How Trump can realistically step aside let Mike Pence be the next President.

With the release of (yet another) revolting and disqualifying statement by Donald Trump, many of his most stalwart supporters are finally admitting that he simply does not possess the character required to be President of the United States. Is it too late for him to finally do the right thing for the country and step aside? It very well may be… But there is one realistic path that may allow Donald Trump to stop Hillary Clinton from winning the election – and he even still gets to be the one to beat her.

The legal and logistical realities simply make impossible for Donald Trump to simply step aside and allow Mike Pence to become the Republican Nominee and defeat Hillary Clinton on November 8th. First, even if he resigned and the RNC invoked Rule 9 to replace Trump (and selected Mike Pence), the fact of the matter is that the ballots have already been printed and the dates for changing ballots has passed. Even if some states did get Mike Pence on the top of the ballot – most states would not, and the confusion of a write in campaign would simply hand the election to Hillary Clinton. There is simply no logistical and legal way to replace a candidate this late in the election cycle. Thus the only way for Clinton/Kaine to realistically lose the election is for Trump/Pence to win the election.

But with the massive shift in support away from Trump this late in the cycle, Trump is now virtually un-electable. And after his fantastic debate performance, Mike Pence is. How can Trump make Mike Pence president? By vowing to disqualify himself for the Presidency immediately through abdication. Article 20 of the Constitution states, with Section 3 being the pertinent part:

Section 1. The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.

Section 2. The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.

Section 3. If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President elect shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.

Section 4. The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them.

Section 5. Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day of October following the ratification of this article.

Section 6. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission.

How can people trust that he will disqualify himself via abdication once elected? By Trump calling on Paul Ryan and all of Congress to impeach him if he doesn’t. How should Donald Trump do this? At the next debate, he should open by stating that he is no longer running and will abdicate upon election in favor of Mike Pence. He should then step back and allow Mike Pence to debate Hillary Clinton.

The result: Trump supporters still get to vote for Trump. Trump still gets to defeat Clinton. “Never Trumpers” can vote for Trump-Pence knowing they are really voting for Pence. Clinton’s entirely anti-Trump strategy immediately fails and Mike Pence is the next President of the United States. Legally and logistically this is the only solution that has a reasonable chance to prevent a Hillary Clinton presidency.

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The Department of Justice Illustrates Why America is Embracing Donald Trump.

First, to be clear – I loathe Donald Trump. I think he is vile, racist, misogynistic, opportunistic, fundamentally dishonest, and dangerous. But, for those who don’t understand why Trump is winning, it is not because his supporters are racist, homophobic, xenophobic, or agoraphobic (though some may be). This position of our Department of Justice that we can’t call convicts and felons “convicts” or “felons” because it hurts their self-esteem is a perfect example of why Trump supporters are angry. People are supporting Trump because of his blatant and vehement rejection of our hyper-politically correct society and the culture of victimism that it creates. People are angry about the way this hyper-politically correct world is destroying their vision of America, and so they want to “Make America Great Again.”

When the criminal justice wing of the Department of Justice won’t call felons, offenders, and convicts “felons,” “offenders” or “convicts” because it hurts their self-esteem, we have truly jumped the shark in the world of hyper-political correctness. This sort of overblown political correctness is infuriating to many Americans, and they turn to Trump as a rejection of this ideology. When we are more worried about coddling the emotional well-being of rapists, murderers, thieves and fraudsters than we are about the real victims of their rape, murder, theft and fraud, we have lost the heart of what it means to be Americans in pursuit of the American Dream. And people are vehemently angry that the American Dream is being stripped away by political correctness. That is why Trump’s “Making America Great Again” theme is working.

By the American Dream I mean the ideal that every American should have an opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative. When following the American Dream, Americans are independent and innovative. Americans pick themselves up by their boot-straps. Americans overcome their personal challenges Americans are accountable for their own actions and reap the rewards of their own hard work. Americans understand that respect is earned, not given. Americans strive for greatness. When following the  American Dream, people can be proud to be an American.

In contrast, the inherent victimism at the center of the pseudo-psychological Hyper-political correctness embraced by the Department of Justice is the antithesis of the American Dream. The position of the Department of Justice is designed to shame and blame Americans for somehow emotionally failing these criminals who prey upon our society, rather than holding the criminals accountable for their own actions. The idea that someone who has been convicted of a felony cannot be called a felon by the law-enforcement community because it hurts their self-esteem is absurd, and it angers Trump followers that our government is the center of this type of absurdity. These criminals are not children or people with disabilities who needs empowerment. These are adults who broke the American social contract for their own gain. These criminals broke the law and must deal with the consequences of their actions, including the recognition that they are criminals, convicts, offenders, and felons.

Is it good for society to help these people re-integrate once they are released from prison? Of course it is. It makes it less likely they will re-offend and promotes social harmony. But they do not get to shift the responsibility of their own actions onto others because their feelings are somehow being hurt hurt. These criminals are not the victims, they are the perpetrators. This blaming of surrounding circumstances for the purposeful failings of individuals is un-American, and this hyper-political correctness infuriates many people who are turning to Trump as the only visible alternative.

