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Last night, #UniteCloud sent an email to St. Cloud City Councilman Jeff Johnson. It said “Shame on you. You were voted into office to represent all of Saint Cloud. Not just the ones who look like you. I will call you out every time I see you in the future. I will also be ready to inform all not to vote for you or your ignorance. I want my city to be nice and you are not helping at all. Shame on you. Sincerely,”

Apparently, #UniteCloud didn’t like the fact that Councilman Johnson testified in support of the resolution to direct the Office of Legislative Auditor, aka OLA, to audit the multitude of programs that support the refugee resettlement program. Councilman Johnson was quoted in the St. Cloud Times as saying the “taxpayers have a right to have a good and fair audit.” Johnson also said that he’s been concerned about the lack of transparency with the refugee resettlement program.

It’s stunning that any civic organization would criticize transparency in government but that’s what #UniteCloud apparently supports. Councilman Johnson replied to the email, saying “Call me out on what? Asking for an audit as to how much money is being spent on refugee resettlement? The taxpayers are paying for this program and we have a right to full transparency.”

Telling the #UniteCloud person that he supports transparency didn’t sit well with #UniteCloud:

Wasting time where you could do some good for all and spreading hatred and ignorance. This email will be shared. SHAME ON YOU!

To his credit, Councilman Johnson didn’t reciprocate. He didn’t start calling the #UniteCloud person derogatory names. Instead, he finished the email exchange with this:

I don’t see how asking for an audit of a taxpayer funded program and spreading hated and ignorance is connected. Yes, you are free to send this email to whom ever you like.

It’s baffling how #UniteCloud can equate conducting an audit with “spreading hatred and ignorance.” According to this blog post, there’s an “Anti-Refugee Bill in MN House and Senate.” I’d love hearing Natalie Ringsmuth’s explanation for that. Rep. Steve Drazkowski’s legislation (HF3034) would direct the Legislative Auditor to “conduct financial audits of spending related to refugee resettlement costs, and money transferred.”

Here’s the text of Rep. Drazkowski’s bill:

Section 1. DIRECTION TO LEGISLATIVE AUDITOR; REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT COSTS.
(a) The legislative auditor shall conduct or contract with vendors to conduct independent third-party financial audits of federal, state, local, and nonprofit spending related to refugee resettlement costs and other services provided to refugees in Minnesota. The audits by the vendors shall be conducted as vendor resources permit and in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards issued by the United States Government Accountability Office.

(b) For purposes of this section, “independent third-party” means a vendor that is independent in accordance with government auditing standards issued by the United States Government Accountability Office.

(c) The legislative auditor shall report the results of the financial audits required under paragraph (a) to the chairs and ranking minority members of the legislative committees and divisions with jurisdiction over health and human services finance and policy by February 1, 2017.

(d) The commissioner of human services shall, in fiscal year 2017, transfer to the Office of the Legislative Auditor the amount necessary to conduct the financial audits under paragraph (a). The central office appropriation under Laws 2015, chapter 71, article 14, section 2, subdivision 3, is reduced accordingly.

#UniteCloud’s misleading headlines calls into question what their mission is. If their goal is to unite St. Cloud, then they’re failing. That’s because they’ve accused people who support transparency of “spreading hatred and ignorance.”

UPDATE: I was just contacted by Councilman Johnson. He said that he doesn’t know whether it was #UniteCloud that emailed him. Consider this a retraction of my statement that #UniteCloud threatened Councilman Johnson. That being said, whoever it was that sent the email used the same tone as was used in many of #UniteCloud’s public statements. There’s no need to retract my statement that #UniteCloud’s statement about “anti-refugee” legislation. #UniteCloud’s statement is highly deceptive, if not outright dishonest.

Further, I stand by my statement that #UniteCloud isn’t uniting St. Cloud behind their agenda. If anything, Natalie Ringsmuth’s statement have united St. Cloud against their agenda.

