The Pax Americana Institute's Writing

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Suggested Articles: 15-21 July 2018

Suggested Articles
15-21 July

1. Yes, the Supreme Court Is Undemocratic

In an article on, Rich Lowry talks about the increasing role the Supreme Court has adopted in recent decades. With the nomination of a new Supreme Court justice,

the issue of the courts expanding role in American culture has been brought back to everyone’s mind once again. It is important for Midwestern conservatives to understand what is going on with our government institutions. PAI sees the increasing power of the Supreme Court as subversive to the principles our founding fathers created.

2. The US Must Create a Space Corps to Remain dominant over Its Enemies

In an article on, Dr. Lamont Colucci writes about the importance of a space corps for America. Understanding the history of mistakes made when the United States is not proactive with its military. Midwestern Conservatives should be happy that the United States is taking a renewed interest in space, in order to protect our national interests on Earth and beyond. However, the sooner the United States creates this new military entity, the sooner the world becomes a lot safer.

3. Combating Mass Shootings: Secret Service Released ‘Threat Assessment Guide’ For Schools

In an article on, Beth Baumann goes over the new proposal to schools to help identify and stop school shooters. Released by the Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center. It is important that people realize that the solution to a school shooting is not simply more gun laws. Midwestern conservatives and PAI want to end school violence, but also realize the importance of assessing threats in order to mitigate the chance of attacks, rather than simply infringing on our second amendment rights.

Weekly Snapshot: 15-21 July 2018

Weekly Snapshot
15-21 July

1. Flare-up in the Gaza Strip

Mediation efforts from countries around the world lead to a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, but the two sides are back at it again.

Hours after the cease-fire, rocket sirens in Israeli communities on the border of the Gaza strip started to sound.

Israel said it struck Gaza after receiving mortar and rocket fire. It is still unclear as to who initiated the conflict.

It is reported that two Palestinians were killed, and four Israelis were wounded. In the southern city of Sderot. Israel is said to have struck more than 40 Hamas targets. Israel itself received 190 rockets and mortars, fired from Gaza.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “we will expand our reaction as much as needed. If Hamas doesn’t understand the message today, it will tomorrow”. Just another series of events in the ongoing conflict in the middle east that does not seem to be slowing down any time soon.

2. Violence in Afghanistan continues to grow despite a three-day ceasefire

The United Nations has reported that civilian casualties in Afghanistan rose one percent in the first half of 2018.

The total number of civilian casualties is now at 1,692. This is in large part due to extensive suicide attacks taking place in Kabul and other cities such as Jalalabad.

The Islamic State’s increased presence in Afghanistan is in large part the cause of the increased casualties. They are a big reason that the number of casualties has doubled in Nangarhar province, primarily in Jalalabad.

The good news is, that over Eid al-Fitr (an Islamic holiday) the fighting stopped between the Taliban and Afghan security forces.

3. Turkey is Causing Trouble Within NATO

With tensions heightened all around the world, it is our allies we expect to be in our corner when violence strikes. But Turkey is taking steps to actually jeopardize the safety of allied countries. As the Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jet makes its way into Europe, Turkey is looking to buy a Russian S-400 missile defense system. Why a NATO ally is so willing to make a military deal with the Russians is another problem altogether.

But the issue is that if Turkey has both the S-400 missile defense system and the F-35, it will allow the S-400 system to collect intelligence on the F-35. It would allow the Russian-built system to collect data about operating tactics and procedures. Once collected it would not be hard to transfer to any other country that has the same S-400 system.

Retired Air Force general, David Deptula said “The Turks have to make a choice. They’re either going to be part of NATO, or they’re going to move into the Russian camp regarding defense”.

Analysis of Husted v. Phillip Randolph Institute (2018)

Analysis of Husted v. Phillip Randolph Institute (2018)

Christopher J. Schaefer, MA
9 July 2018

States are legally permitted to remove infrequent voters from its databases, according to the United States Supreme Court.

A five-justice majority, led by Samuel Alito, upheld Ohio’s practice of purging irregular voters—a practice employed by nineteen other states, including Wisconsin—was Constitutional. The Ohio secretary of state’s office mails postcards to individuals who have not cast a ballot in two consecutive election cycles, asking them to verify their address. Failure to respond results in the individual’s name being purged from state voting rolls.

Petitioners argued that Ohio was in violation of federal election law by removing individuals from state voting roles, and disenfranchising minority and low-turnout voters; the Supreme Court disagreed.

The five-justice majority argued that despite a federal prohibition on removal of individuals from voting rolls by states for the purpose of an individual’s unwillingness to vote, state officials are allowed purge infrequent voters from their databases based on non-receipt of residential verification.

Supporters of the decision maintained that purging databases prevents voter fraud,

ensures state voting rolls are accurate, and prevents non-state residents from voting. Judge Alito, writing for the majority in Husted v. Phillip Randolph Institute (2018)wrote,

“It has been estimated that 24 million voter registrations in the United States—about one-in-eight—are either invalid or significantly inaccurate…and about 2.75 million people are said to be registered to vote in more than one state.”

Majority and dissenting opinions can be found at:  We are not advocating for or against this ruling; rather, the purpose is to provide readers with an overview of landmark Supreme Court rulings during this, the final month of the 2017-18 term.

