Lawmakers are putting the death penalty on trial

Fanny Carrier/AFP/Getty Images

Capital punishment is on its last breath in the U.S. Interestingly enough, it's the GOP that may deliver the final blow.

In six different states this year, Republican lawmakers have introduced bills to repeal the death penalty. This is good news—but the GOP shouldn't stop there. Indeed, taking steps toward eliminating the death penalty nationwide would show a true dedication to limited government principles, and help the party appeal to a more diverse set of voters.

The anti-death penalty wave in the GOP hasn't emerged out of nowhere. Over the past decade, Republican state lawmakers have been introducing more and more death penalty repeals, even though that means going against the opinion of 77 percent of their own party. Unfortunately, support for capital punishment prevailed last week when the Wyoming Senate failed to pass a repeal. But even the fact that the bill passed with ease in the GOP-dominated Wyoming House of Representatives could be a sign of what's to come in the party's national agenda.

Opposition to the death penalty is actually in line with the Republican Party's nature, which is inherently skeptical of big government. In principle, the death penalty is the government's greatest power—control over life and death.

It'll come as no surprise to any small-government conservative that the state does a terrible job of enacting this supposed justice. For one, enforcing the death penalty costs states millions every year. Even worse, innocent Americans are often sentenced to death and in some cases killed. To top it off, three percent of executions are botched in an excruciating process that violates the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

Not only would a firm opposition to the death penalty in the GOP better align with its core philosophy, it would help the party's image with three groups it often fails to resonate with: young people, women, and African Americans. A 2018 Pew Research poll found that 45 percent of woman and 46 percent of Americans age 18 to 29 oppose the death penalty, which is above the nation's average opposition of 39 percent.

And it makes sense that the poll also showed 52 percent of African Americans oppose the death penalty, considering that many studies show racial bias in its enactment nationwide. While roughly half of the murder victims in the U.S. are African American, about 80 percent of those executed are sentenced to death for killing a white victim. At the federal level, 80 percent of submitted cases from 1995 to 2000 for death penalty prosecution involved a black defendant. These trends are consistent from state to state. When the GOP abolishes a government tool that disproportionately affects African Americans, it will send a clear message that Republicans govern for all Americans. The result could be a dent in the Democratic Party's monopoly on black voters.

A GOP working to repeal the death penalty nationwide is a party working to limit big government—while promoting a compassionate conservatism that aims to benefit everyone.

The GOP is already doing much better on this front. Last year, the Republican-led Senate passed criminal justice reform via the First Step Act — a shift away from the party's long-held "tough on crime" mentality, and a pleasant surprise for the ideologically diverse set of activists who had been working to rollback the overreaches of our nation's criminal justice system. The GOP has typically been the face of death penalty support in modern day politics, but it's clear that many in the party are ready to alter its criminal justice platform for the better when new developments call old ideas into question.

A GOP working to repeal the death penalty nationwide is a party working to limit big government—while promoting a compassionate conservatism that aims to benefit everyone. Republican lawmakers have already begun this process, but their ideas have yet to become mainstream in the GOP. For the future of the party, but more importantly, for the future of America, let's hope that opponents of the death penalty win the GOP's internal battle so our country can better respect the value of human life.

Patrick Hauf (@PatrickHauf) is a writer for Young Voices and Lone Conservative. His work can be found in the Washington Examiner, Townhall, FEE, and more.

Would Glenn make a better bounty hunter or a Jedi? You'll have to find out in a new episode of the Beltway Banthas Podcast, where Glenn goes deep on Star Wars with host Stephen Kent. In this 45 minute discussion, Stephen and Glenn explore the political themes of the Star Wars franchise, Darth Vader's redemption from Return of the Jedi, Glenn's earliest memories of seeing the films and even debate elements of the latest Star Wars films.

If you enjoy the pop culture and nerdy discussions that Glenn, Pat and Stu get into on the radio show, you'll love this! After you're through, you can also check out Stu Burguiere's appearance on Beltway Banthas to talk Star Wars. You can find that here.

It's never too early to start your Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanzaa shopping. Or even birthday gift shopping. Especially if that special someone in your life is a Democrat. Because at last count, pretty much all the Democrats are now running for president. And that means there has never been a wider selection of official candidate merchandise to choose from. Whether you're into environmentalism, feminism, classism, socialism, or just plain love, there is a smorgasbord of classy items that you and yours will treasure forever... or at least until the next presidential election.

