Glenn's Closing Remarks at CPAC 2016

Glenn's speech at CPAC is receiving rave reviews! Thank you for watching and for the kind comments. Below is a sampling of what people are saying.

Comments From Viewers:

"Absolutely. Amazing. Best speech I have ever heard. Glenn, I hope you can write this speech out, and sell it. My compassion for you grows daily, as does my love for freedom, liberty, and those who are imprisoned, killed, and murdered to protect this liberty."

"Just WOW! I am literally blown away. This is the most Brilliant, Inspiring and Factual speech I have ever heard. How can anyone not agree with every word. Our CONSTITUTION, it IS what America is about. When we lose those principles, we have lost our country and our souls. Whether you like Glenn or not, every American needs to hear this"

"Phenomenal speech! I dare say it was one of the most succinct, passionate, and timely speeches on the necessity of the Constitution and returning to those principles. Perhaps you are our Thomas Paine, delivering "Common Sense" in a time when the Republic desperately needs it. Let it be said that the principles you spoke on transcend party and politician and speak to our individual liberty. Let us return to those principles. Let us look inward and realize they are true. Then, let us turn outward and elect those that emulate those principles."

"Loved this speech! Shared it to my personal page. Very inspiring and honest! I think everyone, no matter who you will be voting for, should watch this. This wasn't just a speech for an election or for Americans. It is a speech for humans everywhere! I've got a golden ticket!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! "

"Just finished listening to the speech, I loved it! Now let's take our golden ticket and get our country back on track. Thank you Glenn Beck."

"Glenn, all I can say is WOW! By far your best speech ever; you are a wise and gracious leader. Let's hope this speech unifies conservatives to unite and reclaim the moral high ground, and educates the next generation aspire for greatness.."

"Your messages were spot on, Glenn. This election IS all about saving The Constitution and Bill of Rights. I pray your speech is heard around the world."

"...when you finished one of the most inspirational speeches I have ever heard I wished they had given you a hand held mic. To drop on the stage as you walked away... Like a boss. Not to sound too much like a millennial (I was born in '80 so I ride the fence) but that speech last night was bad @$$. That is all.

main-glenn-beck-cpac-backstage main-glenn-beck-cpac-backstage-2

"Wonderful speech. The constitution has never before been explained more clearly. Thank you GLENN BECK. We needed to hear these words"

"Glenn, I am a fellow Texan and have been listening/watching you for years. Your CPAC 2016 speech was the best speech of your lifetime thus far! It was masterful, inspirational, and electrifying, and a glorious reminder of our founding fathers' blueprint for a free and exceptional America. I was moved to tears. This is the "golden ticket" we are to "conserve" as Conservatives! May God fearing, Liberty lovers continue to wake up and stand up for our PRINCIPLES! Keep fighting the good fight, Glenn. You are making a huge difference!"

"Just now watching your closing statements, Glenn... This speech was ABSOLUTELY PHENOMENAL! So well done. I hope as many people as possible will watch this and share it."

"Most inspired, uplifting speech on the Federalist Papers original idea for the U.S. Constitution, and the road map back to our greatness as a people, and nation, in recent or distant memory."

"Absolutely inspiring......countries have poet laureates.......the conservatives have a brilliant story teller laureate......You should be at the top of the list at every college for commencement speaker.....God be with you in all that you do."

"A speech that should be examined carefully and taught in our elementary schools, secondary schools and colleges throughout our nation as Government 101. Everyone should understand the principles taught in this speech."

"Fantastic speech and delivery, Glenn. Every single American needs to hear it...and those not Americans too!"

"Excellent speech. By the time it was over I have hope for our nation. It is we the people and our time is now"

main-glenn-beck-cpac-speech-2 main-glenn-beck-cpac-3

Transcript of Glenn's CPAC Speech

You are coming into adulthood at a time when the amount of debt created by Central Banks and Socialist programs around the world exceeds the value of all combined human wealth and assets. We owe the bankers more in debt than the combined value of every dollar, ounce of gold, every home and car, every factory and every farm. In the US, our combined debt and unfunded socialist mandates now exceeds seven times total GDP.

