Among Trump-friendly conservatives, there seem to be essentially two strands of sentiment about who should be the Republican candidate for president in 2024. One strand says, “Donald Trump, assuming he runs and his health is good.”
The other strand exhibits various shades of dubiousness. Some profess admiration for what Trump accomplished in his first term, but lament his “divisiveness,” which they anatomize in various ways as a product of narcissism, impulsiveness, or simple bad character.
A few in this group blame the divisiveness not on Trump, but the people, inside his administration and out, who spent the entirety of Trump’s first term trying to undermine his presidency. A sizable segment of this dubious group would, truth be told, like to see the back of Donald Trump forever.
Just a year after the disputed 2020 election, states are in various stages of reforming election laws. Many of the same practices that angered conservatives are still in effect.
The Heritage Foundation published an Election Integrity Scorecard of all 50 states and the District of Columbia on their election laws. The scorecard examines voter ID implementation, the accuracy of voter registration lists, absentee ballot management, vote harvesting/trafficking restrictions, access of election observers, verification of citizenship, identification for voter assistance, vote counting practices, election litigation procedures, restriction of same-day registration, restriction of automatic registration, restriction of private funding of election officials or government agencies.
During a Just the News Special Report with Heritage Action for America and Real America’s Voice, HAFA Executive Director Jessica Anderson praised Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, and Texas for their efforts on election integrity reform this past year. Those states currently rank at no. 19 (tied with Mississippi and Pennsylvania), 4 (tied with Arkansas), 1, 11 (tied with Kentucky), and 6, respectively.
The following is an excerpt from “When Politicians Panicked: The New Coronavirus, Expert Opinion, and a Tragic Lapse of Reason” (Simon & Schuster, 2021).
Let’s travel back in time to March of 2020. It was then that predictions of mass death related to the new coronavirus started to gain currency. One study, conducted by Imperial College’s Neil Ferguson, indicated that U.S. deaths alone would exceed 2 million.
The above number is often used, even by conservatives and libertarians, as justification for the initial lockdowns. “We knew so little” is the excuse, and with so many deaths expected, can anyone blame local, state and national politicians for panicking? The answer is a resounding yes.
It would be an understatement to say that former President Donald Trump changed the Republican Party. Whatever one’s view of Trump, most observers can agree that Trump forced a break-up between the GOP and big business. Within conservative circles, debate persists over whether this is a good thing. On one side, writers like Oren Cass urge conservatives to embrace an essentially anti-free market approach. Even some Republican politicians, like Senator Josh Hawley, have expressed support for this path. On the other side, publications like the Washington Times and The Federalist call for conservatives to continue to support the free market. Others view the GOP as only selectively anti-big business, or using the idea for rhetorical purposes only.
Populism, Conservatism, and Trump
It is important to reflect on what has fueled this “anti-business” view in some conservative circles. To sum it up in one word: populism. It’s no secret that Trump’s political identity is centered around populism – but does populism always mean being anti-free market? Trump’s conservatism has been about more than just pro-tariff and anti-immigration policies. Under Trump, both inside and outside his administration, conservatives have pursued further privatizing education. The Trump administration made it easier for big business to classify workers as independent contractors, and conservative blogs attacked California for passing a law that did the opposite. The Trump administration pursued several policies that sought to reign in the Affordable Care Act.
People old enough to remember the academic culture wars of the late 1980s and early ’90s have a special insight into this year’s controversy over critical race theory. I don’t mean insight into the identity politics of the old days and into the identity politics of 2021, though the basic features are the same whether we are talking about the English syllabus in college in 1989 or the equity lesson in elementary school this fall. I mean, instead, the particular way in which liberals have handled the backlash once the trends in the higher education seminar of yore and in the 6th grade classroom of today have been made public.
