Steve Deace: Liberals Deconstruct Us Better Than We Construct Ourselves

Steve Deace, host of The Steve Deace Show, joined Glenn in studio Tuesday for an in depth conversation about the future of conservatism.

"I think that we have got to have a time period where there can be some family healing going on, after what's transpired over the last year. And I think I told you yesterday that I didn't really, truly understand how difficult the last six and seven months has been," Deace explained.

Glenn's wide-ranging conversation with Deace covered faith, principles, the media and how conservatives have failed to control their own conversation and identity.

Steve Deace is author of Nefarious Plot, available in bookstores everywhere.

Read below or listen to the full segment for answers to these questions:

• This election was really a repudiation of what?

• Do conservatives have an objective value system?

• Do people think socialism is related to social media?

• Do liberals define diversity by external identities?

• What song did Steve Deace have going through his head the day after the election?

Listen to these segments from The Glenn Beck Program:

Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors:

GLENN: Steve Deace is a talk radio show host. Heard nationwide out of Iowa. And a friend of the program. Author of the new book, Nefarious Plot, which is very C.S. Lewis. I mean, it is a great, great book that everybody should read that is modeled after the Screwtape Letters. And if you like the Screwtape Letters, this is a modern version of it. And I think -- I mean, I hate to say this because it's C.S. Lewis, but I think just, you know, in the same category as good. It is really good, Steve.

STEVE: Wow. That's about the highest praise you can give a theo nerd like me, so I'd like to just walk off now, if that's okay. Send a (inaudible) at the --

GLENN: Yeah, okay. All right. See you later.

That's right. That's right. Welcome to the studios. Glad you're here.

You -- you called together a little get together of some of the people who were Never Trump and reluctantly Trump. And wanted to have a conversation with people of where we go from here. What are you trying to accomplish?

STEVE: Just that. I think that we have got to have a time period where there can be some family healing going on, after what's transpired over the last year. And I think I told you yesterday that I didn't really, truly understand how difficult the last six and seven months has been. Because it's not new necessarily for me. I'm kind of one of those grassroots rabble-rousers anyway.

GLENN: Uh-huh.

STEVE: So being on the outside, looking in, of some of my own friends, is almost like a state of being for me. But this took it to a whole new level. And I really wasn't aware until it was over, just what the weight of what the last few months was like, feeling like every day I was arguing with members of my own audience. You know, people who put food on our table, who we support, that support us, that make it possible for us to do things like this.

Arguing with our own peers and our friends. How many tweets I compose that I had to delete to my own friends because I just couldn't handle some of the things I was seeing. And then wondering how often they weren't doing the exact same thing to me. Right?

And when I got up the next morning, I was like, "Holy cow." It was like Katrina and the Waves. That one, I'm Walking on Sunshine song came on. It was like, "This weight is gone."

And I think there needs to be though some time to assess where we're at. Because I think strategically, we're in a place that we've never been before, as a movement. And that is, taking for granted that a conservative movement still exists, which I have my doubts about that. I think we also need to discuss, what does conservatism even mean?

I was on C-SPAN for an hour a week before the election, and I got that question. And I defined it as, I'm a conservative because I'm trying to conserve the things that history has proven are what's best for the human condition.

And a black man from Detroit calls up and says, "I'm a black man from Detroit." And says, "I've never voted Republican in my entire life, but if someone had explained it to me the way you just did, I might have -- I might have looked at this differently."

I think our damage -- our brand has been damaged quite a bit in this race. And I think it's not a victory as much as a reprieve. I think everybody to some extent is ecstatic the Marxists are out of the White House, right?

But that doesn't necessarily mean that Donald Trump had a character transplant because the communists are gone. And I think you're watching his capricious, mercurial, unstable nature play itself out, just in the Courts of Owls that we're seeing get assembled here in the -- in almost this sort of Kremlin-esque intrigue about transition teams and who's in and who's out.

GLENN: This happens to all of them. Why is this a negative? This happens all the time. The transition team -- this seems normal to me.

STEVE: We're on like our third transition team. This thing has been on it for a week, you know, and there's mixed signals everywhere. And I just think that one thing --

PAT: That's how the Trump camp rolls though.

STU: Well, yes.

PAT: This happened the whole campaign.

STEVE: Because that's how he rolls.

PAT: That's how he rolls.

STEVE: No campaign can rise above its own candidate.

PAT: Right.

STEVE: The candidate is always the one responsible for the outcome of a campaign.

PAT: Right.

GLENN: We should say you were a friend and supporter of Donald Trump's for a long time.

STEVE: At first. At first. A long time may be a relative term.

GLENN: Okay.

STEVE: What really changed my mind for good --

PAT: You endorsed Ted, right? The Iowa caucus.

STEVE: Yes, I did. In fact, I remember I called Ted up in early July. And I told him, I said, "You know, I'm thinking about -- I'm leaning going this way. I'm really thinking about it. You know, I do think we need to burn it down. I I think we need something dramatically different." And about a week later, there was an event in Iowa where they had 13 of the candidates show up. It was a leadership summit. And I was the co-MC with Frank Luntz. And I'm sitting there backstage. I'm actually getting ready to meet with Donald Trump again. He's going to come off backstage. We're going to grab a private room, presumably to try to close me as a supporter. And I'm sitting 20 feet from him when he talks about, "I've never asked God for forgiveness because I've never done anything wrong."

PAT: Right.

STEVE: Which was -- to me, that was the biggest thing that stood out to me, even more than the McCain comments, as offensive as those were. That was the thing like, wow, you just walked into a room of 3,000 evangelicals and dropped that bomb. You may not -- you don't understand what you're walking into.

And then he talked about, "Well, I like soldiers who weren't captured." And I knew -- or, I suspected when they walked off of there, that him and his people were going to ask me, "How do you clean up this mess?" I didn't know what the answer was.

So this was not a great -- this was not a real Men of Courage moment, guys. I hit the eject. I just walked out. Because I was like, I wouldn't know how to fix this. It's done. Don't fix it. Go home. Go back to Trump Tower. This is not fixable. Salvage your brand.

GLENN: But it didn't hurt him. It didn't hurt him.

STEVE: You know why it didn't hurt him? Is Sam Nunberg, who is still a friend of mine, who was the guy that helped set up Trump's original campaign -- Sam called me the next day. He had sent me a column that he had ghostwritten for Trump for USA Today in response to this.

And it was -- and he essentially doubled down on it. And Sam -- and the column was, "Hey, look at all the money that I've given to veterans groups. Look at everything I've done. Who are you people to question me?" And Sam to me -- he said, "Hey, Steve, do you like this column?" And I said, "I think it's forceful. I like it." I go, "Why?"

And he said, "Because I took everything that you put in your book, Rules For Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again, the previous book I wrote, and I used that to construct this piece." And I am convinced that that is what turned everything around.

The first time the media came at him -- see, this election wasn't a repudiation of Hillary Clinton. I don't even think it was a repudiation of Barack Obama. I think it was a backlash repudiation of the media. And Trump ran against the media the entire time. Ran against them in the primary. Fox tried to kill him in the first debate. They couldn't. And so's they ended up shilling for him after that. I think he beat the media. And I think most people as conservatives, guys, define their conservatism, not by an objective values -- or, set of values, but by opposition to the liberal media.

GLENN: Explain that.

STEVE: Meaning that I think we're so -- we don't -- first of all, we don't have an objective value system. Ask the average conservative, "Why are you a conservative?" And you're probably not going to get a cogent answer.

I mean, I was listening to the roundtable you had before I came on, and you talked about the Declaration of Independence. When I go around the country, if I teach in churches or I speak in churches or I preach in the church where I go to back home, if I ask believers, "What is the foundation of the Christian faith," almost every time they're going to tell me it's the Bible.

No, it's not. Christ is the foundation of the Christian faith. Paul says, "If Christ isn't raised, you're -- then your preaching is in vain. You're all still dead in your sins."

