Glenn Beck Keynote (NRA Convention, Houston 2013)

Hello Texas! Thank you. It is a real honor to be here tonight.

We’re living in interesting times. I want to start with something I don’t think anybody else at the NRA has ever started with before: a picture of a naked hippie.

That’s actually going to play a role in the talk tonight, but I’ll come back to it in a minute.

The first time I spoke at the NRA, it was in Louisville, Kentucky. They gave me this gun. It was such an amazing honor for me, but it was also one of the most terrifying times in my life.

They were doing a retrospective of Charlton Heston because he had just died. And so this is the Charlton Heston gun. They had a gigantic 25 foot image of him behind me with him holding the gun just like this: “Out of my cold dead hands!”

Then they froze the image behind me and said: “This year we would like to award this rifle to Glenn Beck.”

Wayne leaned in and said: “Glenn, say something!”

So as I walked to the podium, I just thought “Don’t say ‘I hope you didn’t take it out of his cold dead hands, did you?’ Just don’t say that!”

I have no idea what I said, but I know I didn’t say that!

Charlton Heston’s words were meant to wake people up.

He needed to shock us into realizing who our opponent really was: an out of control growing government under Jimmy Carter.

Today we are in a different place than we were in 1976.

The problem is worse today. It wasn’t just Jimmy Carter, just as it isn’t just this president. It’s not just the Democrats either—it’s the republicans too.

The problem is everywhere.

It’s in our media, churches, educational systems, in our own homes. It is the Progressive ideology, which is antithetical to our Constitutional Republic. They want to fundamentally transform the country.

We used to ask how did this happen? If we’re here to tell the truth then we must accept much of the blame as well, since even our families are imploding.

Our Constitution, our rights, our way of life is at stake.

The Freedom of all mankind is at stake. And because of that, so are our souls.

As I have prepared my remarks over the past few weeks, I wondered what your reaction would be tonight as well as the reaction of the rest of the country.

I am going to take a different approach from what many might expect. Parts of it will be a bit tough, but they have to be said.

I grew up in the small farming town of Mt. Vernon Washington. I have also lived in midtown Manhattan. I have picked raspberries and hunted pheasants on my grandfather’s farm. I have been in the boardrooms of the powerful on Wall Street.

In the end here is what I know: I am blessed to have grown up in America.

I cherish my country and the way I was raised, but I also know we are all unique, and I respect the way you grew up as well.

I understand that many can’t understand me or the what I believe, and I’m okay with that. I don’t understand many in New York, but I appreciate the difference. Until recently, it seemed, we were all okay with our differences and we tended to get along.

We have a tough journey ahead.

This weekend, I believe, is one of the most important moments in history for America and certainly the NRA

It is right for this convention to happen in TX. Because this is where the Alamo happened. It’s where “Draw a line in the sand” came from.

General William Travis knew he had to stand on one side of the line, because it was right for him. He did not hold contempt for others who chose differently. He just said: “Best be goin’…”

If we are going to stand and fight we must love those who choose a different path.

We must also know 4 things:

-What we fight

-Who we fight

-Why we fight and most importantly,

-How we fight.

The media would have you believe that we’re silly, selfish, and think our gun rights and our guns are more important than our own children.

But we believe they are important because of our children.

Where the real rub begins is that the progressive elite believes it can make choices better than we can.

Choices on what we eat, what we drive, what we believe is moral and immoral, how to raise our children, and even if— and how— we can worship our God.

They think we’re wrong so they must regulate us until we comply.

I will not comply.

We, on the other hand, believe that it is they who are in error.

And we are once again ready to live as Americans always have: we agree to disagree. We appreciate our freedoms—or as they would say ‘celebrate the diversity!’—and return to focus on those things that unite us rather than divide us.

There are those who believe in the philosophies of man, whether it’s Marx and Engle or Saul Alinsky’s rules of divide and conquer.

We not only believe those ideas are wrong, we also believe them to be dangerous and evil.

We stand against those who want to close our hearts by absolving us of our own personal responsibilities and duties to each other. Who want to force us to accept a faceless bureaucracy and call it charity. Charity is not something a government forces you to do; charity is something that our belief in God compels us to do.

There are Americans who really think they know better than everyone else. They truly believe they should be put in charge of making choices because their choice will be better than ours.