Last week, Senate Minority Leader David Hann wrote Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk a letter requesting that Sen. Bakk release the content of a threatening email Sen. Bakk sent to Cook County businessman Dennis Rysdahl. Predictably, Sen. Bakk refused to release that email, saying “You just can’t do that.”

After hearing Mr. Rysdahl’s testimony and reading his quote in the DNT’s article, I’d argue that it’s imperative that Sen. Bakk’s email be made public. Rysdahl testified at Cook County’s County Commissioners meeting, saying “I got an email from Tom Bakk yesterday, and he’s very concerned. He’s already hearing, again, what’s he’s heard many times before that Cook County doesn’t really belong in the Taconite Relief District, and if they’re going to take an action like this, they don’t deserve to continue to be involved.”

After reading that quote, it’s insulting that we read this opening paragraph of the Mesabi Daily News article:

Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk of Cook will not acquiesce to a Republican request to make public a personal email sent to a Cook County businessman regarding the Twin Metals lease issue.

That’s BS. First, I’d demand to know which email address Sen. Bakk used. If he used his legislative email address or his IRRRB email address, that ends Sen. Bakk’s argument that it’s a personal email. Saying that you’re using a government account to send personal emails is a nonstarter.

Further, I’d argue that any email that talked about potential action by an executive branch agency isn’t personal. Based on Mr. Rysdahl’s testimony, it sounds like the email relates directly to Sen. Bakk’s responsibilities as a member of the IRRRB executive board. This paragraph indicates that the email was official:

But in Cook County, there is also an undercurrent of an Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board issue — should Cook County continue as part of the Taconite Relief Area and receive agency funding.

I can’t wait to hear Sen. Bakk explain how threatening the Cook County commissioners with cutting off funding is “personal.” As I said earlier, I don’t doubt that Sen. Bakk wanted to keep his threatening email private.

I hope that Sen. Hann has another plan to force Sen. Bakk into producing that email. Private citizens shouldn’t have to deal with threats from public officials. That’s what Sen. Bakk did to Mr. Rysdahl and to the Cook County commissioners.

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When I saw Donald Trump’s op-ed in this morning’s Wall Street Journal, aka WSJ, I wrote this 500-word article to respond to Trump’s deceptions.

I won’t rehash all of the arguments I made in the article. Instead, I’ll focus this post on some of the most intentionally dishonest statements in Mr. Trump’s op-ed, starting with the statement where he said “We must leave no doubt that voters, not donors, choose the nominee.”

That’s breathtakingly and intentionally deceptive. Apparently, Trump’s goal is to prey on the gullibility of his supporters. Trump’s tactic is to insinuate that the RNC, DC lobbyists and Wall Street fat cats picked Colorado’s delegates, which they didn’t. They were picked by people that did things differently than Trump.

Unlike Trump, the people that picked the delegates participated in the political process. Mr. Trump didn’t complain about the rules in Nevada or Iowa. Both states are caucus states. In fact, the rules at the Iowa Caucuses are infinitely more complicated than they are in Colorado.

We know that Trump won the Nevada Caucuses and finished second in the Iowa Caucuses. Further, we know that he didn’t complain about the rules in those states. He did well in those states because he actually campaigned there. That’s the key difference between what happened in Colorado and what happened in Iowa and Nevada.

It’s important that we turn Trump’s complaint against himself. Colorado shouldn’t award him any delegates because he wasn’t interested enough in Colorado to even campaign there. Sen. Cruz, by contrast, worked hard in the state. Instead of campaigning in Colorado, Trump apparently is intent on complaining about Colorado.

This statement is disgusting, too:

A planned vote had been canceled. And one million Republicans in Colorado were sidelined.

In 2012, the GOP ticket won 1,185,000 votes in the general election. Activists know that turnout for primaries and caucuses never come close to the turnout in general elections. Saying that “one million Republicans in Colorado were sidelined” is dishonest in the extreme. Further, the vote Trump is referring to was a straw poll, which wouldn’t have effected who got picked as delegates. The rules didn’t change.

