Lessons From A Guardian

In many ways, the election of 2016 looks similar to the election of 1892 with a primary difference: a man was running that you’d be proud to vote for, Grover Cleveland. One of the lesser known Presidents in our history and one that is treated like a footnote in many school curriculums, has plenty of relevant wisdom to impart during this turbulent campaign season. Grover Cleveland was a president with strong principles and a distinct understanding of his place in the government.
Grover Cleveland earned the nickname The Guardian President because of his unprecedented use of the veto; Cleveland, over his two terms would use the veto more than twice as often as all of his predecessors combined. Cleveland didn’t view his job, as the president, as one that should advocate for specific legislation but, to protect the American people from bad legislation. This conviction caused a significant amount of controversy over the course of his presidency during which he vetoed legislation such as several pension bills for Civil War Veterans. His most famous veto however, was exercised on the Texas Seed Bill. During the drought of 1887, legislation was sent to Cleveland’s desk to approve the purchase of seed grain to be distributed to farmers as relief. He vetoed this bill and offered the following observation:
I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution; and I do not believe that the power and duty of the General Government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit. A prevalent tendency to disregard the limited mission of this power and duty should, I think, be steadily resisted, to the end that the lesson should be constantly enforced that, though the people support the Government, the Government should not support the people.
Grover Cleveland was one of the last president’s to display, through his actions as the executive, a real disdain and suspicion for a powerful central government. At a time when our candidates are promising everything from free child care to free college; from expanded nationalized health care to jobs sponsored by government it would be prudent to look to the Guardian and remember his restraint. His preference for Constitutionally limited government over the easy, and politically expedient, answer of using the government to solve problems that it was never designed to address, seems to speak directly to our time where we don’t have a single candidate willing to acknowledge the true and intended scope of the federal government. We have, for many decades, eschewed the kind of restraint practiced by Grover Cleveland, and many of his forebears; we should be considering the lessons of their actions, and begin to take measured actions to reign in our out of control government spending and priorities.
As in matters of domestic policy Grover Cleveland was equally reserved in foreign matters. In his foreign policy, Grover Cleveland was a non-interventionist and is duly credited for reestablishing the Monroe doctrine during the boundary dispute between Britain and Venezuela.
Two events dominate the portrait of Cleveland’s foreign policy during his time as President: the annexation of Hawaii and boundary dispute between Great Britain and Venezuela. These two events standout prominently against the backdrop of our current election and the foreign policy being offered by every single one of the major candidates in 2016. From Grover Cleveland’s perspective, territorial expansion was a relic of a bygone era and he supported free trade with the nation of Hawaii. However, in the four years during which Cleveland was out of office, unrest grew among the sugar growers on the islands and, without the approval of the Commander in Chief, marines stormed the island and overthrew Queen Liliuokalani. Immediately after returning to office for his second term, Cleveland withdrew a treaty for annexation that had been sent to the Senate by his predecessor. Later in the same year, Cleveland would address the Congress with his thoughts on the annexation:
I suppose that right and justice should determine the path to be followed in treating this subject. If national honesty is to be disregarded and a desire for territorial expansion or dissatisfaction with a form of government not our own ought to regulate our conduct, I have entirely misapprehended the mission and character of our government and the behavior which the conscience of the people demands of their public servants.
Although this is a battle that Cleveland would ultimately lose, his wisdom is prescient in a time when regime change and humanitarian wars are not only norm but, the expectation of our leaders. Of the three candidates that will be on the ballot in all 50 states in November they all believe in some adulteration of our military forces, whether it be: humanitarian wars, regime change, or simply aggressive displays of America’s military might where our interests aren’t explicitly served; we are being offered three bad options when it comes to the future of the United States military.
On the other side of the military coin: Grover Cleveland was not against a show of force where, as defined by the Monroe Doctrine, it was critical to our national interest. When Britain and Venezuela fell into dispute over the boundary between Venezuela and British Guiana, Cleveland asserted the United States right to intervene and cited the Monroe Doctrine as justification. Although Britain was resistant to US involvement, Venezuela had long been imploring the US government for assistance in the dispute. While Venezuela had been referencing the Monroe Doctrine as justification for US involvement, Britain did not recognize its legitimacy, and they made their position clearly known. However, Cleveland acted with strength and purpose and would ultimately go on to win this battle. The arbitration played out primarily in favor of British Guiana but, American arbitration of the dispute established the United States as a world power. In the time between then and the election of 2016, we have strayed far and wide from the Monroe Doctrine’s limited and specific scope of American interest. It seems, there is no dispute too petty, too uninteresting, or too expensive that in which the United States is currently unwilling to involve itself. We fight the wars of other countries and have established ourselves as the policemen of the world. If we were to, instead, reassign our predominately offensive military strategies to defensive ends, we would be better served financially, as well as defensively.
Grover Cleveland rose to prominence in a time of great change in our nation. There were those, many of whom were in his own party, that would have like to see him take on a more activist role in government. There were also many that found his adherence to the Constitution and his restraint in use of government to be antiquated and damaging. In a time when we find ourselves electing politicians who promise to fix all of our problems; ensure our happiness; and guarantee our safety, at the expense of our liberty, we would be well advised to look to the example of The Guardian President, one of the last men to occupy the office and faithfully execute the oath in which he swore to uphold the Constitution. Cleveland’s Presidency was marked by an admirable restraint and an appreciation for the limited power of the federal government and, specifically the executive branch. Grover Cleveland was far from a perfect man, but he was a man that is all too often overlooked in history as an “also ran” when he has a great deal of wisdom to impart today.
By Nicholas James

