It’s the most dangerous time of an election year on Capitol Hill. It’s neither rabbit season nor duck season. It’s lame duck season, which means that crazy things may (and probably will) transpire between now and the first session of the new Congress in January.

With a huge spending bill to pass before a government shutdown on December 9th, we will see as much fluff squeezed into it as possible. That’s the problem with lame duck legislation. Many of the people voting on it have no accountability to the voters. On their way out the door, they can do what’s best for them, their cronies, or even their future lobby bosses.

The lame duck session also gives the major parties an out so they don’t have to address controversial items before an election. The punted impeachment of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, while not directly attached to the lame duck session, is an example of something that would have happened if this weren’t an election year.

All business should be taken care of before the election. Voters will have a chance of holding Congress accountable with their votes. Important decisions won’t be made by people who won’t even be around in a couple of months. Doing so will help to reduce instances of real or perceived corruption such as the infamous reindeer farmer who swung the vote for a trillion dollar “cromnibus” in 2014.

Should Congress do anything during lame duck sessions? Of course. They should be prepared to handle emergencies. This doesn’t require a pre-established session; unlike the Great Depression and WWII, we should be able to pull Congress together quickly in case of emergency. What they should be doing during lame duck sessions is preparation. Transition of a new Congress is relatively smooth today, but it can be improved. Moreover, the time can be used by politicians who will be part of the next Congress to work towards future legislation that’s voted on during the first session of the next Congress. This will allow Congress to work more efficiently by reducing the learning curve and preparation time.

All of this can be done through Constitutional Amendment, though such a drastic measure hasn’t been necessary since the ratification of the 20th Amendment. Instead, internal rules can be put into place and agreed upon by both chambers and both parties. The rules could be changed in the future, of course, so it wouldn’t be as powerful as an Amendment, but it’s better than nothing. Perhaps if we ever hold a Convention of States, we could include such an Amendment, though it’s unlikely something so small would even hit the radar.

There are bigger issues to address, but we can’t continue to let the smaller issues slide as a result. Lame duck sessions can be easily resolved. We simply need enough people to stand up and say they don’t want the most corrupt seasons of every election year to continue to harm the nation.

America is in disarray… if you listen to mainstream media. They say Donald Trump’s transition team is floundering. They see no near end of protests by tender snowflakes on college campuses. They switch back and forth between covering and covering up the violence on the streets perpetrated by protesters angry that Trump is going to be the next President.

The natural reaction for conservatives is a combination of sadness and humor. The “truth” is only as true as the media will allow millions of Americans to believe, so while Trump’s transition is unorthodox, it doesn’t deserve reports that everything’s falling apart because it isn’t. The tender snowflakes among both students and professors make us want to weep for the future and chuckle at their antics, but it’s still there and it can become a threat. As for the protesters on the streets… why haven’t they stopped, yet?

Now is not the time to panic, but it’s also foolhardy for conservatives to not have concerns. The left is angry and hurt. They’re like a wounded beast – defensive, unpredictable, and capable of taking actions they normally wouldn’t take. We’re seeing them making plans to go after us harder in the press, on social media, and on the cultural battlefronts. It’s a less-focused, more violent response than the actions that formed the Tea Party in 2009, which is to say that it’s forming into something that could make an impact. If the Tea Party was the anger-driven intellectual response to Obama’s administration, then whatever the left is forming will be the anger-driven emotional response to Trump.

That shouldn’t be dismissed. The ebb and flow of political passions can be turned into actions. The Tea Party helped sweep in a strong majority in the House in 2010 and a good majority in the Senate in 2014. If the left can get organized behind their emotional responses, we could see the opposite result in 2018. That should terrify us all.

Now is not the time for complacence, celebration, or gloating. The GOP has control. What they do with it over the next two years might not be enough if we don’t combat the left’s passionate rise. Everything can go as planned and the GOP could still lose the House, Senate, and strides made at the states if we aren’t aggressively putting down the leftist propaganda machine. This is a time for diligence. The opposition is rising.

The Never Trump movement failed. God’s Will, as always, reigned supreme and despite every ounce of opposition that the Democrats, media, and Never Trumpers could muster, the nation was saved from the evils of a Hillary administration as well as a Democratic-majority in the Senate. Does this mean Never Trump conservatives should follow the actions of the Democrats and media by whining themselves to sleep at night? No.

