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Democrats

Rep. Mia Love’s best strategy in Utah is to do nothing

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Utah may be a traditionally red state, but that mostly applies to the presidency. While true that a Republican currently sits in each of the state’s federal offices, that comes more easily to some congressional districts than others.

Utah’s 4th District stands out as the Beehive State’s biggest congressional anomaly for a number of reasons, including close races, odd voter turnout, and recent start-up. The 4th District held its first elections in 2012, 30 years after the creation of the 3rd District, and it is the only one of Utah’s districts to begin with a Democratic representative in office.

Current Representative Mia Love (R) ran in that initial race, losing to Democrat Jim Matheson by 0.3%, or just over 750 votes out of more than 245,000. Love tried her luck again in 2014 following Matheson’s retirement, and this time she bested her Democratic opponent, Doug Owens, by a slightly better margin of 50.9% to 45.8%. Still, in a state with congressional spreads averaging around 65-70% Republican over 25-30% Democrat in recent years, that’s not a comfortable lead by any means. Even more interestingly, the 2014 election turned out only 147,000 voters, 98,000 fewer than the previous election. Owens challenged Love to a rematch in 2016, faring slightly worse with a loss of 53.8% to 41.3%, voter turnout skyrocketing to 274,500.

Love’s victory wasn’t a blowout, but it followed projections. Ballotpedia had marked her seat as “Lean R” according to two leading polls, contrasted with each of her fellow Utah representatives, ranked “Solid R” and “Safe R” based on the same polls. Predictions for her contemporaries in the 2018 election have remained consistent, but this time Love’s base has increased, improving to “Safe R” and “Likely R” — not quite as assured as other Utah Republicans, but certainly closer to their league.

And now, to capitalize on this promising field position, what should Love do if she wants to win in 2018? As little as possible. Basically nothing. Not to say that this plan helps her constituents, but it’s her best bet to retain her seat, and she’s delivering quite nicely. To win in Utah, you need three things: be a Republican, stay in the middle, and remain so invisible that everyone forgets you exist and they just vote for the incumbent.

Utah voters are only subconsciously looking for items two and three, but they’re very aware of their search for number one: Republicans. As we learned in 2016, Utah doesn’t like Trump, but it voted for pro-Trump congressmen at precisely the same rate it voted for never-Trump congressmen. As long as you’re a Republican in the general election, you’ll probably win. And no one has announced their intent to primary Love in 2018.

That said, as I’ve previously opined, Utah is drifting to port; being Republican is only half the battle now. If Love wants to pull out a win, she has to anchor herself somewhere in the middle and stay there. Again, she’s sticking to that plan. She talks like a Republican but votes like a Democrat; she voted for the AHCA, which Democrats and Republicans both disliked for very different reasons, placing her in the crossfire but away from politically hazardous extremes; her Conservative Review Liberty Score is 50%, the lowest of any Utah representative in the House and obviously right in the middle.

Might this only upset both sides? Not really. For Democrats, a 50% Republican is a Republican they can stomach. For Republicans, a 50% Republican is still better than a Democrat. Playing both sides results in a net gain of zero, so it’s essentially the same as doing nothing. And as long as Love isn’t too public about her inactivity, she can get away with it. It’s all about keeping up appearances.

Love steps into the spotlight exactly as often as she needs to do and says exactly what she needs to — she campaigned with the Tea Party initially before settling into moderate politics once elected; she spoke at a rally against hatred following the Charlottesville terrorist attack by a white supremacist; she speaks out regularly in opposition to abortion but approved a budget placing no restrictions on Planned Parenthood in order to avoid a government shutdown. Love famously refuses to hold town hall meetings, preferring personal office interviews with her constituents. But as one writer suggests, this actually results in far less interaction with voters and prevents Love from hearing the collective voice of her district. That might be true, but one-on-one chats with voters seems like a more involved approach, so it works in Love’s favor.

Then she shrinks back to Incumbent Land, where you have a 97% chance of reelection as long as you don’t do anything extremely stupid.

Like I said, to win in Utah, you need three things: be a Republican, toe the line, and stay out of the public eye. Love is hitting the mark on all three. Is that the most helpful approach for improving our country? Not in the slightest, but who said that was Congress’s plan?

Richie Angel is a Co-Editor in Chief of The New Guards. Follow him and The New Guards on Twitter, and check out The New Guards on Facebook.

