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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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How 2020 State Elections Will Shape the Makeup of Congress for the Next Decade

by Steven Sullivan , Connor Semelsberger

October 8, 2020

With several major companies launching advertising campaigns to “get out and vote,” political parties describing this election as the deciding factor in our country’s future and survival, and politics seeping into daily conversation more than ever, its clear that voting in the 2020 election matters now more than ever. With such high stakes, it is easy to focus solely on the presidential or U.S. Senate races, but did you know that in a census year like this, state elections are just as important?

The U.S. Constitution requires that a census be conducted every 10 years, and the information from the census is used to determine the distribution of U.S. House seats across the states for the next 10-year period. The first step in this process, known as reapportionment, is to divide the 435 Congressional seats among the 50 states based on population. The president determines the amount of seats for each state based on the population numbers from the census and sends a notice to Congress. Congress then communicates the exact number of representatives for each state to the governors. Once the governors are given their total number of seats, the state is responsible for drawing the boundaries of the Congressional districts, a process known as redistricting. Once the districts are drawn and submitted to Congress, the new make-up of Congressional districts will be in effect starting in 2022.

In most states, the legislatures draw the congressional district boundaries which then are approved by the governor. Because the states have so much control over the boundaries, it has become a very political process in which both parties jockey to have partisan control of state legislatures and governors mansions during redistricting in order to draw the boundaries in a way that favors their respective party. What this means is the 2020 state elections not only impact who will represent you in the state legislature but will also have a huge impact on who will represent you and your values in Congress for the next decade!

Between reapportionment and redistricting, there is great chance for a dramatic shift in political power. As our country’s population has shifted from northern and midwestern states like New York and Illinois to states in the south like Texas and Florida, so does the number of congressional seats and the power that comes with it. There are also several large states with close partisan margins that, if flipped, could dramatically change which party is in the driver’s seat for drawing the new congressional lines. Florida, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas are not only battleground states for the presidential election, but also have one or both state legislative chambers that are within 10 seats of changing partisan control.

Among all the noise of the 2020 election, the important role that state governments play in setting up the power dynamics of the U.S. House of Representatives has been vastly overshadowed. As you consider who to vote for in the upcoming election, remember the importance of the down ballot races and gather appropriate information to make sure you support state candidates that reflect a biblical worldview. And as always, remember to pray, vote, and stand.

Connor Semelsberger, MPP is the Legislative Assistant at Family Research Council.

Steven Sullivan is a Policy and Government Affairs intern focusing on federal legislative affairs.

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Trump’s High Pro-Life Priority

by Molly Carman

October 7, 2020

Soon after his release from Walter Reed Military Hospital where he received treatment for the coronavirus, President Donald Trump prioritized communicating the importance of pro-life legislation. Yesterday, President Trump posted a series of tweets concerning his pro-life convictions by reiterating his stance on the abortion issue and drawing attention to Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s position.

Trump’s first tweet drew attention to comments made by Joe Biden during a town hall meeting last night in Miami, Florida. During the event, a voter asked the Democratic nominee, “Considering the new Supreme court nominee of Amy Coney Barrett, what are your particular plans to protect women’s reproductive rights in the U.S.?” Biden responded, “Number one, we do not exactly know what she will do, although the expectation is that she may very well…overrule Roe. But the only thing, the only responsible response to that would be to pass legislation making Roe the law of the land, that’s what I would do.”

Trump’s response: “Wow. Joe Biden just took a more Liberal position on Roe v. Wade than Elizabeth Warren…”

In his second tweet, Trump reminded the nation of the real agenda of the Left: “Biden and Democrats just clarified the fact that they are fully in favor of (very) LATE TERM ABORTION, right up until the time of birth, and beyond - which would be execution. Biden even endorsed the Governor of Virginia, who stated this clearly for all to hear. GET OUT & VOTE!!!”

While the media has repeatedly sought to “fact-check” the president on this claim, the truth is that Governor Northam defended a proposed 2019 law that would have legalized abortion up to the point of birth. But not only did Northam endorse the bill, he implied he was comfortable with abortion even after birth.

Moreover, the president’s characterization of the Biden/Harris ticket’s position on abortion is on point considering vice president nominee Kamala Harris voted twice against pro-life legislation earlier this year. The first was the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act which would have outlawed abortions of unborn children at 20 weeks gestation, the age at which they can feel pain. The second was the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act which would have protected the lives of babies that survive failed abortions.

