Tag Archives: Republican Party

Nebraska Republicans Set Sights On Unseating Ex-GOP Libertarian State Senator

Update, May 16, 2018, 11:07 a.m.: Laura Ebke and Tom Brandt will face off once more in November’s general election; Ebke finished in second place in Tuesday’s primary election with 2,603 votes, and Brandt secured first place with 3,495 votes.

Nebraska State Senator Laura Ebke, who split from the Republican Party in 2016 while already holding office and instead joined the Libertarian Party, is facing an all-out assault from her former party in an effort to win back the seat for the GOP.

“GOP officials have unleashed a wave of negative mail and radio ads against Ebke, of Crete, turning the small-town primary into one of the most hotly contested races in Nebraska,” wrote Grant Schulte of Associated Press, characterizing the intensity of the fight over Ebke’s seat.

The Libertarian Party only has four state legislators nationwide, including Sen. Ebke, who is the first Libertarian state legislator to hold office in Nebraska’s history. She left the Republican Party for the Libertarian Party while holding office in 2016 after Neb. Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts called her out at a Republican state convention for not following the party line on legislative votes.

In the 2015 legislative session, Sen. Ebke had voted to overturn a Gov. Ricketts veto of a bill that repealed the death penalty but had also voted to sustain his veto of a gas tax hike.

“I’m not willing to bend my principles to go along or cast a vote just for the sake of party unity,” Sen. Ebke told the Lincoln Journal Star. “I agree with the Republican Party on many things and I have many friends in the party… Republicans talk about fiscal responsibility, but they tend to place not such a high emphasis on civil liberties.”

Sen. Ebke currently faces two Republican challengers in her re-election bid this year, former executive director of Nebraska Family Alliance Al Riskowski and Plymouth farmer Tom Brandt.

The socially conservative Riskowski has received an endorsement and a $5,000 donation from Gov. Ricketts. He cited a Sen. Ebke vote in favor of eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for low-level non-violent crimes as an example of one of her policies that he opposes.

Rikowski defended the money he received from Gov. Ricketts, saying, “I see the governor wanting to support candidates who are of a like mind, not trying to control them.”

Tom Brandt says he launched his campaign in response to rising agricultural taxes and a lack of funding for Nebraska schools. He expressed his surprise that such a small-town election could attract so many negative ads.

“It just seems the last two weeks have been about attack ads and money. I’m not naive, but I didn’t expect it to be this intense,” he said.

Nebraska Republican Party Executive Director Kenny Zoeller said that the party is focusing on defeating Sen. Ebke because after winning her election under the GOP banner, she “immediately abandoned our party and its principals.”

Sen. Ebke has come under fire for the fact that the majority of her donations have come from libertarian-leaning sources outside of her district, such as a $25,000 donation from Texan Libertarian Party donor Michael Chastain and a $15,000 donation from California businessman Chris Rufer. She says that she has had to rely on outside funding because Nebraska GOP officials have threatened to strip Republicans of their positions within the party if they support her campaign, a claim that the Nebraska Republican Party has denied.

She acknowledges that governor-backed bids to unseat incumbents have worked before in the past in the state and that her re-election effort will be a tough fight.

“I am fully aware that I’m in a precarious position here, especially when you have the financial power of the governor,” said Sen. Ebke.

Republican State Senator Roy Baker said of Gov. Ricketts efforts to get involved in state legislators’ races in comments to The Nation, “His unabashed goal is to take control of the Nebraska Legislature. He is very ideologically inclined rather than looking at other evidence or finding common ground on issues…. When you consider the amount of money the governor has and his dogma-driven agenda, it is a lethal combination.”

Sen. Ebke’s first hurdle in her re-election bid is Tuesday’s non-partisan top-two primary election. Nebraska’s state legislature is technically non-partisan, so the top-two vote winners in the primary face off in the general election, regardless of the political party to which they belong.

WWE Ex-Champ Glenn “Kane” Jacobs Victorious in GOP Primary for Knox Co. Mayor

The nearly seven-foot-tall, three-hundred-plus pound internationally-renowned WWE pro wrestler and local insurance businessman Glenn “Kane” Jacobs has declared victory in the Republican primary for mayor of Knox Co., Tennessee, the deeply-Republican county seat of Knoxville and home to the University of Tennessee.

According to WATE-TV with 100 percent of precincts reporting, Jacobs narrowly prevailed by a 17-vote lead. While 43 provisional ballots, many of which lack voter registration information, still must be evaluated to determine if they should be counted, the outcome is not expected to change before the official results are announced next week.

The Republican primary was a hard-fought triple-threat match between Jacobs and popular local county commissioners Brad Anders and Bob Thomas. Thomas, a former local radio personality who also appeared in movies like Friday Night Lights, is the father of actor Jake Thomas of the show Lizzie McGuire on the Disney Channel.

24 Wrestling notes that many WWE superstars, including Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Titus O’Neil, Natalya, and Goldust took to social media on election day to encourage their fans in the area to vote for Jacobs.

“You better vote for Kane or he’ll hit you with that fire, brother,” joked iconic pro wrestler Hulk Hogan in comments to TMZ. “He’s a sharp guy so I hope he does well there.”

Jacobs is now set to face former Knox Co. Democratic Party chair Linda Haney in the August 2 general election.

The libertarian-leaning Republican Jacobs, a friend and supporter of former Texas U.S. Congressman Ron Paul and current U.S. Senator from Kentucky Rand Paul, evoked Reagan to describe his leadership style on his campaign website.

Jacobs told Fox News, “Knox County, Tennessee is a great place to live, work and raise a family. And I just want it to see it become even better. And I think that I can have a small part in doing that… But, really, it’s — the motto of my campaign was together we win. And I really believe that I can hopefully bring all of us in our community, in Knox County, together to build an even better place.”

He added, “I think, as Republicans, we have to stick by what we believe in. And that is fiscal conservatism and individual freedom. And I think what happens is when Republicans get into positions of power, they forget about that. And in many cases, they become part of the problem.”

Jacobs most popular in-ring wrestling persona is the masked Kane, the Undertaker’s deranged pyromaniac half-brother. Kane is a 3-time world champion, 16-time tag-team champion, 2-time intercontinental champion, Money in the Bank winner, and a Grand Slam champion. Jacobs holds the most eliminations in Royal Rumble matches and also has appeared in more pay-per-view matches than any wrestler in WWE history.

