Ripon Forum - February 2018

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STRAIGHT TALK FROM THE HEARTLAND Pete Ricketts discusses his results-oriented approach as the Governor of Nebraska

February 2018 Volume 52, No. 1

State of the Electorate Results of The Ripon Society’s Annual Survey of the American Voter PLUS: UNDERSTANDING GENERATION Z AND: RED INK REALITY CHECK

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“Ideas that matter, since 1965.“ Volume 52, Number 1 Cover Story

Debate 4

In Defense of the Institution of Congress and the Return of Earmarks By Tom Rooney After many frustrating appropriations cycles, continuing resolutions, and shutdowns, the earmark ban has accomplished few, if any, of its intended goals.


Keep the Ban on Earmarks By Tom Schatz Earmarks are corrupt, unfair, and wasteful. They should be permanently banned, and oversight should be increased into how federal funds are being spent.

Politics & Perspective 8

Red Ink Reality Check By Maya MacGuineas The return of trillion dollar deficits in the next year or so should be a wake-up call given we are in an expanding economy, not a massive recession.

10 The Rise of “Letter-Marking” By Russell W. Mills & Nicole Kalaf-Hughes The earmark ban has given rise to a practice that is even less transparent to taxpayers, and has given even more power to the President over how tax dollars are being spent. 12

Creating One Out of Many By Miquel Howe As America once again debates immigration, we can learn from the military and how they take recruits from different backgrounds and turn them into a cohesive unit.

Publisher The Ripon Society

Editor Lou Zickar

President Jim Conzelman

Editorial Assistant Stephen Jackson

Editorial Board Thomas Tauke Michael Castle Billy Pitts Pamela Sederholm Judy Van Rest Jim Murtha John Feehery

Advertising Coordinator Asher Kaithern

© Copyright 2018 By The Ripon Society All Rights Reserved


State of the Electorate By David Winston & Myra Miller The results of The Ripon Society’s annual survey of the American voter are analyzed by two of America’s leading political strategists.


Understanding Generation Z By Jeffrey M. Brauer Americans born after 1995 had a big impact on the last election. Now that more of them are reaching voting age, their political influence will continue to grow.


How Generation Z Gets their News By Jack Myers Gen Z has the strongest “BS” filter of any generation -- that is, they can see through the spin. They also have a worldview that’s shaped by their online friends and social networks.


What Generation Z Thinks of Washington By Kyle Chance Six students at Miami University -- three Republicans and three Democrats -- share their thoughts on their elected leaders and politics in our nation’s capital.

Sections 3

In this Edition


News & Events - coverage of U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s remarks to The Ripon Society.


Ripon Profile - Governor Pete Ricketts

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RIPON FORUM February 2018

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THE RIPON SOCIETY HONORARY CONGRESSIONAL ADVISORY BOARD U.S. Senators: Shelley Moore Capito - Senate Co-Chair Cory Gardner - Senate Co-Chair Roy Blunt Richard Burr Bill Cassidy, M.D. Susan M. Collins Steve Daines Joni Ernst Deb Fischer Orrin G. Hatch John Hoeven Jerry Moran Pat Roberts Mike Rounds Thom Tillis Roger Wicker Todd Young U.S. Representatives: Susan W. Brooks - House Chair Martha Roby - Vice Chair, South Erik Paulsen - Vice Chair, Midwest Bill Shuster - Vice Chair, Northeast Greg Walden - Vice Chair, West Mark Amodei Don Bacon Andy Barr Mike Bishop Diane Black Marsha Blackburn Vern Buchanan Larry Bucshon, M.D. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. Ken Calvert Tom Cole Barbara Comstock Ryan Costello Carlos Curbelo Rodney Davis Jeff Denham Charlie Dent Dan Donovan Sean Duffy Tom Emmer Bill Flores Rodney Frelinghuysen Kay Granger Sam Graves French Hill Bill Huizenga Randy Hultgren Darrell Issa Evan Jenkins Lynn Jenkins Dave Joyce John Katko Mike Kelly Adam Kinzinger Darin LaHood Leonard Lance Billy Long Frank Lucas Tom MacArthur Tom Marino Kevin McCarthy Michael McCaul Cathy McMorris Rodgers John Moolenaar Kristi Noem Bruce Poliquin John Ratcliffe Tom Reed Jim Renacci Tom Rice Tom Rooney Peter Roskam Steve Scalise John Shimkus Lamar Smith Steve Stivers Glenn Thompson Mac Thornberry Mike Turner Fred Upton Jackie Walorski Mimi Walters Brad Wenstrup Steve Womack