When Trump uses his bombastic, often offensive, language to reject political correctness it resonates because he is right. Political correctness is a destructive fiction that makes people believe that they have some sort of right to be protected from the harsh realities of life… Protected from having their feelings hurt. And Trump’s message is resonating because this hyper-political correctness is un-American and his followers see how it threatens the American Dream.

To put it simply, there is no American right to be coddled. There is no American right to be protected against insult or “micro-aggressions.” In fact, the concept of micro-aggression is absurdly un-American in its central theme of victimism. There is no American right to have your native country and culture be co-equal with America in our schools and society. While we should celebrate our differences, such celebration should be second to celebrating our unity as Americans. There is no American right to wealth, success or happiness. The Declaration of Independence cites the “pursuit of happiness” and the pursuit is all you are entitled to. Whether you succeed or fail in that pursuit is up to you, regardless of the various obstacles in your path.

If you find another’s words insulting or demeaning, your redress is to prove them wrong. Not to claim victimhood based on hurt feelings so have an excuse to not to achieve your part of the American Dream. If you don’t like being labeled a convict, offender, or felon, then work to make the label irrelevant. If the label is irrelevant, then people won’t use it. No one refers to Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, or Kweisi Mfume as convicts, felons, or offenders. They faced adversity and became greater for it. They continued their pursuit and succeeded.

If you are going to “achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination and initiative” then you need to be able to face adversity. The American Dream is achieving despite the obstacles in your path. This may include the fact that you were born into economic hardship, are a recent immigrant, or that others disagree with your religious beliefs. And if you are offended by the words and positions of others, that is another adversity that you need to be able to face to achieve your piece of the American Dream. In fact, what is American is freedom of speech. That includes having unpopular opinions presented to you from people you disagree with. That includes the public presentation of religious views that you may disagree with. That even includes Nazis marching in Skokie, Illinois.

This is not to say that certain norms of society that are not essential to civil discourse.  Racism, misogyny, religious intolerance, homophobia, and discrimination are also utterly un-American. They erode the ability of others to pursue the American Dream and should be legislated against and scorned. However, discrimination occurs when your rights are infringed upon, not when your feelings are hurt by the words of another. Discrimination exists when a person in a position of power wields that power against another because of race, religion, gender, or disability. The mere fact that some people are racists, misogynists, bigoted against religious beliefs or homophobes is not a violation of anyone rights. Nor are public statements about their hateful positions, even if such statements are directed at an individual. That is free speech, and each person is responsible for their own reaction to such viewpoints. Jack McCain just showed us how to deal with small-minded individuals who spout hate and derision… You stand up strong and call them out. You don’t wilt and surrender due to “disempowerment” or cite your “lack of privilege” as an excuse for failure. You stand up and fight for your piece of the American Dream.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be polite. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t respect others. It doesn’t mean that you should bloviate offensive inanities like Trump. It just means that impoliteness, and political incorrectness are not offenses against society that excuse an individual’s failure to succeed. If you are discriminated against seek appropriate redress, the legal system is set up to handle such cases and routinely does so. If your feelings get hurt, deal with it. Deal with it like Jack McCain did – call people out for their insults and offenses. Stand up for yourself and advocate for your own part of the American Dream. However, if you choose to become a victim to the emotional stress created by the words of others, that is your failure to pursue the American Dream and no one is to blame but you.

Of course, all of American Dream stuff is counter to society’s validation of victimhood through their hyper-political correctness, such as the recent Justice Department’s position on felons and convicts. Hyper-political correctness excuses people from pursuing their piece of the American Dream and shames those who to try to succeed despite obstacles. This is destructive to the core of what it means to be American because it makes people believe they have a right to happiness rather than the right to pursue their happiness. The Trump supporters are rejecting this destruction of their American Dream, and that is why they are rallying to the cry of Making America Great Again.

Tim Kaine: Governor cannot globally restore rights to felons.

At the end of Tim Kaine’s term as Governor of Virginia, the ACLU requested that he do a blanket restoration of rights similar to what Terry McAuliffe did today. At that time Mark E. Rubin, Counselor to then Governor Tim Kaine informed the ACLU on the Governor’s behalf that:

     We conclude that a blanket restoration of rights within the context of current Virginia law would not be proper for two reasons. First, while the wording of the constitutional provision granting the powers of clemency and restoration of rights might be read to support the blanket use of these powers to benefit unnamed individuals, we think the better argument is that these powers are meant to apply in particular cases to named individuals for whom a specific grant of executive clemency is sought. A blanket order restoring the voting rights of everyone would be a rewrite of the law rather than a contemplated use of the executive clemency powers. And, the notion that the Constitution of the Commonwealth could be rewritten via executive order is troubling.

To be sure, the Governor disagrees with the current policy embodied in the Virginia Constitution that a felony conviction automatically leads to permanent disenfranchisement. But, he did pledge to uphold the Constitution when he took his oath of office in January 2006. His and others’ efforts to persuade the General Assembly to change the current law and policy have been unsuccessful. To attempt to change the Constitution by executive order on the way out the door could set a dangerous precedent that would have negative consequences if applied under different circumstances by future Governors.