Jacobs’ Democratic opponent Linda Haney said, describing her campaign approach, “I know they’ll probably think I’m a fly on the wall, and I plan to be a very vocal fly. And I plan to really work hard and gain the trust of the people of Knox County.”

Tenn. GOP State Sen.’s Bill Would Let Women Buy Birth Control Without Doctor Visit

Last week, Tenn. Republican State Senator Dr. Steven Dickerson of District 20 in Nashville introduced Senate Bill 1677, a proposal aimed at allowing women to purchase birth control directly from pharmacists without first obtaining a doctor’s prescription.

Dr. Dickerson, an anesthesiologist, wrote in an op-ed in The Tennessean, “By some accounts, almost half of pregnancies are either unintentional or ‘mistimed.’ We need to do better. One logical solution is to make contraception easier to obtain. Easier access to contraception will lead to higher use, and higher use will lead to fewer unintended pregnancies.

Dickerson’s bill would stop just short of making birth control over-the-counter, but instead would allow pharmacists to provide the medication directly to women without a doctor’s prescription after “reviewing a list of possible risks and risk factors” with them. He characterized this type of process where a pharmacist prescribes birth control as “behind-the-counter.”

[RELATED: Lawsuit Alleges Jail Guards Allowed To Rape Women In NYC Prison]

Under the current system, birth control pills require a physician’s prescription. While this might not seem like a significant impediment to some, even the simple act of going to a doctor’s appointment can be so expensive or time-consuming that it acts as a barrier to many, and can even impose an impossible burden to meet for women without health insurance,” said Sen. Dickerson.

A 2012 opinion by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists stated, “A potential way to improve contraceptive access and use, and possibly decrease unintended pregnancy rates, is to allow over-the-counter access to oral contraceptives (OCs)… Weighing the risks versus the benefits based on currently available data, OCs should be available over-the-counter. Women should self-screen for most contraindications to OCs using checklists.

Sen. Dickerson added, “While all medications have side effects and risks, by some measures, oral contraceptives’ risks remain lower than the risks of pregnancy. At the very least, the risk is low enough that adults, in proper consultation with a pharmacist, can make an informed decision about the appropriateness of utilizing these medications.

[RELATED: Indigenous Activists Rally Across Canada for Missing Women]

He also pointed out that even when not required to visit the doctor to obtain birth control, “data show women continue to seek routine gynecologic screening.

According to Slate, Oregon and California recently enacted similar bills.

In addition to the primary goal of decreasing unintended pregnancies, SB 1677 has the added benefit of decreasing health care costs and increasing individual freedom, both of which I believe to be worthwhile goals,” argued Sen. Dickerson.

Former N.M. Gov. Gary Johnson Launches Bid for Libertarian Presidential Nomination

Former Republican New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson announced on Wednesday that he is seeking the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination in 2016.

According to KRQE News 13, Johnson made his announcement from the New Mexico state capitol in Santa Fe.

In 2012, Johnson launched an unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nomination before he went on to win the opportunity to be the Libertarian Party’s standard-bearer in the general election. Johnson obtained almost 1.3 million votes for president in the 2012 general election, the most ever by a Libertarian Party candidate.

[RELATED: Exclusive Post-GOP Debate Interview With Gary Johnson]

A fiscal conservative who won the governorship twice in what was a majority Democrat state, Johnson topped headlines in 1999 when he took a controversial and early stance in favor of marijuana legalization, making him the highest ranking U.S. politician to have done so by that time in modern history.

Reason notes that Johnson scheduled a Wednesday appearance on Cavuto: Coast to Coast to publicize his 2016 presidential announcement. A campaign website also went live on Wednesday.

Rumors began to fly about a potential Johnson campaign announcement after he stepped down as CEO of Cannabis Sativa, Inc. last week.

I am announcing my candidacy right now for the Libertarian nomination. I do believe that crony capitalism is alive and well. It’s Democrats and Republicans that contribute to that. I’d like to be that choice that is not going to succumb to that,” said Johnson on Cavuto: Coast to Coast according to Politico.

The Daily Caller pointed out that Johnson told Fox Business host Neil Cavuto, “I think the biggest problem facing this country is the $20 trillion debt that we will have when Obama leaves office. Government is too big, it’s unwieldy, it’s out of control, we need to get control.

He added, “On my deathbed, I’m hoping that I look back and believe that I was the voice of reason in all this, regardless of how many votes I end up garnering.

For more election coverage, click here.

Rush Limbaugh Says ‘Disband the Republican Party’ for Passing Omnibus Bill

After the Republican-led Congress passed a $1.1 trillion omnibus budget bill, which was subsequently signed into law by President Obama, conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh said on The Rush Limbaugh Show last week, “The country was just sold down the river again by your very Republican Party.

Limbaugh cited the bill’s funding of Planned Parenthood, its funding of what he called Obama’s immigration, refugee resettlement, and climate change agendas, and its delayed enforcement of “the punitive” aspects of the Affordable Care Act to allegedly “prevent people from learning what they are” as examples of the Republican Party’s “repeated stabs in the [backs]” of conservative activists.

There is no Republican Party! You know, we don’t even need a Republican Party if they’re gonna do this. You know, just elect Democrats, disband the Republican Party, and let the Democrats run it, because that’s what’s happening anyway,” he said.

[RELATED: Reps. Amash, Massie Blast Congressional Spending Bill for ‘Unconstitutional’ Surveillance Measures]

Limbaugh complained that the Republicans who overwhelmingly won congressional elections in 2010 and 2014 on promises to cut spending instead became obsessed with avoiding disagreements with establishment Democrats that could result in a government shutdown, making it impossible for Republicans to use Congress’ power of the purse as leverage in negotiations.

Everything Obama wanted, everything he asked for [in the budget], he got. You go down the list of things, it’s there,” complained Limbaugh.

[RELATED: Limbaugh on Trump: ‘A Genuine Conservative Would Not Go after Cruz This Way’]

He added, “And this is causing some people to wonder if they just dreamed all that stuff about Boehner resigning. And then other people are wondering if they even dreamed all that stuff about the Republicans winning the largest number of seats they’ve had in Congress since the Civil War. We had two midterm elections in 2010 and 2014, which were landslide victories for the Republican Party. The Democrat Party lost over a thousand seats nationwide in just those two elections. People went to the polls in droves wanting exactly what was rubber-stamped [in the bill] [to be] stopped.