Richie Angel is a Co-Editor in Chief of The New Guards, Co-Host of The New Guards Podcast, lifelong fan of the Anaheim Ducks, and proud Hufflepuff. He graduated Magna Cum Laude in English from Brigham Young University in 2017. One day later, his wife gave birth to a beautiful daughter. Richie is a constitutional conservative and doesn't see any compassion in violating other people's rights.

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Culture and Religion

Let’s Just Say It: The Socialist-Left Doesn’t Really Care About Protecting Children.

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The Socialist Left cares more about gun confiscation than any common sense ideas that will really protect kids.

Once again, we are witness to the nation’s Socialist-Left blithely assuming the unearned mantle of moral superiority because they supposedly care for ‘the children’. Allegedly ‘objective’ journalists are falling all over themselves to promote a nascent campaign to destroy our common sense civil rights to the exclusion of steps that will really ‘Do Something’.

It is not without a hint of irony that the nation’s Socialist-Left does not care about children before they are born.  But soon after they become a precious commodity that must be protected at all costs – including everyone’s fundamental human rights. Those who are merely a cluster of cells or some other humanity denying pejorative in the womb, suddenly become children to be exploited for political gain upon their full emergence into the world.

Gun Control Doesn’t Work – If it did, Chicago would be the safest city in the nation.

Before the nation’s Socialist-Left is celebrated by the world with the laurels protector of children par excellence, shouldn’t we check their alleged solutions as to whether they work? For if gun control doesn’t work, then they are merely setting up next the mass murder tragedy, and for another round of attacks on our civil rights.

Examine their much ballyhooed utterances over the past few days: The national socialist left is promising a little temporary safety exchange for a mere pittance of our essential liberty. Of course, if they are pressed on the point, they will respond with some sort of meaningless boilerplate about cutting down the carnage. Even so, such vague promises are hardly worth the loss of liberty it would entail.

So what are we getting for the low-low cost of our freedom? How do their ‘solutions’ fair in the real world? Do they actually protect people? Or do they make the situation worse – far worse?

Well, we already know that very much like it’s tyrannical half-sister socialism, Gun control doesn’t work. Just ask the good people of Chicago or Caracas whether or not depriving the innocent of their means of self-defence will protect them. Parenthetically speaking, if gun control actually worked in some mythical Utopia, we would be hearing it about 24/7. This fantasy world doesn’t exist, but there are other steps that can be taken to save at least one life – and isn’t that the standard by which such things are measured?

Commonsense steps that will really protect children and their Civil Rights.

There have been plenty of suggested initiatives that will help reduce these terrorist attacks, from containing the contagion by reducing the killer’s media profile to providing better security. Not to mention restoring basic discipline and a moral underpinning to our children, or simply letting people defend themselves getting rid of the insanity of so-called “Gun Free” zones.

But instead of discussing steps that will actually work, the Socialist-Left ridicules them.  Or they insanely advocate we go further in removing God from the public square or decree them to be a redirection from their real obsession.

The Takeaway

To be perfectly blunt about it: The most disgusting aspect of this whole cycle is that it won’t do a thing to protect children and we will be back here doing the very same thing in a few weeks or months. That is what is sickening about this whole affair, and just crediting the Socialist-Left with just a modicum of basic intelligence will show that they know this as well.

To the nation’s Socialist-Left, getting to their ultimate goal gun confiscation is far more important than the lives of children they supposedly want to protect. They care more about depriving people of the means to resist [how’s that for a word?] to their Marxist tyranny than everyone’s safety, and they are willing to climb over the bodies of children to get there. If the nation’s Socialist-Left really cared about protecting children they would advocate what works instead of what brings them power.

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Democrats

Blue wave looking weak in Pennsylvania special election

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Comparable to the Arizona Special Election that is to take next week, the Pennsylvania 18th district is in a special election situation because of unacceptable behavior of Rep. Tim Murphy who during an extramarital affair reportedly asked his mistress to get an abortion. The Republicans have handily controlled PA18 for years and don’t want Murphy’s buffoonery to mess things up. The Republican champion in this race is Rick Saccone.  An open seat in a northern state presents a great opportunity for Democrats to cash in on the Blue Wave they keep boasting. The victory of Doug Jones provides a road win Democrats have so far lacked since 2016. Looking to be PA18’s Doug Jones is Conor Lamb. Lamb is an assistant US attorney who served in the Marine Corps. His platform emphasizes healthcare related issues as well as student debt and energy.