We think they are arrogant and wrong. America has been calling out for someone to take responsibility. The culture of ‘pass the buck’ is so prevalent that our ‘bucks’ no longer have any value.

Tonight, that era of shame ends now.

And it begins with us. Here we are, millions of Americans and NRA members. And millions more who are home who aren’t NRA members, who aren’t Democrats or Republicans but are willing to stand and declare the ‘buck stops here’

I not only will take responsibility but will cry out for my God given right to own, not only my choices, but my consequences. This is our biggest difference. Not rights, but responsibilities.

A righteous cause must be cemented in the truths of the past, but because the world is dynamic we must build on those truths. Patrick Henry once said, “give me liberty or give me death!” But may I clarify and deepen its meaning?

It is time to say, “Give me responsibility or give me death” for there is no real liberty, no real freedom if one is not allowed to make his/her own choices and then fully accept the responsibility of those choices.

We fight against those who stand against what our founders called nature’s laws. They believe they are qualified to make decisions for the collective.

May I humbly remind them that God himself does not make decisions for the collective? God himself sent His son to help individuals. God himself saves the individual, thus saving the collective.

While we have a responsibility to love, help, and care for one another, in the end, it is each of us taking responsibility as it is the only way to progress as individuals and as a people.

We fight against those who deny the Creator, His power and then have the audacity to grant to themselves the collective power which even God denies himself.

Please hear me clearly: this is not presidents or parties. We wrestle against those powers and principalities, against the rulers of the darkness of this world. We stand against spiritual wickedness in high places. And we fight them with the eternal truths that man once felt were so obvious that they were declared self-evident.

I believe we were all born at this time for a reason. We were born here at this time with a profound responsibility to ensure that the flame of liberty is not snuffed out.

It will be up to the people in this room, and anywhere upon the face of the earth, who carry the understanding and can verbally defend nature’s God and nature’s law.

It is in the hands of those in this room and all with eyes and ears to protect man’s liberties and set this ship right to once again begin the long march toward true freedom.

I find myself in a strange position; I’m the owner of a growing media company. I’m not beholden to any special interest groups or parties. I can’t tell you that I’m afraid to speak the truth, and I will speak the truth.

A couple months ago, I instructed my editors at The Blaze to report on stories where people who used a gun saved the day. We hear all the other stories. About three months ago, right after the Sandy Hook shootings I wanted to find the stories of everyday people who had saved lives with guns. And with very rare exceptions, we’ve had a new story on the front page every day for the last 100 days.

My partner on the radio Pat said to me: “Glenn, have you been looking at The Blaze? Every day there’s a new story about someone who’s stopped a rape or a robbery with a gun! It’s like a new epidemic of good with guns!”

I said, “Pat, there’s no epidemic. I’ve just made a policy that we do actual honest journalism.”

Let me give you a couple of the stories:

On April 4, just one month ago, in Portland Oregon, a woman was attacked around 10pm after she had gotten out of her car.

A man approached her from behind and dragged her backwards by her ponytail.

We know what would have happened next. But this woman had a gun. She pointed it at the man. He fled.

A week earlier, in Youngstown, Ohio, an elderly woman strapped to an oxygen tank was at home, and she saw the shadow of a man lurking outside her window. Then her front door rattled. Then glass broke.

The man was inside her home.

She retrieved her revolver and she called out: “Leave me alone!” “Get out of here!”

But the guy kept coming at her. So she shot him and held him at gun point in her kitchen until police arrived.

Then a few weeks before that, in Dickinson, Texas, there’s a home invasion, and the attackers were sexually assaulting a woman and her daughter. An unspeakable horror.

The woman’s young son was tied up, but broke from his restraints and grabbed the family handgun. Upon seeing the gun, the two men fled from the home.

It happens every day. And the Blaze is the only major media outlet in the country with the guts to report it.

Guns save lives. Guns protect homes and businesses. Guns protect our children.

And only in very rare occasions are they used by madmen to kill our children.

The truth is that guns on so many occasions are the only difference between your mom or sister getting raped and them walking home unmolested. It happens all the time. And it can happen to anyone.

The other side knows this and have counted on a compliant and willing partner in the mainstream media to overlook these stories. They are counting on you not to be able to find these stories.

But what they haven’t counted on are broadcast entities like mine and bloggers like Michelle Malkin, Dana Loesch, Ben Shapiro, and others.

