Maximum Freedom, Maximum Responsibility

You can't have maximum freedom without maximum responsibility. Glenn explained why the two go hand-in-hand during tonight's opening monologue on The Glenn Beck Program.

Updated 3/27:

Well, tonight I want to talk about two things, freedom and responsibility, freedom and responsibility.  Today on the radio program, somebody asked me, it might have been Pat, said, Well, what’s your plan?  What do you mean my plan?  My plan was eight years ago.  I said, don’t let this stuff happen.  Nobody would listen.  And I said we were going to start passing all of the exits, and it going to get worse and worse and worse, which would mean you would have to make a more desperate plan.  You’d have to get more and more radical.  This isn’t anything new.  You run out of options.

I mean, you have cancer, right?  If you catch your cancerous growth early, you have lots of options.  You could have radiation, you can go in and surgically remove it without much damage, but if you let it grow and metastasize, then I mean you’ve got to cut your leg off, you know, take your whole jaw off, more and more invasive procedures, radical surgery, and those will be the only things left to prevent death.

Well, we have passed the point of easy cures, and we are now reaching this stage of this cancer metastasizing in the body of the republic, which will mean the end of the republic as we know it and maybe the end of the Western way of life as we know it.  And there are no easy answers left.

And I don’t know if you feel this, but the world has gotten much more serious.  I don’t know if you feel the same way that I do that we’ve known there were problems, but I think even those who have strongly disagreed with me in the past about what they mean are starting to say wait a minute, wait a minute.

Now, there are no easy answers, but there are simple answers.  And they are good answers, but we have got to start taking these steps.  We have to do it.  We have to do it right now.  Rand Paul, Mike Lee, some of the guys you’re seeing in Congress, they have the solution.  It is freedom and responsibility, maximum freedom and maximum personal responsibility.  This is really, really easy, because freedom really is action.  You have the freedom to act.

You have the freedom to light a fuse.  You have a freedom to eat too much cake.  You have the freedom to make bad loans if you’re working at a bank; however, you have to then take the responsibility, because with every action is a reaction.  That’s the responsibility part.

You have the freedom to light a fuse, man, but you have now the personal responsibility of the bomb that explodes.  You have the freedom to eat too much cake, but that means you have the responsibility to live with the reaction of getting sick or looking like tubby.  You can make bad loans, but you go out of business, and it’s not my fault. 

If you make a bad loan, you go out of business, but see what we’ve done is we have erased all of this, and we’ve said there is no reaction to the action.  That’s the problem.  So what does freedom look like when there is no responsibility?  Well, it looks like Greece.  You can have everything.  You can have unlimited vacation.  You have to work hard.  You don’t even have to show up.  We’ll pay you.  We’ll let you retire when you’re 51 years old.

It looks like Greece.  It looks like Egypt.  It looks like Cyprus, and it also looks exactly like what the global left has been orchestrating for years all around the globe, remolding the world nearer to its heart’s desire.  And you heat it up, and you heat it up with the natural reaction, because there is a natural reaction.  There is responsibility, and because the responsibility has been scapegoated and put on to some other, somebody else’s shoulders because it allows you to continue to believe you’re living free, it ends in total control, because it ends in civil unrest because you’re pissed off.  You’ve been told you’re free and you can light the fuse, eat too much cake, and make bad loans, and live in houses that we can’t afford, and everything’s going to be fine.  Whose problem is it?  I did my part of the bargain.  Where did it go wrong?

It went wrong because you were lied to.  There is reaction to these things.  And so, the last piece doesn’t become responsibility, it becomes blame.  I did these things, and now it’s bad.  Who do I blame?  Well, you, and it will come back to you, because it’s freedom to blame.  People have too much freedom.  They should have known not to light the fuse.

Cyprus and other European countries are now burdened with taking responsibility for the poor choices of their people, their government, their banks.  They bought into the lies, just as we’re faced with the consequences of shoddy behavior of ourselves and our banks in 2008.

Just before the financial crash, we all had the freedom to say, That doesn’t make sense.  You’re going to give me what kind of a loan?  And the banks had the freedom to make the deal they wanted, but when they collapsed, and when we collapse, you now have to take the responsibility.  But instead of taking the brunt of the consequences, we look for someone to blame.  Well, that’s not freedom.  That’s Cyprus.

When you’re being forced to give up 30 or even 40% of your assets, you look for somebody else to blame.  Make them pay it.  I’m not going to pay it.  You see, what they’re saying down at the bottom is you told me I could do these things without any reaction.  Well, I played by the rules.  That’s what they’re saying.  I played by the rules.  I lit the fuse, I ate cake, and I made bad loans.  You told me I could. 

Well, soon what has already happened elsewhere globally will happen here with ObamaCare – can we turn this around, Eileen – when we are forced to pay for the lifestyle of others – the other way, Eileen.  Oh, there it is, yep – when we are forced to pay for the lifestyle of others.  We are going to – this is what’s happening.  When people know they can get away with, you know, anything, somebody else has to pay for it.

For instance, Jack.  Jack works hard.  Jack lives a clean life, he helps others, and he plays by the rules.  He’s over here building a place for the, you know, so he can have the well and the bucket, and they can all fall down the hill and break his crown.  Okay, great, he’s working hard, but Jill, she doesn’t work.  She doesn’t work.  She lives off Jack.  She smokes, she drinks, and she has too many kids, and they’re protesting: we’re the 99.

Well, when Jack has to pay for Jill, the first thing he’s going to do is say, Wait a minute, wait a minute, that’s not fair.  That’s not fair.  Why am I paying for Jill?  What is she doing?  Well, you know, she’s – okay, alright, well, if I have to pay for her, the first thing, she can’t smoke.  She can’t drink.  We have to make sure she doesn’t have any more kids.  That sounds like Bloomberg, and that’s exactly why Bloomberg is doing it, because somebody has to pay for her having a heart attack, from her cancer treatment, from her alcoholism.  They have the pay for rehab, and it’s Jack, and Jack is pissed.

You know what this is?  You’ve heard this before.  This is not freedom.  This is, as long as you live under my roof, you will follow my rules.  That’s what it is.  That’s why Jack and Jill moved out of their house at 18, we wanted freedom.  We wanted to chart our own course.  We didn’t want to live playing by our parents’ rules.  That’s natural.  That’s good, but with that freedom comes responsibility.  But now, strangely so many Americans want to crawl back under that roof, whether that’s Obama’s roof or Bloomberg’s roof or the faceless, nameless IMF.

Take Egypt.  We’re seeing what happens further down the road.  When you separate freedom with responsibility, if you take ’em and split ’em apart for too long, well then violence and unrest, and it’s just the beginning here.  This is just the beginning of it, but conveniently, there’s somebody else.  There’s somebody else.

You see, when Jack is really pissed off and he can’t take it anymore, and there’s a whole bunch of Jills, then you have to have somebody up here.  It used to be God, but now it’s the government, and the government will say Jack, don’t worry about it.  We’ll protect you.  We’re going to have roughly, according to the FAA, roughly 10,000 active drones in five years over the skies of American cities.  That’s great.