LOTFI: Regarding Racism, Media Bias Against GOP is Glaring

NASHVILLE, November 7, 2015– Earlier this summer, the nation was saturated with narratives against anyone that identified with southern heritage after 21-year-old Dylann Roof entered a South Carolina African-American church and ruthlessly murdered 9 souls. Afterwards, hundreds of thousands demanded Confederate flags and all other Confederacy associated iconography be removed from public view across the country. The fight took center stage here in Nashville when thousands demanded the removal of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s bust from the capitol. At least two Tennessee legislators, Rep. Bryan Terry (R-Murfreesboro), the only Native American in the legislature, and Rep. Andy Holt (R-Dresden) called for an end to the divisiveness. In return, ridicule ensued from media across the nation. Meanwhile, Democratic Party Chairwoman Mary Mancini recently published an op-ed that praised a man responsible for the death countless Native Americans, and the media was all but silent.

At the peak of the Forrest controversy, Holt ran an op-ed that called for unity. While Holt acknowledged Forrest’s checkered past and involvement in the Confederacy and KKK, he also re-told a story of Forrest that the media all but refused to report. Forrest was a man redeemed. Holt wrote that Forrest ended up being one of the South’s first civil rights activists who called for the KKK to disband. In addition, it’s widely known fact that Forrest’s funeral was attended more than 3,000 African-Americans in Memphis who wanted to pay their respects for all that Forrest had fought for on their behalf late in his life. Of course, Forrest had committed atrocities. However, Holt wrote Forrest’s heart had changed and we should recognize, celebrate and model such change, not seek to erase it from history.It wasn’t as if Holt had made this narrative up. Historian Gregory Tucker validated Holt’s narrative in his own column published by the Daily News Journal. Regardless, Tennessee and national media lined up in a hurry to ruthlessly attack Holt. Headlines asked “What next, Andy? Ted Bundy was a women’s rights activist?” The Tennessee Democratic Party, which is led by Mancini, even went on to attack Holt on their Facebook page.

A different story:

In preparation for their annual Jackson Dinner, Mancini wrote in an op-ed recently published by the Tennessean that she and the Democratic Party will be forever grateful to party founder, Tennessean, and former President Andrew Jackson for infusing the Democratic Party with the spirit of equality and an understanding that the White House was the people’s house.

“We will be forever grateful to General Jackson for infusing the Democratic Party with that spirit — we were the “party of the people” then and we are the “party of the people” now — and we will continue to honor that legacy,” wrote Mancini.We’re talking about the same Jackson that ruthlessly murdered tens of thousands of Native American Indians. The same Jackson responsible for the Trail of Tears.

According to Mancini, Jackson “captured the imagination of the American people.”

One forgets that Jackson didn’t think Native Americans were people, so he committed genocide against them and made them his slaves.

National media was silent. Not a word. Not a single Tennessee journalist, pundit, professor or talking head questioned Mancini’s praise of a man referred to as “America’s Hitler” by Native Americans. Not one.

The Tennessean did, however, publish an op-ed from a Native American historian that called for an end to the celebration of Andrew Jackson while damning Jackson as a monster, but not before praising Mancini as a “voice of liberalism and reason in the community” which leads the reader to believe that this Historian is a liberal himself. That’s all the scrutiny the chairwoman received for praising and celebrating a man that murdered tens of thousands, enslaved thousands more and quite literally attempted to commit genocide. Seriously?

So, media infers that Republican Holt is a dumb racist who would support abusing women because he called for unity and understanding, and sought to clarify some historical points. Meanwhile, Democrat Mancini is a voice of reason.

A message for media:

If you want to understand why America has lost trust in the media, then look in the mirror. America deserves better. To those editors willing to recognize the state of media and reflect, I applaud you. Hope may yet remain for the Press’ freedom and integrity.

FOLLOW MICHAEL LOTFI ON Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn.

Koch Industries Attorney Criticizes Ted Cruz for Opposing Sentencing Reform Bill

A Koch Industries statement authored by attorney Mark Holden criticized U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for opposing the Koch brothers backed Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015.

We are disappointed that some members, including Senator Cruz, who have supported the need for reform and been strong supporters of the Bill of Rights did not support this bill. We are grateful that Senator [Mike] Lee corrected the record to make clear that the bill will address grave injustices in our system, free up resources to combat violent crime and enhance protections against the release of violent criminals,” read Holden’s statement on behalf of Koch Industries.

[RELATED: DONEGAN: 46 Non-Violent Drug Inmates Freed, Thousands Upon Thousands Still Incarcerated]

Cruz expressed his concerns that the bill might lead to the release of violent gun criminals and undocumented immigrants.

Under the [retroactive] terms of this bill, 7,082 federal prisoners would be eligible for release. Now none of us know what those 7,082 prisoners did. None of us know what the underlying conduct was that the prosecutors may have plea-bargained down under the existing sentencing laws and that they may not have entered that plea bargain if they had known that the sentencing laws would be lessened,” said Cruz in an October 22 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the legislation.

“But I for one at a time when police officers across this country are under assault right now, are being vilified right now, and when we’re seeing violent crime spiking in our cities across the country, I think it would be a serious mistake for the Senate to pass legislation providing for 7,082 convicted criminals potentially to be released early.”

Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) disagreed with Cruz’s characterization that the bill’s retroactive component could lead to a free-for-all release of violent criminals.

We put together this bill that requires a case-by-case analysis, a case-by-case scrutiny by the federal district judge in question and by the prosecutors involved in each case to consider the nature of each offense and the circumstances of each offense. Also they will consider the offender’s conduct while in prison and the possible risk posed to public safety by any early release that might occur under these provisions,” Sen. Lee said during the hearing, according to The Hill.

Koch Industries attorney Mark Holden wrote, “While not perfect, the bill contains important reforms that will enhance public safety, honor and protect the Bill of Rights, help remove barriers to opportunity for the least advantaged and make our criminal justice system more fair and just for all Americans. Many of these reforms have worked well in states like Texas, Georgia and Utah, and have reduced crime rates, reduced spending, reduced incarceration rates and enabled former offenders and their families to live productive lives.