This is an opportunity. It’s a time for humility and reflection. Those of us who supported other candidates through the primaries generally fell into one of three categories after Trump’s nomination: late-boarding Trump Train passengers, anti-Hillary lukewarm Trump supporters, and both-options-stink Never Trumpers. The first two categories can carry on with business as usual. The conservative wing of the Never Trump semi-movement needs to fall in line behind the GOP unless they give us reason to do otherwise.

This is the trust-but-verify group. Trump won. The GOP survived to fight for two more years. It’s time to put ice on your bruised egos and walk it off. Many who opposed Trump and Hillary felt that both were far too liberal to achieve certain conservative goals such as returning powers to the states or reducing federal government spending. Those battles are not over, but it would be wrong to oppose everything the GOP does just because your side of the argument lost.

If the GOP repeals Obamacare instead of following through with recent threats to consider amending the reprehensible socialistic monstrosity, then every fiscal conservative should celebrate, even the Never Trump holdouts. If the GOP gets the Trump wall built, every American who opposes illegal immigration should rejoice, even if some of the wall turns out to be fencing instead (better than nothing, right?). If Trump puts pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment judges in as many courts as possible, including the Supreme Court, one of the biggest bits of skepticism from Never Trumpers will melt away and they should be happy as a result. If real conservatives make their way into the administration instead of Establishment types or alt-right political neophytes, there’s a good chance that Trump’s first term could be very successful (though his first official moves aren’t encouraging).

The new role of Never Trump conservatives is to righteously dissent. That means they should wholeheartedly support every conservative initiative even if Trump’s fulfillment of it proves that they were wrong before he was elected. That also means that every leftward lurch should elicit loud dissent. We know that it works on him. His famous “softening” on immigration was quickly reversed once enough conservatives spoke out to set him back on course. There’s a misconception that he doesn’t listen to people. It’s not true. He doesn’t always listen to his advisers, but he definitely listens to the cries of enough people. This is why I’m working on the Federalist Party in the first place. We don’t want to oppose the GOP. We want to oppose liberalism regardless of where it originates. We want to promote checks and balances between the states and Washington DC that can only be achieved by reducing the size and power of the federal government.

To accomplish these goals and set America heading in the right direction, we have to support Trump and the GOP in all of their conservative endeavors. As Never Trump Senator Ben Sasse wrote, “Everyone’s duty is to hope for Trump, work for America.

Four years ago, the prospects of the GOP having control over every branch of federal government was a long-term dream. Today, we’re one Supreme Court justice confirmation away from it becoming a reality. Now is not the time to oppose Trump for the sake of continuing a losing battle. There are opportunities abound for the Republican Party as long as Constitutional conservatives keep their voices loud and focused on issues rather than feelings. When the GOP does well, we need to be their loudest cheerleaders. When their proposals shift too far to the left or they start making unnecessary compromises, we should be the loudest detractors. Dissenting without reasons is what the liberals do. It’s an action that’s below true conservatives even if Trump isn’t their ideal President. Give him a chance to prove us wrong, but be ready to speak out if he doesn’t.

The shock still hasn’t worn off on the left. Donald Trump’s and the GOP Senate’s unexpected victories on Tuesday derailed many of the plans the liberals had for the next two years and they’re not taking the news well. They’re going to be angry for a while. On the right, it’s imperative that we start focusing on the one thing that was absent throughout the election cycle: discussion of issues.

This long campaign season was flooded with scandals and controversies that often left the actual issues facing everyday Americans on the sidelines. What are we going to do to fix the national debt? If Obamacare can be replaced, what will the replacement look like? Is abortion going to find its way onto the agenda or are we simply supposed to let Trump plug in conservative judges and call it a day?

How are we going to defend the nation against further cyberattacks? What do we do to keep terrorists out of the country? How do we prevent homegrown terrorists from being indoctrinated and potent? Is there a viable solution to the refugee crisis around the world?

How do we really increase jobs without embracing the short term solution of “fair” trade? Will we be able to prevent an increase in the federal minimum wage or will the GOP succumb to pressure? How are we going to address our oil dependency on the Middle East?

