Category Archives: Federal

Costs of Citizenship

immigration and the lawOn Saturday, April 8, Totally Engaged Americans hosted former Ohio Representative Matt Lynch and Geauga County Commissioner Skip Claypool to discuss the ramifications of illegal immigration in Ohio. First of all, as conservatives frequently clarify but progressives never do, we are making a distinction between immigrants who are coming to this country through the legal process and those immigrants who are here unlawfully. In addition to that, this country has a problem with immigrants who have come here illegally and then who commit further crimes. In January, Rep. Jason Chaffetz had a notable observation during a House hearing.

The concern for many citizens in Ohio is the cost of illegal immigration as well as the integrity of the vote. The state of Ohio will grant a license to an undocumented resident, and with this license the person is unlikely to be questioned at the Boards of Elections. A recent audit found that over 300 non-citizens were registered to vote in Ohio ( This is a far different number than the stated “voter fraud never happens” claim that we hear so often.

As a state legislature, Lynch attempted to curtail some of these problems by preventing the state from issuing licenses to non-citizens. Despite a Republican-controlled legislature as well as Republicans in every state office, the legislation went nowhere. There is great social and political pressure to afford the voting privileges of citizens to those who simply reside in this state without having gone through the citizenship process. This pressure is felt by every officeholder in Columbus, including the three members of the Kasich administration (DeWine, Husted, and Taylor) who will likely vie for the 2018 gubernatorial nomination.

Ohio has another benefit for those living here as non-citizens: it provides discounted “in-state” tuition to Ohio colleges and universities. Of course, these discounts do come at a cost as Ohio tax dollars pick up the difference. If you add up the entire cost of illegal immigration, including the education, health care, and crime, Ohio costs total $1 billion each year.

With the new Trump administration, it is expected that a crack down on illegal immigration will come on a federal level. Two resources to consider when discussing upcoming policy changes are US 1373 and the book “Unfaithful Guardians.” The law stipulates in US 1373  that local governments must cooperate with federal officials when it comes to immigration policy. For those interested in the argument in favor of “sanctuary” cities, colleges, or states, you can read a proponent’s interpretation of this law ( Also Unfaithful Guardians is a book and website that explain the gradually encroaching of federal powers over state and individual sovereignty. It can become a tangled web when trying to discover why and how non-citizens began enjoying the rights and privileges of citizenship, but it is well worth the effort as the topic of illegal immigration will likely be very prominent in upcoming elections.

Trump Takes Lorain County *UPDATED: Almost…

Lorain County City map for election

UPDATE: This was written before the official count, and when Lorain County added all of the provisional and absentee ballots, Hillary Clinton emerged the winner by 131 votes! Lorain County is still the type of county across the rust belt where voters flipped. In 2012, Barack Obama won by 20,000 votes and with a 56-42 margin. In 2016, Donald Trump eliminated that margin.

ORIGINAL: In the closest county race in Ohio, Donald Trump got about 400 more Lorain County votes, a difference of 0.28%, than did Hillary Clinton. Sen. Rob Portman also won the county, as did Rep. Bob Gibbs, not Rep. Jim Jordan (although he won his OH-04 district), State Rep. Nathan Manning and incoming State Rep. Dick Stein. Pat DeWine won the county on his way to the Ohio Supreme Court, and Stephen Evans was unopposed as Coroner.

Looking at the Lorain County map, first of all we have to understand that we are looking at a tie. Despite how red the county looks, we need to acknowledge the intense split between the rural and urban areas. This is not unlike state maps that we saw across the Upper Midwest states including Michigan and Wisconsin. Hillary Clinton only won seven of the 88 counties in Ohio, and they included some of the most populous. Similarly, Hillary Clinton won Oberlin by about 80% and and city of Lorain by near 70%. Elyria, another more populous area of Lorain County also saw a Clinton win although by a smaller margin.

Lorain County may have flipped in this particular election because of Trump victories in some swing areas like North Ridgeville, Sheffield Lake and Village, Amherst, and Vermillion. Additionally, there was an intensity not always seen with Republican victories in the villages and townships south of the turnpike (except for Oberlin, of course).

