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The Lesson of the Election

November 9th, 2012 // 11:24 am @

This election was a surprise. Not because of the result, which I expected.

Before the election I wrote several times that it would come down to independents in the swing states—especially Florida, Ohio and Virginia, but also a few other battleground states such as Nevada, Wisconsin and Colorado.

I was right about the states, but wrong about which voters would sway things.

I thought it would be independent voters, like it was in the elections of 2006, 2008 and 2010. But I was wrong.

In the 2012 presidential election the swing voters in these contested states were Latinos.

This is the big message of the 2012 election.

As long as the Republican Party is seen as the enemy of immigrants, it is going to continue losing elections.

The number of Latino voters will increase by the 2014 midterm election and again by the 2016 presidential election, and as long as the large majority of them see Republican candidates as natural enemies, Republicans should get used to losing.

The GOP has to find a way to appeal to Latino voters.

This shouldn’t be difficult.

The majority of Latino voters are family-oriented, supportive of family values, hard working, entrepreneurial, and love freedom.

They don’t want bigger government, which they tend to see as aristocratic rule by elites.

But it’s hard to blame them for voting against Republican candidates who seem committed to their deportation and disrespectful of their desires for freedom and economic opportunity.

The needed change will demand a fundamental transformation of Republican beliefs, not just some pragmatic strategy designed to recruit Latino voters.

Republican candidates and voters need to genuinely embrace the right of people to seek freedom—and to leave their nation if necessary to find it.

Republicans need to return to the viewpoint that America stands for freedom, that we invite all hard-working, family-loving people in the world to come and join the melting pot and use their freedoms to work hard and build a better nation for all.

The GOP needs to once again see itself as the party of freedom for all people—everywhere.

One difficulty is that many conservatives who vote for anti-immigrant candidates do so because they dislike illegal immigrants receiving welfare and other government benefits funded by taxpayers.

But the welfare state is the problem, not immigrants.

Get rid of welfare, and we’ll once again be an America proud to invite immigrants here to participate in freedom.

But unless Republicans become the party of Latinos, or at least manage to convince more than half of them to support its freedom-and-family-oriented policies, Democrats will continue to win—and the welfare state will swell beyond control.

Republicans lost the presidential election of 2012 because of the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of the 2011-2012 primaries, and until conservatives embrace the many great benefits Latinos and other minorities have to offer and make them central to the Republican Party, the Democrats are going to run America.

It’s time for a new Republican Party that:

1-promotes the ideals of limited government rather than Republican big spending (the message of the Tea Parties and also of many independents)

2-is truly tolerant, respectful, genuinely celebrating and embracing a diversity of cultures, enticing to Latinos and other minority voters

3-is more frequently winning than losing

The third item on this list will never happen in the 21st Century unless the second occurs.

In short: It is time for a fundamental shift in the Republican Party (or the creation of a new party that embraces these very values), because a GOP that fails to effectively attract Latinos and other immigrants is going to remain out of power.

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odemille 133x195 custom Egypt, Freedom, & the Cycles of HistoryOliver DeMille is the chairman of the Center for Social Leadership and co-creator of Thomas Jefferson Education.

He is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, and The Coming Aristocracy: Education & the Future of Freedom.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

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Category : Current Events &Featured &Government &Independents &Leadership &Politics

AFTER THE ELECTION: The Year of Danger

November 8th, 2012 // 5:51 pm @

The year ahead is a time of danger.

The election of 2012 is over, and you are either happy or upset with the outcome—or, like many independents, you are predictably frustrated with the whole system.

Whatever the case, the next few months is a time of real danger in our nation.

During elections, energy and citizen participation is high.

After elections, it reaches all-time lows. People of all political views tend to focus on other things and leave governance to the politicians.

America has serious challenges ahead, and many of them kick in right at the beginning of 2013.

Moreover, during the next year we will almost certainly determine whether or not the United States is going to fall off the looming financial cliff.

