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The Final 2020 Election Results Show that Despite a Divided Nation, Social Conservatives Won Big

by Connor Semelsberger

February 19, 2021

The 2020 election cycle has finally come to a close with Anthony Brindisi conceding his loss to Claudia Tenney in the contentious race to represent New York’s 22nd Congressional District. Claudia Tenney now reclaims the seat she held in Congress from 2017-2018 by a mere 109 votes. This close election victory is the cherry on top for what now appears to be the narrowest election results in recent history.

In 2020, Democrats won the presidency, U.S. Senate, and U.S. House, taking back full control of the federal government only four years after Republicans did the same thing in 2016. This last election cycle showed just how divided the nation is, as The Washington Post recently reported that only 90,000 votes nationwide separated the current Democratic controlled federal government from one that is completely controlled by Republicans.

Tenney’s victory adds to the already strengthened Republican minority in the House of Representatives. Not only does this narrow the Democrat majority even further, but Tenney now adds to the record setting number of female Republican Members of Congress. There are now 30 female Republicans in the House, breaking the previous record of 25.

In the 2020 elections, Republicans had been elected to 213 House seats, however the tragic passing of Luke Letlow (LA-5) and Ron Wright (TX-6) has left two of those seats vacant. Democrats also have three potential vacancies due to Cedrick Richmond (LA-2), Deb Haaland, (NM-1), and Marcia Fudge (OH-11) all being nominated to positions in the Biden administration. These changes make the current Democratic House majority a slim 219-211 split. 

In the Senate, Democrats have an even narrower majority working with a 50-50 Senate that is controlled by Democrats since Vice President Kamala Harris serves as the President of the Senate and has the authority to break ties. The 50-50 Senate split was made possible by the narrow victories of Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock in the Georgia runoff elections in January.

The good news is that those elected officials who fight for faith, family, and freedom won big this election. One hundred six of the 117 House candidates endorsed by FRC Action won—that’s a 91 percent success rate. Even better, all 74 of the incumbent House members that scored a 100 percent on the FRC Action Scorecard won re-election. Champions of social values saw similar success in the Senate as 15 of the 18 senators with perfect scores on our scorecard won re-election and over 75 percent of the candidates endorsed won their race. While elections overall were the closest they have been in years, those candidates that were willing to stand up for life, family, and religious freedom won handily.

The 2020 elections have led to the smallest governing majority for Democrats since Woodrow Wilson was president in 1917! A mere six votes (five in the House and one in the Senate) now make the difference between Democrats passing their radical liberal agenda or not. It may seem like discouraging times when one party controls so much of the federal government, but the 2020 election results demonstrate clearly that all votes matter. Whether it’s one vote in the Senate to stop a $1.9 trillion COVID relief package from funding abortion businesses, or one vote in an Iowa congressional race that was decided by six, we must continue to Pray, Vote, and Stand.

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5 Actions Steps for Christians Following the 2020 Election

by Chris Curry

February 4, 2021

Frustration continues to rank high for many conservatives and Christians following this last election cycle. With so many conflicting messages, people are at a loss for how to proceed in this new reality where the truth is more difficult to identify and discern. We know changes are needed in our election process, but there are many questions about how we can individually affect change. The reality is that the more Christians engage, the more significantly we will impact future outcomes. If guided by God, we can participate in the beginnings of something remarkable over the next couple of years. Here are five areas where we can individually and collectively make a difference:

1. We need to work in our home states to clean up the election process.

Under the Constitution, state legislatures are responsible for developing laws regarding elections. In our republic, officeholders serve under the consent of the governed; that’s us.

Presently, Republicans control most state legislatures, but some need our help to do the right thing. We can work with legislators to rid states of easily manipulated voting systems and then promote in-person paper ballots with stringent photo and signature verification. Regarding absentee ballots, the best practices include signature verification from a notary public.

Finally, we can serve as election judges and encourage laws that require multiple people of different political parties to monitor the counting of every ballot.

2. As Christians, we must know and understand the Bible and what God says on issues.

Perhaps the biggest reason we are in today’s situation is because of biblical illiteracy. We hear about rendering unto Caesar and God accordingly and seem to conclude that we should compartmentalize our faith from culture. Meanwhile, we ignore biblical characters like Moses, Nathan, Daniel, John the Baptist, and Paul, who stood against political figures and counseled them.

Too many Christians subscribe to a religion based more on emotion than the truth, but our God is both emotional and rational. Long-term relationships endure when we know the heart and mind of the other person. Relationships based on emotional infatuation are fleeting. When our emotions and intellects are rooted in deep biblical understanding, our minds will keep things in check when someone presents a counterfeit message. To know the mind of God, we must understand the word of God.

3. We need to engage through our local churches in a winsome and loving manner.

Significant numbers of congregational members do not believe abortion, same-sex marriage, or even homosexual activities are contrary to biblical teaching. And if they do recognize the concern, they don’t want us to talk about those issues.

The problem with this is that when we come to Christ, he changes us; we become more like him. Romans 12:2 tells us, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Too many people are inclined to allow their sympathy for a friend’s struggle with sin to supersede their belief in God’s ability to deliver them from that sin. When we communicate Christ’s redemption without repentance, we do a grave disservice.

