Scott Rasmussen from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Sun, 25 Jun 2017 13:34:33 -0700 Scott Rasmussen from Creators Syndicate b9ec110079dac36e265150a06f04ebcc It's Not About Trump, It's About His Voters for 06/22/2017 Thu, 22 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>In Election 2016, Democrats seemed to assume that the unpopularity of Donald Trump would be enough to keep him out of the White House. It's true that most Americans viewed him unfavorably, but the same was also true of Hillary Clinton. Given such an unappealing choice, millions of voters decided that Trump was the lesser of two evils.</p> <p>In a series of 2017 special elections, Democrats have continued to make the same mistake. They look at the president's low job approval ratings and assume that simply opposing President Trump should be sufficient to win elections. That was the theory behind Tuesday's special election in Georgia where Democrats from around the nation financed the most expensive Congressional campaign in history but still came up empty.</p> <p>Blinded by rage at the president, many Democrats are struggling to come to grips with how this could happen. Convinced that the continuous headlines about Russia, special prosecutors and James Comey have made impeachment a real possibility, they failed to notice that the president's job approval rating has been steady for three full months.<p>Updated: Thu Jun 22, 2017</p> 76aa146051bb29afea2e25e3312b2e20 Venmo Is Forcing Big Banks to Innovate for 06/15/2017 Thu, 15 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Back in the 1960s, banks were not allowed to operate in more than one state. In fact, many states didn't even allow branch banking, so there were lots of small local banks around the nation. Since then, of course, the rules have changed and the industry is dominated by a handful of very large national banks.</p> <p>Despite public uneasiness about the mega-banks and the risk they pose to the economy, government regulators have encouraged the trend. Rather than breaking up the big banks after the financial meltdown in 2008, the new federal rules encouraged the biggest banks to grow even bigger. At the same time, the smaller banks that are essential to meeting community needs have been disappearing. Between 2007 and 2014, the number of small banks declined by 41 percent.</p> <p>From a traditional political perspective, there is little that can be done to reverse these trends. Fortunately for America, however, the regulators aren't as important as they think they are. As I note in "Politics Has Failed: America Will Not," we live in a land where the culture leads and politics lag behind.<p>Updated: Thu Jun 15, 2017</p> 107d4ce789f1631fa17bfaa3356da1c4 Ending the Federal Monopoly on Regulation for 06/08/2017 Thu, 08 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Not too long ago, Democrats complained about Republican governors and state legislators using their authority to fight Obamacare. Now, those same Democrats are encouraging state and local officials to fight President Trump's withdrawal from the Paris treaty on climate change.</p> <p>Such hypocrisy is, of course, bipartisan. Republicans who lauded state resistance to Obamacare are deeply troubled by state and local resistance to the Trump Administration on immigration and other issues.</p> <p>The blatant hypocrisy is one of many factors contributing to a toxic political dialogue. The only way to reduce both the hypocrisy and the political tension is to do something that neither party wants to do when their team is in charge &#8212; disperse power more broadly.<p>Updated: Thu Jun 08, 2017</p> 745219a6436314da28eb1bb380260eaa Two Ways of Looking At America for 06/01/2017 Thu, 01 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>There are two ways of looking at America.</p> <p>One approach offers hope for a bright future, focuses on common ground shared by most Americans and is grounded in pragmatism and reality. The other offers a depressing outlook, encourages polarization and is grounded in ideology and fantasy.</p> <p>The positive approach is built upon America's founding ideals of freedom, self-governance and equality. At its core is a belief that the people are in charge and that the culture leads society. It acknowledges a role for government, but not the lead role. It recognizes that change begins outside the political process when people use their freedom to work together in community.<p>Updated: Thu Jun 01, 2017</p> 96651c94cc21ea106f9b0de8831f535e Five Steps To Create A Bright Future for Our Nation for 05/25/2017 Thu, 25 May 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Losing faith in our dysfunctional system of politics and government is the essential first step for anyone who wants America to create a bright future for our children and grandchildren. Only by recognizing this reality and losing faith can we be freed to explore other ways of working together in community.