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Westlake Legal Group > fox-news/politics/elections/republicans

GOP becoming endangered species in California, as key stronghold turns blue

Former President Ronald Regan said during his 1984 reelection campaign that Southern California’s Orange County is the place where “good Republicans go to die.”

For decades, the wealthy, suburban county – about 20 miles south of downtown Los Angeles – has been a conservative stronghold in a state that has become increasingly liberal. But since the 2018 midterm elections, the so-called “Orange Curtain” has come down and Democrats have made huge gains in an area once dominated by Republicans.

HOW A MINOR CHANGE IN CALIFORNIA’S ELECTION LAW MAY HAVE DOOMED REPUBLICANS’ CHANCES

The shift speaks to the GOP’s ever-shrinking foothold in the Golden State. Just recently, the number of registered Democrats surpassed the number of registered Republicans in Orange County for the first time since the Watergate era, with the county Registrar of Voters – as of Wednesday – having 548,952 Democrats compared with just 548,095 Republicans.

While not an enormous advantage, it does mark a drastic shift from the Republican Party’s halcyon days of the early 1990s, when it enjoyed a 22-percentage point advantage over Democrats, and mirrors a trend seen in recent years across California’s more conservative areas.

In the last few years, neighboring San Diego County flipped to the Democrats and, on election night last November, California’s 25th Congressional District went Democrat for the first time since 1993 when upstart politician Katie Hill defeated incumbent Republican Steve Knight. The 2018 midterm elections also saw all of Orange County’s districts go Democratic as well as most of San Diego County – turning the state’s congressional delegation, and statehouse, an even deeper shade of blue.

Republicans now hold only seven of the state’s 53 congressional seats, and both seats in the Senate are held by Democrats.

“We have seen since 2016, and even before that, that we’re becoming bluer and bluer,” Ada Briceño, the chair of the Orange County Democratic Party, told Fox News. “We know that trend is going to continue. The changes in our demographics are going to ensure that and the fact that we have activists and leaders on the ground working extremely hard to make sure that we are moving and speaking and enamoring people.”

Both Democratic and Republican leaders have cited the changing demographics and voter base in the region as one of the main reasons for the shift in political alignment in recent years.

The immigrant population of Orange County, for example, grew five times as fast as the general population between 1980 and 2000 and, despite a slowing influx of new immigrants, the region’s Asian and Latino populations are likely to continue on an upward trajectory thanks to the children of immigrant families born in the United States.

PELOSI FACES SHOUTS FOR IMPEACHMENT AT CALIFORNIA DEMOCRATIC PARTY CONVENTION

In California’s 48th Congressional District, which last fall saw longtime Republican fixture Dana Rohrabacher lose to Democrat Harley Rouda, the Latino population went from 38,803 in 1980 to 145,585 in 2017 – or from 8 percent of the district’s population to 21 percent.

Similarly, in the state’s 45th Congressional, where Democrat Katie Porter won last November against incumbent Republican Mimi Walters, the Asian-American population skyrocketed from 14,528 in 1980, or 4.4 percent, to almost a quarter of the district’s total population in 2017 with 175,540.

Westlake Legal Group OC-Voting-GettyImages-1058419382 GOP becoming endangered species in California, as key stronghold turns blue fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/politics/state-and-local fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/elections fox news fnc/politics fnc article Andrew O'Reilly 50c6298b-fb8b-58b2-a2fe-9c20b7c99953

People vote at an Orange County polling station inside a fire station during the midterm elections in Huntington Beach, California, on November 6, 2018. (Photo: MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Republican leaders in California admit that they need to do a better job of fielding candidates that appeal to a diversifying voter base, but say that Democrats are playing “identity politics” and that eventually the pendulum will swing back toward the right.

“The Democrats are really good at playing identity politics, but identity politics is a sugar high,” Tony Krvaric, the chair of the Republican Party of San Diego County, told Fox News. “Eventually people are going to wake up and realize Democrats have done nothing for them.”

ANALYSIS: CALIFORNIA POLITICS WILL GET CRAZY IN 2019.

Democrats balk at this assertion, arguing that while they have certainly worked to recruit younger and more diverse voters, the spike in registrations to their party has included people from all walks of life and has been buoyed by the party’s stance on issues ranging from immigration to the environment compared with those of the Republicans – and, in particular, the hardline rhetoric of President Trump.

“The rhetoric that Trump is putting out there is really turning Orange County folks off,” Briceño said. “We had a guy in his 70’s who had been a Republican for over 20 years come into the office just the other day and switch over to become a Democrat because of Trump’s rhetoric.”

“[Trump] has given us a nice gift,” Briceño added.