I can continue to list dozens of issues that need to not only be discussed but that also need real solutions. In every case above, there are huge question marks because we’ve never received a proper answer, at least not a consistent one. Paul Ryan has offered some solutions but most wouldn’t work while the others would be impractical (though I haven’t examined their proposed solution for healthcare at this point). What about from the White House? There was a lot of necessary ambiguity during the campaign on all of these issues. For example, Trump has both supported and opposed a national minimum wage hike. His most recent answer was to consider a $10 federal minimum wage. Is that still on the table? Would Congress sign off on that? Can we talk them out of it?

The GOP got its wish. Mission accomplished. Now, it’s time to lay out plans. We have two years to prove that the Republican plan can work. Folks, that isn’t a lot of time. Obama accomplished nothing in his two years with control of the House and Senate. Trump can’t make the same mistake or he’ll suffer the same fate of losing control of at least one if not both chambers in 2018. Please don’t tell me to give them room to breath. We’re already behind the eight ball and the clock is ticking.

We’ll (hopefully) know who won the Presidential election late Tuesday. Regardless of who wins, the nation must learn some of the lessons that have come out in this election. Three of them are old items that were highlighted this year. Two aren’t exactly new, but they definitely hit peak importance as a result of this election.

Before we get into the elections, let’s make one important point. At the end of the day, we’re all still Americans (other than those who aren’t really Americans, but that’s another topic). As such, we need to do what we can to bring order. There will be no unity even within the parties themselves. This election has proven to be too contentious to expect any semblance of unity. However, we can all attempt to remain civil. The nation is going to be a powder keg for weeks at the very least. Cooler minds must prevail.

Now, about those lessons…

Early voting must go

Absentee ballots are necessary and righteous aspects of our voting system. Those who are unable to go to the polls on election day should be given an opportunity to vote. That doesn’t mean that early voting should be used to allow us to be lazy or avoid lines.

Early ballot applications should be frowned upon. I’m not suggesting any form of test, but the things that came out for both candidates from the time that early voting opened until election day were pieces of information Americans needed in order to cast an informed vote. Ill-informed voters are a problem without early voting. Add ignorance-encouraging early voting to the mix and the sanctity of the election is no longer beyond reproach.

Voter ID should be considered by every state

If you have to show identification to buy cigarettes, board a plane, enter a bar, or get a Costco card, you should show identification to help decide the leaders of this nation. Any arguments of racism or voter suppression are feeble and completely untenable. The risk of voter suppression is far lower than the risk of voter fraud. Every state should consider it (and no, it is not a federal issue even for national elections).

Third parties have no idea what they’re doing

Love them or hate them (or both), these two major party candidates are arguably the two weakest in modern history. If there was ever a time when third parties should have been able to make a significant impact, this was the year. The Libertarian Party decided to put up a leftist VP candidate to run with an uninformed Presidential candidate. The Green Party stayed true to their goals of having bark with no bite, a position in which they thrive. If they ever had actual power, they would trip all over themselves trying to give it to someone else.

The Constitution Party was unable to find 55 people in the state of California to fill out a form so they could at least be a write-in. On down the line, we see a combination of poor strategies and poor choices from every party, top to bottom. This is why I’m so invested in forming a Federalist Party, but that’s a whole other topic.

Issues must make a comeback

In 2012, there was a lot made of the fact that the press focused so much on Mitt Romney’s personal shortcomings. Oh, if we knew then what we know now about how low campaigns could go. The press and the voters paid so much attention to the character flaws of both candidates that most voters can only speculate about where they stand on actual issues.

We need to be talking about issues. We need to be talking about how to solve problems. We need more than a tidbit or a Tweet and until society is ready to go all-in on internet research, the media still has to deliver information on television and radio. They need to start doing that. The only question is the source of this gossip-mag journalism. Do the people guide the media about what interests them or does the media tell the people who they want to be interested in?

Change everything about the debates. Everything.

I’m not going to dwell on this lesson. You all say them. Moderators were generally awful. Questions were baiting and irrelevant. Time was too short for the answers. Many candidates in the primary had no opportunity to shine.

