Gladys Knight Takes a Stand for the National Anthem

gettyimages-1048514638

Gladys Knight earned the nickname “Empress of Soul” for good reason. The hit songs that she and her band mates, the Pips, delivered throughout the 1960s, ‘70s, and ‘80s left a unique gospel-pop imprint on the pages of American music history.

It is for this and so many other reasons that Knight seems to be the perfect voice to lend dignity and beauty to professional football’s great national anthem moment this year.

Super Bowl LIII is set to take place on February 3 in Atlanta, Georgia, where the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots will battle to determine which team will ultimately secure the coveted Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Look for “The Star-Spangled Banner” performed by Knight to provide a graceful air of decorum to the pre-game ceremony and give an assist to a National Football League (NFL) in need of an image boost after suffering through the aftermath of some high-profile political posturing.

Knight began singing at the tender age of four. By age seven, she had secured a win for an appearance that she made in 1952 on “Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour.”

The following year Knight’s family formed a musical group, which they dubbed “the Pips,” a name derived from that of a cousin of Knight, James “Pip” Woods. The group would later come to be known as “Gladys Knight and the Pips,” which would be the vehicle that would ultimately propel Knight to superstardom.

Knight has an ecumenical faith background, having been born a Baptist, attended a Catholic grade school, and converted in the late 1990s to the Mormon church, the place in which she would create the Grammy Award-winning “Saints Unified Voices” gospel music choir.

The soul singer’s upcoming performance of the national anthem comes at a time following former member of the San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick’s game setting launch of a political protest.

Kaepernick’s protest began in 2016, during the third pre-season 49ers game in which he sat (and in later games knelt), instead of standing up with his teammates and the stadium fans as the national anthem was sung.

Kaepernick’s mode of protest, which continued throughout the season during the pre-game singing of the anthem, was offensive to many and distinctly out of place. It ended up hitting the NFL hard in the pocketbook, as some football players attempted to show their support for Kaepernick by emulating him.

The demonstrations by dissenting players during the anthem infuriated a significant number of football fans. However, liberal Hollywood elites and like-minded media outlets collectively nodded in unison and proceeded to lionize the protesting players.

Sports attire giant Nike added fuel to the football fire by making Kaepernick the poster boy of a signature advertising campaign. Kaepernick remains embroiled in a grievance arbitration filed against the NFL in which he alleges that team owners colluded to keep him out of the league after he lost out to being signed last season.

The whole Kaepernick controversy spilled over into this year’s Super Bowl halftime show preparations. Virtue signaling became all the rage as performers, which included singer Rihanna as well as rappers Cardi B and Jay-Z, declared that they would boycott the halftime show. Jay-Z even placed the following line in one of his tunes: “I said no to the Super Bowl, you need me, I don’t need you.”

Meanwhile, those who are currently slated to perform, including singer and judge on “The Voice” Adam Levine’s musical group Maroon 5 and rappers Travis Scott and Big Boi, are being slammed by the social media and pressured to withdraw. Scott has even received backlash via Kaepernick’s own Twitter account.

Knight recently issued a timely and sage statement to the public, using a Hollywood trade publication as her outlet.

“I understand that Mr. Kaepernick is protesting two things, and they are police violence and injustice,” Knight wrote as reported by Variety. “It is unfortunate that our national anthem has been dragged into this debate when the distinctive senses of the national anthem and fighting for justice should each stand alone.”

Knight’s statement continued, “I am here today and on Sunday, Feb. 3, to give the anthem back its voice, to stand for that historic choice of words, the way it unites us when we hear it and to free it from the same prejudices and struggles I have fought long and hard for all my life.”

In light of the disharmony caused by the behavior and rhetoric on the part of Kaepernick and his allies in Hollywood and the mainstream media, coupled with the inept response by NFL leadership, Knight’s voice is going to be a musical tonic for those who have a passion for football and unabashed love for America.

New APA Guidelines Incorporate Leftist Notion of ‘Toxic Masculinity’

Father and Son

For the first time in its history, the American Psychological Association (APA) has released guidelines for mental health professionals responsible for “psychological practice with boys and men,” stipulating that “traditional masculinity – marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance and aggression – is, on the whole, harmful.”

Although the report was released by the APA back in August 2018, the organization just recently used its Twitter account to convey that the essential takeaway from the new guidelines is that men displaying conventionally held masculine characteristics are harming themselves and others via their so-called toxic masculinity.