[RELATED: Obama Praises Rand Paul, Koch Brothers in NAACP Criminal Justice Reform Speech]

The bill ultimately passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 15-5, meaning its next step is a vote before the full Senate.

Watch Truth in Media’s Consider This video, embedded below, which puts the scope of the mass incarceration of non-violent offenders under the U.S. War on Drugs into perspective.


Ex-Congressman Tancredo Quits Republican Party Over Boehner Budget Deal

Former U.S. Congressman from Colorado Tom Tancredo stated in a Breitbart op-ed on Friday that he is leaving the Republican Party.

After this week’s House GOP ‘budget deal,’ which betrays nearly every promise made to grassroots conservatives since 2010, I have decided it is time to end my affiliation with the Republican Party,” wrote Tancredo.

The Denver Post notes that Tancredo previously left the Republican Party in 2010 for a run for Colorado governor under the Constitution Party’s banner, but rejoined the GOP in 2011. Tancredo was also reportedly recently involved in a failed effort to oust the chairman of the Colorado Republican Party.

In the op-ed, Tancredo described times when he says GOP leaders like former President George W. Bush, Karl Rove, and former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay attempted to bully him with threats into supporting establishment positions and ceasing his vocal advocacy for reduced government spending and tighter immigration policies.

Tancredo called the GOP “Democrat Lite” and complained that its leaders have ignored the concerns of Tea Party conservatives who worked hard to elect Republicans in 2010, instead capitulating to the demands of Democrats. “We got condescending lip service, and nothing more,” he wrote.

He said that he feels the GOP establishment does not want to control government spending, secure the U.S. border, protect American national sovereignty, or reign in political corruption.

The former congressman wrote, “By insulting the grassroots, the GOP leadership has set upon a suicide mission. The problem is that failed leadership is allowing Obama to destroy the Constitution and take the whole country down the drain. Well, count me out.

[RELATED: DONEGAN: If GOP Debate Stage Can Fit 11, Let Third Parties In General Election Debates]

Tancredo added that he still intends to support Republican candidate and Senator from Texas Ted Cruz for president in 2016, but that he will be rallying independents to support Cruz’s campaign.

What I will do instead is join the largest political group in the nation, unaffiliated Independents. In Colorado, they outnumber both ‘major’ political parties,” said Tancredo.

The Truth in Media Project recently released a Consider This video highlighting the fact that independent voters now outnumber Republicans and Democrats, as seen in the below-embedded video player.


Ben Carson Says He Opposes Legal Pot, Would ‘Intensify’ Drug War

2016 GOP presidential candidate and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson told Glenn Beck on Wednesday that he opposes the legalization of marijuana and that he would “intensify” the federal government’s War on Drugs.

During a rapid-fire question-and-answer session on Glenn Beck’s radio program, seen in the above-embedded video at around the 1:30 mark, Beck asked Carson, “Do you continue the War on Drugs?

Absolutely,” replied Carson. “I intensify it.”

Glenn Beck followed up, “Let me ask you a question. How? I mean, it doesn’t seem to be working now.

Carson responded, “Well, go down to the border in Arizona like I was a few weeks ago. I mean, it’s an open highway, and the federal government isn’t doing anything to stop it.

Continuing his rapid-fire questioning, Beck asked, “Legalize marijuana?

I disagree with it,” responded Carson.

[RELATED: Christie Tells Colo. Pot Smokers to “Enjoy It” Now As He Will Bust Them As President]

During the round of questions, Carson also called warrantless NSA spying “terrible,” said that he supports building “the right kind” of border fence, and called for the development of a “double fence” with increased border patrols. He said that he would deport undocumented immigrants “if they qualify as illegals,” but that he would “give people the ability to register in a certain period of time and if they have pristine records and they are willing to work as guest workers under the circumstances that we survive, they could stay.

But they don’t become citizens and they don’t vote,” he added. He also said that he supports fining businesses that hire undocumented workers.

Carson said that he would not have invaded Iraq in 2003 based on what is known now, but he feels that U.S. ground troops are needed there now as a “stabilizing force” against ISIS.

[RELATED: Ben Carson: U.S. Dollar ‘Not Based on Anything. Why Would We Be Continuing to Do That?’]

Carson offered his support for domestic oil drilling and the development of the Keystone Pipeline. He also stated his opposition to national educational standards and expressed that, unless the organization changes, he supports de-funding and withdrawing U.S. participation from the United Nations.

For more election coverage, click here.

CNBC Unveils Qualified Candidates for Oct. 28 GOP Presidential Debate

CNBC announced on Wednesday that ten candidates have beaten the 2.5 percent minimum polling requirement in an average of specifically outlined national presidential preference polls, and therefore have qualified to face off at 8 p.m. EST on the main stage at the network’s televised October 28 Republican presidential debate at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Coors Events Center.

Real estate mogul Donald Trump, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, U.S. Senator from Florida Marco Rubio, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, U.S. Senator from Texas Ted Cruz, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Ohio Governor John Kasich, and U.S. Senator from Kentucky Rand Paul have qualified for the event’s main stage.

[RELATED: DONEGAN: If GOP Debate Stage Can Fit 11, Let Third Parties In General Election Debates]

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania Rick Santorum, former New York Governor George Pataki, and U.S. Senator from South Carolina Lindsey Graham fell short of the main stage’s polling requirement but qualified for the event’s junior varsity undercard and will square off at 6 p.m. EST.

CNBC said that candidates will be arranged on stage on the basis of their polling averages. “Donald Trump and Ben Carson will anchor the center of the stage for the 8PM ET debate. To Donald Trump’s right will be Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee and John Kasich, in that order. To Ben Carson’s left will be Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie and Rand Paul, in that order,” the network noted.

The debate has been titled “The Republican Presidential Debate: Your Money, Your Vote” and will primarily feature questions on economics, taxes, and technology. CNBC announced that “Carl Quintanilla, co-anchor of ‘Squawk on the Street’ and ‘Squawk Alley,’ Becky Quick, co-anchor of ‘Squawk Box’ and Chief Washington Correspondent John Harwood” will serve as moderators for the event.

