George Bailey: If Potter gets a hold of this Building and Loan, there’ll never be another decent house built in this town. He’s already got charge of the bank. He’s got the bus line. He got the department stores, and now he’s after us. Why? Well, it’s very simple. Because we’re cuttin’ in on his business, that’s why. And because he wants to keep you livin’ in his slums and paying the kind of rent he decides.
It’s a Wonderful Life 1946
Brett Maverick:You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time and those are very good odds. My old pappy said that.
The real problem they are facing is one of media noise and short memories. The tough times under Obama are over a year in the past and the worries of the economy that had been in the forefront of people’s minds and worries are gone, replaced by the noise generated by the MSM coverage of the investigations, the noise of the Stormy Daniels stuff and the noise of every single attack on the administration the GOP needs a message that not only cuts though the noise but reminds the people of the difference between the eight years of Obama Administration and the Trump administration. This can be done by a simple theme summed up in three simple lines:
If you like your Tax Cut you can keep your Tax Cut
If you like your Bonus you can keep your Bonus
If you like your Job you can keep your Job
This is the perfect meme for several reasons:
In one stroke it contrasts the prosperity of the Trump years with the troubles of the Obama years. It reminds them of the tax cuts and bonus’ that the Democrats called crumbs and of the manufacturing jobs that have come back that Obama and the Democrats insisted that we had to resign ourselves to losing. It generates memories like the Jimmy Stewart Speech to stockholders in It’s a Wonderful Life:
Joe, you had one of those Potter houses, didn’t you? Well, have you forgotten? Have you forgotten what he charged you for that broken-down shack? Here, Ed. You know, you remember last year when things weren’t going so well, and you couldn’t make your payments. Well, you didn’t lose your house, did you? You think Potter would have let you keep it?
This hopeful theme cuts though the noise in a format that shows the Democrat for what it is, a message based on generating unfounded panic for the sake of power. Stewart again
Can’t you understand what’s happening here? Don’t you see what’s happening? Potter isn’t selling. Potter’s buying! And why? Because we’re panicky and he’s not. That’s why. He’s pickin’ up some bargains.
I suspect the Trump move in Syria, in contrast to Obama’s words without deeds provided some clarity, this argument would augment it.
This is a simple message, that can be delivered by anyone, an incumbent running for re-election whose faced the voters many times, a green newcomer running for office for the very first time. Either one can deliver this line and make it stick. Now picture it in the hands of a master communicator like President Trump who can deliver it before the cameras and the press, in speeches in front of tens of thousands and in tweets and re-tweets to be seen by millions completely bypassing the press and the left.
In one stroke this changes the argument both justifying the GOP control of the government while forcing the Democrats to justify risking the good economy for the sake of Trump hatred. Do the Democrats deliver have an answer to a message of jobs, bonus’ and prosperity besides “Trump sucks”?
President Trump is the type of man who knows a winning message when he sees it. He’s the type to pick up this banner and charge forward, the question is will GOP candidates have the wits and courage to ignore the MSM offensive and charge with him?
A final note, the: “If you like your job you can keep your job” line was suggested by a reader. The other two I derived from it. I’m ashamed I didn’t think of it first.
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As The Washington Post’s Saigon bureau chief Peter Braestrup documented in his book The Big Story, reporters systematically used Tet to turn the reality of a U.S. victory into an image of American and South Vietnamese defeat…That campaign of misrepresentation culminated in Walter Cronkite’s half-hour TV special on February 27, 1968, when he told his viewers that Tet had proved that America was “mired in a stalemate.”
In my last post I noted that there are significant differences between the events leading up to the “Big Red Wave” of 2010 and the supposed big blue wave of 2018 the most significant being that despite broken promises on Obamacare repeal, partially corrected by the passage of the Trump Tax bill, there is actually a record of significant achieve on foreign policy, on deregulation and of course on the economic outlook of the country.
The audience the MSM is trying to reach are the republican members of congress and the GOP consultants in the Washington bubble.
You see it doesn’t matter how the economy is doing, how much more the GOP is raising or how much better the public is doing, as long as the MSM aided by social media giants like Facebook and Twitter, can convince the GOP members of congress that defeat in the fall is inevitable and that Trump is the cause, they can cause them (the GOP) to retreat.