Christianity is about God supernaturally wove his hand into history to roll the stone away and bring a dead man back to life. Did that fact happen or not? If it did, then the Bible is the clarification of how we are -- how we are then to live in light of that fact.

If it didn't happen, then we're free agents to make this up as we go along.

The -- Christianity's foundation is Christ. The clarification is the Bible. That is the relationship, I believe, between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The Declaration of Independence is the foundation of America. There is a God. Our rights come from him. Government's only responsible is to protect and preserve those rights so we can reach our God-given potential. And that's it. That's all there is. There isn't anymore. That's it.

And then the inevitable questions that come along when we have conflicts: How do we resolve those things? The Constitution clarifies those conflicts, but the Declaration is the foundation. How often is that foundation ever uttered ever by any conservative?

GLENN: You would have loved -- I just gave this speech Sunday. I wish you would have been there, because it was that -- there's six points in the Declaration. And the Declaration of Independence has those six points, and that's all you need to know. That is the spirit of America. The Constitution is the framework on how to protect that idea.

And we missed that. And progressives have tried to destroy the Declaration. And we don't have a Declaration.

The conservatives are supposed to be saying -- what is a conservative? Well, we hold these truths to be self-evident.

DOM: Right.

GLENN: That all men are created. They're endowed by creator with certain rights that are unchangeable. Those rights come from God. The government is established to be able to protect those rights. That is their main duty: Protect those rights.

STEVE: Uh-huh.

GLENN: That the laws are all based in natural law and -- the laws of nature and nature's God. So the laws out of the Bible. The Ten Commandments.

STEVE: Uh-huh.

GLENN: And what you witness in nature. You can protect yourself because -- a bear can protect itself, so why can't I?

Nature's laws. Nature's God. And the last one is, if a government becomes hostile to that, you have the right to abolish it and reestablish a new government that will protect those rights.

STEVE: Right. That's it.

GLENN: That's the whole idea of America in a nutshell.

STEVE: I know it sounds like we're having a Cleon Skousen class in here. But that's what it is. That's supposed to be what we're conserving. I don't know -- I don't know what most of conservatism is. And it's easy for me to say -- I don't have, you know, one of the ten biggest shows in the country. I haven't written five New York Times best-sellers. But it seems to me that most of conservatism is selling out conferences and selling widgets.

GLENN: Yes.

STEVE: And it's not an advancement of a set of principles, let alone policy.

Does anybody know what the Sam Hill conservative policy actually would be? Forget even defining our principles. Let's see we define those. How would we go about governing accordingly? Has anybody even seen in their lifetime -- except for maybe the first half of Ronald Reagan's first term, before the rigor mortis of Washington set in -- has anybody ever actually seen what governing along those lines would look like, beyond just framing the principles?

GLENN: No. No. No.

And you ask a conservative, "What does it mean to be a conservative?"

Well, I believe in God. And I believe in traditional marriage. And I believe that people should work hard and we should have less, you know, welfare or whatever they want to say.

They make it about the policies.

What does it mean to be a conservative?

STEVE: Uh-huh.

GLENN: There are certain ideas that are universal and everybody knows: That we were created. We were created by a God. That God gave us rights. We've established government to protect those rights. And the minute those rights -- the government starts to abuse those rights, we have a right to abolish it. That is the conservative idea.

And if we can all start to say those things -- because, you know, I was looking -- if you look at the Bill of Rights. Everybody is looking for a place where we can come together now.

Well, what are we going to do on global warming? What are we going to do on Planned Parenthood? What are we going to do about -- we're so far beyond that. We are so -- we have no cornerstone anymore. We have no baseline anymore. So we're just winging it on all of those. There's nothing to be able to say, "Well, our polar star says that we have to do X, Y, and Z --

STEVE: Right. What is the plumb-line of American culture? What is that? --

GLENN: There is none. There is none.

STEVE: There is none. Yeah.

GLENN: And it is the idea of the Declaration of Independence and the framework of the Constitution -- and I know I could go to any college campus -- I could go to Berkeley and say, "Do you believe in freedom of press? That the press shouldn't be restrained?"

Now, this is changing, but right now he with still have, "Yeah, press -- there's a freedom of the press. Yes, there's a freedom to assemble peacefully. Yes, there's a freedom to question the government. Yes, there's freedom of religion." That one is beginning to change too. Because we have abused both the press and religion.

STEVE: Right. There is -- there's a fascinating article at FiveThirtyEight today, which is Nate Silver's site.

GLENN: Yep.

STEVE: And it talks about how Americans may be too religious to accept socialism. And if I wasn't down here hanging out with you all today, here's what I would do on my show, if I was on the air on my show today: I would go on the air and ask my audience, "Why is this true? Why is America -- how come if a people are religious, they will reject socialism?" And I will guarantee you, most of my audience, until I explain it to them won't know.

GLENN: Won't know.

STEVE: And it's because, obviously if the state's going to be God, there can't already be a God. That's why socialism either proceeds secularism every single time.

GLENN: Yes. I don't believe we are too religious for socialism.

STEVE: I don't think we are either. But here's what's fascinating -- my point is, how often we had to see because Fox, Infowars, and Drudge wouldn't do it, and so we saw the mainstream media vetting Trump during the primary, according to his lack of conservative orthodoxy. The liberals were doing it.

Now, FiveThirtyEight, a liberal analytical site is now explaining to us essentially conservative apologetics, why we won't accept socialism because we're still too religious. They're making our arguments for us better than we currently make them. By the way, that's not good, guys.

GLENN: No. Because they're making those arguments so they can understand it and dismantle it.

STEVE: Yes. Yeah, they're deconstructing us better than we are constructing ourselves.

PAT: And the fact is I think that most people have been convinced by the left now that socialism and Christianity are one and the same.

GLENN: Yes. This is what the socialist --

PAT: Way too many people believe that Jesus was a socialist. I just read another article about that.

GLENN: Yeah. Yeah. Easy. And the rest of the people think that socialism -- and I'm not making this up -- think socialism has something to do with social media.

PAT: Yes.

GLENN: Socialism just means the promotion of Facebook and Twitter.

STEVE: There was a poll a few years ago that found something like six out of ten people that had held elected office felt the electoral college was a place that you went to get trained on how to get elected. So there you go.

[break]

GLENN: Steve Deace is with us. The talk show host and also author of the new book Nefarious Plot, which I can't recommend highly enough. Just a great book.

Steve, so where do we go from here? What happens now?

Because people are hurting. And they are looking for somebody, and they are dismissing people like -- I mean, even those in the conservative movement are dismissing people like Steve Bannon. The media is now saying Steve Bannon is a bad guy. They're absolutely right on this. But the media has such a bad relationship with the American people. By them saying, "He's a bad guy," only makes -- only makes people say, "Well, he must be a good guy."

STEVE: Yeah, I mean, they're doing their best to inoculate Steve Bannon from criticism at this point. And I said this -- PBS called me the day after the election, asked me to come on the round table and discuss from a conservative viewpoint how they missed the Trump phenomenon. And I pointed out to them, "You know, you guys are disconnected from America." And I asked them, "How many people in your newsroom at PBS are pro-life? How many of them go to mass once a week? How many of them go to church? How many of them even considered for voting for Donald Trump? Like a single person. You guys define diversity by external identity. Most of America doesn't. Most of America defines their identity by their value system or what they think they need or want at the time. And so you are literally not talking to most of this country. And that's why you missed that."

And I think -- I think -- I told them, "I think people got the rise of Fox News wrong, that it wasn't that it was G.O.P. TV. That's kind of what it is now. But that they -- they -- they talked about our values without suspicion. You guys do."

GLENN: Yes. Yes. Back in just a second.

[break]

GLENN: The fed is hinting that there might be a rate increase when they meet in December. Stock market looked like it was going to tank when Trump was winning Tuesday night. But after his speech, it rebounded in a uge way. Bigger than Jina. And we're going to talk a little bit about that coming up in a second.