We steal the future from the young to allow for our own prosperity today. But we need cleaner air, right? We must provide free college for illegal immigrants! We have to pay for abortions for 16 year olds! We have to bail out Wall Street to protect Main Street, don’t we? We have to make sure everyone gets their fair share!! What a pack of liars we all are. And yet in the hallways of CPAC, you see smiles — determination, energy, hope. The young are resilient.

It reminds me of a boy we’ve all read about. He, too, was born into a world where he was burdened by the mistakes and laziness of his parents — Charlie Bucket. Yes, Roald Dahl’s Charlie Bucket, from "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory". Charlie was born into a world of hopelessness. Naturally bright and hard-working, he provides for a family wholly dependent on him for their food and shelter. A family who has left to him the burden of providing for their survival, a burden that is his birthright, his simply because he is capable. But somehow Charlie is still bright and cheerful. Somehow he still has hope.

When Wonka announces that there are Golden Tickets, the world goes into a frenzy. A chance to escape from the dreary 12-hour work days, struggling to get by. Free passes into the candy-filled world behind his gates. Wonka is saying, “There is still magic in the world, Charlie.” Charlie can’t afford to buy the chocolate bars, but is perceptive enough to find a coin dropped in the gutter. He buys a bar. He opens it and discovers one of the magical tickets inside. I’ve got a Golden Ticket!

There is a scene in the movie where a crowd on the street discovers that Charlie has found the last of the Golden Tickets. A mob forms around him, cheering him, tugging on him, patting him, jostling him, tugging at his clothes and hair, wanting to be close to him, or wanting to get his ticket! They are drawn to him, drawn to it. Drawn to the magic of the ticket in his hand, to this thing that can free them from the doldrums of their day to day lives. A man grabs Charlie and tells him to run . . . Run Straight Home, and Don’t Stop Until You Get There! He does run. Runs for home, but on the way he is stopped.

He has his ticket, wants to rush home to his family and share the wonderful news! But he is stopped. Do you remember what stops him? Slugworth. See, in Rahl Dahl’s world, whenever you get a Golden Ticket, Slugworth shows up. Whenever you are given the thing you want, the thing that can give you freedom, the thing you have hoped and wished for, the thing that represents magic . . . Slugworth is always right there. The businessman, with a wry smile and pockets full of cash.

He is there to tempt Charlie, offering to buy the boy’s virtue . . . a chance to double-up his good fortune and exploit the opportunity fate has given him. All Charlie has to do is steal a little piece of candy from Wonka’s factory. Just a single piece of candy, and he’ll be free of the burden the world has left him. Charlie meets Wonka and tours the factory. Along the way, he gives into his temptation and pockets an Everlasting Gobstopper. As you’ll recall, he and his grandpa also break the rules. At the end of his tour, after having seen his fellow tourists picked off by their own greediness, Wonka throws him out for having broken those rules. “You lose! You get nothing!” His Grandpa, in anger, says to him, “If Slugworth wants his Gobstopper, he’s going to get it!”

But Charlie’s principals shine through. He overcomes his greed. After all, he did break the rules. He walks back into the room, takes the candy from his pocket, and places it on the desk next to Wonka. Wonka says, “So shines a good deed in a weary world.” He turns to Charlie and says, “Charlie, my boy . . . you’ve won!”

main-glenn-beck-cpac-speech-3 main-glenn-beck-cpac-speech-4

Why do I tell you this story? What is our Golden Ticket? What is the magical thing that has the chance to free you from the burden’s your parents and grandparents have left you? The past few days, we have heard some great ideas about how to advance conservative initiatives. Tonight, I want to speak to you about ideas that will seem, perhaps, less practical, less . . . tactical. Perhaps they will not do as much to increase our reach on Facebook or improve our email open rates.