“Masculinity ideology” is defined by the APA as “a particular constellation of standards that have held sway over large segments of the population, including: anti-femininity, achievement, eschewal of the appearance of weakness, and adventure, risk, and violence.”

Some of the characteristics embodied in what the APA terms as “masculinity ideology” are traits that have traditionally held societal family units together, including courage, loyalty, self-reliance, competitiveness, and ambition. These traits have now been classified by the organization as “psychologically harmful.”

The application of scientific principles within the construction of the guidelines appears, for the most part, to be absent. This is particularly manifest in the APA’s adoption and inclusion of the identity politics language of the radical left.

Additionally, rather than using the biological indicator of the human Y chromosome as the basis for male gender designation, the perspective taken by the APA is that gender is instead “socially constructed.” The viewpoint also takes the position that gender is “non-binary” and that maleness itself causes a host of negative effects.

The narrative within the APA guidelines blames masculinity for the societal ills of, among other things, racism, homophobia, and misogyny. Masculinity is blamed as well for the disruptive behaviors of bullying and sexual harassment.

According to the APA’s release, mental health professionals, policy makers, and private citizens must eradicate existing masculine tendencies and work to create a new form of maleness. The studies that are incorporated in the guidelines presuppose that masculine characteristics originate via social construct.

However, the scientific evidence and society’s basic understanding are largely contrary to this premise, indicating instead that the qualities of manhood are an integral component of human biology and are innate as opposed to cultivated.

This conventional premise, i.e., that masculine traits are inherent in males, is referred to by evolutionary psychologists as the “male warrior hypothesis.” The hypothesis posits that the behavior of human males stems from the biological necessity for them to attract females for reproductive purposes. Males outwardly project signs of these attributes, which include physical strength, social alliances, the ability to aggregate resources such as food, territory, power, stature, etc., in order to heighten their appeal to females.

Up until fairly recently, gender was a relatively clear and simple concept. Moreover, the modern day leftist notion that male characteristics are somehow a construction of a patriarchy is foreign to a majority of those in our society as well as to people and cultures around the globe.

Despite the left’s entreaties to the contrary, the simple facts are that human babies are born with particular genitalia and a specific genetic code. Exceptions do exist, but they are extremely rare.

Male characteristics of masculinity typically manifest themselves very early in child development. The findings of one meta-analysis, with which many parents and grandparents can relate, appeared in “Infant and Child Development” in November 2017.

Researchers examined 1,788 papers and 16 studies, which involved the free selection of toys by boys and girls, 1 to 8 years of age, and found that “boys played with male‐typed toys more than girls did.” They additionally found that “girls played with female‐typed toys more than boys did.”

The abstract of the meta-analysis reads as follows: “Despite methodological variation in the choice and number of toys offered, context of testing, and age of child, the consistency in finding sex differences in children’s preferences for toys typed to their own gender indicates the strength of this phenomenon and the likelihood that has a biological origin.”

Interestingly, other primates also appear to reflect similar infant gender differences when it comes to toy preference.

A study conducted in 2008 by psychologists at Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlanta, Georgia examined 11 male and 23 female rhesus monkeys. Most of the study animals were juveniles, 1 to 4 years of age. When the young animals were exposed to trucks and dolls, the males preferred to play with trucks while the females showed a preference for playing with both kinds of toys.

Having studied and written about the mindset of the left over the course of many years, I have found that there is an authoritarian tendency that frequently arises in those who subscribe to the worldview of the radical left, and now some of the hallmark institutions of our society.

Many on the left may have feelings of resentment toward males who possess the aforementioned masculine traits, possibly due to past experiences in which they may have suffered negative ramifications to physical, psychological, or social well-being.

There is another explanation, though, that is not in any way new to history. There is a type of quest in individuals and groups within any society to aggregate and retain power. This quest oftentimes incentivizes certain people or groups to try and coerce others into abandoning their knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes in favor of, in this instance, the prescribed ideology of the radical left.

For society’s enlightened, the notion that all are created equal is written upon individuals’ hearts, and respect for all people is fully embraced. Within this realm, virtue claims no gender exclusivity, nor does self-sacrifice, or any other positive characteristic that the left has deemed to be toxic on the part of males.