Political observers in the state tend to agree with this assertion, recalling the last time a place like Orange County flipped to the Democrats was following Richard Nixon’s resignation from White House in the wake of the Watergate scandal.

“Trump people all think it’s some conspiracy, while people who don’t like him say it’s a big change in ideology,” Will Swaim, the president of the California Policy Center, told Fox News. “But anytime you see a sudden shift in voter registration, it’s not a shift in philosophy or ideology. It’s about the person at the top of the ticket.”

Swaim added that while many Republicans in the region may agree with some of the Trump administration’s policies, specifically regarding the economy and trade, the president’s boisterous and combative style has also rubbed many the wrong way.

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“It’s really the president’s way of behaving that offends people,” he said. “They may like his policies, but they don’t like how he behaves.”

Despite the recent shift toward the Democrats in places like Orange and San Diego counties, Swaim said that, if historic trends are any indication, the areas will revert back to the GOP.

“The last time this happened, the phenomenon was pretty short-lived,” he said. “Conservative principles will continue to thrive here, but the Democrats have made some inroads.”

Westlake Legal Group Reagan-Newport-Beach-GettyImages-1052658598 GOP becoming endangered species in California, as key stronghold turns blue fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/politics/state-and-local fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/elections fox news fnc/politics fnc article Andrew O'Reilly 50c6298b-fb8b-58b2-a2fe-9c20b7c99953   Westlake Legal Group Reagan-Newport-Beach-GettyImages-1052658598 GOP becoming endangered species in California, as key stronghold turns blue fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/politics/state-and-local fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/elections fox news fnc/politics fnc article Andrew O'Reilly 50c6298b-fb8b-58b2-a2fe-9c20b7c99953

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Sanford points to Labor Day decision on primary challenge to Trump

Mark Sanford says he should decide by around Labor Day if he’s going to mount what he has conceded would be a “long-shot” GOP primary bid against President Trump.

The former South Carolina governor and congressman announced last month that he would take around 30 days to test the waters before deciding whether to pursue the Republican presidential nomination.

“I gave myself a month and I’m running up on that deadline,” Sanford said Wednesday as he sat down for an interview with Fox News in New Hampshire, which holds the first presidential primary in the race for the White House.

Westlake Legal Group MarkSanford-Concord-NH Sanford points to Labor Day decision on primary challenge to Trump Paul Steinhauser fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article 924134a4-ac1c-55e4-89c0-e0f0ac3bc55e

Former South Carolina governor and congressman Mark Sanford sitting down for an interview during a stop in Concord, N.H., on Tuesday.

MARK SANFORD CONFESSES ‘I DONT’ THINK ANYBODY’S GOING TO BEAT DONALD TRUMP’

The trip was Sanford’s first to one of the early-voting states in the primary and caucus nominating calendar as he mulls whether to run for the presidency or maybe form a think tank devoted to fiscal conservatism.

“People are politically aware here,” Sanford said. “More than any other state out there … this is a state where you can get a grassroots opinion real fast on a good idea, bad idea, go, no-go.”

One way or another, the aim of the longtime deficit hawk is to make the explosion of federal spending and a ballooning national debt a conversation in the presidential campaign.

“I think we need to have a conversation as Republicans about what it means to be a Republican,” Sanford explained. “One of the cornerstones to the Republican Party historically was, do we spend beyond our means? Do we believe in some level of financial sanity? And that seems to have gone out of the window of late.”

Sanford warned that “we’re about to drive the train off the tracks on debt, spending and accumulating deficits. And if we don’t all speak up, as Americans and as Republicans we’re going to pay the price.”

THE LATEST FROM FOX NEWS ON THE 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN

Pointing to plans with hefty price tags being proposed by the two dozen Democrats running for the White House, Sanford said “there’s something wrong with a robust debate taking place on the Democratic side where it’s simply a debate of more versus more versus more versus more, with nobody worried about who’s going to pay for it — and no debate taking place on the Republican side.”

Sanford, a Trump critic, criticized the president for failing to take action to curb the debt.

“It’s a problem that he hasn’t used the microphone to talk about how profound this challenge is and how it’s going to hurt every one of us if we don’t do something about it,” Sanford argued. “He’s ruled out action on the very things that drive our debt and spending. It’s irresponsible.”

Sanford’s visit came one day before Trump is to hold his first campaign rally in New Hampshire – it’s a key general-election battleground state – since the eve of the 2016 election.

Trump enjoys strong support among Granite State Republicans. The latest evidence: a new poll released this week from the University of New Hampshire showing Trump with an 82 percent approval score among Republicans.

