if he had a message for voters, Goldsmith said he wanted to remind listeners that the Labour government had “squandered” within two years the surpluses it inherited from the National government.  “The previous National government, we had to borrow a lot of money to get us through the Global Financial Crisis, and the Canterbury earthquakes – we had to borrow $50 billion,” Goldsmith said.

“And then with good economic management, and careful spending and an absolute focus on growth, we got on top of that and restored New Zealand’s prosperity to the extent that in 2017 when we left government, we left an inheritance of massive government surpluses, a rapidly growing economy, and jobs being created – 10,000 jobs a month.

“And within two short years, before the Covid-19 crisis, this government had taken that inheritance and squandered that entire surpluses and were projecting a budget deficit before the Covid-19 situation occurred,” he said.  “And that needs to be remembered, and your listeners can rely on the National Party being sound managers of the economy.

“I think that is more important now than ever,” Goldsmith said.  “We just hope we will have the opportunity over the next few weeks to talk about that and to reassure New Zealanders.”


Clear Warnings Issued

Rowling on Trans Therapy for Kids

‘We’re on Brink of a Medical Scandal’

Jack Montgomery
Breitbart London

Harry Potter author Joanne ‘JK’ Rowling has weighed into the debate on “trans kids” once again, suggesting Britain is “on the brink of a medical scandal”.

Rowling, an idol-turned-hate-figure for social justice warriors since she went public with her belief that “[biological] sex is real and has lived consequences”, provoked the fury of so-called progressives on Saturday when she shared her thoughts on social media on an academic paper titled “Freedom to think: the need for thorough assessment and treatment of gender dysphoric children”.

“‘[British National Health Service] identity clinics have been functioning as if acting outside the ordinary requirement of good medical and psychiatric practice.’ Some may dismiss this paper… but they do so at their own peril,” she warned, quoting from the document directly.  “It feels as though we’re on the brink of a medical scandal,” she added.

The former Labour Party donor went on to cite a second paper, titled “Sex, gender and gender identity: a re-evaluation of the evidence”, quoting its conclusion that “Psychiatry sits on this knife-edge: running the risk of being accused of transphobia or, alternatively, remaining silent throughout this uncontrolled experiment.”

“Since speaking up about gender identity theory, I’ve received thousands of emails — more than I’ve ever had on a single subject. Many have come from professionals working in medicine, education, and social work. All are concerned about the effects on vulnerable young people,” Rowling explained.

“The writers of this letter are just two of a growing number of whistleblowers. The bleak truth is that if and when the scandal does erupt, nobody currently cheering this movement on will be able to credibly claim ‘we couldn’t have known’,” she added. She then linked to a copy of a letter sent to The Guardian in 2017 — which the leftist newspaper declined to publish — by whistleblowers at the now-infamous Tavistock Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) clinic.

“There is no such thing as a male or female brain, and you cannot be ‘born into the wrong body’,” the clinicians had written.  You should know that there is no unequivocally shared consensus on what you are undertaking; and the evidence, such as it is, suggests no greater health or happiness,” they added, addressing a hypothetical trans child.

“Most of us at your age did not cherish our fertility, and the imagined easy alternative of adoption or surrogacy is far from that. I need you to know that you really might change your mind, as many have before you,” they warned.

Follow Jack Montgomery on Twitter: @JackBMontgomery


sent to strengthen

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sent to strengthen

Acts 9:19-31 (JDV)