In a strike at the self-esteem of those who happen to be males, instead of validating the essence of half the population, who not so incidentally are our sons, husbands, fathers, grandfathers, friends, and loved ones, our society is being led by so-called experts into the arena of hating the boys and men that we love, accusing them of vile thoughts and deeds, and stigmatizing them until they capitulate to the left’s “scientifically derived” diagnosis and treatment.

The APA wields the power to influence a host of important societal institutions. School administrators, colleges, universities, corporations, courts, etc., will undoubtedly be making reference to the new guidelines, and this in turn will deeply affect the lives of boys to men.

Essentially, males of all ages will be required to deny who they are and become what the leftist social engineers have designed for them. This is an untenable scenario for anyone who understands how the autonomy of the individual is necessary for a society to remain healthy.

Fifteen Minutes of Shame

05kevinhart-ellen-jumbo

“In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”

This familiar quote, which is attributed to Andy Warhol, has resulted in a modern, truncated version of the concept that everyone will eventually receive his or her time in the spotlight. It also reflects how fragile and fleeting celebrity status has become and just how fickle the present-day public has trended.

In the age of social media, though, another phenomenon has been taking shape online, and Warhol’s iconic words are being subjected to a warped parallel paraphrasing. The twisted Warhol-ism that has emerged is the following: “In the future, everyone will be forced to suffer through his or her 15 minutes of shame.”

In today’s digital world, a Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram mob is able to publicly humiliate a well known, or even not so well known, individual or group for alleged acts or statements, thereby detrimentally affecting occupation, reputation, and/or social life.

Social media shaming can result in an instantaneous career end and destructive ramifications for anyone who is the unfortunate recipient of it.

Embarrassment is an intensely negative universal human experience, which is tethered to a fundamental need to be accepted into a circle, respected by its members, and loved for who we are. The thought of losing any of these basic necessities is a terrifying prospect, and it can create a desperation within an individual or group of individuals that is unlike any other misfortune that may befall us.

For a while now, particularly within the social media realm, individuals as well as groups have been going about weaponizing social media technology via memes and bots as a means of magnifying a digital footprint and amplifying a message. This is routinely done deceptively so as to give the impression that the representative numbers are significantly greater than they actually are.

When combined with the type of hyper-political correctness that is being promulgated by various activist groups, these social media activities pose an unprecedented threat to free expression, and perhaps even more perilous, an assault on the psyche.

The latest large-scale episode of social media shaming occurred when comedic actor Kevin Hart was compelled to withdraw from hosting the 2019 Oscars. Hart pulled out of the hosting gig after he and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences received the social media shaming treatment over jokes that he had posted in the distant past.

Immediately after it was publicly reported that Hart would host the industry’s most prestigious awards show, the virtual walk of shame began. Posts cited select archived comedy routines and tweets, which featured the comedian joking about trying to stop his son from becoming gay.

Reportedly, the Academy urged Hart to apologize for the past posts, but he refused, stating that he’d already apologized.

“I’ve addressed it,” Hart said in an Instagram post. “… I’m not going to continue to tap into the past when I’ve moved on and I’m in a completely different space in my life.”

Hart eventually did express contrition in a later tweet, stating, “I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past.” He explained that the reason he was withdrawing from hosting duties was so that he would not “be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists.”

In a surprising twist, Ellen DeGeneres is now in the social media crosshairs. In an attempt to try and reinstate Hart as the host of the 91st Academy Awards, the daytime talk show host acted as a mediator of sorts between Hart and the Academy.

During a recent episode of her syndicated daytime talk show, one in which Hart appeared and gave his first interview on the subject, DeGeneres disclosed that she had talked with Academy officials and suggested that they bring Hart back as Academy Awards host. She also told Hart and her viewing audience that the Oscar leadership would still like Hart to be the host.

“It was an attack,” Hart told DeGeneres. “This wasn’t an accident, this wasn’t a coincidence. …To go through 40,000 tweets to get back to 2008? That’s an attack. That’s a malicious attack on my character.”

Hart added, “That’s an attack to end me. That’s not an attack to end the Oscars, that’s an attack to end me.” He continued in his expression of indignation and defense of his character.