CNBC originally stated that candidates would not be allowed an opportunity to give an opening and closing statement so as to leave what Politico’s Alex Isenstadt characterized as “more time for the candidates to potentially clash with one another.”

The GOP candidates then protested the length of the debate and the absence of opening and closing statements, which climaxed in Donald Trump and Ben Carson threatening to boycott the contest. According to CNN, CNBC subsequently gave in to some of their demands by capping the debate at two hours including commercials and agreeing to present to each candidate an open ended question at the beginning of the debate and a 30 second closing statement at the end.

For more 2016 election coverage, click here.

Donald Trump Unveils Tax Plan: Here Are the Details

NEW YORK, September 28, 2015– On Monday, Republican presidential candidate and front-runner Donald Trump unveiled his tax plan to “Make America Great Again” at a press conference in New York City.

According to the billionaire reality TV star, too few Americans are working, too many jobs have been shipped overseas, and too many middle class families cannot make ends meet.

Trump says his tax plan directly meets these challenges with four simple goals, in Trump’s own words:

  1. Tax relief for middle class Americans: In order to achieve the American dream, let people keep more money in their pockets and increase after-tax wages.
  2. Simplify the tax code to reduce the headaches Americans face in preparing their taxes and let everyone keep more of their money.
  3. Grow the American economy by discouraging corporate inversions, adding a huge number of new jobs, and making America globally competitive again.
  4. Doesn’t add to our debt and deficit, which are already too large.

Trump’s plan is progressive, but cuts taxes for all Americans. Trump’s plan contradicts his populist campaign rhetoric of raising taxes on the rich. In fact, even the rich get a big tax cut under Trump’s plan. Trump’s top bracket includes individuals making >$150,001 and couples making >$300,001 would pay a rate of 25 percent, which is a dramatic cut from the current top rate of close to 40 percent.

Who pays what? In Trump’s own words:

  1. If you are single and earn less than $25,000, or married and jointly earn less than $50,000, you will not owe any income tax. That removes nearly 75 million households – over 50% – from the income tax rolls. They get a new one page form to send the IRS saying, “I win,” those who would otherwise owe income taxes will save an average of nearly $1,000 each.
  2. All other Americans will get a simpler tax code with four brackets – 0%, 10%, 20% and 25% – instead of the current seven. This new tax code eliminates the marriage penalty and the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) while providing the lowest tax rate since before World War II.
  3. No business of any size, from a Fortune 500 to a mom and pop shop to a freelancer living job to job, will pay more than 15% of their business income in taxes. This lower rate makes corporate inversions unnecessary by making America’s tax rate one of the best in the world.
  4. No family will have to pay the death tax. You earned and saved that money for your family, not the government. You paid taxes on it when you earned it.

Trump claims the plan is revenue neutral and will be “fully paid for” by eliminating loopholes for the very rich and corporations. However, details on those loopholes are few and far between. In fact, Trump uses the word loopholes 7 times, but only gives shallow detail on one loophole he’d potentially revise- not eliminate, but revise.

How Trump pays for the cuts? In Trump’s own words:

  1. Reducing or eliminating most deductions and loopholes available to the very rich.
  2. A one-time deemed repatriation of corporate cash held overseas at a significantly discounted 10% tax rate, followed by an end to the deferral of taxes on corporate income earned abroad.
  3. Reducing or eliminating corporate loopholes that cater to special interests, as well as deductions made unnecessary or redundant by the new lower tax rate on corporations and business income. We will also phase in a reasonable cap on the deductibility of business interest expenses.

Trump says that his plan will simplify the code by making it to where nearly 50 percent of Americans no longer pay a penny of federal income tax. Currently, 51 percent of American households already pay no federal income tax. Trump’s plan also reduces the number of tax brackets from seven to four.

Donald Trump Unveils Tax Plan That Eliminates three tax brackets.
Donald Trump Unveils Tax Plan That Eliminates three tax brackets


For the full plan, click HERE.

FOLLOW MICHAEL LOTFI ON Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn.


GOP County Chairman Says ‘Major Party Cartel’ Disenfranchises Indiana Third Parties

In an op-ed in Crawfordsville, Indiana’s Journal Review, Montgomery County Republican Party chairman John Pickerill denounced what he called a “major party cartel” between Republican and Democratic lawmakers that controls state election laws and grants special favors to major party candidates and voters at the expense of third parties.

Hoosiers have stood by and allowed our General Assembly to grant special privileges to the top two political parties, special privileges that all-but-guarantee leaders within those two parties will maintain a stranglehold on political power in our state,” wrote Pickerill.

State law defines a ‘Major Political Party’ as those two parties who got the most votes in the last election for Secretary of State. State law then hands entire control of our election system to these two parties.

Pickerill noted that only Republicans and Democrats can serve on or be employees of the Indiana Election Commission. He said that Republican and Democratic county chairmen “pick every county election board member and every poll worker.

Only [major party] members are allowed to be members of a recount commission, even if one of the candidates in the recount is a [non-major party] candidate. Is it any surprise that every statewide office is held by a [major party] member?” he said.

[RELATED: DONEGAN: If GOP Debate Stage Can Fit 11, Let Third Parties In General Election Debates]

Pickerill pointed out the fact that taxpayers, including supporters of third parties, are required to fund the top two parties’ primaries, which gives Republicans and Democrats an advantage in exposure over third parties.

He added, “Only major political parties get the special privilege to fill an office vacancy by precinct committeeman caucus. This guarantees if a [major party] officeholder is removed, resigns, or dies that his [party] gets to replace him with one of its own. But not true for any other party or independent. For example, if a Green Party county councilman resigned, the Green Party wouldn’t be allowed to pick his replacement. No, instead the other six county councilmen get to decide it. The flawed system encourages independents and third-party candidates to be weeded out.

Ballot Access News’ Richard Winger, a ballot access and election law expert, said that “[Pickerill] could have [also] mentioned the straight-ticket device, and the law that gives the two major parties the top spots on the ballot, and the ballot access laws [favoring major parties], but he didn’t mention those points.” Indiana’s straight-ticket device is a mechanism allowing voters the option of conveniently choosing all of the Republicans or Democrats on the ballot in one click.