Acts 9:19 And after taking some food, he regained his strength. Saul was with the disciples in Damascus for some days.
Acts 9:20 He immediately began proclaiming Jesus in the synagogues: “This one is the Son of God.”
Acts 9:21 All who heard him were amazed and said, “Isn’t this the man in Jerusalem who was destroying those who called on this name and came here for the purpose of taking them tied up to the chief priests?”
Acts 9:22 But Saul grew stronger and kept the Jews in uproar who resided in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.
Acts 9:23 After many days had passed, the Jews conspired to take him out,
Acts 9:24 but Saul learned of their plot. So they were watching the gates day and night intending to take him out,
Acts 9:25 but his disciples took him by night and lowered him in a large basket through an opening in the wall.
Acts 9:26 When he arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to stick with the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, since they did not believe he was a disciple.
Acts 9:27 Barnabas, however, took him and brought him to the missionaries and explained to them how Saul had seen the Lord on the road and that the Lord had talked to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken openly in the name of Jesus.
Acts 9:28 Saul was coming and going with them in Jerusalem, speaking openly in the name of the Lord.
Acts 9:29 He conversed and debated with the Hellenistic Jews, but they tried to take him out.
Acts 9:30 When the brothers found out, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.
Acts 9:31 So the congregation throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Sacred Breath, it was being increased.

sent to strengthen

In just a few short verses, Saul travels from Damascus to Jerusalem to Caesarea to Tarsus. His missionary call would mean not settling in one area for a long time. In fact, it would take imprisonment for him to do that. He would also attract enemies wherever he went — part of what Jesus meant by “how much he must endure for my name” (9:16).

But wherever he went, the congregation of Christ experienced strength, encouragement and growth.

How much are we willing to endure so that Christ’s congregation can grow?

Lord, send us to strengthen your congregation.


Good, Reliable Data Hard to Find

Doctor Dispels Coronavirus Fears

‘99.8 Percent of People Get Through this with Little to No Progressive or Significant Disease’  

Hannah Bleau
Breitbart News

Dr. Dan Erickson, owner of Accelerated Urgent Care, spoke at Monday’s “White Coat Summit” on Capitol Hill as part of a greater effort to extinguish fears surrounding the Chinese coronavirus and reminded the public that “99.8 percent of people get through this with little to no progressive or significant disease.”

Erickson addressed the dominant narrative of rising cases of the virus within the U.S. and pointed out that it is causing undue fear.  “A case is a person, healthy, that tested positive. The vast majority. But the public hears cases and thinks, ‘Oh my goodness. These are sick people!’ No the vast majority — 99.8 percent of people get through this with little to no progressive or significant disease,” Erickson said.

The focus should not center on cases, he continued. Rather, the narrative should focus on hospitalizations and deaths that “are appropriately coded on a death certificate,” he said, stressing “appropriately coded.”

“This is the first time I’ve seen quarantining healthy,” he continued. “I don’t know if you guys think that’s normal. I find that very strange.”  While he said it was good that the U.S. prepared for the worse, Erickson said we must be “realistic with the response.”

“Who showed up? Most of the patients that were showing up for me were very mild illness,” he said, adding that he wanted to come out and “give reality to the situation on the ground and sort of help dispel some fear that people have had.”

Erickson also addressed the mass lockdowns across the country, explaining that they were “very successful,” but in all the wrong metrics.  He said:

Was the lockdown successful? I say yes very successful. Successful in things like this. Anxiety hotline calls up 1000 percent. Child abuse both sexual and non up. Financially, emotional distress, Suicide. Alcohol. 150,000 Americans a month not receiving cancer screening. It’s been effective alright, in all the wrong metrics — in all the areas we didn’t want it to be effective. Delay in medical care.

We talked about that. Orthopedics, nonessential. Suicide calls up 600 percent. Suicide calls. We heard other doctors mention this. So was the lockdown effective? If that’s the effect you were going for, then yes but it was trying to flatten the curve. . .  but it had these secondary consequences that I think are devastating. People staying indoors. No exercising as you mentioned. No Vitamin D.

“I’m watching people in their Prius by themselves driving with a mask on. There’s no sense to it,” he added. “It’s fear.”


The Fundamentals Must be Already Fixed and In Place

No More Betrayals

Sen. Josh Hawley Sets The Standard For Conservative Supreme Court Justices

‘If there is no indication in their record that at any time they have acknowledged that Roe was wrong at the time it was decided, then I’m not going to vote for them.’