Concerns include:

  • The rapidly growing debt
  • The overwhelming reality of entitlements
  • The growing deficit
  • The weakening national credit rating
  • The struggling role of the U.S. Dollar as the world’s reserve currency
  • Various looming bubbles in the market
  • A coming inflation crunch
  • A further middle-class squeeze on jobs and discretionary income
  • A tax rate that is driving more businesses abroad (or out of business)
  • A very nervous small business community that is uncertain about growth or hiring
  • Weak consumer demand that is causing businesses to produce less (and cut jobs)
  • A rapidly expanding government sector that is threatening free enterprise

Washington needs to address these concerns quickly to relieve business anxiety that we’ll just see more of the same (or worse) from the government for the next four years.

After all, without the necessity of reelection the Obama Administration could be truly anti-business.

Hopefully, in contrast, President Obama will see this as an opportunity to really work with Republicans to fix these major national challenges.

The larger problem is that democratic societies seldom take action until they feel direct pain.

Indeed, democratic nations are notoriously bad at anticipating pain and taking action ahead of time, so they seldom stop crises but rather wait until it is too late to get serious about solutions.

We need real solutions in the months and year just ahead, and we can’t afford to wait for more crises.

We must immediately address the economic realities above (and others like them), at the very time the citizenry is the least likely to stay actively involved.

Whatever your political views, America needs you to stay enthusiastically engaged in watching and influencing government. Now more than ever.

Right now begins the year of danger in government and the future of the economy, and only the first branch of government—the people—can truly ensure that things go well.

The alternative is further major economic downturn.

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odemille 133x195 custom Egypt, Freedom, & the Cycles of HistoryOliver DeMille is the chairman of the Center for Social Leadership and co-creator of Thomas Jefferson Education.

He is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, and The Coming Aristocracy: Education & the Future of Freedom.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

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Category : Blog &Citizenship &Current Events &Economics &Entrepreneurship &Featured &Government &Independents &Leadership &Liberty &Mission &Politics

The Presidential Debates

September 26th, 2012 // 7:38 pm @

And What They Should Be

People are getting tired of the presidential election.

It’s too much bad news, week and after week, too many talking heads just saying the same old negative things about the other side, and too many mistakes, gaffes and 10-second clips getting blown way out of proportion.

But all of that is just the way politics works, and people are used to it.

The really frustrating thing in the 2012 presidential election is that neither of the two big candidates has given us a clear, inspiring plan for the next four years.

Both point out flaws of their opponent, and both try to explain away their own unfavorables, but neither have just looked the American people in the eyes and told us what they will do for us if elected.

David Brooks of The New York Times is right that Romney could totally sway this election if he would just ignore the fluff, turn wonky, and outline three or four main things he’s going to do in the next four years.

Romney spent his business life successfully using power point presentations and clear plans to turn things around; the United States needs the same thing right now.

“My fellow Americans,” he should begin the debate. “I’m not going to spend our time tonight talking about every issue under the sun, or answering every question the media thinks is important. We’ve been doing that for years, and it hasn’t gotten us where we want to be.

“What America needs now is leadership. There are four issues that will determine whether the next four years are a time of success and a return to prosperity, or a time of decline. It’s time for our leaders to tell us the truth: if we fix these four things, our future will be bright. If not, it won’t.

“So, others can talk about whatever they want, but I’m going to focus only on these four things that will make all the difference in America’s future. If you don’t like that, elect someone else. If you elect me, I’m going to fix four things. Here they are:

#1           jobs

#2           health care

#3           the economy (including entitlements, the national debt, government
spending, deficits and our credit rating)

#4           oil dependency

“So, for you who are asking the questions tonight, if you ask about how we’ll fix these things, I’ll tell you. If you ask me anything else, I’ll tell you my entire presidency is going to focus on these four things. Period. That’s what we need our leaders to do, and that’s what I’m going to do. The only other thing I’m going to focus on is to maintain a strong national defense.