Pickerill, who clarified that his opinions are his own and do not represent the Montgomery County Republican Central Committee, said, “The Republican Party and Democratic Party pretend to have opposing views, but when you look past all the rhetoric there’s no significant difference in what they are really supporting. Neither party is serious about reigning in the size of government to constitutional constraints. Neither enacts anything more than token protection of civil liberties and economic liberties. Both create new schemes to interfere with the economy and enact more and more government programs.

Pickerill called for a judge to rule the biased election laws unconstitutional and said, “A political party should have to win voters over with the best ideas, not by rigging the system.

The Truth in Media Project recently released a Consider This video highlighting the fact that independent voters now outnumber Republicans and Democrats. Watch it in the below-embedded video player.


Bush Poll Numbers Plummet to Single Digits in Iowa, N.H.

Two new NBC News/Marist Republican presidential preference polls spell bad news for former Florida Governor Jeb Bush — in just two months, support for his 2016 presidential campaign has plummeted from 12 to 6 percent in Iowa, and from 14 to 8 percent in New Hampshire.

According to a summary of July and September Marist College polls of potential Republican voters in the two earliest contests of the 2016 presidential primary season, Bush and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker are rapidly losing support. Walker has plunged from 19 to 5 percent in Iowa and from 12 to 4 percent in New Hampshire.

Marist College’s poll summary noted, “Trump has improved his standing among potential Republican voters in both crucial GOP contests. In Iowa, Trump, 29%, leads the crowded GOP field, and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, 22%, assumes second place. Dr. Carson is the favorite ‘second choice’ among potential GOP voters. Trump, 28%, also takes the top spot in New Hampshire where he outpaces Ohio Governor John Kasich, 12%, and Dr. Carson, 11%, by double digits among the state’s potential Republican electorate. Carson is also the preferred ‘second choice’ in New Hampshire.

NH-Potential-Republican-Electorate_PrimaryAccording to the most recent NBC News/Marist Iowa poll, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is now tied for fourth place in the state with former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

The September NBC News/Marist polls in both states were conducted over a period of time from August 26 to September 2.

[RELATED: Latest Poll: Sanders Gains Strongest Lead Yet On Clinton In New Hampshire]

Marist College Institute for Public Opinion director Dr. Lee M. Miringoff said, speaking on the results of the organization’s polling on both sides of the aisle, “There’s been a massive shakeup in both parties, in both states. It’s been a summer of surprises with Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders sitting in the front car of the rollercoaster.

For more election coverage, click here.

DONEGAN: RNC Loyalty Oath Goes Too Far By Asking Candidates to Endorse Unknown Nominee

Donald Trump’s refusal to rule out an independent presidential run during the first GOP debate of the 2016 election season put Republican Party officials in a legitimate bind. What happens if Trump or another candidate uses the GOP’s political infrastructure, donor funds, and primary debates as a launch pad for an independent run against the party’s eventual nominee, ultimately spoiling the race in favor of the Democrats?

If that were to happen, Reince Priebus’ Republican National Committee chairmanship would be viewed as an epic failure.

However, in using the party’s sponsorship of and control over officially-recognized Republican presidential primary debates as leverage to pressure all candidates into signing a loyalty pledge, the RNC has set a dangerous precedent. Now, the expectation is that in order to get into the Republican Party’s official presidential debates, each candidate must sign an oath promising not only to swear off an independent run, but also to blindly pre-endorse any of a long list of candidates prior to even debating all of them on the same stage and determining what their positions are. That should be alarming considering the fact that there are 17 announced candidates in this season’s primary.

[RELATED: Trump Signs RNC Loyalty Pledge Promising to Endorse Nominee “Regardless of Who It Is”]

In fact, in circulating the loyalty pledge so early in the election season, the RNC has asked Republican candidates to sign an oath promising to support the party’s nominee at a time, with candidate filing deadlines still looming, when it might still technically be possible for another candidate to enter the race. In a crowded field, a candidate whose views do not speak for large segments of the party could prevail, forcing single-issue activist candidates to endorse a nominee that on day one of his or her presidency would begin working against them — and conceivably the entire party — on issues. Also, a candidate like Donald Trump, who was a Democrat just a few short years ago, could in theory change his mind on positions at the last minute.

The loyalty oath as a concept will offend Tea Party and libertarian activists who see it as a tool by establishment figures to put the party’s brand over its issues. “Republican in name only” has become a commonly-used pejorative among center-right leaning activist circles to describe brand-focused Republicans who ditch their principles for whatever position polls well after they stealth into office by bamboozling the GOP base into carrying the election for them.

Above the broader concept of the loyalty oath dangles the RNC’s bigger mistake, including language in it that effectively bullies candidates into pledging that they “will endorse the 2016 Republican presidential nominee regardless of who it is.

During the 2008 and 2012 Republican presidential primaries, candidate Ron Paul said from the beginning that he had no intention of running as an independent if he were to lose. There was no need for a loyalty oath because even Ron Paul, with his near-total disregard for political expediency, realized that he had to rule out an independent run to have any practical shot at winning the nomination.

However, former Congressman Paul likely would not have signed a promise to endorse the nominee because not doing so was essential, not only to his principled approach to advocacy, but also to his strategy of collecting delegates that would go on to influence the party at the Republican National Convention. This is often a crucial step in reconciling the party when it is struggling internally with major debates over important issues.

Put simply, if the RNC had made the signing of a similar oath a condition for being a participant in the party’s debates in 2008, Ron Paul would have never signed it and his historic debate performances that inspired an entire generation of activists never would have taken place.

Promising to support the eventual nominee no matter who it is forces candidates to marry themselves to their own attack ads. What kind of schizophrenic message does it send when a candidate spends months warning about how dangerous another candidate will be only to then endorse them months later?

As a former elected county-wide Republican Party official on what is effectively Nashville, Tennessee’s subsidiary of the RNC, I understand the importance of the brand-building job that comes with being an official on a Republican Party executive committee. However, is this loyalty oath going to create a bigger Republican Party or will it create a smaller, more obedient one while, over time, systematically pushing issue-focused and principled conservatives and libertarians out and into the arms of a rising third party?

Also, out of respect for independents who are the fastest growing voter segment in the U.S., it is important to consider the fact, pointed out by Ben Swann in the below-embedded CBS46 Atlanta Reality Check video, that independent taxpayers themselves are forced to invest in the primary system yet do not have a way to get candidates into debates. By limiting the ability for right-leaning independent candidates to participate in the Republican primary process and its debates over issues, which either directly or implicitly tying a loyalty oath to debate participation will do, the RNC is disenfranchising them and giving them no choice but to work to create a third party.


