The Rushmore Report: Road to the White House – Only One State Really Matters

As the 2016 presidential election continues to heat up, the polls are shifting again – this time in Donald Trump’s favor. Some polls have him cutting Hillary Clinton’s lead from about 10 points two weeks ago to nearly tied now. More importantly, the battleground states continue to favor Mrs. Clinton, as does the electoral map. Most observers agree that Clinton has about 248 electoral votes locked up, on the road to 270. By comparison, Trump has about 180.

But neither candidate has this wrapped up. It always comes down to a few states, fewer this year than normal. In order for Trump to win, he must win each of these five battleground states: Florida, Iowa, Nevada, Ohio, and North Carolina. And he would still be four votes short. That means Trump must win one more state, one that is currently leaning Democratic. Those states are Colorado, Michigan, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

But only one state out of 50 really matters. It is the one state that will decide this race – period. Forget the other 49 states and watch only this one. That one state is . . .

New Hampshire.

It’s that simple. Let me explain why. To get to 270 electoral votes, Trump needs to win all 22 states that lean Republican, plus each of the five battleground states listed above. That gets him to 266 of the 270 needed. He needs one more.

So why the tiny state of New Hampshire, with just four electoral votes? There are three reasons.

1. Trump must win one of the six states currently leaning Clinton.

And he trails her less in New Hampshire than in all the other states, by about 9 percent. So it will be easier to catch up in New Hampshire than in any other state.

2. New Hampshire is a hands-on state.

Trump does best when he gets close to the voters. You can do that in New Hampshire, with just 1.3 million people. It takes more votes to get elected mayor of San Antonio.

3. New Hampshire loves outsiders.

This is the state that picked Buchanan over Bush and Dean over everybody. They like underdogs, independents, outsiders, and libertarians. That all helps Mr. Trump.

Trump can win without New Hampshire, but to do so would mean winning in more unlikely states such as Virginia, Pennsylvania, or Michigan. Of all the states he is losing, he is performing best in New Hampshire.

So go ahead and watch the debates, read what the pundits say, and glance at the daily tracking polls. This is a big country, with 325 million citizens. But remember, it is the 1.3 million who live in New Hampshire that really count.

Watch CNN. Watch Fox News. Watch MSNBC. But most of all, watch New Hampshire. Whoever wins tiny New Hampshire will be your next president. You read it here first.

The Rushmore Report: Colin Powell Refutes Hillary’s Email Claims

The New York Times’ Amy Chozick had a great scoop regarding Hillary Clinton’s email practices while she was Secretary of State. Here’s the crux: “Pressed by the FBI about her email practices at the State Department, Hillary Clinton told investigators that former Secretary of State Colin Powell had advised her to use a personal email account. Mrs. Clinton is claiming she is only doing what Powell did.” One problem – Powell says she’s making the whole thing up.

Clinton told the FBI that Powell advised her to use a private email account since he had done so while in the same job. Therefore, Clinton’s assertion that she was simply following the accepted practices of previous secretaries of state is entirely proven out. Done and done!

Um, not really. Let me count the ways in which the Clinton email set-up does not equal the Powell email set-up:

1. Clinton exclusively used a private email account to conduct State Department business. Powell did not.

2. Clinton had a private email server, located in her basement. Powell did not.

3. The rules governing electronic communication changed considerably – and got more strict – between Powell’s time in office and Clinton’s. This is from the Fact Checker:

After Powell left office in 2015, and through 2011, the State Department’s guidance for private email use was “considerably more detailed and more sophisticated.”

In 2002, there was a new requirement for email users to “determine the significance and value of information created on email systems and determine the need to preserve those messages that qualify as records. Secretary Clinton’s cybersecurity practices accordingly must be evaluated in light of these more comprehensive directives.”

Those rule changes – as well as technological advancements made between 2005 and 2011 – were at the center of Powell’s shade-throwing statement in response to the “Well, Colin did it” argument made by Clinton to the FBI.