Here’s what happened back then. In the 1970s and ’80s, a new political awareness crept into humanities teaching and research at elite universities, casting the old humanist ideals of beauty and genius and greatness as spurious myths, as socially constructed notions having a political purpose. We were told that they are not natural, neutral, or objective. No, they are Eurocentric, patriarchal, even theological (in that they presumed a transhistorical, universal character for select masterpieces). Shakespeare, Milton, Bernini, et al., were not on the syllabus because they were talents superior to all others. No, they were only there because the people in control were institutionalizing their biases. This whole canon thing, the revisionists insisted, was a fake. As Edward Said put it in “Secular Criticism,” “The realities of power and authority . . . are realities that make texts possible,” and any criticism that skirts the power and authority that put Shakespeare on the syllabus and not someone else is a dodge.
They could diversify, then. That’s what the skepticism enabled them to do. They could drop requirements in Western civilization. They needn’t force every student through a “great books” sequence. The “classics” are just one possibility among many others. That was the policy outcome at one tier-one campus after another.
Just before midnight on Wednesday, the Supreme Court issued an order denying injunctive relief to the Texas abortion providers who had sought to halt Texas’ new abortion law which prohibits abortions after an unborn baby’s heartbeat can be detected.
The majority opinion said the Court would not intervene because the plaintiffs had failed to demonstrate whether the defendants, including state judges, can or will seek to enforce the law against them. The five conservative justices in the majority, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, and Amy Coney Barrett, noted that federal courts have the power to enjoin people tasked with enforcing laws, and not laws themselves.
The Texas law gives citizens the power to sue abortion providers or anyone who “aids and abets” an abortion after six weeks gestation. This structure provided the legal technicality which allowed the near-ban on abortion to remain in effect.
On Monday, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a far-left hate group, announced a new initiative in conjunction with the online payment processor PayPal, aimed at targeting so-called “extremist and hate movements” on the platform, the Daily Caller reports.
The partnership is led by the ADL’s “Center on Extremism,” and will involve the ADL studying the use of PayPal’s services by alleged “extremists,” and sharing their findings with politicians and law enforcement, for the purpose of disrupting “the financial pipelines that support extremist and hate movements.” PayPal’s Chief Risk Officer Aaron Karczmer released a statement celebrating the new program as having the potential to make “an even greater impact than any of us could do on our own.”
PayPal has frequently and exclusively targeted conservatives in recent years, while ignoring actual extremism from the Left. Following the peaceful protests at the United States Capitol on January 6th, PayPal suspended its services for several organizations and individuals that paid for travel expenses for people attending the march, which was in protest of the widespread voter fraud that took place in the 2020 election. PayPal also banned the anti-terrorism website Jihad Watch in August of 2017, after Antifa and Black Lives Matter rioters attacked a peaceful right-wing protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, leading to the death of one left-wing protester.
As the 50th anniversary of the 1972 election approaches, it is time to reconsider the Watergate controversy that preceded and ultimately partially undid it. I’ve just completed a review for the New Criterion of Michael Dobbs’ new book about Watergate, King Richard. The book repeats endlessly, without any attempt at substantiation, that the Nixon presidency came apart and was righteously legally assaulted because of the infamous “cover-up” consisting mainly in the “hush money” Nixon authorized to be paid to Watergate defendants in order to “keep them quiet.” Once again, and as always, not one whit of evidence was presented in support of the argument that Nixon authorized these payments for any such purpose. It has passed into the universal history of the modern world that he did, but he always denied it. So did some of the defendants, and an exhaustive examination of the very extensive tapes and documents permits a different interpretation.
To the end of his life, Nixon claimed that he authorized the payments in order to assist the defendants in paying their legal bills and taking care of their families. This was particularly urgent in the case of Howard Hunt, whose wife died in an airplane crash shortly after the Watergate affair began. Nixon foresaw the zeal of hostile prosecutors and he knew that any jury in the District of Columbia would be hostile to Republicans. Moreover, as an experienced lawyer, he certainly knew that any large payments to groups of defendants obviously in exchange for silence or false testimony would be an open-and-shut case of obstruction of justice, and would qualify as a high crime justifying his impeachment, removal as president, and subsequent criminal prosecution. Yet this allegation is the core both of the impeachment charge against Nixon in 1974 and of the popularly accepted and endlessly repeated Watergate saga.