I’d love to see completely different debate format. Imagine questions (on the issues) asked of one candidate at the time without the other candidates present. They’re given ample time to answer it: 2-10 minutes, depending on the question. No audience. Not played live. After all of the answers are recorded, the candidates are brought together to hear all of the answers to the same question played to them for the first time. Then, they’re given 2 minutes to respond. They could attack one particular candidate. They could attack several. They could defend their own position or even change portions of their answer depending on what they heard from others. It’s far. It’s based around the issues. It’s informative. It would be fantastic.

There are other important lessons to learn from this election, but these give us plenty to work towards in 2018 and particularly in 2020.

One thing is certain: this campaign season got out of hand and it wasn’t entirely the candidates’ fault. The media played their standard leftist decoy role. The people obliged and rewarded them by tuning in 24/7. Twitter and its 140 characters became the venue for serious discussions. This election turned into a debacle. Thank the Lord it’s almost over. Hopefully.

Over the last few months, I’ve made no attempt to hide my willingness to criticize candidates. I don’t believe that being critical of Donald Trump will turn someone into a NeverTrump Clinton supporter, which is why I hope the following critique of current scandals holds more weight than if it came from a Trump-Does-No-Wrong blogger.

Hillary Clinton’s scandals are absolutely more important when weighed on the scale of Presidential fitness. Even if we put aside the conservative opinion that she’s ideologically wrong (I know it’s hard, but try), her actions over the last three decades in general and over the last 16 years in particular speak volumes about her inability to properly hold the office of President of the United States.

Let’s look at some of her actions in light of what Americans should view as Presidential skills.

Decision-making abilities: Benghazi is the easiest example of a string of poor decisions that can all be traced back to her. I’m not simply talking about the minute-by-minute indecision that prevented our boys from surviving the attack in Benghazi. The decisions that led up to the attack and the way that it was handled afterward were the epitome of incompetence. They shouldn’t have been left in such a vulnerable position before the attack. They should have been saved during the attack. The truth should have come out immediately after the attack. This is only the easy example. There are volumes that point to the fact that she has always and will always make poor decisions.

Honesty: Yoga schedules. Wedding planning. Early access to debate questions. YouTube videos causing Benghazi. Sniper fire. Need I go on? I could do this all day.

Holding America’s best interests above personal gain: Pay-to-play at the State Department and pretty much everything that has happened to her since leaving the White House dead broke speaks to her willingness to put her own self-interests ahead of America’s while she’s supposedly a servant of the people. If you’re going to throw out there that Trump has also always done what’s in his best interests, don’t. One does not have to be an objectivist to realize that private citizens have the right and even the duty to do what’s best to succeed personally in their lives. Public servants do not.

Avoiding the victim card: I have very few good things to say about Barack Obama, but one thing I can say is that he didn’t play the victim card nearly as much as I expected. Hillary, on the other hand, has played the card so often over the years that it’s a tattered and worn remnant with no credibility. A President cannot be allowed to be viewed as a victim. That’s not the American way.

I’m not going to apologize for Trump’s major character flaws. I’m not going to throw out talking points like “we’re not electing a Pope” or “he’s a changed man.” I do hold character as an extremely important attribute to weigh when deciding on the next President and Trump’s character is laughable. However, the left’s attempts to paint Hillary’s incomprehensible actions as big nothingburgers are reproachable. Her election would be untenable and her apologists are fraudulent in their attempts to make it happen. Shall we call them deplorables? If the basket fits…

Sometimes, something seems so obvious that I don’t even write about it. I assume that it will be covered by others, discussed on talk radio, or outright announced by the subjects. In the strange case of James Comey and the FBI’s renewed investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server, there are only two scenarios that make sense. For whatever reason, neither scenario is getting the national attention they deserve.

The first scenario we’ll discuss has been partially covered here, but for the sake of accuracy we’ll throw it out there again. It’s the scenario where Comey and the FBI come out a day or two before election day and announce that after further review, they once again see negligence without a recommendation to prosecute. This scenario would fit with multiple reasons behind it; saving the integrity of the FBI so they don’t get hit with claims that they intentionally withheld information for Hillary’s sake is the most likely.

The second scenario was the first one that came to mind when the news broke Friday. Perhaps it’s my history of reading and watching too many police procedurals, but I waited for this to pop up in mainstream media. I was foolish to expect it. Instead, they’ve spent their time trying to point fingers and diffuse the situation with pro-Hillary propaganda. Then, I waited for conservative media to reveal it, but most of us spent the last couple of days lamenting over the wickedness of mainstream media and discussing how Hillary is so corrupt.