The attempt to – again – equate what Powell did with what Clinton did is yet more evidence that either the candidate, her senior advisers, or both simply don’t get it. No, Clinton wasn’t indicted by the Justice Department for her email set-up. But she was badly reprimanded by FBI Director James Comey for her email practices: it was an unequivocal condemnation of her conduct in relation to her approach to electronic communications while serving as the country’s top diplomat.

General Powell said, “Her people have been trying to pin it on me. The truth is, she was using the private email server for a year before I sent her a memo telling her what I did.”

For whatever reason – and despite the fact that Clinton has said on several occasions that she knows she made a mistake – she seems incapable of accepting that responsibility and moving on. No secretary of state – up to and including Colin Powell – handled their email set-up like Clinton. That’s a fact.

About the Author

Chris Cillizza is an American political commentator, online writer, and author. Cillizza writes at The Fix, a daily political weblog for the Washington Post.

The Rushmore Report: Ben Hur – A Must See

A remake of the Ben-Hur movie has just hit the movie screens. What’s fascinating to me is the story behind the book, which has also inspired two previous movies – the 1925 silent version and the 1959 movie of the year, starring Charlton Heston. That version won 11 Oscars, more than any movie before it, and only tied by Titanic (1997) since. The new Ben-Hur comes highly recommended by Christian leaders. All of us should see the new Ben-Hur.

Did you know the subtitle of the best-selling 1880 book by Lew Wallace is “A Tale of the Christ”? I own a copy, which was re-released in 1959 to coincide with the Charlton Heston movie. The book’s back cover reads, “Ben-Hur: nobleman, galley slave, chariot racer, follower of Christ.”

After the title page of the book and before the content begins is this quote from John Milton’s Christ’s Nativity: The Hymn – “But peaceful was the night wherein the Prince of Light. His reign of peace upon the earth began; the winds with wonder whist smoothly the waters kiss, whispering new joys to the mild ocean – who now hath quite forgot to rave, while birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed wave.”

But what’s the story behind the book? It didn’t begin as a Christ-honoring work at all. According to writer E. A. Rowell, Ben-Hur was initiated as an attempt to demote Christianity.

In the latter half of the 19th century, one of America’s best known unbelievers, Robert Ingersoll, was talking with a friend, General Lew Wallace, about theology. They both agreed Christianity was  nonsense.

Ingersoll encouraged Wallace, since he was a writer, to take up the pen and debunk Christianity once and for all by showing it rested on a weak foundation and by showing the fallibility of Jesus himself. Wallace agreed to take up the challenge.

But his research into the historicity of Christianity led him to come to see that he and Ingersoll had been wrong and that indeed the Christian faith was based on solid historic fact. He wrote a book all right, but it wasn’t the kind he initially set out to write.

Dr. D. James Kennedy said of Wallace’s novel, “He wrote the book. It became a gigantic success . . . Ben-Hur. But it didn’t present Jesus as a mere man, but as the divine Son of God come from heaven to redeem mankind, including the general, General Lew Wallace, the skeptic turned believer.”

Understandably, the films play up the fast-paced, exciting chariot race scene. But there’s much more in the original book about Jesus.

Even in the 1959 movie, the death of Christ is the key to the resolution to one of the main conflicts in the story – how title character Judah Ben-Hur’s sister and mother are healed of leprosy because of the crucifixion. They had contacted leprosy while wasting away unjustly in a Roman prison.

In the novel, Wallace says this about the dreaded disease: “To be a leper was to be treated as dead – to be excluded from the city as a corpse, afraid to die, yet without hope except in death.”

In the book, he places their healing on the original Palm Sunday, when Christ makes his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The two leprous women see his public appearance as their only chance to reach him for healing.

As Jesus is passing by, they cry out for his help. When the crowd sees these lepers, they in turn cry out, “Stone them! The accursed of God! Kill them!”

But Jesus stops to face the women, who say, “O Master, Master! Thou seest our need: thou canst make us clean. Have mercy on us – mercy!” They also say to him, “Thou art he of whom the prophets spake – thou art the Messiah!” And Jesus heals them.