What they didn’t count on or see coming……is you. Your willingness to share these stories To Tweet, Facebook, or even email them to friends.

They are counting on organizations like the NRA and people who have committed to stand to fold out of fear. They’re counting on us to be quiet. They’re counting on our soldiers to come home, sit down and be quiet, to not to have the courage like so many soldiers who come home and tell the truth like Marcus Luttrell and Chris Kyle—nor his sweet wife who will now power-on and pick up the torch.

You see, they don’t know us.

They didn’t foresee the Colorado sheriffs who stood up to Obama’s gun-grabbing measures or the officers who were told “it was in their best interest” to be at the Denver police academy to stand behind the president’s anti-gun measures. Because they answer to a higher power and because they know the truth, they refused to betray the idea of freedom of conscience and the Bill of Rights.

Let me tell you something that the sheriffs knew: it’s never in our “best interests”… to sit down, shut up, and be quiet.

It is always right to stand, always right to speak, and always right to defend the truth.

No matter how high the price, we know that there is a difference between right and wrong, and it is far past time for us to begin declaring it. Never give up. Never give in.

Since when in America is standing up against your own beliefs “your best interests?”

Some of our friends who don’t understand why we make such a big deal out of what is happening don’t understand. They think it’s not about guns. It’s not.

It’s about the right of conscience and the responsibility to keep them secure for future generations.

Progressives want the Second Amendment to be overlooked… but we’re making it clearer: “The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed!”

A man goes out and commits an unspeakable act of horror with a gun. Don’t blame the gun. Don’t blame my gun or your gun or the NRA.

It is not the gun that commits unspeakable acts, it’s the individual.

A gun’s power— for good or for evil— is merely a reflection of the hands that holds it.

I have been looking for gunst hat tell the story and teach the story of the 2nd Amendment.

I want to start with this:

Barbary Powers Rifle

This is a gun that was used the first time we fought Islamic Extremists. Most people don’t even realize that’s what the Barbary Pirates were. It was on the shores of Tripoli.

Why were our marines called leather necks? ‘Leather’ implied you couldn’t be beheaded by the Muslim extremists.

Most people don’t even realize. Thomas Jefferson wrote in his version of the Koran printed by the U.S. government—the Koran in which he warned us about Islam—he didn’t want to have a foreign war, but we were paying 75% of everything that we had over in bribes to the Barbary pirates, so he sent the marines over. This gun was used against the marines.

But this is not a Barbary pirate gun, although it is decorated as one. This was first used in the American Revolution by a British soldier against us. That soldier was killed. The gun was then picked up and used by an American soldier against the British. Then that American died fighting on the shores of Tripoli and was picked up by the Muslim extremists.

So which is this gun? Is it good or is it evil. It is nothing but a gun. A gun is only a reflection of the people that use it.

It is the man, not the gun. People are different but the gun remains the same. When you get past the politics, when you get past the media, and you get to have a conversation with people of any party, any class or when you get to have an honest conversation, people will agree: this is crazy what’s going on…

How do we even protect our kids? Our families? I’m worried that our children aren’t going to have the opportunities that I had.

I’m worried about the kind of country that they are growing up in, which brings us to why we fight.

We have to have that conversation tonight: ‘how do I protect myself and my children and my loved ones? How do they protect themselves?’

We fight because we actually want to fix things.

Our families and our society are sick.

We have become a nation that is numb to the horrors of death unless it serves a political purpose.

Our ambassador is butchered in Benghazi, our military is told to look the other way and leave men to die on the battlefield, and the media fails to report it.

Our media does not report that it is too often safer to walk down the streets of Baghdad than Chicago, and yet the elites call the NRA and its members killers.

We would never discuss the fact that an abortion doctor in Philadelphia literally had jars of baby feet on his desk.

As we look away from the slaughter house and the fact that 41% of all pregnancies in NY end in abortion, our president becomes a champion for the over the counter abortion pill for 15 year olds.

Our society is sick. But while we are struggling on how to fix these things, we also have to beat back the power grabbers and their lies.

We know that the only thing that can stop someone from committing murder or from threatening our life is a law-abiding citizen who has a gun and knows how to use it.

If we’re really interested in solutions. That’s one. Because gun-free zones will do nothing but prevent the good guys from bringing a gun to school.