In churches, well-meaning people claim “you can’t legislate morality” but fail to acknowledge that every law, from speed limits to murder prohibitions, is rooted in a collective moral code. When confronted with this rationale, they explain that it’s wrong to force the Bible on others but then fail to recognize that our Founders believed our Constitution would only work for a people who first subscribed to biblical truth and its teachings.

When we work with our church leaders and members, we can better help them identify false teachings.

4. We must know our Constitution and the writings of the Founders.

I contend that the second-biggest reason our country is in its present state is because we don’t know what our Founders said and believed. No words crafted by man, used in the birth of a nation, can compare to our Constitution and other founding documents. If we read and study the Declaration of Independence, the Federalist Papers, the Constitution, and other writings by our Founders, we will conclude they believed in God. We will also understand that most of them had a deep abiding Christian faith.

5. We need to encourage good Christians to run for office, be it school boards, city councils, mayor, county, state, and federal offices.

Then we need to turn out in mass to support them. Maybe you need to run for one of these positions. We must be diligent, though, because many of these elections do not follow the same calendar as Presidential and U.S. Congressional elections.

We didn’t arrive at this point overnight but through the long erosion that occurred while we lazily took our eye off the country and played. If we are to emerge from this, we must be diligent, tenacious, and hold to the truth while being guided by the Holy Spirit. It will not be comfortable; it will not be easy. We will face opposition in areas never suspected.

We need to continue following 2 Chronicles 7:14 as we seek individual and collective forgiveness from God. If our republic is to continue, revival must happen first among those who call on the name of Christ. If Christians genuinely repent and remain faithful to God’s calling and participation in his Great Commission, revival may then spread beyond his church and into a great awakening across this land.

Do not be discouraged. Do not disengage. If breath fills our lungs, God has more work for us to complete that will benefit ours and succeeding generations. We must stand and be counted before God and man as we accomplish the tasks at hand. As Nehemiah sought to do in his day, we have a wall to rebuild, and watchmen are needed to stand guard upon it.

Chris Curry is the Director of Broadcast Relations at Family Research Council.

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For Every Election, There Is Usually an Equal and Opposite Re-Election

by Matt Carpenter

February 3, 2021

With Democrat control in both chambers of Congress and the White House, our country is bracing for a full-on radical leftist offensive in our federal government. Religious freedom and protections for the unborn and the family will come under assault by an unchecked liberal order in our nation’s capital—for at least the next two years, that is, until the midterm elections in 2022 when Americans can choose new members of Congress to weaken this liberal government.

There is no doubt our federal government will certainly implement new policies, rescind previous policies, and fund projects antithetical to the values we hold dear. Despite this, we must remember we can moderate this radicalism in our federal government by voting for candidates at the state and local level that affirm our biblical values. Every vote matters.

When the federal government goes off the rails and embraces radical leftism, as it did in 2008 after the election of Barack Obama and the reelection of a Democrat Congress, it is the states that wind up being a bulwark against the total top-to-bottom saturation of leftist policy in American life. Even the left-wing website Vox, noticing the sharp increase in pro-life laws at the state-level, had to admit as much in 2015, writing:

Abortion rights activists have long cheered Barack Obama’s presidency as a “historic victory for women’s health.” But the reality has been rather different. Since 2010, getting an abortion in America has become significantly harder.

States passed a record 205 abortion restrictions between 2011 and 2013, more than the entire 30 years prior. As a result, many abortion providers are closing down. One survey, from pro-life group Operation Rescue, estimates that 87 separate locations ceased to perform surgical abortions in 2013. These changes are a clear result of pro-life mobilization in the Obama era.

You’ve no doubt heard of Isaac Newton’s “Third Law of Motion”: “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” When pro-abortion, anti-religious freedom, and anti-family forces assume control of our federal government, there is a necessary reaction. In electoral terms, this means states with pro-life, pro-family, pro-faith majorities and governors can and will act—as we saw following the 2010 midterms. Your vote matters. Up and down the ticket, you have an opportunity to elect candidates who will either harm or advance biblical values at the federal or state level.

In state legislatures, every vote really matters. Sometimes, just a handful of votes can separate the winner and loser. Just ask Virginia Delegate David Yancey, a Republican, who in 2019 won a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates by having his name pulled out of a ceramic bowl. His opponent had originally “won” with one vote, but after a three-judge panel weighed in, the race became a tie—which, in Virginia law, triggers pulling a candidate’s name out of a bowl. Yancey’s name was pulled out of the bowl, and the GOP retained a slim 51-49 control of the state house.

According to Ballotpedia, in the most recent 2020 elections, there were 30 state legislative seats determined by 100 votes or less—of which, 15 went to the incumbent, 13 to the GOP candidate, and just two to the Democrat candidate. These candidates will impact policy in the short term, and potentially, could go on to higher office at the state or federal level. Winning state legislative seats now is imperative for winning federal (or statewide) seats in the future.

In 2018, Ballotpedia noted that 88 state legislative seats were determined by 0.5 percent or less of the vote. Values voters should be aware of who represents them not just in the White House and in Congress, but also at the state level. If you live in a district where a candidate who opposes your values represents you in your state capitol, and that candidate was one of the 88 who won by 0.5 percent or less in 2018, your vote could be determinative of whether or not they return to the state capitol to harm the values you hold dear.