People started the process by attending precinct caucuses. Those participants picked people who participated in the congressional district conventions and the state convention. Minnesota’s caucus system is somewhat different in that the delegates to the Republican National Convention get picked at the state convention. The difference is that Minnesota doesn’t award delegates by congressional districts.

I, for one, am not interested in defending a system that for decades has served the interest of political parties at the expense of the people. Members of the club—the consultants, the pollsters, the politicians, the pundits and the special interests—grow rich and powerful while the American people grow poorer and more isolated.

It’s disgusting that Trump’s argument isn’t hinged to anything resembling reality. Then again, Trump is unhinged in more ways than one. The Colorado legislature, which was elected by the people, passed legislation that created their state’s caucus system. Next, Colorado’s governor signed that bill into law.

At no point do “the consultants, the pollsters, the politicians, the pundits and the special interests” get involved in voting on delegates. Trump knows that. It’s that he can’t resist dividing people. In fact, if there weren’t a zillion candidates this year, he’d have about half of the delegates he has now.

The dirty little secret that Mr. Trump wants to distract people’s attention from is the fact that he’s had a terrible time since the finalists became Trump, Cruz and Kasich. Mr. Trump wants the rules to benefit him. When he fails to campaign places, then he starts whining about how unfair everything is. The GOP nominee shouldn’t be a narcissist that’s constantly whining.

The GOP presidential nominee should be the candidate that put together a campaign organization and who’s campaigned hard to find every voter out there.

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There wasn’t much doubt about whether Rick Nolan would sell out the Eighth District on environmental issues. If there was any doubt about whether Rick Nolan was a sellout to the Eighth District, that doubt disappeared when he announced he’s supporting Bernie Sanders for president. There’s a Bible verse that’s forever true. It says that people can’t serve 2 masters.

Rick Nolan isn’t serving 2 masters. He’s just trying to pretend like he’s doing a balancing act. It’ll be difficult for him to pull that off the minute people read Bernie Sanders’ issue page on the environment. Simply put, Sanders’ views of the environment is the opposite of what the Eighth District believes.

For instance, Sanders said that he wants to “protect important watersheds and wildlife areas.” It’s impossible to imagine Bernie not including Superior National Forest, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Voyageur’s National Park in his list of “important watersheds and wildlife areas” he’d want to protect. That certainly means a Sanders administration would prohibit mining.

Nolan issued this statement on his decision:

The Democratic Party is fortunate to have two qualified presidential candidates, both of whom offer substantive solutions to the problems facing Americans. I’ve considered a number of factors in making this decision, including the will of Minnesota caucus attendees, specifically those in the 8th Congressional District. Bernie’s message and his authenticity appeals to voters here, and it appeals to me. I’ll be proud to cast my vote for him in Philadelphia this summer.

Apparently, one of the things Nolan didn’t consider was whether his constituents agreed with Sanders. That wasn’t a high priority for him.

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Jane Conrad’s LTE is an exercise in partisan dishonesty. In Ms. Conrad’s opening paragraph, she said “In 2014, state politicians like Reps. Jim Knoblach, Tama Theis, Jeff Howe and Tim O’Driscoll ran and were elected on a promise to improve the quality of lives for citizens in Greater Minnesota. We were promised that our roads and bridges would be repaired and broadband technology would be expanded.”

What’s happening is unfortunate. This isn’t part of the DFL’s campaign. This is the DFL’s campaign. They’ve been whining about Republicans not spending as much on broadband as they are since the 2014 election. The truth is that Republicans are willing to expand broadband in Minnesota. They just aren’t willing to spend as much on it as the DFL.

Second, I’m tired of hearing that Republicans haven’t delivered on fixing Minnesota’s roads and bridges. The DFL, starting with Gov. Dayton and including Transportation Forward, is insisting on a major middle class tax increase to pay for roads and bridges. Additionally, they’re insisting that Republicans raise fees to pay for transit projects. In short, the DFL is insisting on listening to their lobbyist allies rather than to the people. I wrote this post in April, 2015 about a KSTP/SurveyUSA poll on transportation. Here is the poll question and the result:

House Republicans propose spending $750-million on highways and bridges over four years by using some of the state’s budget surplus and other existing funds without raising taxes. Do you approve or disapprove? Asked of 525 registered voters. Margin of sampling error for this question = ± 3.8%
75% Approve, 17% Disapprove, 8% Not Sure

It’s pretty clear that Minnesotans don’t approve of a major middle class tax increase, especially when there’s a less expensive way of solving the problem.