Christopher Bedford
The Federalist

Social conservatives are done being taken for granted by the GOP: That’s the message Sen. Josh Hawley shot across the party and administration’s bow Sunday, setting a brave and admirable standard for Christian legislators that is sure to pit him against powerful Washington Republicans and Democrats.

“I will vote only for those Supreme Court nominees who have explicitly acknowledged that Roe v. Wade is wrongly decided.” Hawley told The Washington Post. “By explicitly acknowledged, I mean on the record and before they were nominated.”

“I don’t want private assurances from candidates. I don’t want to hear about their personal views, one way or another. I’m not looking for forecasts about how they may vote in the future or predictions. I don’t want any of that. I want to see on the record, as part of their record, that they have acknowledged in some forum that Roe v. Wade, as a legal matter, is wrongly decided.”

The junior senator from Missouri is a member of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, through which any of President Donald Trump’s potential future nominees to the Supreme Court must pass before being brought to the floor for a vote. Conservative judges have been a major point for this administration, beginning during the campaign when, working closely with The Federalist Society and The Heritage Foundation, Trump released a list of who he would nominate, exciting then-skeptical conservatives.

Since then, conservatives have been routinely disappointed by Republican-nominated justices, quietly complaining about the GOP and the powerful, conservative Federalist Society’s tendency to focus on justices who have established records of conservative and libertarian business and government rulings, but no firmly established record of rulings that protect either marriage or the lives of the unborn.

Wary of Democrat opposition and the screaming protests that often come with it, Republican nominees have practiced the habit of privately visiting with the senators whose votes they need for confirmation, promising they are personally opposed to abortion, et cetera.

This will no longer fly with him, Hawley told the Post Sunday: “Roe is central to judicial philosophy. Roe is and was an unbridled act of judicial imperialism. It marks the point the modern Supreme Court said, ‘You know, we don’t have to follow the Constitution. We won’t even pretend to try.’”

The decision puts him at odds with Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, both socially liberal Republicans who have pledged not to vote for a nominee openly opposed to Roe v. Wade. West Virginia Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito has also voiced pro-abortion views. Democrats, particularly Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, are known to push Republican nominees to say they oppose Roe v. Wade during confirmation hearings, operating under the tragically correct assumption that such a statement will galvanize liberal opposition and frighten Republican supporters.

Hawley’s stance also sets the 40-year-old rising star up for battle with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has made confirmations a priority and, like many other prominent Republicans, pays lip-service to social conservatives while avoiding putting his more vulnerable members in the difficult position of having to deliver on socially conservative issues.

To McConnell’s credit, he shocked conservative Republicans at the end of President Barack Obama’s second term, blocking Obama nominee Merrick Garland from the bench, saying it was too close to an election for such a far-reaching decision. This frightened Washington Republicans, who feared a President Hillary Clinton would successfully nominate an even more liberal justice than Obama had. Under McConnell’s near-singular focus, the Senate has confirmed 200 Trump nominees to courts across the country.

The Supreme Court, however, outraged Christians and conservatives in late June when Chief Justice John Roberts, a President George W. Bush appointee, sided with the pro-abortion side of the court, striking down a Louisiana law that mandated abortion clinics in the state be able to admit women to a hospital within 30 miles. The state has three clinics, The Washington Free Beacon reports, which perform 10,000 abortions a year. The law could have closed two of the clinics.

“After today’s disappointing decision by [Supreme Court],” Vice President Mike Pence tweeted that afternoon, “one thing is clear: We need more Conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court.”

“It’s maybe not the majority we thought it was,” President Trump told The Federalist’s Ben Domenech in an Oval Office interview just two days prior, and five days after Justice Neil Gorsuch joined Roberts and the left to use the court to extend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to groups it did not cover in legislation. Gorsuch, Trump’s first nominee to the court, was hotly anticipated by conservatives. “We’re just one justice away from losing the court, and the next four years, you get two, maybe three, maybe even four. You just need one, and then we lose the court and the country as we know it.”