If you are feeling discouraged by the results of the presidential contest and the two Georgia run-off elections, you should remain optimistic that state legislatures provide a real opportunity to temper the extremism of our national government. Your vote matters, up and down the ballot. While Congress and the White House may pose challenges to our biblical values in the short term, we can be optimistic that state legislatures will provide a necessary opposition to the complete metastasizing of leftism immediately and provide a bench of possible alternative members of Congress for the future.

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Are U.S. Senate Candidate Rev. Warnock’s Views Consistent with the Bible?

by FRC Action

December 4, 2020

As the dust begins to settle after the 2020 election, control of the Senate is still up in the air. How? In Georgia, there is a special run-off election scheduled for January 5th which will decide which two candidates will represent the state in the Senate. These two seats will determine which party or ideological agenda will control the Senate for the next two years.

As of right now, come January 2021, Republicans will hold 50 seats in the Senate while Democrats will hold 46 seats. Since there are two seats held by Independents who caucus with the Democrats (former presidential hopeful Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Maine Senator Angus King), in terms of ideological divide, the Senate could be split 50/50 if Democrats win both of the Georgia Senate seats still up for grabs. In the case of a 50/50 split in the Senate, the Vice President becomes the tie-breaking vote. If Kamala Harris is our VP, it is clear she would align herself with her former Senate caucus, the Democrats.

Clearly, these two special run-off elections are crucial and everybody has their eyes on Georgia as 2020 comes to a close. One of the candidates running for a Georgia Senate seat is Reverend Raphael Warnock, current Pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, which is well-known as being previously pastored by civil rights hero Martin Luther King Jr. Although Rev. Warnock is a pastor, it does not mean Christians should support him in the voting booth.

For one, Rev. Warnock received his M. Div and additional Doctoral degrees from Union Theological Seminary. Union is a prominent, theologically liberal seminary that made news in recent years by conducting chapel services where students confess and apologize to plants for harming them and worship ice as a “brother.” In addition to his concerning theological training, his campaign and election promises are fundamentally at odds with the teachings of the Bible.

For example, he fully supports abortion in all circumstances and has been endorsed by NARAL and Planned Parenthood. Per his campaign website, he promises, if elected, to oppose any attempt to defund Planned Parenthood and that he will support Roe v. Wade as well as judicial nominees who support it. In an interview, he went so far as to say that abortion and the support of it is “consistent” with his faith. When asked if abortion is consistent with God’s view and endorsed by God, he responded that “human agency and freedom is consistent” with his views. While God certainly created humans with free will, the Bible is very clear that the intended and proper use of human autonomy is to obey and glorify God. In fact, Paul and Peter both wrote about this topic in their respective epistles. In Galatians 5:13, Paul writes, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh.” Likewise, in 1 Peter 2:16, Peter writes, “live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.”

Another way Rev. Warnock’s views diverge from the Bible is in regards to the topic of marriage and sexuality. On his campaign website, he promises to vote in support of the Equality Act and explicitly states his support of the LGBTQ agenda. He has argued that the concept of religious freedom is often no more than “a thinly veiled means to codify anti-LGBTQ+” views and legislation. He claims that Christians who oppose the LGBTQ agenda “abuse the name of God” and “present a false choice between religious freedom and LGBTQ people.” While Christians are supposed to love everyone, we cannot condone what the Lord calls sin. The choice between religious freedom and LGBTQ people is not a false choice as Warnock claims it is, especially when it comes to the Equality Act which elevates the rights of LGBTQ people over and above the right of Christians and other religious people to live according to their faith. 

As Christians, we must be vigilant in evaluating all claims, arguments, political candidates, and their platforms against the Word of God. The label of “Christian” or “Pastor” is not enough to guarantee that something or someone is speaking the truth. Let us pray to God for wisdom and devote ourselves to studying and meditating on the Bible, so that we may know what God says, discern what is good and true, and live accordingly.

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Conservative Values Won Big Across America, Except in Contested Swing States

by Connor Semelsberger

November 20, 2020

The 2020 election revealed many interesting trends. Most notably, it revealed a number of unexpected conservative victories in federal and state elections. From the suburbs of Miami, Los Angeles, and Cincinnati to key races in Iowa and Montana, Republicans held onto key seats or made substantial gains despite millions of dollars in spending by Democrats. Yet despite these positive results, with ample opportunity to win similar races in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Nevada, Republicans came up short in these states. What explains this?

One of the biggest headlines from the 2020 election was President Donald Trump’s increased number of votes in major urban areas across the country, including substantial gains among the Latino community, especially in Florida. President Trump improved his percentage of the vote from 2016 in Chicago, Cleveland, Buffalo, Toledo, and even Portland and Seattle. These gains propelled President Trump to capturing north of 73 million votes nationwide, even beating President Obama’s record-setting popular vote total in 2008.

Republican candidates down ballot also had several major victories: 

  • Florida – Republicans flipped two U.S. House seats and made gains in the state legislature.
  • Iowa – Joni Ernst won her tightly contested Senate race and Republicans picked up one and potentially two U.S. House seats.
  • New Hampshire – Republicans lost competitive U.S. House races but flipped both state legislative chambers.
  • Montana – Republicans held onto the U.S. Senate and House seats and flipped the Governorship.
  • Texas – John Cornyn won his Senate race, and Republicans kept control of both state legislative chambers despite aggressive Democrat challenges.
  • California and New York – Republicans have flipped at least one seat in each state and are on track to take back several more.