Political Rant: Clinton’s Debate Strategy Will Help Trump

Disclaimer: All rants have minimal editing and a general disregard for flow

An interesting analogy can be made between the Wizard of Oz and the presidential candidates. The Tin Man without a heart represents Hillary Clinton and the Scarecrow without a brain represents Trump. The analogy isn’t perfect, but most of the media and much of the public believes it. Democrats might even admit she is corrupt and unpersonable, but they think she is knowledgeable and intelligent. Clinton has primarily chosen to attack Trump on his personality, instead of policy. She portrays Trump as a racist, sexist and a xenophobe. Clinton’s strategy has two main problems:

  • Her attacks are not viewed as credible by undecided voters
  • Trump is skilled at defending against personal attacks

Clinton is one of the most disliked politicians in the modern error. She lacks charisma and is not capable of connecting to voters. Not to mention, her favorability ratings are dreadful. Clinton frequently attacks Trump for his personality, but the attacks do not stick because no one likes Clinton. Voters do not view the Secretary as a credible judge of character. For example, the public would take notice if Martin Luther King Jr. called Trump a racist. MLK Jr. is well respected by the public and is respected for his moral beliefs.  If he was alive today and attack Trump’s personality that could have a powerful effect. Hillary does not have the same credibility, so personal attacks are a foolish strategy.

Additionally, Trump is best at fending off personal attacks. He successfully defended against person attacks throughout the whole Republican primary. Trump can counter punch and he can defend attacks using humor. He famously defused an attack from Megan Kelly in the first debate using humor. The video of this is below.

Political Rant: Only One State Matters This Election

Disclaimer: All rants have minimal editing and a general disregard for flow

Mark my words, Pennsylvania is the only state that will decide this election. The special nature of this election has flipped demographics upside down. In this Presidential election, Trump will do better with white blue collar middle class Americans. In particular, independents that fit into this group will break Trump’s way. Florida and Ohio are typically swing states, but Trump is already running well above Hillary in those states. The strong senate campaigns of Rubio and Portman will solidify Trump’s win in those states.

Winning Ohio and Florida typically ensures the election, but this is not the case this presidential election. Trump still needs to win one more populous swing state to beat Hillary Clinton. Pennsylvania, the state that will tip the election, is his only real chance. PA has leaned Democratic in presidential elections for many years and urban Philadelphia is reliably blue. Trump can appeal to blue collar workers throughout rural PA that feel left behind by the Obama economy. Usually Pennsylvania is a swing state that has a slight left leaning but in this election it may truly reflect the national average. The Senate race in PA between McGinty and Toomey confirms that Pennsylvania is the most vital swing state this election. In an average of the latest polls McGinty holds a 0.2% advantage and that makes this senate race the closest in the country. The next president will win Pennsylvania because that is the only viable pathway for both candidates.