“This standard, for me, applies to Supreme Court nominees, whether they’re a sitting judge or whatever,” Hawley said. “If there is no indication in their record that at any time they have acknowledged that Roe was wrong at the time it was decided, then I’m not going to vote for them — and I don’t care who nominates them.”

During the court’s 2018-2019 session, over 10 separate rulings, every one of the five Republican justices joined their liberal colleagues to deliver the left a five-four majority. “By contrast,” court reporter Kevin Daley wrote at the close of the session, “the conservative justices joined together to form a five-member majority in seven cases.”

“This is not an attempt to push forward a particular person,” Hawley said. “This is about where I’m going to be on Supreme Court nominees.”

Hawley, an economic populist and social conservative, is a favorite of the rising movement in the GOP, harking back to an older understanding of American conservatism best embodied in modern politics by Pat Buchanan and, now, Tucker Carlson.

Christopher Bedford is a senior editor at The Federalist, the vice chairman of Young Americans for Freedom, a board member at the National Journalism Center, and the author of The Art of the Donald. Follow him on Twitter.


from murder to mission

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from murder to mission

Acts 9:1-18 (JDV)

Acts 9:1 Now Saul was still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord. He went to the high priest
Acts 9:2 and requested letters from him to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any men or women who belonged to the Way, he might bring them tied up to Jerusalem.
Acts 9:3 As he traveled and was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him.
Acts 9:4 Falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you chasing me?”
Acts 9:5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul said. “I am Jesus, the one you are chasing,” he replied.
Acts 9:6 “But get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
Acts 9:7 The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the sound but observing no one.
Acts 9:8 Saul was raised up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing. So they took him by the hand and led him into Damascus.
Acts 9:9 He was unable to see for three days and did not eat or drink.
Acts 9:10 There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias, and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” “Notice I am here, Lord,” he replied.
Acts 9:11 “Get up and go to the street called Straight,” the Lord said to him, “to the house of Judas, and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, since he is praying there.
Acts 9:12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and placing his hands on him so that he may regain his sight.”
Acts 9:13 “Lord,” Ananias reacted, “I have heard from many people about this man, how much harm he has done to your devotees in Jerusalem.
Acts 9:14 And he has jurisdiction here from the chief priests to tie up all who call on your name.”
Acts 9:15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, because this man is my chosen instrument to take my name to Gentiles, kings, and Israelites.
Acts 9:16 I will show him how much he must endure for my name.”
Acts 9:17 Ananias went and entered the house. He placed his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road you were traveling, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Sacred Breath.”
Acts 9:18 At once something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and he was baptized.

from murder to mission

Saul went from breathing threats and murder to breathing in the Sacred Breath (Holy Spirit) because he had an encounter with Jesus. He changed from a murderer to a missionary. He changed from a person committed to causing suffering to a person committed to his Lord, enduring suffering. He had three days of blindness and prayer.

Would you be willing to spend three days in prayer to be a life-changing missionary like Paul? Even after his conversion experience on the Damascus road, Saul was not ready. He needed those three days of prayer and dependence. He needed the intervention of another missionary — Ananias — who was willing to go when and where God said go. He needed to be baptized as a Christian before he was ready to win others for Christ.

Lord, we want you to transform us from breathing out murder to breathing in your Holy Spirit.


If Trump Hit’s The Right Notes, It Will Be “All Over, Rover”

Critical to Trump’s Re-Election

5 Things Trump Should Start Running On Right Now

By this point in the election cycle, we should be hearing about the two candidates’ visions for the next four years. Trump should hammer these five things if he wants to beat Biden.

Kyle Sammin
The Federalist

The coronavirus pandemic and recession that followed make it hard for any other news to make it to the front page, but the end of the tragedy is in sight. Just this week, researchers at Oxford announced positive results in human trials for their vaccine. Even if we are not yet at the beginning of the end, we may be, as Winston Churchill once said, at the end of the beginning.