Universal principle:  freedom cannot exist without responsibility.  There cannot be action without reaction.  Those who want to control every aspect of your life, they will tell you that there is no reaction to your action, and they will bring you in in seductive ways.  Oh, your life is going to be so much easier.  You’re going to have more stuff.  You’re going to have more time.  You’re not going to have worries.  All of our children are going to be safe.  There’s no boo-boos.  Nobody will ever fall down.  We’re all going to be smart and strong, and they will entice you by thinking that you can have the good part, the action, without ever having the reaction.  You’ll never have to face the things that are not appealing. 

But the relationship between the two are as inseparable as lighting the fuse on a rocket and that rocket lifting off.  When you separate them, when you try to convince people that those don’t, are not related, it always ends badly.  And it always ends in somebody forcing you, because at some point you’ll go, that rocket, I push this button, and every time I push that button, a rocket like that goes off.  And pretty soon you’re like, This makes that work.  Hmm.  So somebody has to get stronger and start lying to you and convincing you and running propaganda saying, That button has nothing to do with it.

If you only have freedom without any responsibility or vice versa, one person like Jack will always be burdened with all of the responsibilities resulting from another person’s actions.  This is something that Hayek wrote about in his book Road to Serfdom.  He wrote, “Freedom to order our own conduct…is in the air, but the “responsibility for the arrangement of our own life according to our own conscience…and to bear the consequences of one’s own decision, are the very essence of any morals which deserve the name.”  You have to bear the consequence, point of the book, Road to Serfdom.

And when you have serfs, the Lords of the Manor never have to worry about the consequences because they’re so far apart from the serfs, and what do they care about the serfs?  Oh, well, soon you’ll care because the serfs will rise up, and then there will be a struggle for power.  Well, that’s exactly what we’re seeing today.  How it ends really depends on you.

Today, the left loves to talk about freedom, but boy they hate talking about responsibility.  Free birth control – well, how about no sex?  Are you crazy?  What kind of a hatemonger are you?  Free drugs – well, how about not doing drugs?  What?  That doesn’t work, just say no to drugs.  Free food – how about working?  Oh, you hatemonger.  Free education – how about higher scores?  The freedom to provide loans for people with no credit, no credit whatsoever.  You don’t even have to show an I.D.

And they avoid the cause and effect of their actions, and when faced with the natural consequences, they don’t want any of it.  See, that’s the point.  This is natural.  This – can you turn the chalkboard again for me, back to where it was – that’s totally natural, action and reaction.  It’s the natural physics of the world.

We take the stance of supporting as little government as possible on this program.  We take that stance because there are causes and effects of nature.  It’s called “natural law.”  You’re out on a mountain in the winter, you’re going to freeze to death – natural law.  And when people recognize natural law, you don’t need manufactured laws enforcing them, because they understand, I’m up on the mountain and I should have a jacket on because I’m going to get cold and freeze to death.  They figure it out because they know how nature works, and they become stronger.

You don’t need laws that regulate.  You don’t need a law that says on a sign up at the top of a mountain summit, must have jacket.  I would put a sign right next to it go, must be moron if you don’t know that.  The banks should know that they’ll lose all of their money if they give out risky loans.  They’ll go out of business.  We don’t need laws that regulate what drugs you consume, because the consequences of those drugs if they are put on your shoulders become too much to bear.

When you remove the natural consequence, artificial laws have to be imposed, and that is when increasing government control begins.  There are some people like Michael Bloomberg who understand this and actually encourage this pattern because they’re trying to shake off the current Lord of the Manor so they can occupy the manor.

And what they want to do is build this up to a breaking point, and when that happens, society sees unrest.  And then the new manor, the new Lord of the Manor comes in, usually a strongman, and he says I’m going to alleviate everyone from their consequences of their behavior.  Well, he can’t, because it’s a natural law, and so to do that, he must stop the action, meaning, Alright, well, the first thing you’re going to do is you’re not going to light any more fuses,  and you can’t have any more cake, and you won’t make any bad loans.  I’ll do all of them for you.  That way we have no problems over here.

That’s it.  That is as simple as it gets.  The responsibility goes to the strongman.  Your freedom goes to the strongman, because you don’t want to take responsibility, so he will.  And if you don’t like it, if you don’t like what he says over here, the actions he stops you from taking, well then he has the responsibility to get rid of you, to shut you up.

That is how you enslave a people, you give one group privilege.  You give them the privilege of making the decisions and taking the actions, and then you pay for the responsibility.  You are the ones who have to pay the price.  One group does nothing but work for the earnings, while the other group controls them and enjoys the freedom to use those earnings freely.  It’s top-down redistribution.

People get mad when this happens, and then civil unrest erupts, bottom up, and it’s the Jack and Jill thing.  Imagine you’re Jack, and you’ve played by the rules your entire life.  And then you realize the whole time, Wait a minute, I’ve been working here, and the whole time I’ve been saving.  And now it doesn’t matter, because they just took it from my bank account.  And I’ve been playing and working hard, and they’ve been having a good time.  What the hell am I doing?  At some point, you think, I’m a sucker.  When people feel like they’ve been made a sucker, then they rise up.

This is the same injustice felt by the Tea Party and the 9/12 Project.  When all the banks and the auto companies were bailed out, and taxes started to go up, we rose up, not because it was unjust per se, but because we knew it would become unjust.  We knew we were on the road to serfdom, and we knew it was breaking the natural law.  Nature’s God put together nature’s laws – action-reaction.  We knew when you bail out the banks, we knew what was coming.

And as we explained yesterday, evil disguises itself as good and tries to win by seducing people using the logic that got us here in the first place – freedom without responsibility.  Relax, it doesn’t matter.  And when that doesn’t work anymore, when you’re like red button makes rocket go off, that’s when they have to go in and step in and say, Pay no attention to those people.  They’re crazy.  Rocket goes off when you push that button – no, no.  And that’s what they did to the Tea Party.

The Tea Party was made to be angry, vicious people.  Look at them.  Look at them.  They were angry, but that’s not why they gathered.  They gathered because they were standing for individual freedom and individual responsibility that comes with that freedom.  We were upset because our freedoms were being taken away by taking away reaction to action.  We knew we would be burdened with the responsibilities.  We knew the government would blame it on somebody, and it wasn’t going to be them.

Now, there’s another one that is confused with the Tea Party all the time, but they’re totally different.  It’s Occupy Wall Street.  They came, and they came with the same rage.  They came with the same feeling of Hey, this system doesn’t work, but they didn’t ever harness it with a sense of responsibility and morality, action-reaction, freedom-responsibility.  They didn’t have the responsibility.  That’s why the Tea Party left everything clean when they left, and it was left like a sewer from Occupy Wall Street.

When you unpeg freedom and responsibility, it becomes dangerous and violent and out of control.  Today the Cypriots are following the same lead.  They’re following Occupy Wall Street by occupying the banks, but what are you going to do now?  What are you going to do?  You’re in the wrong place.  The robbers are already gone.  It’s not the bank anymore.  It’s the IMF.

We’re going down the road of the French Revolution.  It was an out-of-control mob that began terrorizing the cities, drowning babies in the barricades, and this is what happens when you take away God, morals, and responsibility, when you take those things out of the equation.

