Commentary

Thornbury: Constitution Day and the First Liberty

Greg Thornbury

This is Greg Thornbury of The King’s College in New York for TownHall.com

This month, The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights released a report entitled: “Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Policies with Civil Liberties.” The document, ironically, does not call for peace but rather aggression toward people of religious belief.

In the mind of Commission Chairman, Martin Castro, the term “religious liberty” is nothing but a code word for intolerance and discrimination. Hillary Clinton has expressed similar comments recently about religious beliefs that simply need to be changed to fit with the times.

According to Wall Street Journal editor Bill McGurn, the first freedom in the Bill of Rights is now being trashed by our government.

On Friday this week schools that receive any federal aid must observe “Constitution Day,” in order to commemorate the 39 patriots who signed the document in 1787.

Come November, the nation will go to the ballot box to decide if religious liberty—the “First Liberty”—enshrined in the Constitution, still matters.

I’m Greg Thornbury.

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Medved: Hillary’s Horrible Weekend

This is Michael Medved for Townhall.com.

By every measure, Hillary Clinton suffered a disastrous weekend surrounding the 9/11 anniversary.

Her near collapse on Sunday morning hurt her badly not just because it left the impression of frailty and ill-health, but due to foolish attempts to conceal her pneumonia from a public that deserved candor. Even worse, her comments on Friday night smearing half of Trump’s supporters with charges of racism and homophobia will undermine all her attempts to woo independent or Republican voters.

The main impulse behind much of the support for Donald Trump involves an angry rebellion against political correctness. Hillary only intensifies that anger by invoking precisely the sort of smug, stifling leftist pieties most Americans resent.

This patronizing attitude could very well turn an election she couldn’t lose into a campaign that she can’t win.

I’m Michael Medved.

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Hewitt: A “Living Constitution” Majority Maker?

Pepperdine California Democratic Party

This is Hugh Hewitt for Townhall.com.

Whatever happens in these last weeks of the presidential election, one thing is certain: there is a vacant seat on the Supreme Court and if Hillary Clinton wins the election, she will appoint a so-called “living Constitution” majority maker.

Five years ago, liberal Justice Stephen Breyer told me that his greatest regret is failing to make the Supreme Court the “umpire” of congressional district line drawing.

If a second President Clinton makes the next Supreme Court appointment (or the next two or three), the impact on congressional line drawing will be massive, and will arrive by 2022.

The GOP can expect rulings from the Supreme Court that will place the party of Lincoln in permanent minority status. Justice Breyer is a brilliant man, and he would reverse his biggest regret.

Anticipate rulings on the redistricting plans drawn in the aftermath of the 2020 census that, magically, always favor Democratic candidates.

It is from redistricting cases that the permanent hard left lurch of the country will come.

I’m Hugh Hewitt.

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Davenport: Beware Election Reforms

This is David Davenport of the Hoover Institution for Townhall.com.

A few years ago we reformed primary voting in California.  Now we have open primaries, meaning you can vote for candidates of either party, and top two primaries, where the top two vote getters run in the fall general election, regardless of party.  It was supposed to reduce partisanship and elect more centrist candidates.

Early research suggests it hasn’t accomplished either of its major goals but it has reduced voter choice.  This fall in the race for the U.S. Senate, I can vote for Democrat A or Democrat B.  No Republican survived the top two primary to run in the fall.  I call my choice “Left and Lefter” because, really, it is no choice at all.  A recent poll shows that half of Republicans don’t even plan to vote in the Senate race.

Elections should not just be contests between two people but between sets of ideas. Beware election reforms such as the “top two” primary that eliminate choices.

I’m David Davenport.

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Medved: Change the System So Every Vote Matters

This is Michael Medved for Townhall.com.

One simple question highlights the dysfunction of our current system of choosing a president: which state in 2012 gave Mitt Romney the most votes?

The answer, surprisingly, is California, where the Republican nominee drew nearly 5 million ballots.

But he won no California votes in the Electoral College, which actually chooses the president.

This means California Republicans, like citizens of other states that go reliably Democratic or Republican, can’t influence the outcome because of the winner-take-all system for awarding electoral votes.

There’s nothing Constitutional about this arrangement.

Maine and Nebraska already award an electoral vote for each Congressional district a candidate carries, and other states should do the same.

That would allow citizens everywhere to make a difference—even in states with lopsided statewide partisan preferences.

It would also force candidates to look beyond the handful of swing states that get all the attention because they alone determine the outcome.

I’m Michael Medved.

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Mohler: The Challenges of the New Marine Corps

This is Albert Mohler for Townhall.com.

The Associated Press recently announced that the Marine Corps is going to try to reach a ratio of 1 to 10 in terms of female to male.

On the same day, CNN reported that “the only female officer enrolled in the Marine Corps’ Infantry Officer’s Course has dropped out after failing to complete two conditioning hikes last month.”

It turns out that this particular female officer was the second of only two to have attempted this particular course. This is has led General John Kelly to conclude “if we don’t change standards, it will be very, very difficult to have any numbers—any real numbers come into the infantry.”

When the inclusion of women in all forward combat positions was first broached by the Pentagon, it was claimed that there would be no lowering of physical standards for any of combat position.

But the reality is that there is still and will remain a basic difference between what it means to be male and female that cannot be overcome by ideology, or even by the Pentagon.

I’m Albert Mohler.

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Chen: As Health Care Costs Keep Rising

I’m Lanhee Chen of the Hoover Institution, for Townhall.com.

Health care costs keep rising, and it’s the middle class in America that’s feeling the squeeze.

While Obamacare has given coverage to low-income Americas through expansions in government coverage or generous subsidies for private insurance, middle-class families have been left to pay more for health care.

A recent study from the Brookings Institution found that middle-class families are spending a larger share of their incomes on health care than on anything else. Over course of this past decade, they’re actually spending less on things like housing, transportation and clothing. But health care over the same period? Almost a 25 percent increase.

And this, of course, as the economy sputters along, wages remain stagnant and job opportunities are few.

Health care costs should be an issue in this year’s election. Candidates who’ve backed Obamacare should explain their support for a law that has crushed the middle-class.  And those who’ve opposed it should tell us what they plan to do to turn this disturbing trend around.

I’m Lanhee Chen.

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