Trump Gets Hero’s Welcome While Biden Gets Ignored: Ohio’s Mahoning Valley

For northeast Ohio and for the Youngstown area in particular Labor day holds a special place: it is the time of the Canfield Fair. The Canfield Fair is the largest county fair in the state of Ohio and 3rd largest in the country. Every election year you can bet that at least a few candidates will make a stop at the fair: the venue is just too promising to pass up. This year the fair was lucky enough to host two different politicians: Vice President Joe Biden and Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump.

Their visits could not have been more different.

Before we jump into the stark difference of these two visits it’s important to recognize the political climate of the area. The Canfield Fair is located in Mahoning County, one of the most heavily democratic areas in the state of Ohio. However, Mahoning County had the notoriety during this recent primary season of seeing over 6,000 Democrats cross over to take Republican ballots, most likely to vote for Trump as he won the county handily (although Trump lost the state overall to Governor John Kasich). Now the number of registered Democrats to registered Republicans is almost equal in the county. It’s safe to say that Trump has a base of support in Mahoning County that Republicans traditionally do not enjoy.

The fair this weekend was a great example.

Joe Biden visited the Canfield Fair on Thursday, the second day of the fair. Vice President Biden first arrived in the Mahoning Valley to a only half-full UAW Union Hall. Let’s repeat this: in the Democrat stronghold of the Mahoning Valley, in a UAW Hall not far from the GM Lordstown plant, the Vice President of the United States could not fill a space campaigning for Hillary Clinton. After the travesty of a first stop Biden then stopped by the Canfield Fairground at the local Democrat Party tent to another modest crowd. Biden was driven up to the tent in his limo, jumped out for some photos and then headed out.

I believe Mr. Trump would call this very low energy.

 

Compared to Donald Trump’s visit to the fair on Labor Day, traditionally the final day of the Canfield Fair, Biden’s visit barely counted as a rest stop. As soon as the rumors circulated about  Trumps visit as early as Friday, people were clambering into the Republican tent for more information. The local Republican Party did all they could to supply demand for Trump; they were constantly restocking on shirts, buttons, yard signs, and other Trump memorabilia. The local party even took it a step further: they started building a “Trump Wall” fundraiser for which  you could buy a brick, write a message, and place it on the wall for a small donation. The wall was a hit; the party built three different walls displays as the demand for bricks was so high.

One of the “Trump Walls” at the Canfield Fair on Thursday was already completed.

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Then came Trump’s visit to the fair on Monday afternoon, Labor day. People stood outside the Republican tent waiting to see the candidate. The crowd started gathering at 10 am, and Donald Trump did not even arrive to the fair until a few minutes after 3 pm. Thousands were crowding outside the tent, holding signs, wearing Trump campaign gear, and occasionally joining in with calls of “build the wall” and “lock her up!”. The video below shows the crowd at around 1 pm (two hours before Trump even arrived): the front of the Republican tent is nearly impassable due to the size of the crowd gathered.

Crowd waiting for Trump 2 hours before he arrives.

https://www.facebook.com/jwshaw/videos/10101563271778112/

 

Let’s do a recap of this Labor Day Weekend: Presidential candidate Donald Trump totally upstaged the sitting Vice President of the United States in a part of the country that has been a Democrat Stronghold for decades. It is no wonder that recent polling is showing this race so close.

School Choice Leads To Overall Education Improvement

The issue of school choice has been a hot button issue here in Ohio, especially since the expansion and changes of community (charter) schools in recent years. To be clear school choice is not simply charter schools: the idea of choice for youngsters’ education also encompasses home schooling and private schools. However, while home schooling and private schools have been around for a long time, the idea of a public charter school is still a new concept for most. Even using the phrase “public charter school” is a misnomer since in Ohio all charter schools ARE public schools, but many are still not aware of this fact. Regardless, the steps that the state has taken to increase school choice for students by expanding charter schools are great, even taking into account the need for some fine tuning in practices that is being shown by the state auditor’s office.