It’s exactly the same story that happened in the 1960s.  Look at the radical hippies.  They got high, they had free sex, and well, let’s stop the war.  Well, they stopped it, alright.  And that’s when the Khmer Rouge killed 3 million people, because there is a reaction to the action.  They stopped the war, left a vacuum, and 3 million people lost their lives, but the hippies never took responsibility for that.  They refuse to even look at it.

The ones who took responsibility, as it always is with big government people, with hippies, with Occupy Wall Street, with Communist, Marxist, it’s always the same thing.  Tea Party people will always say, Well, I take responsibility for that.  I made the mistake, but the other side, once you remove that responsibility, they don’t take it.  So who is it?  The people who take responsibility were the Cambodians.  They were the ones that bore the responsibility.  The reaction went against them.  They were killed.

It’s the same story for Conservatives now in America.  The radicals want to spend money, live like animals, and then hand off the consequence to people who don’t live like animals and spend money like water.  It would be like every time your friend goes out partying, he gives you his hangover.  Hey man, I’ve got such a headache.  Here, you take it.  I’ve got to go to another party.  Despite the fact that you chose to stay home, you chose to work, you’re stuck with his hangover, and you say like, Oh man, can you stop, please?  Stop.  And he doesn’t listen, so then you demand it.

What’s going to happen here?  If he keeps giving you his hangover, and he keeps going out and partying, he’s either going to die, or you eventually lock his keys up, and you say, You’re not leaving, man.  If I have to have the hangover, you’re not leaving.  But then what does he do?  He turns to you like, Whoa, dude.  I just want my freedom to go party.  You’re a Fascist.  Well, in a way, I guess I am.  I’m more of your parent.  If I have to pay for your decisions to use drugs, then you can’t use drugs.  So you’re a parent, unless you’re not the one making the decision, unless you’re just the one footing the bill.

It’s like a parent, that would be the government, a parent making all the decisions, and then the child who behaves and looks at the parent and is like, What are you doing?  That’s crazy.  I’m going to work.  I’m going to do my job Taco Bell.  And every time you come home, you get the hangover, and the parent takes your money.  And you’re like, Wait, stop.  What are you doing?  My sibling is out of control, and so is my parent.

That’s what’s happening now.  You’re a parent if you say, Look, you live under my house, you live by my rules, but you’re not the one even making the rules now.  You’re the one trying to stop the parent from making those rules.  You’re saying they don’t work.  Those rules don’t work because you’re paying for them, neither the parent nor the sibling, you are.  How are you involved in this at all?

That’s why you have to get rid of blame.  This is why I believe Lincoln said “with malice toward none.”  You have to get rid of blame, and you have to put back responsibility and reaction, have to.  Gotta put ‘em back.  Gotta go back to maximum freedom, maximum individual responsibility.  Then we can talk about a true libertarian society.  It’s just that easy.  That’s the solution.  

As we move along this endless primary season, we implement our first major adjustments to our power rankings model. Because of all the changes on the model itself, we'll keep the write ups short this week so that we can get an update posted before we hit the second round of debates.

There are now 40 separate measures of candidate performance which are summarized by the 0-100 score that helps us makes sense out of this chaos.We also have a new style of graphs, where the section highlighted in blue will show the progress (or lack thereof) made by each candidate over the life of their campaign.

In this update, we have our first campaign obituary, a couple of brand new candidates (when will it ever stop) and plenty of movement up top.

Let's get to it.

In case you're new here, read our explainer about how all of this works:

The 2020 Democratic primary power rankings are an attempt to make sense out of the chaos of the largest field of candidates in global history. Each candidate gets a unique score in at least thirty categories, measuring data like polling, prediction markets, fundraising, fundamentals, media coverage, and more. The result is a candidate score between 0-100. These numbers will change from week to week as the race changes. The power rankings are less a prediction on who will win the nomination, and more a snapshot of the state of the race at any given time. However, early on, the model gives more weight to fundamentals and potentials, and later will begin to prioritize polling and realities on the ground. If you're like me, when you read power rankings about sports, you've already skipped ahead to the list. So, here we go.

See previous editions here.

Campaign Obituary #1

The Eric Swalwell Campaign

California State Congressman

April 8, 2019 - July 8, 2019

Lifetime high: 20.2

Lifetime low: 19.5

I ended my initial profile on Eric Swalwell with this:

"There's a certain brand of presidential candidate that isn't really running for president. That's Eric Swalwell."

amp only placement

It's now more true than ever that Swalwell isn't running for president, because he has officially dropped out of the race.

To any sane observer, Swalwell never had a chance to win the nomination. This was always about raising his profile with little downside to deter him from taking money and building a list of future donors.

In one of many depressing moments in his FiveThirtyEight exit interview, he noted that one of his supporters told him he definitely thought he'd eventually be president, but it wasn't going to happen this time. (This supporter was not identified, but we can logically assume they also have the last name Swalwell.)

Swalwell did outline a series of reasons he thought his ridiculous campaign might have a chance.

  1. He was born in Iowa. After all, people from Iowa will surely vote for someone born in Iowa, even if they escaped as soon as possible.
  2. He had what he believed was a signature issue: pretending there was no such amendment as the second amendment.)
  3. He's not old.

It was on point number three where Swalwell made his last stand. In an uncomfortably obvious attempt to capture a viral moment that would launch his fundraising and polling status, Swalwell went after Joe Biden directly.

"I was 6 years old when a presidential candidate came to the California Democratic Convention and said it's time to pass the torch to a new generation of Americans. That candidate was then-Senator Joe Biden." This pre-meditated and under-medicated attack, along with Swalwell's entire campaign future, was disassembled by a facial gesture.

Biden's response wasn't an intimidation, anger, or a laugh. It was a giant smile that somehow successfully communicated a grandfathery dismissal of "isn't that just adorable."

Of course, headlines like this didn't help either:

Eric Swalwell is going to keep comparing the Democratic field to 'The Avengers' until someone claps

The campaign of Eric Swalwell was pronounced dead at the age of 91 days.

Other headlines:

Eric Swalwell ends White House bid, citing low polling, fundraising

Republicans troll Swalwell for ending presidential campaign

Eric Swalwell Latest 'Cringe' Video Brags About Omar Holding his 'White' Baby

Eric Swalwell's message to actor Danny Glover is 'the cringiest thing I've ever seen in a hearing'

Eric Swalwell's 'I Will Be Bold Without The Bull' Bombs

25. Joe Sestak 11.0 (Debut) Former Pennsylvania State Congressman

Joe Sestak is a former three-star admiral who served in Congress for a couple of years in the late 2000s. Besides his military service, his most notable achievement is figuring out a way to get Pat Toomey elected in a purple state.

With Arlen Specter finally formalizing his flip from Republican to Democrat in 2009, he was expected to cruise to reelection. However, Sestak went after him in the primary, and was able to knock him off in the by eight points. Sestak then advanced to face Republican Pat Toomey in the general election. He lost by two points during the Tea Party wave election of 2010.

Needless to say, losing to the former president of the fiscally conservative Club For Growth isn't exactly an accomplishment that is going to help Sestak in the Democratic presidential primary.