It’s Tet all over again, Cronkite and the MSM had an agenda and were the only game in town and thus were able to sell said agenda to the people. as Christopher Harper put it:
“After Tet, American media had assumed a new mission for itself: to shape the nation’s politics by crafting a single coherent narrative, even if it meant omitting certain relevant facts and promoting other false or misleading ones. standing — just as they had convinced them a year earlier that America’s major victory was actually a major defeat.”
It certainly does and their new mission is to reverse the results of the last election and step one is to convince the GOP that election 2018 is already lost and convince them to leave the field and given the GOP’s apparent fear of governing and fighting for the principles they supposedly espouse it’s not a surprise that so far the media and left are doing a pretty good job of selling them this reality.
The GOP needs a shot of courage and a meme to run on. Tomorrow we’ll provide the latter in the hopes of restoring the former.
Update: Instalanche again thanks again Ed. Dear reader I submit and suggest if you want to really annoy the MSM please consider supporting sites like mine as you are the primary source of the money that pays our expenses, our writers (yes I pay them) and myself.
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Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.
As we continue to see the GOP head for the hills while the left braces for what they believe is going to be a banner year it’s worth noting the significant differences between what is expected to be the great blue wave of 2018 to the big red wave that actually happened in 2010.
#1 Obamacare vs the Tax Bill
The Big red wave of 2010 took place after the passage of Obamacare, one of the most unpopular laws in the history of lawmaking by a congress. Democrats were assured by their leadership and the media that one the law was passed it would become more and more popular with the public come election day. That was not the case. Republicans (falsely it turns out) promised to repeal Obama if given the chance and the voters decided to give them that chance.
The most significant law that was passed by this congress was the tax bill of 2017. It was excoriated in the media and we were assured by the Democrats and the left that it’s unpopularity would continue to grow the opposite has been the case. Many Democrats are running on the idea of repealing this bill and raising taxes. I suspect that will not be as popular as repealing Obamacare but in fairness to the Democrats I have no doubt that they will attempt to do so if elected.
#2. The 2002 map vs the 2012 maps
In 2010 the year of the big red wave the Republicans tax ran on the same congressional maps that the Democrats had won big on it 2006 and 2008, however the wave of 2010 extended was not limited to congress but took place over the entire nation giving the GOP an unprecedented number of seats at the state level just before redistricting. This means that the supposed “big blue wave” is going to have to break on a set of maps that specifically favor republicans in the house.
#3 The 2010 Senate Landscape vs 2018 Senate Landscape.
In 2010, the year of the big red wave the split of seats up for election was unremarkable 19 republican seats were up vs 18 democrat seats (counting special elections) but the Democrats had a huge majority (59-41 counting the two “independents” who voted with dems). The end result was the Democrats still held that majority but it shrunk to 52-47. In 2018 the republican majority is only 51-49 an even split in a divided country but only 9 GOP seats are up for re-election this year vs 24 for the Democrats, many of them in states that President Trump won. Democrats to take the majority will have to win 26 races out of 33.
4. 2010 Retirements vs 2018 retirements
In 2010 the retirement ratio of republicans to democrats was 20-17. Once again 17 Democrats are retiring but 38 republicans over 15% of the caucus have decided to give this election a miss. Given that the Democrats only need 24 seats this would seem a great advantage, but given that the GOP base is unhappy with the current congress’ inability to act (in fairness the Senate is mostly to blame here) the removal of incumbents associated with a “do nothing” congress might actually work in the GOP’s favor, or to put it another way, how many seats might the Democrats saved in 2010 if 38 Democrats who voted for Obamacare decided to retire in 2010 rather than run for re-election?
5. The 2010 Economy vs the 2018 Economy
In 2010 the Democrats had overwhelming majorities in both the House and Senate and were presiding over one of the worst economies in living memory and that was before the effects of Obamacare began to take effect. The Democrats had to run blaming said bad economy not on President Obama but on President Bush and the promise of prosperity just around the corner. In 2018 the economy is growing like gangbusters, the strong stock market is way up vs election day 2016 and people surging back into the work. Members of the GOP can run on keeping the good times rolling while Democrats are running on a combination of impeachment and raising taxes, in effect killing the goose that laid the golden eggs. It remains to be seen how popular that message is going to be.