Who is Rick Saccone?

The House of Representatives would be a promotion for the current State Rep. However, Rick Saccone hardly has an active record in the PA legislature. For the most part, Saccone has a record of sponsoring lighthearted, if not outright nonsensical bills, such as a resolution appreciating Heinz Ward and Juneteenth. In the legislature, he has a record of voting in favor of guns and unborn. However, Rick Saccone is not a limited government conservative on a local level. In the past he has voted for tax increases.

State of the Race

As of now, all of the recent polling has the 18th district reliably in the GOP’s hands. However, polling in 2018 will likely continue its downward trend of effectiveness. So take it with a grain of salt. The endorsements are piling high for Rick Saccone. He has the thumbs up from both Trump and Pence, along with several conservative organizations. The recent polling is perhaps responsible for what seems like the Democrats capping their support for Lamb. The GOP, on the contrary, is throwing heavy cash on keeping a seat where Tim Murphy ran unopposed in 2016.

Rating: Likely Republican

My Take

Rick Saccone will in my mind comes away as the winner on March 13th. However, he is not nearly suitable for the job as he should be. He legislative record is one of recognizing days of the year as special for a person or group. He does not have a record of sponsoring serious conservative legislation. Though he does have a record of voting conservative, he isn’t a leader on the issues he is campaigning on. The GOP is right to break the bank for his campaign as they aren’t short on cash in this moment. Saccone isn’t a strong candidate in my opinion, but, with some bankroll, he is.

Conor Lamb isn’t a weak candidate but doesn’t have the resources. As for the Democrats, this investment looks like its going sour. Special elections present a time for more eggs to be placed in a single basket. But the Democrats seem to know they are unlikely to win. The Senate races of 2018 looks bleak for them, so the Blue Wave is supposed to take or come close to securing the House of Representatives. In order to do that, they need road wins. Just like the Arizona 8th, this will not be that road win. The crest of the Blue Wave is getting shorter and shorter.

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Democrats

Educational Malpractice, Pt 2: Failure of identity politics on display

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“What a snake pit.” Those were the words of one teacher, commenting on Twitter in response to my February 6th article (detailing the malfeasance uncovered after a local principle blew the whistle in a fiery letter released to the public), to describe the Shelby County Schools system (SCS).

Another person commented, “I would wager there are more instances of this sort of behavior going on across the country in similarly-positioned school systems.”

Neither comment brought me any joy, but I suspect both are correct.

For this, I continue in my examination into my local school system, an examination of issues which are often diluted in reports published by our compliant, local press. Perhaps removing the veil can bring positive change to other school systems.

What hasn’t been said in the press, I intend to say.

The Death of a Successful School System

Shelby County Schools, headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, has not always been embroiled in scandal and failure. In fact, Shelby County Schools has a record of proven success, earning high ratings year after year.

That all ended, just 5 years ago, with the largest school system consolidation in American history: the Memphis City Schools (MCS) system was completely dissolved and then merged with the Shelby County Schools (SCS) system.

Historical Corruption and White Flight

In Memphis, history repeats itself: politicians who have been convicted of criminal corruption are routinely re-elected.

Take Rickey Peete, for example. Beginning in the 1980’s, Rickey Peete served on the Memphis City Schools Board, and was then elected to the Memphis City Council.

  • In 1989, Peete was convicted of taking bribes and extortion, and served a 2 ½ year prison sentence.
  • In 1995, Rickey Peete was again elected to the Memphis City Council, and was later re-elected 2 more times!
  • In 2007, Peete was, once again, convicted for extortion and accepting bribes, earning himself a 4-year prison sentence. “He and fellow council member Edmund Ford were charged in late 2006 with taking bribes from former County Commissioner Joe Cooper, who was recording their conversations for the FBI,” (Memphis Flyer).

Then there are the Fords; a family of politicians that could be described as a criminal enterprise. And, lest we forget, the FBI’s Operation Tennessee Waltz offers a sobering reminder of the corruption that has haunted the area.

Thus, plagued by decades of political woes and poor policies, more and more people moved out of Memphis – often incurring debt in order to do so – and into the surrounding cities hoping to escape the rising crime rates and the downward decent in quality and safety of the city’s troubled schools.

Although the areas of Shelby County which are outside of the City of Memphis are just slightly over 50% white, the departure of city residents away from Memphis is pejoratively called “white flight.”