 

Expanding school choice can be simply looked at as expanding the marketplace in education. By expanding the marketplace the state is creating an environment where different approaches can be taken to education, where hopefully new best practices and methods can be explored. This expanded marketplace now contains competition: are you going to send you child to a traditional public school, a new charter school, the catholic school down the road, or maybe even home school them yourselves? You are going to pick what you think is the best option for your child and your family.

 

This expanded marketplace, with its competition for students will (and in many cases already has) lead to innovations. These innovations will lead to a better education for our children and their children. I recently visited a few charter schools in Denver, where different approaches to education were taken. These schools were also interesting because they not only served more low-income and minority students than the average Denver public schools, but they also were scoring higher on achievement tests on average than traditional public schools. It was a fantastic show of how charter schools can add to the educational experience by offering students a different choice from traditional public schools.

 

School choice, when done correctly can lead to great innovations in education as well as give students and families the choice of environments in which to learn. Of course there will be bumps in the road as can be seen in a few schools in Ohio today. However, the proof can be seen in other states such as Colorado that charter schools can improve the educational experience and academic results.

 

The Left Hates Your Rights

The Bill of Rights is a cornerstone of American Democracy. Unlike most other Western Democracies, the Bill of Rights is not a document granting rights to citizens from the government, but instead stating the already existing rights of citizens before government. As the progressive-left in the United States loves big-brother style of government, it should be no surprise that they are continuing to show their utter disdain for the Constitution, with the Bill of Rights at forefront of their hissy-fits. Instead of speaking in generalities, it instead seemed more useful to go through the applicable amendments and discuss how the left has shown hate for that particular right in recent years, since they seem determined to undermine as many as they possibly can.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


This is most easily seen on the college campuses. Whether it is free-speech hating safe spaces, or persecuting students for supporting Donald Trump with campus wall demonstrations, the left continues to show their support of censorship. Of course they will say that they love free speech, but what that really means is free speech that they agree with. College campuses used to be an environment of learning, of being confronted with ideas that are new or the opposite of what you believe. By being exposed to other viewpoints you could grow, either more soundly into your own beliefs, or into new beliefs that you have been shown. Instead campuses have become an oppressive echo chamber for the left.

Sadly this is all happening not just on college campuses, but out in the real world as well. If you happen to be on the wrong side of the issue many leftists will shout you down, try to put you in the corner, or attack you when you are coming out of a Donald Trump rally. The media has been complicit here as well: instead of reporting on those wishing to silence their political opponents they have instead glorified the criminals involved. The irony here is that progressivism would have never grew without protection from the 1st amendment.

Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.


The left has hated the 2nd amendment for the last several decades. When the left gets what they claim they “want” they then move the goalposts. First we “needed” a ban on Assault Rifles. Then we “needed” a ban on “Assault Weapons”, an invented term that has no recognized meaning with the ATF. Thankfully we had a sensible congress that let the latter expire. Unfortunately we are currently fighting a battle on aesthetics: the progressive-left is fighting to ban AR-15s, a particular firearm who’s only crime is superficially resembling a military M-16/4. What many do not realize is that a ban on the AR-15 would absolutely lead to a ban on all semi-automatic weapons, most of which are commonly used as hunting weapons as well as defense weapons.

The most important fact, ignoring that owning firearms is a constitutional right, is that the firearm homicide rate is about half of what it was 20 years ago. This does not fit the narrative, so it is easily thrown aside. When the nation experiences a terrorist act, the left has at every opportunity pushed for more gun control, instead of actually addressing the root of the terrorism.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.


This has been shown in connection with the left’s hatred of the 2nd. Recently, we have had Democratic Representatives occupy the House floor during recess because a bill they supported did not succeed. What they leave out of this narrative, however, is that this bill would have stripped due process away from anyone unfortunate enough to end up on the no-fly list. The same list that Senator Ted Kennedy, Actor David Nelson, and Representative Don Young have had the misfortune of appearing on by mistake.