In the People’s Republic of Cambridge, they actually have a nuclear-free zone. I love that. No nuclear weapons in Cambridge! I feel so much better.

It’s a hate-free zone, too. No HATE!

What could possibly happen? Besides the fact that two of their own citizens plotted mass murder right there in nuclear-free, Kumbaya Cambridge. And you know what, they did it with a weapon of mass destruction.

Yes, believe it or not, that’s what they’ve labeled my grandmother’s summer pastime. This pressure cooker is a weapon of mass destruction.

Have we gone insane? Have we gone insane!

Yes we have.

After the Sandy Hook massacre, the government went in, seized the opportunity, exploited these families, and pushed for more control over our lives. It’s immoral.

Meanwhile they left our communities with “gun-free zones”

And for criminals, all that means is: “zero-opposition zone.”

The American People have the facts on their side. But the American people don’t know the facts.

We have the Constitution on our side. But we don’t know the Constitution anymore.

We have the truth on our side. But how many people can even recognize the truth?

The only way you can control a free people is to lie. The bigger the lie, and the longer you deny reality, the more apt people are to believe it.

Yet, someone will always stand up, and those who seek to control must make an example of them—smear them, isolate them, mock them, destroy them so the truth is no longer relevant. And nobody wants to talk about it any more.

“OK, 2+2 = 5!”

They call us rednecks, right-wing, anti-government and Christians. And people believe them, especially those who never grew up around guns, who are legitimately confused about the NRA and the right to bear arms. These are the people we need to reach out to because they really think the gun is evil. They really believe that we are the ones responsible for killing all those children at Sandy Hook, Aurora, Columbine, and the rest. They have accepted the media lie that the NRA is malicious.

And I don’t blame them. When your kids are being carted out of a classroom with a paper gun, with enough indoctrination, you would too.

It takes a lot of work to get around all of the lies of an out of control government and a media in collusion. And there’s another reason why people believe it. When a society is this sick and you are on overload as a parent, if someone gives you an easy answer, you snap at it because it’s convenient.

It’s easy, and it doesn’t require us to examine our lives or our role as a citizen or parent. Now, only 35% own a gun and that number is decreasing.

So let’s be clear:

Let’s talk about facts. Let’s talk about history. I don’t want you to take my word for any of this—look it up yourself. Do your own homework.

Let’s start by making something abundantly clear, over and over again.

Guns have lifted people out of poverty and over ands over have allowed the oppressed to rise up against tyranny.

Those who seek control ask: “How could you defend the use of guns…how irresponsible…”

“The gun is the most dangerous thing on the planet.”

They say no other country in the world has the problem America has with gun massacres.

“We need to be more like England where the police use batons. The only way to save the lives of our children is to ban assault-weapons and control the people’s right to own a gun.”

Our president said: “If there’s even one thing we can do, one life we can save—don’t we have an obligation to try?”

Let’s start here, Mr. President. I’m gonna explain why that’s wrong. using your logic: Mr. President, you authorized the killings of more than 176 innocent children in Pakistan. These children didn’t do anything. I have to say, these children were just as innocent as the ones who died at Sandy Hook.

Adam Lanza killed 20 children. Your use of drones killed 176 children. I’d say you’re the priority if we use your logic.

Mr. President, “if we want to save innocent children” we need to start by taking that button out of your hand.

It’s not about the drones. It is not about the war. It is not about the guns.

Let me clarify for those in the media: I am not acusing the president of killing children even though the President has accused Wayne La Pierre and the NRA of killing children.

We will not use the tools of Saul Alinsky.

We have read the Rules for Radicals, which starts with “a tip of the hat—to the first radical Lucifer.”

We will not tip our hat to Satan. We will bend our knee to God and let us honestly seek the truth.

We must remain calm and rational. We must hold on to logic.

Because in the heat of battle, people make mistakes out of fear. In the moment of battle, you make irrational decisions b/c you just want it to stop.

If you look at the countries that have banned guns, it’s always because of an emergency.

So let’s fix reason and logic firmly in her seat, question with boldness, and accept the answers that science and facts give us whether they hurt us or help us.

Let’s look at the countries that have rapidly undergone efforts to ban guns:

In every single place that all guns or handguns are banned,

the murder rates go up.

Compared to all other developed nations, the highest murder rates are not in America but in those countries which have the strictest gun control laws.