Asked if he believes he can pull off a primary upset – or if he would get in just to spotlight fiscal conservatism – Sanford said “you try to do both. Your immediate goal is, can you have an impact? Can you help shape the debate? Can you have some degree of educational impact? And, your second, longer-term goal of the process is, can you win?”

But, he admitted, “I think you have to acknowledge up front that it’s a long shot.”

Sanford spent his day sitting down for a few select media interviews – and meeting with Republican veterans of the state’s presidential primary. Among them were former state party former state attorney general Tom Rath, a top adviser to then-Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s 2016 presidential campaign, and former state GOP chair Fergus Cullen, one of the leaders of the “Never-Trump” movement in New Hampshire.

There’s already a Republican challenging Trump in the primaries – former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld. He’s been making near-weekly trips to New Hampshire since February and officially launched his bid in April. But he’s failed – to date – to make a dent in the polls.

Asked how he could succeed where Weld hasn’t, Sanford answered, “That would be the test of time.”

Weld, as the former governor of a neighboring state, has some name recognition in New Hampshire. If Sanford’s known at all in New Hampshire, it’s for the “Appalachian Trail.”

That’s a reference to Sanford’s original excuse for a weeklong disappearance in June 2009. It was later revealed that Sanford was out of the country, having an affair with an Argentinian woman. The episode ended his marriage and derailed the political career of the popular two-term governor, who was considered an early leading contender for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.

But politics is full of second chances, and the former governor won back his old congressional seat in a 2013 special election. He won reelection in 2014 and 2016. Still, Sanford, a vocal Trump critic, was targeted by the president in his 2018 reelection bid and lost a primary challenge to a pro-Trump candidate.

Asked if his possible primary challenge against the president was revenge for his 2018 loss, Sanford said no.

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But, he did take aim again at Trump over the president’s demeanor.

“For all the credits and plusses the president may have, he’s got serious demerits with regard to tone,” Sanford charged. “And you cannot play the role of schoolyard bully and expect people to follow you. Leadership fundamentally at times is not about division and how we find contrast points, but it’s about inclusion and finding ways to work together.”

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_5744784019001_5744768961001-vs Sanford points to Labor Day decision on primary challenge to Trump Paul Steinhauser fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article 924134a4-ac1c-55e4-89c0-e0f0ac3bc55e   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_5744784019001_5744768961001-vs Sanford points to Labor Day decision on primary challenge to Trump Paul Steinhauser fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article 924134a4-ac1c-55e4-89c0-e0f0ac3bc55e

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Mark Steyn: ‘The Hunt’ film is ‘the liberal twitterstorm fantasy’ taken to the next level

Westlake Legal Group Ross-Split_FOX Mark Steyn: 'The Hunt' film is 'the liberal twitterstorm fantasy' taken to the next level fox-news/shows/tucker-carlson-tonight fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/entertainment/movies fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article 5a55a3c3-6235-50cb-b868-fdd4423723a2

The upcoming NBC Universal picture “The Hunt” — depicting elites hunting “deplorables” — is the left’s Twitter fantasy satirized on the big screen, according to Mark Steyn.

The current crop of films are becoming stale, but movies that have connections to contemporary life are welcome, Steyn remarked Thursday on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

“I get bored by ‘X-Men 37’, in which Cardboard Man battles Franchise Girl up in the sky and rips a hole in the space-time continuum,” he said.

“I actually approve of making films telling stories about the way we live now — we live in an increasingly fractious 50-50 nation.”

HOLLYWOOD BLOCKBUSTER THAT SATIRIZES KILLING OF ‘DEPLORABLES’ CAUSES OUTRAGE

Of the movie, set to be released in September, Steyn claimed it gives off a similar air as the objections to Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross holding a Trump campaign fundraiser.

“It’s the same condescension,” he said.

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“It is actually the liberal Twitterstorm fantasy taken to the next level.

“On Twitter, they just destroy your career, get you fired, close down your restaurant — but this so-called satire actually wants to take it to the next level… take the cold civil war and make it a hot civil war.”

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Regarding the movie itself, “The Hunt” is billed as a satire that follows wealthy thrill-seekers taking a private jet to a five-star resort where they embark on a “deeply rewarding” expedition that involves hunting down and killing designated humans.

The Hollywood Reporter reported on Tuesday that “Universal is re-evaluating its strategy for the certain-to-be-controversial satire” following the shootings after ESPN reportedly pulled a trailer for the film that had been previously cleared to air on the sports network.

“The violent, R-rated film from producer Jason Blum’s Blumhouse follows a dozen MAGA types who wake up in a clearing and realize they are being stalked for sport by elite liberals,” THR’s Kim Masters and Tatiana Siegel wrote. “It features guns blazing along with other ultra-violent killings as the elites pick off their prey.”