“That’s what my presidency will be, a strong national defense and fixing these four things. That’s what America needs for the next four years, and as president I will make sure these four problems get fixed.

“I have a full written plan on how to accomplish each of these 4 priorities, and it has just been posted to my website in the last minute since I started speaking. I hope every American will read it. And in the days and weeks ahead I’m going to clearly explain this plan in every speech I give and every question I answer.

“If any of the media want to ask questions about the plan, I’ll answer them. If any citizens have questions, my website has a place to send questions and my team and I will answer every single question you send.

“I want every American to clearly understand exactly how we’ll fix these four problems, and to ask every question anyone has until we all fully understand the plan. Then you can decide whether to vote for me, based on a clear knowledge of what I will do in the next four years as your president.

“Because if I’m elected, I’m going to fix these four things. Nothing will distract me from these four priorities, because these are the greatest challenges for our nation right now and only by overcoming them can America truly be the great nation we should be.”

Then he should stick to his guns and only, only, answer questions about national defense and fixing these four things.

He should constantly refer to his plan, he should know his plan so well that he can refer to it in detail and answer every question, and Paul Ryan should do the same.

He should have the plan outlined in simple words in a short power point presentation on his website, and he should have a longer power point for those who want more details.

He should provide the full plan written out, word for word, and available for every person who wants to read it.

He should print his plan with an engaging cover and mail it to every home in the United States.

He should sell it in the bookstores, and have volunteers give it away to their friends.

He should talk about nothing but the plan, and he should refer to the plan in every setting and spread it far and wide.

He should buy prime time specials on television and give the power point and answer questions on live tv.

Frankly, Ron Paul should do exactly the same thing.

And if Romney doesn’t do it, President Obama should do it. In fact, if Romney does it President Obama should do it too.

Imagine a debate where both candidates are passionately dedicated to fixing these four things, and the question just becomes which plan we as voters think is best.

For once, we’d have a really excellent election.

Note that President Obama hasn’t given us a plan for the next four years any more than Governor Romney has.

They have both talked about dozens of issues and concerns, but neither has taken a stand about the future of American greatness, how they will fix the economy, or any other clear plan for the next four years.

We are left to vote on personality, ideology, lack of mistakes, partisan trust, or our general sense of who will do best.

But we should be choosing between specific plans, voting on the one we think will be best for our nation.

Besides, presenting and sticking to such a plan would just be good politics!

Tell us what you’re going to do, have an excellent plan for backing it up, and hold the nation to account: “I promise you this,” he should say. “If you elect me, four years from now these four things will be fixed. The biggest challenges of our nation will be met and overcome. And America will be great again. It will be like the difference that happened when Reagan beat Carter.

“On the other hand, if you elect Mr. Obama, four years from now you will still be struggling with all four of these problems. The debt will be bigger, our credit rating will most likely be further downgraded, we will be spending and borrowing even more, and the deficits will be bigger. Most importantly, unemployment will still be high and too many families will still be without jobs.

“In addition, if you elect Mr. Obama, the health care law will increase taxes and spread even more government regulations that hurt the economy. And entitlements will be bankrupting us by 2016.

“Four years from now, we will either live in an America where these things are fixed, or in an America where these problems are just as bad or worse. It’s up to you as voters. If you want a president who will fix these four things, you know what to do. My name is Mitt Romney, and I’m running for president of the United States in order to fix these four things!”

This election is still up for grabs.

Imagine the power of the following speech to sum up the debate: “My name is Barack Obama, and I’m running for president in order to fix these four problems, the four greatest challenges America will face the next four years. If you elect me, I’ll fix all four: #1 jobs, #2 healthcare, #3 the national debt and deficit, and #4 our oil dependency. These four things will be the focus of my entire presidency. If you want these things fixed by the time of the next election, vote for me.”

This is winning politics, whoever uses it.

Alas, I fear the debates will be far less entertaining.

Or, in other words, in four years these four serious problems—along with China—will probably still be America’s biggest challenges.