Also in the book, one character says of Christ’s reign: “There is a kingdom on the earth, though it is not of it – a kingdom of wider bounds than the earth – wider than the sea and the earth, though they were rolled together as finest gold and spread by the beating of hammers. Its existence is a fact as our hearts are facts, and we journey through it from birth to death without seeing it; nor shall any man see it until he hath first known his own soul; for the kingdom is not for him, but for his soul. And in its dominion there is glory such as hath not entered imagination.”

Thus, Lew Wallace’s novel, Ben-Hur, glorifies Jesus Christ and is a far cry from Ingersoll’s original vision. As the book of Proverbs notes, “There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord.”

About the Author

Jerry Newcombe, D.Min., is an on-air host/senior producer for D. James Kennedy Ministries. He has written/co-written 26 books, including The Book that Made America and What If Jesus Had Never Been Born?

The Rushmore Report: Voter ID – Who’s the Real Racist?

Who’s the real racist? Progressives characterize conservatives as “racists” for demanding citizens produce a photo ID in order to vote. So who’s the racist – the person who wants voters to produce the same ID required to buy a pack of cigarettes or board a plane, or the person who thinks only white people are capable of getting a photo ID? Amazingly, 17 states require no ID to vote, meaning you can vote multiple times. Apparently, progressives are fine with that.

One of the most laughable assertions of modern politics is the suggestion that requiring a voter ID places an undue burden on minorities. By supporting the policy of these 17 states, mostly liberal, progressives are supporting the opportunity of voting multiple times, as each voter can cast multiple ballots under other names within the same precinct.

“It is too much to expect someone to get some form of ID in order to vote,” we are told. But here are 25 things you cannot do without a photo ID. How come the liberals don’t find any of these “demands” objectionable? Why aren’t the airlines, convenience stores, and banks considered “racist”?

Here is a list of just some of the things you cannot do without a photo ID . . .

1. Open a bank account.

2. File for unemployment.

3. Apply for welfare.

4. Apply for food stamps.

5. Apply for Social Security.

6. Buy a home.

7. Drive a car.

8. Buy a car.

9. Rent a car.

10. Board a plane.

11. Get married.

12. Check into a hotel room.

13. Buy a gun.

14. Apply for a fishing license.

15. Adopt a pet.

16. Pick up a prescription.

17. Buy cold medicine.

18. Donate blood.

19. Enter a casino.

20. Buy lotto tickets.

21. Buy a video game marked “M” for mature.

22. Buy a cell phone.

23. Buy cigarettes.

24. Buy alcohol.

23. Hold a rally against voter ID.

Still not convinced that requiring voters to prove they are who they say they are? Still not convinced it’s a bad idea to let people roam from polling station to polling station claiming a false name so they can vote dozens of time in each election? Still not convinced those who must produce ID in order to buy cold medicine or board a plane should have to meet the same criteria to pick the leader of the free world? Then move to any of these states, and you can vote as many times as you like. No ID required – California, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming, and Washington, D.C.

Let’s be clear. You need an ID to hold a rally against voter ID, but you don’t need an ID to actually vote. And this is called “progressive”?

Let’s ask the question again. One group (conservatives) suggests everyone should have an ID to vote. The other group (progressives) suggests only white people are capable of getting a voter ID.

Who’s the racist?

The Rushmore Report: Celebrate Recovery Turns 25

If you’ve heard a sermon, small group discussion, Sunday school lesson, or testimony that addressed one of those once-taboo topics – alcoholism, drug abuse, anger issues, porn habits – you probably have Celebrate Recovery to thank. “It used to be if someone was an alcoholic or a drug addict, it was hush-hush,” said Huston McComb, leader of CR at Houston’s First Baptist Church. “We’ve kind of taken that stigma away,” he says.

While some of the shame around addiction has faded over the decades, Celebrate Recovery has shifted how evangelicals in particular view “hurts, habits, and hang-ups.” The ministry hosts regular meetings at 29,000 churches and has trained more than 100,000 pastors in the recovery process.

