Trump should send ACLU a thank you note for $30M ‘Rights for All’ campaign sure to get him 4 more years

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) aims to have a major impact on the 2020 presidential election. Judging from the reported causes they are pushing, it could very well be that their efforts to promote certain unpopular stances will end up swinging fence-sitters and even a few those further left to vote for President Trump.

The group’s “Rights for All” plan is to invest $30 million into convincing presidential primary candidates to embrace and commit to causes the group calls “civil libertarian.” Chief among those are abortion rights, cutting the federal prison population in half, allowing the incarcerated to vote, granting felons the right to vote, creating a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, and reducing immigration detention by 75%.

Some of those are already popular among the left’s voters and are endorsed by Democrat presidential candidates. Others not so much.

For instance, only Maine and Vermont allow those in prison to vote. And who knew? … releasing half the federal prison population doesn’t seem like the best idea for most people. Candidates last year who supported those causes were soundly beaten by Republicans.

In a now-deleted March 31 tweet by Bernie Sanders supporter Dave Dickinson, he said, “Allowing the incarcerated to vote is a sure loser that could doom every other goal on the agenda. Telling Mrs. Grundy that you’re allowing her mugger to vote while he’s in prison and before he’s paid back his debt to her and to society will not work out well.”

As a non-profit organization, the ACLU is prevented from endorsing candidates. Issues are a different story … the group is increasingly getting involved in electoral politics. The $30 million represents about 10% of the amount the ACLU collects today annually in contributions and grants.

The plan also involves rallying thousands of its members in the primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina to attend candidates’ town halls to raise pressure on them regarding these chosen “civil liberties.”

“If we can get a big number of candidates to commit in a clear and unequivocal way to certain civil rights and civil liberties positions, that would be a win,” said Ronald Newman, ACLU interim national political director. Newman’s predecessor, Faiz Shakir, is now campaign manager for Bernie Sanders.

“We don’t want the default positions that are in the party platform,” Newman added. “We’re trying to advance civil liberties here.”

Results are mixed to this point. Sen. Elizabeth Warren declined to commit one way or the other to the question of allowing inmates to cast ballots. “While they’re incarcerated, I think that’s something we can have more conversation about,” she said.

The ACLU is providing a list of questions to its members to ask candidates when they attend candidate forums. With campaigning already in full swing, there have been many locals identifying themselves as ACLU members.

On March 31, the ACLU “Rights for All” campaign kickoff took place with an hour-long panel discussion that was live streamed.

Current positions of the ACLU include opposition to the death penalty; support for same-sex marriage and the right of LGBT people to adopt children; support for abortion rights; eliminating discrimination against women, minorities, and LGBT people; support for the rights of prisoners and opposing torture; and elimination of government preference for religion over non-religion, or for particular faiths over others.


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Victor Rantala


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