“This was to destroy me. This was to end all partnerships, all brand relationships, all investment opportunities, studio relationships, my production company and the people who work underneath me. This was to damage the lives that had been invested in me. It’s bigger than just the Oscars. It’s about the individuals who are out there now that are finding success in damage. They’re finding success in damaging your ‘celebrity,’” Hart explained.

It turns out that in a prior stand-up routine, Hart had shared, “One of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay … If I can prevent my son from being gay, I will.”

In a past post, Hart had also used his Twitter account to jokingly tweet that he would hit his son with his daughter’s dollhouse if he ever caught him playing with it. He additionally told Rolling Stone in 2015 that he intended these particular jokes to be self-deprecating.

“The funny thing within that joke is it’s me getting mad at my son because of my own insecurities,” Hart said. “I panicked. It has nothing to do with him, it’s about me.”

It appears as though the digital powers that be have decided it is now Degeneres’s turn to take to the shame stage. She is presently being targeted by the social media, in part, for venturing into the truth about today’s internet culture.

“There are so many haters out there,” DeGeneres said. “Whatever is going on on the internet, don’t pay attention to them. That’s a small group of people being very, very loud.”

Superheroes Save Hollywood’s 2018 Box Office

marvel-movies

After a great deal of handwringing, Hollywood is breathing a sigh of relief.

The 2018 box office showed growth, and the movie business owes its positive performance to an aggregate of superhero films.

After hyper-anxiety over the possibility that streaming entertainment was going to kill the movie theater business, Hollywood ended up raking in a record $11.9 billion in revenue last year.

The 2018 domestic box office was up 7 percent over 2017 as well as being up 4 percent when compared to 2016. The audience has grown, and although the actual number of tickets sold remains below the high mark that was set in 2002, attendance for 2018 was higher than the previous year by 4 percent.

With more than 26 percent of all domestic box-office revenue in 2018, Disney commands an unprecedented portion of the market share. CEO Bob Iger’s strategy of buying franchises and rights to superhero characters paid off enormously, and the company’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets is expected to close in the first half of 2019.

Disney’s share of the market is likely to increase in 2019, with the planned release of another “Star Wars” film and the fourth and supposedly final “Avengers” movie, as well as two animated features and three live-action versions of classic Disney tales.

Based on the 2018 box-office performance, filmgoers can expect movie studios to continue to deliver two predictable types of entertainment product in 2019: 1) additional sequels; and 2) more cinema that features costumed crusaders with super-human powers.

Of the top five box-office films of the year, four were superhero films, and amazingly the ten highest-grossing films of 2018 were either superhero movies, sequels, or both.

The top film of 2018 was the superhero offering “Black Panther,” which earned over $700 million domestically making it the third highest-grossing movie in the history of cinema. Following close behind was another superhero flick, “Avengers: Infinity War.”

The biggest take from last year’s ticket revenue arrived courtesy of the superhero genre, with four out of the top five films bringing in more than $2.3 billion. The “Spider-Man” spin-off “Venom” and “Ant-Man and The Wasp” hauled in another combined $429 million. The newly released “Aquaman” and “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” added an additional combined $300 million to last year’s superhero gross.

The enduring success of comic book characters that come to life begs the question: What is it about these superhero movies that draws people to the multiplex?

Family films pay the bills for Hollywood, and since parents are on an eternal quest for places to take their little ones, superhero films provide a relatively wholesome type of fare that adults and appropriately-aged children are able to enjoy together.

That the superhero phenomenon has become so deeply ingrained into the fabric of our culture suggests something more significant is occurring within the public consciousness. People instinctively long for stories in which moral tensions in plot lines are ultimately resolved in a fundamentally fair manner. Similar to the mythological gods of antiquity, superheroes possess powers and abilities that can rectify unjust situations. Superheroes also travel through storylines in which forces of good and evil have clearly marked boundaries and good generally triumphs over evil. In this fanciful realm, the universe is ordered and stability secured.

The successful releases in the superhero category typically feature characters with extraordinary powers, who, as they go about saving the world, must deal with ordinary relatable problems. When superhero characters possess an aura of authenticity, the stories surrounding them communicate a sense of hope that problems can be solved and obstacles overcome.

A study that took place in Kyoto, Japan, published in January 2017, explored attitudes of very young children toward heroic characters.

Six-month-old infants were presented with animations that depicted a character bumping into another character while a third onlooker watched from a distance. The onlooker intervened in one version and in a second version ran away.