Its annual summit last weekend marked 25 years since John Baker founded the program at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, immediately following his own journey to sobriety through Alcoholics Anonymous. Like many evangelicals at the time, he had reservations about the generic spirituality of AA, whose 12-step program refers to “a Power greater than ourselves” and “God as we understand him.”

Baker saw a need to create a support system rooted in gospel teachings. “In my men’s small group I couldn’t talk about my struggle, and at AA, I couldn’t talk about my Savior.” So Baker proposed the program – with its own version of the 12 steps, each one paired with a teaching from Scripture – in a 13-page letter to Warren back in 1991. From there, Celebrate Recovery as been replicated across denominations, countries, and demographics, beyond what Baker ever imagined.

About a third of the people who attend Celebrate Recovery come for issues with drugs or alcohol. Most struggle with something else. Recently, CR has begun to focus more on “dual diagnosis,” the interplay between multiple issues. New initiatives have been launched, with a focus on military service members and healing for those coming out of sexual exploitation.

Baker says, “The truth is, you’d be hard pressed to find someone in any church whose life, marriage, or faith isn’t hindered by some kind of habit, hang-up, or past hurt. We need to start talking about these very common struggles much more. It’s not enough to just condemn pornography (or whatever else) from the pulpit. You need to help those ensnared by it, give people a better way. Celebrate Recovery does that.”

For more information on Celebrate Recovery, visit their website at www.celebraterecovery.com.

The Rushmore Report: The Shifting Donald Trump

After months of waiting like Vladimir and Estragon for Godot, Republican voters finally got what they’ve been waiting for: THE PIVOT. Trump gave four solid speeches last week. In the final speech, he dropped the line that he should have dropped months ago: he’s sorry. It was smart. And it could change the race. Here’s what you need to know about THE PIVOT.

1. It began with a brilliant move on Louisiana.

The media have completely ignored major flooding in Louisiana, which has now cost 13 lives and displaced tens of thousands of Americans. Barack Obama spent the time golfing. We’re all old enough to remember a time when a president waiting a few hours too long to act publicly meant that he was a racist. But now Trump has taken advantage – he’s showing up in Louisiana today, after announcing last night, “We are one nation. When one state hurts, we all hurt – and we must all work together to lift each other up. Working, building, restoring together.”

2. Trump apologized.

Trump has said some particularly awful things in this race. He’s accused a rival’s wife of being ugly and the rival’s father of conspiring with the murderer of JFK. He’s mocked a disabled reporter and gone soft on the KKK. He’s insulted prisoners of war and a Mexican-American judge and a Gold Star family. Yesterday, in one line, he sought to end all the hubbub surrounding those issues: “Sometimes, in the heat of debate and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don’t choose the right words or you say the wrong thing. I have done that, and I regret it, particularly where it may have caused personal pain. Too much is at stake for us to be consumed with these issues.”

3. Trump posed himself as the practical change candidate.

He used his speech last week to talk about fixing problems. “In the world I come from, if something is broken, you fix it,” he said. He contrasted his own supposed honesty with Hillary Clinton’s congenital dishonesty. This is a good tack from him: everyone knows Hillary is dishonest, and few people believe she has ever solved a problem that provided change to real Americans.

About the Author

Ben Shapiro is an American conservative political commentator, nationally syndicated columnist, author, radio talk show host, and attorney.

The Rushmore Report: 10 Rules that Make a Marriage Work

Everybody wants a great marriage, but too few are willing to take the steps to get there. A great marriage is pretty simple. Here are ten rules to make your marriage stronger.

Rule #1 – End each day with a clean slate.

The Bible says in Ephesians 4:26 to not let the sun go down while you are still angry. Make it a goal to clear the air with your spouse on a daily basis. For those days where tensions are high, make an agreement with your spouse that you will work out your differences before going to bed.

Rule #2 – Don’t make marriage 50-50.