This year’s legislative session has been shortened due to construction at the Capitol, so one would assume our representatives would try to make the most of what little time they have, and get done what is most important. Instead, they waste time and taxpayer money trying to pass laws that will not pass in the Senate, would be vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton and would do nothing to help their constituents in Greater Minnesota.

Shame on Ms. Conrad. She’s forgotten that last year’s session went rather well. She’s forgotten, perhaps intentionally, that Speaker Kurt Daudt and Sen. Tom Bakk worked out a bipartisan budget agreement that Gov. Dayton eventually signed right before a partial government shutdown would’ve happened.

To hear Ms. Conrad tell it, Republicans don’t get anything done because they hate central Minnesota and other parts of the state, too. Ms. Conrad is a DFL operative who supports labor unions’ goals. It isn’t a stretch to say that she’s critical of anything Republicans do. That’s who she is.

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Ever since the networks called the Wisconsin GOP Primary for Ted Cruz, Trump’s campaign has been spinning the victory as proof that Sen. Cruz is part of the GOP establishment. I wrote here about the Trump campaign’s statement. The statement said “Donald J. Trump withstood the onslaught of the establishment yet again. Lyin’ Ted Cruz had the Governor of Wisconsin, many conservative talk radio show hosts, and the entire party apparatus behind him. Not only was he propelled by the anti-Trump Super PAC’s spending countless millions of dollars on false advertising against Mr. Trump, but he was coordinating with his own Super PAC’s (which is illegal) who totally control him.

“Ted Cruz is worse than a puppet— he is a Trojan horse, being used by the party bosses attempting to steal the nomination away from Mr. Trump. We have total confidence that Mr. Trump will go on to win in New York, where he holds a substantial lead in all the polls, and beyond.”

The anti-Trump super PACs oppose Trump because he’s a policy lightweight, he isn’t a man of integrity, his campaign organization is nonexistent and because he’d get slaughtered by Hillary Clinton.

You can’t win electoral votes when you haven’t topped 50% in any state thus far. In fact, Trump’s best finish was 45% in Florida and Nevada. That won’t get it done. There’s no proof that Trump is capable of expanding his base of support. There is proof that Trump can’t expand beyond his fever-swamp base. It’s called the #NeverTrump movement. It’s called the Stop Trump movement, too.

Wednesday night, Dave Wohl, one of Trump’s amateur spokesters, insisted that the only reason why the GOP Establishment was supporting him was because Sen. Cruz, in Wohl’s words, was “malleable.” That’s interesting, considering the fact that Jimmy Carter once said that the GOP Establishment preferred Trump over Cruz because the Establishment thought Trump was malleable.

Back in February, Trump spent a week accusing Sen. Cruz of being “a nasty guy that nobody liked.” That’s quite the transformation. In 2 months, Sen. Cruz has gone from being a nasty guy that nobody likes to being the Establishment’s “Trojan horse” because he’s “malleable.”

The Trump campaign’s storyline is as erratic as The Donald’s mood swings. That’s saying something, isn’t it?

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It’s indisputable that Donald Trump has gotten lots of traction attacking specific media figures. This time, though, Trump won’t gain traction attacking a media figure. That’s because Trump’s attacked Charlie Sykes, saying “Charlie Sykes is a lowlife. Charlie Sykes is a guy who is not a real believer, he wants the establishment to win because it’s good for his third-rate show. He’s not a smart man, he’s actually a dumb man. He’s a dummy.”