Steve Deace is with us. Steve, what -- tell me, is there the possibility -- because I think we should consider this, that we have been completely wrong. Is there the possibility that Donald Trump becomes Ronald Reagan?

STEVE: I think we should absolutely consider the possibility we've been completely wrong.

Now, I will be -- I will be surprised if we are wrong, and I think what we're seeing in the transition team indicates we're not, that this is --

GLENN: Why?

STEVE: Because it's inconsistent. There is no consistent strain in who is surrounding him, other than, did you help me get to where I'm at?

And if you're a progressive Rudy Giuliani over here and if you're an evangelical pastor's kid Mike Pence over here, you help me get to where I'm at, so find a way to kind of work together.

I mean, Reince Priebus, when he opens his mouth, the Republican machine we all hate comes out in every last syllable. So you're going to go on camera and eat the crap sandwich on TV, and Bannon's going to be my Rasputin in the dark room over calling the Svengali shots. I mean, these two guys have literally nothing in common, other than they both helped Donald Trump get to where he's at.

GLENN: Do you believe that Bannon -- talk radio is saying Bannon is okay.

STEVE: You know, I think I met him once briefly. Been interviewed by him twice on Breitbart radio. All I know is what I've heard from other people. And all I've seen is what I've watched and witnessed Breitbart news become since it essentially become symbiotic with Trump -- and I don't think -- and I'm someone that used to be a regular reader. I don't think I've shared a link or clicked on a link at Breitbart in like nine months. I just got so disgusted by what I saw, that it just -- it literally became dead to me. Same with Drudge. I can't remember the last time I visited Drudge as a website. I just can't handle it. To me, I just look for news in other sources.

PAT: Yeah. That's where we are.

GLENN: So you just don't think there's a chance --

STEVE: I think there's a chance. Listen, my worldview starts with, God raises dead people to life.

GLENN: Right.

STEVE: So to quote the great prophets of Dumb and Dumber, I'm saying there's a chance. There is a chance. But this is why I think we should step back and let it play out. Now, I think the early returns are mixed at best. And the pressures -- the real pressures --

GLENN: What do you disagree with, on his appointments?

STEVE: First of all, I wouldn't have Rudy Giuliani anywhere near my administration.

GLENN: Why is that?

STEVE: Because he's the ultimate progressive Republican. That's why.

GLENN: Well, no, I think Chris Christie is. But he's a close second.

STEVE: He's a close second.

GLENN: Yes.

STEVE: I think that the dynamic between Reince and Bannon is terrible. It strikes me as trying to split the baby in half. And this is often -- as someone that's worked on a lot of campaigns, this is why businessmen are often the worst candidates. Because they think it is like running a company. And it is not.

You know, a CEO can't coin money. A CEO can't command an Army. A CEO can't compel you to do something lawfully or unlawfully against your will. A president can.

And I think that is where -- it's not -- it's not the same. Just because Steve Kerr is a great coach of the Golden State Warriors doesn't mean he can coach the Dallas Cowboys, guys. There's some skills that transcend, but they're totally different pursuits, different personalities, different activities.

You know, and not to mention Trump hasn't always been successful as a manager. He's filed multiple bankruptcies. He's had several failures. It's not the same at all.

And so when I see the Priebus/Bannon thing, this is what it looks like to me: Hey Reince, your reward is you get to go out there and be the guy on camera, and you're going to speak to McConnell and Ryan down there on Capitol Hill. And I'll be Nicholas II over here in a corner dark room while Rasputin is whispering sweet nothings in my ear. And we'll essentially have our own little management team over here, deciding which of your ideas we'll veto and which we won't.

Who is actually in charge? The last thing someone with Donald Trump's temperament needs is to have the people facilitating him in an uncertain chain of command. I mean, when you are as mercurial and capricious as he is, then the people around you have to be ironclad certain.

You know, it's a little like in football. If the head coach is not Mr. Game Manager, then the assistant coaches need to be real X's and O's people. And if the head coach is an X's and O's guy but not Mr. Light You Up In the Room, when he's recruiting athletes, that means the assistant coaches have got to be in there and woo mom and the young -- and her baby boy on the recruiting trip.

Trump is not Mr. X's and O's guy. He's not. So someone else has got to do that. Well, who is that right now? I mean, you kind of have these two towers of Mordor here between -- with Reince -- Reince is Isengard and Bannon is Mordor. They have literally nothing in common, other than they have a common sentiment with Donald Trump.

But you can't run a government that way. Government is not like a business. It's not.

GLENN: But he's going to try to run it -- I mean, one of the most amazing things I saw yesterday -- and I said this wouldn't happen. This couldn't happen. And it's happening. For him to ask for top secret clearance of his children --

STU: They are denying that, by the way, I believe, for what it's worth.

GLENN: Well, that's good. Do you believe it?

STU: Yeah. I don't know.

GLENN: Yeah. I mean, it sounds --

JEFFY: I believe it. I don't know that it will last.

STU: The initial source was an unnamed source. There's some reason to doubt it.

STEVE: I think with stories like this, guys, we're going to have to -- I think we're not dealing with a level of, shall we say, prudent communication we've ever seen from people in power before. I think we're going to have to really sit back and wait until the final deed is done. Because if we react to everything these people say, we're all going to have coronaries. We're going to be like, "This is the big one, Alice, by the time we get to 2017."

So I think we need to just sit back. I think we have to wait for them to actually sign the waiver before we react to the story, like this. Because I think they will seriously just throw crap out there all the time, see if they can get away with it, see what the backlash is. And then say, "We never really meant it."

It's been my experience -- again, I've had a lot of experience in politics. I've never seen anybody govern differently than they campaign. Ever. Ever.

GLENN: It is who they are. That's what my problem was with Donald Trump.

He would say, "I'm not this guy." But your whole life shows that you are.

STEVE: Right.

GLENN: You don't generally change.

STEVE: Right. Not unless something transcended.

GLENN: Yeah. Unless there is a pivot point.

STEVE: Yes.

GLENN: Something big happens in your life, and then you're like, "I'm not that guy anymore."

STU: Is there any chance, you know, becoming president of the United States is that moment?

(laughter)

GLENN: It is a possibility.

STEVE: It is.

STU: Right. Unlikely, but possible.

GLENN: There is a possibility. No, I have to tell you -- I think -- you know, I was thinking about that when -- you know, the next morning Donald Trump woke up. And I thought about it, that next morning. What must that be like, to wake up -- and it's one thing to have your wife roll over and say, "Well, good morning, Mr. President-elect." It's another to then have the Secret Service, the apparatus, the -- everything start to change around you. The weight -- I mean, Truman said he felt like the earth -- I'm sorry. That the moon, the sun, and the stars fell on his shoulders when he found out he was president.

There is a chance that that changes you. A big chance.

STEVE: I think there's also a difference, gentlemen, between winning the presidency and being the president. When your life is defined by Maslow's hierarchy of needs, as Trump's entire existence has been -- he has received now the ultimate self-actualization, right?

GLENN: Yes, yes. Yes.

STEVE: But here's the question: Next May, when the headlines are done and the parades are over and the Organization of American States wants a nine-hour meeting with their emissaries in the White House, does he really want to do that?

JEFFY: Not a chance. Not a chance.

STEVE: Or does he want to be down -- does he want to be teeing it high and watching it fly at the Mar-a-Lago with some Hollywood starlet? What would you rather be doing? I think that's -- you know, I had somebody offer me a job in New York City a few years ago. And I tried really hard for it. I really wanted it. It was dry time in New York. I thought it would be the greatest thing for my career.

And then when I got back home and waited for them to make the decision, I recognized that what the commute would be like, the changes would be like, moving my family to New York City, how different the values were.

And then I realized, "You know what, I think I wanted to win this job more than I wanted to do the job. I wanted someone to come to me as a guy and give me that helmet sticker and say, "Yeah, you got this accomplishment." But did I really want to do this? When all the trades (phonetic) wrote about it and all the accomplishment stuff was done, did I want to do that job?