The Bible says that it is a man’s responsibility to love (Ephesians 5:25) and it is a woman’s responsibility to submit (Ephesians 5:22). When a couple looks at marriage as a 50-50 agreement they will always play off how the other person treats them. However, when they see the marriage as their sole responsibility, then they will have a much stronger and happier marriage.

Rule #3 – Keep personal problems personal.

Don’t share your marriage problems with your co-workers. If you are seeing a marriage counselor then it is important to be open and honest. But when chatting with your friends at the water cooler, you need to guard your negative words about your spouse.

Rule #4 – Live within your means.

One of the major causes of divorce is money problems. Live with the money you have. Even though you think that expensive gift you can’t afford will help endear your spouse to you, it more often than not will drive a wedge of insecurity in your relationship.

Rule #5 – Take divorce off the table.

Never enter a marriage with the thought that you can get divorced if things don’t work out. Regardless of your interpretation of the biblical passages dealing with divorce, you should make it a personal commitment to your spouse and to God that you will not consider divorce as an option.

Rule #6 – Guard your heart.

Protect your eyes, ears, and mind. Men, you need to learn to look away when your eyes are drawn to other women in an inappropriate way. Ladies, you may hear sweeter words from your co-worker than you do from your own husband. Remember to whom you made a promise to love – even when times are difficult.

Rule #7 – Forget the past.

Isn’t is amazing how, all of a sudden, you can remember things from the past that you thought were forgotten when an argument arises between you and your spouse? Forget the wrong that he or she has done to you in the past and focus on the present and future.

Rule #8 – Compliment in word and action.

The word “compliment” can mean a couple of different things. First, it can mean to say nice things to one another. It can also mean to do something that helps the other to be stronger or look better in the eyes of others. Both senses of the word “compliment” are important to a marriage.

Rule #9 – Love one another.

Make a decision to love one another even if our spouse does not deserve your love. The fact is, you don’t deserve your spouse’s love either, or God’s.

Rule #10 – Put God first.

Most people who want to protect their marriage will say that their spouse is more important than their job. Unfortunately, it seems that people who are in ministry will say that in a list of priorities that their wife is sometimes at the top of their list and sometimes their ministry is. But if you put God at the top of your priority list, he will show you where your emphasis should be at any given time. If God is truly first, then the other priorities will fall into place.

About the Author

David Peach is an author for Baptist International Outreach. Based in Jefferson City, Tennessee, BIO exists to share the good news of Jesus Christ with the nation and the world.

The Rushmore Report: What the Obama Administration Just Did Should Scare Every American

In this political season, heated rhetoric is to be expected. President Obama has been rightly criticized for such crises as the doubling of the national debt and explosion of ISIS, which he called “the JV team.” He has also been blamed for everything from the whooping cough to the U.S. women’s soccer loss to Sweden in the Olympics. That is the nature of politics, especially with a pending election.

But last week, we learned something that makes the congressional debate over the Clinton email scandal look like a kindergarten water balloon fight. An intelligence report was released that no one is challenging. And it contains information of something the Obama Administration did that should scare every American, regardless of political stripes.

CBS, hardly the voice of the conservative movement, broke the story. According to a hard-hitting government task force report released last Thursday, intelligence generated by the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) was manipulated to paint a rosier picture of U.S. progress in its fight with ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

The report finds that, beginning in mid-2014, final intelligence reports issued by CENTCOM contradicted the initial internal assessments made by its own analysts, as reported by CBS News correspondent Jim Axelrod.

Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., a member of the task force, said, “The facts on the ground didn’t match what the intelligence was saying out of the United States Central Command.”

The report went on to indicate that as many as 50 government employees may have been in on cooking the books. It has long been the assessment of Congressional oversight committees that the rhetoric coming from Mr. Obama himself was a fairy tale, when compared to what military observers have been saying.

If the CBS story is somehow found to be false (unlikely since every other major news outlet has agreed with their findings, based on their own internal investigations), I’ll be the first to retract. While these findings come as no surprise to many retired generals and leading foreign policy advisers of past administrations, it just doesn’t sound like the America we think we are.