Questions about abortion and the positions of the candidates in the 2020 election has only increased over the past few days. These positions are not just a matter of preference but of life and death. This is not the first time that President Trump has spoken clearly and directly about the issue of abortion. For example, within his first few days in office, President Trump reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy, which ensures that taxpayers’ money does not fund international organizations that perform or promote abortion. He has also worked closely with HHS on instituting an extensive audit before permitting fetal tissue research, as well as defending the conscientious objection of nurses and other health care professionals to abstain from abortion procedures. In addition, President Trump became the first president to speak at the March for Life in Washington, D.C. You can read the whole list of his other pro-life accomplishments as well as his accomplishments for the family and religious liberty at prayvotestand.org/actions

President Trump is right to prioritize pro-life legislation and draw attention to the contrast between his policies and those proposed by Joe Biden and the Democratic Party. Americans need a president who values life and human dignity for the sake of the next generation and the survival of our nation. We need a president who will not only say he values life, human dignity, and individual rights, but defends, protects, and promotes them.

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The Stark Contrast on Abortion at the National Conventions - In Quotes

by David Closson

September 1, 2020

Over the past two weeks, America’s two major political parties gathered for their quadrennial conventions. While certain aspects of each convention were different this year (e.g., neither party could fill arenas with delegates and supporters due to the coronavirus), Democrats and Republicans officially nominated their respective party’s standard-bearer for 2020 and set forth their governing vision. 

Typically, political conventions highlight the candidates and draw attention to the most important issues facing the country. Two months ahead of the November 3 election, Americans are concerned about the coronavirus pandemic, economy, racial tension, health care, and education. Unsurprisingly, all of these issues received significant attention at both political conventions. However, there was a marked difference in how the parties promoted their views on abortion, an important issue on which the country remains divided.  

Democrats were strategic in how they dealt with abortion at their convention. For starters, the word “abortion” was not mentioned a single time during four nights of programming. Joe Biden did not mention abortion in his acceptance speech, and most speakers even avoided using common euphemisms such as “reproductive justice” or “a woman’s choice.” Only two speakers (Raumesh Akbari and Hillary Clinton) mentioned Planned Parenthood, and only Kamala Harris (“reproductive choice”) and Nancy Pelosi (“woman’s right to choose”) used language that directly referred to abortion.

Moreover, whereas the Democrats had invited Planned Parenthood’s president to address the convention back in 2016, this year pro-life Republicans such as John Kasich were invited to speak to the delegates.

Lest Americans think Democrats have become moderate on abortion, the party’s extreme views were laid out in the 2020 Democratic Party Platform. According to the platform, “Democrats oppose and will fight to overturn federal and state laws that create barriers to reproductive health and rights.” Moreover, the platform commits to “repeal the Title X domestic gag rule and restore federal funding for Planned Parenthood” and “repeal the Hyde Amendment, and protect and codify the right to reproductive freedom.”

In contrast, Republicans reaffirmed the party’s pro-life views in writing by re-adopting the 2016 platform, which endorsed a strong pro-life agenda, and releasing a set of “core priorities,” which included protecting the unborn. Numerous convention speeches also highlighted the party’s commitment to protecting the unborn.

Here’s what speakers at the 2020 Republican National Convention had to say about abortion (in context):

Night 1

  • Ronna McDaniel, Chair of the Republican National Committee: “Policies that force jobs to flee our country or allow abortion up until the point of birth are not nice. The truth is, there’s only one person who has empathized with everyday Americans and actually been fighting for them over the past four years and that is President Donald Trump.”
  • Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York: “Pray we must that all lives may be protected and respected, in our troubled cities and the police who guard them, in tense world situations where our men and women in uniform keep the peace, for the innocent life of the baby in the womb, for our elders in nursing care and hospice, for our immigrants and refugees, those lives threatened by religious persecution throughout the world or by plague, hunger, drugs, human trafficking or war.”

