California Guns Sales Skyrocket With Coming Restrictive Laws on 'Evil Features'

Biker, gun enthusiast, former bull rider and radio talk show host Mike Broomhead filled in for Glenn on The Glenn Beck Program today, Wednesday, December 28.

Read below or listen to the full segment from Hour 3 for answers to these questions:

• Can you still work hard and be successful in America?

• Why do Chinese people still want to be Americans?

• How did Donald Trump flipped certain states to win them?

• Are California gun sales skyrocketing?

• What the hell is an evil feature on a gun?

Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:

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

MIKE: It is the Glenn Beck Program. My name is Mike Broomhead. Phoenix, Arizona, is where I live. I'm in for Glenn today and tomorrow. Thanks for making the Glenn Beck Program a part of your day, wherever you're listening, however you're listening to us. We really do appreciate you being here, and I want to especially thank the hundreds of people on social media that have reached out to me this morning. I love social media and the interaction. It's just a great way for us -- and I do manage my own social media. I don't have anybody that does it for me. So on Twitter, I'm @BroomheadShow. On Instagram, Mike Broomhead. All one word. And I'm known for here in Phoenix for my blurry pictures. Yes, I'm not doing it on purpose now. It's just, for whatever reason, can't take a picture no matter how good the camera is. But you can see my photographs there. And the Mike Broomhead Fan Page on Facebook is where you can find my page locally in Phoenix. I do Morning Drive in Phoenix, Arizona, at KFYI.

And I want to wrap something up from last hour. The biggest outpouring I've gotten in response has been about work in America and jobs. And I've gotten some great tweets. And they've been terrific. And people have been kind. And I'm not -- Sharita said that, you know, that no one should feel that they can't -- if you want -- what you have isn't good enough, go out and get it. When there's a will, there's a way. And talked about going and getting her degree later in life, after retiring from the Army.

And thank you for your service. In the military, it is one of the great things about Americanism. And what I worry about with the regulation -- so when I argue politics, I come from a different place. I am a registered Republican. I say that unashamedly. But I am not a standard-bearer for the Republican Party.

I'm a standard-bearer for a set of what I believe are ideals. And the reason why I want limited government is because I think government gets in the way many times.

And so we do need rules and regulations. But when the powerful become more powerful -- and that's all it is about, is becoming more powerful, it becomes a detriment.

And so I know the -- it's about principle, not party. And so when I argue about the Democratic platform, it's because I think it's wrong. I'm not arguing with Democrats and calling them evil people. I believe they're well-intentioned. You know, my uncles were teamsters, for crying out loud, when I was a little boy. So you know what kind of family I came from. Everyone in that family, that entire family, all my cousins now Republican. Because what has become of the oppression of the Democratic Party is different. It's the haves and the have-nots. And it's class warfare that shouldn't be there.

So to kind of wrap a bow on the last hour where we were talking about jobs and influence and the working class in America, we should be telling our children, in our own homes, but the generation of children right now in high school, that there's a way for you in America, no matter who you are, to find a way to contribute and feel good about your contribution and make a living for yourself.

You're not going to have -- not many of us are ever going to have superstar money. It's not going to happen. But we can improve our station in life. We can change our career in midstream. We can do things differently at an older age and still accomplish things. Like it can't be done in other parts of the world. Why do you think as good as the Chinese economy is, that the Chinese people still want to be Americans?

America still stands for that land of opportunity to so many people in the world. And we should be proud of that. The class warfare is what has dragged this economy down for the last eight years. It is why we still see this huge disparity between rich and poor. Through this sluggish recovery -- if you notice, the Dow is through the roof. So if you've got a 401(k), it's doing better now. The rich have gotten much richer. But what are we doing at the grassroots level about jobs?

Well, the issue is, it costs so much money to do business. I want you to think -- put yourself -- if you're one of the people that are listening right now and throwing things at your radio because of what I'm saying, I just want you to be honest for a moment: If you had $10 million right now, under the current rules we have, where if you were to invest part of that money in a startup company and risk it and the government was going to take a huge chunk of your profits, to the tune of 35 to 40 percent, and then on top of that, regulations were such that it costs so much money to start a business, or would you live on that 10 million, have a nice life, and wait until, A, your taxes were lower so you kept more of your profits when you risk everything and, B, the regulations made it easier for you to start a business?