In this Edition

The Ripon Forum kicks off its 52nd year of publication with an examination of the American electorate as we begin 2018. Clearly, a lot has changed since this journal first appeared. The nation is stronger and more prosperous, and the world as a whole is more peaceful and free. And yet those who lived through and remember the 1960s no doubt find the political environment of today to be somewhat familiar. Institutions are under attack. Authority figures are mistrusted. And challenges are arising both at home and abroad that pose a clear and present threat to our security. Turbulence is certainly a watchword in Washington these days. And chaos is a constant refrain among those in the mainstream media. But the real question — and perhaps the most important consideration for both political parties as they look toward the mid-term elections later this year — is, “What do the American people think?” Are their lives getting better, or are things getting worse? Do they think the bottom has fallen out here in our nation’s capital as many would have us believe? Or is this the change they were looking for when they went to the polls in 2016? What do voters think of the tax plan that was signed into law in December? And what other issues are they most concerned about as they prepare to head to the polls? To answer these and other questions, the Ripon Society asked veteran strategists David Winston and Myra Miller to gauge the state of the electorate as we start the year. Among the pair’s findings: while the performance of the stock market is important, personal outcomes are key. In other words, it doesn’t matter how high Apple gets if the cost of living is going through the roof. Their analysis of the survey — and the advice they provide for policymakers — is worth a read. Also worth a read is our examination of another part of the electorate that could hold sway at the polls this fall. Generation Z — the name given to those Americans who were born after 1995 — now comprises 25% of the population in our country. They outnumber Baby Boomers and Millennials combined. Recent studies indicate their political influence is not only growing, but is already being felt. According to Professor Jeffrey Brauer, the GOP has an opportunity to win their support because of their political leanings. “78% of Generation Z identifies as liberal to moderate on social issues,” Brauer writes, “and 83% identifies as moderate to conservative on fiscal issues.” In other words, members of Gen Z are centrist Republicans — something any member of The Ripon Society should be interested in, and something Brauer shines a light on in an essay. Also shining a light on these young Americans is author and media expert Jack Myers, who looks at something any newsmaker should be interested in — namely, how a generation born and raised in the digital age gets their news. Myers’ answer is not a promising one for any official accustomed to 30 second soundbites on the evening news. “When asked to identify their two primary sources of news,” he writes of Gen Z, “the majority of this cohort name Instagram (29%), YouTube (22%), and Facebook (15%).” We round out our coverage of Generation Z by going to the source, so to speak. Kyle Chance, a senior at Miami University and former intern at the Ripon Society, interviews six of his classmates — three Republicans and three Democrats — to find out first hand, “What Generation Z Thinks of Washington.” Their words should be required reading for anyone who says younger Americans are out of touch and disengaged. In addition to examining the American electorate and Generation Z, this edition of the Forum also features a “Red Ink Reality Check” by one of the leading voices for fiscal sanity in Washington, Maya MacGuineas, who provides an update on America’s exploding national debt and explains why this crisis is only going to get worse. In our debate feature, U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney squares off against government watchdog Tom Schatz in a discussion about lifting the ban on earmarks. Professors Russell Mills and Nicole Kalaf-Hughes also share their own original research on the issue, while Miquel Howe of the Bush Institute shares his own take on the immigration issue and how the Army succeeds in “Creating One Out of Many.” Finally, in our latest Ripon Profile, Pete Ricketts discusses his first job, his accomplishment so far as the Governor of Nebraska, and some of the challenges facing the people of his state. We hope you enjoy this first edition of The Ripon Forum in 2018, we appreciate your readership, and we welcome any thoughts or comments you may have. Lou Zickar, Editor RIPON FORUM February 2018




In Defense of the Institution of Congress and the Return of Earmarks by T O M R O O N E Y Congress’s approval rating is in the toilet – the Members to prioritize funds for water projects that are American public calls D.C. “The Swamp” and those in disproportionately impacted by the ban because they are it “sewer rats.” It’s no secret why. Back home, people not funded through statutory language or a competitive look around and see crumbling dams and levees and award process. nothing being done to fix them. This perpetuates the Some of my colleagues and outside interest groups belief that those in Washington oppose my efforts, arguing are content with doing nothing. that even limited exclusions to However, this hasn’t been my the ban are the slippery slope experience. People come to to corruption and increased Washington to genuinely try and spending. They claim that make their communities and our members will ultimately nation a better place. succumb to their need for I have served in Congress pork and direct funds towards since 2009 and was here when projects that only benefit them Republicans voted — with my and a few special interests. support — to ban earmarks. After Earmarks are not inherently many frustrating appropriations bad. They are merely tools that cycles, continuing resolutions, allow members to prioritize and government shutdowns, funds for important projects. I’ve realized the earmark ban When people talk about the has accomplished few, if any, of corruption that will inevitably its intended goals. We’ve neither accompany the return of decreased funding nor made the earmarks, they mention abusers process more transparent or like Duke Cunningham or efficient. Congress has simply big ticket projects like the After many frustrating relinquished its Article I “power “Bridge to Nowhere.” I would appropriations cycles, of the purse” to the executive like to remind everyone that continuing resolutions, and Duke Cunningham, rightfully, branch and impeded its own ability to fund critical water government shutdowns, I’ve went to jail, and the “Bridge infrastructure projects. There to Nowhere” was never built. realized the earmark ban has to be a better way to do the Scapegoating earmarks is people’s work. easier than fixing our broken has accomplished few, if Many dams, levees, and budget process which has led any, of its intended goals. ports are overseen by the Army to haphazard policymaking and Corps of Engineers and 85% abuse in the first place. Again, I of Corps projects are geographically specific and am not advocating a return to this system, just a limited therefore defined as earmarks. The earmark ban makes exclusion for projects that have already been authorized it impossible for Members to request funding for these and vetted by Congress. We wouldn’t even be having projects, even when they know funding is needed. this discussion if it wasn’t our Constitutional duty. So I want these projects excluded from the definition of let’s do what the Founders intended, but let’s do it right. an earmark, thereby allowing Members of Congress— Concerns that excluding Corps projects from the not unelected bureaucrats in government agencies— definition of earmarks will increase spending and to direct funds towards authorized and vetted water contribute to our national debt are mistaken. Yes, projects. This wouldn’t authorize any new funding Congress can work to spend the taxpayers’ dollar more or repeal the earmark ban entirely; it simply allows (cont’d on p. 6) 4