Unfortunately, with the current state of the party— his distinguished service in the Navy probably isn't helpful either.

Other headlines:

Joe Sestak on the issues, in under 500 words

Joe Sestak, latest 2020 candidate, says it's not too late for him to gain traction

Sestak aims to 'heal the soul of America' with presidential bid

Joe Sestak Would Move the US Embassy 'Back Out of Jerusalem'

24. Mike Gravel: 12.5 (Previous: 24th / 15.3) Former US Senator from Alaska

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Gravel was able to get celebrities and other candidates to send out pleas to raise funds in effort to get above 65,000 donations and qualify for the second debate.

We may never know if it was grift or incompetence, but Gravel probably should have known that crossing this line made no difference. He'll still be yelling at the TV when the debate starts.

Other headlines:

Gravel meets donor threshold to qualify for Democratic primary debate

Gravel spends a bit of cash to run an ad against Joe Biden in Iowa

Mike Gravel: Why the American People Need Their Own Legislature

Mike Gravel Is the Anti–Joe Biden

23. Wayne Messam: 12.7 (Previous: 23rd / 15.8) Mayor of Miramar, FL

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Messam has made no impact in this race so far, and has fundraising numbers that don't even get into the six digits, let alone seven. He's not really running a campaign at this point, so there's no real downside in staying in for now.

Other headlines:

Wayne Messam: Money Kept Me Out of the First Democratic Debate. Will It Keep Me Out of the Second?

22. Seth Moulton 17.2 (Previous 20th / 21.5) US Rep. from Massachusetts 

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Seth Moulton is the invisible man on the campaign trail. Most people don't even know who he is when they're talking to him. His appeal to the Democratic party is heavily flavored with his military service and appeal to patriotism.

Good luck with that Seth.

Other headlines:

Moulton: Buttigieg Was a Nerd at Harvard

Moulton: Democrats shouldn't go on 'moral crusade' against Trump

Moulton talks reclaiming patriotism from Trump, Republicans

Moulton: 'Trump is going to be harder to beat than many Democrats like to believe'

Presidential candidates hear challengers' footsteps at home

21. Tim Ryan 18.4 (Previous: 18th / 24.3) US Rep. from Ohio

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Tim Ryan's first debate performance was so bad he lost about a quarter of his score with this update. He's not without a plan to get that support back though. He wants to bring hot yoga to the people.

Other headlines:

Tim Ryan on CNN: Trump 'clearly has it out for immigrants'

Ryan Falls Way Behind in Q2 Fundraising Race, New Poll

20. Marianne Williamson 20.7 (Previous: 21st / 20.6) Author, Lecturer, Activist

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Williamson is not going to be the nominee for the Democrats, but if you throw a debate watch party, she might supply the most entertainment. So much so, Republicans have started to donate to her campaign to keep her in future debates.

Other headlines:

"I call her a modern-day prophet": Marianne Williamson's followers want you to give her a chance

Williamson Uses Anime to Explain 2020 Candidate's Holistic Politics

What Marianne Williamson and Donald Trump have in common

Marianne Williamson's Iowa director joins John Delaney's 2020 campaign

19. John Hickenlooper 22.5  (Previous: 11th / 32.0) Former Gov. of Colorado 

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Hickenlooper has been shedding campaign advisors at a relatively furious pace as he admits "there's just a bunch of skills that don't come naturally to me" when it comes to campaigning.

Probably best to pick another line of work.

Other headlines:

Hickenlooper defends campaign fundraising to The Onion: 'The race is wide open'

WP: 'You are who?' The lonely presidential campaign of John Hickenlooper

Gary Hart Warns John Hickenlooper Against Campaigning On Bipartisanship Message

Hickenlooper refuses to condemn protesters who hoisted Mexican flag at ICE facility


18. Michael Bennet 27.4 (Previous: 14th / 28.8) US Senator from Colorado

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Michael Bennet is a bit of a boring no name, but give him credit for actually trying to differentiate himself from the field. He's one of the only candidates willing to criticize his socialist opponents from the center, calling out the open borders crowd and student debt. Obviously this has no chance of success in the democratic party, but at least he's trying.

Other headlines:

George Will touts Bennet to beat Trump in 2020

Bennet: America doesn't know what the Democratic Party stands for

17. Steve Bullock 28.3 (Previous: 16th / 27.7) Gov. of  Montana 

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Bullock's biggest moment of his campaign, and quite possibly his only important moment , will come in this round of debates. He missed the first round, but squeaks in for round two after Eric Swalwell decided to take his zero percent and go home.

Bullock has a theoretical argument that doesn't look half bad on paper, but it seems impossible for another "moderate*" to make noise with Biden still hanging around.

(*-None of these moderates are actually moderate.)

Other headlines:

For Democratic presidential hopeful Steve Bullock, it's all about the 'dark money'

Steve Bullock hates 'dark money.' But a lobbyist for 'dark money' donors is helping his campaign.

Steve Bullock looking to introduce himself as someone who won in Trump country

Bullock said he's not one to eliminate all student-loan debt

Steve Bullock raises $2 million for 2020 bid in second quarter, campaign says

Lowering of state flag at capitol draws criticism

15. John Delaney 29.5 (Previous 19th / 20.3) Former US Rep. from Maryland 

CANDIDATE PROFILE

The power ranking model likes Delaney more than voters seem to like him. He continues to pour his own money into the race and at some point you have to believe someone in his life stops him from setting his cash on fire.

He did steal a key advisor from Marianne Williamson's campaign, which doesn't seem like a path to success.

Other headlines:

Delaney: "Non-Citizens Are Not Covered By My 'Better Care' Plan, But…"

Delaney says he opposes decriminalizing border crossings

Undaunted by low polling, John Delaney keeps his show on the road

Delaney presidential campaign theme: fix what's broken, keep what works

14. Andrew Yang 30.0 (Previous: 15th / 28.3) Attorney and Entrepreneur 

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Before the campaign started, if you would have said Yang would be in the middle of the pack at this point, he probably would be happy with that result. His embrace of quirky issues like banning robocalls, giving everyone free cash, and spending $6 billion to fix the nations malls is enough to keep him in the news.

His fundraising was decent, and he remains an interesting and thoughtful candidate. But, Yang has a better chance of dropping out and running on a third party ticket than winning in this Democratic Party.

You do have to wonder how long it will be before the word "Math" moves from his campaign slogan to the reason he needs to drop out.

Other headlines:

Andrew Yang Is Targeting The 'Politically Disengaged' To 'Win The Whole Election'

You can't turn truck drivers into coders, Andrew Yang says of job retraining

Yang's plan to give $1000 a month to everyone is popular with young, poor Democrats

13. Jay Inslee 31.4 (Previous: 12th / 30.4) Gov. of Washington state

CANDIDATE PROFILEf

Expect Inslee to capture the king-czar-chancellor role of the new climate police or whatever draconian nightmare the actual Democratic nominee creates if they win.

In the meantime, he should try to avoid cringe inducing nonsense like this.