The Libertarian Case Against Trump

Before I start let me be clear, I’m not writing this to defend Gary Johnson in anyway. I am simply making the case as to why someone who holds liberty and freedom as primary values should not be able to support Donald trump in good conscious.  Believe it or not there is actually a decent amount of libertarians who are supporting trump this election cycle.  Now before I get to specific policies I want to examine trumps message as a whole and why libertarians would be betraying some of their core values in voting for him. Libertarians who support trump tend to rationalize their decision by pointing to, and picking out specific policy positions on which they agree with him, and he does in fact have a decent amount in common with the libertarian party. There are also many disagreements libertarians have with him (I’ll get to those later), but specific policy is not the biggest reason why you should vote for or against him (or anyone). The most important determinant in voting for someone as a libertarian should be whether or not they hold liberty and freedom as primary values, as fundamental virtues. I can tell you with absolute certainty that Donald Trump does not give any craps about those two virtues. Donald Trump DOES NOT care about liberty he cares about safety. Donald trump DOES NOT care about freedom he cares about security (a false sense of it at that). One of my favorite quotes of all time comes from Ben Franklin and is: “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” This quote perfectly represents both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. You can talk about how Trump’s *current* policies may be more libertarian or may protect our liberties slightly more than Hillary’s, but that does not change the fact that he does not care about our liberty and in some aspects may be even more authoritarian than Hillary Clinton.

Now to those who agree with every single point I just presented, yet will still (reluctantly) vote for trump. This position is at least defendable and can be sympathized with, but I still urge you to make another choice. First I’d like to point out that we have no idea if he really would be better than Hillary considering he was a democrat like… yesterday. We don’t know because the policy positions he held yesterday are not the same as todays and will change again tomorrow. The most important reason why you can’t make this decision though is the authoritarian tendencies he has and could have when in office. If you vote for him you will in part will be responsible for some of the authoritarian things he might do while in office, because when you vote for someone, for an office with that kind of power, you put your name with their name, and whether you like it or not you are in some way attached to their horrible actions.

Now for the fun part, here are just some of the policies where Donald Trump is completely contradictory to libertarians on :

  • Protectionism

While Donald Trump has claimed before to be for free trade it has become evident that this is very, very untrue. His comments and specific policies on trade are as far left as they come, and I’m not talking about him not agreeing with the TPP or NAFTA. He has talked about putting tariffs on goods coming in from china and other countries to “punish” them and made various other comments that are staunchly protectionist and anti-free trade.

  • The Drug War

While supporting at least legalizing medical marijuana The Donald is still very in favor of the drug war. This is in direct contrast with libertarians, and the drug war has failed tremendously as we all know.

  • PROGRESSIVE TAX

While he would lower some of the tax brackets and eliminate certain taxes the Donald will likely not greatly affect how much the government steals from you every april. He will continue a progressive income tax and not do anything about the IRS.

  • Spending

His budget and spending proposals make his tax plan look beautiful. Not only does he not propose spending cuts, he will increase spending in many ways. Trump does understand that one of the reasons for cutting taxes is so the government will have less of a budget to get involved in illegal wars with and create new agencies with. The federal government will be just as big and bureaucratic under a trump presidency as it would be under a Clinton presidency (probably not as evil but still).

  • The Patriot act and Edward Snowden

Trump is a strong supporter of the patriot act, which is a clear infringement on our 4th amendment rights. He supports the NSA’s right to spy on every single one of us day and night. He also think Edward snowden is a traitor for exposing this hideous crime and infringement on our natural born rights, and liberties.

I could list a lot more but you get the point. He is NOT a libertarian. He does NOT give a damn about freedom. He maybe better than Hillary but that does not mean you should put your vote or support behind someone who might. Literally. Be a fascist.

By Alexander McVeigh

Presidential Election Forcast

My Presidential Election predictions

Above I have a link to my predicted electoral map. I have Trump winning 296-242. Trump has the ability to shape what the media covers which is a huge and underrated advantage. Typically people think advertisements sway elections, but earned media has a far greater pull. Additionally, people make decisions emotionally not analytically. Gut instinct trumps political substance every time. This great video by Stossel explains why style beats substance. Clinton she will come off poor throughout the election and in the debates because she is unlikable and untrustworthy.  Subconsciously, people will be less likely to vote for Clinton, because they do not trust her.