Tim Kaine and Mark Rubin were correct in their analysis, and Governor McAuliffe does not have the authority to alter the Virginia Constitution by executive order. The General Assembly should immediately request an injunction to prevent this miscarriage of justice.

The complete document can be found here:

RubinLetterJan2010

It is unlikely Trump will be the Nominee.

Despite the national rhetoric, a careful analysis of the electoral math indicates that it is quite unlikely that Trump will earn the 1237 delegate votes that he would be the nominee. It is much more likely that we will have a contested convention in Cleveland that would almost definitely reject Trump. Cruz will be in a strong position at the convention, but it is impossible to know who will ultimately be selected. And it is possible that the contested convention would serve to shatter the Republican Party as we know it. However, it remains highly unlikely that Donald Trump will be the nominee.

First we look to the delegate math

Importantly, there will be a total of 257 legally unbound delegates at the convention. Many news outlets have included some of these unbound delegates in totals for candidates as the delegates have made promises to vote for a certain candidate. However, they are legally unbound and so they cannot be depended on. This means that if a candidate gets within 257 of 1237, they could theoretically win on the first ballot if all of the unbound delegates vote for them. This is highly unlikely to happen, especially in Trump’s favor, but it is a possibility.

Where we are now:

Prior to the March 15th elections, including the important winner-take-all votes in Florida and Ohio, here is how the candidates stand with 1269 delegates outstanding: Trump 440 (needs 797 to win). Cruz 347 (needs 890 to win). Rubio 156 and Kasich 61. Simple math shows that Trump needs 62.8% of the remaining delegates to reach 1237. Cruz would need 71.9% of the remaining delegates to win outright. Rubio would need 87.4% and Kasich would need 95% of the remaining delegates to win. Considering that Trump, with all his momentum, has only managed to capture 43% of the delegates necessary to win thus far – it is clear that this is a difficult challenge for his campaign. However, winner-take-all states and various proportional delegate allocation rules make things interesting. Incorporating these rules we can evaluate the probable delegate distribution while making certain assumptions.

Scenario 1: Trump wins Florida and Ohio.

If Trump wins Ohio and Florida, he instantly improves his chances to win the nomination outright by binding 1237 delegate votes. However, whether that turns into an actual victory really depends on whether the loss of their home states sends Rubio and Kasich out of the race.

Assumptions for Analysis A:  Trump wins Ohio and Florida. Rubio and Kasich stay in race until the bitter end. Trump wins all remaining Winner Take All delegates due to Cruz, Rubio, and Kasich splitting non-Trump vote. Trump gets 60% of remaining proportional delegates, Cruz gets 30% of remaining proportional delegates, Rubio gets 7% of remaining proportional delegates and Kasich gets 3% of remaining proportional delegates.

This results in a Trump victory with 1361 bound delegate votes.

Assumptions for Analysis B: Trump wins Ohio and Florida. Rubio and Kasich bow out having lost their home states. Cruz now wins all Winner Take All delegates head to head with Trump. Cruz likewise averages 60% of the proportional delegates while trump gets the remaining 40%.

This results in a contested convention with Trump having 971 bound electoral votes and Cruz having 1008 bound electoral votes. Notably, if on the first ballot Cruz were to have enough unbound delegates vote for him, he could win the nomination outright.

Scenario 2: Trump loses Florida and Ohio.

Assumptions for Analysis C: Trump loses Ohio and Florida. Rubio and Kasich stay in the race having won their home states. Trump wins all remaining Winner Take All delegates due to Cruz, Rubio, and Kasich splitting non-Trump vote. Trump gets 60% of remaining proportional delegates, Cruz gets 30% of remaining proportional delegates, Rubio gets 7% of remaining proportional delegates and Kasich gets 3% of remaining proportional delegates.

The result is Trump wining 1196 bound delegates and Cruz having 556. This places Trump within the window of victory – if only 41 of the unbound delegates vote for Trump on the first ballot, he would win the nomination.

Assumptions for Analysis D: Trump loses Ohio and Florida, but Cruz and Kasich both drop out despite winning their home states. Cruz now wins all Winner Take All delegates head to head with Trump. Cruz likewise averages 60% of the proportional delegates while trump gets the remaining 40%.

The result is Cruz winning 1033 bound delegates and Trump winning 806 delegates. Notably, Cruz is again in the range of a victory with enough unbound delegate support.

Scenario 3: Trump splits Florida and Ohio.

This scenario doesn’t require full evaluation as one can extrapolate from the above scenarios. In short, if Rubio and Kasich drop out, it will not matter whether Trump split the votes as Analysis B would control. If Rubio and Kasich do not drop out and Trump can continue to out-gain Cruz consistently, then either Florida or Ohio is worth more than the 41 margin he needed to translate Analysis B from a probable loss into a very probable victory.