Should we ban guns and be more like England? Gun-related crimes doubled in England within a decade of guns being banned.

And 4 years after guns are banned, the English Bobby began to carry guns for the first time.

Ban guns, gun deaths double.

Mass killings are becoming an epidemic? No they’re extraordinarily rare.

513 people have been killed in mass killings since 1983.

That’s far too many. But 3,696 people have been killed by lightning in the same 30 years.

There are 30,000 firearms related deaths per year they say.

But what they won’t tell you is that 65% of those, including the one 2 days ago, are suicides.

Most of the remaining 35 % are for self-protection.

Or they are cops in the line of duty.

Once you factor suicide, cops, and protection that murder rate gets cut by over half.

The murder rates are less than half of what they were during the Great Depression. That seems to imply that the more people out of work, the more murders occur. I would bet that the same would be true for suicides—The Blaze verified that the man who shot himself at the Airport Thursday had just been fired.

So maybe you don’t need to ban guns.

If you want to save lives, Mr. President, fix the economy. Create jobs. If you want to reduce violence don’t close gun stores, or increase regulation or buy up all the bullets, remove the tax burden and clear the path for small businesses so that they can create jobs.

Facts matter. They say we have one of the highest murder rates in the world. But if you take out the gun-related deaths in cities like Chicago, Detroit, D.C., or New Orleans—where gun laws are the strictest—America would have one of the lowest murder rates in the world.

When you take out these progressive cities, America goes from the country with the third highest rate to one of the bottom ten.

When someone argues for gun-control, they are either living in self-imposed ignorance or they’re not arguing about guns. Simply control.

For us, tonight and every day forward, we must be about educating ourselves and our families and dedicating our lives to man’s liberty. It must become about the responsibility we keep for ourselves as citizens. And to make sure we give no more of our power to those in government at any level.

But we also understand many of our fellow citizens don’t want to accept more responsibility. That is why New York City has Mayor Bloomberg.

In fact, I’ve come up with a slogan…and this one, New York and Mayor Bloomberg, you will love!

You WILL LOVE NY!

Progressives like Mike Bloomberg know better than you but he also claims he doesn’t have to live under those rules. For instance, he said because of global warming, New York needed a law so you couldn’t leave your car idling—but of course he doesn’t like to get into a hot car so he lets his car idle.

When he got caught he said: “OK what’s fair is fair,” and he instead got an air conditioner that most of use in their apartment in NY, built a special contraption, and put it in his car.

He wants to control every aspect of your life, he wants to control what you drink, what you eat, how you eat, how much you eat.

He even talked recently he doesn’t think he could force everyone in NYC to exercise. Excuse me? You don’t think?

Progressives think they’re different They’re special.

They are the ranchers and we are the cattle.

There are members in congress who are absolutely pro-gun control but think it’s an outrage that YOU should have a gun.

But they carry a gun because they’re different.

Michael Moore is as anti-gun as it gets. His security guards have been arrested twice at an airport for carrying an illegal weapon in New Jersey. You shouldn’t have a gun—but Michael Moore needs one.

Even the first Progressive president, Theodore Roosevelt, had a gun. So don’t tell me the disease of Progressivism doesn’t affect both sides, because the man who started the Progressive movement was a Republican.

Teddy Roosevelt had the ultimate security system.

He had the secret service. He had them at his door, his entry way, all the way to his bedroom, but God forbid someone get past them, he wanted the chance to shoot the attacker before they shot him.

Theodore Roosevelt’s Nightstand Pistol

He had his own gun in the nightstand. Why would this president need a gun?

He’s different, “Because he has people who want to hurt him!” He doesn’t need a wallet, a driver’s license, he doesn’t need to drive because secret service does it. So why would he need to keep a gun?

Hollywood stars have Protective details. Not everyone can afford armed security, Jim Carrey, but everyone should be afforded a chance to survive.

I am sorry to say I don’t trust someone else with my family’s safety. How could anyone believe that the government is best at protecting us when they failed to notice three out of the four Boston bombing suspects overstayed their visas and one of them was deported on national security grounds by one arm of DHS only to be granted reentry by another three weeks later.

But it is more than incompetence. The Second Amendment was written because of our natural rights. And we have the responsibility to throw off the chains of tyranny.