That means it might be time, at last, for the presidential campaign to focus on more than the pandemic. By this point in the election cycle, we should be hearing about the two candidates’ visions for the next four years.

Looking at President Trump’s statements and actions over the past few years, one can discern a pattern. Overall, it comes down to the idea of protecting American freedom in all its forms. Emphasizing these five themes of protection could summarize for voters what they would get from four more years of Trump in the White House.

1. Protecting American Jobs

If there is one way in which Trump departed from Republican orthodoxy in 2016, it was on trade protection. Maintaining this message is paramount. The importance of jobs and the meaning of work used to be recognized across party lines in America.

Increasingly, however, voices on the left are discarding the universal virtue of industriousness and advocating instead for a managed decline in which vast swaths of the populace are considered unemployable. Many moderates in both parties would respond to a message of getting more people off welfare and into jobs.

How could Trump sharpen this message for voters?
Managed trade has been his signature issue and his most consistent belief since the 1980s. Trump has been free in using temporary tariffs to gain concessions from communist China, but that and even the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement are just tinkering at the edges of free trade. He should declare the rules of the game have changed and work with Congress to erect tariff barriers on unfree economies such as China.

China outcompetes us on price because it uses state power to suppress wages, break unions, ignore environmental regulations, and operate state-owned businesses at a loss. Tariffs on China’s goods would not ban these products; it would merely put them on an equal footing with goods made in a free country. Beyond that, Trump and Congress should ban the import of goods produced with the slave labor of Uyghur prisoners, which we now know is increasingly common in China.

Many in Trump’s own party will call this an industrial policy, and they will be right. But our steadfast refusal to make such a policy does not mean we don’t have one. It means we have China’s industrial policy, imposed on us without our consent.

Replace that with a policy that favors American jobs and trade with countries that operate honestly, and Trump will have achieved the biggest part of his 2016 agenda. Many 2020 voters will appreciate that and understand the contrast with Joe Biden’s willful blindness on communist China.

2. Protecting the Border

Another signature 2016 campaign issue was Trump’s promise to enforce immigration laws. He has largely followed through on this policy, although mishandling of minors caught illegally immigrating significant damaged the administration. Arranging more humane detention centers and speeding up the judicial process for asylum claims could resolve that problem while keeping the promise of law enforcement.

All the Democrats had to do was be normal — promise to fix the detention centers and enforce the law efficiently. Instead, Biden and his party have campaigned on a decriminalization of illegal immigration, promising they would treat the crime of illegal entry into the United States as a minor civil offense, essentially no worse than jaywalking. Set against that, all Trump must do to appeal to an electoral majority is promise the vigorous enforcement of existing laws, a mainstream position.

Protecting the border ties in with protecting American jobs. Labor is not exactly like any other commodity, but the laws of supply and demand do affect it. A government that declines to enforce the law allows the labor supply to grow, with some of those laborers working under the table for less. That drives wages down and makes it harder for people who play within the rules, including both the native-born and those who immigrated here legally, to earn a living. Simply enforcing the law makes this a winning issue for Trump in 2020.

3. Protecting Family Life

Widespread lawlessness, attacks on our national symbols, and the economic consequences of the pandemic have all thrown American families for a loop. As institutions decay or actively turn against traditional family life, it becomes more difficult to hold a family together.

It is hard for the government to stand against the societal changes that caused many of these harms, but there are ways it can help. Trump has offered his support for the Cassidy-Sinema bill, a bipartisan proposal for a tax credit that would fund paid maternity leave.

The bill proposed by Sens. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Mike Lee, R-Utah, is an even better solution, but both are budget-neutral ways to help young families when they need it most. Our economy has changed to one in which two working parents is the norm, but Trump and these lawmakers recognize that economic concerns cannot always dictate family life.