Conclusions:

Trump winning Ohio and Florida is very important to him, however, the more important factor is whether or not the race remains a four-way race. Regardless of Trump winning Ohio and Florida, if Rubio and Kasich leave the race Trump is very unlikely to win the bound delegates he needs to win the nomination. If Trump loses Ohio and Florida and Rubio and Kasich remain in the race, Trump would fall just short of what he needs to lock up the nomination – but could win with enough delegate support. The only way Trump wins outright is the very unlikely scenario that Rubio and Kasich stay in the race after losing Florida and Ohio respectively.

The reality is, at this point it is very probable that we will be facing a contested convention in Cleveland. Unless Rubio and Kasich hand the victory to Trump by staying in the race despite losing their respective states, the math simply does not work out for Trump to win the nomination outright. This doesn’t even take into account RNC Rule 40 also known as the “Rule of Eight States.”  Under this rule, a nominee must have won an actual majority of at least eight states in order to receive the nomination. Regardless of whether Rubio or Kasich stay in the race, it is unlikely that Trump can win a majority in eight states as his negatives rate near 60%, rendering eight majority victories highly unlikely.

In the end, despite the alarm bells ringing, it remains much more likely that we will have a brokered

 

 

Has the Grand Compromise of 2015 Worked (So Far)?

Guest Post :  Chip Muir is the former 3rd District Representative to the RPV State Central Committtee and former Richmond City Republican Committee Chairman.

Has the Grand Compromise of 2015 Worked (So Far)?

In the summer of 2015 I published three opinion editorials with Virginia Virtucon, through the late Terrence Boulden, that proposed a State Central Committee compromise on the nomination process RPV would use over the next two years. The compromise proposed a primary for the Presidential nomination in 2016 and a party-run statewide Gubernatorial nomination in 2017. The SCC passed the compromise on June 27, 2015.

People in politics should be accountable for their positions on issues and their leadership. They should assess the results against the promises that were made to the voters. I’m going to do that in this blog post.

Before I do, though, one note: I’m not going to lie to myself or to you. I’m not going to put spin on it. I’m going to use objective numbers and facts rather than the “if only this had happened” wishful thinking, the political version of a football fan saying, “If only the ref had called that pass interference, we would have won!” We have scorecards in politics. We know who objectively won and lost based on vote counts. Spinning the narrative can comfort people whose candidate lost, but in the end, the candidate lost. Arguments about process, about which candidate might be the strongest candidate if only he faced the leader alone, implicitly acknowledge that you are losing. This scorecard, based on objective measures, is necessary for actual, objective winning. The final answer to whether the Grand Compromise worked won’t be known until November 2017. There are four checkpoints: after the 2016 primary, after the 2016 general election, after the 2017 convention, and after the 2017 general election. We are at the first of the four checkpoints.

Scorecard Point 1: Participation in the Primary

The total number of voters in the GOP primary: 1,022,087. Is this a victory? (I can’t believe I have to ask that.) Hell yes. Opponents to the compromise made specific arguments against the primary. First, I was told that the primary wouldn’t have good participation. I was told that the number of 2016 voters would be lower than the 2012 number of voters. In the 2012 GOP primary, 265,521 voters cast ballots. The compromise primary produced 3.85 times as many voters! We eclipsed the all-time turnout record, set in 2000, by over 200,000 votes.

Second, I was told our Presidential candidates wouldn’t qualify for the ballot, that we may only have two to four candidates make the ballot. We had 13 candidates qualify for the ballot. Third, it was said candidates would not visit Virginia. All of the candidates visited Virginia, to massive crowds. And fourth, I was told the primary would hand the nomination to Jeb Bush, a point which underscores the difficulty with predicting political outcomes. Bush withdrew from the race before the Virginia primary, and received 3,645 votes (0.36%).

Thus the four leading projected criticisms of the Presidential primary have been proven to be false, objectively. What can be demonstrated, objectively, is that the primary, from a participation standpoint, was an unqualified, smashing success. All of the arguments against the primary based on how the public would react to it have been objectively and irrefutably proven wrong. You cannot argue otherwise unless your intent is lying to yourself. There is a separation between what political leaders want and what the public wants. Over one million Virginians participated in the GOP primary. The Presidential primary more than fulfilled public demand. On this point, public participation, the Presidential primary was the right choice.

Side notes: A secret cabal of Democrats seeking to throw the election to Hillary Clinton did not inflate those numbers. Every state except for the worker’s paradise of Vermont has set records for participation in GOP Presidential primaries. The people are motivated, and they are motivated to vote for a Republican candidate. The only truly blue state that has voted thus far had lackluster Republican turnout. Every state that has been deemed red or purple has had extraordinary turnout. The inference is clear, Republicans are motivated and showing up to vote. And independents and the last of the right-leaning Democrats are looking into the GOP field as well.

More on this point. The primary has been blamed for giving us Trump. But Kentucky hosted a closed Republican caucus (done because Rand Paul was, last summer, running for both President and Senate, further underscoring how difficult it is to make long-range projections in politics). Trump did better in Kentucky’s closed caucus than he did in Virginia’s open primary. In both he received 17 delegates, but in Virginia he beat his closest competitor by 1 delegate, and second closest by 9. In Kentucky, he beat his closest competitor by 2 delegates and second closest by 10. The point is this: even the most carefully-calculated process can produce counterintuitive results. Virginia’s open primary produced better results than Kentucky’s closed caucus. It’s just that Kentucky’s process included 229,667 people to our 1,022,087…and as a must-win swing state,

those extra voter contacts are of critical importance for November.