They will probably not result immediately in convincing our courts to restore water-rights to our farmers, or result in the repeal of Obamacare next year. But while they may not have any immediate practical effect, they are actually the entire reason we are here at all. We, the self-proclaimed guardians of Libert, are here to protect ideas. Ideas that we often take for granted. We assume that we’re covered just because we’re voting for our Party, or at least voting against the other Party. When do we start voting for the candidate who represents our Principals, instead of voting against the other guy? We’re here this weekend at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Well, these are the ideas that we’re here to conserve:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. The right of the people to keep and bear arms

shall not be infringed. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated. The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Do any of these sound familiar? Do you think they would sound familiar in most homes in America? In the halls of the White House? In the hallways of government-funded schools? How about our churches? Would they sound familiar around your own kitchen table? Two hundred and forty years ago, our Forefathers pledged to each other and to the people that they would defend those principals with Their Lives, Their Fortunes and Their Sacred Honors. The Sons and Daughters of Liberty bled together to throw off the chains of a Dictator in order to “secure the blessings of Liberty for themselves and their posterity . . .” Do you feel it? Personal Liberty. Individual Rights. Privacy. Religious Freedom.

What is it that unites us as conservatives? What defines our cause? Ask a Fox News or CNN pundit about the core of the conservative movement. They might say something like “Smaller Government”. Fine, but Smaller Government is not a cause, it is an effect. It is the result of dedication to the original principals and an understanding of the rights endowed to us by our Creator, by Nature’s God. Not just for Republicans or Democrats, not just for Independents, but for the entire species of man. The men who founded our nation understood those principals. That we possess free agency. A capacity to choose our own morality, our own faith. We are capable of working with others in voluntary cooperation for the common good. We are also capable of competing with others for resources and achievement. We are individuals. Each of us is a whole entity, distinct from the rest. They knew that our rights are part of us. That without those rights, we cease to be whole. We cease to be human beings. That is why they did not found their new nation as a

They chose instead not to subvert their nature by giving some men power over the lives of others, but rather to allow each man to live as an individual. They recognized that each of us should be allowed to pursue happiness in our own way, according to the verdict of their own mind. The American Revolution was not a war against England. It was a war against the idea that some men have the right to control the lives of others. That was revolutionary. For the first time in world history, a government was created with a single justification for existing: The recognition and protection of each citizen’s rights. Rights that were inherent to them as individuals. Not granted to them by the government, but simply automatic. “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men”. That is the reason our government exists: to protect the rights of man. The Founders don’t cite any other reason in the Declaration. The Declaration doesn’t say “To ensure there is a chicken in every pot.” It doesn’t say “To create safe spaces on college campuses where nobody can say anything mean.” It doesn’t say “To ensure everyone gets free tuition, to secure deals for oil fields in the Middle East.” It doesn’t say, “To bail out big banks and Wall Street cronies who pay us the biggest speaking fees.”

I don’t recall seeing that in there.

Progressives in both Parties believe that governments should do more than simply protect our liberties. They are baffled by our love and dedication to the Constitution. To them it is an inconvenience, maybe something that worked when America was a frontier nation, but it doesn’t offer functional solutions to a modern, industrial society. We have Facebook now, and airplanes, inner city blight, and radical Islamists trying to build nuclear bombs.

So many people believe the world is so complex that 200-year-old documents can’t have relevance anymore. They believe that governments should also eliminate poverty, should plant trees, should create jobs. It should control our resources to ensure nobody gets more than their fair share. They find our allegiance to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers puzzling.

Tonight, we’ll dispel their confusion once and for all. And I want each of you to personally think for a minute and rediscover what it means to be conservative. We are dedicated to the Constitution and its principals not because we cling to our Bibles and our guns. We are dedicated to the Constitution and its principals because we are clear-minded. Because we are rational. Because we have courage enough to recognize the self-evident truth: That mankind, by his nature, has an identity. We are endowed by our creator with inherent, unalienable rights. They are ours simply because we exist. If you don’t understand why the Constitution matters, then you’re the one who’s confused. You don’t understand the nature of man. How can you look at yourself in the mirror and not see who you are? You are a sentient being. You’re born with free agency. You’re capable of choosing right from wrong, morality from immorality.