When I expanded my contracting company -- and I'm no genius. The people that are listening in Phoenix can attest to that. They hear me every day. I'm no smarter than anybody else. I'm as average as average can be. I just work hard.

When I expanded my business, I was able to get a 50,000-dollar line of credit on my house to expand my business.

I had a box of tools and a pickup truck when I started. And my concern is -- because I'm no genius. But my concern is, my grandchildren -- I got three grandsons. The oldest is five.

Fifteen years, he's going to be in high school -- or, I mean, he's going to be in college. Well, he may be in high school if he follows in my footsteps at 20. But at 20 years old, he'll either be in the job market, in college, or in the military. And if he's in the job market, is he going to have the opportunities I had? If he's got the -- the desire to jump out there and take the risk. Is the opportunity going to be there?

Because we've wiped that opportunity out for so many people. It is so costly to start a business now, just on the compliance issues alone. That unless you've already got a ton of money, you can't do it.

The individual that's willing to risk everything -- you know, mortgage their house to do something, you can't even afford to do it now at all.

So when I talk about lowering taxes at the corporate level, it's not because I'm snuggling up to the wealthy. I'm no silver spoon kid myself. I just don't think the government is entitled to it just because you earned it. I mean, I don't care who you are. And the decrease in regulation, I'm not saying because I don't care about the environment. That's ridiculous. Anybody that loves the outdoors, that hunts and fishes, cares about the environment.

Hunters and fishermen want to have the forest pristine and they want clean water because they want their grandkids and their great-grandkids to enjoy the forests like they do. They don't want to decimate the animal population. They don't want to cut down all the trees. They don't want to pollute the water. I don't want to pollute the air. I don't want to give my grandkids lung cancer because I don't care about the environment. But oppressive regulation drags down business and drags down opportunity.

I want my grandkids to have an opportunity to do what they desire to do with their lives. If they want to go to work eight hours a day, 40 hours a week, make a nice living, and spend every other minute with their families, God bless them, I hope they do it. If they're an entrepreneurial spirit and they're willing to work 100 hours a week on a dream -- and even if they fail at the dream, to have the opportunity to chase it, that's why I have aligned myself with the Republican Party in what the platform is supposed to stand for.

I don't agree with everything they've done. Trust me. Go back and listen to the podcast on my show. Go to KFYI.com. Listen to some of the podcasts. What I've said about the Republican Party.

But the principles of small government and standing on your own two feet, most people believe in, no matter what party they are. There are plenty of Democrats that aren't looking for a handout.

That's why Donald Trump flipped the states he flipped because he went into those states and he said to the working Democrats in those union towns, get your factories opened again. We're going to make sure you have your job. We're not going to hand you anything. You're just going to get your job back. You're going to keep your job.

Now, they believed him. And if they don't come through -- if the Republicans in the House and the Senate don't come through, you're going to see those two houses flip in the next four years. And Donald Trump will be out in four years.

This hour of the show, we're going to talk about California. I am a very big Second Amendment advocate for a number of reasons. And I live in a state that has got great gun laws, which are very lenient, and they're very pro-gun owner. But California is going the other direction. And so gun sales are going through the roof in the state of California.

We're going to discuss this idea here in a few moments, this hour. And also, one commentator is still talking about why Hillary lost and it's still not Hillary's fault. Now it's white fear. I don't know what white fear is. I'm white. Nobody whiter than me. Pretty sure that however white you are, nobody whiter than me. And I don't know what white fear is.

So we're going to talk about, again, racial tension in this country and the division again, if it's not rich versus poor, it's black versus white or men versus women or gay versus straight.

Talk about that political division, and is it time it all came to an end? We'll do that here in just a few moments on the show. It's Glenn Beck Program. My name is Mike Broomhead. We'll be back.

[break]

MIKE: My name is Mike Broomhead. Phoenix, Arizona. In for Glenn today and tomorrow. Thanks for making the Glenn Beck Program a part of your day. We're talking issue-based. This one is about guns. And I'm a Second Amendment advocate. I've owned guns most of my life. I'm a very excitable personality. You may have figured that out.