When the infants were given the opportunity to select a real life replica of the intervening character or non-intervening character, the young subjects were more likely to choose the intervening character as opposed to the one who ran away.

The findings of the research indicate that pre-verbal six-month-old infants are able to recognize heroism, suggesting that the ability to identify a hero is an innate one.

This innate human attraction to heroism has been capitalized upon by the motion picture industry and explains, in part, the omnipresence of superhero characters in movies. Hollywood executives will soon debut even more superhero films. Scheduled for release in 2019 are Disney’s “Captain Marvel” and “Avengers: Endgame,” Sony’s “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” and Fox’s X-Men sequel, “Dark Phoenix.”

Adam McKay’s Oscar-seeking ‘Vice’

vice_ver4_xlg

Filmmaker Adam McKay has unleashed a cinematic hit piece just in time for Christmas.

McKay is first and foremost a comedian, whose stand-up helped him lock in a gig as head writer for “Saturday Night Live” for two seasons. He additionally formed a creative alliance with actor Will Ferrell, which opened the pathway for his directing of zany comedic romps including “Anchorman,” “Talladega Nights,” and “Step Brothers.”

One of the biggest turning points for McKay, though, came in 2015. He experienced critical acclaim and a whole lot of ataboys from his peers for his Oscar-winning movie “The Big Short.” The political dramedy about the 2008 financial crash was the winner of Best Adapted Screenplay and received four other nominations from the Academy.

Like so many modern-day stars, who have parlayed their success into full-fledged liberal activism in exchange for the secret promise of more accolades and awards, McKay’s latest outing, titled “Vice,” is a biopic of the hateful and distorted kind.

In the film, he re-writes the historical annals of Dick Cheney, who served as Secretary of Defense (1989 to 1993) during the presidency of the late President George H.W. Bush, and who went on to serve as Vice President of the United States (2001 to 2009) in the administration of former President George W. Bush.

As a self-identified Democratic socialist and an endorser of Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential election, McKay detests most Republicans, but he appears to have a special animus for one of Hollywood’s primary targets of vilification; that is, Cheney.

The filmmaker was seemingly intent on presenting Cheney’s rise to power from a left-wing perspective and was likely simultaneously motivated to win the affection of fellow GOP-haters within the film critic community and award granting organizations. He assembled actors from his prior successful ventures and enlisted others as well to create a project that is intended to please both film critics and Oscar voters.

To realistically portray Cheney, actor Christian Bale had to undergo a physical transformation through the use of facial prosthetics and weight gain.

Nominated five times without a win and viewed by Academy members as overdue for an award, actress Amy Adams plays Cheney’s wife Lynne. Adams’s role requires her to mature in age as she transitions from a college-years wife to a vice president’s spouse.

McKay’s strategy has already yielded awards season results. With six nominations, the liberal fictional treatment of Cheney’s life in “Vice” has resulted in the highest number of nominations in the upcoming Golden Globe awards. The movie has also garnered nine Critics’ Choice Award nominations and two Screen Actors Guild Award noms, as Oscar talk ensues.

An intriguing thing has coincided with the release of the film, though. Despite praise given for the performances of Christian Bale and Amy Adams, many establishment movie critics are expressing disappointment with the biopic and even some hostility. The critic community apparently loathes Cheney more than McKay does, and some have panned the movie for being too soft on the former vice president.

A Daily Beast review calls the film a “baffling tonal hodgepodge” that “at best marginally humanizes Dick Cheney and at worst lionizes him…” And a review in the San Francisco Chronicle states that “the failure of “Vice” is a failure on its own terms. If Cheney is really as bad as McKay believes — an empty shell of ambition, a destructive and malign force in American life — he warrants serious moral horror, not a smirky treatment that assumes, going in, that we all agree.”

Despite the fact that McKay channeled plenty of hate into “Vice,” his final cut appeared to move in two different directions. Apparently McKay’s humor background and sensibilities compelled the filmmaker to insert a sufficient amount of comedic material, but it may have served to undercut the perception by some that it met the appropriate attack mark.

McKay’s end product seems to be a conflicted work that is caught between comedy and drama, and the movie characters are thereby left without discernible motivations, floating about in a farcical superficial storyline.

Also, by presenting an all-powerful Cheney and an empty-suited Bush, the film unwittingly takes the 43rd president off the hook for the list of wrongs of which the left maintains the Bush administration is guilty.