The world tells you that you are powerless, that you need government programs and rules and edicts. I tell you that you are the most powerful being ever created. When we say we are dedicated to the eternal principals of the Constitution, that is what we mean: We recognize and embrace mankind as the powerful beings we are. Man is who he is. A is A. The Constitution is remarkable and will continue to endure because it is factually correct. It recognizes that no man or woman has any inherent power over any other. Rights are ours individually just like our own DNA. And because rights belong to us individually, the rights of five of us together can never outweigh the rights of one of us.

Those who stand opposed to these principals would dismiss natural law. They wish to live in a world where man isn’t man, because you are too imperfect for them. They detest you. They fear you. They believe you are too corrupt, too stupid and too selfish to be allowed to make your own decisions. They are terrified of the real world, because it is not in their control. They wish for a world

where we don’t have unique talents that may allow us to achieve something others do not. In their world, man’s nature should be subverted, transformed . . . bent to their will, always for reasons they claim are for ‘the common good.’

They can’t have us believe we’re individuals. Instead, we are the possessions of the state, to be used to create a better world. And because they believe we aren’t capable of creating this world on our own, we must be forced to live as we are told so the elites can create this world for us. And in the end, those who call themselves our saviors pull out guns and make us slaves. To them, Mao is right: you don’t have power! To them, power comes from the barrel of a gun.

What is the most precious commodity on earth? Measured in terms of dollars, Gold is the highest valued commodity. Oil, perhaps, or water some say. Others have argued that media airtime is the more valuable a digital society, or a million likes on Facebook. But they are all wrong.

The most valuable commodity on planet earth is man. That is what Progressives and Liberals, Republicans and Democrats, egomaniacal businessmen and socialist senators, man is what they wish to control. There is no more valuable commodity in existence than the productive energies, the labor of mankind. The men and women who live in fear of a world they can’t control seek one thing: power over us. They want, they need to dictate our behavior. To use us as resources to enrich those in power, and to make the world feel safer for the elites. Progressives can never be satisfied. Their fear and shame make them want to have power over every man, woman and child forever.

Democracy. They didn’t elect to have a king. They didn’t choose a path of forced cooperation like socialism or communism, and they didn’t place power in the hands of the wealthy or the elite.

main-glenn-beck-cpac-speech-5 main-glenn-beck-cpac-speech-6

The expense of maintaining that power is enormous. That is why we have staggering multi-generational debt, the unfunded mandates of a welfare state that assure every American is a slave. It is vital that you understand this. If you and your spouse have a child this year they are born owing a debt of $1,006,208 dollars, their “fair share.” Lincoln and the Republican party abolished slavery over 150 years ago. But make no mistake, today every child born in American is born a slave, burdened as indentured servants the instant they draw their first breath. And the Republican party, the party of Lincoln, has helped forge every link in every chain.

Why are we even allowing the conversation to be about $40,000 in college debt when our children are born owing millions? We’re all guilty. We’re enslaving our children for our own comfort. They are slaves to the unholy alliance between Big Government, Big Business and Big Banks. Slaves to each other. Slaves to the false prosperity we enjoy today. This is taxation without representation. I seem to recall that wars have been fought over that issue.

From the dawn of man until 1780, the advance of human progress was almost imperceptible. Key measures like life expectancy, household income, total wealth, starvation rates, infant mortality rates. For tens of thousands of years, improvements were so small, they could only be measured over centuries. But from 1790 onward, human progress began to accelerate at an exponential rate. The Industrial Revolution was born here, and America became the technology and production engine of the world. Why? What happened here in America?

It was The Constitution. Our principals. Equal justice. Our Golden Ticket. From the day the Constitution was ratified, America has been rising like a rocket, carrying the rest of humanity with us. Individual Liberty, and a government prevented by law from interfering. That is what made American Great. And that is the only thing that can “Make America Great Again.”

