Disturbing Observations from the Trump Report

The Trump Report that dropped last night raised many disturbing observations.

It’s disturbing we’re even continuing and expanding a conversation regarding potential extreme and perhaps successful foreign interference into American government in and beyond an election.

It’s disturbing that in the face of wild allegations our President-elect’s erratic and unpredictable behavior could allow Americans to pause and believe perhaps the report isn’t too outlandish and perhaps it’s even true.

It’s disturbing that a media outlet could so brazenly ignore journalistic integrity and publish unverified claims in the belief that American citizens can figure it out. Truly “We Report, You Decide.” And truly reckless and irresponsible. Which brings up one important observation. 

What’s most disturbing, perhaps, is certain folks’ ability to fully accept or fully refute every word of the Trump report without verification. Simply because they hate Trump, many Americans reveled in potential treasonous behavior from the PEOTUS. And conversely, simply because they love Trump, many Americans lost their mind refuting the report entirely as fake news, rushing to defend their champion without fail. 

The extreme and vile disgust so many hold for opposing political views and alliances poses a greater threat to the nation and our democracy than potential Russian interference or Trumpism. Unfortunately, many Americans hate the other side more so than they love America as displayed upon the explosive reports release last night. Frankly, it’s a shame. Divided, we will fall.

Any destruction of America will occur from the inside out, and the seeds are being planted.

Stop the Madness

In the early morning of June 12, a man opened fire in a gay bar in Orlando, Florida. He reportedly pledged allegiance to ISIS before the attack, and ultimately killed 50 people and wounded over 50 more: The worst mass shooting in our nation’s history.

Surely America will put aside its differences to unite together as countrymen against a common opponent, radical Islam? Surely after an attack involving a radical Muslim who pledged allegiance to ISIS that directly targeted gay men, America would not argue about a damn machine? Surely.

No. Before the bodies turned cold, Americans from all sides began peddling various agendas, but the main agenda debated on social media was gun control. It was vile. Back and forth all day, gun control and gun rights activists spewed contemptuous hate for each side. The animosity and disdain was palpable through the screen. It was grotesque. When does the madness stop?

Too often we use tragedy as opportunity to advance our political agendas, especially to frame a winner or loser in issue debates. Exemplified today, for instance, America generally tries to make gun control a black and white, binary issue with either an absolute right or absolute wrong answer, a winner or a loser. It’s not.

Gun control has layers and complexities that all sides need to quit ignoring. Are guns dangerous? Absolutely, when used improperly. But when do we confront the reality that there is a violent culture that glorifies, incentivizes, and encourages pulling the trigger?

Would gun control have stopped this attack? Honestly, possibly, and gun rights groups need to be willing to admit that. But when do gun control groups ask themselves whether or not the assailant would have just bombed the bar? Or when do they ask themselves if the scope of the attack would have been lessened if the bar patrons were armed?

I’ll wait. Clearly, gun debates are far from binary.

If we’re going to politicize tragedy for our own political interest, at least attempt to respect and recognize the complexity of an underlying issue surrounding said tragedy. Perhaps if we understood this concept, we wouldn’t argue and hate everyone on social media in the days following attack which only makes the problem worse.

The Orlando attack provided a unique mix of agendas and optics that set America up for a horrible, vile day. Perhaps that was an end goal for the terrorist. We generally tore each other apart, and that may ultimately do greater damage to our nation. Divided we fall, or so I’ve heard.

When do we begin to recognize the complexity of issues to reduce our contempt? When do we end the madness of political competition and opportunism regardless of the event or tragedy? When do we come together as Americans again for once?

Not soon enough.

Waste of Time: Drafting a Never Trump Option

According to a report in the Washington Post, leaders of the “Never Trump” movement are in overdrive to attempt to draft a third party candidate to derail Donald Trump. The report names the top two recruits: Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) and Gov. John Kasich from Ohio. Former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has even reached out to the two men according to the report.

