Month: November 2019

How to Talk to Your Family About the Need for a New Political Party this Thanksgiving

Just Don’t

Many left wingers are eager to use Thanksgiving to give their Trump-supporting/right-leaning relatives a smackdown lesson in politics as they see it. One Thanksgiving host I know of has set the wifi password to IMPEACH45 as to require their Trump-supporting relatives to type the words if they want on wifi. I would argue that this and other holiday political hi-jinks is a bad idea and ultimately counterproductive.

There are three big reasons why arguing politics at Thanksgiving is generally not a good idea. I say generally because there I have heard of families full of people who love nothing more than to have a good-natured argument, and are able to do so with good humor and without rancor. If you’re from a family such as this, than feel free to ignore this.

First of all, from a purely personal perspective, the Holidays are a special time when you actually get to spend time with people, many of whom have limited life time remaing and enjoy a feast together.If this Thanksgiving turns out to be the last time you see a grandfather or a beloved aunt, would you really want to remember that you browbeat them about their political preferences?

Secondly, our inability to have a peaceful Holiday meal without getting into an argument about politics is a part of a much larger problem. Politics has become too big and too important. Spaces and days free of political angst are shrinking. It’s poisonous to our national life and when you start an argument about politics at Thanksgiving, you’re becoming part of the problem.

Third, it’s really a question of “time and a place.” I have yet to hear of any minds being changed by a belligerent Thanksgiving argument. You’re far more likely to annoy rather than persuade as the fact you’re starting an argument and “ruining” the family time together we’ll obliterate the value of your message.

Sometimes, we find ourselves in the midst of arguments we didn’t start. Arguments are started by others and we have to choose how to respond. In doing so, remember to be respectful and to work maintain the relationship. Carly Fiorina had some interesting thoughts on handling political disagreements in her latest podcast, encouraging the use of “open-ended genuinely curious and caring questions” which is probably more effective than most other approaches to political disagreements.

We face many serious problems. However, the best thing we can do for our country’s future tomorrow is to come together to celebrate Thanksgiving in a spirit of goodwill and do our best to be agents of peace and unity.]

Happy Thanksgiving.

Pro-Life Democrats are Among the Politically Homeless

Most of my blog posts have addressed ex-Republicans like myself, yet we received a reminder last week that pro-life Democrats are also among the politically homeless. CNN reported last week:

The group for state Democratic attorneys general issued a warning to potential candidates on Monday — back abortion rights, or we won’t back you.

The Democratic Attorneys General Association announced that it would only endorse candidates who support abortion access and publicly vow to defend reproductive rights, a requirement the group called “first-of-its-kind for any Democratic campaign committee.”


Coming two days after pro-life Democrat John Bel Edwards was re-elected as the only Democratic governor in the deep South, it shows Democrats are out-of-touch regarding what it takes to win in many areas of the country.

More than that, it shows the Democrats’ decreasing lack of tolerance for pro-life viewpoints. The Democrats have long been the home for strident pro-abortion activism. It’s been pretty well-established if you want to become a national figure in the Democratic Party, you’d best dump pro-life views. In the 1970s-1990s, politicians like Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and Jesse Jackson abandoned pro-life positions for national political ambitions. This century, Representative Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) did the same thing. However, there was a time where you could be a pro-life Democrat. There were pro-life Democrats like Rep. Tony Hall (D-OH) and Richard Stallings (D-ID) and Senator Howell Heflin (D-AL.) In the House, there was a Congressional pro-life caucus with dozens of Democrats and a Democratic Co-Chair. Believe it or not, the National Right to Life Committee used to get to elect their own Democratic Convention superdelegates.

Now pro-life Democrats are on the verge of extinction. Pro-abortion groups like Emily’s List are trying to eradicate the few that remain like Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) In addition in 2017, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez has declared every Democrat must support abortion rights.

While Democrats for Life struggles on, their battle for the soul of the Democratic Party has been lost and Democrats who refuse to bow the knee on abortion risk losing their positions. Pro-life voters who vote for Democrats are voting for a party that not only disagrees with them but is hostile to their beliefs. However, most are not going to find a home in today’s Trumpified GOP.

Could Democrats who oppose abortion find common cause with ex-Republicans who reject the increasingly anti-immigrant, pro-war crimes stances of today’s GOP? I believe many very well could. It’s important that a new party doesn’t draw all of its members from one party, but from both major parties, as well as members of minor parties and those who belong to no party at all.

Breaking the Binary, Part Four: Focusing on Generations Not Elections

In the third part of this series, I explained, in a presidential election, even someone as far left as Elizabeth Warren is unlikely to bring about the apocalyptic consequences many warn about. Does that mean I take a “Be happy, don’t worry” approach to politics? Certainly not.

Perhaps my view could be best explained by Ronald Reagan’s quote, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” Notice that Reagan said “one generation” and not “one election.” That sets him apart from modern Republicans.

There is cause to be concerned that freedom is in jeopardy:

  • A crushing national debt that hit $23 trillion.
  • Out of control growth in entitlements that threatens to bankrupt a future generation.
  • A lack of tolerance for differing viewpoints that endangers the First Amendment rights to freedom of religion and speech.
  • Growing racial and ethnic polarization.

These are huge issues that have to be addressed. The problem is most political leaders in the GOP and thought leaders on the right say we are one election away from losing our liberty should the Democrats win any given election. Therefore, they make decisions that alienate future generations from the Republicans in order to succeed in capturing enough votes from white baby boomers to win elections. They also tolerate policy decisions that are bad for the long term for short-term political gain.