My preferred candidate is Marco Rubio. He didn’t win. My second favorite candidate is Ted Cruz. He didn’t win. Am I kicking myself for the primary, then? Am I mad that I didn’t use my influence on State Central to steer the result to Rubio, or to Cruz? Hell no. I am just 1 of 1,022,087. Who am I to tell over one million people that I know better than them? I cast my ballot for who I thought was best for Virginia and for the nation. Others did as well. And then they counted the votes.

RPV provided a fair process. It was so fair that over one million people felt compelled to participate. And I didn’t get my way. That’s life.

Scorecard Point 2: Delegate Allocation

I pushed for a strict proportional allocation of delegates. Party rules said we couldn’t be winner take all (because our primary date fell before March 15), and taking that option away, strict proportional allocation was the best method. Why?

Because it’s fair. Donald Trump won Virginia last night. He received 17 of the 49 Delegates. That means, if you’re entirely disgusted by Donald Trump, Virginia’s process found a way to prevent him from capturing 32 additional delegates. Congratulations, you can celebrate being part of the overwhelming turnout of voters that kept the frontrunner from running away with the one metric that matters in a nomination contest, delegates. Your preferred candidate lives to fight on in more states, hoping to survive long enough that he becomes the Trump alternative. You helped your candidate! Oh, you voted for Trump? Congratulations! By participating, even with an enormous turnout, you provided more delegates to your preferred candidate than any other candidate received. You expanded Trump’s lead.

Did the delegate allocation work? Yes. The most popular candidate expanded his lead, by picking up one (one!) delegate more than the second place candidate received. One!

Side note: Revisionist History: Would a Virginia convention have changed the outcome of the national Republican nomination? That is the pass interference call excuse of 2016. We won’t know. We won’t know because 50 states have a say in nominating a President, and we are just one of them. None of us can say on March 2 how many candidates would still be on the ballot on the date of the Virginia convention. (Ben Carson dropped out between the first two drafts of this editorial.) There are too many variables at play. But the pro-convention talk today centers on how we missed our opportunity to block a candidate that 356,868 Virginians supported, and the electorate of a majority of other states have supported. This is precisely the talk that gave rise to this insurgent campaign that conservatives, myself included, are frustrated with. But I am not arrogant enough to think I could have blocked a candidate through a different process, and if the GOP nominee wins in November, I will not try to convince myself that I saved the Republic. The results speak for themselves all across our great nation. So the bottom line is this: over one million people participated in a process in which the big winner pulled ahead by one delegate. It’s almost as if the GOP electorate is deeply divided and we are working things out in a slow, measured pace. It’s kind of like how the Constitution was set up to actually govern the country. Many people come together to filter changes through a number of entities until one very slow, steady result is achieved.

The allocation of delegates worked. Conservative, anti-Trump folks are mad at me because we missed an opportunity to send 49 delegates to the perceived conservative choice. The electorate has not figured out if that is Cruz or Rubio. So the consolation prize for that group is that you sent 24 delegates to the two perceived conservative candidates and only 17 to Trump. No one can say whether Trump, Cruz, Rubio, or Kasich would have won a convention. What we do know is that we would have selected the delegates to the convention in January, and a lot would have changed from that moment through today. Would the Bush delegates have attended? Would the Paul delegates, Christie delegates, etc.? Who would they have voted for if they did? Anyone that says the know the answer probably projected Jeb Bush would win the Virginia primary.

Scorecard Point 3: RPV Strength

The role of the State Central Committee is to advise RPV on policies that will strengthen the party. That’s it. RPV does not exist to guarantee processes or election outcomes from those processes. It exists to help Republican nominees win office. Here’s what the primary allowed RPV to accomplish. In January of 2015 RPV had $265 in the bank and over $200,000 in debt. A convention would have required a $40,000 loan made to the party by a private individual, which would have had to have been paid back, in order to reserve the convention space one year in advance. The total cost of the convention had been budgeted at just over $250,000, all of which would have been borrowed by an entity (RPV) that had maxed out its available lines of credit, and had been in the process of negotiating debts with vendors.

Point 1: if you make any claim to being a fiscal conservative, you don’t like debt, and you can’t in good conscience allow an entity buried in debt to go even further into debt.

Where is RPV now? Pete Snyder and Curtis Colgate led a fundraising effort that brought in over $200,000. John Whitbeck has paid off every dollar of debt RPV owed to creditors. That’s right, the party of fiscal conservatism has practiced what it preaches. The free cash flow has allowed us to build an infrastructure that the nominee, whoever that is, will be able to inherit immediately. The GOP won both the Virginia Senate and the Virginia House in 2015, and anyone watching the General Assembly can appreciate the importance of those victories.

From a fiscal standpoint, RPV has not been this strong for almost a full decade. From an electoral support standpoint, RPV has not been able to assist campaigns to this extent in, well, it’s never been able to support campaigns at this level.