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Keep the Ban on Earmarks But increase congressional oversight into how federal funds are being authorized & spent by T O M S C H AT Z Earmarks are corrupt, unfair, and wasteful. The two-thirds of House Republicans who were not in office ongoing effort to revive them should be squelched, and before the moratorium was adopted in 2011, these no they should be permanently banned. doubt sound like reasonable arguments. On January 23, 2018, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), along But these members did not observe first-hand the with a bipartisan group of 12 senators, introduced a bill members of Congress, staff members, and lobbyists who to achieve that goal. Called the were thrown in jail over a decade Earmark Elimination Act (S. 2330), ago because of earmarks. These the legislation would permanently members may also be unaware of extend the earmark moratorium that the fact that in the 111th Congress both the House and Senate adopted -- when the names of members following the 2010 elections. who requested earmarks were As some may recall, this was the included in the appropriations bills election that returned the majority -- 81 appropriators secured 51% on Capitol Hill to congressional of the earmarks. Put another way, Republicans. Four years earlier, only 15% of the Congress walked the GOP had been booted out of away with over half of the funds power after adding a record $29 involved. In the 2005 highway billion in earmarks to the FY 2006 bill alone, House Transportation appropriations bills, and after and Infrastructure Committee approving an FY 2005 highway bill Chairman Don Young (R-AK) got that included $24 billion in earmarks $1 billion in earmarks (including -- including the infamous Bridge to the Bridge to Nowhere). In other Nowhere in Alaska. words, the Chairman received 760 Tom Schatz The moratorium that was times more than the average of $13 ultimately agreed to after the 2010 million that the typical rank and file election was extended by Senate Earmarks are corrupt, member received. Republicans in a unanimous vote last Today, some argue that unfair, and wasteful. year. Unfortunately, their counterparts earmarks are needed to help pass The ongoing effort to on the other side of the Capitol did legislation. But this argument not follow suit. In fact, not only did is easily debunked. Last year revive them should be House Republicans fail to extend the alone, Congress passed the most squelched. moratorium, but Speaker Paul Ryan comprehensive tax reform since (R-WI) was forced to fight off an 1986, including the repeal of attempt to restore them just nine days the individual mandate under after the “drain the swamp” election in November of 2016. Obamacare. The House also managed to pass all 12 The Speaker asked members to hold off on a vote on the appropriations bills. issue. Earmark proponents claim that earmarks do not add As it turned out, nothing took place until the House to overall federal spending, and that members of Congress Rules Committee held hearings on the issue on January are not more likely to vote in favor of higher spending 17 and January 18 of this year. The members of Congress with earmarks. But a Department of Transportation Office clamoring for a return of earmarks at the January 17th of Inspector General report on earmarks from September hearing made the usual claims that members know better 7, 2007 cited three Federal Highway Administration than bureaucrats where money should be spent in their programs in which earmarks exceeded the authorized districts and that the legislative branch is giving up too spending levels, resulting in across-the-board cuts much power to the executive branch in this regard. To the (cont’d on p. 6) RIPON FORUM February 2018


(Schatz, cont’d from p. 5) 2714) would create a three-year schedule for the review ranging from 3.4% to 16.4%. The report also cited several and reauthorization of these programs. In the first year programs that were entirely earmarked, which means they after the expiration of an authorization, the program’s were not subject to local, state, or federal review and budget would be reduced by 10%, followed by reductions analysis under the 2005 highway bill and other statutory of 15% in each of the following two years, after which the program would authority. be terminated. The E a r m a r k legislation deserves proponents throw In the 111th Congress – prompt consideration. around Congress’s when the names of members who Earmarks are a Article I power as the requested earmarks were included lazy and unnecessary underlying basis for “alternative” to the such expenditures. in the appropriations bills – 81 hard work required to While Congress may appropriators secured 51% of the enhance oversight and be able to spend money increase the number of in almost any way it earmarks. authorized programs, pleases, the answer to which would increase members’ complaints about their supposed inability to control executive the efficiency and effectiveness of federal spending. A branch spending is not earmarks. It is greater oversight permanent ban on earmarks would be another incentive for members to properly utilize their Article I power over and renewed efforts to authorize programs. RF In that regard, members should start with the spending. $310 billion in unauthorized programs that have been identified by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Tom Schatz serves as President of Citizens Against The Unauthorized Spending Accountability Act (H.R. Government Waste.