</p> <p>That leads directly to the second step each of us can take. We can all get involved and take part in a massive campaign of community problem solving. If your only civic engagement is through the political process, you're not doing enough.<p>Updated: Thu May 25, 2017</p> 3252f589174612e4b09a16de6a230481 New Tool Highlights Dems' Challenges in Fight for Senate Control for 05/18/2017 Thu, 18 May 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Sean Trende of Real Clear Politics has become one of the nation's top political analysts. Sean and his colleague David Byler have just released a new tool for analyzing the 2018 U.S. Senate elections.</p> <p>Drawing upon recent history, they have identified a few key factors that will determine control of the Senate &#8212; the president's job approval rating, which incumbents are running for re-election, and whether either party has nominated an especially problematic candidate. They let you make your own assumptions, push a button, and a computer program runs 10,000 data-driven simulations to determine a range of possible outcomes.<p>Updated: Thu May 18, 2017</p> d432042cc91289d2d2490b653277a650 Pessimistic About Politics, Optimistic About America for 05/11/2017 Thu, 11 May 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>It's not fashionable to say these days, but I am very optimistic about America's future. I believe that our nation's best days are still to come and that our children and grandchildren will have much better lives than we have enjoyed.</p> <p>I am optimistic despite believing that our nation's political system is badly broken.<p>Updated: Thu May 11, 2017</p> e8b7ad45372c8376c856341d4e24c48a A Culture of Independence for 05/04/2017 Thu, 04 May 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>On May 4, 1776, the colony of Rhode Island declared its independence from Great Britain. That was two full months before the Continental Congress got around to issuing the document we now revere as the Declaration of Independence.</p> <p>But, even though Rhode Island acted on its own, they were thinking big. To emphasize that official proceedings should be performed in the name of the state, they replaced the phrase "God save the King" with "God save the United Colonies." They knew Independence was coming to all of Britain's North American colonies.</p> <p>Ironically, in addition to being the first colony to declare independence, Rhode Island later became the last of the original 13 colonies to ratify the Constitution. That document was approved by the Constitutional Convention on September 17, 1787. Nine states ratified it by June 21, 1788, enabling the new government to be launched on March 4, 1789 with the inauguration of George Washington. Rhode Island didn't join the new nation until over a year later on May 29, 1790.<p>Updated: Thu May 04, 2017</p> 8be6703478c96719a5784c54699bd945 Lessons In Democracy for 04/27/2017 Thu, 27 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Like most Americans, I groaned when the mail included a summons to jury duty. Having been there before, I envisioned three days of wasted time in a bland room with lousy internet service. Instead, I served on a jury and came away with a renewed confidence in America's tradition of self-governance.</p> <p>My service as Juror Number 2 took place in Freehold, New Jersey near a Battle of Monmouth monument. At first, I inwardly chuckled when the judge cited the history of the place to convince us of the importance of the jury system. Being a history buff, I knew the battle wasn't as consequential as she tried to make it sound. But, I appreciated the effort to explain that the right to trial by a jury of our peers was as important as our rights to freedom of speech and religion.</p> <p>As the process unfolded, I began to recognize that jury trials are in many ways a healthier expression of American democracy than our system of politics and elections.<p>Updated: Thu Apr 27, 2017</p> fc5cd22f28871acce519952b328474b9 Thank You, Jackie Robinson for 04/13/2017 Thu, 13 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Seventy years ago this Saturday, Jackie Robinson made history by breaking the Major League color barrier. MVP awards, All-Star selections and championships recognized his skills as a player. His very presence dramatically changed the world of baseball. Within a few months, other teams began adding black ballplayers. Over the following 12 seasons, eight of the National League MVP awards were won by black men.</p> <p>Facing enormous hostility from fans and other teams, Robinson and his wife consistently demonstrated the power of nonviolent resistance years before the world ever heard of Martin Luther King Jr.