What didn’t get discussed was what they found when they discovered the email trove a few weeks ago. It has to be something new; bringing up old news would not have prompted Comey to do what he did. Before we reveal what I believe they found, let’s talk about what new things they didn’t find.

They didn’t find even more revelations of stupidity with the email server itself. They’ve already acknowledged that the team and Hillary were idiotic for having it in the first place.

They didn’t find classified information beyond what is already known because their focus would have been on Huma Abedin rather than Hillary if that were the case. By “focus,” I mean they likely wouldn’t even have sent the letter to Congress if Abedin was their target.

Lastly, they didn’t find damaging communications about Benghazi or any other scandal associated with Hillary. Such things would not be pertinent to the case at hand and would have been given over as fodder for Congress, and then only after the election.

What the FBI most likely found is communication between campaign staffers with direct ties to Hillary expressing her wishes to have damaging emails deleted. If prior to the investigation they made a conscious decision to delete damaging emails in an effort to cover their tracks, that would be enough for Comey to reopen the case. You might think that they’ve already seen evidence of that based upon the deleted emails they’ve already discovered, but there’s a distinction that must be understood. Discovering missing emails shows that they were deleted. However, the real smoking gun would be emails that instructed people to deliberately delete them. That’s the scenario where the law was clearly broken. That’s the scenario that would prompt Comey to do what he did.

If we see scenario one happen, then this was an effort to cover up for the FBI and protect its reputation. I’m not ready to believe the FBI is intentionally helping the Clinton campaign by distracting from the Wikileaks releases until election day as some have insinuated, so the first scenario means self-protection and a likely Clinton win after they announce their findings. With scenario two, it won’t just mean that Clinton will lose. It means that she’ll finally be charged with a crime. The question is whether or not she’ll plead guilty quickly enough for President Obama to pardon her.

Voices on the left were furious when John McCain suggested that Republicans in the Senate would block any nominees by Hillary Clinton if she becomes President. He walked back that particular talking point very quickly because he’s John McCain.

According to The New American:

To no one’s surprise, Senator John McCain (R-Ariz) quickly backtracked on a bold statement a few days ago, when he said, “I promise you that we will, we will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton — if she were president — would put up. This is why we need a majority.” […]

But before pleasantly surprised constitutional conservatives could even raise their hand to pat McCain on the back, he quickly changed his tune, speaking through a spokesperson, Rachael Dean. She “clarified” McCain’s earlier remarks by saying that McCain “believes you can only judge people by their record,” pointing to Clinton’s “clear record of supporting liberal judicial nominees.”

Now, we’re hearing a little bit of the same from Ted Cruz.

Before anyone starts searching their copy of the Constitution or checking Wikipedia for precedents, I’ll save you the trouble. Nine is not a magic number. It’s been the number for a century and a half, but there’s nothing that declares it needs to be the number. Moreover, there’s nothing that can compel the senate to confirm a nominee or even hold confirmation hearings. The powers laid out dictate that a Supreme Court justice can only be appointed by a President and can only be confirmed by the Senate. It does not dictate that the President must appoint, nor does it dictate that the Senate must confirm.

Here’s the real point, though. Eight is plenty. In fact, it may just be perfect. For the Supreme Court to take action, there needs to be a clear mandate. That’s an opinion, but it’s one that should make sense to any Constitutional conservative. With nine (or any odd number of) justices, actions for or against a ruling are essentially mandated automatically. That’s not how it should be. With eight, particularly if the justices are split between “conservative” and “liberal” ideologies, a true mandate would require that at least one justice changes sides.

What progressives will say is that keeping a split judicial branch of government impedes progress. The clear error in this thinking is in assuming that the Supreme Court has anything to do with progress. They don’t. That’s for the other two branches. The Supreme Court is there to prevent unconstitutional progress which, in our day and age, seems to be the majority of ideas proposed.

If we keep it at eight, it’s not the better or worse case that wins. Decisions won’t be based upon political leanings. The court can operate in a way that is much more pure. If a case is clearly won or lost, the Supreme Court will act because at least one justice should be willing to switch sides. That’s the burden that I believe is necessary for them to act. When it’s based upon a majority split along ideological lines, we get the debacles we’ve seen in the past few decades where the Supreme Court’s actions yielded failures on both sides of the political spectrum.