But that sounds old fashioned, doesn’t it? That’s what progressives will tell you, they’ll use that old fashioned thing. They will always tell you: “You know, the founders only had flintlocks and couldn’t see the AR- 15.”

Maybe they couldn’t see the AR-15.

But whether or not they could isn’t what’s important. Why they wrote the words they did is what matters.

And if you don’t like the Constitution, use the constitutional process to change it. The Founders made that possible.

But there is only one way to do it. It’s simple, but not easy. It’s called an Amendment.

The founders were not anti-progress, they were anti-control. They not only expected change, they embraced it but change through the rule of law and the constitution, not around it with an executive order.

The founders, they may not have seen the AR-15.

However, President Obama, Mr. Bloomberg, and Joe Manchin –and Pat Toomey…they were sure the hell smart enough to see you coming.

The founders warned of the “monopoly of violence.”

Because they knew that governments could turn against their people.

And if the government had a monopoly of violence, tyranny would go undefeated. If you don’t believe me… ask the Japanese-Americans who spent the war in internment camps.

If you don’t think our government can do terrible things to its citizens? Explain this:

The Lakota Indians were asleep by the river when the US troops arrived on a freezing December morning. For everyone’s protection, the troops began to enter the tents of the sleeping Indians and confiscate their guns.

One boy, a deaf boy, tried to hold onto his gun. Trying to explain that he had paid a lot for it. In the struggle to hang onto it, the gun discharged.

The US Soldiers stepped back and unloaded on the group of around 300 men, women, and children. 150 were killed, another 51 wounded. Others tried to run to the creek, only to be caught and killed by the soldiers. Without any defense.

The Creek was called “Wounded Knee.” The year was 1890. To emphasize to the press the urgency and necessity of disarming those savage Indians, twenty medals of honor were awarded to the American Soldiers. That’s more than awarded for

D-Day…only four.

Battle of the Bulge…seventeen.

Pearl Harbor…fifteen.

Rifle from Massacre at Wounded Knee

This gun belonged to a member of that tribe.

If you wish to excuse the internment camps or Wounded Knee, ask what gun control meant to the Average African-American of the South in 1850. Or even after they were freed in 1880s.

After the emancipation proclamation, slavery was over, but not really, as we all know it. It’s why Martin Luther King marched. It didn’t end. Why?

The proslavery Democrats in the South tried disarming blacks because it was the last thing that they could do to prevent them truly witnessing freedom. Even after they were declared free and were reading, educating themselves, trying to lift themselves up out of poverty, up from slavery, as Booker T. Washington would say.

The very last attempt to keep them in check was gun control.

If they weren’t allowed to protect themselves, it wouldn’t matter how much knowledge they had. It would all be meaningless in the face of a gun or a midnight raid or a torch or a sword.

You have a right to life. The Democrats were not happy about this at all, and they had the power in the South and they weren’t going to change—war or no war.

The Democrats had the terrorist organization called the “Ku Klux Klan,” which was killing blacks, but not only blacks, any white who supported the integration into the Union as full citizens of any black man or woman. So, the Klan would kill anybody, but they loved to kill blacks, and they really loved to kill who they called “RADICAL REPUBLICANS.” Those were the Republicans who supported racial integration and equality for all.

Our history is so screwed up that they try to make all white people racists.

Both Republicans and blacks ended up on the KKK kill list, and so the Klan went around burning and lynching families, killing them, whites, blacks, just out of sheer hatred. 25% of all the lynchings in America were of white people who had committed to stand and fight for the liberties of all men.

A lot of times, people couldn’t do anything about it because they didn’t have a gun, because their gun was taken away.

Now, if you don’t have a gun, and the Klan comes knocking at your door, how is that freedom, exactly?

You could protect yourself if you have a right to use a gun, have a gun, keep it on you. The left will ask “why do you need more than a couple of bullets or what are you going to hunt with more than 6 rounds?”

If the Klan or the Crips or any of the gangs coming across the border unimpeded come to my neighborhood, I may require more than 6 bullets.

Unfortunately the people who need this more than anything is Americans will not see or hear it. They are those Americans who are trapped in the violence, death, and despair of our inner cities; It’s the death and despair by progressive governments and a collective whose failing schools were designed not to teach about personal responsibility and freedoms.

Teach them their own history so they may join us in the understanding that universal access to firearms is indistinguishable from emancipation.

I ask you: please, do not to take my word for it. Do your own homework.