6. The 2010 expectations vs the 2018 expectations.
With a few exceptions like the bloggers on the ground absolutely nobody saw the 2010 red wave coming. The warning shot of the Scott Brown election was considered by many an outlier and the Tea Party movement that drove the 2010 election was discounted by the media which assured us that the passage of Obamacare along with what they claimed was an improving economy would spell good news for Democrats and the party believed it. It wasn’t until the week before the election, sometimes the day before, that the media realized that there was something rotten in Denmark. In 2018 the media, the pundits and even some in the GOP, despite the roaring economy, see trouble ahead. Despite the favorable economy, their money advantage and favorable maps absolutely nobody in the party is taking this election for granted and while you are seeing a few pro-forma statements about retaining the majority you aren’t seeing the overconfidence that the Democrats and media showed in 2010 and 2016 right up to the final week. The GOP sees the rocks ahead with a full six months to do something about it.
7. A Trending down Incumbent in 2010 failing expectations vs an Trending up Incumbent surpassing expectations in 2018
No president was ever elected with Higher expectations than Barack Obama, the expectations for him were so high that he won a Nobel Peace prize simply for existing. 2010, the second year of his presidency was when reality started to creep in.
In 2010 Barack Obama started with an approval rating of 51-43 (Gallup weekly). This was pretty low point for him at the time as he had held a positive approval rating for all of 2009 spending the first half of the year in the 60’s and all but two weeks in the fifties to end it. He held a positive approval rating until the week of June 21st where his rating dropped to 45-46 July. While he would have one “even” week (Sept 6th) he would keep an approval rating he averaged an approval rating was -2.2 (45-47) from that point to election day which was a stark contrast to where he started on election day 2009 (67-13). During this entire time President Obama was constantly lionized by the press.
By contrast no president came to office with lower expectations that Donald Trump. The predictions were dire for the economy and the world with people literally expecting to be put into camps and the media and the world stoking such fears. In 2018 once again reality started to creep into this narrative.
Gallup ended its presidential approval polling in Jan of 2018 however Rasmussen continued daily tracking polls (no option for undecideds like gallup) and also runs an “approval index” based on those who “strongly approve” vs “strongly disapprove”
That “approval index” has not been a positive number since March 3rd 2017 and spent most of 2017 in the high teens to low 20’s. 2018 has seen a different trend President Trump reached single negative digits in feb and has remained in the low teens to high single digits chiefly from the “Strongly approve” number now being consistently in the 30’s rather than the 20’s
In terms of raw approval on election day Donald Trump had 56-44 approval rating. By March 17th he had dropped to 49-51 and with the exception of a single day (April 21st 2017) did not have a disapproval number below 50% and managed to reach as high as 62% disapproval.
In 2018 things have leveled off he has had several days where he has hit 50% approval and this month has averaged a 49-51 split.
And all of this is in the face of a press that has been pounding him from day one.
A closing thought, every point here, from the state of the economy to the maps to the polling numbers are based on either verifiable historical and/or the current numbers, or put simply the facts.
The GOP has reality on its side, can they leave their bubble long enough to see it?
By now all of you are likely sick of my CPAC 2018 posts so you will be pleased to hear that other than a guest post (that needs integration of the graphics and the text) this post will close out my coverage of CPAC 2018.
My primary goal at CPAC was to answer some questions I had about the conservative movement and its relationship with the Trump administration after year 1. Here is what I found:
CPAC is Donald Trump’s event and will remain so as long as he is President and chooses it to be so:
The biggest difference between CPAC 2018 and CPAC 2017 was the fact that it was clearly a Donald Trump crowd that attended. Last year there were plenty of establishment types supporting different candidates and agendas and it wasn’t hard to find folks who didn’t care for Trump among the attendees. This year was very different, except in media the folks who did not support this president were few and far between or for the most part silent. This was a Trump crowd and as long as the president keeps deciding to show up it will remain primarily a Trump crowd and I suspect CPAC will act accordingly in terms of how it carries itself.