Republicans outperformed expectations in nearly every state, except the key battlegrounds that continue to have election integrity questions and will ultimately decide the final outcome of the electoral college.

There were very similar opportunities for Republican success in down-ballot federal and state races; however, they all came up short in these states. 

  • Arizona – Incumbent Senator Martha McSally lost her race, and Republicans failed to pick up either competitive U.S. House seats outside of Phoenix.
  • Georgia – Both Sen. David Perdue and Sen. Kelly Loeffler failed to secure 50 percent of the votes, triggering runoff elections. Also, Republicans failed to pick-up a competitive U.S. House seat in the Atlanta suburbs and lost a nearby seat, the only Democrat pickup not caused by redistricting.
  • Michigan – John James failed to unseat incumbent Sen. Gary Peters in a very close race and Republicans failed to pick up either of the two competitive U.S. House seats covering Oakland and Wayne counties outside of Detroit.
  • Nevada – Republicans had very strong challengers in two U.S. House seats just outside of Las Vegas, but both came up short to the Democrat incumbents.
  • Pennsylvania – Republicans held two competitive U.S. House Seats. However, they failed to pick off any of the three vulnerable Democrats in districts outside the major population centers of Allentown, Pittsburgh, and Scranton.

The geographic and demographic analysis of these key states reveals a lot. Urban and suburban districts in regions across the country turned favorably for Republicans, causing House districts to flip and President Trump to secure key swing states like Florida, Iowa, and Ohio. Having campaigned on law and order in response to the civil unrest throughout the summer, it makes sense why Republicans saw their prospects improve in these areas. However it is odd that these gains happened nearly everywhere in the country except for the key battlegrounds states, especially when President Trump campaigned almost exclusively in these states in the final days. National Review did address outliers for Joe Biden’s performance in several major cities, but no piece has fully captured how Trump performed compared to his 2016 totals and the impact on down ballot races in key urban and suburban centers.

One answer may be that President Trump’s message just did not resonate with the swing voters in these key battlegrounds or that there was a much stronger anti-Trump sentiment that turned out for Biden. That may be true to some degree. Yet why did geographically and demographically-similar cities and regions swing even more favorably for President Trump? The rust belt cities of Buffalo, Cleveland, Toledo, Chicago, and Gary, Indiana saw President Trump improve his vote totals, and in some cases saw Biden lose support compared to past Democrat presidential candidates. Compare those cities to Pittsburgh and Milwaukee, where Joe Biden beat Barack Obama’s unprecedented totals from 2008 and Trump underperformed, even losing support in the blue collar pro-coal, pro-steel city of Pittsburgh. When we compare them, something is amiss.

Another theory is that conservative values are gaining traction in unlikely areas, but voters just did not like Trump and his personality and so voted against him. However, if that were the case, then it would have been likely that at least one U.S. Senate or House seat would have gone in Republicans’ favor in either Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, or Pennsylvania. Instead, Democrats won nearly every close race. 

It is not clear what this contrast between the presidential results and the down ballot races in key swings states means, but it certainly exists. If voter fraud were occurring, that could help explain it. There continue to be allegations of targeted voter fraud in these key swing states; allegations are currently being resolved by courts and state legislatures.

Whatever the ultimate explanation, these seemingly strange outcomes in down ballot races deserve to be analyzed and explained.

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The Media Still Doesn’t Get It: Conservatives Tend to Vote Conservative

by Dan Hart

November 6, 2020

Four years after one of the most shocking presidential upsets in American history, and three days after another election that is too close to call, a vast swath of the mainstream media still has not figured out (or perhaps simply chooses not to acknowledge) why almost half of American voters filled in the oval for Donald Trump.

While it is certainly true that the motivations of Trump voters remain diverse, the primary motivating factor is as plain as day: millions of Americans are conservative, and they in fact voted for a president that has enacted conservative policies. This isn’t rocket science.

Two recent articles in The Atlantic particularly highlight how myopic, and even dangerously prone to vilification (as will be discussed later) so many mainstream media writers remain. In an otherwise insightful analysis of the state of our country, George Packer refers to Trump rallies as “red-drenched festivals of mass hate.” Hmmm. It seems that Mr. Packer has himself fallen prey to becoming, in his own words, an “influential journalist” who “continue[s] to fail to understand how most of their compatriots think, even as these experts spend ever more of their time talking with one another on Twitter and in TV studios.”

Does Mr. Packer really think that those thousands of people who attend Trump rallies are full of “hate”? Or could it be that they simply appreciate Trump for his public policy accomplishments that have helped keep blue collar jobs in America and unemployment low by deregulating the economy, supported the family and religious liberty, respected the value of the unborn, etc.?

Then there is “A Large Portion of the Electorate Chose the Sociopath” by Tom Nichols. Over and over again, without citing any actual proof, Mr. Nichols and many others on the Left continue to carry on the narrative that a massive swath of Trump voters are driven primarily by racism. Mr. Nichols makes this stunningly nauseating assertion: “The politics of cultural resentment, the obsessions of white anxiety, are so intense that his voters are determined not only to preserve minority rule but to leave a dangerous sociopath in the Oval Office.”