Did the Compromise work to make RPV stronger? Yes. RPV is stronger in every single objective measure. And we know this is true because the Chairman of RPV is running for a full term unopposed. That fact alone speaks volumes about the success of RPV in the past 12 months.

Think about that: in the most bitterly contested, soul of the party, nomination contest of our lifetime, the Chairman of RPV is running for re-election unopposed. Objective successes beget objective successes.

Has the Compromise worked so far? Yes, because more candidates qualified for the ballot than ever before. Yes, because over one million people voted in the GOP primary in Virginia. Yes, because the delegate allocation reflected the strength of all of the candidates. Yes, because RPV avoided incurring $250,000 in debt, and is now entirely out of debt and investing in election resources for November.

At this point, you’re probably thinking, “Alright, a simple yes would have been sufficient.”

But these are the objective facts, and they need to be known.

 

The Compromise going forward:

November 2016: I cannot say whether the compromise will give us a Republican president. I don’t know who the nominee is. My top two candidates have been Rubio and Cruz, and Trump has 67 fewer delegates than the two of them have combined. But I can say that if a Republican candidate is to win Virginia, he will need the infrastructure that RPV has been building from their stronger financial position, and that gives the nominee his best chance to win the Presidency this November. In the end, RPV must get Republican nominees elected in November.

Spring 2017: I’m excited for the 2017 RPV Convention, and I hope SCC reserves the convention space for it soon. Why am I excited? Because Virginia Republicans control the nomination process. Unlike the Presidential, where 50 states weigh in on who should be nominated, Republicans in Virginia will control the outcome of the 2017 nominating convention. This is a convention in its best form, where the winner is the winner, and we go forward as one party. A Virginian will seek the highest office in Virginia based upon the votes of Virginia Republicans. I’m cool with that.

I can’t guarantee the outcome of the 2017 Gubernatorial Nomination. I don’t know who all is running, or how many delegates we will have, or who those delegates will be. But I do know two things: 1) the process will be fair, and 2) the people that don’t win will complain that it wasn’t, and that my compromise was the wrong path to follow. Because winners objectively win, and losers look for someone to blame. If you’re disappointed, like me, that your preferred candidate lost in Virginia, don’t make excuses, don’t look for blame. Go work for your candidate and get him an actual victory.

So far, the Grand Compromise of 2015 has been a winner. And I hope, and expect, that it will continue to produce wins.

Guest Post : Chip Muir is the former 3rd District Representative to the RPV State Central Committtee and former Richmond City Republican Committee Chairman.

Is Ted Cruz a Natural Born Citizen for purposes of the U.S. Constitution?

Unlike the situations that arose when George W. Romney, John McCain, and President Obama ran for President, there is appears to a legitimate question that Ted Cruz may not be qualified to be President of the United States. In reality however, there isn’t any real question. The analysis is a bit more complex for Mr. Cruz than for the other individuals, but in the end all appearances are that Ted Cruz is a natural born citizen. The analysis begins with the basics: to become a citizen by operation of birth, or a natural born citizen, one must either 1) have been born in the United States (or certain other territories) and subject to the laws of the United States; or 2) had a parent or parents who were U.S. citizens at the time of birth and meet certain other requirements.  (Note the “subject to the laws of the United States” serves to prevent the children of diplomats from becoming citizens by birth, the children of illegal aliens are still subject to the laws of the United States because they don’t have diplomatic immunity).

First, examining the case of George W. Romney, he was born in Colonia Dublan, Mexico to two U.S. citizens who were married. Under law he is a citizen by operation of that birth as long as at least one parent had ever resided in the United States or its outlying possessions. In his case, both were born and had resided in the United States. Likewise, John McCain is a U.S. citizen under the same law as he is the child of two U.S. citizens who were married. He can also claim citizenship as a person born in the Panama Canal Zone before October 1, 1979. This means both John McCain and George Romney were citizens by operation of birth, or natural born citizens. Thus, there is no legitimate question as to either of these two men.

President Obama is even more obviously a citizen due to the fact that he was born in Hawaii. However, even if he had been born in Kenya, Indonesia, or wherever, he would still be a natural born citizen. A person who is born to a married couple with one parent who is a foreign national and one parent who is a U.S. citizen becomes a U S. citizen by operation of that birth, so long as the U.S. citizen parent was physically present in the United States for a period of 5 years, including at least 2 years after 14 years of age. Thus, President Obama’s mother qualifies him as a natural born citizen, no matter where he was born.

This is true, in part, because there is no evidence that President Obama’s mother had ever lost her U.S. citizenship. However, recently there has been some question as to whether Ted Cruz’s mother was still a U.S. citizen at the time that Mr. Cruz was born. The question arises because of evidence that Ted Cruz’s mother was registered to vote in Canadian elections in 1974, meaning she may have been actively exercising her Canadian citizenship while living in Canada. So was she a U.S. citizen at the time Ted Cruz was born?