In the past, like now, Trump has attacked media figures to take attention away from Trump’s misstatements. That’s worked well when he’s attacked ‘the media’ or if he’s attacked Megyn Kelly. It won’t work this time because Wisconsin conservatives know that Charlie Sykes is one of the smartest conservatives in Wisconsin. The only way that Trump benefits from picking this fight is if it helps him in later primaries. With New York’s primary 2 weeks away, attacking Sykes isn’t likely to benefit Trump there. Criticizing Sykes in Wisconsin isn’t as fatal as criticizing the Packers or cheese but it isn’t bright, either. Attacking Sykes is like criticizing Scott Walker. To use Sykes phrase about attacking Walker in Wisconsin, it’s “weapons-grade stupid.”

Sykes didn’t take the criticism sitting down:

“I believe he was quoting Abraham Lincoln,” Sykes said. “Seriously though, he took time out from talking about ISIS, the war on terror, international trade, immigration and the economy, to talk about me? A talk-show host who asked him some questions? Kind of sad. But kind of typical.”

Trump has proven that he’s the thinnest of thin-skinned candidates in recent presidential history. His ‘rattle-factor’ is off-the-charts high.

Wisconsin voters, from what we’ve seen, aren’t easily distracted. They aren’t shiny object voters like Laura Ingraham, Eric Bolling and Sean Hannity. Finally, Trump made this foolish statement:

“I would tell you, I think this has the feel of a victory,” Trump told reporters Sunday during a campaign stop at a Milwaukee diner. “This has the feel of a victory.”

Trump’s onto something … if you define victory as finishing second, 8-12 points behind the guy getting the most votes. Trump cited the PPP ‘poll’ as reason for optimism. The Marquette University poll is Wisconsin’s gold standard. Their final poll before the primary didn’t show a tight race between Sen. Cruz and Mr.Trump.

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A little over a week ago, the St. Cloud Times published my LTE in which I talked about how Speaker Daudt challenged Rep. Thissen. Specifically, I wrote that Thissen accused Republicans of throwing “controversial provisions into big bills right at the end” of session. Unwilling to let Rep. Thissen’s spin go unchallenged, Speaker Daudt asked him to name some specific controversial provisions that Republicans threw into big budget bills at the end of the 2015 session.

Rather than respond substantively, Rep. Thissen repeated the accusation.

Later, I wrote that “Tim Kelly, the chairman of the House Transportation Committee, wrote an op-ed saying that the next transportation plan Thissen submits ‘will be his first.'” I also said that it’s “a disgrace that the DFL would pick a dishonest man to lead them in the House.” I finished by saying that the DFL agenda is “all criticism and no solutions.” I must’ve gotten under Rep. Thissen’s skin with that. Earlier this week, the Times published Rep. Thissen’s op-ed.

Rep. Thissen’s op-ed addresses some items from the DFL agenda. He started by saying that the “reality is we have been the party of ideas, bringing forth common-sense solutions to address Minnesota’s biggest problem — too many Minnesotans are being squeezed in an economy tilted in favor of the insiders, elites and special interests.” With all due respect, Rep. Thissen, the DFL is the party of special interests.

Nobody’s been squeezed more than the Iron Range. They’ve been squeezed by environmental absolutists who demand that mining projects can’t produce any pollution ever. They’ve been squeezed so tight that it’s difficult to find middle class families on the Range. Minnesota’s poverty rate is 11.5%; compare that with Hibbing’s poverty rate of 20.6% and Virginia’s poverty rate of 26.5%. Then, Rep. Thissen, tell me who’s getting squeezed and who’s getting ignored by the DFL.

Rep. Thissen also wrote that “House DFLers proposed just a solution comprised partly of the House GOP transportation plan and Gov. Mark Dayton’s proposal.” That isn’t a solution. The DFL’s ‘solution’ would’ve imposed a major tax increase on the very middle class taxpayers that Rep. Thissen insists are getting squeezed by the special interests. FYI- Gov. Dayton’s transportation plan is virtually identical to Move MN’s transportation plan. Move MN doesn’t exist anymore. The new DFL-aligned transportation lobbyist organization is called Transportation Forward.