Christopher Schaefer, a presidential historian and political consultant, resides in Madison, Wisconsin, and is the author of four books: The Great President: The Policies that Shaped the Bush Legacy; 41 vs. 43: The Reluctant Realism of George H.W. Bush, the Primacy of George W. Bush, and the War in Iraq; The Presidential Simulation: A Student’s Guide to Understanding the American Presidency; and Project Mastodon: Building a Twenty-First Century Republican Party (2 vols.). Schaefer received his BA in Politics and Government from Ripon College and MA in Political Management from the George Washington University.

Analysis of Gill v. Whitford (2018)

Analysis of Gill v. Whitford (2018)

Christopher J. Schaefer, MA
9 July 2018

The United States Supreme Court, in Gill v. Whitford, one of the 2017-18 session’s most highly anticipated and potentially transformational cases, ruled that Wisconsin’s legislative maps were constitutional and did not need to be redrawn. Plaintiffs argued that Wisconsin’s legislative districts—redrawn by the Republican-controlled legislature following the 2010 census—diluted their statewide vote and caused them personal injury; suppositions the Supreme Court rejected.

Justice Roberts, writing for the nine-justice majority, argued that the petitioners lacked standing, meaning they could not demonstrate injury on a statewide level, as each individual resides in a particular legislative district and as such, can express their opinions by voting for members of the legislature. Despite upholding Wisconsin’s legislative maps, the Supreme Court “punted” on redistricting, by not dismissing Gill v. Whitford. Instead, the Supreme Court vacated the opinion and remanded the case back to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, to provide plaintiffs with the ability to demonstrate again that the legislative maps, as currently drawn, caused them individual harm and diluted their votes. Two justices, Gorsuch and Thomas, in their concurring opinion, refrained from concurring with Part III of the majority opinion, which afforded plaintiffs with the ability to  “prove their standing on remand.” Rather, Gorsuch and Thomas maintained that the case should have been dismissed, as the plaintiffs, at both the circuit court and Supreme Court, failed to prove that Wisconsin’s legislative maps caused them harm and diluted their votes.

The plaintiffs, twelve Wisconsin Democratic voters, alleged that Wisconsin Act 43 (2011), legislation establishing Wisconsin’s representative districts, impaired the Democratic Party’s ability to convert Democratic votes into seats in the legislature. What is more, the plaintiffs argued that Act 43 “cracked” Democratic voters among various districts, making it nearly impossible for the party to prevail in a majority of legislative districts. Furthermore, they contend that Wisconsin Republicans, in redrawing the representational district maps, “packed” Democrats into a few districts (mostly centered in Dane and Milwaukee counties), that vote overwhelmingly Democratic. William Whitford, the lead plaintiff, and a retired law professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, resides in the 76th Assembly District, one of the state’s most heavily Democratic. The court question how injury could be done to Whitford when his district, even if redrawn, would produce the electoral outcome he desired—overwhelming victories for Democratic candidates. Justice Roberts, in the majority opinion, wrote of the 76th Assembly District, “Whitford testified that he lives in Madison in the 76th Assembly District, and acknowledged on cross-examination that this is, under any plausible circumstances, a heavily Democratic district. Under Act 43, the Democratic share of the Assembly vote in Whitford’s district was 81.9 percent; under the plaintiffs’ ideal map—their Demonstration Plan—the projected Democratic share of the Assembly vote in Whitford’s district would be 82 percent. Whitford, therefore, conceded that Act 43 had not affected his ability to vote for and elect a Democrat in his district” (p. 5).

Wisconsin Act 43 (2011) requires the legislature to draw districts that “are bounded by county, precinct, town or ward lines, in as compact a form as possible, and consists of contiguous territory.” Because voters reside in compact districts comprised of contiguous territory, the United States Supreme Court dismissed the plaintiffs’ challenge that the state’s representational maps caused them undue harm and diluted their vote. According to Justice Roberts. “A citizen’s interest in the overall composition of the legislature is embodied in his right to vote for his representative…The harm asserted by the plaintiffs in this case is best understood as arising from a burden on their own votes” (pp. 15-16). The majority opinion denoted that the case is centered on group political interests, not the legal rights of an individual.

To date, the United States Supreme Court has yet to strike down representational districts for being too partisan. Based on their opinion in Gill v. Whitford, it does not appear as if the Court is poised to do so anytime soon. In fact, Justice Kennedy, in Vieth v. Jubelirer (2004) maintained that the court should strike down all challenges to partisan-based apportionment, as no workable standard exists for redrawing legislative districts. Justices have repeatedly upheld partisan-based reapportionment, arguing that the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause permits legislative bodies to draw legislative districts in any manner they see fit, so long as they are not racially motivated.

Plaintiffs in Gill v. Whitford will have the opportunity to again prove to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, that the state’s legislative districts caused them undue harm and diluted their vote; an arduous endeavor considering they failed to do so before both the circuit court and United States Supreme Court. For now, partisan-based reapportionment remains the law of the land and Wisconsin’s current legislative districts will remain intact until after the 2020 census.