I've never brandished a weapon on a human being in my life, nor have I ever considered it, thank God.

I do know this: The second to last thing I ever want to do is shoot a person. The last thing I want to do is have to defend myself or my family and not have the ability. It's not about being a hero. Not at all. The last thing I want to be is a hero. I will talk -- I have been prone to arguments and even fistfights when I was younger -- I was -- I was going to say, I was a bit of a hothead. I am a hothead. Never considered taking a human life.

So the gun issue for me is about. Law-abiding citizens. And earlier I mentioned, it's about policies. When conservatives in America argue issues, dispassionately argue issues, we can win on the issues every single time. Because it's about personal responsibility. And I think even the majority of the people on the political left have a sense of personal responsibility. They may disagree to what level the government gets involved in things, but they do have the idea of personal responsibility.

So even within conservative circles, we disagree on things. And so we associate ourselves largely with people that agree with us. It's easier that way.

But we talk about issues with people when we disagree. We win almost every time. I can defend my pro-life stance, dispassionately, although it's a passionate issue.

And I've asked my friends that are pro-choice to just hear me out. I'm not calling you a baby killer. Don't give me the stupid line of keep your laws off my body. I don't care what you do with your body. Tattoo, pierce it, cut it off. It doesn't matter to me.

But I genuinely believe that that is a human life inside that woman's body that deserves to be protected with the same laws that we would protect it if it were outside the womb. That's just my belief. It starts there. It's not about oppressing women. It's not about any of that stuff. I believe it's a human life.

And I'll go on and ask the question: If you had someone in your life that you loved that was pregnant that was intending to keep the baby, even in the time period when the baby is legally able to be aborted and that woman, God forbid, was involved in a car accident that caused her to lose the baby and the driver of the other car was drunk, would you want that drunk driver prosecuted for murdering that baby? If the answer is yes, then it's a human life. It can't be a human life when you want to keep it and a glob of tissue when you don't.

I don't expect I'm going to win anybody over that change their mind. But maybe they'll think about it differently, when -- they think I'm going to come at them and call them a baby killer. We win on the issues.

You know, one of the things I admire most about my friendship with Glenn -- Glenn Beck, of course -- is that he's always treated me like a colleague. And even -- and especially when we disagree about things, there's never been anyone more thoughtful about something, nor have I ever met anybody that wants to do the right thing and is willing to risk everything to do the right thing.

I was with Glenn on the border when -- when the listeners to this network, to this show donated all of that money so that those supplies could be taken to those kids at the border.

I am as anti-illegal immigration as they come. I live in a border state, where it is horrendous what's happening with illegal immigration on all of the issues tied to it.

But you go to McAllen, Texas. I saw the picture on my phone of a little boy, maybe eight years old, sitting on a cot in a tent. They -- they gave him clean clothes, shower, food, and they gave him a toy. It was a Woody Story (sic) toy from Toy Story.

And we looked in, and this little boy was sitting by himself on a cot. And we were told he's just going to sit there until they figure out what they can do with him. They got a family member somewhere. Where are they going to put him?

Now, I don't care where you stand on illegal immigration, how do you not look at a little boy and say, "He was one of tens of thousands, and what are we going to do?"

So when I look at situations like that, I'll go one further on the other side of it. Last weekend in June, we have the anniversary of the firefighters who were killed on Yarnell Hill here in Arizona. The 100 Club of Arizona donates money to these families, just to get them through. And the charities at Mercury donated $50,000 that year.

So I want to associate myself with people to put their money with their mouth is. And not just money. Put themselves on the line. So it's interesting that people would have the assumption that everybody that is associated with, friendly with, close to Glenn, would have to think like Glenn all the time.

He is one of the most thoughtful, nicest people I've ever met, even when we disagree about things.

And is one of the most conservative people I've ever met in my entire life. I just -- I think it's interesting that within our circles, it's funny I have -- I just got a message from one of my local listeners recently, a minute ago. Mad at me because I have John McCain on my show locally in Arizona. And I laugh because he's chairman of the Armed Services Committee and the United States Senate. Has been in the Senate forever, which to the -- much to the chagrin of many of you. But I like John McCain. As a person, I get along well with him, and I disagree with him on a lot of issues. But he is the senior senator in Arizona, the most recognizable name in American politics. He wins his elections by large numbers here in the state of Arizona. And I'm on the talk radio station in Arizona. Why in the world would I ever stop having him on my show?