“EARMARKS IN CONGRESS: SHOULD THE BAN BE LIFTED?” (Rooney, cont’d from p. 4) a responsibility directly derived from the Constitution. responsibly, but that’s just it — Congress is the institution I can assure the cynics that a project like the Herbert that should spend it. Even at the height of their use, Hoover Dike is not some “pet project” that benefits a earmarks accounted for 0.5% of federal spending. The select few — it impacts all of South Florida. We know the American people are fed up with ban didn’t change how much money the government spends, just who spends it. Now the majority of funds Congress and are sick of hearing the same excuses for inaction. for Corps projects Congress hasn’t are determined successfully enacted by unaccountable A true representative government an appropriations bill employees in the on time since 2009, executive branch. should decide where tax dollars are and I’m not foolish Congress can’t even directed, debate them openly in the enough to believe that request additional halls of Congress, and vote on them. this is the solution to funds for specific all of our problems. projects, even if it’s However, it’s a step in necessary. If a project fails to receive funding, members have no recourse to the right direction. A true representative government should decide where tax dollars are directed, debate offer their constituents. Members of Congress are not fundamentally them openly in the halls of Congress, and vote on immoral or irresponsible when it comes to spending them. This institution can prove to the American people the taxpayers’ dollars. We live in a completely different that we can be trusted to spend their tax dollars in a RF world than we did even a decade ago, and the public transparent and responsible manner. has far more tools to hold elected officials accountable. Most members just want to advocate for policies and Tom Rooney represents the 17th District of Florida in projects that enhance the well-being of their district — the U.S. House of Representatives. 6

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Politics & Perspective

Red Ink Reality Check by M AYA M A C G U I N E A S Though you wouldn’t know it from the recent budget our already bad fiscal situation. This in turn undermined choices that are adding to the debt at an unprecedented the growth effects of the bill, because while the tax cuts clip, the state of our fiscal union is terrible. Downright will help growth, the higher debt harms it. At a time dismal. And alarmingly so. Both because the situation is where we desperately need pro-growth policies to help so bad, and made even worse by the fact that politicians counter the headwind of demographics, this was a huge squandered opportunity. What we no longer seem to care. got was a short-term sugar high The national debt – standing and a trillion dollar plus bill for at an eye-popping $14.8 trillion (or our kids. $20.5 trillion if you count what we But more than that, the tax owe to ourselves and the trust funds cuts appear to have left Congress we have borrowed from) – has giving up on fiscal responsibility grown by more than $400 billion entirely. The budget deal (coming since the day Trump entered office a third of the way through the (which is not necessarily the best year) demonstrates the worst indicator, but one he introduced of budgeting as policymakers into the conversation when he blow through the spending caps tweeted after a month in office how trading one unpaid for goody for much the debt had gone down.) another. And the price tag for Relative to the economy, the these spending increases, if they debt stands at 77%, the highest it’s are made permanent, could be been since just after World War II. as large as the tax cut. When it Interest owed on the debt amounts came to tax cuts, conservatives to well over $2,000 for every U.S. Maya MacGuineas pretended they would pay for household on an annual basis. themselves (they will not) But what is worse than where even going as far as making we are, is where we are headed. The debt is likely to grow up numbers. Here, there is not The debt is likely to grow by over by over $12 trillion over even a pretend defense for this $12 trillion over the next 10 years, maniac spending spree from a likely eclipsing 100% of GDP. the next 10 years, likely conservative perspective. We expect annual trillion dollar eclipsing 100% of GDP. It also means entitlement deficits to return in the next year reform is probably dead for the or so, which should be a heck of a time being. That will have true wake-up call given that we are in an costs not just for the budget, but for people who depend expanding economy, not a massive recession. on the programs. While Democrats were never going to And yet, politicians don’t seem to be waking up. lead on needed entitlement reforms, there were many Last year’s tax cut fell wildly short of what real tax who were willing to support reforms that were part of a reform could and should have achieved. Reform should bigger deal combined with revenues. have been structured to grow the economy, enhance But the tax deal left Democrats unwilling to come to our competitiveness, and simplify the tax code. This is the table on entitlement reform. And frankly, one doesn’t achieved by lowering tax rates and broadening the tax hear much about it either from Republicans these days. base — or getting rid of many of the over $1.5 trillion in Controlling the costs of the largest programs — Social annual tax breaks that littered the tax code. Security and Medicare — remains central to fixing the Instead, we took the political coward’s way out budget. And delaying those reforms greatly jeopardizes and lowered rates but left the vast bulk of tax breaks in those who depend on the programs. place. The $1 to $2 trillion price tag vastly worsened 8

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This should be coupled with an agreement to put in So where does this leave us? There is about zero chance of a grand bargain to place a long-term fix for Social Security that would make fix the fiscal situation despite that being exactly what the program solvent along with additional cost controls we need. The best hope then is to break it into more for our largest health care programs. Finally, we desperately need to reform the budget manageable pieces. And for now, perhaps we work on process. There are many improvements that could be made more of a “mini-bargain.” The first step toward achieving this goal is that that would improve the transparency, accountability, and outcomes of the process. lawmakers must agree My preferred solution to a ceasefire on deficitWe expect annual trillion dollar is a set of fiscal targets financed legislation. If supported by a multisomething is worth doing deficits to return in the next year budget, stronger -- and there are many or so, which should be a heck of a year enforcement mechanisms, things that are – it is worth wake-up call given that we are in and default policies if paying for. Congress fails to act. Then, we will need an expanding economy, not a This is a heavy lift more revenues and slower massive recession. for a Congress that seems spending growth. On the to have lost the ability revenue side, we could to do anything hard. But spend a lot of time talking about repealing the tax cut, and there are certain parts that this fiscal free-for-all will have to come to an end. The RF should be repealed. But a better approach is to generate sooner, the better. revenues from base broadening – by, for instance, limiting the value of all tax breaks to a set share of one’s Maya MacGuineas is the President of the Committee for income or a dollar amount, and/or a new revenue source. a Responsible Federal Budget as well as the head of the Campaign to Fix the Debt. My strong preference would be a carbon tax.