Audiences get their first glimpse of the former vice president as a heavy drinker and brawler, who is expelled from Yale. He is being cajoled by his wife Lynn into changing his life.

Soon a revved up ambitious Cheney works for a future Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who is portrayed in an overly cavalier manner by Steve Carell. Cheney learns the political ropes from Rumsfeld and ends up conning the clueless caricature of G.W., played with zero depth by Sam Rockwell.

The “Vice” version of Cheney easily persuades the supposedly simpleton GOP nominee Bush into an arrangement that hands excessive power over to Cheney, allowing him to be the de-facto leader of the free world. Soon enough Cheney and his cadre of neo-cons slowly take over the reins of the presidency.

Although the movie starts out by informing the audience via an onscreen message that “Vice” is a “true story,” people in the know, including former Bush Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and former Undersecretary of Homeland Security Michael Brown, have pointed out that the film’s central theme of Cheney being the so-called man behind the curtain that called the shots for a feckless president is plain old fiction.

So-called Trump Campaign Finance Violations Are a Fallacy

DonaldTrumpBarackObama

Democrat leaders and their allies in the media have momentarily dropped the Trump-Russia collusion narrative from their playbooks and are instead talking about purported campaign finance violations.

In fact, some Democrats such as Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. are attempting to characterize their latest campaign finance meme as constituting an impeachable offense.

To claim that the payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels and Playboy playmate Karen McDougal would be impeachable offenses, one would have to ignore both the law and historical practices.

During former President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, some real and arguably more serious violations of campaign finance law were treated as civil matters, resulting only in penalties paid to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

According to the Washington Post, in 2008 Obama’s campaign allowed donors to use untraceable prepaid credit cards, which are capable of being utilized to evade campaign finance restrictions. Obama’s campaign additionally failed to employ basic verification and security procedures to prevent illegal donations to the campaign.

Years after the 2008 election, the Obama campaign paid a $375,000 fine, one of the largest ever levied against a presidential campaign but otherwise walked away from the violation. Impeachment was never a topic of discussion.

Despite claims by panelists on cable news shows, the current Trump campaign finance narrative contains serious flaws when it comes to the law.

According to the Federal Election Campaign Act, in order to constitute violations the payments to the two women would have to have been implemented “for the purpose of influencing any election for Federal Office” and not for a personal use.

The law stipulates that a personal use, as opposed to a campaign use, occurs when funds are “used to fulfill any commitment, obligation, or expense of a person that would exist irrespective of the candidate’s election campaign.”

President Trump’s company, which is branded with his name, his celebrity status, and his need to protect his family, all point to the personal component of the payments as opposed to a campaign related one. Moreover, the necessity for the payments preceded his announcement to run for president.

Former FEC Commissioner Hans von Spakovsky is in agreement, having told Fox News, “The blackmail threat by Daniels and McDougal to reveal their claims would exist whether or not Trump was running for office.”

Former FEC Chairman Bradley Smith told Fox News, “Even if it [the payment] was intended to have some influence on the campaign, that’s not the standard. The standard is: ‘Does the obligation exist because you’re running for office?’”

Smith wrote in the National Review that the president’s “alleged decade-old affairs occurred long before he became a candidate for president and were not caused by his run for president.”

As Smith noted, engaging in activities such as polling, purchasing ads, and printing bumper stickers are expenditures that seek to influence an election, however “paying hush money to silence allegations of decade-old affairs is not.”

In a somewhat similar but stronger case, which involved former presidential candidate and Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards, prosecutors attempted to prove that payments made during a presidential run were intended to assist Edwards’s electoral chances, claiming that they were made to protect his public image. Yet, in that case the prosecution could not persuade a jury that Edwards had made campaign related payments. After an acquittal of the main charge and a mistrial on other charges, the case was not pursued by the Justice Department, and Edwards was never retried.

Seeing a similar result with the case against President Trump, von Spakovsky wrote in a Fox News editorial, “Convicting Donald Trump of a criminal campaign finance violation will be extremely difficult, if not impossible. Just as Edwards was found not guilty, the same is likely to happen to President Trump if he is charged while he is president or after he leaves the White House.”