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odemille 133x195 custom Egypt, Freedom, & the Cycles of HistoryOliver DeMille is the chairman of the Center for Social Leadership and co-creator of Thomas Jefferson Education.

He is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, and The Coming Aristocracy: Education & the Future of Freedom.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

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An Election Disaster

September 24th, 2012 // 4:19 pm @

There are six weeks to go before the 2012 election, and currently President Obama is way ahead.

If the election were held today, according to the average of polls, not only would President Obama be re-elected but he would sweep the election.

This election will come down to the top swing states, as I’ve stated in the past, and right now President Obama leads in all eight of the biggest swing states.

He’s eight for eight.

He’s also ahead by 7%, 5% and 5% in the top three swing states, Florida, Ohio and Virginia, respectively.

In presidential politics, 3% is a landslide and 5% is a huge mandate for change.

The reason for this increasing lead by President Obama is simple.

Latino voters believe the Republican party in general, and Governor Romney specifically, is not on their side—not in favor of more open immigration and, in contrast, likely to take a harder line against immigrants.

The short-term concern for Republicans is that Romney has a lot of ground to make up and not much time to do so.

The bigger worry for Republicans but also for independents is that this will lead to House and Senate elections that give a lot more seats to Democrats and bring increased taxes, a bigger national debt, larger deficits, and more runaway spending and regulating in the next four years.

The long-term problem for Republicans is that as a Party they are seen as anti-Latino.

The sad thing about this is that most Republicans who are anti-immigrant and anti-Latino are just plain wrong—like the South was wrong about slavery before the Civil War.

Freedom should be extended to everyone, regardless of race, religion, gender or country of birth.

If you don’t believe this, you don’t really believe in freedom.

America used to be the beacon of freedom to the world, and the Statue of Liberty invited all immigrants to come to America and get freedom.

Two things killed America’s role as the light of freedom to the whole world: 1) we became a welfare state, and 2) we stopped being an open society that passionately encouraged immigrants to come here.

To solve our current direction away from freedom and into decline, we need to adopt two grand strategies: (1) stop giving welfare to anyone and basing a government on the welfare ideal, and (2) drastically open immigration to any honest, hard-working people around the world who are seeking freedom.

We should implement the first change wisely and in stages in order to do it right, but the second one can be enacted almost immediately.

In short, we need a rebirth of free enterprise and the widespread freedom and prosperity it always brings.

America needs to stand for freedom again, not build walls to keep people out.

And as for the future of the welfare state, unless Republicans change their position to wildly pro-immigration, the Democrats are going to keep winning and expanding a welfare society.

The three upcoming presidential debates may be interesting theater, but unless Republicans get serious about being the freedom party there isn’t much chance they’ll win the White House on November 6.

Something could change in the weeks ahead, but unless it does the Republican leadership is going to have to take a good hard look at itself if it wants any success in 2014 or 2016.

Anti-Latino parties aren’t going to win much in the United States today.

In all of this, independents are rightly frustrated because one party stands for more welfare, and the other stands for building fences that keep freedom limited to those who already have it.

That makes neither party the party of freedom, and neither the party of progress.

The only solution is to put as many anti-welfare and pro-immigrant candidates as possible into the Senate and House, as well as into state and local governments.

And in the long-term, it’s time to get over the desire to withhold freedom and opportunity from immigrants.

It’s time for America to once again stand for freedom for everyone—immigrants and everyone else—and to do so boldly and without apology.

We either stand for freedom, or we don’t.

And freedom means freedom for everyone, or it really isn’t freedom.

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odemille 133x195 custom Egypt, Freedom, & the Cycles of HistoryOliver DeMille is the chairman of the Center for Social Leadership and co-creator of Thomas Jefferson Education.

He is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, and The Coming Aristocracy: Education & the Future of Freedom.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

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3 New Thoughts on China’s Emergence as a Superpower

September 6th, 2012 // 2:19 pm @

There is a lot of recent chatter about China, even though Iran is the big topic in international affairs.