Democrats in the House were offered a compromise bill that had a similar effect but allowed for due process hearings for those who contend they are on the list by mistake. House Democrats instead decided to sit on the House floor like children. They has also used this stunt for fundraising purposes with the DNC. The left frequently accuses the right of being obstructionists, but here they have shown that they only care about pandering and fundraising.

 

So please, next time you seen your Democratic Representative thank them for their hard work in taking away the rights that were so carefully named to you in our founding document.

 

 

Congress Needs To Continue Protecting Medicare Part D

 

Generally government intervention into the market results in higher costs to the consumer. Most recently this can be seen in various sections of Obamacare: new rules and taxes have increased premiums for many people. A few weeks ago I wrote about the HIT tax and its negative impact on the healthcare market. This is due to its nature of picking winners and losers in that particular market.

However, this does not mean that every foray the federal government has taken into healthcare is negative. A successful program that has been operating for some time, Medicare Part D, is an example of how a program run by the government can be successful. For those who are not very familiar with Medicare Part D, it is a prescription drug benefits plan that allows the free-market competition which has led to affordable prices and easy access for prescription drugs and premiums for our seniors.

Part D has been very successful for over 10 years.

Part D in a way is a stark contrast to the HIT; instead of inserting itself into the market to pick winners and losers, Part D allows the consumer the freedom to choose in the marketplace. This drives competition and allows the free market to continue to function instead of (an attempt) to control of the market by artificial government means. The choice for the government to be involved in healthcare via Medicare and Medicaid was made long ago: supporting an aspect of these programs that still allows for competition in the marketplace is commonsense.

Unsurprisingly Part D has come under negative attention from the left who want to change the fundamental aspect of why this program works so well. These are the same politicians who will not be happy until every aspect of life is controlled from Washington DC. Instead of allowing market choice to continue, some policy makers are calling for direct governmental control of Part D prescriptions. Part D is popular among seniors and has consistently comes in under budget projections. Hillary Clinton, who is more likely than not the Democratic nominee, has specifically stated her intents to change Part D into another government run, Obamacare-like failure. Thank God we have had Republicans in Congress use commonsense to protect the program from ideologically based changes proposed by the Obama Administration. So my question to both Clinton and Obama: why change a program that is obviously working?

Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama care more about liberal ideology than what is best for our seniors.

Leave it to liberal politicians to change a popular program that actually works. Meanwhile the VA is a national disgrace they would rather sweep under the rug. Hopefully our Ohio delegation will push Congress to continue to protect our seniors by ensuring that Medicare Part D does not become another over budget, government controlled healthcare nightmare.

It’s Time To Stop Obamacare’s HIT Tax

Even though the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) has been in effect for some time, both the intended and unintended consequences of the law continue to negatively impact consumers. The sheer number of taxes added by the law is rather staggering: from the Individual Mandate, the Surtax on Investment Income, and the Health Insurance Tax Excise (HIT), the law was itself half tax increases by design. The backers of the bill missed the irony of “The Affordable Care Act”; making healthcare more costly to over half of the country due to its overabundance of tax increases.

Back in December of 2015, Congress passed a temporary one-year hold on the Health Insurance Excise Tax (HIT). The HIT is a tax on health insurance companies based on its share of the insured marketplace – but exempts the large employer and corporations that are self-insured.  Economists predict that this cost will be passed directly on to small businesses in the form of higher premiums.  When Obamacare was getting shoved through congress (“but we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it”) the law was hailed as aimed at increasing the pool of covered people. By enacting a tax such as the HIT, Obamacare is essentially pressuring both providers and companies that offer insurance to their employees to eliminate certain plans simply because they cover too much.