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RIPON FORUM February 2018


The Rise of “Letter-Marking”

An additional consideration in the earmark debate by RUSSELL W. MILLS & NICOLE KALAF-HUGHES Over the past month, President Trump and lawmakers executive agencies and the President now have wide discretion from both political parties have called for the lifting of a in the allocation of projects, which represents a fundamental 2010 moratorium on earmarks in Congress as a way to help shift in appropriations power from the legislative to the overcome political gridlock. executive branch. Despite this shift, members of Congress Earmarks were banned after members of the Tea Party and have not relented in the pursuit of projects for their districts. progressives gained seats in the mid-term elections by running In addition to letter-marking, we have found cases where against excessive government members of Congress attempt spending on “pork” projects, to influence the allocation such as the Bridge to Nowhere of projects by agencies by in Alaska and the $3 million modifying decision-making study of bear DNA in Montana. criteria and processes (such as In the face of these calls cost-benefit analysis). by the President and others to Additionally, the process restore earmarks, a bipartisan of letter-marking is largely group of Senators have now obfuscated and difficult for introduced legislation to keep citizens to observe. Because the ban in place. While this of Congress’s exemption from debate over the future of the Freedom of Information earmarks is important and Act, often the only way for necessary, we believe it largely citizens or researchers to obtain omits a critical function of the requests sent from members of legislative process. Congress to federal agencies Russell W. Mills Nicole Kalaf-Hughes Specifically, we argue for projects or funding is to that -- while far from perfect -submit FOIA requests to Letter-marking is a two-step process earmarks do provide incentives each agency individually for whereby a lawmaker first requests to overcome collective action its records of Congressional challenges in Congress. More communications. The obscured broad programmatic authority for an importantly, earmarks -- if nature of letter-marking allows executive agency to use its discretion properly overseen -- provide members to achieve two goals to dole out federal grants or contracts, simultaneously: a much more transparent working and accountable system of to secure projects for their and then writes a letter to the agency distributing taxpayer dollars districts behind the scenes, requesting funding for a project than the system of “letterwhile publically advocating for in their district. marking” that has shifted deficit reduction and reduced responsibility in this area from spending. Congress to the President. The obscured nature of letter-marking allows members For those not familiar with the term, letter-marking is to achieve two goals simultaneously: working to secure a two-step process whereby a lawmaker first requests broad projects for their districts behind the scenes, while publically programmatic authority for an executive agency to use its advocating for deficit reduction and reduced spending. discretion to dole out federal grants or contracts, and then Finally, and importantly, because agencies – rather than writes a letter to the agency requesting funding for a project congressional committees or leadership -- now have the in their district. Our recent research on letter-marking found power to allocate projects, there is less incentive for members 10

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of Congress to compromise on general interest legislation. associated with letter-marking -- make the reinstatement of Earmarks provided a solution to a critical collective action earmarks the lesser of two evils. However, there are several problem – namely, how to persuade lawmakers to compromise steps that could be taken to design a system of earmarking that on general interest legislation that does not directly benefit is more accountable to citizens (and more politically palatable their state or district. The ban on earmarks takes away one to members) than in the past. First, all earmark requests must be publically available of the critical incentives (with committee assignments being and housed in an easily the other) that congressional accessible database. Second, leaders offered lawmakers The obscured nature of letter-marking members of Congress must in order to win their support be held accountable for of legislation and loyalty to allows members to achieve two goals the project’s success. This the party. Former Senate simultaneously: working to secure could be assessed through Majority Leader Trent Lott projects for their districts behind the Government Accountability lamented the earmark ban Office (GAO) audits of by saying: “Trying to be a scenes, while publically advocating for earmark projects. Finally, leader where you have no deficit reduction and reduced spending. members of Congress sticks and very few carrots should not be able to provide is dang near impossible. Members don’t get anything from you, and leaders don’t give earmarks to organizations or individuals who supported their campaigns. This would alleviate much of the original resistance you anything. They don’t feel like you can reward them.” While there is no doubt that factors such as polarization to earmarks that was rooted in the “pay to play” scandals RF and gerrymandering have also eroded the ability of Congress between members of Congress and lobbyists. to function, the loss of the “carrot” of earmarks has also significantly contributed to gridlock in the first branch. We Russell W. Mills, Ph.D., and Nicole Kalaf-Hughes, Ph.D., believe the shift of Article I appropriations powers to the serve as Associate Professors of Political Science at Bowling executive branch -- coupled with the lack of transparency Green State University.

ENDING THE NATION’S OPIOID EPIDEMIC: WE ALL HAVE A ROLE TO PLAY. To end the nation’s opioid epidemic, continued leadership from policymakers and physicians is critical. Together we have reduced the number of opioid prescriptions written in every state, increased use of prescription drug monitoring programs and increased prescribing for naloxone to save lives. But much more needs to be done. Policymakers and physicians must work together to ensure that all individuals who are in need of treatment are able to access it and that barriers to appropriate care are removed. Together we can end this epidemic. The AMA is proud to support the Ripon Society.