Night 2

  • Cissie Graham Lynch, Ministry Spokesperson, Samaritan’s Purse: “Our founders did not envision a quiet, hidden faith. They fought to ensure that the voices of faith were always welcomed, not silenced, not bullied. But during the Obama-Biden administration, these freedoms were under attack. Democrats tried to make faith organizations pay for abortion-inducing drugs. Democrats tried to force adoption agencies to violate their deeply-held beliefs. Democrats pressured schools to allow boys to compete in girl sports and use girl’s locker rooms. Those are the facts. But then, we the people elected Donald Trump.”
  • Cissie Graham Lynch: “Some Democratic leaders tried to ban church services while marijuana shops and abortion clinics were declared essential. But you know what truly is essential: Our right to worship freely and live our faith in every aspect of life.”
  • Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood clinic director: “Today, almost 80 percent of Planned Parenthood abortion facilities are strategically located in minority neighborhoods. And every year Planned Parenthood celebrates its racist roots by presenting the Margaret Sanger award.”
  • Abby Johnson, describing her transformation from pro-choice to pro-life advocacy: “But the tipping point came a month later when a physician asked me to assist with an ultrasound-guided abortion. Nothing prepared me for what I saw on the screen, an unborn baby fighting back, desperate to move away from the suction. And I’ll never forget what the doctor said next, ‘Beam me up Scotty.’ The last thing I saw was a spine twirling around in the mother’s womb before succumbing to the force of the suction. On October 6th, I left the clinic looking back only to remember why I now advocate so passionately for life.”
  • Abby Johnson: “You see, for me, abortion is real. I know what it sounds like. I know what abortion smells like. Did you know abortion even had a smell? I’ve been the perpetrator to these babies, to these women, and I now support President Trump because he has done more for the unborn than any other president. During his first month in office, he banned federal funds for global health groups that promote abortion. That same year, he overturned an Obama-Biden rule that allowed government subsidy of abortion. He appointed a record number of pro-life judges, including two Supreme Court justices. And importantly, he announced a new rule protecting the rights of healthcare workers objecting to abortion, many of whom I work with every day.”
  • Nicholas Sandmann, teenage activist: “In 2019, I attended the March for Life in Washington, D.C., where I demonstrated in defense of unborn. Later that day, I bought a Make America Great Again hat because our president Donald Trump has distinguished himself as one of the most pro-life presidents in the history of our country, and I wanted to express my support for him too.”
  • Daniel Cameron, Attorney General of Kentucky: “Joe Biden would destroy jobs, raise our taxes and throw away the lives of countless unborn children.”

Night 3

  • Marsha Blackburn, U.S. Senator, Tennessee: “Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and their radical allies, try to destroy these heroes because if there are no heroes to inspire us, government can control us. They close our churches but keep the liquor stores and abortion clinics open. They say we can’t gather in community groups, but encourage protests, riots and looting in the streets.”
  • Tera Myers, mother of a son with Down syndrome: “Before Samuel was even born, I was told his life wouldn’t be worth living. When early tests revealed he had Down syndrome, our doctor encouraged me to terminate the pregnancy. He said, ‘If you do not, you will be burdening your life, your family, and your community.’ I knew my baby was a human being, created by God and that made him worthy of life. I am thankful that President Trump values the life of the unborn. When we went to register Samuel for kindergarten, we were told to just put him where he would be comfortable.”

  • Sister Dede Byrne, Catholic nun: “President Trump will stand up against Biden-Harris, who are the most anti-life presidential ticket ever, even supporting the horrors of late-term abortion and infanticide. Because of his courage and conviction, President Trump has earned the support of America’s pro-life community.”
  • Sister Dede Byrne: “And while we tend to think of the marginalized as living beyond our borders, the truth is the largest marginalized group in the world can be found here in the United States, they are the unborn. As Christians, we first met Jesus as a stirring embryo in the womb of an unwed mother and saw him born nine months later in the poverty of the cave.”
  • Lou Holtz, former football coach: “One of the important reasons he has my trust is because nobody has been a stronger advocate for the unborn than President Trump. The Biden-Harris ticket is the most radically pro-abortion campaign in history. They and other politicians are Catholics in name only and abandoned innocent lives. President Trump protects those lives. I trust President Trump.”
  • Vice President Mike Pence: “President Trump has stood without apology for the sanctity of human life, every day of this administration. Joe Biden, he supports taxpayer funding of abortion, right up to the moment of birth. When you consider their agenda, it’s clear, Joe Biden would be nothing more than a Trojan horse for the radical left. The choice in this election has never been clearer, and the stakes have never been higher.”

Night 4

  • Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Leader: “As Republicans, we are proud to stand with him and to work for you. Together we built the greatest economy the world has ever seen, and we will do it again. We confronted China head-on, tore up bad trade deals and made better ones, supported our men and women in uniform, and took out the world’s top terrorist. Achieved energy independence, defended the sanctity of life, and restored law and order at the border.”
  • Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader: “They [the Democratic Party] want to defund the police and take away your Second Amendment rights. They want free healthcare for illegal immigrants, yet they offer no protection at all for unborn Americans.”
  • Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: “What is racist, is the fact that African-Americans have the highest abortion rate. President Trump is the most pro-life president in the country’s history. He will continue to fight for those who cannot yet speak.”

  • Donald Trump, President of the United States: “Joe Biden claims he has empathy for the vulnerable – yet the party he leads supports the extreme late-term abortion of defenseless babies right up to the moment of birth. Democrat politicians refuse to protect innocent life, and then they lecture us about morality and saving America’s soul? Tonight, we proudly declare that all children, born and unborn, have a God given right to life.”

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Are U.S. Senate Candidate Rev. Warnock's Views Consistent with the Bible?
by FRC Action (Dec. 4, 2020)

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