A Note From Rod
I hope you’re having a great weekend. Sorry to miss you guys last week: very heavy travel schedule. But we’re back, as always. Hopefully you saw my “New York Update” after the primary there, as well as the many articles we are constantly posting to provide insight into the world’s most complex developments, in technology, politics, economics, faith and culture.
We mean for RodMartin.org to be an outstanding and unique resource. I hope you’re finding it so.
Before we move on to the Presidential race, let’s take just a minute to honor our Hero of the Week, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory.
You probably know about North Carolina’s bathroom bill, protecting the state’s women and children from the abolition of their right to privacy in public restrooms. The howls of faux outrage were led most prominently by PayPal, which announced it won’t do business in North Carolina, but which continues to do business in several countries that actually execute homosexuals.
But what you probably didn’t know is this. A year ago, the Governor signed the Iran Divestment Act of 2015, a bipartisan bill that blocked the North Carolina Retirement System, state agencies and local governments from investing in or doing business with the mullahs.
This week, the Obama Administration demanded McCrory reverse the ban. McCrory declined:
“Under President Obama’s questionable Iran deal, billions have already been paid or released to Iran’s regime with little to show for it. So long as I am governor, North Carolina will not subsidize a regime which remains the world’s lead sponsor of terrorism. It’s time for Washington, D.C. to put the safety, security and best interests of North Carolinians and Americans first.”
We’re grateful that someone in government still has their wits about them and their spine intact. So Pat McCrory is our HFR Hero of the Week.
Donald Trump says that after his victory in the so-called Acela Primary, he is the presumptive Republican nominee.
If he is, this is why:
This is a chart of television mentions per candidate since the outset of the 2016 campaign. As you can see, Donald Trump’s count is several times that of all the other contenders combined. Indeed, only one candidate has ever surpassed him: Ben Carson, for a handful of days in November. Otherwise, it’s been one long season of Celebrity Candidate.
Take from that what you will: perhaps the media is working to pick the Republican nominee (they’ve certainly never done that before); perhaps Donald Trump is just a media magician. Either way or both, once this chart really sinks in with the consultant class, no campaign will ever be the same.
Trump did win that Acela primary thumpingly, taking every single county in all five states. It’s about as good a basis for his victory lap as anyone could demand.
Now the case for Ted Cruz has always assumed he’d lose those five states. And “momentum” simply hasn’t existed in 2016: every state has played out based on individual factors without reference to those which have gone before.
But still, is disconcerting to see a lot of very bullish analysts like Erick Erickson say they now believe Indiana is a must-win. I’m not convinced that’s true, but I completely understand the logic. For the first time in the entire race, Trump significantly outperformed his polling Tuesday night.
Turnout is down too, a lot: just 6.4% of eligible voters bothered to show up in New York, 10.6% in Maryland, vs. 27.8% in New Hampshire and 25.6% in Wisconsin.
One gets the feeling that the anti-Trump forces are discouraged. And if that carries over to Indiana, much less California, there’s at least a slim chance that Trump might get to 1,237 after all.
The other reason for my concern is Carly Fiorina.
I happen to be a big fan of Carly. I thought she was scapegoated at HP. I thought she was about as good a U.S. Senate candidate as anyone could reasonably ask of a first-timer, especially running in California. She has shown herself remarkably knowledgeable on an extraordinary range of issues, right on most of them, and courageous throughout.
But it’s not my job to tell you what I want to be true: I’m here to tell you what I honestly think. And Ted’s picking Carly for VP just one day after his Northeastern nightmare gives me enormous pause.
The case against Carly, in this role at least, is very strong. Obviously Ted’s timing reeks of desperation. But it’s worse than that. Carly brings nothing to the table delegate-wise, and nothing game-changing otherwise. And Ted’s strategy requires a contested convention. It is hard to fathom how he benefits from giving away his biggest bargaining chip – the Vice Presidency – before Cleveland.
Still worse, Carly would have been a bad choice even at the Convention. First there are the optics: thrills will run up Democrats’ legs as they remind us unendingly that while they put their women at the top of the ticket, Republicans put theirs at the bottom. And then there’s this:
Even before Clinton or Sanders get their shot, the entire rationale for a Trump Presidency is sticking it to China and Mexico and bringing jobs home. He’ll make Carly the poster child of all that’s wrong with America, just as he’s somehow twisted Ted into “the Establishment candidate.”
Maybe there are internal numbers I haven’t seen that say Carly delivers California. But short of that, my unvarnished, unhappy opinion is that the Carly pick was a grave error, the first and possibly last major mistake of an otherwise brilliantly-executed campaign.