For more 2016 election coverage, click here.

Trump Signs RNC Loyalty Pledge Promising to Endorse Nominee “Regardless of Who It Is”

Ever since candidate Donald Trump refused to promise not to run as an independent at Fox News’ first Republican presidential debate of the 2016 campaign season, state and national level Republican Party organizations have been scrambling to find a way to force him to sign an oath pledging his loyalty to the party.

On Wednesday, the Republican National Committee distributed a loyalty pledge to all 2016 candidates and asked them to sign it prior to CNN’s September 16 Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.

According to The Guardian, Donald Trump signed the pledge on Thursday after a meeting with RNC chairman Reince Priebus and said at a press conference, “I have no intention of changing my mind. I see no circumstances under which I would tear up that pledge.” It is worth noting that his comments after signing the pledge seem to have left open the possibility that some type of unforeseen circumstance could in theory motivate him to tear up the pledge.

According to Politico, the RNC pledge reads, “I [name] affirm that if I do not win the 2016 Republican nomination for president of the United States I will endorse the 2016 Republican presidential nominee regardless of who it is.

It continues, “I further pledge that I will not seek to run as an independent or write-in candidate nor will I seek or accept the nomination for president of any other party.

Virginia and North Carolina’s Republican Party organizations are considering forcing candidates to sign a loyalty pledge in order to obtain ballot access, and South Carolina’s GOP announced last week that candidates must promise that they “generally believe in and intend to support the nominees and platform of the Republican Party in the November 8, 2016 general election” prior to September 30 in order to appear on the party’s ballot.

Former Virginia Governor and 2016 Republican presidential candidate Jim Gilmore told The Washington Post, “If someone is going to go to the party and ask for their support, if they’re going to ask the rank and file for their vote, that comes with an obligation for loyalty, in my mind. Generally speaking, if you want the party’s support, that loyalty should be there.

Former RNC chairman Michael Steele said, “I appreciate what [RNC chairman Reince Priebus] is trying to do [by circulating the pledge], trying to bring some level of order to this situation. The expectation should be if you’re running to be nominee of the party, you should support the nominee of the party.

Though the RNC’s circulation of the pledge appeared to be motivated primarily by the desire to get Donald Trump to swear off an independent run, asking candidates to pledge to support the party’s eventual nominee without knowing who that might be or what positions that person might be championing at that time goes even further. In the 2012 Republican presidential primary, candidate Ron Paul said that he would not run as an independent but ultimately refused to endorse the party’s nominee.

The Republican Party can use its powers to deny candidates the use of its voter information database and to strip them from RNC-sanctioned debates to pressure them into falling in line. However, there is nothing stopping a candidate like Trump from signing the pledge and then backing out of it later on, other than the political reality that voters do not typically support candidates who break promises.

In the below-embedded CBS46 Atlanta Reality Check video, Ben Swann discusses the implications of the Republican National Committee’s power to ban candidates from Republican presidential debates.


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Fearing Trump Indie Run, State GOP Leaders Mull Tying Party Loyalty Oath to Ballot Access

State-level Republican party leaders in Virginia and North Carolina are reportedly considering requiring GOP presidential candidates to sign a party loyalty oath in order to obtain ballot access in the 2016 primary.

Politico’s Alex Isenstadt reasoned that “the procedural moves are clearly aimed at [Donald] Trump, who pointedly refused to rule out a third-party run during the first GOP debate.

If the leadership committees of the Va. and N.C. Republican parties were to change the rule, it would mean that GOP candidates would be required to sign an oath pledging to support the party’s eventual nominee and to not run as an independent or under another party label in the general election.

Ballot Access News’ Richard Winger notes that courts typically rule in favor of private political parties’ authority to kick candidates off primary ballots for refusing to sign loyalty oaths. “The Texas Democratic Party had a similar oath for presidential primary candidates in 2008, and Dennis Kucinich refused to sign it. He sued to get on the Texas Democratic presidential primary ballot, but the U.S. District Court and the 5th circuit upheld the authority of the party to keep Kucinich off the presidential primary ballot. Kucinich asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case, but it refused,” wrote Winger.

The Virginia Republican Party central committee’s 84 members are set to vote on the proposal on September 19. The state party’s ballot access rules are due to be submitted to the Republican National Committee by October 1. Virginia’s GOP previously pushed a similar requirement on state-level candidates during the 2013 and 2014 elections.

Republican Party of Virginia chairman John Whitbeck said that the proposal “happens to be one of the things that we are discussing for the 2016 primary” and claimed that it “isn’t about any single candidate.

Former Va. attorney general Ken Cuccinelli reportedly supports implementing the party loyalty oath and has been lobbying on its behalf to his state party’s central committee.

[RELATED: Ohio Sec. of State: Sore Loser Law Blocks Independent Run By Trump If GOP Bid Fails]

North Carolina party officials are also working via conference calls to implement a party loyalty oath in advance of the October 1 deadline and have hired an attorney to draft a proposal.

The Washington Post notes that though state parties can require candidates to sign a loyalty oath to obtain ballot access in the primary, they have no real leverage to do anything to enforce the rule during the general election if the candidate were to break the oath and run third-party anyway.

Parties are private organizations. They have the right not to be merged with the government. They are associations of people that come together and work together for common political goals, and so essentially they’re private,” said ballot access expert Richard Winger, explaining political parties’ legal basis for kicking candidates out of primary elections.

However, in the below-embedded CBS46 Atlanta Reality Check video on whether the Republican National Committee can ban Donald Trump from the debates for refusing to rule out a third-party run, Ben Swann points out the fact that “American taxpayers spent $400 million administering Republican and Democratic primaries in 2012,” raising questions about just how private those political parties are given the public funding of their primary elections.


For more 2016 election coverage, click here.

Carson And Cruz Surge In Latest Poll

August 17, 2015– In the latest GOP Presidential Primary poll, Dr. Ben Carson and United States Senator Ted Cruz (R- TEXAS) continue to see a post-debate surge.