Is it possible that intelligent intellectuals like Mr. Nichols, who holds a Ph.D. from Georgetown, actually believe in their heart of hearts, that racism, not policy, is what is driving Trump voters? Again, without citing any actual evidence, he asserts that “far too many of Trump’s voters don’t care about policy.” Once more, Mr. Nichols has apparently not bothered to notice the policies that President Trump has put in place, policies that reflect the goals of the Republican Party platform on protecting the unborn, preserving religious liberty, advocating for school choice, promoting free enterprise and job growth through deregulation, appointing originalist judges, etc.

Millions of American voters also saw through the false façade that Biden is somehow a “political centrist,” as Mr. Nichols described him. How does a “centrist” run on “the most progressive platform of any Democratic nominee in the modern history of the party”? That’s a quote from a Democratic operative in The Atlanticthe very publication that Mr. Nichols is writing for. How does a centrist have a vice presidential nominee that is, according to the left-leaning Newsweekmore liberal than Bernie Sanders, and who openly advocates for public policy that enforces equality of outcome?

But beyond the patent dishonesty of this kind of writing, something much more dangerous is occurring here. The Atlantic is continuing to publish opinion pieces that grossly and disturbingly mischaracterize and demean the motivations behind Trump voters, which will only further demonize conservatives in the minds of liberals, further contributing to the breakdown in mutual respect and assumption of good faith that is critical for a functioning democracy.

Having said that, all of us, whether conservative or liberal, have a lot of work to do in order to assume that most of our fellow compatriots hold their political views in good faith—because they honestly think they are what is best for our country.

The mainstream media, though, which has so much power to shape prevailing patterns of thought, has a particularly important responsibility to do better in this area. If George Packer, Tom Nichols, and the vast majority of their mainstream media colleagues did some actual research into the true motivations of most Trump voters, they just might discover that they are actually pretty ordinary: decent, hardworking people who simply want to preserve America as a free republic.

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Historical Precedent Suggests That Trump Is on the Right Side of History

by Peter Sprigg

October 30, 2020

The closer we get to Election Day, the more intently many people are examining polls in an effort to determine the likely outcome of the presidential race between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

On the one hand, Biden has held a consistent lead in the average of national polls on the website RealClearPolitics. The same website’s aggregation of state polls suggest a significant lead for Biden in the electoral college vote as well.

On the other hand, similar indicators four years ago pointed to a Hillary Clinton victory—yet in the end, she lost in the (decisive) electoral college, despite winning the popular vote. These comparisons are keeping Trump supporters hopeful, and Biden supporters on edge.

However, there is another way of predicting the outcome that has nothing to do with polls. Instead, it has to do with repeating patterns of history.

There is one such pattern that I have never seen anyone describe. It is this: since the 1951 ratification of the 22nd Amendment, which limited the president to a maximum of two terms, we have had an almost unbroken pattern of the two major parties, Republican and Democratic, alternating in their control of the White House every eight years.

After the first president, George Washington, voluntarily stepped down after serving two terms, subsequent presidents had followed that tradition. First elected in 1932, Franklin Roosevelt broke with that tradition when he sought, and won, a third term in 1940. He was then re-elected to a fourth term in 1944—but died shortly after it began, in 1945. The 22nd Amendment, introduced in 1947 and ratified by 1951, ensured that no future president would be able to maintain a similar hold on the office.

People of my (baby boom) generation have witnessed convulsive events such as the assassination of one president (Kennedy) and the resignation of another (Nixon), plus two who were impeached but not convicted (Clinton and Trump). During the period from 1968 to 1992, in a stretch of seven presidential elections, four of them featured an incumbent eligible for re-election who was not re-elected: Johnson (1968) chose not to run; Ford, who succeeded Nixon, was defeated (1976); as were Carter (1980) and George H. W. Bush (1992) in their reelection bids.  

Nevertheless, beginning with the Republican Eisenhower (serving 1953-61), Democrats Kennedy and Johnson (1961-69), and Republicans Nixon and Ford (1969-77), and ending with the more recent occupants of the White House Bill Clinton (1993-2001), George W. Bush (2001-2009), and Barack Obama (2009-2017), the eight-year cycle of party control has mostly held.

Since a Republican, President Trump, has currently occupied the White House for only four years, this pendulum swing pattern of history points toward his reelection, giving Republicans control of the White House until the 2024 election.

In the 64-year period from 1953-2017—16 four-year presidential terms—there has been only a single exception to this pattern of eight years in, eight years out, in terms of partisan control of the White House.

That exception was Republican Ronald Reagan’s defeat of Democrat Jimmy Carter’s bid for reelection in 1980, after only four (not eight) years of Democratic control of the White House.

The question, then, is—does 2020 resemble 1980?

There’s no question that 2020 has been an exceptional year. The coronavirus pandemic, and the unrest in American cities following the death of George Floyd (and other African Americans) as a result of police action will make this year go down in history. But what does that mean for the election?

Does incumbent President Donald Trump resemble Jimmy Carter? In personality, the soft-spoken Carter and the brash Trump could not be more different. However, both faced unique challenges that began with events no one could have predicted.