Christopher Schaefer, a presidential historian and political consultant, resides in Madison, Wisconsin, and is the author of four books: The Great President: The Policies that Shaped the Bush Legacy; 41 vs. 43: The Reluctant Realism of George H.W. Bush, the Primacy of George W. Bush, and the War in Iraq; The Presidential Simulation: A Student’s Guide to Understanding the American Presidency; and Project Mastodon: Building a Twenty-First Century Republican Party (2 vols.). Schaefer received his BA in Politics and Government from Ripon College and MA in Political Management from the George Washington University.


Gill v. Whitford, No. 16-1161 (18 June 2018). Retrieved from

Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission: The Remaking of American Campaign Finance Reform

Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission: The Remaking of American Campaign Finance Reform

Christopher J. Schaefer, MA
9 July 2018

Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (2009) was a landmark case, yet still controversial. It was a United States Supreme Court case in which the court upheld the District of Columbia Court of Appeals’ ruling in v. Federal Elections Commission (2009), that the First Amendment prohibited the federal government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and labor unions. Kathleen Sullivan (2010), in an engrossing Harvard Law Review essay on the impact of Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (2009) on campaign spending and free speech, wrote, “By holding that corporations may make independent expenditures from their general treasuries advocating the election or defeat of political candidates, Citizens United v. FEC unleashed a torrent of popular criticism, a pointed attack by the President of the United States, a flurry of proposed corrective legislation in Congress, and various calls to overturn the decision by constitutional amendment” (p. 143).  The purpose of this essay is threefold: to explore the impact Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (2009) had on the outcome of the 2012 presidential election; delineate the myriad of reasons why the Supreme Court was correct in its assertion that corporations are entitled to the same free speech rights as individuals; and analyze the impact this decision had on campaign expenditures. Corporations and labor unions, as a result of this decision, had the ability to express their views on seminal political issues and defend those positions through campaign-related speech for the first time in the campaign finance era.

The author, upon conducting extensive research, made several intriguing discoveries about Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission’s impact on the 2012 election and campaign spending.  First, it was a provision of the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Law of 2002, not Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (2009), that was largely responsible for the exponential increase in campaign expenditures (Bai, 2012; Boatright, 2012; Francia, Wesley, & Joe, 2012).  Second, Super PACs were the direct result of the Washington, D.C. Circuit’s ruling in v. Federal Elections Commission, not Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (2009) (Ball, 2012).  Finally, the most vociferous critics of Citizens United v. FEC, liberal Democrats, benefited most from it in the 2012 election.

One constant refrain made by opponents of Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (2009) was that it was singlehandedly responsible for the exponential increase in campaign expenditures.  While the author does not refute the contention that it contributed to an increase in campaign expenditures, it alone was not singlehandedly responsible for the influx of campaign spending.  In reality, it was the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) that was responsible for the steady increase in campaign expenditures.  BCRA was hailed by its supporters as the necessary first step towards ending corruption and the influence of money in campaigns (Alexander, 2009; Malbin, 2003; Feingold, 2012; McCain, 2003; Timberg, 2007).  In reality, BCRA did very little to end corruption or limit the influence of money in campaigns.  While BRCA eliminated soft money, it created a vacuum for fundraising that contributed to the increase in political expenditures.  Bai (2012) found “The parties could no longer tap an endless stream of soft money, but thanks to the advent of 527’s, with rich ideologues and their own agendas that could write massive checks for the purpose of building what were essentially, shadow parties—independent groups with their own turnout and advertising campaigns, limited in what they could say but accountable to no candidate or party boss” (p. 4).  The level of spending by outside organizations increased by a whopping one-hundred-sixty-four percent between 2004 and 2008 (Bai, 2008; Corrado, 2005).  Once more, outside spending increased by one-hundred-thirty-five percent between 2008 and 2012.  According to Bai (2012), “In other words, while the sheer amount of dollars seems considerably more ominous after Citizens United, the percentage of change from one presidential election to the next has remained pretty consistent since the passage of McCain-Feingold.  And this suggests that the rising amount of outside money was probably bound to reach ever more staggering levels with or without Citizens United” (p. 4).  It was the formation of 527-organizations—an unexpected outgrowth of BCRA—that was responsible for the exponential increase in outside expenditures.

Despite being responsible for the rapid increase in campaign expenditures, 527-organizations and social-welfare organizations had two distinct disadvantages, which led to their demise following the 2008 presidential election.  First, they could not engage in express advocacy—overtly making the case for one candidate or another.  They could encourage voters to call Barack Obama and tell him to stop increasing taxes, for example, but they were prohibited from using the words “vote for or vote against.”  Second, the 527-organizations were prohibited from using corporate money for electioneering communications—radio or television advertising mentioning the name of a candidate within thirty to sixty days of the general election.  The author mentioned the 527-organizations for two reasons: they were largely responsible for John Kerry’s demise in 2004 and became nonexistent after the 2008 presidential election.  The latter was the result of v. Federal Elections Commission (2008) and Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (2009)—both of which changed the rules on express advocacy and electioneering communications by independent organizations.