Among 381 likely Republican primary voters, Carson finds himself in 2nd place with 12 percent of the vote behind billionaire reality TV star Donald Trump who captured 25 percent of the vote. Capturing 10 percent of the vote, Cruz came in 3rd place.

The Fox News Poll was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R). The poll was conducted by telephone with live interviewers August 11-13, 2015 among a random national sample of 1,008 registered voters. 381 likely Republican primary voters are used in the poll. 

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Trump, Facing Potential Ban from GOP Debates, May Pledge Not To Run As Independent

At Fox News’ Republican presidential debate last Thursday, Donald Trump angered party activists and drew fire from Kentucky Senator Rand Paul when the billionaire real estate mogul refused to promise not to run as a third-party candidate if he were to fail to obtain the GOP nomination. However, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign reportedly told ABC News’ chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl that Trump is now considering reversing his position and pledging not to run as an independent.

The position change reportedly comes as the Trump campaign attempts to shift away from controversial comments Trump made recently about Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly through more conventional campaigning efforts like rolling out position papers on trade and immigration and visiting with voters in Michigan, Iowa, and New Hampshire.

Additionally, according to Jonathan Karl, the Republican National Committee might ban Trump from future debates if he refuses to pledge his support for the GOP. “Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus has directly called on all candidates to pledge not to make a third-party run. The Republican Party has leverage here: senior GOP officials say it is possible that future debates could be limited to candidates who have pledged support for the party — a move that could leave Trump out of debates if he is still leaving open the possibility of running as an independent… The RNC has already made it clear that it will withhold valuable party data on Republican voters from any candidate unwilling to pledge support to the party,” wrote Karl.

At last Thursday’s Republican presidential debate, Fox News anchor Brett Baier said, “Experts say an independent run [by Trump] would almost certainly hand the race over the Democrats and likely another Clinton.

During the debate, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul criticized Trump for refusing to support the Republican Party’s eventual nominee and said, “He’s already hedging his bet, okay? If he doesn’t run as a Republican, maybe he supports Clinton or maybe he runs as an independent. But I tell you, he’s already hedging his bets because he’s used to buying politicians.

For more 2016 election coverage, click here.

Rep. Thomas Massie Struggles to Raise Funds Due to Anti-Establishment Voting Record

Libertarian-leaning Congressman Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), who first assumed office in November of 2012, has since carved out a niche similar to former Republican Congressman Ron Paul, taking anti-establishment positions and challenging leadership in his own party on issues like NSA spying, military adventurism, and auditing the Federal Reserve.

Consequently, wealthy special interests, who often fund politicians’ campaigns to curry favor in an effort to obtain lucrative contracts, are not donating to Rep. Massie’s reelection campaign. According to USA Today, the Kentucky congressman has only raised around $40,000 since January of this year. His total lags behind the fundraising levels of all other congressmen seeking reelection except for five, with two of those being non-voting delegates from American Samoa and Guam.

FreedomWorks CEO Adam Brandon, who recently organized a fundraiser for Massie, said, “When you’re standing up to leadership and voting the way he does, you get cut off from K Street and cut off from a lot of the party funds.” He added, “I’m treating every one of these [anti-establishment] guys as at-risk [of facing defeat in an upcoming election]. We fundamentally believe if you don’t start backing up folks like [Massie], they’re are going to get wiped out.

Cook Political Report’s David Wasserman told USA Today, “Generally you either raise a lot of money because you’re gearing up for a competitive race or because you want to be a team player. In Massie’s case, he is neither headed for a competitive race nor is he a team player.

Given the broad support I receive from constituents and the national attention to the causes I have championed in Congress, I don’t anticipate any difficulty raising money if I should need it,” said Rep. Massie, who still has $194,687.78 in cash on hand, including funds left over from his $600,000 fundraising haul during his 2014 reelection bid, which was largely buoyed by donations from ideological groups and individual contributions to his campaign website.

During his time in Congress, Massie has been a staunch supporter of the right of states to legalize hemp. He also pushed to declassify portions of a congressional 9/11 report, and voted against the election of Republican John Boehner to Speaker of the House.

For more 2016 election coverage, click here.

Fox News Moves Second-Tier GOP Presidential Debate to More Visible Time Slot

Fox News has once again modified the details of its first-of-the-season August 6 Republican presidential debate, which, due to the 2016 GOP field’s 16 currently-announced candidates, has been split into two separate contests. Initially, the news network announced that the candidates who polled in the top 10 according to an average of the 5 most recent national presidential polls taken prior to the event would be included in its prime-time debate at 9 p.m. EST at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, whereas those falling below that mark would instead face off in a 90-minute second-tier debate taking place at 1 p.m. EST on the same day. Fox News has yet to point out the specific 5 polls upon which the candidates will be judged.

[RELATED: Rigged? Fox News Debate Criteria Lacks Transparency]

According to Politico, Fox News has decided to move the second-tier debate to a more visible time slot on August 6. The junior varsity debate for candidates who fail to make the top ten, which has been shortened from 90 minutes to 60 minutes, will now take place at 5 p.m. EST at Quicken Loans Arena.

Politico’s Dylan Byers wrote, “The move to 5 p.m. will give the second-tier candidates a far greater audience than they would have had at mid-day — the channel’s 5 p.m. ratings are nearly double the daytime average — and will allow Fox News to transition directly from the forum into its pre-debate coverage.

Fox News’ decision to judge candidates on their polling numbers for inclusion in the first prime-time debate of the season has been criticized by a wide range of politicos, including John McCain, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Lindsey Graham, Ben Carson, and Rachel Maddow. Political scientist and University of Virginia Center for Politics director Larry Sabato wrote in Politico, “These rules will senselessly reward gimmicky candidates like reality-TV star Donald Trump and punish serious, viable ones like Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

According to analysis of July 20 poll averages by The Washington Post, if the Fox News GOP debates were taking place today, Chris Christie, Ben Carson, Rand Paul, Scott Walker, Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, and Rick Perry would qualify for the first-tier debate and Rick Santorum, John Kasich, Bobby Jindal, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, and George Pataki would face off in the second-tier contest.

Fox News’ prime-time debate will be moderated by Chris Wallace, Bret Baier, and Megyn Kelly. The network’s second-tier debate will be hosted by Bill Hemmer and Martha MacCallum.

For more 2016 election coverage, click here.