The Funding Structure  –

All county residents’ county-wide property taxes were divided between the Memphis City Schools and the Shelby County Schools based on the number of students. This structure allocated more funds to the City of Memphis since the city’s schools had a higher number of students than the county’s school system.

The Memphis City Schools operated as a special school district. Residents of Memphis paid additional property taxes that were allocated to the city’s schools. As such, Memphis City Schools operated with a larger budget; funded by county and city residents, allowing for significantly higher per-student spending than that of Shelby County Schools.

In addition to various special programs, Memphis City Schools students’ athletics were publicly funded, while Shelby County students’ athletics were funded entirely by their parents.

Yet, Memphis City Schools were constantly facing funding difficulties, and threatening to dissolve the school system entirely became a norm.

In an act of desperation, hoping to keep the crooked fingers of Memphis corruption from taking over the county’s high-functioning, successful school district, the Shelby County Schools board began exploring legal ways of obtaining special district status for the county system, the same special district status that Memphis City Schools enjoyed.

A Hostile Takeover

By 2010, due to mismanagement and corruption, the City of Memphis had defaulted on tens of millions of dollars designated for the city’s schools. In a rushed vote brought on by funding woes and by the efforts of SCS to obtain special district status, the MCS school board hastily threw in the towel, voting to dissolve the charter of Memphis City Schools altogether.

A referendum vote was then scheduled for Memphis residents to approve the council’s choice for system dissolution. County residents did not have any voice in what was to happen to their school system should MCS merge into it.

If the referendum passed, Memphis representatives, based on population, would then secure the majority of SCS school board seats.

It passed, and the Memphis City Schools system officially ceased to exist.

Those Rich, Racist Bastards!

Leading up to the referendum vote, “journalists” and education “advocates” and politicians repeatedly put forth the premise that education in Shelby County was unequal, despite the higher public spending per pupil and the public funding of various support programs in Memphis City schools which would disappear should the city schools be dissolved.

The residents of the suburbs and of unincorporated Shelby County were labeled racists and their genuine concern for their children was painted as an attempt to maintain boundaries of segregation. County residents were framed as rich white people who hate black people and who are inexcusably greedy, selfishly hoarding their riches in hopes of keeping black children in poverty.

In the county schools, technology such as Promethean Boards and learning programs such as Accelerated reader were entirely funded by parents. This technology was absent from Memphis City Schools. The stark contrast in parental involvement the positive effects of high levels of parental involvement on student achievement was brushed aside, as if invalid.

With complete disregard for the studies highlighting the negative effects of system mergers on students, especially low-income minority students, the “advocates” persisted.

The gross failures of the Memphis City Schools system which had persisted because of systemic corruption, a climate of mediocrity, and vast ineptitude was simply re-framed as “separate and unequal education.” 

City residents swallowed this racist, classist, shamefully dishonest ploy hook, line, and sinker.

Memphis City Schools system officially merged into Shelby County Schools in 2013; representatives from Memphis secured majority rule of the SCS board, effecting every single public school-attending child in the county.

Shelby County Schools became the largest school system in the country.

Curiously, and reeking of Memphis politics, the attorney representing the Memphis City Schools during the years-long merger process then became the superintendent for the new, unified Shelby County Schools system.

The Results

Predictably, the endemic dysfunction that characterized Memphis City Schools now characterizes the Shelby County Schools system. The same failing schools are still failing. The same inept leadership keeps on leading.

Even rumors of school board corruption still persist.

The worst result, which was completely predictable I must add, was the phenomenon of once high-performing schools across the county subsequently dropping precipitously in quality.

For example, what was once a top-performing elementary school around the corner from my house is now a level 1 school (at the bottom of the rankings).

The problems that plagued Memphis City Schools were never addressed.

 It was far easier to feign virtuous, employing the abhorrent politics of identity, than it was to seek genuine solutions. So, it should be absolutely no surprise that the results have been, in a nutshell, the spread of failure.

Thankfully, for at least some of Shelby County’s children, the story doesn’t end here. There was a great divorce that took place, benefitting thousands of students.

Yet, it is because of this “divorce” that the residents of Shelby County are once again being plastered as racists and classists, rich whites, on a national scale; and residents have become the target of well-funded, Marxist proponents of the “sustainability” movement.

This, I will discuss in Part 3 (the final part).

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