It seems clear that the Obama Administration has been deceiving the American people through the entire battle with ISIS. They have lied about the progress we have made and exaggerated anticipated victories, all to serve one purpose – inflate the image of the President and his Administration.

It’s one thing to have differing policies. It’s quite another to put out, day after day, misinformation to intentionally mislead the American people for whom the Administration works – all for political gain.

If we can’t trust our government to tell us the truth on issues of national defense, when can we trust them? What the Obama Administration has just done should scare every American.

The Rushmore Report: What Trump Must Do – Now

Former George W. Bush senior adviser Karl Rove responded to a scathing Wall Street +++ editorial that says Donald Trump’s campaign is on life support. The article suggested that Mr. Trump needs to turn the campaign over to his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. Rove has offered his unsolicited advice on what Trump can do to still win the 2016 election. The architect of the last two winning Republican campaigns lays out what Trump must do to win – now.

The key, says Rove, is for Trump to pivot from attacking the media to a “sustained attack on Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and their failings.” He must engineer a “sustained effort” to explain that “the kind of change he represents is different than the status quo that Hillary Clinton represents.”

The Wall Street Journal editorial board wrote that, by focusing on critics in the media, the window for a “Trump pivot” toward delineating policy differences with Clinton is closing. “Rather than reassure voters and try to repair his image, the New Yorker has spent the last three weeks giving his critics more ammunition,” the paper said.

The paper continued, “If they can’t get Mr. Trump to change his act by Labor Day, the GOP will have no choice but to write off the nominee as hopeless and focus on salvaging the Senate and House and other down-ballot races. Trump needs to decide if he wants to behave like someone who wants to be President – or turn the nomination over to Mike Pence.”

Rove agreed that the Trump campaign should follow Clinton’s criticisms rather than those from the media, and form a “deliberate plan to go after her each and every opportunity they can,” adding that the Republican nominee should focus mainly on the “20 percent” of swing voters rather than the steadfast base he has cultivated over the last year.

Further, Mr. Rove advised Trump to “write a big check” to his campaign and immediately begin running TV ads in battleground states to match Clinton’s spending on such attack ads. “This would send a signal that he is in this to win,” said Rove.

Is it too late for Trump to turn around his sliding poll numbers and win this election? “No,” says Karl Rove. “But the window of opportunity is closing.”

Trump can still win, but only if he makes major changes – now.

About the Author

Karl Rove was the architect for President George W. Bush’s two winning campaigns of 2000 and 2004. A prolific author, the conservative writer and commentator is a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal and Fox News.

 

The Rushmore Report: Michael Phelps Embraces ‘The Purpose Driven Life’

One of the 40 million copies sold of The Purpose Driven Life has ended up in the large, paddle-like hands of Michael Phelps. In between winning Olympic golds, Phelps made headlines for very different reasons: repeated DUIs, parties and pot, weight gain, and rehab. But then a fellow athlete and friend, NFL Hall-of-Famer Ray Lewis, gave him a copy of Rick Warren’s bestseller. Lewis told The Washington Post, “I gave him the book and said, ‘It’s time to wake up.'”

In an ESPN special, Phelps said the book “turned me into believing that there is a power greater than myself and there is a purpose for me on this planet” and “helped me when I was in a place that I needed the most help.” It spurred him to reconcile with his dad.

This summer, the media celebrated the 31-year-old Phelps as stronger and more mature than ever; the record-crushing swimmer stayed sober throughout his training and brought along his fiancée and baby son to Olympic competition in Rio. The come-to-Jesus turnaround, as Lewis called it, began with a book that answers the basic question, “Why am I here?” with Scriptural truth.

About the Author

Kate Shellnutt is editor of Her.meneutics. She follows current events and religion news across the web from her home near Augusta, Georgia. A former religion editor for the Houston Chronicle, Kate studied religion and journalism at Washington and Lee University and Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She tweets as @KateShellnutt.