Unfortunately, the Trump coattails were not strong enough to carry other Lorain Republicans to a win. Connie Carr lost the County Commissioner’s race by about 3000 votes, a much closer race than has been seen during presidential election years. Krista Marinaro also came up short, as did Jessie Tower and Don Larson who were trying to win in districts which leaned heavily Democrat.

Many people within Totally Engaged Americans were quite active in their support for these candidates, and are looking forward to applying what we’ve learned to the next elections. Please join us for upcoming meetings and learn about conservatism and founding philosophies that make this country uniquely designed to protect – not grant – our liberties.

Hear from Trump, Portman Advocates

I Heart Voting buttonAs part of our Lorain County Candidate Forum in September, we were happy to hear from Tommie Patton for the Rob Portman campaign, and David Arrendondo, vice-chairman of the Lorain County Republican Party and advocate for the complete Republican ticket including Donald Trump. Lorain County hasn’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan, but Donald Trump has stirred a lot of enthusiasm in both the rural areas as well as with some Democrats in the north. Rob Portman seems to have a more comfortable lead in the leads, but nothing can be taken for granted in this intense election cycle.

Rob Portman, Senate – Tommie Patton spoke of Portman as a common-sense conservative. He has been endorsed by the Teamsters, the Ohio Farm Workers, Fraternal Order of Police, NRA among others. He has worked on bi-partisan issues such as the Algae blooms in Lake Erie and the Addiction & Recovery Act which are important to many Ohio citizens. She finally reminded voters that the Senate confirms or rejects nominees to the Supreme Court and it is important for Republicans to hold the Senate.

David Arrendono spoke on behalf of the Republican ticket in 2016. Despite being a Rubio delegate and then a Ted Cruz supporter, Arrendondo is enthusiastically supporting Donald Trump for President. He cautioned against discord within the party by Republicans who are not supporting Trump by reminding everybody that judicial nominees and the entire Washington bureaucracy operates through direction of the President. The best way to promote a conservative agenda is to vote for Donald Trump.

We thank these advocates for giving their time on a Saturday morning to speak to our group. And to the reader… if you have read this far and watched the videos then you are one of the more engaged citizens in Lorain County. Please share this information and your thoughts with other voters and help our county become a more civic-minded community.

Wherever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government.” Thomas Jefferson, 1789

Because the truth is, the country doesn’t need voters who have to be cajoled, enticed, or persuaded to cast a ballot. We need voters who wish to participate in the process.” Mike Rowe, 2016

Hear From Congressional Candidates

inside of CongressTotally Engaged Americans greatly appreciated the three congressional candidates who were involved in our Candidate’s Forum last month. Lorain County has three congressional districts: OH-04 is held by Rep. Jim Jordan and it stretches from western to the central part of the county; OH-07 is held by Rep. Bob Gibbs and the district goes from the southern through the eastern portion; and OH-09 is held by Rep. Marcy Kaptur and extends through northern Lorain County nearest the lake.

In attendance were Neil Lynch of Amherst speaking on behalf of Rep. Jordan; non-party candidate for OH-07 ,Dan Phillips; and Republican candidate for OH-09, Don Larson.

OH-04, Jim Jordan – Jordan has Economics and Law degrees before working in the Ohio House and Ohio Senate. In 2006, Jordan won election to Congress. Jordan believes in limited government so that individual liberties can be maximized, lower taxes because individuals and families can spend money better than Washington, and traditional family values.

OH-07, Dan Phillip – Phillip lives in Ashland and is founder of the Transformation Network which deals with workforce development and education in the midwest. This company does service work for manufacturers and then puts the money back into social services for the community. This company is fundamentally self-sufficient as the government should not be the first line of defense to solve local problems.

OH-09, Don Larson – Larson has spoken to our group before on environmental and energy issues, and he first pointed out the the most important office-holders in a person’s life should be the mayor and school superintendent. But unfortunately, the federal government has been taxing and spending the money earned by the American people. He advocates for a federal government that deals with federal, national issues and leaves the rest to local officials.