Almost definitely, but it really depends on the facts. First, contrary to popular belief, the U.S. does recognize dual citizenship. So the mere fact that she may have become a Canadian citizen does not per se revoke her U.S. citizenship. However, it might have. Under 8 U.S.C. § 1418, a U.S. Citizen will lose their citizenship if they perform certain acts with the intention of relinquishing their U.S. citizenship. First on that list of ways to lose one’s citizenship is “obtaining naturalization in a foreign state upon his own application…”  So if Ted Cruz’s mother had become a Canadian citizen and had done so with the intent to relinquish her U.S. citizenship, then Ted Cruz would not have been born a U.S. citizen. But did she?

It appears she did not. As the Cruz campaign has put forward, it is highly unlikely that Ted Cruz’s mother ever became a Canadian citizen, despite the voter registration. The campaign cites a number of factors, including the fact that by the time Ted Cruz was born his mother had not lived in Canada long enough to become a Canadian citizen. Further, even if she had there is absolutely no evidence that she did so with the intent to relinquish her U.S. citizenship.  And this lack of evidence matters. Under the law, a person challenging the citizenship of a purported U.S. citizen has the burden of proving the person is not a citizen. So a lack of evidence that she didn’t relinquish her citizenship is not enough. Someone would have to challenge Ted Cruz’s citizenship, then prove 1) at the time of Cruz’s birth his mother had become a Canadian citizen; and 2) that she did so with the intention of relinquishing her U.S. citizenship. The first element appears to be factually false, and therefore not provable. The second element is virtually unprovable even if documents supported the first element. So Ted Cruz is a natural born citizen until someone can prove otherwise, and there appears to be no proof otherwise.

While this attack on Ted Cruz’s qualifications to run for President actually has more to it than the frivolous attacks on President Obama’s qualifications, the reality is there is no merit to these attacks either. So move on, there is nothing to see here.

During the 2013 Gubernatorial Election, 165 Apathetic Conservatives Destroyed our Gun Rights.

Every election, too many conservatives stay home due to dissatisfaction with the Republican candidates, bitterness that their primary candidate lost, or because of a single issue that they don’t feel is being properly represented. This isn’t a new phenomenon, and many theories have been posited as to why it occurs and whether it is a bad thing. Recently, Allen West posted a poll in which 7.4% of conservatives are so dissatisfied with the plethora of 2016 Republican Presidential candidates that they wouldn’t vote.

How does this relate to gun rights in Virginia?

Well, during the 2013 gubernatorial election, Bill Bolling’s sour grapes about Ken Cuccinelli successful manipulation of the nomination process from a primary to a convention caused a significant rift in the Grand Old Party. As a part of this rift, many Bolling supporters ultimately stayed home. Other conservatives were turned off by Ken Cuccenelli’s alleged ties to Star Scientific, though those where mostly rebutted. Others were turned off by the crazy-train run straight off the rails by the not-for-prime-time E.W. Jackson. Whatever the reasons, 2013’s conservative turnout was even lower than most years when simple disaffection kept conservatives away from the polls. The result? A sweep of the state-wide offices by the Democrats. Even the well-respected Mark Obenshain, who ran a great race.

How good of a race? His race came within 165 votes of victory. We were 165 votes away from a solid conservative as Attorney General. Now many will rail that we needed to lose that election to teach the establishment to respect the grass-roots…blah, blah, blah. Sorry folks. Only 165 more conservatives turning out to vote in 2013 would mean our concealed weapons permits wouldn’t have been eviscerated value by your proudly liberal Attorney General Mark Herring. Those 165 people staying home had a devastating effect on our rights, and those 165 people are to blame for the continued erosion of the 2nd Amendment in Virginia.

Here is the message folks:

Your Republican nominee may not be your first choice. May not align perfectly with your views. May not be conservative or moderate or whatever enough for you. But the Republican nominee is also not a Democrat. That means you need to vote for them, or you end up with your rights being stripped away!

In 2016, this will be even more important than ever. It is very probably that there will be FOUR U.S. Supreme Court Justices appointed by the next president. This means that we need the most electable candidate nominated, and once we have a nominee EVERYONE must support that nominee. I don’t care who it is on the way-too-long list. Any one of them will be better than allowing a Democrat to choose the next four Supreme Court Justices. If that happens, there will be no such thing as gun rights anymore.

Election Day Musings: A Denouement for the Sweet Briar Story.

When the Sweet Briar/Disney America story went “viral” here on the School of Athens, the late, great Terrance Bouldon told me that he could cross going viral off his “bucket list.” I think it was one of the highlights of his career as a blogger, though I don’t believe School of Athens will continue without Terrance. Thus, I found it reminiscent when a person e-mailed me this little story asking if it was related:

VDOT selling some properties once held for bypass.

You may remember, the odd progress (and selective lack there of) of the Route 29 development was cited as circumstantial evidence of Disney being interested in Sweet Briar. So now that the property held along Route 29 is being sold off, one wonders – why?

Really, the Disney connection may have been a web of coincidences – and there is no way we will ever know. But the timeline is telling on the Sweet Briar closing story, and our source still maintains that Disney was interested.

Initially the board was adamantly and inexplicably opposed to any compromise to keep the school open for even one more year – despite the significant reserves and the vast alumnae support – to the tune of millions of dollars. More telling, the board refused to sign papers that would not allow them to profit from the sale of the school.