Other headlines:

Presidential hopeful Jay Inslee says Trump's immigration policies will 'end his presidency'

Crowd roars for Elizabeth Warren, Jay Inslee follows to tepid applause

Inslee on listening to Carole King, wanting an anchor tattoo

Inslee Says He Tried to Arrest Fleeing Republicans


12. Tulsi Gabbard 33.4 (Previous: 13th / 28.8) US Rep. for Hawaii 

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Tulsi Gabbard really wants to be Joe Biden's vice president. Or, at least, she wants to hold an important role in his cabinet, like Secretary of Defense.

Gabbard has been running interference for Biden, aggressively going after Kamala Harris for her very successful but substance free bussing attack, while hammering Harris as not qualified to be President. These have been among the harshest criticisms levied by any candidate in the race so far, and there is definitely a purpose to all of it. Her presence in the same debate as Biden and Harris should be something Harris prepares herself for. Expect incoming fire.

Along with Yang, Gabbard remains among the most interesting Democratic candidates to Republicans and Libertarians, which is not helpful to her chances of actually winning the Democratic party nod.

Other headlines:

Gabbard says Harris used "political ploy" to "smear" Biden on raced

Which U.S. Wars Were Justifiable? Tulsi Gabbard Names Only World War II

Tulsi Gabbard Says It's A 'Good Thing' Trump Met With Kim Jong Un

Gabbard Sympathizes With Amash, Says the Two-Party System Sucks

Tulsi Gabbard Files Bill To Study Hemp's Uses For Just About Everything

Gabbard: '14-year-old girl hacked into a replica of Florida's election system'

11. Tom Steyer 33.5 (Debut) Billionaire hedge fund manager

Tom Steyer is a Democratic billionaire that has spent millions plastering his face all over MSNBC for the past two years begging people to consider impeaching Donald Trump.

The campaign power ranking model loves Steyer's potential because of his unlimited money and theoretical ability to put together a serious campaign team.

All of this is theory at this point though, as the millions spent so far has lead to a giant pile of zilch. If he's serious enough, he should be able to buy his way into the low single digits, and squeak his way into a debate or two.

Steyer's billionaire status isn't an obvious fit as the party of inequality attempts to take down Donald Trump. But, he does have legitimate movement credibility, tons of cash to buy support, and a long developed immunity to embarrassment—so the sky is the limit.

Other headlines:

Tom Steyer on the issues, in under 500 words

Tom Steyer announces 2020 bid, reversing course

Why We're Not Treating Tom Steyer As A 'Major' Candidate (Yet)

Steyer banks on South Carolina in 1st presidential bid stop

10. Kirsten Gillibrand 37.1 (Previous: 9th / 36.7) US Senator from New York

CANDIDATE PROFILE

There is probably no candidate that enters the second round of debates more clearly in do-or-die mode than Gillibrand. With headlines like "The Ignoring of Kirsten Gillibrand" lighting up her feed, she needs something big to happen, and fast. Her performance in the first debate wasn't actually horrible, but still went unnoticed.

She has zero percent in lots of polls, and that includes all of the benefits she says she's received from white privilege. Imagine if she didn't have that going for her.

Other headlines:

Gillibrand: I'd Tell Concerned Coal Miner the Green New Deal Is 'Just Some Bipartisan Ideas'

Struggling in White House bid, Democrat Gillibrand seeks bump in Trump country

Gillibrand Annoyed by Question About Immigration 'Reversal'

9. Robert Francis O’Rourke 40.7 (Previous: 6th / 52.8) Former state Rep. from Texas

CANDIDATE PROFILE

The free fall continues for Betomania.

When campaigns show signs of death, reporters start to write long profiles that aim to tell the story of the demise, or launch the amazing comeback.

Politico's headline (What Beto O'Rourke's Dad Taught Him About Losing) probably wasn't all that helpful.

Beto did secure Willie Nelson's vote though, meaning he can now count on 2 votes, assuming his "Republican" mother votes for him.

Other headlines:

Welcome to America—It's a Hell Hole!

A desperate Beto O'Rourke goes for broke, claims America was founded on white supremacy

Beto O'Rourke finds 'personal connection' to slavery, argues for reparations to unite 'two Americas'

Beto boldly vows not to prosecute people for 'being a human being'Rebooto O'Rourke

Fact Checker: Has Beto O'Rourke visited the most Iowa counties? No.


Beto O'Rourke: Let's Forgive All Student Loan Debt For Teachers

8. Amy Klobuchar 42.9 (Previous: 8th / 41.9) US Senator from Minnesota 

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Klobuchar has been a massive underachiever so far, but is still sticking around in that third tier of candidates. Along with Beto, Booker, and maybe Castro— they aren't exactly eliminated, but can't seem to catch fire. Or even get warm.

Klobuchar would serve herself well to focus on the fundamentals and avoiding desperate pleas for attention if she wants to remain in the Biden VP sweepstakes. Or she could totally shake things up by throwing binders at her opponents in the debate.

Other headlines:

Klobuchar: I Don't Support Open Borders Like Warren, Castro

Deportation raids are about distracting from issues: Amy Klobuchar

Klobuchar hoping 'nice' finishes first

Sports bookmakers put Klobuchar as "heavy underdog" in presidential race

7. Julian Castro 43.2 (Previous: 10th / 34.5) Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Castro is a good example of how overblown debates can be. His first debate performance was quite solid, but did more to sink Robert Francis O'Rourke than actually help his own candidacy.

One more good debate performance should be enough to get him into the next round of debates, as he has already passed the donor threshold. Polling, however, has been elusive. Perhaps there is a swath of America that is uncomfortable voting for a Castro for president, like say, all of south Florida?

Still, in a field of a zillion candidates that have shown no potential, he stands out as a long shot with a punchers chance to make some noise. This is reflected with a nice bump in his score for this update.

Other headlines:

Julián Castro Doubles Down On Decriminalizing Migration: Repeal Felony For Reentry, Too

Julian Castro: 'Instead of breaking up families, we should break up ICE'

Bill Maher rips Julián Castro for remark about abortion for trans women

Julián Castro declines to hold baby

Julián Castro can't speak Spanish

Julian Castro wants to solve homelessness by 2028

A consulting firm made specifically to prevent sexual harassment is providing Castro and other 2020 campaigns advice and training

5. Pete Buttigieg 65.8 (Previous: 2nd / 68.8) Mayor of South Bend, IN

CANDIDATE PROFILE

There probably isn't a campaign that has been more bizarre than Mayor Pete. He was a complete nobody to the public, though as we initially noted, he had support from a bunch of Obama era celebrinerds.

This helped him rise to a top tier candidate with all the money and momentum to make a run at the nomination. Since then we've seen a complete fizzle. He is using the cash to build the infrastructure to make himself a serious candidate, and he should last a while, but he probably must win Iowa to have a chance at the nomination.

Also, finding one African American who will vote for him would be nice.

Other headlines:

Pete Buttigieg goes on hiring spree after top fundraising quarter.