And I wonder if Donald Trump has truly considered, does he actually want to be the president? Does he want to do it? And that's why the people around him will I think really run the show. That's why it's so important.

GLENN: That's why -- I have a guy who works here now, John Schreiber, who is brilliant. He runs my company. And he said -- he's been asking people as we restructure everything, "What do you want to do every day?" And people will say, oh -- like me. He asked me. "Well, you know, I want to do the radio show. I want to, you know, be able to talk and make a difference and everything else." He said, "No, no, no. What do you actually want to do every day?"

STEVE: Uh-huh.

GLENN: That's very different. And people don't ask themselves that question. They think of the accomplishment. I want to go and do this. I want to be here. That I want job. But they don't necessarily match it with what they actually physically think, "Oh, I'd love to just do this every day."

STEVE: Uh-huh.

GLENN: And they're very different things. And I think Donald Trump in May, may find that. He may not. He may love this. But he doesn't strike me as the guy that does like to be sitting in the office at the late-night meetings.

JEFFY: No.

STEVE: Uh-huh.

GLENN: But I think that's why people like Bannon are so critical to make sure, good guy, bad guy? Because if indeed Donald Trump is the guy who says, "I don't want to be there all the time," he will put it on the shoulders of Rasputin.

STEVE: Well, and this is why, what is the value system? This goes right back to where we started in the conversation, guys.

I mean, this is not a company. You're not selling widgets. The goal is not to end up in the black on a P&L statement. You are governing a free people, and sometimes that means you're going to make decisions that are unpopular. And so is everybody in on advancing that value system?

I know that we look back now on the Obama years, and we look at over 900 Democrats in the legislative branches across the country who lost their jobs under his presidency because of the voter backlash. I will guarantee you though, almost none of them would ever publicly say they regret it, because even though he did it, by hook or by crook, he did more to advance a progressive worldview into our government than any human being has in the last century.

And so, therefore, that's why they got into government, to advance that value system. They're on board with that. That's why they never ever fought back against him, even though it was costing them seats in their own legislatures.

What is the endgame of the Trump presidency? What is making America great again, what is the vision of what that would be?

GLENN: You think it might be -- you think it might be fascism.

STEVE: I think that -- my fear is that our side is going to embrace authoritarianism. Because they saw Obama get away with it. I think there were -- and I hate to say this, but I think there were a lot of older white people that stayed home and watched Fox News all day, that got really justifiably angry at the last four years and what they saw Obama do. And they said, "You know what, we need to go get our own version of that."

GLENN: Well, then did I help cause this?

STEVE: You know, I think we all have, to some extent, played a role in this.

GLENN: I think so too.

STEVE: We're a self-governing people. So there's no one -- you know, nobody is absolved from it.

I think that -- I've looked at some of the rhetoric I've used, that we have to win right now, or we're on the precipice of history.

And I've wondered, what is a sense of urgency? And when am I actually feeding into the sort of panic that causes people to embrace authoritarianism?

GLENN: Do you think anybody on the left is starting to feel this way? Do you think they're self-examining like we are on the right?

STEVE: They soon will. First, they got to do their fake Tea Party Astroturf, get rid of the electoral college crap, which is just clickbait to raise money basically. When they get done with that here in about six to eight months, we get into year two or three of a Trump presidency, I bet you they'll have a newfound respect for separation of powers and limited governments in some way, yes, I do.

GLENN: It's interesting to me, because the New York Times came out this weekend -- and this is what they expressed to me -- when they invited me up, 19 editors from the New York Times editorial board were there. And they wanted to know who we were, what is really happening, what's caused this. What their role was. They were very, I thought, introspective. And they said at the time, we know we have a problem. We're not connecting with the American people. And we need to change that. They came out this weekend and said that.

I think there is some -- there is some movement in trying to be better.

STEVE: I said to Judy Woodrow on PBS, on the panel I was on this week. I said, "Judy, where I come from, a dad who thinks it's a bad idea to have another creepy dude go into the bathroom next to his young daughter in the women's bathroom, that's called a parent. Not a bigot. There's a whole other country out there. You guys don't even interact to it. You lecture to it."

GLENN: Yes. You look down to it.

STEVE: And so as a result, they said, "Let's go find our own person that can smash these people so that we can at least get our side of the story out there." And I think Trump wisely capitalized on that.

GLENN: Thank you so much, Steve. Steve Deace.

Featured Image: Steve Deace on The Glenn Beck Program.

This edition features a brand new number two, a big mover in the top five, and the biggest drop since we started the power rankings.

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.

24. Mike Gravel: 15.3 (Debut)

The month Ronald Reagan moved into the White House, Mike Gravel left his last government job.

He was a Senator from Alaska from 1969-1981, where he was known for his anti-war efforts and attempts to implement direct democracy. The latter is what led a couple of teenagers to attempt to draft him into the 2020 race. When I say "draft," I mean "ask him once on social media."

Gravel fought for something called the National Initiative, which would allow state style ballot initiatives to be passed on a federal level. What could possibly go wrong?

He is probably best known for one of the strangest political ads in history during his Presidential run in 2008. Entitled "Rock," the commercial begins with Gravel staring into the camera for well over a minute. Then it gets really boring. He also was a self-described "womanizer" which you might think makes him a perfect fit for the VP slot for Joe Biden— however, he's been critical about "Joe Biden's creepiness around young girls."

Gravel is 89 years old, making him one of the youngest candidates in the field.

23. Wayne Messam: 15.8 (Previous: 20th / 13.4)

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A full 3% of Americans have a positive opinion of Wayne Messam.

Admittedly, that sounds bad.

Coincidentally, it also is bad.

The good(?) news is that another 8% know who he is. Unfortunately, all of them have a negative opinion. Messam is the Mayor of Miramar, FL, which is actually larger than South Bend, IN — the home of Pete Buttigieg. That strikes me more as a point against Buttigieg, but we'll count it in Wayne's column for now.

And hey! He's out of last place!

22. Eric Swalwell: 20.2 (Previous: 17th / 20.2)

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Swalwell has navigated his desperate quest for attention in campaign form with little success so far, which is unsurprising. (Even his parents are Trump voters, and it's not yet clear if they will vote for him.)

Candidates like Elizabeth Warren have rejected town halls on Fox News, but not Swalwell. He would love to have a town hall on Fox News. It's just that Fox News doesn't want him.

Running for President is hard.

21. Marianne Williamson 20.6 (Previous: 19th / 17.1)

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"I'm deeply grateful to the many people who expressed early support for my candidacy. Today we reached an important milestone and we can go full steam ahead from here."

This is the sort of thing you say when you've accomplished something major in a campaign. Marianne Williamson said it after this: "We just hit 1% in our 3rd poll!"

It's a microcosm of the bizarre nature of the 2020 Democratic primary experiment, but in theory, this feeble showing in the polls may be enough to get Williamson on the debate stage.

It's on that stage where she is sure to shine, as she explains the narrow logical pathway of her worldview. She is a self-described "capitalist with a conscience" but also seems to admire socialism: "What's supposed to scare me about socialism, the free health care or the free college?"

Usually, it's the 100 million dead in a century. But, when you find out how much that "free" health care and college cost, they can get pretty scary too.

20. Seth Moulton: 21.5 (Previous: 16th / 20.6)

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"America is not a socialist country." Sure, this statement used to be entirely uncontroversial (like, way back in 2018). But, Seth Moulton is saying those things in 2019, in a Democratic primary, which seems almost disqualifying. It's hard to imagine a path towards success for someone with this opinion, unless maybe your last name happens to be Biden.

"There are elements of our party that are going too far toward socialism." True enough. But, it's a little like saying "There are elements of this orange juice that are going far too close to oranges."

Warning: The orange juice is made out of oranges.

19. John Delaney: 21.8 (Previous: 15th / 20.3)

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John Delaney is probably one of the most moderate candidates in the field. He is even selling himself this way, arguing "to beat Trump, we need a moderate."