Just as is the case with other liberal economic policies, the HIT picks winners and losers. By its design the winners are health insurance plans with just the “right” amount of coverage, as well as high-cost plans by large corporations that are in the self-insured market that are exempt from the tax. Because of this the HIT unfairly affects small businesses and individuals whose only mistake was choosing a more comprehensive plan for their own comfort.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated the HITx would cost small business owners an additional $530 per employee per year. Much of this cost will be passed on to employees in higher premium costs. Wages are stagnant, healthcare costs have already increased, and the HIT would be responsible for yet another increase in healthcare premiums.

As if those reasons weren’t enough, another group has weighed in with a final, highly impactful repercussion from the HIT. The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) has estimated that job growth will be stunted if the tax is implemented. The NFIB has estimated that private sector job growth will be reduced by 125,000 simply from the implementation of the HIT.

Let’s recap the Health Insurance Tax:

  1. It unfairly affects small businesses and individuals over large corporations
  2. It picks winners and losers in insurance plans by arbitrary ideal coverage
  3. It will cost small businesses millions of dollars each year
  4. It will cost families about $500 more per year in higher premiums
  5. It will negatively impact economic growth to the tune of 125,000 jobs lost.

 

The HIT costs employees, employers, and jobs. Another temporary one-year hold is not enough. Congress needs to permanently stop the Health Insurance Tax. Our Ohio delegation needs to step up and drive the fight for this repeal.

Candidate Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Trump

It’s Mid-April and both the Republican and Democratic primaries are still contested. We have such a slate of disappointment on both sides it is rather remarkable to watch. What conservatives are left with is a choice between a solid conservative who is pretty easy to dislike, and someone even more unlikable: a businessman-turned-TV entertainer-turned-politician who the left (as well as many on the right) just can’t help but attack on a daily basis.

 

Donald Trump loves it. Trump THRIVES on it. And he has proven to be able to turn the tables and often have the last laugh. How did we get here?

 

The factors behind Trump’s rise and popularity are finally clear to me. Until recently I was in denial about how we got to this point in the Republican Party. I kept asking myself: why do people like this guy? At events I would laugh and joke with other GOP friends: we would amuse ourselves by calling him a buffoon, would make fun of his hair, and frequently interject little quips about his YUGE WALL. We thought we were just hilarious, because there was no way he is serious… right? How wrong I was.

 

The best part of Trump’s ascension has been to figure out that fighting it is simply very not effective. Quite literally, Resistance is Futile. Because no matter what Trump does, a majority of his supporters simply do not care. My peers in the party either refuse to see this, or will simply not allow themselves. They, as well as the media, continue to belittle Trump. Their efforts are simply useless at this point.

 

“Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room.”

 

Well here we are folks. There is a better than not chance that Trump is the Republican nominee. As I am writing this I am waiting for the results from New York, but an easy prediction is that Trump takes most, if not all of the delegates in that state. So in a few months we will have Trump on one side and Hillary on another. Curiously enough both have their respective party’s establishment to thank for their ascension.  Yes, I am claiming that Trump has the Republican Establishment to thank for his (moderately) successful campaign. While the Democrats intentionally stacked their Super Delegates to allow a Hillary win, the Republicans have inadvertently given Trump a path by abusing their own party supporters.  

 

The Republican Establishment created the environment that allowed Trump to be a legitimate candidate. If we look back at the last 8 years of the Obama Presidency all the signs are present. The GOP took over the House in 2010 and the Senate in 2014. During those years what came out of Congress that was requested by grassroots conservatives? Not a thing. The last budget deal is a perfect example of the complete lack of concern that the Republican Establishment has for the grassroots. The only winner from the budget deal was the donor class of the party. What did your regular GOP voter get out of the deal? Lower taxes? NOPE. Defund Planned Parenthood? NOPE. Legitimate spending cuts? NOPE. More southern border security? NOPE.