Again, we thank these candidates for giving their time on a Saturday morning to speak to our group. And to the reader… if you have read this far and watched the videos then you are one of the more engaged citizens in Lorain County. Please share this information and your thoughts with other voters and help our county become a more civic-minded community

Wherever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government.” Thomas Jefferson, 1789

Because the truth is, the country doesn’t need voters who have to be cajoled, enticed, or persuaded to cast a ballot. We need voters who wish to participate in the process.” Mike Rowe, 2016


Ohio Tea Parties for Trump

It was certainly a tough primary where some very sharp elbows divided many good conservatives. Thanks to Ohio Conservatives United, we see that Ohio Tea Parties clearly preferred Ted Cruz over any other candidate. We can also see that Cruz did not reach a 50% threshold, a problem also experienced by Donald Trump in the actual vote tallies. Maybe that number was unattainable when you had 17 total candidates competing for attention, but it remains true that more people voted for somebody other than Donald Trump and fewer people voted for Donald Trump.

But that doesn’t matter any more. Election Day is two months away and early voting is one month away and Donald Trump is the nominee. Leaders from Ohio Tea Parties and the liberty movement have created Tea Party for Trump, a website designed to get Trump supporters involved in Ohio as well as Pennsylvania. The graph below (click to enlarge) is the “Polls-plus” path to 269 electoral votes from the website, and we can see that Ohio and other states in the Great Lakes area are all around the middle tipping point. Ohio should be the next domino to fall in Trump’s path to victory, and while Pennsylvania has been on the Republicans’ wish list for some time, it seems that it is now more attainable than it has in the past. It is important for all Trump supporters to get involved, and Tea Party for Trump might be a great place to start.

538plus_sept6We also have to acknowledge the few NeverTrump conservatives out there. The Tea Party began with people who were willing to put principle over party as we saw national Republicans supporting or at least allowing progressive policies to take hold. It shouldn’t be surprising that some activists are continuing to follow their principles which lead them away from the Republican ticket.

Many more people in the Tea Party, however, have decided that Donald Trump will have a team of people who will move this country in a more conservative direction. This includes enhancing our national safety with increased border security, and creating a more business-friendly and individual-friendly environment by turning back laws and regulations which restrict economic growth. Many in the Tea Party will vote for Donald Trump and work on his behalf.

The 2nd Amendment Arguments

Obama on a stockpile of guns yelling at a hunter "Guns are bad!"David Conte was one of our speakers last Saturday morning at our monthly meeting, and he shared with us his experiences and discussions he’s had with recruiting for the NRA with debating the gun question. For the last number of years, any incident with a gun has been grouped into a category of “gun violence” to which the only solution is gun restrictions. Of course, this is the argument by those on the left and mindlessly repeated on the mainstream news. Last week’s sit-in by Democrat members of the House of Representatives is only the latest effort by those on the left to force this issue into debate. So let’s debate it.

The 2nd Amendment IS NOT About The Gun

The terms assault rifle and assault weapon have been thrown around so often that it’s become the language of anything bad. Even the intermediate-level gun user could tell you specific differences between the different rifles and guns, but we have Congressmen and advocates who carelessly use these terms incorrectly and they go unchallenged. There is an Orwellian manipulation of language where if you make an association often enough, it will become true.

When the left decide to wade into the language of the Constitution, they usually state that the Founders couldn’t have been thinking of an AR-15 when they wrote the 2nd Amendment. They may also go into a hunting argument and ask why a person needs a semi-automatic weapon to shoot a turkey.

At this point, we need to stop the argument and state that the 2nd Amendment isn’t about hunting and it’s not even about the guns. Is the 1st Amendment about the internet? People use the internet to express their thoughts and ideas, and are utilizing their protected right to free speech. Is the 4th Amendment about text messages? If I wrote a note with paper and pencil and gave it to a person, the police would need a warrant to search the person’s personal property. If I send that person a text message, that message is not considered the property of either my friend or myself but property of my phone carrier. Is that what the Founders had in mind?

The 2nd Amendment IS About People

Remembering the history of the Bill of Rights, the Federalists didn’t even want a Bill of Rights because they thought it would be redundant. The danger of putting down our Natural Rights on paper, some thought, is that they could be misconstrued at a later time. By writing down our Natural Rights as a way of preventing the government from infringing on those rights, we may also be giving permission to future Congresses, Presidents, and Supreme Courts to alter the language and the meanings these ideas.