It's an interesting window into the state of the Democratic party. If the introduction of a $4 trillion global warming tax and spend scheme makes you moderate, what makes you a liberal?

18. Tim Ryan: 24.3 (Previous: 14th / 20.7)

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Tim Ryan was elected as a pro-life Democrat. Now he's thanking NARAL and Planned Parenthood for convincing him that some babies just shouldn't be alive.

Essentially, your local drive-thru abortion hut won the moral reasoning battle against the Pope, which is an interesting decision for a Catholic: "I believe my faith supports my position because to me being Catholic, to me being Christian, to me following the teachings of Jesus is about being compassionate and an open-hearted toward people who you shouldn't be judging."

Someone should tell Ryan and his other deeply religious Democratic colleagues that judgment of behavior is actually pretty central to faith in general.

Religion may be a lot of things, but it is not about being "open- minded." The foundational book of Christianity is most famous for its list of "commandments."


"Thou shalt…or shalt not, whatever you want to do…let me know." -Exodus 20:9024325 or something.

17. Bill de Blasio 24.9 (Debut)

No one loves Bill de Blasio more than… well, no one loves Bill de Blasio. After his announcement, the New York Post ran the headline "Everyone Hates Bill."

Bill de Blasio is essentially a socialist, but that's not why New Yorkers hate him. They're fine with the left-wing craziness. They just want someone who can at least do his job half as well as he promotes himself.

De Blasio is so disliked in New York that even left leaning publications like New York Magazine admit they struggle to find one person who actually supports him for president. He begins his run with the highest unfavorables in the entire field, an amazing accomplishment considering his late entry into the race.

If you want to find something positive for Bill, it probably comes in the form of cash. As Donald Trump used to describe business life in New York, he would routinely donate to Democratic politicians he didn't like, because it helped grease the wheels for his company. De Blasio will likely get a considerable amount of cash from people who hate his guts, but realize that a hefty "donation" is a great way to get favorable treatment from a powerful socialist.

16. Steve Bullock 27.7 (Debut)

On paper, Steve Bullock could be a strong Democratic candidate for president. He's one of a few governors around the country that fit a very popular profile: in a deep red state, he's a Democrat, but tries to be seen as a "sensible" one. Larry Hogan, Republican from Maryland, has the same approach from the other side.

Bullock ran for governor of Montana with promises of streamlining the regulatory system, fighting prescription drug abuse, tax refunds, protecting the coal industry, and the baby sister to America first— "hiring Montanans first."

This approach had Bullock win reelection in a red state that Trump won by over twenty points. He was also the 4th most popular governor in America with an approval rating of 66%, with only 19% disapproving.

However, there are plenty of hints that Bullock is no moderate. He blocked multiple bills to restrict late-term abortion, supported DACA, supported net neutrality, and is deeply in the pocket of the unions, including wanting to force unwilling participants to pay dues until it was ruled unconstitutional.

Policies aside, Bullock seems to lack a certain je ne sais quoi. If you don't speak French, it's kind of hard to describe why, but basically most people find it difficult to pay attention to him.

Bullock is trying to sell moderation with a wink. The idea that one can sound moderate to get elected, then run the country as a relatively strong progressive, similar to the package he delivered to Montana. In the era of "shout your abortion," it seems like a difficult message to connect with primary voters.

Maybe there's a VP window for Bullock, but if you do want the moderation with a wink approach, it's unclear why you wouldn't just go with Biden at the top of the ticket.

15. Andrew Yang 28.3 (Previous: 12th / 27.1)

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Andrew Yang continues to have the highest buzz-to-poll results ratio in the race. This is partially because of his embrace of issues well off the normal path of politicians. I.e., pennies must go!

Yang does have some legitimate credibility when it comes to our governments pathetic technology infrastructure and is capable of talking about issues like AI, cryptocurrencies, and probably Fortnite. He's embraced meme culture and has a way of going viral that eludes other candidates who try way too hard to do it (see Booker, Cory and Gillibrand, Kirsten.) Unfortunately, you can't tweet yourself into the White House. (Most of the time.)

14. Michael Bennet 28.8 (Debut)

Michael Bennet grew up in Washington D.C. and went to a high end prep school and is currently serving as a U.S. Senator from Colorado. A political outsider, he is not.

He was appointed to the Senate in 2009 and went on to a somewhat surprising victory over Ken Buck in the Tea Party wave election of 2010. He's a Democrat from a purple state that outperformed Hillary in 2016. And it's not the worst thing in the world for his candidacy that his little brother is the editorial page director of the New York Times.

But Bennet is one of a handful of little known, unremarkable, pseudo-moderates in this race that have no chance to win unless Joe Biden slips his hand up a female moderators skirt in the middle of a debate.

The best part of Bennet's candidacy is the fact that he was born in New Delhi, India. Who's ready for another cycle of the media highlighting every random Facebook users posts about birtherism! I know I am!

13. Tulsi Gabbard 28.8 (Previous: 13th / 25.9)

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The Las Vegas shooting was just a distraction for the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

Russia didn't hack the DNC.

The Parkland shooting was a false flag.

Pizzagate is real.

Bill Cosby was framed.

Is this a grouping of opinions from Alex Jones? Well, probably yes, but they also happen to be the views of the biggest online fundraiser for Tulsi Gabbard.

As pointed out in her candidate profile, Gabbard is a bit of an odd bird as a Democratic option for president. But the main reason for her support among conspiracy theorists and racists like David Duke, seems to come back to her role as supporter and excuse factory for Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.

Tulsi was able to get herself on the Joe Rogan podcast, which has brought a lot of attention (along with no poll number increase) to her campaign. While there, she mentioned her affection for South Park—the Human Centipede episode in particular.

However, Gabbard does not endorse turning people into human centipedes, that we know of...as of this writing.

12. Jay Inslee 30.4 (Previous: 11th / 30.4)

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Jay Inslee is trying to branch out from his single issue climate change campaign.

Forget sanctuary cities, Jay wants sanctuary states. He's also signed a public option add on to Obamacare in Washington, which was part of Obama's original plan. (Also, not part of his plan was an individual mandate, but I don't see many Barack originalists in the Democratic party on that point.)

Inslee has hit the magical 65,000 donor level to get him into the debates, but has made as much of an impact in this race as his favored amount of carbon emissions: zero.

11. John Hickenlooper 32.0 (Previous: 10th / 32.0)

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Is John Hickenlooper a moderate? He wants America to think he is… but he wants Democratic primary voters to know that he isn't.

"You can have progressive ideas, but you have to present it to them in a moderate way."

This is a very typical Democratic politician approach, or at least it used to be. Today, Hickenlooper couldn't avoid being unmercifully booed for daring to say that socialism isn't the answer… when it comes to beating Donald Trump. In other words, you can have the terrible ideas, but don't tell everyone about it.

Hickenlooper's CNN town hall did beat Beto's town hall in the ratings, which unfortunately says more about Beto's failure than it does about Hickenlooper's success.

10. Julian Castro 34.5 (Previous: 10th / 35.7)

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I usually write these things in order from worst to first, and it's always around Julian Castro where I have the same thought: I've been writing too long to just be at Julian Castro. However, this is a race in which some polls show 17 of the 24 candidates are at zero or one percent, allowing an enormous disappointment like Castro to still squeak into the top ten.

One bandwagon that Castro has jumped on is the "fight for $15"— an attempt to try to force McDonald's to pay its employees $15 per hour. Of course, there are plenty of high-end restaurants/coffee shops/political campaigns that cater to left-wing audiences that don't pay $15 an hour, but McDonald's seems to always be the target.

This is bizarre, considering McDonald's is known for its high-volume, low-margin business model, making it among the most easily damaged by higher minimum wages. It, also, already has technology available to have kiosks replace workers, which can easily be more widely distributed.

Of course, the "fight for $15" is much more about grabbing attention than helping workers. Now, I'm hungry for McDonald's.