In a potential prosecution of the president, an additional problem involves evidence of the president’s mindset at the time the payments were made. The level of intent that must be proved in a campaign finance prosecution is that the alleged misconduct is committed knowingly and willfully, which is an extremely challenging element of the case for prosecutors, who must prove that a defendant intended to violate the law.

Because the Federal Election Commission does not consider payments made to a mistress to be an expenditure covered by the federal campaign law, it is not possible for a defendant to have made such a payment with knowledge that it was an unlawful violation.

In other words, the president cannot be charged with a knowing and willful violation of the law under these facts, since the Federal Election Commission and legal experts who served on the commission determined that such payments are not campaign finance violations in the first place.

 

Republicans Can Win in 2020 If They Step Up Their Game

5b67a7612000009f00378fcc

Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi once famously said, “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.”

Some of the Republican rank and file may be feeling a bit punchy at the present. However, there are a lot more positives than negatives upon which to focus, and the goal in 2020 is very realistically achievable.

After loads of liberal media gloom and doom regarding the fate of the GOP, it may be a surprise for some to hear that, despite the midterm election results, Republicans are in a good position to take the White House again, retake the House of Representatives, and maintain the Senate. That is, if they are able to focus on three key elements: voter data, party unity, and strategically significant issues.

According to the hyperventilating panelists who appear on the left-leaning media news shows, President Trump and the Republican Party are in trouble. The recent court filings made by Special Counsel Robert Mueller concerning Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen have the talking heads sneering with delight at the prospect of more GOP misfortune.

The lopsided media, though, is not presenting an accurate picture of the political playing field. Since the Republican Party will lay claim to an even larger Senate majority in 2019, the likelihood of Mueller producing sufficient evidence to convince enough GOP Senators to support impeachment proceedings is highly remote. Twenty Republican Senators would have to link arms with the Democrats for President Trump to be removed from office, which is far-fetched, if not impossible.

With President Trump at the top of the ticket in 2020, the GOP will be running an incumbent for reelection, while the Democrats will have the disadvantage of an open, crowded field with a couple dozen presidential candidates who are likely to want to storm the debate stage.

In contrast with the Republicans, Democrats appear to be having serious problems with their voter data infrastructure. Following the GOP lead, the DNC leadership is attempting to combine all of the voter data from Democratic groups into a single entity. However, disagreement between the national committee and the state parties is preventing the compilation of data from materializing.

The state Democrat parties are still smarting from the unusual rules that favored Hillary Clinton to the detriment of Bernie Sanders, as former DNC interim chair Donna Brazile described in her book.

On the other hand, Republican voter data operations appear to be very strong. The voter database used by RNC and the Trump campaign in 2016 took the political world by surprise. Former Trump campaign strategist Michael Caputo does not believe that Democrats will be able to keep up with the president’s data machine. In fact, Caputo said that the Trump campaign will have a data operation in 2020 that will make the use of data in 2016 “look like child’s play.”

In the 2018 election cycle, President Trump held numerous trademark MAGA rallies in states with contested senate seats during the closing weeks of the midterms. The rallies did more than just assist Republicans in winning races. A well-honed approach to building a voter database was being implemented by the Trump campaign working together with the RNC. The two organizations have entered into a data-sharing agreement that will increase the chances of the GOP winning in 2020.

The MAGA rallies provide the perfect opportunity to sign up new potential voters for future elections.

Republicans are actually showing a greater degree of party unity than the experts had anticipated during the tenure of the Trump administration. Meanwhile the Democratic Party is fractured, with its mostly wealthy far-left wing support of candidates such as Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), separating from the objectives and desires of the Democrats traditional working class base.

The far left-wing constituency and donor base continually drive the Democrats to focus on social issues, which tend to alienate working-class voters, the same voters who played a significant role in President Trump’s earth shaking 2016 win. With Democrat candidates supporting open borders, new legal definitions of gender, and taxpayer funding for abortion, they risk losing significant portions of their base.

The Trump campaign and the RNC need to solidify their bond with working-class voters, who are alienated by the Democrats’ left-wing pandering. Simultaneously, they need to articulate pro-family and economic ideas such as school choice, increased parental autonomy for children’s education, and real limitations on the abortion industry.

By focusing on and further refining the same factors that resulted in the 2016 victory, Republicans can enhance and utilize a better database, maintain cohesiveness, and center on resonant issues. President Trump will then be reelected by a large enough margin to bring a significant number of Republican candidates alongside him to victory.