While I am fully on board with a third party alternative to Donald Trump, any recruitment effort to draft a candidate wastes everyone’s time. Hand picking a candidate will only alienate voters, and drafting a run-of-the-mill Republican will not generate enough support from Bernie Sanders voters.

Now I understand the leaders of the Never Trump movement might want one of their guys to run. There’s a certain trust factor and comfort supporting a Republican senator of governor as compared to a Libertarian candidate. But drafting a candidate only appears like more Washington games against the people. Supporting a candidate already in the race–whether it’s the Libertarian candidate or another–shows humility and a turn away from the status quo. It frankly just looks better than drafting a candidate.

Now is not the time to wait out for your guy, but rather throw support and money behind a candidate committed to liberty, the Constitution, and sound economic policy such as Austin Petersen.

Odds are the leaders of Never Trump do not agree with Petersen on foreign policy, parts of immigration, and some social issues. The time for purity tests from them is over. Petersen represents the only candidate committed to liberty, and he is clearly the only candidate remaining with an economic policy that won’t cripple America but instead grow her economy. Petersen may not be Never Trump’s first choice, but he’s their best choice.

Imagine if the leaders of Never Trump threw their support behind Petersen ten days ago and put as much energy into introducing him to the American electorate as they did attempting a futile recruiting effort for Sasse or Kasich. Petersen’s outreach could have expanded exponentially and increased in viability. Instead, he remains unknown to large parts of the electorate while the Never Trump leaders look silly and desperate.

Don’t waste your time, Never Trump. Don’t play games. Petersen may not be your guy, but he offers our best shot. He won’t alienate voters who distrust Washington. He represents our best bet to potentially swing some support from Bernie voters. You can work with Petersen and trust him, differences aside.

Never Trump recruitment is destined to fail, whether a candidate is drafted or not. Stand for liberty, for the Constitution, and for sound economics with Austin Petersen, and drop the games. Choose wisely.

Lecturing the 3rd Party Vote

This weekend I announced to my family my intention to support and vote for a third party candidate. I was lectured:

Oh, you’ll just hand the White House to Hillary.

You know third party can’t win.

You don’t have a third option, deal with it.

That’s just a sampling of all normal responses we’ve seen on the Internet and heard around the dinner table. However, it’s time the lectures stopped. They’re lazy and tired arguments the weak, unprincipled, and cowardly make. 

I don’t believe in the worst of two options theory. It’s wrong, lazy, and an excuse to give up. This nation wasn’t built on the lesser of two evils. It was built on strength, decency, common sense, and commitment to fight for freedom. It’s high-time citizens fought back for values, courage, and principles.

I’m fully aware the path for a 3rd party presidency is a steep, uphill climb. Hillary is such a weak candidate that the ghost of John Quincy Adams could beat her this election cycle. Don’t be so sure a third party option can’t win, especially with the Libertarian candidate likely to be featured on the ballot in all 50 states. 

It is sad to me to see so many people who shout and yell at Republican leaders to fight and stand for values and principle just to roll over so easily. It’s especially frustrating when GOP leaders such as Rick Perry, Rand Paul, and Bobby Jindal admit their intentions to hold their nose for a perceived lesser of two evils. These great men could have the power, vision, and ability to lead the battle to make our presidency great again, but instead tote the party line and drive the excuse train we hear far too often. What happened to our commitment to putting power in the people’s hands and standing our ground?

What difference does it make whether I vote for a lesser evil or hand a presidency to a greater evil? Evil is evil. Are you comfortable voting for evil? I simply cannot hold my nose, especially not now. 

If you’re voting for Trump simply because he’s the Republican nominee, please understand your party means nothing. It has forsaken you and left you out to dry. Take back your principle, and stand with us in a fight to put a candidate committed to liberty, economic and social, into the Oval Office. 

You don’t just have two options. You can still vote for good, honest candidates. Frankly, the lesser of two evils option leaves you repeating “the horror, the horror” four years later, so hand the presidency to Hillary if you must, but stop the lecture and fight with us. Your country needs courage and resolve more than ever. Let’s pull off the upset. See you on the other side.