It’s not about safety, it is about control. At a time in our country’s history when the average twelve year old could go out and buy a gun.

At a time in the 1950s where over 60% of Americans had a gun in their home, some Americans still struggled to feel the true impact of God given rights.

In Alabama in 1956 you needed a permit to carry a gun.

A black preacher who knew his rights and, more importantly, knew history, took his job as a father and his duty to protect his family seriously, and as things heated up he did the right thing—as a law abiding citizen he went to his police station and applied for a permit to carry a gun.

Unfortunately, because he was considered a challenge to the people who were in control of the system the Alabama police told Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King:

We’d like to have someone like you have a gun, but for your own safety, Sir, we just don’t think you should have one.

He was denied his right to carry a gun for his own safety.

Is there anybody within the sound of my voice that believes he was denied a concealed carry because it was in his best interest?

If we’re really concerned and serious about getting guns out of the hands of people who have proven themselves irresponsible and dangerous with guns,

Then we need to tell the truth:

Racists like James Earl Ray killed one.

Disturbed kids like Adam Lanza kill 26,

but our own history shows that

governments kill millions.

Let me come back to the picture of a naked hippie. And just so members of the press don’t get confused….

Early morning in California when a resident called the police to say that he saw a ‘naked hippie’ shooting birds. The California authorities responded by taking his gun away.

Charles Manson Shotgun

It was this gun.

Why am I telling you this story? Because it’s not the gun because the naked hippie went away without his gun but returned as helter skelter, a man known as one of the most brutal mass murders on record: Charles Manson.

He didn’t use a gun, he and his followers used knives.

It’s the intent and the person. It is the individual, not the weapon.

We must admit two things; that weapons will always find their way into the hands of bad people, but guns remain in the hands of good people. This is the beginning of the path to our solution: good people who are willing to stand.

9/11- Walter Reaver’s Revolver

September 11th, 2001. A moment in history that will define this generation. While victims were running away, men, were running into those buildings. Amazing men like young Walter Weaver, a member of the NYPD and an NRA life member. He was last seen in the world trade center trying to rescue people. He was in the lobby trying to free people trapped in an elevator. A servant fighting for the individual’s freedom until the very end.

After the towers fell and the nation mourned, we sifted through the rubble, this is all that was left as a reminder of Walter Weaver. A silent token of liberty.

Walter Weaver, I’m sure wouldn’t want to be called a hero.

He was simply an American.

He was an example of what we all should be—men, who just do the right thing when time calls our name.

When there is an emergency or trouble we are the ones that should run to help. We must be the action on the other end of the 911 call.

I don’t know, but I believe Walter Weaver would tell you that he wasn’t trained to be hero by the police academy.

But he was raised in a culture that taught him about self-sacrifice and to always do the right thing, even when no one else is watching. He had those things long before he wore a uniform.

How many of us can say that.

Good cops, bad cop, it doesn’t mean you take all the badges. It’s the people, not the badge.

As good as the policemen in our country are. When you are in trouble the average Police response rate is 8 minutes; most crimes take less than one.

If a responsible citizen with a gun had been in that movie theater in Colorado, or if members in the audience in that theater were allowed to bring their gun into the theater and not leave them locked in their cars, how many lives would have been saved?

How many of the mourning, children would instead have been able to spend time over breakfast with their mom or dad this morning if someone good was allowed to have a gun?

While our politicians from the local to the federal level have spent us into oblivion, and our public services are being obliterated and our police force is being cut.

I will no longer accept the media falsehood nor reinforce it by calling our brave men and women in blue on our cities and streets first responders. It’s time for America to recognize WE are the first responders.

They are the 2nd responders, we are the first responders.

When there is trouble let us be the first on the scene to help.

Let us be the first responder when someone is sick or hungry or frightened.

Let us be the first to share our bread with the hungry; Let us be the first to open our hearts to the homeless poor; Let us be the first to remove the yoke of injustice.

I don’t know what America will choose. But for me and my family, I choose to stand with courage. I choose to stand with selflessness. I chose to stand with God with Malice toward none and charity to all.

That’s who we are.

Forget what the media says, I know that’s who we are.

Our freedom is under attack. Our liberty and way of life is being legislated out of existence. Our rights are being diminished by a ruling power…an elite class is growing out of control.