Fox News’ Brian Flood contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Ross-Split_FOX Mark Steyn: 'The Hunt' film is 'the liberal twitterstorm fantasy' taken to the next level fox-news/shows/tucker-carlson-tonight fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/entertainment/movies fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article 5a55a3c3-6235-50cb-b868-fdd4423723a2   Westlake Legal Group Ross-Split_FOX Mark Steyn: 'The Hunt' film is 'the liberal twitterstorm fantasy' taken to the next level fox-news/shows/tucker-carlson-tonight fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/entertainment/movies fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article 5a55a3c3-6235-50cb-b868-fdd4423723a2

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Rudy Giuliani: Politicizing Trump’s visits to El Paso, Dayton can slow healing process

Westlake Legal Group Ingraham-Giuliani_FOX Rudy Giuliani: Politicizing Trump's visits to El Paso, Dayton can slow healing process fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/ohio fox-news/us/terror/september-11 fox-news/us/crime/mass-murder fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article 8a3e76e1-4781-539a-ba7b-054c9c610980

Politically charged rhetoric directed at President Trump is hurting his ability to help heal the pain of communities reeling from mass shootings, according to Rudy Giuliani.

Trump is acting in the same capacity as former President George W. Bush did when he visited Manhattan after the 9/11 attacks, Giuliani said Wednesday on “The Ingraham Angle.”

“It’s very sad for our country that they’re doing this,” the former New York City mayor said of critical rhetoric against the president.

“I remember what it meant to New York when President Bush came here four days later. It lifted everyone’s spirits — they felt like the country was behind them,” Giuliani said.

MASS SHOOTINGS BRING TRUMP TO DAYTON, EL PASO AMID PROTESTS

Giuliani, who now serves as a personal attorney to President Trump, said the president is “just trying to heal some of the pain these people are going through” in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

However, he also warned the president’s critics who were politicizing Trump’s response that doing so could backfire on them in the long run.

“Politically, this doesn’t play. This is very, very partisan,” he said. “I think most of the American people can see through this. It is a shame these people have degraded themselves to this level — to do this kind of thing, it’s really shameful.”

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In Texas, the president was greeted at the airport by the state’s Republican governor, Greg Abbott, as well as Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and El Paso Mayor Dee Margo — who bucked Democrats’ calls on Monday to turn the president away.

As happened earlier Wednesday in Dayton, Ohio, scene of another lethal mass shooting last weekend, Trump was greeted by protesters demanding tougher anti-gun laws and an end to caustic rhetoric — including some from the president — that they believed to be contributing to a culture of violence in America.

On the whole, however, reaction to Trump’s visits was welcoming — and, according to MSNBC correspondent Jacob Soboroff, “surprisingly positive.”

Fox News’ Adam Shaw and Gregg Re contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Ingraham-Giuliani_FOX Rudy Giuliani: Politicizing Trump's visits to El Paso, Dayton can slow healing process fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/ohio fox-news/us/terror/september-11 fox-news/us/crime/mass-murder fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article 8a3e76e1-4781-539a-ba7b-054c9c610980   Westlake Legal Group Ingraham-Giuliani_FOX Rudy Giuliani: Politicizing Trump's visits to El Paso, Dayton can slow healing process fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/ohio fox-news/us/terror/september-11 fox-news/us/crime/mass-murder fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article 8a3e76e1-4781-539a-ba7b-054c9c610980

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Texas Speaker apologizes for alleged comments about Republican colleagues in secret recording: report

The Texas House Speaker apologized Tuesday for “terrible things” he allegedly said about House colleagues on a secretly recorded conversation with a conservative activist, reports said.

Speaker Dennis Bonnen, a Republican, sent out an apology email to the 149 members of the state House. The apology stemmed from his alleged remarks during a June meeting with Michael Quinn Sullivan, a conservative activist. He was also with state Rep. Dustin Burrows.

TEXAS POLICE CHIEF APOLOGIZES AFTER PHOTO SHOWS MOUNTED OFFICERS LEADING HANDCUFFED SUSPECT BY ROPE

“I was stupid to take a meeting with an individual who has worked hard to divide our House,” Bonnen said in an email addressed to House members Tuesday. “I said terrible things that are embarrassing to the members, to the House, and to me personally.”

Westlake Legal Group dennis-bonnen Texas Speaker apologizes for alleged comments about Republican colleagues in secret recording: report fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox news fnc/politics fnc Danielle Wallace article 4807d708-8c54-5a3b-8f51-8fcc66d5e089

FILE – In this May 15, 2015, file photo, Texas Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, talks to the media at the Texas Capitol in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

Sullivan, the CEO of Empower Texans, a conservative non-profit focused on promoting free-market principles in the state, claimed that Bonnen and Burrows spoke about offering his organization House media credentials in exchange for making attacks against a “hit list” of 10 Republican House members they wanted to target during to 2020 election primary election, the Texas Tribune reported.