But back to cup half full.
Trump’s wins Tuesday (like New York the week before) were entirely expected, and well within the numbers required for a Cruz victory at the Convention. My concerns notwithstanding, that remains true.
The extraordinarily optimistic Michael Harrington over at RedState is convinced that Ted already has the nomination locked. Yes, locked. You should read his analysis, and his follow up (with more detailed math). He makes a strong case – which I will not repeat here – that in reality, Ted is sitting at 696 delegates rather than the 565 commonly reported. More importantly, he shows how the final count going into the convention is likely to be Trump 1,123, Cruz 1,154.
If that proves true, Cruz is going to be the nominee. Full stop.
Of course, there are a lot of assumptions baked into that, and I’m not endorsing all of them by any means. But subject to my concerns above, Harrington’s math makes a lot of sense, with one rather large caveat: breaking ironclad party rules, the Wisconsin GOP just tossed out Ted Cruz’s delegate slate – which they were legally bound to adopt – and named a group of party insiders largely opposed to his candidacy.
If Ted can’t shore up the delegates he’s outright won, Harrington’s most important assumptions will collapse.
So what if it comes to that contested convention? Won’t all the Trump people walk? Won’t that be the death of the Republican Party?
It’s true that roughly a quarter of Trump folks are likely to refuse to vote for anyone else. It’s also true that nearly identical numbers of #NeverTrump voters say they’ll, well, never vote for Trump.
If that’s all there were to it, it would be fair to say that the GOP is doomed regardless.
But as it turns out, a growing number of Sanders supporters say they are #NeverHillary: one-in-four according to a recent Marist poll.
In other words, it’s a wash. Even before factoring in diminished African-American turnout due to Obama’s absence from the ballot, turnout for both sides should be similarly depressed.
Ergo, November may well boil down to which nominee can woo back more of his or her party’s base. But there’s no reason to think Hillary will have the sort of advantage Trumpkins believe they can give her.
The most disturbing thing about the past couple months has been Trump’s growing insistence that the system is rigged. This line of assault is deeply unhealthy for the American system. It’s also monstrously hypocritical.
Last point first. My friend Marty Scott ran the math, and here is the latest delegate count if all states awarded their delegates proportionately as Trump now demands:
I won’t hold my breath waiting for Trumpkins to demand that.
But that’s the water cooler point. The real issue is that Trump is assaulting the legitimacy of the republican form of government. Delegates matter. No, they don’t have to be selected exactly the way they are now (indeed, proportional is looking pretty good right now). But they have to be selected nonetheless.
Trump’s folks are screaming that the nomination should be decided only by a plurality of the raw votes. But that is the exactly opposite of the Founding Fathers’ vision, which demanded majorities and even supermajorities in all things. They deliberately limited direct democracy in multiple ways, believing that majorities are necessary to build consensus, that consensus is necessary to avoid the sort of abrupt dislocations which wrecked France (and the rest of Europe) in the same era, and that all stakeholders needed to be carefully balanced against one another so no one could get the upper hand.
This is why there’s an Electoral College: to give voice to state-level interests, and to keep smaller states from being run over by larger ones. This is why there’s a Senate: to blunt the passions of the “people’s house” and, before the 17th Amendment, to serve as a sort of “House of Ambassadors” from meaningfully sovereign states.
Almost all of those states are deliberately smaller than European countries: they were intentionally of a size that allowed them to be communities. The members of communities can look out for each other, and care about each other’s unique needs; strangers not only will not, but cannot. And the more that decisions are made by a roll call of strangers, the more communities are suppressed, and the more demagogues can sway the masses.
Attacking the republican idea, trashing the legitimacy of representation, and demanding pluralities rather than majorities will do more to make us the sort of democratic socialist Eurostate Sanders advocates than all Barack Obama has managed in eight long years.
Understood this way – and the Founders would have understood it this way – the Conventions are not rigged insider affairs: they’re run-offs. If the people can’t come to consensus, then their elected representatives will, no matter how many ballots it takes.
This is, by the way, exactly how the Founders designed things come Fall. If there is no consensus (which is to say, majority) in the Electoral College, a plurality cannot win. Rather, the House of Representatives decides, in an election calculated to produce a majority.
Majorities matter. Americans build their coalitions in public. Parliamentary systems with proportional representation feature parties that are able to promise anything they want, knowing that no party will get a majority and the eventual governing coalition will be cobbled together with backroom deals after the election, producing a result for which absolutely no one ever voted.