<p>Updated: Thu Apr 13, 2017</p> 9d88f5dcc6541b04d0e42c2bb886c08d Free Local Communities to Set Their Own Minimum Wage for 04/06/2017 Thu, 06 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Last week, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed a bill preventing local governments from raising the minimum wage above the statewide level of $7.25 per hour. The bill was a response to four counties passing local laws boosting the minimum to $10.10 per hour or higher. reports that similar battles between state and local authorities to set wage and employment guidelines have taken place around the country.</p> <p>Rather than blocking local governments from setting their own minimum wage standards, state governments should encourage them to do so.</p> <p>At the most basic level, that's a recognition that no two communities are identical. Of the four Iowa counties that passed higher minimum wage laws, two are home to the state's biggest cities &#8212; Des Moines and Cedar Rapids. It's not unreasonable to think that the cost of living in any city is a bit higher than in other rural areas of the state. A third county setting higher minimums is also among the state's largest and is home to the University of Iowa. That might suggest a higher cost of living and also a more liberal political culture.<p>Updated: Thu Apr 06, 2017</p> 92782f4f6617bbe3bb7a498ad535e8e3 In 2016, Clinton Democrats Rejected Clinton for 03/30/2017 Thu, 30 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Last week, I suggested that the 206 Pivot Counties that voted twice for Barack Obama and then voted for Donald Trump are a good place to study the changing political landscape. Data developed by Ballotpedia, the Encyclopedia of American Politics, shows that these counties consistently voted more Democratic than the nation at large from 1996 to 2012.</p> <p>For example, in 2012, when President Obama won the national popular vote by four percentage points, he won the Pivot County popular vote by eight percentage points. In 2004, when President Bush won the national popular vote by three percentage points, John Kerry won the Pivot County vote by a single point.</p> <p>On average, during those five elections, the Pivot County vote was four percentage points more Democratic than the nation at large.<p>Updated: Thu Mar 30, 2017</p> 0871be7b81234c657e07d9971c1b21dd 206 Pivot Counties Voted Twice for Obama Then Switched to Trump for 03/23/2017 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>There are 3,088 counties in America and only 206 of them voted for the winner in each of the last three presidential elections. In other words, these Pivot Counties voted twice for President Obama before switching sides to vote for President Trump in 2016.</p> <p>The Pivot Counties had an outsized impact on the election results. Despite casting only 5 percent of the national vote total in 2016, they accounted for 51 percent of the popular vote shift toward Republicans.<p>Updated: Thu Mar 23, 2017</p> 9307daf00fb6b30de9c38c2ca19e6823 To See Future of Auto Industry, Look Away From Washington for 03/16/2017 Thu, 16 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>One fact consistently forgotten by political activists is that politicians don't lead the nation, they lag behind. The culture and technology lead us forward.</p> <p>A great example is the automobile industry. While regulations have a big impact in the short term, reality is ultimately driven by other factors. For example, when the price of gas falls, people buy bigger cars. That overwhelms the regulatory desire to put people in smaller cars that get better mileage.</p> <p>Looking ahead, ride-sharing services and the imminent reality of self-driving cars will bring about an even larger transformation.<p>Updated: Thu Mar 16, 2017</p> 31b03e6af8681fc81278ce8013fbc609 Three Steps to Fixing the Health Care Mess for 03/09/2017 Thu, 09 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Most Americans believe that no matter how bad something is, Congress can always make it worse. With their new health care bill, Republican Congressional leaders seem intent on proving that point. Even those with a passionate hatred of Obamacare can find something to hate in the GOP replacement plan.</p> <p>The plan fails because is based upon the mistaken belief that only official Washington can fix what ails our nation's health care system. In truth, the solutions we need will come from outside the world of politics.</p> <p>Amazing new technologies can provide better health, lower costs and more personal control. Resistance to these benefits exists because they threaten powerful insurance and health care companies. If, for example, we can get an EKG on our smart phone, why would we pay a lab to do it for us? And, why would we pay an insurance company to cover the cost of that lab?<p>Updated: Thu Mar 09, 2017</p> 3879a3d381474655747cc2410d21d35b President Trump Finds Common Ground With Official Washington for 03/02/2017 Thu, 02 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>President Donald Trump's first address to a joint session of Congress was remarkable partly because it was so unremarkable. What I mean is that it was very much like speeches to Congress given by countless presidents before him.