Opinion: The #WalkAway Movement Is Taking America By Storm

At now over 100,000 members in its Facebook group and widespread international media coverage, the #WalkAway movement of former Democrats telling their stories about why they left their party has resonated deeply with a core feeling currently in the American people.

Started by NYC hairstylist Brandon Straka in late May the movement has caught flame because it speaks to how the Democratic Party of today, where far-left sentiments ranging from universal socialist programs to demonizing our first responders and border control, to questioning the very goodness of America itself, are edging closer to gaining a seat at the table.

We are a far ways away from the Democratic Party that stood as a big tent party that governed America for much of the 20thcentury, and which led us through World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, through much of the fight against Communist aggression in the Cold War both domestically and internationally, and even as a moderate and pragmatic governing force under President Bill Clinton.

When we see far-left socialists topple long-standing Democratic moderates and liberals, as “democratic” socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently did in New York City, and that they aren’t immediately shunned but rather absorbed into the mainstream as a potential new path forward that signifies a worrying and historic shift for our country.

Over the past few decades millions upon millions of former Democrats have left their party and become either independents or Republicans, whether liberals who turned conservative or “Reagan Democrats” that found there was little room anymore in the Democratic Party for conservatives and the center-right.

They have made an impact at the ballot box, as they were found to be essential behind President Donald Trump’s 2016 election victories in Rust Belt states such as Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

As a former Democrat myself, I have spoken frequently in the national media in recent years on this trend because it is one that I feel speaks deeply to the current political and cultural movements happening in our country.

Like I said on Fox & Friends the other day, the far-left has in recent years slowly been trying to gain a foothold in our country’s mainstream through fronts such as “Occupy Wall Street” and “Antifa.”

There are many moderate, liberal, and even progressive Democrats still in-place who find this trend just as worrying as many on the right do. Unfortunately they find themselves being shut down as well by the extreme voices in their party, which remain a small group though they slowly grow their ranks and influence through misinformation and intimidation.

It is unfortunate for our country that one of our country’s oldest political institutions, the Democratic Party, has become such a mangled mess. After all, this is the party of Jefferson, FDR, Truman, JFK, and so many others who have built America into what it is today. It is the party that fought for the working-man when he was truly downtrodden and that provided shelter and integration to the tens of millions of immigrants to our shores in the 19thand 20thcenturies.

The two-party system keeps our country healthy and is one of the most beautiful aspects of American democracy, as it keeps a level of stability and moderation which prevents political fracturing, extremism, and unrest. Just like with the free market, eventually the system balances due to electoral demand and supply – however in the meantime the growing process may be painful.

In the meantime we now see how millions of former Democrats have now taken up residence in the Republican Party, comprising a large portion of the party and even perhaps a plurality or majority. Indeed, in 2012 columnist George Will accurately described how “[They] were called "Reagan Democrats" when they were considered only seasonal Republicans because of Ronald Reagan. Today they are called the Republican base."

We saw the full impact of this firsthand during the 2015 and 2016 presidential primaries, when it was precisely this enormous base of ex-Democrats in the GOP that propelled then-candidate Donald Trump, himself an ex-Democrat, to his series of seemingly unstoppable victories.

No one knows what the future will hold, but it is clear that the current state of American ideological organization is a market situation that is unsustainable and shifting. It will eventually find equilibrium, but in the meantime the #WalkAway movement is hopefully one that will wake up more and more on both sides of the aisle to the far-left risks at play in our country and the tenuous fragility of our current political situation.


Ivanka Trump’s Chinese-Made Products Conveniently Spared From Dad’s Tariffs

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The first daughter doesn’t appear to believe in “made in America.”

onald Trump’s tariffs on Chinese goods won’t touch Ivanka Trump’s foreign-made products for her fashion line.

While Trump rails at Harley-Davidson motorcycles for moving some production to Europe to dodge EU tariffs, the first daughter and senior White House adviser has never manufactured a single product for her Ivanka Trump brand on American soil.

Trump enacted tariffs Friday morning on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods, affecting hundreds of products from boats to medical devices and auto parts. Products spared include those manufactured by his daughter.

That means Chengdu Kameido Shoes in Sichuan province can continue to supply shoes for the Ivanka Trump brand as it has in the past. It’s currently bidding for a new contract to manufacture 140,000 pairs of shoes for Trump’s company, a spokesman told The South China Morning Post.

Hangzhou HS Fashion in Zhejiang province also said it’s filling orders for orders for the G-III Apparel Group, which supplies shoes to Trump’s brand.

Until January 2017 all of Ivanka Trump’s products were made in factories in China and Hong Kong, research director Chris Rogers at Panjiva, a global trade data tracking company headquartered in New York, told Politico. Since then, some manufacturing has apparently been moved to other overseas factories in Indonesia, South Korea and Vietnam.

