Ann Coulter mocked the eleven Republican Party Presidential candidates in their second debate. All of them lined up and declared that they were pro-gun, pro-life, pro-Israel. I would add that all of them affirmed that they would cut taxes. That is all well and good, but why do Republican candidates seeking the “most conservative” mantle, and then the nomination, keep stumping on these nearly non-issues, which have been all but decided years ago?
Granted, some debate has lingered. The Second Amendment, abortion, and Israel were issues of deep contention thirty years ago. Ronald Reagan defeated the more liberal and moderate elements within the Republican Party. Today, any Republican who has any chance of running for national office cannot support gun control, abortion on demand, and would be a fool to dismiss Israel.
So, why do the Election 2016 Presidential candidates continue to espouse these already decided issues? They are easy to stand for, and make it easy to stand against competing candidates. Conservative voters should hope for more from their prospective nominee than more of the same. Presidential prospects do not want to alienate voters, but differentiate themselves.
Touching a third rail issue creates conflict with voters, donors, political action committees, and of course, the press.
What are the third rail issues which are dividing Republicans?
This issue has riled up so many voters, but more importantly law enforcement and parents, who have witnessed the nationalized crime spree of illegal aliens attacking property and killing citizens. Enough is enough. Political operatives, the donor class, the Chamber of Commerce, La Raza, and even Big Labor have all jumped on the amnesty bandwagon. Cheap labor, assimilation be damned, motivates corporate cronies, looking for any means to save money. Big Government looks forward to rising masses of poor and unskilled migrants who depend on government assistance.
Immigration is a very divisive issue, even for conservatives, who fear that calls for a secure border will alienate minority voters and destroy the Republican Party. The truth is that more minority Americans see themselves as Americans, and nothing less. They do not support open borders, pathways to citizenship, or amnesty. Republicans win at the local level when they focus on accountability, transparency, and law enforcement. The conflicts over immigration center on enforcement, and therefore Republican contenders should not fear demanding a secure border, E-verify, and welfare reform to end negative inducements for illegal immigration.
2. Entitlement Reform
This country pays too many people not to work, and subsidizes the retirement of a growing class of seniors, now relegated to fixed incomes and limited opportunities. Obamacare has only expanded this overgenerous, underfunded welfare state, and given license to more people that they can have something for nothing. Even if the US Congress cut all the discretionary spending, including the military, to nothing, and taxed the wealthiest 1% among us, the entire revenue stream would not dent let alone diminish the structural deficits bankrupting this country.
It's time for a serious talk with the American voters. Uncle Sam simply cannot carry every American into retirement. The states must take on the costs -- and the benefits -- of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. The federal government simply does not belong in the Entitlement business. Of the seventeen candidates who entered the Election 2016 Presidential race, only two have discussed entitlement reform: Mike Huckabee and Chris Christie.
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Why have most candidates avoided this contentious yet unappealing topic? Seniors vote, and they vote a lot. Millenials are waking up to their civic power, and the financial necessities weighing on them, bu senior citizens remain the major voters in elections. Leaders will have to explain to current retirees and workers that the United States cannot pay all the bills anymore. Yes, this discussion is painful. No, politicians want to get votes without worrying about the backlash for unpopular views. However, the United States of America has become a debtor nation, and one which other countries will no longer service with bonds and loans. Do we want to turn into the next Greece?
Yes, Republicans need to stand with those marginalized populations in this country whose rights are under attack. "Marginal" does not mean "minority", however. County Clerk Kim Davis was forced into a jail cell because she refused to comply with an illegal, immoral, and unconstitutional ruling from the United States Supreme Court. Only a handful of Republican Presidential candidates rallied to her defense and opposed the SCOTUS for redefining marriage in such an arbitrary and unjust fashion. Freedom of speech is under attack in the press and on campuses, too. The United States government, and to a lesser extent the American People, have forgotten that liberty is not a benefit derived from the state, but rather freedom from government coercion and intervention. Associate Justice Clarence Thomas addressed this fundamental misunderstanding at work in the American conscience. Presidential candidates must address this problem and redress the misunderstanding about our liberty.
4. Labor Reforms
Of all the special interests squelching limited government, individual liberty, and constitutional rule in our Republican, the most vicious and insidious force is Big Labor. With their forced membership and coerced union dues, labor unions tap into flowing funding streams to bankroll illiberal, statist causes and candidates, at the expense of individual workers and taxpayers but without their permission. Cities and states are going bankrupt because of Big Labor's undue influence, putting in place union puppet Democrats and intimidating otherwise fiscally prudent Republicans. At the federal level, bureaucrats and civil "servants" are union members, and they vote Democratic, and they want to the Big Government juggernaut firmly in place, paying their salaries, providing for their lavish retirements, and protecting their unearned power in Washington.
Yet no one is talking about defeating Big Labor in Washington -- yet.
For Election 2016, Republican primary voters enjoy of the widest, deepest benches in decades. It would bode well for us, for them, and for the country if they gathered the courage to discuss serious and divisive issues, too.