 

So it should come as no surprise that Trump is building his campaign on a list of everything the grassroots has wanted, but has not been taken care of by the GOP higher-ups. Trump has consolidated his base with a sizable portion of the GOP voting base, as well as attracting independents and some blue-collar democrats into voting in the primary. I observed his attraction of blue collar Democrats in my home county in northeast Ohio just a month ago.

 

His supporters love him, and they love that he doesn’t play the politics that they themselves are so tired of. 

 

There’s only one option left: let’s all sit back, have a nice cold pint, and wait for all of this to blow over.

One Liberal East Coast Republican Endorses Another For President

This afternoon (February 26th) Chris Christie, former GOP candidate for President, announced his endorsement of Donald Trump for President. On the surface this is unsurprising: Christie has vocalized many times his deep dislike for Trump’s two main rivals: Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. Christie also shares a total disregard for conservative principles that Trump has embraced during this campaign (and his whole life for that matter) which is polar opposite of the values that both Rubio and Cruz have held and stood for during their political careers.

While Christie was unsuccessful with his own campaign, he now expects to ride Trump’s coattails for the Vice-President spot on Trump’s ticket.

It is not surprising to see how hypocritical and opportunistic both of these men can be on the campaign trail. I say this not because they are former opponents, but because they have attacked and demeaned each other with a great deal of vigor. Apparently Christie has forgiven Trump’s assertion from earlier this year that Christie was a “little boy” during President Obama’s visit to new Jersey, as well as his many other insults. Christie himself has insulted Trump many times: starting with calling Trump self-absorbed (November 2015), criticizing Trump’s behavior on Twitter (November 2015), suggesting that his temperament as shown on reality TV was not fit for the Oval Office (December 2015), and asserting that Trump had no details behind any of his grand plans (January 2016). But now Christie has sold out to Trump for a chance to be number 2 to Trump’s lunacy.

This seems familiar; it reminds me of Christie palling around with Obama like best friends a few years ago.

Trump is taking Christie’s endorsement happily, because he is worried about his chances. Before Thursday’s debate Trump has hardly had to stand up to any real, vigorous opposition. Jeb Bush had any sort of success challenging Trump on the issues. However, Jeb was largely unsuccessful due to his temperament. Jeb Bush is closer to the elder statesman: dignified, intelligent, but hardly combative. Unfortunately Bush was simply not up to the task of taking on Trump.

Last night another challenger emerged to take Trump to task, and Christie’s endorsement might suggest that the encounter rattled Trump.

Marco Rubio did not simply challenge Trump during the debate. Rubio took Trump to task, and eventually taunted him on his language and lack of details on policy. Donald Trump, in his own words, is used to winning. His frequent assertions to being a winner and making things great are almost reminiscent of a political version of Charlie Sheen. During the debate Rubio brought up Trump’s past failures, hammered him on policy, and mocked him for essentially being a spoiled rich kid. Trump did not take that well. Rubio has not let up either; during an event Friday morning Rubio went as far as to suggest that Trump wet himself during the debate.

Trump is not accustomed to such fierce criticism on the campaign trail from his opponents. His own tactics of personal attacks, innuendos, and being spoken over were employed successfully against him by both Rubio and Cruz. Trump left the debate shaken and decided to call in reinforcements in the form of Chris Christie. Trump has frequently trumpeted (no pun intended) his lack of endorsement by “the establishment”. That seems to be over.

This race deserves an even closer watch. And no, not the kind of watch that Trump would be selling if not for his multi-million dollar inheritance.

Strange politics continues in quest for Boehner’s seat

Last week seven candidates attended an endorsement meeting held by the Butler County Republican Party hoping to receive the endorsement from the largest county in the 8th district. Although no candidate breached the 60% requirement to receive the endorsement, one candidate received 59%. That candidate was Butler County Treasurer Roger Reynolds.

Reynolds seemed like the favorite in the race with such a strong base of support.

How quickly things can change.

This afternoon Roger Reynolds officially withdrew from the race.  You can read the press release here:

http://us11.campaign-archive2.com/?u=537052e0658b73b6de7c6bf6e&id=545ba34631

What prompted this is not yet fully explained. With Reynolds’ withdraw it is hard to predict where this race is headed to next.