9. Kirsten Gillibrand 36.7 (Previous: 9th / 38.1)

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Kirsten Gillibrand is not good at this. One of many examples: she was asked during her Fox News town hall why she flip-flopped from pro-gun to anti-gun after leaving her conservative district for the more liberal audience statewide.

Her answer was to explain that her previous district was more conservative and wanted more gun rights, but the state as a whole was not.

That was the accusation against you. It's not supposed to be the same as your excuse.

When asked what gun policies would have stopped the recent shooting in Virginia Beach, she said we should "stop being beholden to the NRA." This quality analysis wouldn't get you an internship under a low-level editor at Think Progress, but somehow she's a Senator and running for President.

But if you think that's bad, look at her fundraising. "Gillibrand raised less money from small contributors in her first quarter as a presidential candidate than she had in six of the eight previous quarters when she wasn't running for president."

I continue to believe that Gillibrand will drop out long before Iowa casts a vote.

8. Amy Klobuchar 41.9 (Previous: 8th / 45.1)

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Klobuchar's campaign hasn't exactly been lighting the world on fire so far. That's the bad news. The good news is there isn't a long list of gaffes on the campaign either. (Bonus! She hasn't abused any underlings on camera!)

This formula probably isn't enough for her to compete for the nomination, and she claims the third largest point drop from our last power ranking.

But this news is not entirely terrible for Klobuchar either, who is likely still a top tier VP candidate. She's been working on entirely controversy-free legislation like securing tax breaks for Gold Star families. If she can look competent in the debates, show some gravitas, and not light an interns torso on fire in front of gasping kindergartners, she might be fine.

Klobuchar's best path to success continues to be avoiding mistakes and hoping Joe Biden wins the nomination.

7. Cory Booker 51.6 (Previous: 6th / 54.9)

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Cory Booker is your white knight, ladies.

Swoon.

Cory wants you to know that men are the problem, which is why he wrote an open letter to all men. The topic? How men need to fight alongside women who are facing new restrictions in their moral crusade to make children more available for expiry. How can a society possibly demand women to endure "lengthy 72-hour waiting periods?" (Yes, it's a real quote. You see, 72 hours sounds long. Three days sounds short.)

Booker wants to heal our divisions about abortion by… what else?... creating yet another government bureaucracy. All hail the "White House Office of Reproductive Freedom."

There is some stunning evidence that voters seem to like Booker, challenging the virtue of democracy, and perhaps our civilization as a whole.

6. Robert Francis O’Rourke 52.8 (Previous: 5th / 60.2)

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Beto's campaign is falling apart. His 7.4 point drop from our previous power ranking is the largest drop since the rankings began.

However, a high-profile launch, followed by a complete fizzle does not always mean the death of a campaign. John McCain's 2008 run began the same way, even leading to a mass firing of campaign executives before relaunching and capturing the nomination.

But McCain was a well-known D.C. power player with massive name recognition and political connections. O'Rourke is essentially a viral video about Colin Kaepernick and a travel blog to find himself wrapped into an Irish guy pretending to be Hispanic.

O'Rourke doesn't have to win to give himself a future in politics (as we've already seen), but he does need to avoid complete embarrassment. This is something he should keep in mind next time he decides to live stream his own haircut.

5. Elizabeth Warren 53.4 (Previous: 7th / 45.3)

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It shocks (and pains) me to say this, but Elizabeth Warren is having a little bit of a moment. Her 8.1 point rise leads the field in this edition of our rankings, and she has created a nice little niche for herself. She's claimed the progressive high ground on policy, with her somewhat effective but twice as annoying "she has a plan for that" mantra. In another era, the idea that a politician has a way for government to be involved in every aspect of your life would show up in an opposition commercial. But today the left eats it up.

To be clear, none of them have actually read any of these proposals. And they all rest on an impossible to pass, completely unenforceable, and almost certainly unconstitutional wealth tax on the rich.

But her combination of a furious technocratic pace, along with her individual outreach to voters (Elizabeth Warren called me!) has lifted Warren out of her self-imposed gaffe-a-thon and back into a serious contender.

We now estimate that Warren has a 1 in 1,024 chance to win the presidency.

4. Kamala Harris 65.9 (Previous: 3rd / 68.6)

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If you're going to make a massively misleading statistic one of the cornerstones of your campaign, you should probably understand how the statistic is calculated.

Kamala Harris is supposed to be one of the intelligent options in the Democratic field, but at times, one is amazed at her ignorance of basic facts.

Literally anyone who has studied or debated the gender pay gap is familiar with the massive problems with the statistic. It simply averages all women working and compares it to all men working. It doesn't account for experience level, choice of industry, education level, and so on.

Harris said to Stephen Colbert "In America today, women on average are paid 80 cents on the dollar of what men are paid for the same work." She then doubled and tripled down on the "same work" aspect of the claim. It is most certainly not a measure of different pay for the same work. We should also note that, of course, Harris is paying women in her campaign less than men. But you probably guessed that one already.

This isn't about the gender wage gap, which can be easily explained in the book 'Why Men Earn More,' for example. It's more of a study of the early disappointment of the Harris campaign. She just occasionally blurts things out that make you crinkle your forehead.

Another example: "Very few people can get by and be involved in their communities or society or in whatever their profession without somehow, somewhere using Facebook." This was said in an explanation about regulating Facebook as a utility. But about a third of adults don't use Facebook at all. One could not say the same about electricity, water, or sewage.

These are minor examples of a potential larger issue. Harris needs to know what she's talking about a little more often. To quote Tim Malloy of Quinnipiac polling, "I don't know why she's not caught fire. But she hasn't."

3. Bernie Sanders: 67.2 (Previous: 2nd / 68.3)

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Most people who follow politics realize that Bernie Sanders is a Democratic Socialist. But, the democratic primary has brought his pro-communist and anti-American views of the past into a new light. This has left many Democrat friendly media sources to discover that conservative media has pretty much been correct all along. The New York Times wrote about his past support for communist governments in Central America, including the Nicaraguan Sandistas.

"The Times shows that Sanders went well beyond mere opposition to funding the war. He wrote to Sandinista leaders that American news media had not 'reflected fairly the goals and accomplishments of your administration.' On a visit to the country, he attended a Sandinista celebration at which the crowd chanted, 'Here, there, everywhere, the Yankee will die,' and complained that American reporters ignored 'the truth' about Nicaragua's government, telling a CBS reporter, 'You are worms.'"

Sanders "…at times crossed over from mere opposition to American policy to outright support for communist governments." This isn't from the Blaze. It's from New York Magazine.

"Any politician is going to frame issues selectively, but Sanders is presenting a spin on the controversy so selective it completely fails to convey any of the points relevant to the controversy."

Ouch.

It's getting harder to see Sanders actually winning the nomination, given what seems like a ceiling in his support. The thinking goes, why pick Bernie, when you can get Bernie's policies in a much more attractive package from almost anyone else in the race?

The answer may come down to how dumb, uninformed, and oblivious the primary voters are… at least, according to NBC news:

2. Pete Buttigieg 68.8 (Previous: 4th / 62.9)

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It's completely shocking to see the mayor of South Bend, Indiana at number two in a 24-candidate field. This is a guy that 31% of Democratic primary voters have still never even heard of.

In fact, I had recently been under the impression that the Buttigieg bump had started to fade away. But the numbers say what they say, and Mayor Pete has pushed himself all the way to number two in our rankings.

The first time we ran these numbers, Buttigieg had a candidate score of 30.8, now he's at 68.8. He's moved more than any other candidate, and it's not even remotely close.

Why?

Given this is a Democratic primary, one would be committing a crime against the obvious if we didn't note that identity politics are playing a role. But Buttigieg is an obviously smart, well-spoken candidate that plays well in this particular moment.

In short, he's the polar opposite of Donald Trump—in demeanor, in age, in his interest in hooking up with female supermodels from the Eastern Bloc.