Keep it at eight. Not just now. Always. If the Supreme Court must act, it will be because the case was clear, not just because one side was a little better than the other or one based upon political lines.

As an originalist at heart, I’m always skeptical of any form of “modernization” that anyone attempts to institute on government functions, ideas, or philosophies. That’s not to say that I want the world to work strictly from rules made in the 18th century, but human nature in general and progressive nature in particular tend to corrupt through modernization rather than improve.

One exception that should be discussed would be the modernization of the unalienable rights set forth in the Declaration of Independence. Unlike the Constitution or the Amendments that should only be tampered with through the prescribed amendment powers given to the federal government as well as the states, the Declaration of Independence should be examined for the sake of its 21st century validity. We are no longer under the rule of England. We have a nation that is sovereign, a government system that is tested, and a people that are empowered. By examining the unalienable rights as they apply today, it’s possible to bring them back into a focus in a way that is more applicable today.

This isn’t an exercise in hypotheticals. I believe that we are at a point in American history when the Declaration of Independence needs to be remembered and applied. No, I don’t mean that it’s time to overthrow the government or kick California out of the Union once and for all. Because we are a people who are not oppressed by outside governments, the need for independence is not applicable. However, the unalienable rights mentioned in the document apply today perhaps more so than they applied back then.

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are listed as unalienable rights called out specifically from the group. They are endowed by our Creator and apply today. Unfortunately, they don’t have the same meaning to modern-day Americans, which is why I believe we need to do a quick examination of how they should apply going forward given the situation.

Life

The first is the one that hasn’t changed in name but has changed in focus. Life is sacred. It is God-given and must be protected. It is a right and it should be unalienable. Today, liberals are trying to redefine life on multiple levels. The most obvious is, of course, pre-birth life. Abortion was not the evil scourge sweeping the nation in the 18th century. TO them, life was a right that could be taken away by other men, but they did not need to specifically call out when life began and when the taking of that life should be considered murder.

Today, we have that issue.

Rather than redefining, it’s important to maintain the same name as, in its purest form, it exemplifies the unalienable right perfectly. Should babies before birth be murdered as if they weren’t alive? Should terminally ill patients be assisted in their efforts to take their own life? Is the death penalty righteous, or perhaps a better way to ask the question is whether or not our justice system can declare when someone has committed enough harm on others to forfeit their right to continue to live?

Personally, I am as pro-life as one can be in regards to abortion and assisted suicide and I’m for the death penalty, not as a deterrent to crime but as an aid in healing the loved ones of victims. As Americans, the question of life is something that should be answered on a personal level by every individual. It amazed me that people can have no opinion on any of these issues. After all, we’re talking about the most precious gift given to man in this world.

Liberty

There is a challenge. Just as many have said that “conservatism” has been improperly co-opted and redefined to fit a particular paradigm, so to has the word “liberty.” Because we no longer fight for liberty from foreign, but rather from our own government, we have witnessed the original intent of liberty getting mangled in recent decades.

It was telling when the Libertarian nominee for President viewed liberty as strangely attached to feelings. From his perspective, if someone walked into a bakery owned by a devout Jew and asked them to bake a cake shaped like a swastika, the modernized definition of liberty states that the Jewish baker cannot infringe on someone’s right to have the cake they want baked. This is, in my humble opinion, a perversion of liberty. Just as a Christian bakery should not be forced to make a gay wedding cake, we cannot allow liberty to be used as an excuse to take away someone’s liberty.

All of this leads to our first shift in names. Rather than liberty, which only seems to maintain purity when we’re fighting against oppressive outside forces, we should instead embrace its close cousin, “freedom.” This aligns better with the Constitution; freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly – yes, they’re liberties, but when we see them more appropriately as freedoms, we have a more defensible unalienable right. Antisemitism might be viewed as liberty to some, but that liberty cannot be allowed to supersede the freedom of a private business owner who does not want to participate in the celebration or promotion of an organization that killed millions.

Pursuit of Happiness

Like liberty, the left has taken the original concept of our pursuit of happiness and muddied the waters with social justice and political correctness. Today, if a student feels triggered because their happiness is impeded by someone else’s actions, even if those actions had neither the intent nor the realistic expectation of causing harm, they are allowed to feel like their rights are being attacked. It’s ridiculous.