Bonnen admitted to trash-talking fellow Republicans in Tuesday’s email but did not mention the alleged list. He previously denied the existence of the list and demanded Sullivan make the full recording public. Meanwhile, Sullivan has privately played the tape to several House Republicans, the report said.

State Rep. Tan Parker, a Republican on the alleged list, said that he listened to the secret recording and can confirm that Bonnen and Burrows “did engage in targeting specific members of the Republican Caucus.”

“I find this reckless ambition to be absolutely disgusting. Their actions directly contradict the bylaws and culture of our Caucus. The disparaging commentary that was also heard was the epitome of disrespect and a clear attack on the values of the Republican Party and the integrity we have established in the Texas House,” Parker said.

Bonnen’s office did not immediately respond to an after-business-hours email from Fox News.

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More than two dozen state House Republicans said on Twitter that they accepted Bonnen’s apology and benefitted under his leadership, the Texas Tribune reported. Bonnen promised to meet with House members individually in the coming weeks.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group dennis-bonnen Texas Speaker apologizes for alleged comments about Republican colleagues in secret recording: report fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox news fnc/politics fnc Danielle Wallace article 4807d708-8c54-5a3b-8f51-8fcc66d5e089   Westlake Legal Group dennis-bonnen Texas Speaker apologizes for alleged comments about Republican colleagues in secret recording: report fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox news fnc/politics fnc Danielle Wallace article 4807d708-8c54-5a3b-8f51-8fcc66d5e089

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Charlie Kirk: Health care in ObamaCare era has Republicans floundering – Beware of #RINOCARE, my friends

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6060006220001_6060011035001-vs Charlie Kirk: Health care in ObamaCare era has Republicans floundering – Beware of #RINOCARE, my friends fox-news/us/democratic-party fox-news/politics/senate/health-care fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/health-care fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/politics fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc Charlie Kirk article 888f5659-3bc4-5608-ae03-c3bfb112e0dc

Ronald Reagan famously mocked liberals by saying, “We’re from the federal government and we’re here to help.” Yet Republicans are adopting that same philosophy with various feel good health care bills they’re backing, and it could land us with socialized medicine if they’re not careful. 

The new health care issue de jure is “surprise billing,” when people who have health insurance end up with large medical bills because they received care from doctors outside of their insurance plan’s “network.”

This often happens from emergency room visits, and it can be especially menacing when hospitals send their sky-high “charge master” prices, an accounting gimmick that creates paper revenue losses for tax and other purposes, to unsuspecting people who don’t know how the system works.

TUCKER CARLSON: NOT ALL 2020 DEMS ARE LUNATICS. BUT THE SANE ONES ARE GETTING CRUSHED

Pretty much everyone this side of the remorseless hit man in “No Country for Old Men” can sympathize with some God-fearing, middle-class family that gets stuck with an unexpected $10,000 hospital bill despite paying their insurance premiums on time every month.

The problem has gotten worse in the last several years with Obamacare as a primary driver.  The story of why is like the classic children’s book “A Fly Went By,” in which each animal believes it’s being chased by another behind it that’s really just fleeing from something else.

Thanks to Obamacare, the plan for a 65-year-old man is now required to cover pregnancy, kids are still kids until they’re 26 years old, and there are all kinds of other expensive goodies. Also, everyone involved has to pay a million lawyers a zillion dollars just to understand how to follow the rules.

The insurance companies are getting hammered from Obamacare, and now the doctors are getting stiffed. Who gets it next? That’s right, you do.

In the meantime, insurance companies started embracing their inner cheapskate. They’ve been getting more and more stingy about their “networks,” which are price agreements they have with sets of hospitals and doctors. 

If you go to the “in network” doctor, he sends the bill at the agreed-upon rate for that kind of treatment, the plan pays for it, and life goes on. If you go “out of network,” e.g. to a specialist, they bill the insurance company, and the insurance company pays what it wants to pay, and leaves the rest for you to cover.

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In theory, it makes sense that the insurance company can’t just pay any price the doctor dreams up. The problem is primarily with the Motel 6 Obamacare plans that have gotten very, very chintzy with their “networks.”

So the insurance companies are getting hammered from Obamacare, and now the doctors are getting stiffed. Who gets it next? That’s right, you do. While it’s still a relatively rare problem, for the people facing it, it’s often a crisis. Now Congress is hearing it, and they’re looking around for who to scapegoat over the problems they created in the first place.

