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The real danger with tariffs: Chinese meddling in the 2020 presidential elections

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The real danger with tariffs Chinese meddling in the 2020 presidential elections

As the rapid process of imposing tariffs between the United States and China begins, there is only one thing that’s actually in play: the 2020 elections. If China makes a deal soon, that means they’re banking on President Trump winning reelection. If they don’t make a deal, they’re betting heavily on the Democrats claiming the White House. If the latter is the case, we can expect China to covertly “participate” in the election in ways that will make Russian hacking in 2016 seem like child’s play.

Tariffs will harm the United States economy by raising prices for businesses and therefore consumers. But the potential devastation of long-term, high-level tariffs for the Chinese economy is much higher. President Trump hopes the Chinese will recognize this and take him seriously when he says the deal they could make now is much better than any deal they could make if he wins reelection. Whether or not they recognize it is a tossup as the nation has been inept at playing their cards right for over a decade. They have the resources, the manpower, and the buying power to easily be the world’s most dominant economy, but poor fiscal decisions and a political ineptitude has held them back. As for the President’s promise to make a better deal now than later, this is most likely a real threat. The only wildcard is whether or not the tariffs extend to the point that they actually start doing real harm to the economy, in which case his 2nd-term legacy will be too important to him to blow.

If China opts to play hardball, they will do so knowing the Democrats MUST win the White House. This makes them extremely dangerous. If they believe they can hold their economy together through the election, then their inclination will be to meddle. This is how they’ve always operated, though not as visibly on the geopolitical level. They manipulate and make things happen that suit their needs, so if they feel the need to make Trump lose, they won’t do it subtly.

This could be a real challenge for the President if there are any vulnerabilities they can exploit. Russia may have held their cards, playing the long game and letting out just enough to make them feel like they were making an impact, but China will not be so cautious. If they decide to manipulate the election, they will do so with all of their political weapons blazing. We can expect hacks of important people in Trump’s orbit. We are certain to see social media attacks that are focused on defeating Trump. Russia’s social media play was to plant the seeds of polarization, as the long game demands. China will go after Trump with everything they have, directly and unabashedly.

But we’re better at recognizing and thwarting it as a nation than we were in 2016. There’s no telling what countermeasures are in play until the attacks come, but it isn’t out of the question that Chinese influence could actually be flipped and used as a rallying cry for the Trump campaign.

At this point, all we can do is speculate based on the information available.

China is in a poor situation and it can only get poorer the longer they allow their economy to be wrecked by U.S. tariffs. Will this translate into a deal or a geopolitical war to influence the 2020 elections? We’ll know soon enough.

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Economy

Gary Vaynerchuk never talks about politics, but he’s great when he does

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Gary Vaynerchuk never talks about politics but hes great when he does

Language warning, in case you’ve never listened to Gary Vaynerchuk before. I have, and he’s great.

Those who know of Gary Vaynerchuk think of wine, social media, and digital strategy. The Belarusian American entrepreneur has been an outspoken advocate of all things “віно і маркетинг” for over a decade, but he rarely speaks about politics.

Recently, he did, and one prediction in particular caught my eye.

In an interview for Capitalism by Ryan Daniel Moran, Vaynerchuk said, “I believe we’re seeing the beginning stages of a four party system in America in the next 50 to 100 years.”

The way he sees it, both major parties are pushing to the extremes on the ideological scale, opening up spots for moderate progressives and moderate conservatives to have major parties of their own. This is the case in most countries; the United States is one of the few that has a true two-party system despite the fact that most of our founding fathers didn’t want it to turn out this way.

John Adams said:

There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.

But Vaynerchuk, who has built a career around being write much more often than he’s wrong, says the opening is already being seen today. He railed against both parties, blaming both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama for poorly handling the financial crisis of the late 00s.

Millions have learned over the years to listen to Gary Vaynerchuk when he’s offering opinions. Though his political opinions are few and far between, there’s a wisdom to them you don’t hear from the pundits. It’s authentic, a rare quality indeed.