Prior to delving into the intricacies of Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (2009) and its impact on the 2012 presidential election, it is imperative to dispel a ubiquitous rumor about this case: that it was responsible for the creation of Super PACs.  Mann & Ornstein (2013) found that Super PACs rose to prominence following the Washington, D.C. Circuit’s ruling in v. Federal Elections Commission (2008). In fact, following this ruling, three hundred groups analogies to, were formed.  These organizations became known as Super PACs and were allowed to spend unlimited amounts of money on express advocacy and electioneering communications, so long as their efforts were not coordinated with those of a campaign committee. As noted earlier, Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (2009) prohibited the federal government from restricting the expenditures of corporations and labor unions.  In essence, it maintained that the aforementioned possess the same free speech rights as individuals.  Justice Anthony Kennedy, in the majority opinion, surmised that the First Amendment does not distinguish between media, individuals, or corporations.  Instead, it simply discusses the right to free speech.  As such the Court’s conservative majority maintained that BCRA’s prohibition of independent expenditures by organizations and corporations was a violation of the First Amendment (Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, 2009).  The Court believed that pouring money into a campaign led to corruption and, by its very nature, was unconstitutional; independent expenditures cannot lead to corruption.

Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (2009), as aforementioned, radically transformed the ways in which outside organizations were able to spend money on campaigns.  According to Bai (2012), “The Supreme Court wiped away much of the rigmarole about express advocacy and electioneering.  Now any outside group can use corporate money to make a direct case for who deserves your vote and why and they can do so right up to Election Day.  The second change was the replacement of 527-organizations with Super PACs. The main difference between a Super PAC and social-welfare group (527), practically speaking, is that Super PACs have to disclose the identity of their donors, whereas social-welfare organizations do not” (p. 2).  The Supreme Court’s ruling that corporations were afforded with the same First Amendment rights as individuals, led to a firestorm of criticism by Democrats and liberal activists.  Following the Supreme Court’s ruling that corporations are entitled to the same free speech rights as individuals, innumerable Democrats and liberal activists were outraged.  They believed this ruling put them at a severe disadvantage in forthcoming elections, as they have fewer large dollar contributors than Republicans (Posner, 2012).  Some went so far as to argue that corporations should not be afforded with the same First Amendment rights as individuals because they are “artificial entities, designed and built by government” (Kinsley, 2012, p. 1).  As such, they posited that corporations do not have the same free speech rights as individuals.

Opponents of v. Federal Elections Commission (2008) and Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (2009) sought to convince voters that Super PACs were damaging our political system and buying elections.  What they fail to comprehend, however, is that the outcome of elections is determined by votes, not money.  The candidate who receives the most vote, not spends the most money, is declared the winner.  While money is used to purchase advertising and other forms of electioneering communications, scant evidence exists to prove that it determines an election’s outcome. Sekulow (2016) argued that laws preventing individuals from speaking, listening, and thinking for themselves are a violation of the First Amendment.  Likewise, Justice Anthony Kennedy, in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (2009) wrote, “When government seeks to use its full power, including criminal law to determine where a person may get their information or what distrusted source it may or may not hear, it uses censorship to control thought…The First Amendment confirms the freedom to think for ourselves.”  The role of government is to protect, not limit free speech” (p. 13).

To better explain the constitutionality and validity of Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (2009), the author, a conservative and strict originalist, turns to two judicial activists.  Kinsley (2012) made what this author considered the best justification for upholding Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (2009) on Constitutional grounds.  He refuted the argument made by many of his activist colleagues (cited earlier in this section), by arguing, “If money is not free speech, as many a New York Times editorial has declared, may the government put a limit on how much a corporation can spend publishing a newspaper?  The law Citizens United overturned actually exempted media companies from its spending limits.  But the difficulty—impossibility really—of defining a media company and explaining why it should have more rights than any other company suggests that a right granted to one company should be granted to all” (p. 1).  Opponents of the ruling base their argument on the premise that it will allow the wealthy to buy elections while disenfranchising the downtrodden.  Bill Moyers (2014), an avowed defender of the “Constitution is a living document” thesis, repudiated progressive talking points on the merits of this case, denoting that eighty percent of contributions to Super PACs come from ordinary citizens who have an affliction towards a particular candidate or political party, not just corporations or the well-to-do.

Opponents of Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (2009) argued that going forward, citizens will be unable to have their voices or concerns heard, allowing those with wealth to influence elections, and Republicans will remain in the majority due to an influx of contributions by wealthy donors. They do not, however, question the Constitutional merits of this case.  In fact, one cannot even make a cogent argument that Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (2009) is in violation of the First Amendment’s Freedom of Speech clause.  Sullivan (2010), despite being opposed to the ruling argued that it did more to expand free speech than any other Supreme Court decision in the campaign finance era.  Once more, Justice Antonin Scalia argued that one cannot separate the speech from the money that facilitates the speech (Cited in Vasilogambros & Mimms, 2012).  The argument made by many supporters of campaign finance reform was that Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (2009) and Super PACs would give the Republican party a distinct advantage in future elections.  As the next section indicates, their contentions were unfounded, as Democrats benefited more from the rise of Super PACs than Republicans.

