Here are fifteen questions for contestants in the coming debate among the Democrat presidential hopefuls, a debate that should be more entertaining than seeing gladiators fight lions—with the advantage that no animals will be harmed during the performance.
1. As you know, the major television networks—CNN, MSNBC, and almost all the rest except FOX News—got the Russia collusion story wrong. They told their viewers that it was all but certain that Donald Trump had colluded with Russia to “steal” the 2016 election. In view of the findings of the Muller investigative team—most of whom it turns out were Democrats—are you willing to say that the major networks were wrong to push that story for so long?
2. Do you think Donald Trump colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election?
3. Do you think it is sane or insane to believe that Vladimir Putin has personal, political, or financial information about Donald Trump which would enable Russia to get Trump to do Russia’s bidding?
4. Do you think Russia is controlling Robert Mueller?
5. The Mueller investigation lasted almost two years, cost $31 million, and produced a 448-page report. Do you think there is anything Congress can now discover that the Mueller investigative team did not discover?
6. In view of Russia’s attempt to hack our electoral process, do you think we should have more stringent voter ID laws? Do you think we should move to internet voting or go back to universal paper ballots?
7. As you know, during the Muller investigation, both Paul Manafort and Roger Stone were arrested by the FBI in a manner ordinarily used for criminals who are likely to be armed and dangerous, although there was no indication whatsoever that either one of those men presented that threat. Do you think the manner of their arrests was proper—in the United States of America?
8. Do you think Russia is the most dangerous foreign threat to America?
9. Do you think it is a good idea to have district court judges continually block President Trump’s initiatives? And what will you do if district court judges block initiatives of the next Democratic president the way they have blocked Trump’s initiatives?
10. There seems to be evidence that Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar from Minnesota entered into a sham marriage with her brother in order for him to gain US citizenship. Do you think that’s wrong? And given her prominence, as a member of Congress who should be setting an example for the rest of the country, do you think she should be investigated?
11. Under the First Step Act, enacted by Congress last year, thousands of prisoners have been released from federal prisons. The First Step Act was sold to the American people as an act that would release only non-violent offenders from jail—people who had been incarcerated for, for example, possessing only small amounts of marijuana. It turns out, however, that thousands of those released were violent offenders, people who were convicted of sex crimes, robbery, aggravated assault, and homicide. Did you vote for the First Step Act, and if so, and given the recidivism rate of serious criminals, do you now think you made a mistake?
12. Under the Head Start Program, the US government spends approximately $10 billion a year. Research shows and has shown for years, that Head Start has little to no lasting positive effect on the children who participate in it. Moreover, the Department of Health and Human Services’ own research has found that Head Start participants performed lower than their peers in kindergarten math and “by third grade, Head Start had little to no effect on cognitive, social-emotional, health, or parenting outcomes of participating children.” Given that record, are you in favor of canceling the Head Start program?
13. Foreign Aid spending is approximately $4 trillion. Afghanistan was the largest recipient in 2017, receiving about $4.7 billion, which went toward the building of a national education system, reproductive health, and basic infrastructure, such as schools and hospitals. Do you think that money from US taxpayers would be better spent here in the United States?
14. In April 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 6102 which forbad “the hoarding of gold coin, gold bullion, and gold certificates within the continental United States.” The order was made under the authority of the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917, as amended by the Emergency Banking Act the previous month.
In effect, as we know, Roosevelt simply confiscated all the gold owned by the people of this country, paying them only a fraction of what gold was valued on the open market. Do you think the president of the United States should have that power? And is that something you would ever do as president?
15. Do you think the decision to terminate the life of a newborn baby should be between only the mother and her doctor?
What are the odds that a single one of these questions will be asked?
Slim to none.
Daniel Oliver is Chairman of the Board of the Education and Research Institute and a Director of Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy in San Francisco. In addition to serving as Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission under President Reagan, he was Executive Editor and subsequently Chairman of the Board of William F. Buckley Jr.’s National Review.
Email Daniel Oliver at [email protected]