There have been no obvious shipments from China since mid-March, but Rogers speculated shipments may now be more difficult to trace because they could be moving under code names.

Other enterprises and workers in the U.S., meanwhile, are already feeling the heat from a trade war. China’s retaliatory tariffs have targeted U.S. seafood, soybeans, dairy products, cars, apples, whiskey, pet food and cigarettes, among several other products. Farmers are fearful they won’t be able to sell products they had earmarked for China. They also worry that suppliers from other countries will pick up the valuable market — for good — that they have worked for years to cultivate.

“Soybeans are the top agriculture export for the United States, and China is the top market for purchasing those exports,” Iowa soybean grower John Heisdorffer said in a statement. “The math is simple. You tax soybean exports at 25 percent, and you have serious damage to U.S. farmers.” 

Despite the president’s mantra to “buy American and hire American” the Trump family retains major business operations overseas, and the Trump Organization continues to manufacture most Trump products in foreign factories.

The president even continues to profit from partnerships involving the Chinese government through state-supported companies and investments, including in developments in Dubai and Indonesia, notes the Washington Post. Ivanka Trump won a number of valuable trademarks in China just as her father was pushing to lift U.S. sanctions against Chinese telecom company ZTE, over the objection of congressional leaders. Trump announced his support for ZTE 72 hours after the Chinese government agreed to put half-a-billion dollars into the Indonesian project. The deal raised “serious ethical issues,” the head of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics said.

Former GOP Leader Bill Frist Calls On Republican Senate To Protect Mueller

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“When Trump talks about firing the special counsel or his power to pardon himself, he makes it seem as though he has something to hide,” Frist wrote.

Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) is calling on the chamber’s Republicans to take steps to protect special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, decrying that the probe is “under assault.”

“It is with some trepidation that I offer thoughts on how the good people still serving in the Senate should address a current crisis, but staying silent is no longer an option,” Frist wrote in an Op-Ed article The Washington Post posted Friday night. “Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is under assault, and that is wrong. No matter who is in the White House, we Republicans must stand up for the sanctity of our democracy and the rule of law.”

President Donald Trump has led much of the assault on the special counsel, repeatedly calling the investigation a “witch hunt” that is being pursued strictly for partisan purposes ― attacks that have been amplified by Fox News personalities Sean Hannity and Lou Dobbs. Trump recently said he mourns the “young and beautiful” lives “destroyed” by the probe.

Frist, a lung and heart transplant surgeon who now lives in Nashville and is part of a wealthy Tennessee family, said his fellow Republicans can no longer look the other way as “tweet by tweet, with each new assault on the Justice Department’s independence, the bedrock principles of our party crumble.”

“When Trump talks about firing the special counsel or his power to pardon himself, he makes it seem as though he has something to hide,” Frist wrote. “The president must remember that only Mueller’s exoneration can lift the cloud hanging over the White House.”

“I, for one, do not think the president colluded with Russian President Vladimir Putin to win the 2016 election,” he wrote. “But I do believe Putin purposely tried to undermine our democratic process.”

Frist, whose father and brother started the for-profit Hospital Corporation of America, was first elected to the Senate in 1994 and served as majority leader from early 2003 to early 2007. He honored a pledge he made in his first campaign to only serve two terms, and did not seek re-election in 2006.

Frist noted in his Post piece that “the Senate I served in was not devoid of partisanship.” Indeed, the divide between the two parties intensified during his time as majority leader, especially over the Iraq war and national security powers granted President George W. Bush’s administration following the 9/11 attacks.

The Senate GOP majority that Frist presided over was criticized for not being tough enough in exercising oversight over the Bush administration as it expanded its “war on terror” and questions arose about the interrogation of suspected terrorists.

Still, Frist wrote for the Post, “My hope was that patriotism would always take priority over party.”

Many members of Congress ― including some Republicans ― have pushed for legislation that would limit the circumstances under which Trump could fire Mueller. But the current Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), has resisted such efforts, saying he sees no need for such a measure.

While Frist wrote that he has in the past worried about “runaway legal authority” and “battled against activist judges,” he added that, “I don’t worry about Robert Mueller. He is a lifelong Republican with a career of distinguished service running the Criminal Division of the Justice Department for President Ronald Reagan and serving as [Bush’s] FBI director, twice unanimously confirmed by the Senate.”

Mueller’s investigation is also getting results, with 23 indictments and five guilty pleas in just more than a year, Frist pointed out.

“Congress must never abandon its role as an equal branch of government,” he wrote. “In this moment, that means protecting Mueller’s investigation. We’re at our best as senators and Republicans when we defend our institutions. But more than that, it’s our best face as Americans.”





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