And if you disagree with that, I respect you. But you can't come at me and question my conservative values because I would -- for the reasons I just gave you, have him on my show.

The time for us throwing stones at each other should be over. Republicans and Democrats should have one thing in common. We have a healthy suspicion of the people we elect to public office.

They can try to divide us, rich versus poor, black versus white, man versus woman, gay versus straight, but in the end, we should have a healthy suspicion of especially the ones we support and put there.

I think that's what makes us a great country. In the end, we know we say this all the time: I'm done talking to politicians. I'm talking to you. Because you and I can wipe out the entire House of Representatives every two years and a third of the Senate. Every two years. We have term limits. It's called the way we vote.

Unfortunately, you know, the same woman who said a few years ago, you have to vote for this bill to see what's in it -- called Obamacare, Nancy Pelosi will never be pried out of that seat by her voters, by that electorate. That's the problem with American politics.

All right. I'm done with the preaching -- the preaching of the sermon. We will talk about the California gun laws. I think it's an important story. I promise we'll get to it after this bottom-of-the-hour break. Again, @BroomheadShow on Twitter.

The Mike Broomhead Show Fan Page on Facebook. Or all one word, MikeBroomhead, on Instagram, if you would like to follow me there. Looking for the interaction during the break. This is the Glenn Beck Program. My name is Mike Broomhead. We'll be back.

[break]

MIKE: Thanks for joining us. Thanks for joining the Glenn Beck Show. Wherever you're listening, thanks for making it a part of your day. My name is Mike Broomhead. Phoenix, Arizona. In today and tomorrow for Glenn. The social media feedback is a lot of fun. Been reading and answering a lot of the tweets and some of the -- some of what's going on. I appreciate all of the comments.

This California gun law story, it's on TheBlaze, if you want to go to TheBlaze.com. By the way, the new format on TheBlaze, I don't know if you noticed it, but I print out a lot of their stories. It's just a lot cleaner.

California gun sales continue to skyrocket, as strict anti-gun laws are set to kick in. Where have we heard this story before?

Every time the president of the United States over the last eight years has come out and talked about stricter gun laws and what they would call common sense gun laws -- first of all, it's an oxymoron and it makes me laugh. The other part of that is gun sales went through the roof.

These are not unreasonable fearmongering people. It's just common American people that realize the right to keep and bear arms is a cornerstone of who we are as a society.

And if someone is going to try to come in and hinder that, they want to get out in front of it. You can't have the number of guns sold in America over the eight years of this president and call it just a bunch of crazy people.

And I don't know what state many of you live in when you listen to this. I can tell you I moved from a fairly lenient gun law state of Florida, where I grew up, to Arizona -- almost 22 years ago.

Our gun laws are the most lenient in the country. I believe they're the most lenient. If you can legally own a firearm in the state of Arizona, if you legally own a handgun, you can conceal it without a permit. Now, I maintain a concealed carry permit. I like the training that goes with it. The knowledge of laws that goes with it. But I also like reciprocity, where I can travel to other states and maintain a concealed weapons permit.

But the laws don't change anything. I live in a very -- you know, Phoenix is the sixth largest city, but the surrounding cities around us, it is a very big valley. It's beautiful. It's safe. It's clean. I'm not mocking Chicago. But I'd rather be here than Chicago when it comes to crime or DC when it comes to crime with very strict gun laws.

Criminals bent on killing could care less if they're going to get hammered with a gun law violation. It sounds trite. It's not.

We should be fixing the problem. When you're -- if you go to the doctor with an ailment and they begin to treat you for the wrong ailment, A, it's horrible because they think they're solving a problem and they're not. And, B, the issue continues to get worse because they're not treating the right issue.

So California's gun sales continue to skyrocket as -- that when these laws go into effect -- a lawmaker was quick to use the tragedy in San Bernardino to put further restrictions on firearms within the state. Among the six bills that were signed into law is a law that requires semiautomatic rifles with evil features to be registered upon purchase.