RIPON FORUM February 2018


Creating One Out of Many: The Military Way by MIGUEL HOWE Southern California is one of the most diverse 40,000 square miles on the planet. The region’s five counties comprise deserts, mountains, plains, and coastal areas. Those counties include rural, suburban, and densely urban communities. And those communities are home to the poor, the middle class, and the economic elite, all with wideranging education levels and political beliefs. The residents also include generations of families, new citizens, immigrants, and people seeking to become citizens. SoCal’s 10 million inhabitants are a rich racial and ethnic tapestry of white, black, Hispanic, Asian, and Middle Eastern peoples. You can find more than 200 ethnicities, cultures, and customs and literally hear hundreds of languages.

Hispanic, and six percent were Asian. From the many came one — one Army. Upon enlistment, these young Americans and legal residents would leave Southern California, attend basic and advance training across the country, and then report to the Army installations and units where they would continue to become ready to deploy. After they went overseas, they would fight, survive, and win in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. Through each phase of turning citizens and legal residents into soldiers, and soldiers into cohesive units, the Army assimilates them in a way that builds disciplined, unified teams. At the heart of this work is a shared sense of purpose and belonging, which are predicated Miguel Howe upon common values. That purpose, those values, and that sense of belonging ensure the The Army enlisted integration of a diverse collection 63,000 soldiers in 2016. of citizens and legal residents from every corner of the United 53% were white, 23% States and its territories.

The military’s method of assimilation Southern California also is the most fertile recruiting ground for the U.S. military. The region is consistently one of the top recruiting areas in the nation for were black, 17% were the Navy and the Marine Corps. Hispanic, and 6% were In 2010, it was also the Army’s Purpose, values, and number one recruiting area for belonging Asian. From the many the soldiers of my recruiting Of course, the military’s came one — one Army. battalion. From April of 2008 main mission is to protect our to June 2010, my battalion national security and way of put almost 7,000 Americans — citizens and legal life. But its insistence upon common purpose, shared residents — from across the five counties of Southern values, and community shows how the nation can California into the Army. That year, the Army alone create one out of many. enlisted over 70,000 soldiers. All effective organizations and affiliations start More recently, the Army enlisted 63,000 soldiers with a clear purpose. The military’s common purpose in 2016. Fifty-three percent of those soldiers were is to fight and win our nation’s wars. white, 23 percent were black, 17 percent were Since 2001, over five million Americans have 12

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served in the military. While most chose military to reach the United States. I was proud to serve with service as a pathway to education, opportunity, and soldiers like Chief Warrant Officer Joel Ornelas. prosperity, all of them chose the military in order to Joel was the Junior Weapons Sergeant on my Special defend their nation and the United States Constitution. Forces team. Every member swears an oath to “support and defend During quiet moments on operational the Constitution of the United States against all deployments to Colombia and Ecuador, I learned enemies foreign and domestic, and that I will bear Joel was brought to America by his parents from true faith and allegiance to the same.” Sonora, Mexico in search of a better life. He became In battle, they also fight for one another, for the a U.S. citizen in 1986 when President Ronald Reagan soldier to their left and right. They overcome horrific signed a comprehensive immigration act. Joel joined conditions and paralyzing fear because they don’t the Army and served over 27 years. His service want to let their fellow soldiers down. included 16 operational deployments and five combat The willingness to risk your life for someone deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. else, who is likely very I saw his commitment, different from you, stems and that of other soldiers from the trust that the who immigrated to the military spends so much United States, during my time creating. In a force two-and-a-half decades as diverse as America’s, a of military service. And core set of values plays an from installations across important role in forging America and the globe, that trust. Every day, to Latin America, on recruiters, drill sergeants, the decks of the USS first-line supervisors, and Enterprise, to the streets the entire military chain of Baghdad and the of command reinforce provinces of Afghanistan, loyalty, duty, respect, I have been awestruck at selfless service, honor, the ability of incredibly integrity, courage, and diverse teams of all sizes commitment. The result and backgrounds to come is a common bond that together to accomplish Through each phase of turning transcends race, ethnicity, whatever task assigned. education, economic Sure, the best citizens and legal residents status, blood, and soil. equipment, budget, into soldiers, and soldiers training, and resources are into cohesive units, the Army Creating community essential to the military’s The military’s success success. But what really assimilates them in a way that with assimilation and ensures our military’s builds disciplined, unified integration also rests in success is the quality of its sense of community. its people, and the ability teams. The spirit of community of those people to come that compels soldiers to together as one. risk their lives for one another is grounded in shared As America once again grapples with the challenges experience and personal responsibility. and opportunities of immigration, we can learn lessons True, the military creates bonds in ways the larger from the military. Most of all, we can learn how to society cannot replicate, such as through uniformity, rediscover our common American identity. Through discipline, common language, and a hierarchical shared purpose, common values, and community, we chain of command. But any institution or even nation can create one from the many. RF can emulate some of these factors and create common bonds. For example, anyone who has participated in Colonel Miguel Howe, USA, Ret. serves as the team sports knows how community is created through inaugural April and Jay Graham Fellow of the sacrifice and adversity, both of which are fundamental Military Service Initiative at the George W. Bush in military service. Institute. This essay was first published in Winter Many of America’s immigrants are particularly 2018 edition of the Bush Institute’s quarterly journal, aware of the sacrifice and adversity they went through The Catalyst. RIPON FORUM February 2018