For Carter, it was the Iran hostage crisis. The seizure of American diplomats late in 1979, and their continued captivity throughout 1980, contributed to an impression of American impotence.

Do the continuing pandemic or racial unrest in 2020 make Donald Trump similarly vulnerable?

On the other hand, few observers, left or right, would question that Ronald Reagan was a unique political talent.

Does Joe Biden have similar gifts that would allow him to pull off a similarly historic win?

We will find out soon.

Liberals are fond of claiming that they stand on “the right side of history” (especially when they are on the wrong side of majority opinion). But regardless of polls, personalities, or policies, precedent suggests that Donald Trump’s reelection bid is on the right side of history in 2020.

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Do Candidates’ Family Structures Affect Voters?

by Peter Sprigg

October 26, 2020

When Joe Biden selected Kamala Harris as his running mate, much attention was paid to the fact that she is the first woman of color to appear on a national ticket (her mother was from India, her father from Jamaica). However, less attention has been paid to another characteristic of Harris that may break new ground, or at least break recent precedent.

It appears (from some quick research on Wikipedia) that she is the first nominee for national office on a major-party ticket since at least 1952 (which is as far back as I went) who was not a parent of her own children.

Harris is a stepmother to her husband Douglas Emhoff’s two children from his first marriage, but they were apparently both teenagers when she married him in 2014. So she has never had the experience of raising a child from birth, or even from childhood.

This struck me because in 2017 at the World Congress of Families in Budapest, Hungary, one of the speakers mentioned that all three of the leaders of the major Western European powers at the time—Germany’s Angela Merkel, France’s Emmanuel Macron, and Britain’s Theresa May—although married, were childless. (Merkel and Macron, like Harris, have stepchildren; Theresa May and her husband struggled with infertility.)

The speaker seemed to suggest this raised a question about the extent to which they could personally empathize with the challenges of family life, and suggested that by their own choices they might be showing the relatively low priority they placed on the importance of family formation in general.

It’s unclear whether voters will have such concerns about Harris, or whether it will have an impact on their decisions on Election Day. But Harris herself has given evidence that she is conscious of the issue, since she has gone out of her way to emphasize the loving bonds that unite her with her stepchildren Cole and Ella—who call her “Momala.” In May of 2019, when Harris was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president, she wrote a Mother’s Day article for Elle in which she appears to be deliberately trying to portray herself as someone who does understand the struggles and difficult choices of parenting.

Obviously, the Constitution has no “parenthood test” for public office, and Donald Trump himself may serve as evidence that voters care more about the candidates’ policy positions than their personal lives. Nevertheless, the nomination of a childless candidate, who did not marry and form a blended family until she was almost 50, may be at least symbolic of some significant differences between the two major political parties—not just on family issues, but with respect to family structures.

The evidence seems to be strong, for example, that married people are more likely to vote Republican than single people. Exit polls after the 2016 election showed that among married voters (59 percent of the voting population), Donald Trump out-polled Hillary Clinton by 52-44 percent, but among the unmarried (41 percent of voters), Clinton beat Trump 55-37 percent. However, this marriage gap was even larger in favor of Mitt Romney in the 2012 election—even though Romney ultimately lost and Trump won. Research on voter turnout has also shown that married people are more likely to vote in the first place—a fact which should be an advantage for Republicans.

With regard to parental status, the evidence is more mixed. Republicans tend to have more total children than Democrats, by a large margin. It’s been calculated that on average, “100 conservative adults will raise 208 children, while 100 liberal adults will raise a mere 147.” In fact, the top 10 states in children per capita are all heavily Republican “red states.” This “fertility gap” between the parties may give Republicans an inter-generational advantage.

While Republicans may have more children, in my research I was unable to find definitive proof that merely being a parent (regardless of marital status or the number of children) makes people more likely to vote Republican. One article asserts that Barack Obama won a large majority of the votes of parents in 2012—but no source was cited. The turnout data suggests that married people without children are the most likely to vote, while parents who have never married are the least likely to vote.

Sociologist Brad Wilcox has noted that cultural factors are at work—“married Americans tend to be more socially conservative and religious than their unmarried peers”—but there are economic ones as well:

We know that men, women, and children in married families are more likely to enjoy financial success, economic stability, and private health insurance. This means that married adults typically pay more in taxes and depend less upon the government for their financial welfare. These financial factors, then, probably help to explain why marrieds are more likely to vote Republican.

This may also explain the mixed data on parenthood and voting—single parents (who are more likely to depend on government assistance) may be more likely to vote Democratic, while married parents are more likely to vote Republican.

The person who poses the most direct contrast to the childless Harris, and the most dramatic illustration of the family structure differences between the parties, is not Harris’s opponent, Vice President Mike Pence (father of three). Instead, it may be President Trump’s latest nominee for the Supreme Court—Judge Amy Coney Barrett, the mother of five biological children and two adopted ones.

It has been widely noted (sometimes, from the Left, sarcastically) that Barrett would be the first mother of school-aged children to serve on the nation’s highest Court.