Happiness is not a right! It never has been. The ability to pursue happiness is the unalienable right, perfectly worded in the 18th century and perfectly perverted today.

To me, the clearest way to enable the pursuit of happiness is through reduction of government interference. On the surface, one might wonder how smaller government can be associated with the pursuit of happiness. If you take a moment to truly consider it, you’ll see that it’s through government interaction that the pursuit of happiness is most hindered. In short, more government drains happiness while less government enables it.

If we look at America’s needs through a 21st century lens, we will see that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, freedom and an appropriately small degree of government. If those things become our focus as a conservative movement, we’ll have our best chance of surviving the leftward lurch that the government has been experiencing in recent years.

Guns. Supreme Court. Abortion. Immigration. Those were the first four topics in the first three questions from Wednesday night’s debate (2nd Amendment and the Supreme Court were squeezed into the first question). On these issues, which are arguably the four most divisive between the two candidates, Donald Trump was composed, informed, and surprisingly eloquent. He was able to portray his thoughts intelligently without sounding too rehearsed. With Chris Wallace at the helm asking questions about issues, the first 30 minutes of this debate were the best 30 minutes Trump has had in any debate, including the primaries.

He exuded the presence of a President more than he’s ever done in his life.

It went downhill from there, though not as badly as it will be portrayed. Mainstream media will condemn him for declaring that he won’t necessarily accept the results of the election. I’ll cover that more shortly, but let’s look at his other mistakes:

  • When she called him a puppet, his inner middle-schooler said, “No, you’re the puppet.” It’s already a viral Vine with hundreds of thousands of loops and rapidly rising.
  • When asked about entitlements, he talked about improving the economy and jobs which absolutely won’t fix entitlements without a major overhaul.
  • Lastly, he called her a nasty woman. She is, but that’s not going to help him score points with women, especially after drawing chuckles from the audience when he said nobody has more respect for women than he does.

There were other little mistakes, but all in all this was his best, most error-free debate. It also showed something to the conservatives in the #NeverTrump crowd: he might not be as far from their perspectives as they’ve been led to believe. His grasp of Heller far exceeded hers (no, Heller was not about toddlers, Hillary). His attack on partial birth abortion was spot-on and Hillary botched her response. Then, his vow and reiteration of appointing conservative pro-life Supreme Court justices was reassuring.

In those first 30 minutes, the all-important undecided Republicans and conservatives were given everything they would need to lean in his direction. Now, we’ll get to see the media playing up his unwillingness to definitively state that he’d accept the results of the election.

It will be an ineffective attack. To understand why, we have to look at the psychological effects that his stance will have on each type of voter.

Those firmly in the Clinton camp will take those words and move their chances of voting for him from 0% to -1%. Nothing lost there.

For those firmly in Trump’s camp, they’ll be cheering him on. Darn tootin’ they won’t accept the results if Trump doesn’t. It’s war!

Undecided Republicans will be a little affected by the notion, but the reiteration that election fraud is real combined with not accepting the results will push more towards him than away.

Undecided Democrats and Independents – here’s where it gets a little weird. Most of them won’t care enough to be swayed by the notion, but some will unconsciously lean towards him as a result. Why? Because it reinforces their feelings that the system is broken, that he’ll fight the system, and that they don’t want added chaos. Whether they realize it or not, the more that the media covers it, the more the undecided Democrats and Independents will consider Trump. Those who are undecided on the left are undecided because they really don’t like Hillary.  If they liked her, they’d already be supporting her. The fact that they’re considering Trump means that his defiance to the system and antagonism of Clinton will be a plus.

Does this mean Trump will win? Unlike many self-proclaimed pundits, I don’t see this election as one that can be determined until election day. Nate Silver puts Trump’s chances below 20%. I tend to see it as still a tossup because 2016 is insane but more importantly because Trump is outperforming her on the issues. Tonight, it wasn’t even close. The only times Clinton sounded half-decent at all was when she was attacking Trump and/or pandering to women and minorities. On the actual issues, she sounded like a 3rd semester political science major with average grades and a crush on her professor. Trump sounded like he knew the issues.