Corporations, labor unions, and wealthy individuals were responsible for more than $933 million of the $6 billion that was spent during the 2012 election.  According to O’Brien and Fuller (2013), nearly two-thirds of this new money—about $611 million—went to ten consulting firms.  In fact, all but one of the ten bought advertising in various media markets on behalf of Super PACs.  The $933 million in spending mentioned above came primarily from Super PACs and nonprofit organizations. The Los Angeles Times (2012) found that a total of 266 Super PACs spent a combined $546.5 million during the 2012 elections.  Seventy-eight percent of those funds were spent on negative advertising.  The Los Angeles Times (2012b) found that $288,654,507 was spent by conservative groups on anti-Obama advertising.  At the outset of the 2012 election cycle, if one were to have told a liberal that President Obama would win reelection despite having nearly $300 million spent against him on negative advertisements by Super PACs, they would have disputed that supposition.  This comports with the author’s thesis: Super PACs have a nominal impact on election outcomes.  It is issues, votes, and external factors, not money that wins elections.  As the 2012 election indicates, money did not determine the outcome of the 2012 election or precipitate a Romney victory—something liberals claimed, as early as 2010, was going to happen. In 2016, Donald Trump and Super PACs supporting his campaign were outraised and outspent by Hillary Clinton, two-to-one. A single-minded focus on issues, immigration, the economy, and trade policy, in particular, issues that resonate with voters of all ideological predilections and political parties, allowed Donald Trump to overcome Hillary Clinton’s fundraising advantage.

Perhaps the most intriguing finding of this essay is that Democrats benefited more from Super PAC spending than Republicans. Michael Podhorzer, political director of the AFL-CIO, was quoted by Ball (2012), as saying “Super PACs are so awesome.  It was long overdue that the Supreme Court recognized that corporations are people like everybody else” (p. 1).  This was an uncommon refrain coming from a union member and liberal Democrat.  But, like this author, Podhorzer recognized that Super PAC spending contributed to Barack Obama’s near-landslide victory on Election Day.  Ball (2012) in discussing some of the ways in which Super PACs helped Democrats wrote, “Both Workers’ Voice and the Credo Super PAC focused on ground organizing an eschewed paid advertising.  They saw their ability to use data-based, person-to-person campaigning as an asymmetrical advantage against better-funded groups on the right” (p. 2).

A fundamental restructuring of the United States Supreme Court, a possibility that appears likely following Anthony Kennedy’s recently announced retirement, could result in the greatest expansion of election-related free speech in American history. Neil Gorsuch, Donald Trump’s first appointment to the United States Supreme Court, believes that corporations are entitled to the same free speech protections as individuals. If a case to eliminate individual contribution limits were to come before the current Supreme Court, it is likely that the justices would rule on the side of free speech.

Christopher Schaefer, a presidential historian and political consultant, resides in Madison, Wisconsin, and is the author of four books: The Great President: The Policies that Shaped the Bush Legacy; 41 vs. 43: The Reluctant Realism of George H.W. Bush, the Primacy of George W. Bush, and the War in Iraq; The Presidential Simulation: A Student’s Guide to Understanding the American Presidency; and Project Mastodon: Building a Twenty-First Century Republican Party (2 vols.). Schaefer received his BA in Politics and Government from Ripon College and MA in Political Management from the George Washington University.


Alexander, P. (2009). Man of the people: The maverick life and career of John McCain. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons.

Bai, M. (2008). Inside agitator. In Stinebrickner, B. (Ed.). Annual editions: American government 2008-2009 (38th ed.), (pp. 113-121). Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill.

_________. (2012, July 17). How much has Citizens United changed the political game? The New York Times. Retrieved from

Ball, M. (2012, December 1). Did Citizens United help Democrats in 2012? The Atlantic. Retrieved from

Boatright, R.G. (2012). Fundraising—continuity and change. In Semiatin, R.J. (Ed.), Campaigns on the cutting edge (2nd ed.), (pp. 11-28). Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publishing.

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Corrado, A. (2005). Money and politics: A history of federal campaign finance law. In Corrado, A., Mann, T.E., Ortiz, D.R., & Potter, T. (Eds.), The new campaign finance sourcebook (pp. 7-48). Washington, DC: Brookings Institute Press.

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Mann, T., & Ornstein, N.J. (2013). It’s even worse than it looks: How the American constitutional system collided with the new political extremism. New York, NY: Basic Books.

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Weekly Snapshot: 8-14 July 2018

Weekly Snapshot
8-14 July 2018

1. US Service member killed in Afghanistan

This week a US service member was killed by an Afghan security force member. The attack happened in the southern province of Uruzgan. The attack, which killed four and left several wounded (including two other service members), comes just over a year after an Afghan soldier killed three US soldiers in the eastern province of Nangarhar.
These attacks are known as “green on blue” attacks, and while their frequency has gone down in recent years, they are still happening. The US and coalition forces have tightened security and added extra barriers for protection against attacks like these, hoping to eliminate them as a threat altogether.

While these types of attacks affect the US and coalition fighters in country, they affect the Afghan forces the most. This year alone there have been 47 incidents where Afghan soldiers turn on their own units.

2. Mexican Drug Cartel Takes a Big Blow to its Leadership

One of Mexico’s most notorious drug cartels, Sinaloa, had one of its leaders extradited to the US. Sinaloa is best known for being led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who escaped from a high-security Mexican jail in 2001. He was then captured again in 2014, where he escaped again.

Guzman was found again in 2016 and was then extradited to the United States in 2017 where he is facing criminal charges.

Damaso Lopez was a senior member of the Sinaloa Cartel and is believed to be responsible for Guzman’s 2001 escape. He was captured by Mexican officials in May and this week extradited to the United States. He will hopefully be the key witness in the criminal case against Guzman. Lopez fought for power with Guzman’s son after Guzman’s arrest in 2016, when Lopez rose to one of the leaders of the Sinaloa Cartel.