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The 2020 Election: A Letter to Young Conservatives

by Molly Carman

October 16, 2020

Dear young American conservatives,

I am a recent graduate from college who has only just begun my professional career, and like other young conservatives today, I have been restless as we approach the 2020 elections. Whether you will be a first-time voter in the election, are a recent college graduate, have started your first young professional job, have recently married, or are nearing 30, I invite you to consider your role and responsibility in the election this fall.

Many of you plan to do one of three things this election: vote for Trump because you actually believe he is the best option, vote for Biden because you don’t like Trump, or completely disengage and not vote because you are “conflicted” and feel like you are having to choose between the lesser of two evils. For some reason, passivity has become commendable and ignorance has been deemed bravery when it comes to politics this election season. However, we are fools if we truly believe that our inaction is more beneficial then our action.

When conflicted on whether or not to stand up against Hitler during World War II, Dietrich Bonhoeffer chose to take a stand because he was convicted that, “Silence in the face of evil is evil itself; God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” We have been given a stewardship and a trust with our vote as citizens of the United States of America. This is why Elizabeth Stanton in the suffrage movement and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the civil rights movement fought for the right to vote.

The United States of America is a constitutional republic, which means that power belongs to the people and they choose who is placed in positions of authority and government. As noted by Alexander Hamilton in Federalist paper 22, “The fabric of the American empire ought to rest on the solid basis of THE CONSENT OF THE PEOPLE. The streams of national power ought to flow immediately from that pure, original fountain of all legitimate authority.” It is not for authority to be passed down, but to be passed up.

Romans 13 is clear that ultimately, God is the one who places individuals in positions of authority. Because God places them in positions of authority, Paul commands everyone to, “be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God” (v.1). When we vote, we are giving our power into the hands of another and charging them to lead our nation under God. Citizens are to seek God’s wisdom and ask for discernment as we nominate, endorse, and vote for these roles.

Because we the people hold the power to elect various officials, we must steward our vote intentionally. We are not just voting for party, personality, or how presidential they look. When we vote, we should vote for policies and platforms that uphold justice, life, family, religious liberty, and representation of the people. Through my personal conversations and from observing social media behavior, it is clear that numerous young conservatives are choosing to become recalcitrant this fall. The attitude has become, “Lets bad mouth and crack jokes about the candidates and platforms.” In terms of actually participating in the political process, it has become popular to disengage—to make smart remarks but fail to engage in the civic duty of voting.

Do not get me wrong: elections can be frustrating, politics can be strenuous, and policies can be exasperating, but these emotions—though real—should not lead us to conclude that disengagement is the best response. When we make the choice to throw away our votes, we are choosing laziness over responsibility, passivity over action, naivety over wisdom, immaturity over courage, and selfishness over the republic.

I do not believe that it will be helpful to tell you stories of times when men and women decided last minute to vote and their candidate won by one point and this moment changed their whole perspective on voting. These stories have occurred, but this is not why we vote. We vote to preserve the values and virtues that our Founders fought and died for. The future of our nation is dependent on who you vote for, because for better or worse, they will be the sword bearers of power and the leaders of our nation.

America is the land of the free and the home of the brave because George Washington decided to leave his home at Mount Vernon and lead the fight in the Revolutionary War, because young men left their homes to fight on the beaches of Normandy, because Martin Luther King Jr. chose to reject inequality and fight for civil rights. You only have your vote today because of the blood, sweat, and tears shed to retain it. It is a slander on our nation, on your character, and to God when good men and women do nothing and squander our stewardship.

To vote or not to vote” is not the question. Voting is your duty! To consider more reasons why young conservatives, especially Christians, should be politically engaged, go to frc.org/engage.

Your fellow patriot,

Molly Carman

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Election Polls in 2020: Deja Vu All Over Again?

by Matt Carpenter

October 13, 2020

With less than a month to go until election day, both President Trump and former Vice President Biden are campaigning to see who will fill the Oval Office for the next four years. From the moment the two earned their party’s nomination, public opinion polling has shown Biden leading President Trump both nationally and in most swing states. The RealClearPolitics (RCP) average of national polls currently has Biden with a 9.2 point lead, similar national polling aggregators FiveThirtyEight and CNN show Biden with an 8.4 point lead and 11 point lead, respectively.

With that said, it’s important for voters to recall some of the disasters in public polling from the 2016 race when then-candidate Donald Trump pulled off perhaps the greatest electoral surprise in American history, winning the electoral college 304 to 227.

Looking at just the polling data alone in this year’s presidential election, you could swap out “Biden” with “Clinton” and you would see a very similar race to 2016. In fact, a recent CNN poll shows the former Vice President up 16 points on President Trump nationally. Interestingly enough, CNN released a similar poll at around the same time 2016 showing Hillary Clinton up on Donald Trump by 12 points—and we all know who won in 2016. The stunning collapse of the public polling industry in 2016, and the confidence in which they projected Clinton’s inevitable win, leave voters this year skeptical of the same prognosticators and pundits who failed to call the 2016 election correctly.

Voter registration data can inform us on existing trends in the swing states that will likely determine the election. It’s one thing to answer a poll on the phone, or online, and simply state your intentions to vote—it’s another thing to see how voters are actually behaving.

Among the most coveted swing states this year are Florida, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. Each of these states report partisan registration data. A recent article from CBS News took a closer look at voter registration trends since 2016 and shows some interesting numbers. What does the voter registration data in these key swing states tell us?