It is certainly time that Richard Nixon received balanced historical treatment. He must, of course, take principal responsibility for the disgrace and embarrassment of Watergate; he permitted, and at times encouraged, a tawdry atmosphere within the White House in which legalities were often treated a bit casually and Nixon rather self-servingly applied the Truman-Eisenhower latitudinarian version of national interest and the president’s practically unlimited right to define it. These were terrible tactical errors and no one can deny that Nixon paid heavily for them. But against that, and despite the fact that he was the first president since Zachary Taylor in 1848 to take office with neither house of Congress in the hands of his own party, Nixon enjoyed one of the most successful single terms in the history of the U.S. presidency.
The official “Conservative Case Against Banning Critical Race Theory” appeared in the New York Times last week. Penned by a progressive Yale professor, two non-progressives, and the allegedly conservative David French, the article claims state efforts to ban CRT undermine a good, free-thinking education. Others have dissected this silly claim in detail, so it’s not worth rehashing all of that here. What readers should take away from the Times op-ed is an increasing willingness among respectable conservatives to grant the idea of “systemic racism.” They believe there is nothing wrong with accepting this core tenet of modern liberalism and that it’s absolutely true.
Both meek “aw shucks” conservatives and “chest thumpers” conservatives are handing America over to woke activists, author Abigail Shrier claimed in a Monday Substack.
The journalist and author highlighted the successful work of anti-Critical Race Theory writer Christopher Rufo, who Shrier praised for speaking not to elites, but to Americans, by “gathering evidence and pointing out the glaring harm in clear, unapologetic (but never crass or rude) language.”
“Rufo is out there identifying the problem, alerting the public, and sounding all available alarms,” Shrier wrote. “If he hasn’t yet slain the beast, he has at least awakened American parents from their coma, convinced them that they cannot trust the teachers and administrators and school boards who treat children, not as students, but as recruits for their revolution.”
During the height of the pandemic, two college administrators from Clemson University used phony ticket reservations to suppress attendance at a conservative student event and bragged about it on Facebook.
The conservative group Turning Point USA’s local chapter hosted speakers Tomi Lahren, Brandon Tatum, and Graham Allen for an event on the South Carolina campus in April 2020.
The event was limited in capacity because of COVID-19, and people had to reserve tickets from a smaller pool in advance.
For Big Tech billionaires, these are the best of times, and the worst of times.
Why the best? Because the long arm of social media and online commerce has never reached further and deeper into Americans’ culture, spending habits, lifestyles, and worldview. Likewise, the net worth of these billionaires has risen to undreamed-of heights. COVID was, for tech barons, a blessing in disguise: it trapped Americans indoors, where they could do little else but browse the web, consume digital entertainment, and spend their stimulus dollars on imported Chinese doohickeys. Even as the dreaded virus has retreated, Big Tech has successfully locked in its gains.
Why the worst of times, though? The very rise of Big Tech has portended greater scrutiny. The debasement of Big Tech’s competitors and natural enemies—from brick-and-mortar stores to Trump supporters—has ensured that the drumbeat of criticism of social media companies and online retailers has never been more stridently percussive.
Facebook users are expressing shock and dismay after being spammed with messages touting a support group for people concerned about “extremists.”
“Are you concerned that someone you know is becoming an extremist?” the message begins. “We care about preventing extremism on Facebook. Others in your situation have received confidential support,” the message continues.
The Facebook message goes on to suggest that “you can help” by joining their support group. “Hear stories and get help from people who have escaped violent extremist groups,” the message concludes.
Republicans swept Texas’ mayoral elections over the weekend, relying on increased Hispanic support to win in large and mid-sized cities alike.
In Forth Worth, a city of just over 1 million, 37-year-old Republican Mattie Parker cruised to victory against Democrat Deborah Peoples, making her the youngest mayor in the city’s history, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. In McAllen, Texas, a border town of approximately 150,000 where 85% of residents are Hispanic, Republican Javier Villalobos became the first GOP mayor elected since 1997, Valley Central News reported.