3. Terrorist strike in Mogadishu

Al-Shabab, an Islamist militant group, has once again stuck the Somali Capital. Two car bombs went off outside the Somali Ministry of the Interior and National Security building, killing 10 and injuring 20. This is the first major attack since the start of Ramadan this past May. Al-Shaba has been known to intensify attacks during the Holy month, leading Somali officials to increase roadblocks and checkpoints.

After the blast, Al-Shabab immediately took responsibility for the attack. The car bombs were just the beginning of the attack, afterward storming the Ministry of Interior and National Security where a two-hour gun battle took place. The Mogadishu police confirmed that all the attackers were killed in the gun battle.

Mogadishu has been a recurring target for Al-Shabab after the government forced them out of the capitol. Al-Shabab continues to fight the government, seeing them as western puppets. Al-Shabab has been the perpetrators of several attacks in Mogadishu including the attack last October that leftover 500 people dead.

4. Tensions Continue to Rise Between the US and China

With both China and the US trading punches on trade, the trade war continues as no one seems to be backing down. Tensions are high, but that is no reason to lighten up on other disputes between these two countries. This week the United States sent two US Navy ships through the Taiwan Strait. These two destroyers were just passing between the South China Sea and the East China Sea. This move brought anger from the Chinese who believe that Taiwan should still be a part of their domain. The United States has no formal ties with Taiwan but is bound to help defend it. This is the first passage by a US Navy ship in a year and comes after a series of Chinese military drills around Taiwan.

This action has not helped the tensions between these two countries but was much needed in order to reaffirm the United States commitment to protect Taiwan. This passage is seen as a sign of support, even as tensions continue to rise.

Suggested Articles: 8-14 July 2018

Suggested Articles
8-14 July 2018

1. The Wisconsin Supreme Court Strikes a Blow for Academic Freedom

David French, in an article on National Review, writes about a court case that is close to home in the Midwest. In a ruling on Friday, July 6th, the Wisconsin supreme court held that Marquette University violated its own policy when they terminated a conservative professor John McAdams. French talks about the implications of this case on conservatives in private schools all across the Nation. PAI is proud of the Wisconsin Supreme Court for standing up for conservatives and limiting liberal universities ability to silence the conservative voice on campus.

2. The Values Underlying Independence Day

Judge Andrew Napolitano wrote on about what the Declaration of Independence means. His discussion highlighted the thinking of the founding fathers, and put our rights into perspective. In the end, juxtaposing the America of 1776 with the America of today. Midwestern Conservatives believe that our unalienable rights, given to us by our creator should continue to be fought for. Just as our founders did so much to advance the America we know today, PAI looks to help advance the virtues and values spelled out by our founding fathers.

3. May the Force Be With Us…

In an Article by one of the PAI Advisors, Ambassador Henry Cooper, he discusses the history and need for a “Space Force”. Ambassador Cooper gives the history of the SDI era and the technological developments the United States made to become dominate in missile defense and space. Just as Ambassador Cooper argues, Midwestern Conservatives should be happy that the United States is taking a renewed interest in space, in order to protect our national interests on Earth and beyond.

4. Religion and the Renaissance

Joseph Loconte, in an article from the Weekly Standard, talks about the religious side of the Renaissance period. Known for rampant individualism, the Renaissance period often gets negative attention from conservatives. However, Loconte shows the religious side of this period. It is important for Midwestern Conservatives to have a firm understanding of history and get the full picture of this momentous period of life. PAI understands the importance of history on modern life and strives to provide its readers with a better understanding of how western civilization came to be.

Intelligence Forecast: 1-15 July 2018

Intelligence Forecast

1-15 July 2018

1. Space Force Proposal and International Reaction
On Monday, June 18th, President Donald Trump signed a directive to the United States Department of Defense to begin the creation of a new military branch. The proposed branch, the United States Space Force, would cover any and all operations which take place outside the Earth’s atmosphere. Trump was quoted to say that, “Our destiny beyond the Earth is not only a matter of national identity but a matter of national security.” The proposal and creation of a Space Force were perhaps inevitable, the idea of such started circulating around the 1960s, yet still raises concern for international relations and United States foreign policy. (Wenz)

The development of a military branch revolving around operations in space comes from a realist perspective in international affairs. Along with claiming that the directorate was a matter of “national security,” the Trump administration has made comments about the rationalization for a Space Force, making sure to note that to “explore new horizons and to tame new frontiers” was a part of the “American character.” (Lewin) The militarization of space, either defensive or offensive, has been an issue looming from the Cold War era and the Space Race. Whoever gets ahead of the game in weaponizing satellites will maintain a significant control both in outer space and on earth. With weapons that can fire from space to earth and no current way to truly defend against them, any given nation can control or be controlled. The ability to destroy satellites was displayed in China’s 2007 destruction of their own weather satellite, the Feng Yun 1C, with a “kinetic kill vehicle.” (Goswami)

The development and even the proposal, of a Space Force, does come with implications. Victor Bondarev, head of the Russian Parliament’s Upper House Committee on Defense and Security, claimed that the “Militarization of outer space is the path to disaster.” (Rempfer) This is an ironic statement coming from Russia, seeing as they have maintained their own space oriented military branch since the creation of the Russian Space Forces in August of 1992. (Space Forces.)  At this point, China has not released any statements on the proposal. This does not mean that the Chinese reaction should be disregarded. Both Russia and China reactions are based on realism, viewing any movement to gain or maintain control by the United States as threatening to their expansionist foreign policy goals. These are not new stances, Russia and China have continually sought to be a dominant force in international politics.