In Florida, Republicans have outpaced Democrats in new voter registrations by about 183,000 new voters. Florida is the quintessential swing state. Diverse demographically, economically, culturally, and politically, small moves in the electorate can have huge ramifications for both state and federal elections. In 2018, Ron DeSantis won his race for governor by just 30,000 votes and Rick Scott unseated longtime incumbent Senator Bill Nelson by just 10,000 votes.

Pennsylvania also shows some interesting numbers of newly registered voters since 2016. Since 2016, when Donald Trump became the first GOP presidential candidate to win the Keystone State since Reagan in 1988, Pennsylvania Republicans have grown their ranks by 3.7 percent, while Pennsylvania Democrats have actually lost 1.5 percent of their share of the electorate. Just looking at voter registration numbers since June of 2020 shows a startling contrast: 135,619 new GOP voters registered in the state to the Democrats’ 57,985.

Of these three swing states, none show more promise for the president’s reelection hopes than North Carolina, where the number of registered Democrats has tumbled more than 6 percent since 2016, and GOP voter registrations have grown by almost 3.5 percent. In 2016, President Trump won North Carolina by 173,315 votes, or 3.6 percent. A shrinking pool of voters for Biden to pull from will undoubtedly make his task of improving on Clinton’s performance there in 2016 difficult.

Next, let’s look at two of the rust belt states that were reliably Democrat for decades and flipped to the GOP in 2016: Wisconsin and Michigan. Neither of these states register voters by party affiliation, so it’s hard to tell exactly how the major parties are faring. But both Michigan and Wisconsin make information on voter registration numbers by county available. Looking at changes in voter registration numbers at the county level and how each county performed in the last presidential election can give us a good picture of how each area of the state will vote in this year’s election.

Let’s start with Wisconsin—a state where then-candidate Donald Trump won 60 counties to Hillary Clinton’s 12. Since November 2016, the total number of voters in Wisconsin has dropped by more than 31,000. If we look only at the 60 counties Trump won in 2016, we see those counties actually gained more than 2,900 voters—a modest number in and of itself, but significant in that it bucked the statewide trend. When we turn our attention to the 12 counties Clinton won, we see a net loss of more than 36,000 voters. The bluest areas of the state are hemorrhaging voters.

In the electoral-vote-rich state of Michigan, Trump won 75 counties to Clinton’s 8. Michigan has seen its voter rolls grow by more than 400,000 voters since November 2016. Since then, the 75 counties that went for Trump reported an increase in over 245,000 new voters to the Clinton counties’ 155,000. Put another way, 61 percent of new voter registrations in Michigan are attributable to counties of the state where President Trump won, compared to just 38 percent from areas Clinton won.

Both Wisconsin and Michigan were decided by less than 1 percent. Wisconsin was decided by 22,748 votes, or 0.82 percent; Michigan was decided by a mere 10,704 votes, or 0.24 percent. Every vote matters, and with less voters in deep blue counties, we have to assume Biden will need to do far better than Clinton did in areas Trump won. Conversely, with more voters in areas Trump won, the president will be able to add to his column in these counties.

In each of the swing states we’ve discussed, Democrats still retain an advantage in overall voter registration. In North Carolina, that edge is around 400,000 voters; in Florida, the Democrat advantage is 183,000 voters; and in Pennsylvania, the Democrat edge is 717,000 voters. But the trend lines are clear: more new voters are opting to register as GOP or are registering in areas that lean heavily GOP.

It is also worth noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has not left the voter registration game unscathed. In fact, as colleges and universities remain shuttered in response to the virus, voter registration numbers in college towns have plummeted. This will lessen the impact deep blue college towns have on swing states as tens of thousands of out-of-state students who would otherwise be able to register to vote in the swing states mentioned earlier are forced to vote in their home state—which may or may not be competitive this year.

In closing, voters should be wary of reading too much into public opinion polls, and instead should look at other data. We’ve looked at how voter registration rolls in Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina, and Wisconsin have changed. In states that allow partisan voter registration (Florida, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina), we have seen a clear increase in GOP voter registration numbers since the last time Donald Trump was on the ballot, and in some cases, we’ve seen the total number of Democrats actually decrease since 2016. In the two other states we looked at (Michigan and Wisconsin) that do not register voters by party affiliation, we looked at the county-level data and saw that areas where Donald Trump won in 2016 reported larger increases in voter registration numbers, while deep-blue areas where Clinton ran up the score either reported lesser numbers of new voters or even lost voters since 2016.

The last time Donald Trump was on the ballot, the odds looked to be stacked against him. Many national and swing state polling showed his path to 270 electoral votes to be practically nonexistent. Trump won in 2016 by pulling blue collar voters into his coalition and remaking American politics. While it is possible the pollsters have gotten their act together this year and are now telling us the actual state of the race, it is also just as likely they are making the same mistakes that undercounted the president’s base and failed to accurately predict turnout. The available voter registration data seems to be telling us that Trump’s base has actually grown since 2016, and this election will come down to who turns out to vote.

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The Final 2020 Election Results Show that Despite a Divided Nation, Social Conservatives Won Big
by Connor Semelsberger (Feb. 19, 2021)

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