Buttigieg, Struggling With Black Voters, Releases Plan to Address Racial Inequities

South Bend police call out Buttigieg for sending pizza rather than apology after race comments

CNN's Axelrod Rips Buttigieg: Blacks Doing Worse Under His Leadership

Only Pete Buttigieg gets standing ovation from Corn Feed audience

New Republic Drops Out Of Climate Forum Over Backlash To Pete Buttigieg Op-Ed

Pete Buttigieg says it's "almost certain" we've had gay presidents

Pete Buttigieg Sets Hollywood Fundraisers With Ellen DeGeneres, Chelsea Handler and More

4. Elizabeth Warren 70.4 (Previous: 5th / 53.4) US Senator from Massachusetts 

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Looking back at my initial analysis of this field, I'd say it's played out pretty closely to what I expected. Warren has surprised me though.

In an election where beating Trump is the most important characteristic for democratic voters, she seems to be grown in a lab to lose to him. She comes across as a stern elementary school principal who would make kids terrified to be called into her office, because she'd bore them to death by reading them the handbook.

Her DNA kit roll out was so catastrophic, I assumed democrats would see that her political instincts are awful. When put under the intense pressure Trump is sure to bring, she's going to collapse, and I figured democrats would recognize that.

Instead, she's in the top tier. This rise has been legitimately impressive for Warren.

It's also a dream come true for Donald Trump.

Other headlines:

The Activist Left Already Knows Who It Wants for President

Netroots Nation was the day Elizabeth Warren became president of the American left

Elizabeth Warren pledges to decriminalize border crossings

Warren plans to increase annual refugee admissions nearly 800 percent from FY2018

Warren, Biden Campaigns Appear to Find Loophole Around Paid Internships

Warren says she'll push to end Israel's 'occupation'

Warren staffer: 'I would totally be friends with Hamas'

Elizabeth Warren reintroduces legislation requiring corporations to disclose climate risk exposure

Elizabeth Warren Wants Reparations For Same-Sex Couples

Elizabeth Warren proposes executive orders to address race and gender pay gap

This is how Elizabeth Warren plans to close the pay gap for women of color

How much would a wealth tax really raise? Dueling economists reflect new split in Democratic Party

Elizabeth Warren Brings Ad Buying In-House

Elizabeth Warren says she raised $19 million in the second quarter of the year

3. Bernie Sanders 71.1 (Previous: 3rd / 67.2) US Senator from Vermont

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Sanders has fallen slowly but steadily in the polls the past couple of months, and while not every metric yet reflects it, the socialist wing seems more likely represented by Warren.

That being said, Bernie holds her off for third place. Warren and Bernie have reportedly struck a truce to not attack each other, an arrangement which benefits Warren far more than Sanders.

Bernie's machine and name recognition continues to keep him near the top of the heap, but one wonders how long that lasts as name recognition for other candidates get higher, and Iowa gets closer.

No matter if he wins or loses, he's moved the Overton window of the party in a dramatic way. And don't underestimate the appeal of his Medicare-for-all-humankind dream. Bernie may be too old and cranky to see socialized health care into the end zone, but he has advanced that ball much further than he had any right to.

Other headlines:

Bernie Sanders has 'deep sense of satisfaction' his positions are now 'centrist' among Dems

Bernie Sanders: I Will Cancel All $1.6 Trillion Of Your Student Loan Debt

Sanders hits back at Biden over criticism of 'Medicare for All'

Bernie Sanders: Nancy Pelosi shouldn't 'alienate' freshmen House Democrats

Why Sanders Wanted His Meeting With a Rabbi Kept Secret

Bernie Sanders Says Being the First Jewish President Would Be 'Another Barrier Broken Down'

Liberal billionaire calls Bernie Sanders a 'Communist' and 'a disaster zone'

Blackstone's Byron Wien: Markets are terrified of far-left Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren

Antiwar candidate Bernie Sanders faces backlash over the $1.2 trillion war machine he brought to Vermont

The time Bernie Sanders ranted about baseball in a low-budget film

Bernie Sanders shows off sword Ross Perot gave him

Bernie Sanders Raises $18 Million in 3 Months, Trailing Buttigieg

2. Kamala Harris 79.2 (Previous: 4th / 65.9) US Senator from California 

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Harris has given back a good chunk of her post debate bounce, which is to be expected. While she rockets to number two in the power rankings, there are a few things to worry about.

The difference between Warren and Harris is notable. The candidates are nearly tied in most polls, but much of the strength of Harris is based on one spectacular moment. Warren alternatively seems to have a lower ceiling, but a stronger foundation.

The good news for Harris is she does incredibly well among voters that are actually paying attention, while her weakness lies with those who haven't really tuned in yet.

At some point, Harris has to clean up her mess of a policy package, which includes supporting a Bernie style Medicare for All without the Bernie style middle class tax hikes-- a combination that even the left admits makes no sense.

Quotes like this still feel way too accurate, "She's the easy-to-listen-to, poorly defined identity candidate." This needs to be sorted out eventually if she's actually going to win.

Other headlines:

It's Hard To Have A Conversation With Kamala Harris When She Doesn't Even Know What She's Talking About

Kamala Harris: Immigration Raids Are 'A Crime Against Humanity', there are 'babies in cages'

Harris doubles down on criticism of Biden's busing comments on The View

Mother Jones: Kamala Harris Wants to Bring Back Busing? Really?

Kamala Harris's Call for a Return to Busing Is Bold and Politically Risky

Race is 'America's Achilles' heel,' Harris tells African-American group

Kamala Harris claims her campaign is being targeted by Russian bots, also says she's not a plan factory

Harris proposes $100 billion plan to increase minority homeownership

What's Kamala Harris's record on Israel?

Kamala Harris Called Young People "Stupid" in 2015

Kamala Harris lags behind top-tier candidates in Q2 fundraising

Utah man arrested after alleged scheme to plan fake Kamala Harris fundraiser

1. Joe Biden 80.8 (Previous: 1st / 82.3) Former US Senator from Delaware and Former Vice President

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Biden's polling has mostly rebounded to his pre-debate status and he remains the favorite to be the nominee.

He can't survive too many more performances like his first debate however, and he needs to show voters that he can stand up to the heat President Trump is going to bring. In other words, don't get smoked again, fall over on your walker, or look like your dentures are going to fall out in the middle of a debate.

This is a real test for Biden's candidacy. He's had time to prepare, and he's had time to stretch the old muscles. No more excuses.

If Joe can get spry, he probably wins the nomination. But, that is far from a sure thing.

Other headlines:

NBC/WSJ poll: Biden tops 2020 Democratic field...

Joe Biden Decides He Doesn't Need to Stay Above the Fray After All

Biden campaigns as Obamacare's top defender

Biden says Democrats haven't been straightforward about 'Medicare for All'

Biden under fire for mass deportations under Obama

Biden refuses to apologize for high deportation numbers during Obama years

Joe Biden's campaign office opens in Philly with a protest, not a party

AOC: Segregationist controversy and debate performance raised question Biden could be too old for office

Are Biden's Apologies Killing His Electability Argument?