You might imagine that in trying to address these types of situations, Congress would put a greater onus on health insurance companies to pay for the health care costs of the people buying health care insurance from them. Ha! How naive of you! It’s almost as if you didn’t know the health insurance lobby is the biggest, meanest bully on the health care block.

Instead, Republicans like Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) are considering the legislative equivalent of a gift basket to the insurance companies, which basically just gives them more leeway to stiff doctors. The result of this would be a health care market marginally less connected to economic reality, and all the dysfunctions that come with it.

But that’s not the most important point of all this. The important point is what the “surprise billing” issue shows about the larger direction of the health care debate in the next five to 10 years.

One of the interesting phenomenons of political change is how sudden it can be if determined opposition lapses. Republicans are floundering on health care in the Obamacare age, but looking to government to solve the rough edges that Obamacare created is playing right into liberals’ hands.

The key for Republicans is to remember what their vision is, even if it’s difficult to imagine the world that way. Obamacare made it even harder to imagine a health care market that operates by the logic of a market, resulting in higher quality and lower prices over time.

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Without that vision, the health care debate could quickly devolve into a pragmatic matter of how best to administer the federal agencies that run 10 percent of our economy. And that’s exactly the kind of environment in which a Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren could bring about socialized health care in an astonishingly short amount of time.

The bills under discussion would make the system work a little bit worse. The trend of Republicans flirting with do-gooder, economically ignorant health care policy could be the system’s demise. Republicans should get on the ball, and fast.

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Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6060006220001_6060011035001-vs Charlie Kirk: Health care in ObamaCare era has Republicans floundering – Beware of #RINOCARE, my friends fox-news/us/democratic-party fox-news/politics/senate/health-care fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/health-care fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/politics fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc Charlie Kirk article 888f5659-3bc4-5608-ae03-c3bfb112e0dc   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6060006220001_6060011035001-vs Charlie Kirk: Health care in ObamaCare era has Republicans floundering – Beware of #RINOCARE, my friends fox-news/us/democratic-party fox-news/politics/senate/health-care fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/health-care fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/politics fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc Charlie Kirk article 888f5659-3bc4-5608-ae03-c3bfb112e0dc

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Rush Limbaugh: Trump would ‘overshadow’ any Democrat on debate stage

Westlake Legal Group Limbaugh-Trump_FOX-AP Rush Limbaugh: Trump would 'overshadow' any Democrat on debate stage fox-news/shows/hannity fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/politics/elections/presidential-debate fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article 0b450784-e1ca-503c-a6df-ca1930b372b1

President Trump has an unbreakable bond with his supporters and his presence would overshadow any Democratic contender in a debate, according to Rush Limbaugh.

The president appeals to Americans’ positivity instead of playing on their fears, Limbaugh claimed Thursday on “Hannity.”

“Trump appeals to people’s better interests,” he said.

RUSH LIMBAUGH ON TUESDAY’S DEBATE: ‘UNIMPRESSIVE’ DEMS ‘DON’T HAVE A PLAN’

“This is what people don’t understand about Donald Trump,” Limbaugh added. “The man touches everybody’s hearts — talking about greatness, talking about inspiration, aspirational living, being ‘great.’

“He’s got a bond with his voters that nobody can break. He’s got a bond that innate — not everybody can create this bond.”

Referring to the current slate of 2020 Democratic contenders, Limbaugh explained why he believes Trump would outshine them on the stage.

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“There’s not one person on that Democrat stage the last two nights that can even be onstage with Trump and not be overshadowed simply by his presence before he even opens his mouth,” Limbaugh claimed.

“There’s not one person on that Democrat stage the last two nights that can even be onstage with Trump and not be overshadowed simply by his presence before he even opens his mouth.”

— Rush Limbaugh

Regarding the tenor of the debates, the Missouri-born radio host described some of the candidates’ platforms as “lunacy.”

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“If you define normalcy in any which way we would have in common, these people are lunatics,” he said.

However, host Sean Hannity cautioned how Republican presidential candidates must usually, “thread the needle” electorally in order to win.

He claimed Republicans must routinely win Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

“It’s never going to be easy,” he said.

As Hannity also noted, Limbaugh on Thursday celebrated the 31st anniversary of his radio program, “The Rush Limbaugh Show.”