It is unlikely that Russia or China will react with overt hostility, destroying United States assets in outer space. Instead, both countries will continue to develop and start deploying their own “defensive” space assets. This is only a possible outcome, and one of many, which can be controlled based on how the Trump administration approaches their new found power. The situation of militarization in outer space is delicate, and currently, the United States leads the charge – the best possible scenario for the time being.

2. National Security Implications from the Travel Ban

The United States Supreme Court has upheld the Administration’s Travel Ban, also known as Executive Order 13769, in a 5-4 vote in which the people of several countries will not be allowed to enter into the United States for 90 days. These countries include Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, North Korea and Venezuela. Since the President signed the executive order in January of 2017 people, have been protesting the travel ban, as a Muslim ban, and have continued to do so. Though, if this were a genuine Muslim ban, at the very least, the administration would have included more of the 51 majority Muslim nations. Instead, there are just five. Also, there are two countries included that are not majority Muslim whatsoever, North Korea who is atheist and Venezuela who is approximately 73% Catholic, 17% Protestant and just 0.3% Muslim. (National Review, Murdock). Executive Order 13769 is not a Muslim ban, nor is it anti-Islam. It is a decision that keeps the United States’ National Security as a priority. “These travel restrictions have nothing to do with Islam and everything to do with shielding the United States from the citizens of terrorist-infested countries that cannot or will not help U.S. officials vet their own nationals who want to enter America.” (Murdock). The travel ban is simply in place to ensure the safety of United States citizens from people that share an anti-Western ideology, that is all.

Moving forward, the travel ban will more than likely lose steam with the public. The ban is also motivation for the countries on the other end to strengthen their own National Security so they can be taken off of that list. Iraq and Chad are prime examples of this. Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, “This intense review over the past month identified multiple security measures that the State Department and the government of Iraq will be implementing to achieve our shared objective of preventing those with criminal or terroristic intent from reaching the United States.” (Tillerson). Because Iraq was willing to cooperate, the U.S. was willing to take them off of the travel ban. In addition to that, in April the Republic of Chad had improved security measures, as in, identity management and information sharing and with doing so, they too were lifted from the ban. Unfortunately unlike Iraq and Chad did, the countries that remain are less likely to comply, and as long as that continues they will continue to be included in the travel ban.

3. US Army Updates Infantry Basic Training

On June 26 the Army announced there will be an increase in Infantry OSUT (One Station Unit Training) from the previous 14 weeks to 21 total weeks. The Army is doing this to “bolster Soldier lethality” (, Suits). OSUT has been used by most of the Army’s combat MOSs (Military Occupational Specialty) for many years, to include the infantry.

It takes Basic Combat Training (BCT) and Advanced Individual Training (AIT) and combines them into one rigorous course to better ensure discipline and readiness in a soldier. Under the new pilot program, which is set to launch later in July the course is extended to 21 weeks, allowing for more time on certain topics for higher proficiency. Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey said, “We have packed a lot into basic training – we have – and we need to extend it.” (SMA Dailey). The increase would expand on more weapons training and have longer field training exercises, as well as more physical training, drill, ceremony, and combative (SMA Dailey).

Once the pilot program is completely underway and the first few cycles of soldiers have graduated, there will be an initial increase in soldier preparedness, which will allow for the units these soldiers are going to less time to try to catch them up on everything they are lacking, thus increasing unit readiness. “What we want, ultimately, is we want any soldier who graduates from OSUT, that they can immediately go and join any formation that they need to go to…” (Brigadier General Christopher Donahue).

Work Cited

“Army to Extend Infantry OSUT to Bolster Soldier Lethality.”, The United States Army,

Murdock, Deroy. “The Left’s Response to SCOTUS Travel-Ban Ruling Is Typically Baseless.” National Review, National Review, 30 June 2018,

Myers, Meghann. “Will Longer Basic Training Make Stronger Infantrymen? The Army Is Adding 8 Weeks to OSUT to Find Out.” Army Times, Army Times, 26 June 2018,

Schallhorn, Kaitlyn. “Trump Travel Ban: Timeline of a Legal Journey.” Fox News, FOX News Network, 26 June 2018,

“Trump Travel Ban: What Does This Ruling Mean?” BBC News, BBC, 26 June 2018,

Wenz, John. “The Proposed Space Force Isn’t the First Time the United States Has Tried to Militarize Space.” Popular Science, Popular Science, 20 June 2018,

Lewin, Sarah. “Trump Orders Space Force for ‘American Dominance,’ Signs Space-Traffic Policy.”,, 18 June 2018,

Goswami, Namrata. “The US ‘Space Force’ and Its Implications.” The Diplomat, The Diplomat, 22 June 2018,

Rempfer, Kyle. “Russia Warns of a ‘Tough Response’ to Creation of US Space Force.” Air Force

Times, Air Force Times, 22 June 2018,

“VKS.” Polybius at The Clickto Network, Space Policy Project: Space World Guide,

“Space Forces.” Russian Defence Minister Had an Appointment with Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the People’s Republic of China : Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation

Suggested Articles: 1-7 July 2018

Suggested Articles
24-30 June

1. The Supreme Court Delivers Another Stinging Rebuke to Anti-Free-Speech Authoritarians.

David French, from the National Review, reviews the Supreme court’s recent decisions concerning the First Amendment. The most recent case was Janus v. AFSCME, a case in which the State of Illinois was forcing state employees to subsidize public-employee unions, even if the employee opted not to join the union. For midwestern conservatives, this is a huge infraction to our civil liberties. PAI supports the sentiment that Thomas Jefferson famously said, “to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhor[s] is sinful and tyrannical.”