Liberal activists at Netroots Nation bet Joe Biden drops out of race

Joe and Jill Biden have made $15M since leaving White House

How Joe Biden, who called himself 'the poorest man in Congress,' became a multimillionaire

Penn Paid Joe Biden $775,000 to Expand Its "Global Outreach" … and Give Some Speeches

Biden: 'Occupation is a real problem'Joe Biden raised $21.5 million in second quarter, campaign announces

Joe Biden: I Promise To 'End The Forever Wars In Afghanistan And Middle East'

Joe Biden promises to 'cure cancer' if elected president

No, stealth Obamacare won’t fix the failed status-quo

Online Marketing/Unsplash

Another day, another proposed fix to a pressing national problem by a Democratic presidential hopeful. Former Vice President Joe Biden has positioned himself as the "moderate" leader of the Democratic Party, putting pressure on him to come up with a "sensible" alternative to Sen. Sanders' (I-Vt.) Medicare for All plan. But Biden's healthcare proposal, released July 15, doubles down on flawed, top-down solutions without offering any new ideas. Presidential hopefuls should instead pledge to unleash market innovation and lower healthcare prices for all.

Of course, a former vice president will inevitably find it difficult to make a clean policy break from the administration he has repeatedly hailed and defended. Biden's tenure as vice president made him into a second-tier political rockstar, and it makes sense that he's reluctant to separate himself from former President Obama's Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare"). It's also no surprise that "Bidencare" preserves Obamacare's disastrous expansion of Medicaid, the federal government's insurance program for low-income Americans. His plan even provides a public option for residents of states that have not expanded Medicaid. Perhaps more surprising, or just disappointing, is how thoroughly the Democratic orthodoxy has embraced government medical insurance even at gargantuan cost, despite little evidence that it'll work.

RELATED: Medicare for all: Obamacare was only the first step

Back when he was a heartbeat away from the presidency, Biden vigorously defended Obamacare, criticizing Republican governors for failing to expand Medicaid and predicting that all states would eventually see the light. That never quite happened (as of now, 17 states wisely refuse to expand health insurance targeted at low-income Americans). But the Obama administration tried to cajole red and purple states into expanding the Medicaid eligibility threshold "up to 138 percent of the poverty level." Nevertheless, states such as Texas, Florida, and North Carolina wisely considered the evidence that Medicaid was breaking the bank — without helping the poor get access to the care they needed.

This evidence isn't just based on one or two stray studies produced by the "right" think-tank. In June 2018, Health Affairs published a blockbuster analysis of 77 studies on Medicaid's effectiveness, and the results may be disappointing for fans of government-provided insurance. Around 60 percent of the studies included in the meta-analysis found that health status and quality of care failed to improve for low-income patients after Medicaid expansion. The analysis also finds that a majority (56 percent of studies) found no improvement in the financial performance of hospitals post-Medicaid expansion. This finding contradicts claims by Obama, Biden and co. that Medicaid expansion would shift patients from the emergency room to doctor's offices, lowering system-wide costs.

These findings are scandalous for an expansion program that costs federal taxpayers at least $70 billion per year. How could all of this money be failing to improve outcomes? Plausibly, the types of institutions that accept Medicaid are larger facilities that aren't as great at delivering quality health-care as smaller offices? The copious paperwork and documentation required by the program don't really allow smaller facilities the bandwidth to deal with Medicaid in an efficient manner. Yet this documentation is necessary to curb rampant fraud in the program that costs taxpayers tens of billions of dollars each year.

Greater Medicaid funding and corresponding anti-waste measures fail to address the cancer undermining the healthcare system: sky-high drug prices and expensive medical equipment.

Greater Medicaid funding and corresponding anti-waste measures fail to address the cancer undermining the healthcare system: sky-high drug prices and expensive medical equipment. Instead of pushing for ever-higher government spending, a President Biden could push for a streamlined Food and Drug Administration approval process for drugs and medical devices, which would keep medical costs down and give a green light to innovators everywhere. The cost to develop a single medication is now more than $2 billion, and an onerous FDA approval process costs lives by being too risk-averse.

Presidential hopefuls such as Biden should also pledge to work with states to roll-back "certificate of need" laws, which force medical institutions to jump through countless barriers to expand their facilities and invest in new services. It's not just hospitals and their patients that suffer from these needless laws; Harvard medical scholar David Grabowski sums up the evidence that these laws make nursing homes far worse and costlier than they need to be. Getting rid of these laws nationwide would give patients and consumers far more options when shopping around for the care and facilities they need.

The price problem gripping the American healthcare system simply won't go away while regulatory barriers and onerous approval processes continue to stifle the sector. Presidential hopefuls such as Biden can make a dent in this problem by supporting market reforms, instead of doubling-down on failed government healthcare.

Ross Marchand is a Young Voices contributor and the director of policy for the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both fulfilled their goal of living to see the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Then, both died later that day — July 4, 1826. Adams was 90. Jefferson was 83.

Because of their failing health, Jefferson and Adams each declined many invitations to attend July 4th celebrations. Adams sent a letter to be read aloud at the 50th Independence Day celebration in his local town of Quincy, Massachusetts. He wrote that the Declaration is:

... a memorable epoch in the annals of the human race, destined in future history to form the brightest or the blackest page, according to the use or the abuse of those political institutions by which they shall, in time to come, be shaped by the human mind.

It's remarkable how well the Founders understood human nature and what could happen to the United States. It's the postmodern mindset that increasingly rules the U.S. now. It has infected our institutions and untethered us from the bedrock principles of the Declaration. In its place? Hypocritical and vitriolic partisan righteous indignation.

Less than a century after Adams' and Jefferson's deaths, the most serious attempt to undermine the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution came from America's 28th president — Woodrow Wilson. He wrote:

Some citizens of this country have never got beyond the Declaration of Independence.

As if that's a bad thing.

During Wilson's career as a college professor, he thought deeply and wrote extensively of his contempt for our founding documents. His issue with them formed the core beliefs of Progressivism that are still alive today.

In 1911, before he was elected President, Wilson said in a speech:

I do not find the problems of 1911 solved in the Declaration of Independence ... It is the object of Government to make those adjustments of life which will put every man in a position to claim his normal rights as a living human being.

See what he does there? He completely inverts the Declaration — he's saying, you don't have inherent rights until government puts you in a position to claim them. That's the heart of Progressivism.

In a later speech, Wilson said:

If you want to understand the real Declaration of Independence, do not repeat the preface.

Wilson did not think the equality, natural rights, and consent-of-the-governed parts of the Declaration defined the proper role of government. He preferred the Declaration's list of grievances because they addressed specific problems. That's what he thought government existed to do — solve problems for people. And since people's problems change over time, so should the Constitution and government to keep up with the times.

Wilson said:

No doubt we are meant to have liberty; but each generation must form its own conception of what liberty is.

We hear this sentiment echoed all the time today: follow your heart, find your truth, etc.

Another key to Wilson's Progressive theory of government was human evolution. He thought that because humans were now more enlightened, they could be trusted not to abuse government power. The Declaration's committee of five (Adams, Sherman, Franklin, Livingston and Jefferson) would've laughed Wilson out of the room.

It's hard to believe that less than 150 years after the signing of the Declaration, the U.S. president — Wilson — was saying this:

We are not bound to adhere to the doctrines held by the signers of the Declaration of Independence: we are as free as they were to make and unmake governments. We are not here to worship men or a document. Every Fourth of July should be a time for examining our standards, our purposes, for determining afresh what principles, what forms of power we think most likely to effect our safety and happiness. That and that alone is the obligation the Declaration lays upon us.