Buttigieg gives Democrats exactly what they're looking for—a candidate to signal to everyone around them that they're more tolerant, more intelligent, more reasoned, and just generally better than those Neanderthal Republicans.

He's basically a Prius in the form of a candidate.

1. Joe Biden 82.3 (Previous: 1st / 78.8)

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Saying that Joe Biden is the "leader" or the "favorite" in this primary doesn't really do him justice. Biden is in a tier by himself. Sure, he continues to hold massive leads in the polls, but perhaps more importantly, those leads are affording Joe the ability to execute the perfect Joe Biden game plan.

1. Run away and hide in the polls

2. Run away and hide in real life

Biden has near universal name recognition and access to the very valuable 2012 Obama campaign voter list. He doesn't have to be seen in public to lead the polls. When he does have to show his handsome face, he's on prompter, and he's keeping his hands to himself.

Most analysts don't think that Joe Biden will simply cruise to a 20-point victory. He will be challenged by someone as this race gets closer. He will be forced in front of cameras. He will say that television was invented in 1593, and he will inhale the follicles of a passing pre-teen. We all know this--and more--will happen at some point in this campaign.

The question is, does Joe have enough in the tank to protect this lead? Can Joe defend himself over what will be uncovered from his political past?

For instance, video emerged of Joe Biden joking about "panty raids" that he once participated in. Can a party constantly talking about male privilege nominate a candidate who once stormed female dorms, only to steal their undergarments?

The fact that Biden made the comments in the 80s, about the 60s, while in his 40s, does not exonerate him.

It somehow makes it even more creepy.

Today is the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the largest amphibious invasion in history.

The Allied invasion force included 5,000 ships and landing craft, 11,000 planes, and almost three million allied soldiers, airmen and sailors. Despite such numbers, the location and timing of the invasion was still an enormous gamble. The Nazis fully expected such an invasion, they just didn't know precisely when or where it would be.

Despite the enormous logistics involved, the gamble worked and by the end of June 6, 1944, 156,000 Allied troops were ashore in Normandy. The human cost was also enormous – over 4,900 American troops died on D-Day. That number doubled over the next month as they fought to establish a foothold in northern France.

There were five beach landing zones on the coast of northwestern France, divided among the Allies. They gave each landing zone a name. Canada was responsible for "Juno." Britain was responsible for "Gold" and "Sword." And the U.S. had "Utah" and "Omaha."

The Nazis were dug in with bunkers, machine guns, artillery, mines, barbed wire, and other obstacles to tangle any attempt to come ashore. Of the five beaches, Omaha was by far the most heavily defended. Over 2,500 U.S. soldiers were killed at Omaha – the beach so famously depicted in the opening battle sequence of the 1998 movie, Saving Private Ryan. The real-life assault on Omaha Beach included 34 men in that first wave of attack who came from the same small town of Bedford, Virginia. The first Americans to die on Omaha Beach were the men from Bedford.

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America has a national D-Day Memorial, but many people don't know about it.

America has a national D-Day Memorial, but many people don't know about it. Maybe that's because it wasn't a government project and it's not in Washington DC. It was initiated and financed by veterans and private citizens. It's tucked away in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, in the small town of Bedford, Virginia. Why is the memorial for one of the most famous days in modern world history in such a tiny town? Because, as a proportion of its population of just 3,200 at the time, no community in the U.S. sacrificed more men on D-Day than Bedford.

There were 34 men in Company A from Bedford. Of those thirty-four, 23 died in the first wave of attacks. Six weeks after D-Day, the town's young telegraph operator was overwhelmed when news of many of the first deaths clattered across the Western Union line on the same day. Name after name of men and families that she knew well. There were so many at once that she had to enlist the help of customers in the pharmacy's soda shop to help deliver them all.

Among those killed in action were brothers Bedford and Raymond Hoback. Bedford was the rambunctious older brother with a fiancée back home that he couldn't wait to return to. Raymond was the quieter, more disciplined younger brother who could often be found reading his Bible. He fell in love with a British woman during his two years in England training for D-Day. Like in that opening sequence of Saving Private Ryan, Bedford and Raymond barely made it down the ramp of their Higgins Boat in the swarm of bullets and hot steel before they were cut down in the wet sand.

Bedford and Raymond Hoback's mother, Macie, learned of both their deaths from two separate telegrams, the first on a Sunday morning, the second the following day. Their younger sister, Lucille, remembered her mother's devastation, and her father walking out to the barn to cry.

The day after D-Day, the killing field of Omaha Beach was already transforming into the massive supply port that would help fuel the American drive all the way to Berlin over the next year. A soldier from West Virginia was walking along the beach when he saw something jutting out of the sand. He reached down and pulled it out. He was surprised to find it was a Bible. The inside cover was inscribed with: "Raymond S. Hoback, from mother, Christmas, 1938." The soldier wrote a letter and mailed it with the Bible to Raymond's mother. That Bible, which likely tumbled from Raymond's pack when he fell on D-Day, became Macie Hoback's most cherished possession – the only personal belonging of her son that was ever returned.

Of the 23 Bedford men who died on Omaha Beach, eleven were laid to rest in the American cemetery in Normandy.

These men, many of them barely out of their teens, didn't sign up to march to the slaughter of course. They had hopes and dreams just like you and I. Many of them signed up for adventure, or because of peer pressure, and yes, a sense of honor and duty. Many of the Bedford Boys first signed up for the National Guard just to make a few extra bucks per month, get to hang out with their buddies, and enjoy target practice. But someone had to be first at Omaha Beach and that responsibility fell to the men from Bedford.

Over the last several years, the D-Day anniversary gets increasingly sad. Because each year, there are fewer and fewer men alive who were actually in Normandy on June 6, 1944. The last of the surviving Bedford Boys died in 2009. Most of the remaining D-Day veterans who are still with us are too frail to make the pilgrimage to France for the anniversary ceremonies like they used to.

It's difficult to think about losing these World War II veterans, because once they're all gone, we'll lose that tether to a time when the nation figured out how to be a better version of itself.

Not that they were saints and did everything right. They were as human as we are, with all the fallibility that entails. But in some respects, they were better. Because they went, and they toughed it out, and they accomplished an incredibly daunting mission, with sickening hardship, heartbreak, and terror along the way.

So, what does the anniversary of D-Day mean in 2019?

In one sense, this anniversary is a reprimand that we've failed to tell our own story well enough.

In one sense, this anniversary is a reprimand that we've failed to tell our own story well enough. You can't learn about the logistics of the operation and above all, the human cost, and not be humbled. But as a society, we have not emphasized well enough the story of D-Day and all that it represents. How can I say that? Because of an example just last weekend, when common sense got booed by Democratic Socialists at the California Democrats' State Convention. When Democratic presidential candidate John Hickenlooper said during his speech that "socialism is not the answer," the crowd booed loudly. When did telling the truth about socialism become controversial?

Sure, socialists, and communists and other anti-American factions have always been around. America certainly had socialists in 1944. But the current socialists trying to take over the Democratic Party like a virus don't believe in the D-Day sacrifices to preserve America, because they don't believe America is worth preserving. They are agitating to reform America using the authoritarian playbook that has only ended in death and destruction everywhere it is followed.

Ask a Venezuelan citizen, or an Iraqi Christian, or a North Korean peasant why D-Day still matters in 2019.

The further we move away from caring about pivotal events like June 6, 1944, the less chance of survival we have as a nation.

At the same time, the D-Day anniversary is a reminder that we're not done yet. It's an opportunity for us to remember and let that inform how we live.

Near the end of Saving Private Ryan, the fictional Captain Miller lays dying, and he gives one last instruction to Private Ryan, the young man that he and his unit have sacrificed their lives to rescue in Normandy. He says, "Earn it."

In other words, don't waste the sacrifices that were made so that your life could be saved. Live it well. The message to "earn it" extends to the viewer and the nation as well – can we say we're earning the sacrifices that were made by Americans on D-Day? I cringe to think how our few remaining World War II veterans might answer that.