Westlake Legal Group Limbaugh-Trump_FOX-AP Rush Limbaugh: Trump would 'overshadow' any Democrat on debate stage fox-news/shows/hannity fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/politics/elections/presidential-debate fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article 0b450784-e1ca-503c-a6df-ca1930b372b1   Westlake Legal Group Limbaugh-Trump_FOX-AP Rush Limbaugh: Trump would 'overshadow' any Democrat on debate stage fox-news/shows/hannity fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/politics/elections/presidential-debate fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article 0b450784-e1ca-503c-a6df-ca1930b372b1

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Rep. Will Hurd, only black Republican in House, won’t seek reelection

Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, the lone black Republican in the House of Representatives, announced Thursday he will not seek reelection.

Hurd’s pending retirement is the latest in a rash of Texas of them by GOP lawmakers who’ve decided to leave Congress.

“After reflecting on how best to help our country address these challenges, I have made the decision to not seek reelection for the 23rd Congressional District of Texas in order to pursue opportunities outside the halls of Congress to solve problems at the nexus between technology and national security,” Hurd said in a statement.

REP. WILL HURD SAYS TEXAS REPUBLICANS NEED TO DO MORE TO DIVERSIFY THEIR RANKS

Westlake Legal Group AP19214026411210 Rep. Will Hurd, only black Republican in House, won't seek reelection Louis Casiano fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox news fnc/politics fnc article 5945ba40-2d30-5e7e-8356-9882884397ac

Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, right, at Texas A&M-San Antonio. (AP Photo, file/Eric Gay)

A former undercover CIA officer, Hurd, 41, said he plans to “pursue opportunities outside the halls of Congress to solve problems at the nexus between technology and national security.” He is the third Texas Republican to announce his retirement in recent weeks.

Reps. Mike Conway and Pete Olson are also retreating from public life. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said Hurd is one of a number of Texas Republicans fearful of losing their seats over their support of President Trump.

“Like we said last week, Republicans across the Lone Star State are terrified of losing their seats in 2020 and Will Hurd just joined the list,” a DCCC statement said. “Hurd has been a lockstep supporter of the worst of Washington Republicans’ policies and he sealed his fate when he pledged to vote for Donald Trump in 2020. Democrats will win this seat and if Will Hurd doesn’t believe he can keep his job in a changing Texas, his colleagues must be having second thoughts too.”

Hurd was first elected in 2014 after leaving his job at the CIA to give Congress new leadership on intelligence and national security matters, he said.

His congressional district runs 820 miles along the U.S.-Mexico border from San Antonio to El Paso. He narrowly won in 2016 and 2018 in a district carried by Hillary Clinton.

REP. WILL HURD DISINVITED TO CYBERSECURITY CONFERENCE AFTER VOTING RECORD ON WOMEN’S ISSUES SPARKS OUTRAGE

The district has flipped several times between Democrats and Republicans, according to The New York Times. With Hurd’s retirement, the district leans Democratic, according to Crystal Ball House ratings.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Hurd said he plans to vote for Trump in 2020. He said conservative themes were being drowned out by racially-charged rhetoric, making it harder to attract Hispanics, African-Americans and other groups.

While he supports Trump, the three-term congressman has broken with the president. He opposes Trump’s border wall proposal and his national emergency declaration to divert Pentagon funds for wall construction, The Post reported.

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Last month, Hurd was one of a handful of Republicans to vote to condemn Trump’s attacks on four Democratic minority congresswomen.

He said he would like to remain involved in politics to “help make sure the Republican Party looks like America.”

Westlake Legal Group AP19214026411210 Rep. Will Hurd, only black Republican in House, won't seek reelection Louis Casiano fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox news fnc/politics fnc article 5945ba40-2d30-5e7e-8356-9882884397ac   Westlake Legal Group AP19214026411210 Rep. Will Hurd, only black Republican in House, won't seek reelection Louis Casiano fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox news fnc/politics fnc article 5945ba40-2d30-5e7e-8356-9882884397ac

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Watch: Anti-ICE protesters interrupt Trump rally in Ohio

Westlake Legal Group trump-Rally-1A Watch: Anti-ICE protesters interrupt Trump rally in Ohio fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/ohio fox-news/us/immigration fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/politics/state-and-local fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/politics fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article a3d9dba9-579c-5020-9e62-426e7d6030cd

At least two protesters stood and began waving large white cloths with slogans scrawled on them during President Trump’s Cincinnati, Ohio campaign rally on Thursday.

Trump was in the midst of remarks on how he believes Democratic leadership in some urban areas lead to their decline.

“The Democrat record is one of neglect and corruption and decay — total decay,” he said.

Democrats have taxed and regulated jobs and opportunity out of these cities — they’ve squeezed the blood out of them. So many of these mayors… are in jail.”

TRUMP DECRIES ‘WASTED MONEY’ ON INNER CITIES AT OHIO CAMPAIGN RALLY

When Trump claimed Democratic lawmakers care more about illegal immigrants than their own constituents, the trio began making a commotion at stage left.