Ted Cruz has replaced the Paul Family as the other big presence at CPAC:
When I first came to CPAC it and the straw polls in it were dominated by the Ron Paul (later Rand Paul) folks who generally came en mass to vote for their hero. With Donald Trump in office, Ron Paul now retired and any Paul for President Campaigns on hold for at least a decade there is no sign that the Paul organization is trying to get young people there. However I seemed to constantly run into Ted Cruz folks. This is not a surprise as Senator Cruz remains one of the most popular speakers at the event but also because while President Trump full fury was directed at Senator Cruz during the campaign he has with a few notable exceptions governed to the priorities of the Ted Cruz Crowd. In fact one might even say President Trump has made the Ted Cruz base his base and while I’m sure the Senator and his supporters (full disclosure like myself) would be delighted to see a president Ted Cruz, as long as he is moving our priorities forward they will stick with him.
The single biggest star for Trump are the Tax Cuts:
While I got a lot of assorted answers on what the folks liked best about Donald Trump the overwhelmingly most popular things about him was the tax bill and the economy. The strong Trump economy which is in evidence is and remains his single biggest selling point among the CPAC activists with one exception from a particular sub group…
Evangelicals and Pro-Lifers are with him all the way:
…and that the Pro-Life voters of which I am one of. Pro-life voters are uniformly ecstatic about Donald Trump and the attention his administration has given to our cause. The religious people I talked to are willing to forget Trump’s past as they would any convert who has “seen the light” so to speak. As for the failure to defund planned Parenthood and repeal Obamacare those I questioned on the subject lay the blame squarely at the feet of the GOP in general and Collins, McCain and Murkowski in particular in fact this keeps with a particular pattern…
The GOP not Trump is taking the hit for any failures:
It’s very clear that when it comes to the blame game the CPAC crowd gives Trump very little of it for the various legislative failures. The GOP get the lions share of this and I suspect this might be a real driver during the midterms in decreasing turnout for the party in an election that they need to win there is one exception to this.
The #1 complaint about Donald Trump are the Tweets (particularly in conservative media):
This is a subject where I depart from the majority of both CPAC attendees and particularly my fellows in conservative media. While I and several Trump partisans think the President’s Tweets are an invaluable tool to bypass the media to get his message out (making them react instead of him reacting to them) most of those I talked to dreaded his tweets. It was considered not only a distraction from his agenda but I got a real sense that supporters in conservative media dreaded him saying something untoward that they might be obligated to defend or discount.
The Democrats should have made a DACA Deal while they could:
I asked people about a DACA deal for the wall. While there was a significant amount of folks who disagreed the clear majority of attendees were more than willing to swap DACA for a wall. Once the president speech was given saying DACA was dead, folks concluded that they could get a wall without DACA and that opinion seemed to harden. The wall remains a sine non qua for the Trump folks and if they get it I suspect it would cover a multitude of sins and it seems to me the President would like to do something for the DACA crowd but it’s clearly the opinion of the crew that they don’t need to give an inch.
The CPAC crowd is more optimistic about the midterms that the party as a whole:
A lot has happened in the intervening two months but at the time of CPAC with the tax cuts starting to kick in the crowd there were feeling pretty good about the midterms. While the President warned about complacency it seems that warning wasn’t enough to get the optimism out of them but if the GOP wants to overcome the energized Democrats they will need more than a vague confidence of victory.
The CPAC crowd wants Trump to continue being Trump:
The final question I asked all there was this: How can President Trump help the GOP win in the midterms, the answer was almost unanimous: Keep doing what you’re doing. Trump votes like the Trump policies and as long as the economy keeps booming and jobs and wages continue to rise there will be voters who will think twice before turning to the party promising to raise their taxes.
The real question is this: Are the Trump voters energized enough to overcome both energized Democrats anxious to vote and Democrat machines that now know where they need to steal said votes? The answer alas wasn’t at CPAC, it’s in the individual districts and I think the it’s going to come down to the warning that the President gave about complacency. Fortunately for the GOP the Democrats are making it very hard to pretend that there are no consequences for defeat.
The second question is this, If the Trump votes aren’t energized enough to hold the house, who will get the blame? The media and the establishment will certainly blame Trump but who would the CPAC activist blame? The answer to that question will determine what CPAC 2019 looks like.
DaTechGuy at CPAC 2018 The story (blogged) so far:
While Romney is running for the Senate in a Republican state, he is more popular than Trump so he really does not need to kiss up.
But he is one Never Trumper giving the president his due.