Petition Capitol Hill for Term Limits

Sign the petition. We demand Congress immediately put together legislation that spells out term limits for themselves. Americans need to know who is willing to suppress their own power for the sake of the nation. This can only happen by bringing legislation to the floor.

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Economy

Charlie Kirk: Capitalism saves lives

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Charlie Kirk Capitalism saves lives

I’m normally not a fan of quick bursts of talking points, preferring longer, fact-filled discussions on topics as important as capitalism versus socialism. With that said, Turning Point‘s Charlie Kirk knocks it out of the park with talking points that totaled 33 seconds.

But even though the video was short, this article will take a bit longer to read. I’m not going to talk about the clear evidence that capitalism is far superior to socialism (or any other economic -ism). Instead, I’d like to focus on the challenge pro-capitalism activists face. Our message is right, and for the most part our nation accepts this. But things are changing. The indoctrination in schools combined with the propaganda in mainstream media and the false narratives from Democrats are all combining to deceive the masses in ways many thought impossible just a few years ago.

Would you have thought over 50% of college students would support socialism over capitalism at any point in American history if someone told you that a decade ago? If you would have, you’re much smarter than me. I couldn’t imagine the will of the people being so misled that many would abandon the system that has clearly worked in exchange for a system that has never worked. It makes no sense, and therein lies the problem with the progressive movement today.

As our EIC noted, logic doesn’t always prevail.

We must, as conservatives, continue to push out the right message. We might think it’s commons sense, but apparently common sense is becoming less common in America. We need to keep pushing.

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Economy

Executive order targeting Huawei is the right move at the right time

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Executive order targeting Huawei is the right move at the right time

American technology companies, particularly those in the telecommunications industry, have been fools for far too long. While China as actively and aggressively sought to not only steal our technology but subvert it by inserting their own untrustworthy components into our systems, many American companies have turned a blind eye to the threats they pose to every American.

That won’t happen anymore. President Trump signed an executive order defending against technological attacks by the Chinese and specifically targeted Huawei, the Chinese telecomm giant that has been inserting itself rapidly into as many technological conversations as it can all across the world.

The right move

There are certain aspects of protectionism that do not appeal to me, but when it comes to technological protectionism, I’m all in. For years I’ve done what I can to limit the amount of Chinese technology in the devices I use for one simple reason: I don’t trust them.

Yes, they’re cheaper. But they’re also cheaper in the way they’re produced. Though China has made many technological advances in recent years (much of which can likely be attributed to theft of technology from other countries), they’re still behind in most regards compared to Japanese, Korean, Israeli, Australian, and European technologies. But that’s not a huge deal at this point; you get what you pay for and if certain sacrifices to quality make sense, so be it as long as it’s cheaper.

But there’s a nefarious aspect to the way the Chinese have inserted their technologies into the global mix. China has a very poor track record of obeying international laws, adhering to security protocols, and believing in the right to privacy. In China, there is no privacy which is why their technology often bypasses privacy controls put in place to protect individuals.

With the growing 5G infrastructure at the center of this move, now is not the time to take risks. If Huawei cannot be trusted, then 5G is the last place we want them involved.

I’m not a fan of executive orders, either, but this is one that makes sense since it’s a dynamic topic that moves much faster than Congress can handle and it’s administrated solely by the executive branch.

The right time

It’s obviously not a coincidence that this executive order was signed just as the trade war with China is ramping up. As our EIC noted, we’re in a time when we must use full measures to win this war. I’m not a fan of tariffs, but if we’re going to use them, let’s make them effective and get rid of them as quickly as possible.

This is just another arrow slung at the Chinese in that trade war. It may be technically separate and it’s hard to imagine this is another bargaining chip, but it will cause further harm to the Chinese economy, making it more likely they’ll come to the table ready to make a deal.

We’ve reached a moment in history where technology can have catastrophic effects on the lives of nearly every American if the wrong actors are allowed to run free in our infrastructure. This is a step towards safeguarding us from the threats.

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