Republicans were also victorious in Arlington, Texas, a suburb of 400,000 just outside Forth Worth. GOP candidate Jim Ross, a former police officer in the city, beat the Democratic candidate after campaigning on an anti-crime platform and earning endorsements from several police groups, according to the Star-Telegram.
In the face of the Far Left’s attempts to rewrite American history through the now-discredited 1619 Project and Critical Race Theory, Republicans and conservatives must reclaim the key dates and events in American history and there is no better place to start than Memorial Day 2021.
Memorial Day was created not as a “holiday” or an excuse for corporate merchants to advertise sales, but as a solemn commemoration of the dead of both sides in the American Civil War.
In that context Memorial Day commemorates a number of constitutional conservative values, not the least of which is the inviolability of the Constitution itself.
A foe of former President Donald Trump is leading the Biden Justice Department’s push to discredit or halt an election audit in Arizona’s largest county—an issue that is heating up this week.
Pamela S. Karlan, principal deputy assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, warned the leader of the Arizona state Senate that the audit of Maricopa County’s election results in November could run afoul of federal law regarding security of voter information and voter intimidation.
President Joe Biden, who appointed Karlan, narrowly defeated Trump in Arizona, where Maricopa County was a crucial battleground.
It’s a contentious time for conservatives in the publishing industry, and it’s a contentious time for publishing houses working with those in the conservative industry.
“As the cancel culture has revved up, the pressure has heated up on all of these big New York publishers,” says Marji Ross, the former president of conservative Regnery Publishing.
In recent months, New York publishing house Simon & Schuster has canceled Missouri GOP Sen. Josh Hawley’s forthcoming book about Big Tech, decided not to distribute a book written by the Louisville police officer who was shot while executing a no-knock warrant at the home of Breonna Taylor, signed a $3-4 million deal with former Vice President Mike Pence, and received a letter from more than 215 members of its staff demanding that the company not publish any books written by members of the Trump administration.
Conservative activists gathered in-person to protest at a Bed Bath & Beyond store in California, in opposition to the company’s decision to cancel all MyPillow products due to the CEO’s support for President Trump, according to Breitbart.
The group consisted of members of the Media Action Network, an activism group founded by former Fox News executive Ken LaCorte. As part of the protest, the gathered members pretended to shop through the store, filling up their carts with various products, before leaving the filled carts behind throughout the store and leaving. They left behind brochures urging the chain to “stop promoting cancel culture,” and bring back MyPillow products.
For those making their arguments about whether Section 230 should be repealed or reformed to protect conservatives on social media, it’s time to declare that this ship sailed long ago. Most of the world has now come to accept that these monolithic platforms can remove people or their content at will. The banning of President Trump and a host of other conservatives from all major platforms has proven this point beyond dispute.
It was entirely expected that the worst year in my lifetime should have the worst election in my lifetime. Not because the second-best president in my lifetime (after Ronald Reagan) lost, but because we don’t know for sure that he did. I would rather be certain that the ghost of Joe Biden won outright than see the greatest nation on Earth embarrass itself like Venezuela. Sadly, the unprecedented goalpost-shifting and manipulation by the Left, bolstered by the usual obsequious accommodation by the Right, has created a national humiliation that will fester for a long time to come, no matter who gets inaugurated in January. Should that be Biden, I shall leave it to more expert political analysts to dissect the cause and effects of such a disaster, while I’ll focus on the cultural, media, and artistic ramifications. And I’ll start with the most astonishing example of media suicide in my lifetime — that of the Fox News Corporation (FNC).
We all should probably acknowledge that we Americans, in many ways, have become an unserious people. No serious civilization and society would allow a fraction of what is taking place here—from the absurdity of our education system to the dominance of big tech monopolies to our current form of elections. A list of our nation’s follies demonstrating our unseriousness would fill pages. But it’s not just about the American people as a whole: conservatism is an unserious movement (if one can even call what exists a movement), and Republicans are deeply, deeply unserious as a political party.