We have browsed each of the candidates' online stores, so you don't have to (it only took us three months). We have curated only the finest items from each of the Democrats running for president of the United States of America. Without further ado, here is your handy progressive gift guide – or maybe your what-not-to-gift guide.

First, the bargain basement options. Hurry! Time is running out to grab your Beto bandana, or your Delaney pack of golf balls, because at this point Stu has as much of a chance as these guys of getting the nomination.

Tom Steyer, for example – is he still in the race?

There's way too much Tom here. That shirt's got more Toms than a Caucasian dentists' convention.

For the slightly more moderate Democrat in your life, perhaps they'd like to join the "Yang Gang"…

Andrew Yang is a lock for Math Club president…

But for actual president? Well, I wouldn't make plans for how you're going to spend your $1,000-per-month Yang allowance just yet.

If you happen to be shopping for your dog, may I suggest this lovely "Dogs for Delaney" dog collar…

John Delaney's definitely going to secure the canine vote with this kind of outreach. As for any human votes, that's another question entirely.

How 'bout this tastefully understated "Natural Canvas" Michael Bennet tote to remind you he's also still here?...

Then again, it's a tote. So, it'll end up on the floor of your closet and you won't have it with you until that one random moment when you're out somewhere and you really need a tote bag. Just like Democrats will really wish they had a moderate when we're in the middle of the socialist nightmare of their creation.

Captain Planet himself, Jay Inslee recently dropped out of the race, but don't let that stop you from picking up what may be the greatest single item sold by anyone in this race…

A children's book called Elvis & the Elves: the Mystery of the Melting Snow. Written and illustrated by Governor Jay Inslee. Talk about a whodunnit – how could that snow possibly be melting? Spoiler alert: it's because of evil, white, patriarchal capitalism. And Donald Trump.

Then there's the candidate who thinks you're a moron that can't pronounce his last name: Steve Bullock...

Get it? Bull. Lock. Oh, so that's how you say the name that sounds exactly how it's spelled.

There's another candidate who also thinks you need help pronouncing his last name…

And he is definitely right about that. So, thank you, Pete "Boot Edge Edge." That helps.

Just outside the bargain bin section, but just barely, are candidates like Julian Castro and his "El Presidente" t-shirt…

When your last name's Castro, do you really want to go with a weird drawing of yourself as if you're a classic Latin American dictator on a postage stamp?

If you prefer a little "dark psychic forces" battling in your candidates, you'll love Marianne Williamson's "Turn Love Into a Political Force" rally sign…

"Turn Love Into a Political Force" would be an even better title for a Marianne Williamson album of 80s cover songs. And if you think I'm joking, then you haven't heard Bernie Sanders' classic 1987 folk album, We Shall Overcome. That's not a joke. Well, it is a joke, but it's also a very real thing.

Now, just a quick pause to consider the peculiar baby-wear that way too many candidates are selling…

…including Elizabeth Warren's trans-pride flag onesie. Let me get this straight – we can't force any gender on a child, because that's just cruel. But we can force a political advertisement on a baby? How do we know that baby is actually a Biden or Warren fan? The child may not even be a Democrat or a Socialist at all. That baby might self-identify as a Libertarian, or Republican, or even worse – a moderate Democrat.

Now to the premium items from the premium candidates. Elizabeth Warren – the candidate with the most honesty in her advertising…


Warren's merchandise reflects the woman herself – cold and humorless (watch her "This isn't funny" clip from the last debate here at the 4:27 mark). I'm sure she's really fun once you get to know her. Then again, maybe not.

Speaking of serious women, Kamala Harris wants to be president very badly for you, the people, as you can tell from her "For the People" poster…

At $29.99 though, she's sure not charging "people's" prices. Of course, she might be having to pay royalties to a certain someone for riffing on their poster. Just saying.

For the race's number one socialist, there's a whole lot of capitalism going on in Bernie Sanders' campaign. He sells so many delightful items that it's hard to choose. But we did anyway. The most random item is this hundred-dollar, black, "Art of a Political Revolution – Artists for Bernie Sanders Coaches Jacket"…

Coaches across the land will be clamoring for this one. You know, since coaches are such a strong Bernie-socialist demographic.

If that's a little over your budget you might consider a "Feel the Bern" fanny pack, to help store all those government freebies you'll get from Bernie…

This is the only context in which you'll ever want to hear "feel the burn" and "fanny" in the same sentence.

And finally, from front-runner Joe Biden, we have this fine "Women's Fitted Biden Polo." Which is just about the best polo description ever…

It promises the kind of snug approach that Biden loves to provide women. Even when they don't ask.

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.