Cover Story

State of the Electorate Results of The Ripon Society’s Annual Survey of the American Voter

by DAVID WINSTON & MYRA MILLER Overview Recent research for The Ripon Society shows that Republicans face a challenging environment at the beginning of 2018, but they still have important opportunities before them to make their case to voters as the midterms draw closer. The overall environment has improved for Republicans since the passage of the tax bill. The electorate is evenly split on supporting the plan since it has passed, and Republicans will have to make the case as to why and how voters will personally benefit from the plan. The Republican brand image remains a challenge, but as shown by the recent tax bill, the way to improve the brand is through offering products that address problems and personal concerns that voters have. Personal outcomes are important, and the primary metric by which voters assess how well the economy is 14

working, and will be the metric by which the electorate will evaluate the success of the tax bill. Specifically, cost of living and retirement are key concerns for the electorate, with health care being defined as the most challenging element of cost of living, and almost a third of voters expressing concern that their financial situation will not allow them to retire. In this environment, the electorate is engaged and looking for solutions from either party that will address the concerns that they face. Most Important Personal Outcomes In the survey, we asked a series of personal outcomes and asked voters to rate each one in importance to their lives. As the chart on the next page shows, the most important outcomes were being able to have quality affordable health care (7.42) and having a secure retirement (7.34), but with health care being a more

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prevalent concern among Democrats than independents and Republicans. While there were several important personal outcomes to voter groups, Republicans and independents shared concern about having a secure retirement (7.49 among Republicans, 7.26 among independents), and quality health care (7.47 among Republicans, 7.25 among independents). However in addition to those two outcomes, independents and Democrats also focused on not having to worry about next month’s bills (7.02 among independents and 7.00 among Democrats) and managing cost of living (7.00 among both independents and Democrats). Among Republicans, being safe from terrorism was their top concern (7.58). Concerns about Retirement The research indicates that concerns about retirement continue to be very prevalent. Reflecting the priority of “having a secure retirement” as an important personal outcome, one in three voters (30%) says they are in a financial situation that means they will not be able to retire (30-56 yes-no). Among the group of voters that considers themselves living paycheck to paycheck, over half (53%) say that they will not be able to retire. A quarter (25%) of voters who consider themselves “middle class” also say they are in a financial situation that will not allow them to

retire. Regarding confidence in retirement plans including savings and investments, the electorate tends to be only “somewhat confident” (38%), as opposed to “very confident” (18%), “somewhat not confident” (17%) and “not confident at all” (21%). Economic Outlook The general economic outlook tends to be somewhat favorable (50-35 right direction-wrong track) but this is largely driven by Republicans who are very optimistic (84-7), more than independents (46-37), with Democrats being negative about the economy (25-57). In terms of a top issue in deciding how to vote for Congress, the economy/jobs emerges as the electorate’s top concern, with 21% indicating it is their most important issue. This is followed by health care/prescription drugs, the top issue for 19% of the electorate. In terms of how people personally assess whether the economy is working, the clear metric is personal economic issues like income, wages and cost of living (59%), more than macroeconomic figures such as growth rate, inflation or interest rates (18%), the job situation and unemployment rate (11%), and how the stock market is doing (8%). This is an important metric for Republicans promoting the success of the tax plan. Of cost of living expenses giving people the most

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difficulty, the chart above reveals that health care (50%) same, compared to 39% who believe their family’s financial tops the list, with taxes (29%), food costs (26%) and situation will get better in the next year and 11% who think it will get worse. Those living paycheck to paycheck had utility costs (21%) in an important second tier. The outlook on personal financial situations is favorable a similar outlook, with 42% saying their family’s financial (62-22 right direction-wrong track), but as with the general situation will stay the same, 38% saying it will get better, and economic outlook, it is Republicans who are very optimistic 17% saying it will get worse. (83-9) rather than Democrats (49Views about the Tax Bill 32). A majority of Independents One of the opportunities are also optimistic (55-24), but Once voters hear some of Republicans have to address their optimism does not reach the the basic provisions of the concerns that voters have is same level as Republicans’. through the recently passed tax Among the 51% of voters tax reform plan, support bill. As the chart below reveals, who consider themselves to be increases significantly to now that the tax bill has been living paycheck to paycheck, the 55-27 favor-oppose. passed, the country is evenly outlook on their personal financial split on supporting the plan (38situation did not reach 50% right 39 favor-oppose). However, this direction (47-35 right directionwrong track). Similarly, 47% of this group believes they is a much better response than when the bill was a Republican will still be in the category of living paycheck to paycheck plan that had not yet passed. It is still the case, however, that five years from now (31% believes they will not). Those voters remain skeptical that the the tax plan will lower taxes who consider themselves $400 away from financial crisis, for people like them (36-43 will-will not, with 21% not sure). about a third of the electorate (33%), leaned toward saying Once they hear some of the basic provisions of the plan, their personal financial situation was headed in the wrong including doubling the standard deduction, reducing overall tax rates, and increasing the child tax credit, support increases direction (39-44). With regard to their family’s financial situation, the significantly to 55-27 favor-oppose. Among Independents, plurality of voters have a status quo outlook. Some 46% support for the plan improves from 30-37 favor or oppose believe their families’ financial situations will stay about the (with 34% unsure) to 50-26 favor-oppose (with 24% unsure).