So even before the 2nd Amendment, the original Federalists might point to the Declaration of Independence and say that we have a right to life and property. Therefore, we have a right to protect our life and property. And finally therefore, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

The thing about Natural Rights is that they do not change with time or with technology. If we are to live in relative freedom, then the police and law enforcement cannot be everywhere at all times. If there is a crime being done against my person or my property, I have a right to protect myself.

When the left sees a gun crime like a mass shooting, they think that stopping the gun will stop the crime. People on the right aren’t for simple vigilante justice, but we do recognize that a good person with a gun can stop a bad person with a gun even though it doesn’t make the 24/7 news cycle.


Where are all the Presidential ads?

I Heart Voting buttonWe’re just one week away from the March 15 primary, and Ohio is somewhat silent when it comes to television advertisements for the GOP presidential candidates. You may hear radio ads and see some bumper stickers or yard signs, but the overall ad reach seems to be subdued.

Why would this be? Ohio is a significantly important swing state in November and if history is any guide, we will be seeing mountains of advertising in the fall. But there are two aspects of the GOP primary that makes this year a bit more unique: John Kasich’s campaign and the move to a winner-take-all primary. This appears to have caused other candidates, specifically Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, to give up the fight for second and concentrate their resources elsewhere.

Polls today will show that Gov. Kasich is close to the lead in Ohio, but this wasn’t always the case. In October, a poll showed him with support only in the teens behind Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. The latest Quinnipiac poll from a couple weeks ago had Trump at 31, Kasich at 26, Cruz at 21, Rubio at 13, then Carson at 5. So Kasich, with the backing of the Ohio GOP machine, is returning to the top tier in Ohio but still behind Trump who is attracting Democrats and independents who will vote as Republicans in Ohio’s open primary. (Read the Vindicator story about the Trump effect in Mahoning County.) There simply appears to be no path for an Ohio victory for Cruz or Rubio and there is no prize for second place.

Of course, this is upsetting for all of the Cruz and Rubio supporters in Ohio. Ohio Conservatives United, the group that has been tracking presidential preferences for the last nine months, has illustrated that a solid number of tea party and liberty-minded activists prefer Ted Cruz. Marco Rubio received the endorsement of Ohio Treasurer John Mandel, who risked his own political capital by not endorsing Gov. Kasich, and Rubio made a number of stops in Ohio during the summer and fall of 2015. What should you do if you support one of these two candidates?

The answer is that these activists and supporters need to go old-school. There was a time when candidates did not need millions of dollars to run a campaign simply to get 30-second spots on TV. If you support Cruz or if you support Rubio, do not be discouraged by the lack of campaign resources coming to this state. You are a resource! Recruit like-minded friends to be resources!

This year has been very volatile and sometimes surprising in presidential politics. Some polls have been close, but some polls and conventional wisdom has underestimated the support a particular candidate may have. Make sure you express the necessary energy to get your candidate as much support as you possibly can.

P.S. Ohioans need to look at this primary, as we do every primary, and see what we can learn from it. For instance, look at early voting. When early voting started on Feb 17, Jeb Bush and Ben Carson were still candidates. Early voting in the November 2012 election began before ANY of the presidential debates. Four weeks before an election is an extremely long time and anyone who is in the least bit undecided should wait as long as possible… like Election Day… before casting a ballot.

Secondly, we should discuss the open vs. closed primary. On the one hand, it allows anybody who has a development of political perspective to vote in the primary with which they feel most aligned. On the other hand, it allows for an “Operation Chaos” where opponents of a party will vote to change the outcome of the competition.

And lastly, the proportional vs winner-take-all primaries need to be reviewed. By June, we will see what effect the winner-take-all states had on the GOP Primary outcome. In the past, the winner-take-all method has allowed a candidate with only 35% of the vote to get 100% of the delegates. The proportional method in the Democrat Party allows Bernie Sanders to continue picking up delegates. In the Republican primary, it had previously allowed Ron Paul to gather delegates even after it was clear he was not going to win.

The candidates for Ohio House and Senate may have a chance to amend the laws for the 2020 primary, and it would be a good question to ask them before they earn your vote.