One banner read, “immigrants built America,” while another had a crude slogan that has at times been used as part of anti-ICE protests across the country.

Two Trump supporters appeared to confront two protesters, as a man exchanged words with a male protester.

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Another man wearing a suit leaned over to snatch a female protesters’ cloth.

Amid the commotion, the typically large crowd in the arena began chanting, “Trump, Trump, Trump,” as law enforcement sought to remove the protesters.

One young protester flashed the crowd an obscene gesture during the proceedings

Those chants transitioned into, “USA, USA, USA” and cheers that erupted as the protesters were led away.

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During the incident, the president leaned forward on the dais to ask supporters in the front row if Cincinnati had a Democratic mayor.

After nodding, he returned to the microphone and said, “You must have a Democrat mayor?”

“Well, that’s what happens,” he continued, transitioning into a commentary on the size of the crowd in the arena and those who were unable to get in.

The city’s mayor, John Cranley, is a Democrat. He is in his second term and previously lost two bids to unseat the area’s congressional lawmaker, U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, — in 2000 and 2006.

Westlake Legal Group trump-Rally-1A Watch: Anti-ICE protesters interrupt Trump rally in Ohio fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/ohio fox-news/us/immigration fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/politics/state-and-local fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/politics fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article a3d9dba9-579c-5020-9e62-426e7d6030cd   Westlake Legal Group trump-Rally-1A Watch: Anti-ICE protesters interrupt Trump rally in Ohio fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/ohio fox-news/us/immigration fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/politics/state-and-local fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/politics fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article a3d9dba9-579c-5020-9e62-426e7d6030cd

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Kimberly Klacik: Dems don’t know how to fix Baltimore problems, attack Trump instead

Westlake Legal Group Cummings-Trump-AP Kimberly Klacik: Dems don't know how to fix Baltimore problems, attack Trump instead fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/maryland fox-news/shows/ingraham-angle fox-news/politics/state-and-local fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article 55ffeaa6-ca3d-5a6e-97e7-c98162de353c

Democrats are criticizing President Trump in his feud with Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., because they cannot fix the problems  in these cities, Kimberly Klacik,  a Republican strategist and activist in Baltimore County, said.

The bleak conditions in some of the Charm City’s neighborhoods have been that way for years, Klacik claimed on “The Ingraham Angle.”

Host Laura Ingraham asked Klacik why Democrats are, “doubling down on failure.”

“Honestly, it’s because they don’t know how to address it,” Klacik responded.

“This has been going on for decades. I know a lot of people want to blame the fact President Trump isn’t in Baltimore today to take a walk around to see what’s going on.”

GOP STRATEGIST CALLS ELIJAH CUMMINGS’ DISTRICT ‘MOST DANGEROUS’ IN AMERICA

Over the weekend, Klacik shared videos of blighted areas in West Baltimore on “Fox and Friends Weekend.”

In her interview with Ingraham, Klacik claimed she also has videos showing trees growing inside abandoned houses.

“A lot of the residents there, they feel like they were forgotten,” she said.

Klacik claimed the government’s response to the living conditions in parts of Baltimore have been much slower than the city’s 2017 removal of Confederate monuments, which happened quickly after the announcement of the move — in the aftermath of protests and violence in Charlottesville, Va. that summer.

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The four statues removed included monuments of Robert E. Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson monument, a Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument, a Confederate Women’s Monument and the Roger B. Taney Monument. Taney, a native of Calvert County, Md., served as the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and authored the 1857 Dred Scott decision upholding slavery.

“I had to remind people today when Baltimore City officials wanted to get rid of the Confederate statues, they did that overnight,” Klacik said.

“That trash, I was there today, it’s still there today,” the Republican strategist added.

On Sunday, Trump tweeted a criticism of Cummings amid a disagreement with the lawmaker.

“If racist Elijah Cummings would focus more of his energy on helping the good people of his district, and Baltimore itself, perhaps progress could be made in fixing the mess that he has helped to create over many years of incompetent leadership,” he wrote.

Fox News’ Lucia Suarez Sang contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Cummings-Trump-AP Kimberly Klacik: Dems don't know how to fix Baltimore problems, attack Trump instead fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/maryland fox-news/shows/ingraham-angle fox-news/politics/state-and-local fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article 55ffeaa6-ca3d-5a6e-97e7-c98162de353c   Westlake Legal Group Cummings-Trump-AP Kimberly Klacik: Dems don't know how to fix Baltimore problems, attack Trump instead fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/maryland fox-news/shows/ingraham-angle fox-news/politics/state-and-local fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article 55ffeaa6-ca3d-5a6e-97e7-c98162de353c

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