It is no coincidence that what finally broke the Soviet Union was a Catholic trade union — a group of shipyard workers, led by an electrician and motivated by a faith that their oppressors deemed an opiate.
Christianity and its sweeping social vision enlivened the workers in Gdansk and their entire nation and, a decade later, a totalitarian superpower claiming to speak on behalf of all workers around the world had vanished. The forbidden revolution of workers bound together in solidarity around a shared vision of dignity, work, and the common good did what tanks and armed divisions had failed to do: it ended communism and gained freedom for millions.
Officials at the U.S. embassy in Kiev ordered the monitoring of 13 prominent Americans’ social media accounts during the early days of the Ukraine scandal in spring 2019 and later were informed their activities potentially violated the Privacy Act, according to State Department memos made public on Tuesday.
The memos, released under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by the conservative watchdog Judicial Watch, show those targeted for monitoring included President Trump’s eldest son, Don Jr., the president’s personal lawyer and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and Fox News personalities Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Lou Dobbs. This reporter was one of the 13 individuals on the list targeted.
In a ruling that shocked conservatives and religious liberty advocates, the Supreme Court, in a 6-3 vote, ruled Monday that a key provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects gays, lesbian and transgender people from discrimination in employment.
The court held that a key provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 known as Title VII that bars job discrimination because of sex, among other reasons, encompasses bias against LGBT workers.
In a 2008 TED Talk, psychologist Jonathan Haidt said the worst idea in psychology is the notion that humans are born as a “blank slate.”
Like the cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker, Haidt was rejecting the notion that the human mind is a blank slate at birth, an idea that can be traced to thinkers from Aristotle, to John Locke, to B.F. Skinner and beyond.
A conservative free-market group hopes to convince Amazon, the world’s largest retailer, not to rely on the Southern Poverty Law Center as a gatekeeper for its philanthropic giving.
The scandal-plagued SPLC, a left-wing advocacy organization, routinely labels mainstream center-right organizations as “hate groups” on a list that includes actual hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan or neo-Nazis.
Google acknowledged nixing an internal racial justice program Wednesday, and some employees believe the company did it fearing lawsuits from “right-wing employees,” according to an NBC News report.
The company ended Sojourn in 2019, claiming the program designed to teach about racial injustice was too difficult to expand beyond the United States, NBC News reported Wednesday. Current and former employees, however, told NBC the program ended because Google feared backlash in the wake of former software engineer James Damore’s 2018 lawsuit that accused the company of ideological discrimination.
Even as Donald Trump continues to frustrate #TheResistance after three years of ceaseless fabrication and hysteria, conservatives must not forget just how close they are to the edge. We have a defender in the White House, but the social ideas of the Left prevail in nearly every other elite and cultural space in the United States.
Barack Obama launched his meteoric political rise in 2004 by plagiarizing a message published in my 1991 essay, “Black and White Together: A Reconsideration,” which was included in the book Reassessing Civil Rights. Unfortunately, while Obama embraced the winning rhetoric, he did not embrace the argument. Otherwise, he would have transformed the political character of our nation. For the first thing he would have done would have been to lead the Democratic Party away from its practice of maintaining political ghettos for minorities.
Conservatives need to do a better job on the environment. That seems like a controversial thing to say, because usually when you hear a conservative speak positively about an issue closely identified with liberalism, it is the precursor to a sellout of conservative principles. How many times have you read an essay claiming to make “the conservative case” for some profoundly anti-conservative project like voting for Hillary Clinton or government-run healthcare?
Research finds that conservatives on average earn higher GPAs and test scores in high school, but ultimately receive lower GPAs in college when compared to their liberal classmates, at least partly due to liberal ideological bias. This grade discrepancy is even more evident in the humanities and social sciences, as compared to the more objective STEM fields.
by Pedro Gonzalez The late Edward Abbey, an irascible and irreverent American environmentalist, took aim at the immigration ideologues in terms still relevant for our time: “The conservatives love their cheap labor; the liberals love their cheap cause.” In other words, if the Republican Party and the Democratic Party…