Listen, I don't -- I don't want to lose my temper and I don't want to mock people. What the hell is an evil feature on a gun?

See, the problem is, there's a multitude of things that can be used to kill. And unfortunately, we've seen that. Pressure cookers. Backpacks. Vehicles.

No one is suggesting limitations on those. DUI is a horrible crime. You know, drinking and driving is just -- it's just -- it's unnecessary. That's why -- the consequences can be so devastating for such an easy fix.

But nobody suggests punishing good drivers because of the bad ones. You don't blame the car. You don't blame the booze. You blame the person that drank the booze and got in the car. No one is talking about smaller cars or limitations on cars. No one is talking about limited on the amount of alcohol you can buy at one time. No one is talking about any of that.

You put the blame where it belongs, on the abuser.

In Arizona, and I'm sorry to keep bringing up where I live, but we have very restrictive DUI laws. And very lenient gun laws.

And you look around this country and you see where the gun laws are very restrictive and the high crime rates, you can't reconcile the two. And for anybody -- when I only get insulted when somebody goes after low-hanging fruit in their mind, which is usually emotion. Is that any town, is that the organization that's cropped up after the Sandy Hook shooting, where there was another anti-gun group. And they make the assertion that if you're not in favor of the gun laws they're in favor of, you don't care about children dying.

I was doing afternoons in Phoenix, when Sandy Hook happened. And I remember being so physically ill, and I didn't know how I was going to go on the air that afternoon and talk about anything else or make any sense about what we saw happening. That a kid would murder his mother, drive to an elementary school, and then wipe out a class of second graders. And those families that showed up at that school that were segregated based on if you were a parent to one of the kids that were killed, you were segregated to be told that your child was dead.

As a matter of fact, one of the people I reached out to that day was Glenn. I said, "How do I make sense of this?" How do I go on the air and talk about this kind of evil and not break down?

Don't tell me that gun owners in this country have no respect for human life or don't care about dead kids or would rather have guns than children dying. It's an insult to say that.

But I can guarantee you this: California's restrictive gun laws will do absolutely nothing to lower the gun crime rate in that state. Not a thing.

Criminals will get their hands on guns. They always have. They always will. That's what makes them a criminal.

When you talk about the spree killers like the Adam Lanza kid in Sandy Hook or Jared Loughner here in Tucson, Arizona, when Congresswoman Giffords was shot and injured so severely. And the federal court judge was killed. And that small girl, Christina-Taylor Green was murdered at that scene. Or the shooter in South Carolina, Dylann Roof, or in Colorado in that movie theater, or go all the way back to Virginia Tech. Columbine.

The common denominator, guns? Sure. The common denominator was also that these were dangerously mentally ill people that had been warned -- their families had been warned, they had been kicked out of school on many occasions and told, "Don't come back until you've had some mental health counseling." As a matter of fact, in the case of what was going on in Colorado, they were going to his house with an intervention team, but he had withdrawn from school, so they didn't have the authority to do anything. So they didn't.

HIPAA laws have a lot more to do with solving this problem. To what level can we institutionalize or forcibly medicate somebody that -- you can't punish somebody for a crime they haven't committed.

But when someone's that dangerously mentally ill, how much intervention can be done? There's where the problem lies. Not in guns.

The most ridiculous example of that was Adam Lanza and the gun laws they wanted after Sandy Hook. They wanted background checks. They wanted to get rid of the gun show loophole and the hand-to-hand sales loopholes, where any gun sale had to be registered or had to go through a gun dealer, with the exception of family members. You could sell to a family member.

Well, the reason why that's ridiculous is Adam Lanza, A, was too young to possess the guns he had, so he was already violating gun laws. But, B, they were his mother's guns. So that new law wouldn't have stopped Adam Lanza from getting those guns if his mother gave him the guns.

No background check required. No stopping that young man from obtaining them legally if she could hand them to him. Now, we know the story. The story is, he murdered his mother with those guns and then went on the killing spree. I mean, it's a horrible thought. But if she had given him the guns, the law wouldn't have stopped it. He still would have had them.