Honor. Duty. Sacrifice. Gratitude. Personal responsibility. These used to mean a lot more.

Honor. Duty. Sacrifice. Gratitude. Personal responsibility. These used to mean a lot more. I don't want to believe it's too late for us to rediscover those traits as a nation. I want to believe we can still earn it.

The challenge to "earn it" is a lot of pressure. Frankly, it's impossible. We can't fully earn the liberty that we inherited. But we can certainly try to earn it. Not trying is arrogant and immoral. And to tout socialism as the catch-all solution is naïve, and insulting to the men like those from Bedford who volunteered to go defend freedom. In truly striving to earn it, we help keep the flame of liberty aglow for future generations. It is necessary, honorable work if freedom is to survive.

The end of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address is remarkably relevant for every anniversary of June 6, 1944. This is what D-Day still means in 2019:

"It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – 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."

Letter from Corporal H.W. Crayton to Mr. and Mrs. Hoback – parents of Bedford and Raymond Hoback who were both killed in action on June 6, 1944

Álvaro Serrano/Unsplash

July 9, 1944 Somewhere in France

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Hoback:

I really don't know how to start this letter to you folks, but will attempt to do something in words of writing. I will try to explain in the letter what this is all about.

While walking along the Beach D-day Plus One, I came upon this Bible and as most any person would do I picked it up from the sand to keep it from being destroyed. I knew that most all Bibles have names & addresses within the cover so I made it my business to thumb through the pages until I came upon the name above. Knowing that you no doubt would want the Book returned I am sending it knowing that most Bibles are a book to be cherished. I would have sent it sooner but have been quite busy and thought it best if a short period of time elapsed before returning it.

You have by now received a letter from your son saying he is well. I sincerely hope so.

I imagine what has happened is that your son dropped the Book without any notice. Most everybody who landed on the Beach D-Day lost something. I for one as others did lost most of my personal belongings, so you see how easy it was to have dropped the book and not know about it.

Everything was in such a turmoil that we didn't have a chance until a day or so later to try and locate our belongings.

Since I have arrived here in France I have had occasion to see a little of the country and find it quite like parts of the U.S.A. It is a very beautiful country, more so in peace time. War does change everything as it has this country. One would hardly think there was a war going on today. Everything is peaceful & quiet. The birds have begun their daily practice, all the flowers and trees are in bloom, especially the poppies & tulips which are very beautiful at this time of the year.

Time goes by so quickly as it has today. I must close hoping to hear that you receive the Bible in good shape.

Yours very truly,

Cpl. H.W. Crayton

It's not as easy as it used to be for billion-dollar entertainment empires like The Walt Disney Company. It would be more streamlined for Disney to produce its major motion pictures in its own backyard. After all, abortion in California is readily available, as well as a protected, cherished right. And since abortion access is critical for movie production, right up there with lighting equipment and craft services, you would think California would be the common-sense choice for location shooting. Alas, even billion-dollar studios must pinch pennies these days. So, in recent years, Disney, among other major Hollywood studios, has been farming out production to backwater Southern lands like Georgia, and even Louisiana. Those states offer more generous tax breaks than Disney's native California. As a result, Georgia for example, played host to much of the shooting for the recent worldwide box office smash Avengers: Endgame.

But now it looks like it's Georgia's endgame. The state recently passed what is known as a "heartbeat" bill – a vicious, anti-woman law that would try to make pregnant women allow their babies to be born and actually live. It's a bridge too far for a major studio like Disney, which was largely built on creating family entertainment. How can Disney possibly go about making quality movies, often aimed at children, without access to unfettered abortion? It's unconscionable. Lack of abortion access makes it nearly impossible to shoot movies. So, what's a major studio to do? Disney might have considered migrating its business to Louisiana, but that state too has now signed a heartbeat bill into law. It's utter madness.

These monstrous anti-abortion bills, coupled with having to live under President Trump, has led Disney to seek a new home for its legendary movie magic. Last week, Disney's CEO, Bob Iger, announced that all future Disney movies will now be filmed on location in the Sub-Saharan African nation of Wakanda.

"Disney and Wakanda are a match made in heaven," Iger told reporters. "Wakanda was, until recently, a secret kingdom, much like our own Magic Kingdom. With this new partnership, we'll not only get to continue our legacy of making movies that parents and children everywhere enjoy together, but we'll get to do so in a safe space that reveres abortion as much as we do."

Wakanda is one of only four African countries (out of 55) that allow unrestricted abortion.

As home to the most advanced technology in the world – and with the planet's highest per-capita concentration of wokeness – Wakanda offers women painless, hassle-free abortion on demand. As the Wakandan health ministry website explains, the complete absence of any white-patriarchal-Judeo-Christian influence allows women in Wakanda to have complete control of their own bodies (with the exception of females who are still fetuses). As winner of the U.N.'s 2018 Golden Forceps award (the U.N.'s highest abortion honor) Wakanda continues its glowing record on abortion. That makes it an ideal location for Disney's next round of live-action remakes of its own animated movies in which the company plans to remove all male characters.

Iger says he hopes to convince Wakandan leadership to share their top-secret vibranium-based abortion procedure technology so that American women can enjoy the same convenient, spa-like abortion treatment that Wakandan women have enjoyed for years.

Wakanda is one of only four African countries (out of 55) that allow unrestricted abortion. Disney plans to boycott and/or retaliate against the other 51 African nations, as well as any U.S. states, that restrict abortion. Specific plans are being kept under wraps, but sources say Disney's potential retaliation may include beaming Beverly Hills Chihuahua into the offending territories on a continuous, indefinite loop.

When asked how Wakanda's futuristic capital city and distinctly African landscape would be able to double for American movie locations, Iger said, "I guess America will just have to look more like Wakanda from now on."

One potential wrinkle for the Left-leaning studio is the fact that Wakanda has an impenetrable border wall-shield-thing designed to keep out foreign invaders as well as illegal immigrants. Iger said he understands Wakanda's policy of exclusivity, adding, "After all, not everyone gets into Disneyland. You have to have a ticket to get in. Anyone is welcome, but you have to go through the process of getting a ticket." When one reporter pointed out that Iger's answer sounded like the conservative argument for legal immigration under the rule of law, Iger insisted that the reporter was "a moronic fascist."

What if the unthinkable happens and Florida also enacts its own "heartbeat" law? That would be problematic since Walt Disney World is located in Florida. Iger responded that Disney would "cross that bridge if we get to it" but that the most likely scenario would entail "dismantling Disney World piece-by-piece and relocating it to the actual happiest place on earth – Wakanda." As for whether Disney would ever open character-themed abortion clinics inside its theme parks, Iger remained coy, but said, "Well, it is the place where dreams come true."

With the Wakanda solution, Disney may have found a place where Minnie Mouse can finally follow her heart and have true freedom of choice.

When pressed about the cost of ramping up production in a secretive African kingdom that has no existing moviemaking infrastructure (which could easily end up being much more expensive than simply shooting in California) Iger said, "You can't put a price tag on abortion freedom. Wakanda Forever and Abortion Forever!"

With the Wakanda solution, Disney may have found a place where Minnie Mouse can finally follow her heart and have true freedom of choice. And that will be welcome relief to traditional families all over the world who keep the Walt Disney Company in business.

*Disclaimer: The preceding story is a parody. Bob Iger did not actually say any of the quotes in the story. Neither is Wakanda an actual nation on planet Earth.

"Journeys of Faith with Paula Faris," is a podcast featuring conversations about how faith has guided newsmakers and celebrities through their best and worst times. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is a much maligned religion so Glenn joined the podcast and took the time to explain what it means to him and how it changed his life.

From his suicidal days and his battle with drugs and alcohol, it was his wife Tania and his faith that saved him. All his ups and downs have given him the gift of empathy and he says he now understands the "cry for mercy" — something he wishes he'd given out more of over the years.

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