</p> <p>There was the now-familiar buildup of chatter on cable television describing what to look for in the speech and what the White House hoped to accomplish. There was the grand entry and hand shaking and introduction by the Sergeant at Arms. When the president delivered his lines, members of his party stood up and applauded while the opposition party stayed in their seats. When the president introduced special guests, the heartfelt applause came from both sides of the aisle.<p>Updated: Thu Mar 02, 2017</p> 6229c8950a89834489d855c14d32576f How Did America Get Stuck With a Regulatory State? for 02/23/2017 Thu, 23 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump have proven the ability to disrupt millions of lives with the stroke of a pen. Last week, I wrote of how the EPA arbitrarily changed the rules simply because it didn't like the results of Election 2016. The week before I noted that by placing its faith in unaccountable bureaucrats to pick winners and losers, the Regulatory State is a rejection of the core American values of freedom, equality and self-governance.</p> <p>How did this hostile takeover of America's government come about? There have always been people who preferred rule by elites, even in the earliest days of our nation's history. For example, at the Constitutional Convention, Alexander Hamilton proposed that we elect a monarch for life and give him extensive powers.</p> <p>A century later, a young scholar who later became president described voters as "selfish, ignorant, timid, stubborn, or foolish." Woodrow Wilson dreamed of a nation led by "a corps of civil servants prepared by a special schooling and drilled, after appointment, into a perfected organization, with appropriate hierarchy and characteristic discipline."<p>Updated: Thu Feb 23, 2017</p> 0f3fb3aeccd81c7fe23efc90c54c1fd8 Abuse of the Regulatory Process Is a Threat to America's Founding Ideals for 02/16/2017 Thu, 16 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>America's founding ideals are threatened by a regulatory regime that often operates outside the Constitutional system of checks and balances. Recently, for example, the EPA ignored proper procedures to issue an arbitrary ruling just before President Obama left office.</p> <p>The ruling had its roots in the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973, which sent the price of gas skyrocketing. Suddenly, everyone was concerned about conserving energy and Congress passed a law in 1975 requiring improved fuel efficiency over time. The law was implemented under the guidance of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.</p> <p>Since then, the auto industry and NHTSA have periodically squabbled about just what the right requirements should be, but the results have been pretty dramatic. The average miles per gallon for all cars sold in America has nearly doubled.<p>Updated: Thu Feb 16, 2017</p> c83cdb44189f3c72098c8c0c3c49b720 Do We Have a Legitimate Government? for 02/09/2017 Thu, 09 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Prior to last year's election, supporters of Hillary Clinton worried that Donald Trump and his supporters might not accept Hillary Clinton's victory as legitimate. It never occurred to them that the shoe might soon be on the other foot. Shortly after it became apparent that there would be no Clinton victory party, many of her supporters instantly switched gears and began to question the legitimacy of Trump's victory.</p> <p>No matter how much it angers some people, though, Donald Trump is the duly elected President of the United States. Still, there is a much more fundamental question about the legitimacy of the government he leads. It's has nothing to do with who won the election.<p>Updated: Thu Feb 09, 2017</p> 6e7e4484b51c5e0746f9bfa906dd5ff1 Beginning of the End for the Regulatory State? for 02/02/2017 Thu, 02 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>The shorthand description of Neil Gorsuch is that he's a younger version of the man he's likely to replace on the Supreme Court &#8212; Justice Antonin Scalia. Therefore, his nomination is seen by many as merely restoring the balance that existed on the Court for most of the past decade &#8212; 4 conservative justices, 4 liberal justices, and Justice Kennedy as a key swing vote.</p> <p>The idea that Gorsuch is a young Scalia is as accurate as such shorthand comments can be, but SCOTUS blog reports that there is one significant exception. Last year, "Gorsuch criticized a doctrine of administrative law (called Chevron deference) that Scalia had long defended." That won't make headlines the way that other hot button issues do, but it's a difference that could bring about a huge and positive change to the way the federal government works.</p> <p>To understand why, a little background is required.<p>Updated: Thu Feb 02, 2017</p>