Rep. Thissen, when the DFL approved spending on the Senate Office Building, which group of squeezed people did that help? When the DFL legislature passed its Tax Bill, it included sales taxes on farm equipment repairs, warehousing services and other B2B taxes. This table offers a good explanation of the middle class tax increases the DFL imposed on Minnesotans:

Rep. Thissen, why did the DFL legislature pass this mountain of middle class tax increases in 2013, then vote to repeal them in 2014?

It’s crazy that Rep. Thissen thinks that this is a solution:

We have introduced legislation that would demand powerful drug companies be more transparent about profits to reduce costs of prescription drugs.

That’s right, Rep. Thissen. Central Minnesota has been insisting that the state government get involved in telling businesses how they’ll be allowed to conduct business. Minnesotans are getting squeezed by busybody politicians like Rep. Thissen have heaped piles of compliance costs, reporting requirements and regulations on businesses. That, more than anything else, is what’s driving up costs.

Finally, what’s interesting is that Rep. Thissen didn’t argue that he wasn’t truthful about the controversial provisions thrown into bills.

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Yesterday, DFL activists stopped a meeting of the Public Safety, Crime Prevention Policy and Finance Committee that was debating HF3223, a bill that would give Tom Roy, currently the commissioner of the Department of Corrections, the authority to negotiate a lease with a company called Corrections Corporations of America. This article contains nothing but spin.

For instance, the article says that “African American mothers, young people and pastors” compared the prison system with “modern-day slavery.” They used this argument to talk “about the evils of CCA, and racial disparities in sentencing and incarceration.”

This type of spin is dishonest to its core. The CCA facility in Appleton, MN, has been empty since 2010. CCA doesn’t operate prisons in Minnesota at this time. That means that the protesters’ complaint against a prison system that these activists criticized while shutting down the hearing are publicly owned and operated prison systems.

Here’s the heart of these activists’ complaint about HF3223:

(j) The commissioner, in order to address bed capacity shortfalls, shall enter into a contract to lease and operate an existing prison facility with a capacity of at least 1,500 beds located in Appleton, Minnesota.

It can’t get much more straightforward than this. Tom Roy, Gov. Dayton’s commissioner of the Department of Corrections, shall sign a lease with CCA, then fill that empty facility with prisoners. Since the Department of Corrections has a contract with AFSCME, it’s assumed that Commissioner Roy will staff that prison with guards who are members of AFSCME.

Saying that these misguided activists’ arguments were incoherent is understatement:

Minneapolis NAACP head Nekima Levy-Pounds and other testifiers who opposed the bill said it didn’t matter that the state would operate the facility — it was still doing business with a private prison vendor. “Who we do business with is just as important as the business we do,” Levy-Pounds said. “Doing business with the CCA is like doing business with the devil, because their practices are diabolical.”

“You cannot put my kids, my grandkids, in jail to save 350 Caucasian jobs in Appleton,” Darnella Wade shouted, adding lawmakers should instead invest in daycare, education and other measures that improve quality of life rather than giving millions to a private prison corporation. “This is abuse.”

“When you open a prison, you’re going to fill it, and it’s going to be filled with black and brown bodies,” testified the Rev. Brian Herron of Zion Baptist Church. “Why are we having discussions about building an economy on the backs of black and brown lives?”

Rev. Herron, the reason why the legislature is debating this is because prisons are filling up. If a higher percentage of people stopped breaking the law, there wouldn’t be an overcrowding problem. Further, it’s insulting to think that the legislature is considering this bill because they want to build “an economy on the backs of black and brown lives?” Then there’s the somewhat more sane side of this argument:

“We vehemently oppose the opening of the prison in Appleton,” testified Stillwater Corrections Officer Joe Broge, a member of AFSCME Local 600. “We simply do not have the logistical support to operate another facility that’s four hours away.” He said correctional officers are already understaffed and stretched too thin, without adding another prison to the mix.

Question to the protesters: Is your chief complaint that Minnesota’s legal system is broken? Is it that prisons are understaffed? Or is it that it’s both?

