Day: January 22, 2016

GOP needs both Trump, Cruz to fall

By MICHAEL GERSON    The outbreak of hostilities between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz may not be edifying, but it is clarifying. Cruz represents the arrival of tea party ideology at the presidential level. He espouses a “constitutionalism” that would disqualify much of modern government, and a belief that Republican elites are badly, even mainly, at fault for accommodating cultural and economic liberalism. Trump has adopted an ethno-nationalism in which the constraints of “political correctness” are lifted to express frankly nativist sentiments: that many illegal immigrants are criminals and rapists who threaten American jobs, and that Muslims are foreign, suspicious and potentially dangerous. These approaches can overlap, but they are not identical. Cruz is attacking Trump as a “fake conservative” on gun and property rights and as a New York liberal on cultural matters. For his part, Trump defends those portions of the welfare state that benefit the working class, opposing cuts in Social Security and an increase in the retirement age. Cruz is the conservative true believer. Trump is the wrecking ball of political convention. They are not only two strong personalities; they demonstrate two different tendencies within the right. Trump’s attacks on Cruz have begun drawing both blood and protests from ideological conservatives. “Either cut the crap,” warns radio host Mark Levin, “your accusations … that Cruz is Canadian, a criminal, owned by the banks, etc. …...

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Court decision could tie up unions

Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association represents a threat to public employee unions that continue now to represent more than one-third of all government workers.  However, regarding all unions in the U.S., as determined in 2014, only 11 percent of the population still belong to unions. The issue in this case is free-speech rights of non-union public employees. If the Supreme Court rules in Friedrichs’ favor it will rule that non-members can contribute nothing to the costs of representation. The anticipated result is that more workers can opt out of financing unions’ activities and become what are generally known as “free riders” with a drop in union membership and revenue. A “free ride” means that those who pay nothing in support of what a union gains through its negotiations get something, often a lot, for which they must not pay a single dime.  Those who want out and may get out argue that getting out means they do not any longer have to pay for union interests, like, for example, tenure, merit pay and class sizes.  One of the justices from California, Anthony Kennedy, has been critical of mandatory union fees; he’s said that “the union basically is making the teachers ‘compelled riders.’” A lawyer for the dissident teachers, Michael Carvin, has said that predictions of doom from the unions are overstated. He believes that gloom and doom are not real or provable in the real world. ...

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