2. An Election in Baghdad

In an editorial in the Weekly Standard, the editors point out the lack of attention paid to Iraq. In recent months, this administration and the media has been fixated on the tension building between the United States and Iran, but have overlooked Tehran’s influence on Iraq. With Pro-Iranian and Anti-American groups gaining power in Baghdad, midwestern conservatives should be worried that one of our hard-fought allies in the middle east could soon be an enemy.

3. Acting With Strength US Can Achieve Detente With Russia

PAI Advisor Peter Pry, in an article on NewsMax, talks about the threat Russia is posing to the United States. With new artificial intelligence controlled superweapons and doomsday devices, Pry argues the United States needs to take the threat from Russia seriously. To protect and defend the population of the United States is more in line with western culture and midwestern conservative values than having to avenge our dead. PAI supports the idea that the United States needs to take the threat of Nuclear, EMP, and AI-based weapons seriously as they pose existential threats to our way of life.

4. ‘Living Constitution’ Faces a Mercy Killing

In an article, on, Jonah Goldberg comments on the ongoing situation regarding the announcement of Supreme Court Justice Kennedy stepping down at the age of 81. This article articulates the issues with the court in the past, as being a tool for the left, especially the ‘Living Constitution’ theory. Goldberg talks again about the lack of civility on the left, and how it was actually the left that opened the doors to make it easy for the current administration to appoint a new Justice. As midwestern conservatives, PAI believes in the constitution as the founders wrote it. A belief that the Supreme court should not be setting laws, but rather interpreting and ruling on the legality of the ones we have currently.

Weekly Snapshot: 1-7 July 2018

Weekly Snapshot

1-7 July 2018

1. President Trump Requests a “Space Force” be Established

On Monday, 28 June, President Donald Trump requested the United States Department of Defense to begin work on a proposed 6th military branch which would revolve around operations in outer space. The proposal still has a long way to go before any manifestation can begin, but it is still a significant step in moving towards ensuring American security in outer space.

The proposal in itself has some implications, both domestic and international. Domestically, largely from the American left, the outcry about an arms race and the militarization of outer space was almost immediate. Internationally, Russia was the first nation to respond, claiming that the “militarization of outer space is the path to disaster.” An ironic statement from a country which has maintained its own space oriented military branch since 1992. Further reaction from the international community, both good and bad, can be expected shortly and this situaiton develops.

2. 30 Afghan Soldiers Dead after Ceasefire Ends

From 12 to 19 June the Afghan government participated in a ceasefire between themselves and the Taliban Forces operating within the country. The ceasefire extended over the Eid Al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan, and was claimed by the Afghan government as a way to show the Taliban that their attempt to win over the populace support was not working.

After the ceasefire officially ended, Taliban Forces raided multiple government compounds and conducted one convoy ambush via small arms fire and improvised explosive devices. Local officials have since released statements expressing that the success of the attacks may have been linked to the ceasefire itself, giving the Taliban valuable intelligence and planning time.

3. South Korea to end Military Drills with the US due to North Korea Talks

On Tuesday, South Korea announced that it would put a hold on the military exercises conducted with the United States, backing up earlier ideas by President Trump. South Korea rationalized the decision by claiming that it was necessary in order to support the current and future peace talks between the US, North Korea, and themselves.

The decision to end military training operations in order to support the negotiations between the US and North Korea has comes with heavy criticism. Most who disagree with the decisions claim that there is a standard to be set by not backing down – the same standard which drove Kim Jong-Un to come to the table with the United States in the first place. Those who praise the decision are declaring a win for diplomacy.

The deeper implications of ending military training and joint operations in South Korea come from the Chinese front. China’s strategic interests are served if the U.S. has a lighter footprint in Asia.

4. Iran Responds to US Ultimatum

On the 8th of May, 2018, the United States withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, otherwise known as the Iran Deal. This withdrawal sent a strong message with literal consequences and was met with unilateral outcry within Iran. Recently, on Monday, 18th June, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released a list of 12 demands to the Iranian regime which, if not abided by, would garner a US reaction of the “strongest sanctions in history.”

Inside Iran, the decision to accept these US demands was met with debate. Some individuals, viewing the North Korean case, believe in the legitimacy of US power and strive to reach a compromise while others view Pompeo’s remarks as a bluff. The Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, currently takes up the latter of the opinions, responding to the US demands with his own list.

Iran’s response contained 15 different demands of the United States, to include halting relations with Saudi Arabia, stopping support for Israel, withdrawing troops from Afghanistan and returning to the JPCOA. The reaction is in itself a bold statement and another non-starter in the ongoing tumultuous relations between the United States and Iran.

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