Category Archives: Republican Messaging

In the Iowa Caucus, a smiley face and a gold star for everyone

Donald Trump after giving "concession" speech at Iowa Caucus

Donald Trump after giving “concession” speech at Iowa Caucus

Last night’s Iowa Presidential Caucus gave all the front-runners in the Democratic and Republican Parties something to smile about. At least, the Caucus results gave each of the following campaigns something to spin positively about:

A realist’s take on the Democratic primary race

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in a show of unity in 2008.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in a show of unity in 2008.

A true realist might not care who wins the 2016 Democratic presidential primary contest, so long as it’s the Democrat who is most likely to defeat the Republican nominee. The prize is winning the White House, and all the advantages that entails, from nominating U.S. Supreme Court justices to conducting foreign policy to pursuing or protecting social agendas on everything from God to guns to gay marriage. We have an ongoing series about the differences between having a Democrat versus a Republican in the White House, and the list is very long. While there are differences between the Democratic candidates, those differences pale in comparison to the Republican candidates. So let’s take a realistic look at the Democratic primary race:

Guns versus terror

Statue of Liberty with gun

Statue of Liberty with gun

In the ongoing war between the political right and left to control the national dialogue, the latest battle involves conservatives talking about terror and liberals talking about guns. We saw this on display during last Wednesday’s Republican presidential debate, as the news headlines reported that “Terror takes center stage during Republican debate.” Likewise, terrorism but also gun safety law solutions took center stage at last Saturday night’s Democratic presidential debate, as the ABC News moderators asked questions seemingly ripped from the Republican book of talking points.

Huffington Post flip-flops on Donald Trump coverage

Donald Trump, confusing the Huffington Post

Donald Trump, confusing the Huffington Post

Just over four months ago, the Huffington Post announced that, from then on, it would cover Donald Trump‘s presidential campaign in its Entertainment section rather than in Politics or News. The explanation given was that “Trump’s campaign is a sideshow.” At the time, we said that the Huffington Post’s decision was “boneheaded” because, among other reasons, there were plenty of other Republican candidates whose campaigns fit the “sideshow” bill and/or appeared to be just business enterprises, yet they weren’t being singled out like Trump. Now, the Huffington Post has flip-flopped on its Trump decision, stating that “we are no longer entertained” by Trump, because Trump’s campaign has “morphed into something else: an ugly and dangerous force in American politics.”

Winning the gun violence argument

America's intersection of children and guns

America’s intersection of children and guns

After yet another mass shooting in America, this time in San Bernardino, California, the debate over what to do about gun violence has been rekindled. However, when both sides simply fall back into their standard arguments, there’s no reason to believe that a different result will occur. To achieve a different outcome, we need some new thinking and new language. Here’s how the majority of Americans can win the argument to reduce gun violence:

The real American terrorists

Anti-NRA protest

Anti-NRA protest

We have a terrorism problem in America, and it isn’t Syrian refugees. The FBI defines “domestic terrorism” as actions that:

  • Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;
  • Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping; and
  • Occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.

Right wing domestic terrorist acts, such as the recent shootings at the Colorado Springs, Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic, as well as four arsons in 74 days at other Planned Parenthood clinics, meet the definition. The same can be said about previous politically-motivated killings and attacks, such as the shooting of peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters in Minneapolis, bombings, arson and attacks on abortion clinics, the attacks on black churches and their members, the shootings at the Sikkh temple in Wisconsin, attacks on mosques and Islamic centers, and attacks on LBGT Americans.

Terrorist terminology: what to call our enemies

Syrian refugee family arriving in Greece -- not our enemy

Syrian refugee family arriving in Greece — not our enemy

In the wake of the recent Paris attacks, the long-running debate about what to call our terrorist enemies has been renewed. This language battle also has strong political overtones.

Those on the right seem to have no problem using broad terms, which can discredit the entire religion of Islam. Their current preferred terminology is “radical Islam.” For example, Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio says “we are at war with radical Islam.” Likewise, fellow candidate Lindsey Graham says that “the whole world is a battlefield and radical Islam is everywhere.” Graham even said, after last January’s Charlie Hebdo attack in France, that “we’re in a religious war.”

In Paris attack, Republicans draw first blood

Second Life commemorates the Paris attacks the next day

Second Life commemorates the Paris attacks the next day

The terrorist attack perpetrated in Paris on Friday night was shocking. Also shocking, however, was the speed in which Republicans and conservatives made ugly public statements to score political points. For example, a number of the Republican presidential candidates, not surprisingly, blamed President Obama. Donald Trump, doubling down on a statement he made last January after the Charlie Hebdo attacks, said the problem was too many gun laws in France. Ann Coulter tweeted that “Donald Trump was elected tonight.” Coulter explained in other tweets that Trump’s anti-immigration policies for America somehow would prevent the type of terrorist attack that occurred in Paris. Newt Gingrich, like Trump, suggested that the Paris attacks could have been thwarted by “10 to 15 citizens with concealed carry permits.” And conservative writer Judith Miller (who is infamous for cheerleading George W. Bush‘s Iraq War in the New York Times) almost incoherently tried to use the Paris attack to argue why black American college students should have no problem with racial discrimination against them.

Democratic vs. Republican Presidents Part 4: Choosing Federal Judges

The U.S. Supreme Court's conservative Republican majority

The U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative Republican majority

(This is the fourth installment in a series about differences between Democratic and Republican presidents in areas where they have direct control. See our Democratic vs. Republican Presidents category for the rest.)

For some voters, the president’s constitutional power to nominate U.S. Supreme Court Justices when vacancies occur is reason enough to vote for one political party or the other. But it goes much deeper than that. The president’s power to nominate all federal judges when vacancies occur is crucial to the direction of the country on nearly every issue, including marriage equality, guns, crime, civil rights, taxes, the environment, etc.

Democratic vs. Republican Presidents Part 3: Disaster Relief

"Where Is FEMA?" t-shirt sold in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina

“Where Is FEMA?” t-shirt sold in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina

(This is the third installment in a series about differences between Democratic and Republican Presidents in areas where they have direct control. See our Democratic vs. Republican Presidents category for the rest.)

In 1986, President Ronald Reagan famously said: “the nine most terrifying words in the English language are ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’” Reagan’s statement epitomizes the conservative anti-government philosophy that has taken hold among Republican presidents and presidential candidates. This is a huge difference between Republicans and Democrats, and this difference is especially apparent when it comes to disaster relief.