“Romney, who harshly criticized Trump over the years, said he supports much of what the president has done such as cutting taxes, rolling back business regulations and reducing the size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in southern Utah,” the newspaper reported.
I have to disagree, he in fact IS making it a point to kiss up to Trump and making sure everyone sees it.
This serves several purposes.
First of all while it is unlikely, even in the year of a blue wave that Mitt’s Democrat opponent would get enough traction to win, Anything resembling a close race in Utah, a state where he beat Barack Obama by 48 points in 2012, would be a real embarrassment. What would it say about the credibility or popularity of most prominent Mormon in the United States if his margin of victory in the state is under 10 points?
Second Romney understands that if (most likely when) elected he will be the most prominent nevertrumper in the US Senate. He understands that this is the same dynamic as the 2012 GOP primaries where he will become the default goto GOP member for the entire MSM. He will of course have to be able to defend GOP priorities, Tax Cuts, Regulatory Cuts et all, but even so he knows that as long as he is willing to hit the president he will always have the seat of honor at the MSM table and will unlike Ted Cruz, unlikely to be shadowbanned on social media.
Finally lets not forget Mitt still considers himself the smartest man in the room and when it comes time for 2020 there is the prospect that he will decide to carry the Nevertrump banner himself, promising all the economic benefits with none of the drama and betting that he can beat Trump in Iowa where Ted Cruz won and in NH where he still has strength. He’ll have a year of positive press coverage behind him and unending series accolades from establishment GOP members hungry for the power that they consider their birthright. But he can’t promise the Trump economy without the Trump in 2020 if he isn’t backing the policies that made it in 2018.
Now to you and me all of this might sound ridiculous. Not only is Romney unlikely to draw the “deplorable” vote in the general election necessary to win Michigan, Pennsylvania or Wisconsin (which is why the MSM will be happy to back him in the primaries) but he certainly not going to be able to counter whoever the Democrats put up against him but that’s not the message of the political consultant class dying to get a piece of their lucrative pie once again.
You can bet those fellows have been telling him that he is the voice of reason in a sea of nasty tweets. The person of character for a #metoo era that rejects a thrice married lech who cheats on his wife with porn starts. He is the man who is going to save the GOP from Trump and all he stand for, and they will be proud guide him to that destiny…for their usual fee of course.
Maybe Mitt is old and wise enough to eventually figure out the con before he embarrasses himself come 2020 but until them it costs him nothing to play nice now and keep his options open.
“We are a nation that has a government—not the other way around. And this makes us special among the nations of the Earth.”
First presidential inaugural address from Ronald Reagan, who was born in Illinois.
Last summer the Democratic-dominated Illinois General Assembly, overriding a veto from Republican governor Bruce Rauner, slugged Illinoisans with a 32 percent hike in the state income tax.
The Democratic nominee for governor, billionaire JB Pritzker, favors another tax increase. This phony, in a successful ploy to decrease property taxes on his Chicago mansion, purchased a neighboring mansion, disconnected its toilets, then in an assessment appeal, received his tax cut because the palace next door was “uninhabitable.”
Welcome to ILL-inios.
Rauner barely won the Republican nomination in last month’s primary over a little-known and little-funded insurgent conservative, Jeanne Ives, in a thoroughly dishonest campaign. I backed Ives. As for Prtizker, he comes with additional baggage, including embarrassing recordings of FBI-wiretapped phone conversations with now-imprisoned former governor Rod Blagojevich, which is the only reason why he is not the prohibitive favorite to wipe the floor with Rauner in November. Still, it’s likely that a Governor JB is in the future for the Prairie State.
Illinois is broken and broke. It might not have the worst-funded public pension system among the states, but it’s so close to the bottom it doesn’t really matter. Illinois House speaker–“speaker for life”–Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), with some Republican help, transformed Illinois’ pension system into a generous political reward in exchange for support from public-sector unions. Illinois’ budget dedicates 25 percent of spending on state worker pensions. In Wisconsin that amount is 16 percent. Okay, that doesn’t seem like much, but Wisconsin’s pension plan is 100 percent funded, Illinois is at a paltry 35 percent.
Bad times have arrived in Illinois–with worse times coming. For the last three years Illinois has suffered from negative population growth.
It’s hard to see how Illinois won’t be able to avoid some sort of default.