We are in a really a precarious position, America. We have a government that is run by radicals actively working against us.

And there are politicians in the Democratic and Republican Parties who don’t fully understand that you’re dealing with a different enemy who is playing for the entire world.

They aren’t just tinkering around the edges anymore.

They are going after America at her very core.

Because they know: if you lose the 2nd Amendment

You lose the 1st, the 4th , the 5th, the 10,th the 14th, the 19th, then all you’ll be left with is the 16th Amendment, the income tax one.

And maybe if you’re lucky…you might still have that one about quartering soldiers.

Charlton Heston already stood in 1976

He drew that line in the sand. I will not give up my weapon. I will not comply. I will stand and fight.

But we must now define what it means to fight and it must allow us to remain true to who we are. Tonight begins a new chapter in the fight for liberty.

One that is about more than just our cold dead hands…it’s about the hearts of good people and the active minds of a free people, the actions of a righteous people.

It’s about who we are. As Americans, proud Americans with a cause greater than ourselves.

I believe it is time not to run from labels – instead embrace those things that will be the only life preserver of any value. Let us declare without shame: Yes- I will cling to my God and my guns.

He is my rock, and they are central to our foundation.

In the coming days I will announce an effort with major partners who know the time of our day.

I hope the NRA will join me on this.

We must begin to teach the American people how to stand for civil rights, with the same vigor and discipline that was taught to Alveda King and those around her by her Uncle Martin. We must learn what it means to passively resist.

Let us resist in the Judeo-Christian tradition.

This is the underground railroad and the lunch counters, and Tiananmen Square. Most God-fearing Americans have always associated things like ‘peace’ activists, sit-ins and resistance with pot smoking, naked hippies. By doing so, we have dismissed their power and their roots.

Because the cultural icon of that decade was the naked hippie we missed the truth, which truly moved us forward.

That free love had nothing to do with freedom and worse, love love should not be confused with sex.

The true and powerful message of the 1960s was that God demands equal justice and equal rights for all of his children. That was the center of MLK movement. And so we must pick up that truth again.

We must not respond in kind by getting angry, by playing dirty,

by calling the Progressives names and striking out .

Because we know who they are, we chose not be like them. Let’s not give them that satisfaction nor the media the story they’ve already written. We are better than that. We are the law abiding, god fearing members of the NRA.

We are Americans. We will be clear, and we will stand, we will march if we have to, but we will not be moved.

Our right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. We will follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, Frederick Douglass, Winston Churchill, Thomas Paine, Dietrich Bonheoffer, Ben-Gurion, Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Gandhi, Thomas Jefferson, and MLK.

Hear me now: “We Shall Overcome!”

Let us not talk about cold dead hands, but rather the people who have a cause to use them. It is not the gun, the knife or, as Cain discovered with Able, a rock but the cold heart filled with error and darkness that must be corrected.

So we will use these hands and our warm hearts to lift up, learn, teach, help and heal. We will work together side by side, white, black, Hispanic or native-American. It doesn’t matter because we don’t see those divisions.

WE will work together as Americans not only to preserve our rights, but the rights of our children to be safe, our wives and daughters to not be held at knife or gunpoint by a rapist and our most precious and vulnerable little ones to have the right to survive a simple walk down a city street or, God forbid, survive a day of public education.

It is not our cold dead hands that will win this but as always when it comes to American victories, it is our strong backs, our strong will, and the ability to adapt and learn and our warm hearts filled with love for all mankind that will compel us to defend all men's right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Churchill said, we shall not falter, we shall not fail. I will tell you if America falls, the entire world falls into darkness, so I will add: we cannot falter, we cannot fail.

We will not be the generations that historians look back to and question. We will not be the generation which loses mankind’s freedom

They will look back to us instead and with awe and inspiration that in our darkest times with the greatest reason for doubt or fear, we rose above it, pushed the darkness back, and held the torch of liberty high once again for all men of the world to see and aspire to.

I am not moving. Because I have the power of the ultimate truth:

Because I am on the side of nature’s law and nature’s god.

Jesus was a man of love, peace, and forgiveness. But make no mistake he was also immovable.

The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. We will fight by strapping on the full armor of God. We will stand firm with the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the spirit.

We will fight your tactics of fear, we will fight your darkness.

We will fight your lies and we will counter them with love peace and equal justice for all mankind.

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.