Tag Archives: Heritage Foundation

Trump undermines our electoral system

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

When have you ever heard of a president contend that an election will be “rigged” in any context? When has a president been so callous, careless and contemptuous of our electoral system to suggest that it would be corrupted enough to produce a result that he doesn’t prefer?

I am astonished beyond measure at the rhetoric that is coming from Donald John Trump as he seeks to undermine the very electoral system he took an oath to protect.

Trump has been beating the “Democrats will rig the election” drum. He stands before rally crowds and declares that the Democratic Party is seeking to “rig” the 2020 election by sending out “millions of ballots” to people who aren’t entitled to receive them.

For starters, there is not a single shred of truth to Trump’s specious assertion. Beyond that particular lie — which is precisely what it is — there is the very idea that Trump would seek to undermine the electoral system.

Just ponder that for a moment.

Trump’s presidential oath included a pledge to protect the system of government he was elected to run. What in the name of constitutional integrity is Donald Trump seeking to do here? I think I know. He seeks to torpedo the very electoral system by sowing seeds of doubt over its integrity.

His target du jour is mail-in voting. Several states have been conducting all-mail voting for years. Trump says the system invites widespread voter fraud. No! It does nothing of the sort!

My home state of Oregon was the first state to enact a vote by mail system. It did so in 1998. A study by the Heritage Foundation, a noted conservative think tank, has revealed some fascinating data.

During the time Oregon has allowed voting by mail, Heritage uncovered 15 cases of outright voter fraud. How many ballots were cast during the time period examined? Nearly 15.5 million of them!

Fifteen cases of fraud against 15.5 million total ballots. Does that look to you like a case of “rampant voter fraud?”

And yet … Donald Trump keeps hammering at the voter fraud red herring as if it’s the real thing. It is a figment of Trump’s political strategists. It poses a serious danger to our very system of free of fair elections.

To think that this is all coming from the president of the United States. Despicable.

Lifetime job has this way of shaping opinions

I tend to interpret the U.S. Constitution the way I interpret the Bible.

That is, I take a more liberal view of what both documents say. That’s just my view. I am not a “strict constructionist” as it regards the Constitution; nor am I a “fundamentalist” as it regards the Bible.

But let’s consider what the future might hold for the body that interprets the former document, the Constitution.

Donald J. Trump has nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to join the U.S. Supreme Court. He comes to this nomination after being recommended highly by the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society, two staunchly conservative think tanks.

Now, what does this mean for Kavanaugh’s tenure on the high court?

I’ll give you my hope for what happens. I hope Kavanaugh proves to be as unpredictable as previous “conservative” justices who were nominated by “conservative” presidents.

The record going back more than six decades is full of how this has occurred.

  • President Eisenhower appointed two “conservatives” to the high court: Earl Warren as chief justice and William Brennan as an associate justice. They both proved to be progressive in the extreme.
  • President Nixon tapped Harry Blackmun to the high court, only to watch as Blackmun wrote the majority opinion in the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion.
  • President Ford’s pick to the court, John Paul Stevens, turned out to be a reliably liberal vote.
  • President George H.W. Bush nominated David Souter, who then turned out to be a liberal justice as well.

President Reagan nominated two justices — Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy — who became quite a bit less reliably conservative than the president would have wanted.

No one really saw these justices’ service turning out as they did in advance.

Thus, it well might be that Judge Brett Kavanaugh could join the list of conservatives who take a more, um, expansive view of the Constitution.

That is my hope. But, hey, I’m just one guy — a blogger out here in Flyover Country — who wants history to repeat itself.

Let's define 'ideal GOP candidate'

The Daily Signal has put out an online survey asking folks who would be their “ideal” Republican presidential candidate in 2016.

It wasn’t until I looked carefully at the bottom of the survey form that I realized it is a sincere question.


It gives poll takers a chance to subscribe to Heritage Foundation material. So, there you have it. The poll comes from one of the nation’s premier conservative think tanks. So, the poll is meant to be taken seriously by those who answer the question.

But regular readers of this blog know my own political leanings place me far from the Heritage Foundation. I lean left. So, when I saw the question, I thought it could be laced with trickery.

I’ll declare here (maybe I’ve done so already; I don’t remember) that I’ve voted Democratic in every presidential election since 1972. I wavered once, teetering between voting for President Ford or Gov. Jimmy Carter in 1976; I ended up voting for Carter and I’ve come close to regretting it in the years since.

I’ve gotten a bit more hardened in my presidential choices over time. I do split my ticket generously, however, and I’ve been proud of the many votes I’ve cast for Republican candidates.

Who would be my favorite GOP candidate in 2016 be? Oh, man. How do I answer that one?

Maybe it would be the most extreme candidate running. Who would that? Ted “The Cruz Missile” Cruz? Marco Rubio? Rand Paul? Mike Huckabee (who’s not really running — yet)?

The more extreme the right-wing candidate the better it appears that a centrist Democrat — such as, oh, Hillary Clinton — would win the election.

I’m acutely aware that the Heritage Foundation is now being run by former U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, one of the TEA party godfathers. I’m guessing DeMint personally might favor one of the extremists running for president.

So, think about this one: I agree — potentially — with the guy who runs the Heritage Foundation.

We might want the same candidate to run as the Republican nominee for president next year.

I suspect, though, that our reasons differ wildly.


Talk to all Texans, Sen. Cruz

Something struck me as I looked at U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s planned series of town hall meetings across Texas.

He’s going to be speaking to groups friendly to his point of view.


Local Republican women’s groups are hosting him; same for local tea party organizations; an event in Dallas will be put on by the Heritage Foundation; he’ll be talking to a chamber of commerce audience too.

That’s all fine and good. I’m curious, though, as to whether the Republican junior senator from Texas is going to engage individuals in actual debate and discussion over differences they might have in public policy.

I’m going on out a limb here, but I’m quite sure liberal Democratic senators in, say, California or New York don’t spend much time talking to conservative audiences. So the query is posed to them as well.

Cruz was elected by a majority of Texans in 2012 to represent the entire state. I get that Texas leans hard right in its political view. All its statewide elected officials are Republicans; there’s not a Democrat to be found … or none on the horizon with a prayer of winning a statewide election. But not every Texan adheres to that world view. A few of us out here lean the other way and do not like the notion, for example, of shutting down the government in order to defund the Affordable Care Act – which Cruz is pushing.

Sen. Cruz also is thought to be considering a run for the presidency in 2016, a notion that was noticed by Tanene Allison, spokeswoman for the Texas Democratic Party. “He’s not talking about the issues that matter most to Texans,” Allison told the Texas Tribune. “A movement to try to shut down the government is not on the top of the list of what most Texans want at the moment.”

A more productive town hall series would be to include constituents who aren’t particularly friendly to the fiery conservative. Maybe someone with a different point of view will sneak into one or more of these meetings and actually challenge him. Let’s hope so.