The Democrats are going to win an election. All that Republicans and Trumpist apologists are doing right now is making the core ideas of conservatism (such as free markets, limited government, the right to life) unpalatable because they’re mixing it with tolerance for racism, conspiracy theories, and a willingness to enable abuse for “our side.”

We need to challenge unsustainable and unwise progressive policies with bold, common sense approaches that preserve liberty and protect America’s sacred values. We need to not be content to win an election by a few thousand votes in three states and call it a landslide, but rather to build an enduring political movement that will address our country’s real problems.

You’ll never get this from the Republicans. That’s why it’s time for those who are tired of politics being driven by those who want us fearful and angry all the time to start a new political party.

Libertarians Are Willing to Settle for Delicious Tears

Governor Matt Bevin (R-KY) appears to have lost his re-election bid. As with everything in our politics these days, Bevin’s loss has led to a debate about Donald Trump and his responsibility for the loss because everything leads to a debate about Trump.

The Kentucky GOP swept the rest of the statewide races and won a supermajority in the state legislature, so there’s not a great case for blaming Trump. There are much better examples of Trump dragging the GOP to defeat last Tuesday: the Virginia state legislative elections and elections in the Philadelphia suburbs. But Matt Bevin did not have a Donald Trump problem, he had a Matt Bevin problem.

However, Republicans don’t blame Trump or Bevin’s loss. They are blaming the Libertarians. The margin between State Attorney General Andy Beshear and Bevin accounted for .4% of the vote, Libertarian John Hicks received 2% of the vote. Kentucky State Senate President Robert Stivers told USA Today that most of the votes that went to Hicks would have gone to Bevin in a two-man race.

For their part, the Libertarians are happy to take the blame:

“We are always happy to split the vote in a way that causes delicious tears. Tonight there are plenty of delicious tears from Bevin supporters,” the party said in a Facebook post.

The party also claims Bevin’s decision to not have Lt. Governor Jenean Hampton as his running mate for reelection played a role in Bevin’s results along with many political positions that go against what many libertarians believe in. The statement concluded with a final parting shot for Bevin supporters.

“For the Bevin supporters, your tears are delicious.”


When I talk about the need for a new party for Conservatives, many right-leaning Libertarians point out the Libertarian Party. In We Can Do Better, America, I reject the Libertarians as a viable alternative and this post from the Kentucky Libertarians illustrates why.

They’re far too used to losing. A good 98% of the state voted for somebody else and they’re happy because they made other people unhappy. That’s not how you change the country or build a successful political party, that’s just being mean-spirited. In addition, it’s reinforcing the idea that voting for anyone other than the GOP and Democrats is splitting the vote.

Without the Libertarian on the ballot, would Bevin have won? It’s hard to say. If you’re a Republican like Stivers, you just add Hicks’ 2 percent to Bevin’s 48.8% and voila, instant victory. However, the reality is often far more complicated. It’s a popular Republican myth that Ross Perot’s independent candidacy cost George H.W. Bush his re-election in 1992 but, as I’ve written before, actual polling shows this isn’t the case and some suggest Perot took more votes from Clinton. Similarly, studies have shown that George W. Bush would have Florida by a wider margin in 2000 without Ralph Nader on the ballot, contrary to conventional wisdom.

As a general rule, a 1/3 of people who vote for Third-Party candidates wouldn’t have voted otherwise. So that would leave 1 1/3% of Kentucky Voters up for grabs. Generally, the remainder would have voted about 2:1 for one of the major candidates. This would leave a margin of 6,352 votes which is more than the difference between Beshear and Bevin. However, we have no idea which way the 28,000 Kentuckians who voted Libertarian would have gone. Were they primarily right wing voters or anti-Bevin voters?  Despite their pretense, the Kentucky Libertarian Party doesn’t know either. A party that is happy with 2% of the vote doesn’t have the capability of doing a political deep dive to find out how their voters would have voted otherwise. Mean Facebook posts are the limit of what the Kentucky Libertarians can produce.

If we wanted to find out who the second choice of Libertarian voters were and to avoid “splitting the vote” elections, there’s a simple solution. It’s called ranked choice (or instant runoff) voting. Had this system been in place in Kentucky, voters would have cast their vote for Governor by order of preference. If no one got a majority, votes for the last place candidate would instantly be redistributed to those voters’ second choice.

 If I were (for example) the President of the State Senate in a state where my party held a Supermajority and I was convinced that a third party effort had cost my party the Governorship, I’d definitely want to introduce a bill to put such a system in place. Under a ranked choice system, major party leaders wouldn’t have to worry that a third party effort would “split the vote” and cause the other major party to win.

Why won’t Senator Stivers bring forth such a bill? A ranked choice voting system takes away the stigma of voting third party. You’re not going to split the vote. You can vote for the candidate you actually want (and if you’re so inclined) you can order your vote so it automatically goes to the major party candidate you’d prefer. It increases the risk that citizens fed up with the Republicans and Democrats will come together to start a new political party that won’t be satisfied losing every major election it enters for 42 years if it gets a few tears from the major parties. In essence, it will encourage competition and Senator Stivers and Kentucky Republicans can’t have that.

Instead Stivers will use John Hicks’ candidacy as yet another argument against people voting third party and risking splitting the vote. As a bonus, Stivers and other Republicans may also use this argument over how Libertarians would have voted to overturn the result of the close election in the legislature, a prospect that should leave us all in tears.