Recent articles and books on China mostly center around one of two themes.

One side argues that China is a serious and growing threat, the other that China is misunderstood and Washington should do more to cooperate with Beijing.

A third, more relevant, argument is needed, and it goes something like this: China isn’t the problem, Washington is!

Three Trends

Consider the following three trends:

1-Many China experts in the West criticize China because it is becoming a superpower without showing much likelihood of getting involved in world leadership.

But this is actually a normal historical pattern. New superpowers benefit because the older superpowers are overextended around the globe trying to “exert leadership” in every part of the earth.

For example, Britain’s overreach made it simple for the U.S. to become a superpower, just as Spain’s overextension did the same for Britain. Rome did the same thing. Critics say that it was Hitler who weakened the UK, but imagine how strong London would have been if it had stopped trying to police the world for the decades before Hitler and had instead built its wealth and strength. Hitler may well have declined to spread across Europe in the face of such power.

One would think that an old superpower in a battle with a rising new threat would be smart enough to reduce its global overreach and return to the things that once made it competitive. But, historically, logic seldom reigns in superpower decline.

2-China is currently involved in aggressive currency competition. It seems to want the U.S. currency to be weakened, and for the U.S. credit rating to be downgraded again. It is also pushing for the dollar to lose its world reserve currency status (which allows Washington to print money at will without metal backing).

When this same thing occurred to Britain in the 1970s, the British economy was deeply hurt and still hasn’t fully recovered. In fact, the average net worth of most people in the UK was decreased by more than 30% overnight when this happened.

Such a circumstance in the current U.S. would be a major boost for Chinese power in the world, and the American economy is presently vulnerable. The natural consequence of such a development would likely come in two stages. First, a new reserve currency would be an IMF or other international tender backed by currencies from several top nations including the U.S., EU and China. Second, eventually China’s currency would be adopted as the world reserve.

This is not a far-fetched possibility. As mentioned above, it happened to Britain as recently as the 1970s.

Shockingly, while China is actively promoting this scenario, Washington is basically ignoring it and suggesting tax increases, increased government spending, and more regulation. This plays right into the Chinese strategy, and is worse than the old clichés of arranging chairs on the deck of the Titanic or fiddling while Rome burns. We have time to turn this around, but Washington is preoccupied with increasing taxes and regulations, both of which actually strengthen the Chinese agenda.

3-Chinese firms (government owned) are buying up many of the world’s natural, mineral and energy resources on all continents—including North America. U.S. firms can’t compete with such purchases because of the regulations and extra costs required by the federal government. Washington is literally refusing to compete with China and forbidding private American companies from doing so either.

Don’t Blame China

As I’ve written before, we shouldn’t blame Beijing for this. It’s natural to try to increase one’s power and place in the world. Good for the Chinese for expanding their influence and wealth! That’s the pursuit of happiness.

But it is amazing that Washington won’t let U.S. free enterprise compete fairly in this contest. If Americans want to compete with the emerging Chinese Century, we should give freedom a chance. Free enterprise is significantly and demonstrably more effective than the kind of centralized state economics used in China.

But a federal government in Washington that is highly bureaucratized and addicted to more regulation isn’t much better. In fact, when a Chinese company with the backing of Beijing competes with an American firm that is highly hampered by Washington, it isn’t surprising that the Chinese win.

The battle for leadership in the 21st Century couldn’t be clearer: China vs. the U.S.

If this were as simple as authoritarian Chinese state capitalism versus American free enterprise, the battle would be short and easily won by the United States.

But the battle is actually authoritarian Chinese state capitalism versus overreaching federal U.S. regulations, higher taxes, bigger government and other policies that dampen American business endeavors.

If this reality remains, Beijing has all the advantages.

Unless something changes, and soon, we are going to lose this battle.

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Category : Blog &Current Events &Economics &Foreign Affairs

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