No system is perfect. But the American system is the cleanest in the world. It’s also the most successful. Junking it would be a catastrophe, made possible only by massive widespread ignorance of the principles on which it is based.
As I write this, news is just in that Ted has taken a double-digit lead in Indiana. Also, Mike Pence endorsed Ted this afternoon, however tepidly.
On the Democrat side, Bernie is throwing in the towel, however guardedly. My case for the Socialist remains the same: much of Hillary’s “lead” consists of superdelegates who can switch at any time, Hillary remains vulnerable to indictment (or at least a devastating FBI report), and most of the states ahead are good territory for Sanders.
Bernie gets all that: he’s not suspending his campaign or anything. Still, you knew the jig was up on Tuesday night when in his concession speech Sanders spoke not of going on to win the nomination but rather of influencing the party’s platform.
Put a fork in him. Maybe he could still win. But if the candidate himself no longer believes it, what’s actually possible is irrelevant. He’s done.
Just a bit of geopolitics before we go. Iran is using its “space program” to test ICBMs. Yes, while Barack Obama pushs North Carolina to lift its ban on investing in Iran, Iran is creating the ICBM force it needs to deliver the atom bombs Obama is helping it develop all the way to your home town.
Meanwhile, North Korea now has two satellites orbiting above the United States. Are they spying? Do they contain nukes, either for EMP attacks or direct bombardment?
The better question is, does it matter? They have the capability. Barack Obama allowed it. And every day a Democrat remains President is a day we face needless existential threats.
Last week, Jack told you about Obama’s mafia-esque threats against Britain should they choose to withdraw from the EU, and also about Boris Johnson’s brilliant counterpunch. Questions lingered as to whether Obama’s intervention would help or hurt the pro-Brexit forces.
The results are in. Before Obama’s comments, a majority of polls had “Remain” winning. Post-Obama, three of four polls have “Leave” in the lead.
This is very good news, for England and for America.
Finally, I’m filling in again this month for my dear friend Jack Wheeler over at ToThePointNews.com, writing his weekly “Half Full Report.” He is off to India again, doing something which has literally never been done before: traveling by helicopter to every great Himalayan giant 8,000 meters (26,000 feet) or higher. It’s going to be a breathtaking adventure for those privileged enough to join him, as are so many of Jack’s expeditions.
You can read about the world anywhere. You come to RodMartin.org to understand it. Do your friends a favor and pass it along; and remember, there’s a lot more we publish each week that doesn’t make the newsletter.
P.S. Don’t forget: we’d appreciate your input on whether a contested convention should consider candidates other than Cruz, Kasich and Trump. Vote now!
by Rod D. Martin
Sunday is May Day, the high holy day of socialists from Lenin to Stalin, Hitler to Mao, Castro to Sanders. It’s important, as we do every year at RodMartin.org, to reflect on what Socialism really is, and why despite its dark horrific legacy it remains, as Billington put it, “fire in the minds of men.”
For Brexit: Why the UK Should Join NAFTA (and Why Margaret Thatcher Thought So Too)
by Rod D. Martin
Barack Obama, in normal ham-handed fashion, attempted threatening the British into submission last week on Brexit. And as is usual for “the messiah”, his efforts backfired: where most polls favored “Remain” before, three of four favor “Leave” since.
Rod has been a strong advocate of Brexit for 25 years. So was Margaret Thatcher. Here’s why.
Factoring U.S. Strategy Into China’s Future
Last time, we talked about the development of a new Chinese strategic imperative beyond the Han Chinese homeland and immediate buffers: the protection of the country’s global network of trade routes. We compared this directly to the Dutch Empire in the 1600s.
The problem with this new strategic imperative is that it runs smack into one of America’s.
The Big Fat Surprise
by Matt Ridley
Science, by definition, cannot be “settled”. This point is completely lost on the current generation of leftists, who use science as an ideological weapon, not as a process of inquiry.
How Capitalism Abolishes Classes
by David Chadwick
To hear Bernie Sanders talk, you’d think there was more class division today than at any point in human history. But the truth is just the opposite. And indeed, what leftists leave out — if they ever understood it at all — is that Capitalism doesn’t just reduce inequality: in many of the most essential and historically significant respects, it abolishes it completely.
How to Add 50,000 New North American Missionaries
by Rod D. Martin
How can Southern Baptists multiply their North American missionaries ten-fold? It’s easier than you think, and something plenty of other denominations could do also. Rod explains, in this important essay originally published in the Florida Baptist Witness.
You can read about the world anywhere. You come to RodMartin.org to understand it.
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