Pritzker favors a “temporary” income tax increase until a graduated tax rate is put in place. But for that to get enacted the state constitution must be amended. That requires three-fifths of both houses of the General Assembly to approve it and a majority of Illinois voters to go along. Even in blue Illinois those are tall hurdles, especially since a “Prtizker amendment” will be viewed, rightly, by voters as a pension bailout amendment.
Of course Pritzker is vague about rates for both that “temporary” tax plan and the graduated one. Of course with the latter one, only “the rich” will pay more.
Dusty: Jo! Bill! It’s coming! It’s headed right for us!
Bill: It’s already here.
It actually started in the earliest of special Congressional elections in 2017, though as the Republican Party candidates won their expected seats anyway, the drop-off from President Donald Trump’s vote percentage was barely noticed, if it was noticed at all. Even when the Virginia and New Jersey Republican Parties were effectively wiped out, that was dismissed as expected. The defeat of Roy Moore in the Alabama US Senate special election, as historic and unexpected as it was, was written off as a “one-off” loss because of an extremely poor candidate, even though he ran as “Trump before Trump”. The unexpected Democrat win in Wisconsin’s 10th Senate District earlier this year caused Governor Scott Walker to declare it an alarm bell, but as it was only one of 33 districts, and sufficiently close to Minnesota’s Twin Cities for some to say that it was simply Minnesota spillover, few heeded it.
One cannot blame Trump, certainly not directly, for this disaster. Even though Dallet did run a single anti-Trump ad, it was her opening ad during the three-way primary, and, at least in my corner of the state and in my limited exposure to the airwaves, that was the only time he was brought up.
Some of my fellow pundits want to blame Screnock for running a bad campaign. Not only was this his first run for office (he was appointed judge a couple years back), but as is typical in Supreme Court races, he didn’t have much money. Further, for most of the campaign, the right-of-center groups that would serve as his proxy remained silent. One of these groups, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the group that is typically the most-active on the right, did finally cut a single ad, but by that time, Dallet and her allied groups, both in-state and out-of-state, had flooded the airwaves.
Typically, JoAnne Kloppenburg notwithstanding, any overtly-political shots are taken by the allied groups and not the candidates themselves. Indeed, other than the aforementioned anti-Trump ad, Dallet positioned herself as the “moderate” between two “extremists”, with Madison lawyer Tim Burns very much openly campaigning as a hyper-partisan Democrat who would use the bench to destroy Walker and the GOP.
A “funny” thing happened after the primary, where Screnock, with 46% and Dallet, with 36%, moved on to the general election. Dallet assumed the Burns position, going so far as to travel to San Francisco and tell her donors there that she wanted to bring San Francisco values back to Wisconsin.
After 7 years in the Wisconsin wilderness, the Democrats finally got their first scalp, and it was done in a big way. The liberal/Democrat candidate got 80% of the Dane County vote, which cast the most votes of any county even though Milwaukee County is far larger and just as Democrat-controlled (though not as liberal in non-partisan elections), in a “competitive” statewide election for the first time since 1982. That is surprising given that it contains the People’s Republic of Madison. J. Miles Coleman of Decision Desk HQ ran the numbers by Congressional district and found that Dallet took 4 of them, including the 8th (held by a Republican), and nearly took the 7th (also held by a Republican). Despite the race being narrowed to 2 people, Screnock got a full percentage point less of the vote than he did in the primary.
This all came after 7 years of reforms (though most of those happened years ago), the winning of the bidding war for Foxconn and the introduction of a new manufacturing sector to the US, and record-low unemployment with one of the highest labor force participation rates in the country. It also came despite what had been an effective campaign strategy, though underfunded this time.
The wave is real. The only good news, such as it is, is that despite the high turnout in Democrat strongholds like Dane County and the unexpectedly-low conservative vote totals in places like the Fox Valley, turnout was only a fraction of what a typical off-year general election is. However, if things don’t change, and change in a hurry, we’re looking at another 2006, both at the federal level and at the state levels.
I speak to Gina Roberts of the Log Cabin Republicans of San Diego at CPAC 2018
It’s worth noting that Roberts is very involved in GOP politics in CA and has been for decades and I made it a point to talk about GOP prospects in 2018 in the state before turning to the transgender/log cabin issues.