So the very laws they came up with in the fallout of Sandy Hook would not have stopped Sandy Hook. And when we stop blaming what is to blame and we shift it to something else, we're in danger. Because we're not solving the problem. And we're treating something that's not the problem.

Guns aren't the problem. Certainly you and I aren't the problem. Someone explain how taking my gun away from me or limiting my access to firearms or ammunition makes us safer.

It doesn't. I'm armed most of the time. And most of the time, I don't even think about it. Because I'm not looking to use a gun. I'm not looking to brandish a weapon. But I'm also not looking to be a victim either.

So as a society, we have to decide. The state of California is crashing. Their economy is crashing because of the welfare state. They are taxing businesses and regulating businesses out of that state. They are running for the hills.

Other states here in the western United States like Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, they are just waiting because the businesses are leaving California. Economically, they are about to crash.

And with laws like this, it becomes a lawless nation because the law-abiding citizen is going to listen to the law because they have to. And the lawbreakers are still going to do whatever they please. And they're going to prey upon society. Because they're breaking the law anyway. You're going to murder somebody -- you mean the gun charge matters to you? It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Before we end the show today, talk about the hypocrisy of a protected class of people. If you go back to remember, nobody was going to make the wedding cake for the gay couple, and businesses were fined and hammered. Well, something along those lines. But I don't believe that anybody is getting in trouble for this one. I'm going to get to a story to wrap it up here in just a couple of moments. I hope you'll stick around for it. My name is Mike Broomhead, and this is the Glenn Beck Program.

[break]

MIKE: My name is Mike Broomhead in for a few more minutes today. And, again, in for Glenn tomorrow. Thanks for making the Glenn Beck Program a part of your day, wherever you're listening.

And before we get out of here, we may have to start a GoFundMe page. Not me personally. But maybe one of you. You may want to do this, to help this out.

There is a cafe in Hawaii that I'm sure is going to have to pay a hefty fine because, just based on precedent -- we know that there have been bakeries that didn't want to bake cakes for gay weddings. There were -- there was a farm that didn't want to host a gay wedding. They said, "We'll host a reception. We just don't want to host the ceremony."

And there has been story after story of businesses that have been run out of business or fined to the tune of thousands and thousands of dollars because you can't refuse service based on deeply held beliefs. That if you do that, then you are somehow hindering them. And they are not able to have what they want. Now, it's ridiculous. But that's -- that's the precedent that's been set.

Well, in Hawaii, Honolulu's Cafe -- 8 1/2? Is that what it's called? Gets rave reviews on Yelp for its -- one of its menu items. Very popular place.

But they have decided to post a sign that says, "If you voted for Donald Trump, you can't eat here."

Well, I'm sure that the Obama administration and the Justice Department and the civil rights -- they are -- they are going to hammer these people. I mean, you would think that just based on the fact that you've got to make the cake for a gay wedding, you can't refuse that.

You're going to get fined. You're hindering people. You are showing bias. So if you want, you could help this cafe by starting a GoFundMe page. Because I'm sure the government is going to hammer them. No, actually what's going to happen is they're going to applaud them for their courage in standing up for what they believe in.

The issue of bias and hate crimes is one that has always bothered me. Because if I go out on a date and somebody decides either they don't like me or they don't like her, so they beat us up, or in front of us is a gay couple and they beat them up because they don't like gay people, they should be punished to a greater degree for beating up the gay couple because it's a hate crime. Well, it's not a love crime if you beat me up.

So the idea -- and I thought our justice system was supposed to be blind. I thought we had equal justice for crimes. That if you commit a crime against somebody because you don't like them because of their race or you commit a crime against somebody just because you're a criminal, the punishment should be the punishment.

And the other side of this -- if this Hawaiian cafe doesn't want Trump voters there, Trump voters should take their money someplace else. And if you're a gay couple planning a wedding and somebody doesn't want to do business with you, take your money someplace else. You don't make your wedding a political statement. Well, you shouldn't anyway.

We're just about out of time. Tomorrow I'll be back in on the Glenn Beck Program. Again, @BroomheadShow on Twitter, MikeBroomhead on Instagram, or the Mike Broomhead Show on Facebook. Thanks for being a part of the show today. I'll be back tomorrow. Have a great day, everyone. God bless.

Featured Image: Pexels

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.