Let’s compare that experience to the alternative. Mankind has spent over a century experimenting with the live A / B test of Liberty vs. Tyranny. What are the results? What was the leading cause of unnatural death during the 20th Century? It wasn’t cancer. It wasn’t car accidents. It wasn’t drugs and alcohol, or terrorism. It wasn’t gang violence in the inner cities. The greatest murderer over the last century was governments. Socialist, communist, fascist and theist governments. During the last century, totalitarian governments murdered over 120 Million of their own citizens. And that doesn’t include the countless millions who died of disease and malnutrition, suffering on government health care plans, and on government food programs — always in the name of "progress." all for the greater good.

While the American people were delivering the cure for polio, nuclear fission, refrigeration, televisions, the internet and lunar rockets, the iPhone, and encryption. Progressivism and socialism were delivering death camps, forced starvation, gas chambers, forced abortions and genocide. If the goal really is to Make America Great Again, we don’t need more government deals or programs. We need the government to do the one thing it’s allowed to do in the Constitution. To get out of our way and let loose the productivity and ingenuity of the American people.

Our Founders recognized that fact over 200 years ago. They pledged their lives to one another, vowing to fight and die to protect each other’s rights against a government that sought to control them. As conservatives, it is our duty to bear that responsibility for this generation and the next. Our time is now. It falls to us, to follow our God-given principals.

I am so honored to be among you at this conference. Our movement isn’t about Parties, it’s about each other. Does either party discuss or claim these principals as their own? Who is even talking about it outside this conference? Have they demonstrated a willingness to actually defend our liberty? The Parties don’t matter, our core principals matter. It’s about what we stand for, not who we stand against. We cannot lose our movement, your movement, to a hostile takeover by a charming Slugworth bearing pockets full of cash. No candidate in this race reignited the interest in Conservatism and brought new people to the party. You did that. The Tea Party generated that interest and began defending Liberty years ago.

Most Republicans believe being a Conservative means you’re unpopular, that you will lose at the ballot box. I say BULL. Because of your efforts, right now there are more Republicans in office at the state and local level than there have been at any time since 1920. Don’t tell me conservative principals can’t work. Don’t tell me conservative principals can’t win. This movement belongs to you. You are the wave that is turning Blue into Red all over the country. Loyalty oaths should never be made to parties. That’s a step toward Fascism. This is far beyond Republican or Democrat, Liberal or Conservative, Tea Party or Evangelical or atheist. You don’t owe loyalty or an oath to any party that fails to defend these principals. And it definitely isn’t an oath to the Government. No, our loyalty and our dedication are owed to the Original Principals, to our God, and to each other. That is what our country is. That is what we fight and die for. This is the core of it. Our nature as beings on this earth and our survival as a nation. It comes down to what we owe ourselves, our children and each other. Look around the room. Really look at the people sitting around you. Our principals are found in each other. Our principals are found in the oath of the declaration it is time to restate them to one another clearly:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights. That among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government

becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. ...It is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

As we leave here today and move toward this election, let these words ring true for you. Let the Politicians who would seek your vote hear those words and understand that they are your servants, not you theirs. Demand that they uphold the Oath of Office they take above their oath to their party. That they reaffirm their singular vow: To Preserve, Protect and Defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Let the party bosses and Super Pacs hear that they will only have your support as long as they take and uphold this oath with you. Let the media hear it from you in interviews and social media posts, in articles and books that you author. Let the bartender and cab driver hear it tonight. Let your family hear it tomorrow morning. We are all brothers and sisters,

defenders of freedom.

I have great confidence in American because our cause, the cause of freedom and individual liberty, is a righteous cause. Like our rights, it was endowed to us by our Creator. Those who fight against it are battling nature itself, and they will lose. We need only raise our voices, honor our pledge to one another and refuse forever to surrender our way of life.

May you carry that spirit into the hallways of this hotel tonight and into the streets outside tomorrow. These are the principals that we must run home to. This is our Golden Ticket. Let’s have faith in our principals, rediscover them. Have faith in them and in the God who granted them to you. Let it be said of us, “So shines a good deed in a weary world.” So that when we are judged, when it comes our turn to face our Creator and tell him of our deeds, he can turn on his throne and smile at us and say, “You’ve Won! You've won!”

Featured Images: Courtesy of Lange Studio

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.