Wilson was so effective at imposing his philosophy on government that he forever diverted the U.S. presidency away from the Constitution. Progressives have kept Wilson's torch alive ever since.

Progressives are still hostile to the Declaration of Independence because of this idea of “historical contingency" which holds that truths change over time. Progressives think the “self-evident" truths of the Declaration are outdated and may no longer apply. And that means the Constitution based on those truths may no longer apply either. Wilson and Progressives especially don't like the whole separation of powers thing, because it hinders the fast action they want out of government. They want a justice warrior president who will bring swift change by fiat.

The current trend in attacking the Declaration and Constitution is to tear down the men who wrote them. In late 2015, students at the University of Missouri and the College of William & Mary, placed notes all over the statues of Thomas Jefferson on their respective campuses. The handwritten notes labeled Jefferson things like, “racist," “rapist," “pedophile" (not sure what that one's supposed to mean), “How dare you glorify him," “I wouldn't be here if it was up to him," and “Black Lives Matter."

That is the handiwork of students who are blinded by self-righteous victimhood and can't see the value and merit that the Declaration still holds for us today. After these incidents, Annette Gordon-Reed offered a reasoned defense of Jefferson. Reed is a respected history professor at Harvard Law School, who also happens to be a black woman. She wrote:

I understand why some people think his statues should be removed, but not all controversial figures of the past are created equal. I think Jefferson's contributions to the history of the United States outweigh the problems people have with aspects of his life. He is just too much a part of the American story to pretend that he was not there ... The best of his ideals continue to influence and move people. The statues should be a stimulus for considering all these matters at William & Mary and the University of Missouri.

At the opposite end of the spectrum from Woodrow Wilson's disdain for the Declaration of Independence, Abraham Lincoln loved it. If there is one overarching theme in Lincoln's speeches, it is the Declaration. Lincoln pointed the nation back to the Declaration as a mission statement, which ended slavery and preserved the Union.

Unlike Wilson, who recommended leaving out the Preamble, Lincoln considered it the most vital part. To Lincoln, the self-evident truths were universal, timeless, and more important than the list of grievances. Lincoln wrote that these truths were:

... applicable to all men and all times ... that today, and in all coming days, it shall be a rebuke and a stumbling block to the very harbingers of reappearing tyranny and oppression.

In a speech Lincoln gave in 1861, shortly after he was first elected president, he said:

I have never had a feeling politically that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence… I have often inquired of myself what great principle or idea it was that kept this Confederacy so long together. It was not the mere matter of the separation of the Colonies from the mother-land, but that sentiment in the Declaration which gave liberty, not alone to the people of this country, but, I hope, to the world, for all future time.

Lincoln went on to say that he would rather be assassinated than see the nation forfeit the principles of the Declaration. His Gettysburg Address is a brilliant, concise renewal of the Declaration:

... that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

We cannot assume that this radical idea of freedom will always be embraced by Americans. It has found hostility on our shores every step of the way. The Declaration's principles must be continually defended. Because while humans do have certain unalienable rights that are endowed by our Creator, there is darkness in the world, and for some strange reason humans, while valuing freedom, also seem to have a natural bent toward tyranny. That's why we must understand and discuss the Declaration. It's not alarmist. It's not a quaint history lesson. It's a reality, right now, that the fundamental principles of the Declaration are under attack. The Founders would have undoubtedly shuddered at most of the rhetoric from last week's Democratic presidential debates. Left to its own mob devices, even America would turn its back on freedom.

Shortly before his death in 1826, 90-year-old John Adams was asked to recommend a toast that could be given in his honor on July 4th. Adams didn't hesitate. He suggested, “Independence Forever." The small group of visitors silently glanced at each other for a moment, before someone asked Adams if he'd like to add anything else. Adams shifted forward in his chair, leaned on his cane, stared intently at the men, and replied, “Not a word."

China is having its Boston Tea Party moment

Unknown Wong / Unsplash

Freedom. It usually begins as a whisper. A secret passed on between patrons at a secluded bar or private meeting. And no matter how hard the tyrants may try and stop it, no matter how many dams they throw up to try and contain it, the whispers eventually become a flood. Sometimes it takes longer to break through, but it's the same EVERY TIME. Liberty and freedom always wins. It's an unstoppable force that knows no immovable object.

For us it was exactly 243 years ago to this month that those whispers became a flood. A group of ragtag colonists took on the world's only superpower —and won. Our forefathers proved it — freedom refuses to recognize tyranny as an immovable object. The world was forever changed.

And I can't help but see the poetic justice as more whispers became a flood, defying their own immovable object, just three days before all of us were buying fireworks to celebrate our Independence Day. But this time it was just off the coast of mainland China.

Last week over a MILLION protesters filled the streets in Hong Kong. Literally a FLOOD of humans looking for one thing — freedom. They stormed the government building that is the equivalent of their Congress. They smashed windows, broke down doors, and a photo was taken that I think just might be the picture of the year.

A British colonial flag, a symbol thrown out when Hong Kong was given back to China, was draped — BY THE PROTESTORS — over the chair of their head of government. I can't restate how historic this actually is. The people of Hong Kong, with a population that is over 90 percent ethnic Han Chinese, are saying to the mainland that they prefer colonial rule over the tyranny of the Chinese government. Leftists would tell you that communism is the remedy for colonialism, but for those living in the dark shadow of communism, they actually prefer colonial rule over what they now face.

The local Hong Kong government is caught between the immovable object of the Chinese communist government, and the unstoppable force of liberty.

When Hong Kong was given back to the mainland, China agreed to allow them a few freedoms that the rest of the Chinese don't enjoy. They're free to engage in protest against the government and they maintain a legislative body — both of which are outlawed on the mainland. But, as every tyrannical oppressor always does, China has been looking to reel that in. Most recently, China attempted to make it possible to extradite dissenters back to Beijing. The result? The quiet whispers of freedom, the secrets told in private at clandestine meetings, became a flood of millions in the streets.

On July 3rd, police began a crackdown. More than 13 people have been arrested so far. If China eventually gets their way, those 13 people will no doubt be the first of many to be extradited over to the mainland. Their crime? The dream of freedom. As of right now, the extradition law has been temporarily delayed. The local Hong Kong government is caught between the immovable object of the Chinese communist government, and the unstoppable force of liberty.

History has shown who will win in the end. Yesterday, over 200,000 protestors gathered at the high speed train station that links mainland China to Hong Kong. The message was just as clear as the British colonial flag hung inside their legislative building. For our forefathers it was symbolized with the Gadsden Flag and the phrase “Death To Tyranny." The message is simple: “we will not be ruled. Freedom knows no immovable object."

News of the protest movement has been censored in mainland China, but how long will they be able to contain THEIR OWN whispers with over two hundred thousand freedom lovers camped out at the bridge between Hong Kong and mainland China? How long before those whispers spread to secret meeting locations in Beijing or Shanghai? How long before that cascades to the Christian and Muslim minorities that are tired of being rounded up and thrown into camps?

We might have just witnessed the Chinese version of the Boston Tea Party. July 4th is still a long way away for them, but — as it does time and time again — freedom and liberty always win in the end.