Another burden on young families is the lack of schooling in the wake of the Wuhan virus pandemic. School districts across the nation are deciding what to do in September, with many declining to open full-time or even part-time. For parents, this creates an impossible situation in which they must educate children while working full-time and managing the household. People with au pairs and private tutors will get by, but the rest are sinking fast — especially those whose jobs are impossible to do from home.

Trump should continue to encourage schools to open safely. Universal public education once made up the nation’s premier formative institution. Now, public schools can barely keep their doors open. A six-hour Zoom call is no substitute for the classroom.

Federal powers in this area are limited (and should be), but Trump should continue to promote open schools and school choice. Let education dollars follow the child, not the school, and parents will be better able to provide education for their kids and begin to restore normalcy to that crucial part of American life.

4. Protecting Life

Another issue that brought voters to Trump’s side in 2016 was his promise to protect the right to life while his opponent was campaigning for the right to abortion on demand at any stage of a pregnancy. The country remains divided on the issue, but Democrats have gotten more radical, something that should hardly have been possible.

Biden’s flip-flop on the Hyde Amendment would have American taxpayers funding infanticide. Democrats have been explicit: Pro-life voters have no place in their party.

In the face of this barbarism, Trump has proved to be a steadfast, if unlikely ally. He is a late convert to the cause, and many pro-life conservatives doubted his commitment to the important issue in 2016. But whether out of political convenience or a true change of heart, the president has trumpeted the cause of life, even attending the March for Life this year, something no other president has ever done.

Any Republican president who falls short on this point would lose a considerable portion of his base. Trump has lived up to his promises in this area. To turn out the voters he needs to win in 2020, he must remind them of this point and contrast it with the increasing pro-abortion tilt of the Democrats.

5. Protecting the Constitution and the Rule of Law

Nearly every day, Biden or one of his campaign surrogates promises to do some disservice to the Constitution. They want to abolish the Electoral College, amend the First Amendment, ignore the Second Amendment, and impose blatantly unconstitutional taxes. This is nothing new. The courts and the Constitution were an important issue in 2016 too, and many Republicans who were otherwise skeptical of Trump voted for him to ensure one of the judges on his list would be appointed to the Supreme Court.

Even conservatives who disagree with Trump’s positions in other areas must admit he has been true to his word on judicial appointments. By naming capable, intelligent, originalist judges to the bench, Trump fulfilled the promise of 2016 and ensured a conservative legacy will outlive him. Emphasizing this in 2020 is essential to retain those same voters.

Trump should also challenge Biden to publish his own list of potential Supreme Court nominees. Let the voters see and compare the constitutional visions of the two candidates and determine for themselves which one is more likely to protect our Constitution and the rule of law.

The theme of the law will also draw a needed distinction between the two candidates. Lawlessness and riots in some of America’s cities show how a few radical criminals can make life intolerable for the masses. Peaceful protests should always be permitted, but violent rioting must end.

Where the riots involve federal crimes, this must include federal law enforcement. Trump cannot force mayors and governors to follow their laws, but where rioters attack federal officials or property, arrests in accordance with the rule of law must follow.

Sending the Right Message

All of this combines to make a coherent platform for a 21st-century Republican Party, and all of it aligns with things Trump has already done or said. Weaving it all together will help the campaign cut through the gaffe-a-day reporting that takes over election season and pushes substantive issues to the side.

But that requires message discipline from the campaign — and the president. Tweets send the message to the people over the heads of media interlocutors, but random, off-topic tweets are counterproductive and give the scandal-mongers what they want.

Carried out correctly, these five points of emphasis will present the American voters a real choice between two contending schools of thought, which is, after all, what elections are supposed to be.

Kyle Sammin is a lawyer from Pennsylvania, a senior contributor to The Federalist, and the co-host of the Conservative Minds podcast. Read some of his other writing at his website, or follow him on Twitter at @KyleSammin.