 

Butler County Republican Party chooses not to endorse in Boehner replacement

Last week the Butler County Republican Party gathered to decided if they would be handing out an endorsement in the race to replace Congressman John Boehner in Ohio’s 8th Congressional District. With a crowded field of seven candidates, it is hardly a surprise that none managed to convinced over 60% (as required for an endorsement) that they were the best candidate in the race. With that said, one candidate did manage to convince ALMOST 60% (an impressive 59%) that they were the best suited for the job.

Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds came within 1% of receiving the endorsement that night, which would have surely resulted in several of his six contenders dropping out.

Auditor Roger Reynolds was not the first to enter the race to replace Boehner, but his entrance was expected by many as soon as it became clear the seat would be open. Since Butler County alone makes up more than half of the population of the 8th district, his strong base in Butler him a prime candidate. Add to his popularity with both the mainstream party and those further on the right, and it becomes very easy to see why he has done so well in this race.

After multiple rounds of voting the last two candidates left were State Rep Tim Derickson and Auditor Reynolds. The end result was Reynolds with an impressive 59% and Derickson at 39%, with the remainder voting for no endorsement. In comparison, the next most serious candidate, State Senator Bill Beagle, only received 4 votes in the first round during the endorsement process and did not make it near the final round. At this point there is no need to really discuss any candidates other than Reynolds and Derickson. If the party faithful in the most populous county of the district are not behind them, their campaigns are negligible.

What does this all mean? Who has the edge in this race?

Right now this race is in the grasp of either Reynolds or Derickson. The competition of Reynolds versus Derickson is a great example of Columbus money and power going up against an extremely popular local official who is no slouch to fundraising himself. Derickson and staff have been spending a great deal of time and energy fundraising in Columbus, while Reynolds has been working the home turf with both fundraising and building his coalition of support. There is no doubt that each candidate will raise campaign funds into the 6th digit. Even with the importance of funds, primaries are often put over the edge by the grassroots support. The vote in Butler County last week showed the scale tipped heavily in Reynolds’ favor.

Can Columbus money overcome in-district money and grassroots? Southwest Ohio is a different beast all its own: conservative activists in that part of the state view themselves as desperate from the rest of Ohio and often resent attempts by those in Columbus to meddle in their backyard. And party faithful don’t generally enjoy a candidate who came to their meeting seeking an endorsement to change his tune after not receiving it.

After the meeting concluded Derickson stated:

“The ballot shouldn’t be dictated by a small group of people”.

That’s easy to say after you tried to receive an endorsement and were not successful.

A striking opposite to Derickson’s statement, Reynolds is quoted as saying:

“A strong majority is what we were looking for,” Reynolds said. “Fifty-nine percent is a solid majority.”

A candidate concerned about attacking a process he had just lost, as opposed to a candidate concerned about building a coalition with a strong majority. I know what team I would want to be on.

Trump goes off the deep end while Rubio continues to rise

It is becoming increasingly hard to discuss the Republican Primary and not mention Donald Trump. As usual the Donald is doing a fantastic job of keeping his visibility high. Whether it has been his remarks about a female candidate, or pulling his best interpretation of Hitler by suggesting American Muslims register with the government, Trump continues to show that he has no idea how to speak about real policy and is pandering to the lowest common denominator.

Has Trump finally overplayed his hand?

It’s hard to tell. While Trump’s poll numbers have not risen in the last two months, they haven’t fallen significantly either. Formerly, Carson was the second highest poled candidate after Trump. Now, with Quinnipiac’s most recent poll, Carson has dropped to a distant third with Rubio continuing his rise at 17%. Maybe this is due to Rubio’s likability, his policy knowledge, and shying away from personal attacks.

This primary for the Republican Party has been bizarre. Rubio is the road back to sanity.