Simply put, yesterday’s DFL protest showed how incoherent their thoughts on this issue are.

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Laura Ingraham has apparently named herself the determiner of who is the GOP establishment and who is part of a populist movement of, by and for the people. In one of her articles, she throws the kitchen sink at the GOP establishment. (I won’t supply the link because I don’t want to drive traffic to her website.)

According to Ingraham’s article, the “takeaway for the GOP Establishment, and its enablers at places like National Review and RedState, will be that Marco Rubio’s win in Minnesota, combined with Cruz’s victories in Texas and Oklahoma and the close-ish race in Virginia, show that Donald Trump can be stopped. They just have to keep going negative.”

First, it’s frightening to think that Ms. Ingraham thinks of RedState is part of the GOP establishment. While I haven’t always agreed with RedState’s beliefs and political analysis, I’ve never questioned their commitment to TEA Party principles. Second, while I agree that NRO is GOP Establishment-ish, I can’t say that they’re card-carrying members of the GOP establishment. Writers like Jonah Goldberg, Jim Geraghty and Kevin Williamson are thinkers who don’t take their marching orders from anyone, much less from the ever-morphing GOP Establishment.

This statement is utterly mindless:

There’s no point in complaining about this. Trump represents a potentially existential threat to the Donor Class.

When Trump told Bret Baier that soldiers would obey his illegal orders, did that represent a “potentially existential threat to the donor class” or did it represent that rantings of a lunatic who didn’t care about the rule of law? Trump didn’t reverse himself until after conservatives wrote negative articles criticizing Mr. Trump for his willingness to order troops to commit war crimes.

At the same time, this primary season has demonstrated that the Establishment has some real problems. It’s clear that Rubio is a deeply flawed candidate. It’s clear he struggles to reach people who aren’t already committed to the Establishment Agenda. It’s clear that the voters are screaming “NO!” to the Establishment’s agenda; they have rejected it in almost every state by almost overwhelming numbers.

What’s equally clear is that conservative activists, like the activists populating CPAC, have noticed that Mr. Trump “is a deeply flawed candidate” who “struggles to reach people who aren’t” repeating Mr. Trump’s clichés.

The GOP Establishment didn’t start the #NeverTrump movement. Sen. Ben Sasse, (R-NE), is the spiritual leader of the movement. Calling a freshman senator from Nebraska who confronted Sean Hannity at CPAC, “chastising the Fox News host for suggesting his refusal to vote for Donald Trump was equivalent to a vote for Hillary Clinton.” Here’s the set of questions Sen. Sasse posed to Mr. Trump that have gone unanswered:

Q1: You said you want single-payer “govt pays4everyone” [health care]. If that isn’t your position now when did it change? Why?
Q2: You’ve said you “hate the concept of guns.” Why the change? When did it happen? What’s the 2nd Amendment mean to you?
Q3: A few yrs ago u proposed $6trillion tax hike. Still want to do that? Agree w/ Biden that higher taxes=more patriotism?
Q4: You brag about many affairs w/ married women. Have you repented? To harmed children & spouses? Do you think it matters?
Q5: I believe 1 of the most damaging things POTUS Obama did is ignore Constitution, act on his own,& bypass Congress Next GOP POTUS must roll this back & reaffirm a Constitutional system b4 we lose this special inheritance forever. Do you agree that exec unilateralism is very bad? Because you talk A LOT about “running the country” as though 1 man should “run America.” Will you commit to rolling back Exec power & undoing Obama unilateral habit?

Do those sound like questions that the GOP Establishment pose on a daily basis? Of course they aren’t, which proves my point that populists mindlessly use the term GOP Establishment whenever their indefensible positions are questions. (They’ll use the term elitist, too. The words are interchangeable.)

Opposing Trump isn’t part of a GOP Establishment conspiracy to thwart the will of the people. It’s the re-invigoration of the TEA Party movement after high-profile TEA Party activists sold out TEA Party principles for high-paying positions with politicians. We’re opposing Trump because he’s the embodiment of the corruption known as crony capitalism.

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