Then look to Attorney General Mark Herring – he was initially adamantly and inexplicably opposed to the forces trying to keep the school open. So much so that many Vixens still hold him to blame. Wading into this morass held little political gain, and Herring turned out to be on the wrong side of the law as well.

All forces seemed intractable against the #SaveSweetBriar movement.

Then the School of Athens broke our little story, and we received hundreds of thousands of hits from around the world. We were picked up in local newspapers and growing pressure prompted a number of parties to issue formal denials of interest in Sweet Briar. And an interesting thing happened once Disney said it was not interested in the property “at this time.”

One a vast multi-national corporation like Disney deigned to bow to the pressure generated by a little Pro-Republican Bog and said they weren’t interested “at this time”– everything changed.

Mark Herring radically and inexplicable reversed his position. The board caved entirely in a settlement. All opposition crumbled without explanation, giving #SaveSweetBriar total victory.

And now, VDOT is selling off the properties it was holding for development on the Route 29 corridor.

Maybe our source was wrong, and maybe the Disney connection was merely a series of strange coincidences. Or maybe the Big Mouse didn’t want another embarrassment caused by local resistance in the attempt to bring Disney America to Virginia. And maybe when it became clear that the resistance was strong, Disney pulled out… followed by Herring, the Board, and now VDOT. We will likely never know, but I know the Sweet Briar Vixens will remember how Herring inexplicably didn’t have their backs when elections day comes around.

And I know Terrance got to cross something off his “Bucket List.”

Young Republicans Call for Commonwealth to Investigate Planned Parenthood and Affiliates

 

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Young Republicans Call for Commonwealth to Investigate Planned Parenthood and Affiliates
For Immediate Release:
Joe Desilets
703-298-4717
Info@YRFV.org
In response to recent videos that have come to light featuring Planned Parenthood executives detailing the harvest and sale of aborted baby organs the Young Republican Federation of Virginia, led by Chairman Dan Webb, have called for Attorney General Mark Herring to begin a full investigation of Virginia’s Planned Parenthood affiliates.
Along with this call, Chairman Webb issued the following statement:
“Never in my life have I seen a more stomach churning display of callousness. The actions that Planned Parenthood undertakes have always been reprehensible and now the veneer of ‘women’s health’ has been decidedly cracked with the exposure of recent comments showing a complete lack of human decency by top officials in this organization. Not only is Planned Parenthood involved in a trade as reprehensible as the harvesting and selling of fetal organs but they cross a clear line in medical ethics and endanger the well-being of their patients by adjusting their abortion techniques to meet the requests of organ buyers.
“Planned Parenthood has spent millions of dollars trying to convince people that what they are aborting are not actually babies but ‘blobs of tissue’ yet these videos have revealed that they are killing infants developed enough for them to remove and sell specific functioning organs.
“The Millennial generation is an increasingly pro-life generation, and a generation weary of the Democratic Party’s rigidly ideological embrace of abortion on demand and its knee-jerk defense of pro-abortion groups. It is time for Attorney General Mark Herring to stand up and investigate this organization.”
Daniel Webb has served as Chairman of the Young Republican Federation of Virginia since 2015, previously serving as the organization’s 1st Vice Chairman starting in 2013.
 
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“One-percenter” Dan Gecker trying to buy the election?

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Is Gecker serious about his bid in the 10th Senatorial? Well, he has already put $131,585 of his own money into the race in an attempt to win a job that only pays $18,000 a year. Plus, Gecker’s own company, “Urban Development Associates” donated another $33,157 in self-funding. Add in another $60,000 from the New Orlean’s based Tax Credit Capital Federal Fund and $10,000 from the Small Deal Fund LLS, both companies who list Gecker as their Registered Agent.  That is more than $100,000 in self-funding funneled through Gecker’s businesses.

But wait, there is more!  The shadiest of these shady donations is the $25,000 given to Gecker from the Rekee Company. When this Gecker-related company tried to build a privately financed baseball stadium for the Squirrels, Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones said to the Richmond Times Dispatch “Obviously, it’s a plan from Dan Gecker, who’s a supervisor from Chesterfield.”  Gecker denied this but would not state what his role with the deal was.  Next on Gecker’s donations list? $12,500 from Stephen Leibovic, who RTD says is also a part of Gecker’s secret stadium dealings.

So, when analyzing the finances of the top six Gecker donors for his Senate race we find…. Dan Gecker himself plus three of his companies combining for a total of $244,742 out of the $351,031that Gecker has raised to date.  That means the Gecker campaign is essentially 69.7% self-funded. Add in the $37,500 from the shady stadium company that appears to be further Gecker self-dealing and we have a campaign that is a full 80% self-funded.

So to the voters in the 10th Senatorial District, you have a clear choice:  You may elect public servant Glen Sturtevant who has spent his career giving back to the community as a prosecutor and a school board member. Or you may elect perennial “One-Percenter” Dan Gecker, who’s back-room real-estate dealings and shady self-funding clearly show he is trying to buy a senate seat.

The choice is clear.  Glen Sturtevant in the 10th Senatorial.