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and other economic concerns in relation to Congressional Challenges in the Environment Congressional Republicans continue to struggle with Republicans. Relatively small shares of either party, and an a majority unfavorable brand image (39-56 favorable- even smaller share of independents, mentioned Trump in unfavorable), but recent passage of the tax bill has helped their responses. Voters tended to think of Congressional Democrats improve this situation. A Winston Group survey for Winning the Issues at the end of December and prior to the bill’s passage as liberal, for big government, or as engaged in wasteful showed Republicans at 35-58 favorable-unfavorable, and a spending. They also generally thought of them as for the people or for the country. Democrats were even more November survey also for likely to see Congressional Winning the Issues showed Democrats as for the the brand at 31-64. he survey shows that people and country, while In addition to Republicans were more Republicans, Congressional Republicans have the clearest likely to see them as Democrats continue to advantage on defense/terrorism liberal and in favor of big struggle with their brand (42(+16), followed by smaller leads government and spending, 53 favorable-unfavorable). as well as obstructionists. Reflecting the current on jobs (+5), the economy (+4), Independents’ attitudes Congressional generic ballot and taxes (+2). tended to mimic those of (-5 R), the country tends to voters overall. be generally split on who addresses the problems that are important to you (39% Congressional Republicans; 44% Issue Handling On the issues, the survey shows and the chart below Congressional Democrats; 18% undecided). reveals that Republicans have the clearest advantage on defense/terrorism (+16), followed by smaller leads on Brands of the Parties Respondents were presented with two open- jobs (+5), the economy (+4), and taxes (+2). They trail ended questions that asked them what came to mind Democrats by 13 on health care.


when they heard the terms “Republicans in Congress” and “Democrats in Congress.” Responses were then grouped with similar responses. Voters tended to give very general answers, both negative and positive, in response to this question, rather than naming specific issues. Aside from these general negative and positive mentions, voters overall tended to see Congressional Republicans as always fighting and against Democrats, as conservative and for a smaller government, and for the rich. Republicans were even more likely to consider Congressional Republicans as conservative and for a smaller government. Democrats were more likely to consider them to be for the rich, as opposed to the poor or middle class. Interestingly, independents slightly more so than Republicans or Democrats, also named the budget

Presidential Job Approval President Trump’s overall approval stands at 41-53 approve-disapprove, but his economic job approval (45-43 approve-disapprove) is significantly better. In contrast, his handling of foreign policy (34-54) is lower than his overall approval. Among independents, his overall approval is negative (34-57), but improves on handling of the economy (41-42). In terms of how important a factor is Trump in decisions to vote this fall, the electorate rated him as a moderately important factor: 6.13 on a scale of 1-9, with 1 being not important at all, 5 important, and 9 the most important. He is a more important factor to the two bases (6.41 for Republicans; 6.26 among Democrats) than to the middle (5.68 among independents). He was also a less important factor among Generation Z (5.42).

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Ideological Outlook voters overall, but still farther to the right of themselves and In terms of ideological alignment, the electorate views their ideology on economic issues and foreign affairs than did itself as center-right (5.32 on a scale of 1-9 with 1 being very voters overall. They saw Democrats in Congress (4.38) as less liberal, 5 moderate, and 9 very conservative). On economic liberal than voters overall, but closer to them in terms of their issues (5.62) and foreign affairs (5.65), the country views itself overall ideology and their ideology on moral, social, economic, slightly more to the right, but on social issues like education, and foreign issues. Likewise, they saw Bernie Sanders (3.83) health care, and the environment (5.13) and moral issues (5.02), and Nancy Pelosi (4.58) as slightly less liberal than voters the country is even closer to the overall, and Donald Trump center than they are with their (5.76) as less conservative than Voters see themselves as overall ideology (5.32). voters overall. Relative to members of slightly closer to the ideology Congress, voters see themselves Level of Voter Engagement of Republicans in Congress as slightly closer to the ideology & Likelihood to Vote of Republicans in Congress In terms of how engaged than to that of Democrats (6.27), than to that of Democrats the electorate is currently, about in Congress. in Congress (4.01). They saw 1 in 2 voters (47%) describes both Nancy Pelosi (3.84) themselves as more engaged and Bernie Sanders (3.56) as to the left of their Democratic and interested in the political process since the last election, colleagues in the House and Senate. They saw Donald Trump compared to the same (44%) or less (7%). Republican (6.45) as to the right of themselves and Republicans in self-described engagement (50%) is now on par with the Congress. engagement level of Democrats (48%), and higher than Generation Z voters view themselves slightly left of center that of independents (42%). Liberal Democrats are still (4.68), but describe their ideology on economic issues (4.94) slightly more engaged/interested (58%) than conservative and foreign affairs (4.91) as farther to the right of their overall Republicans (50%). However, this survey shows that political outlook. In contrast, they describe their views on moral Republicans overall are sustaining their higher level of issues such as abortion and LGBT rights (4.15) and social engagement and interest in the political process, starting to issues such as education, health care, and environment (4.34) reverse some of the declines we had started to see among as being slightly to the left of their overall ideology (4.68). Republicans a year ago. A small percentage of the electorate With regard to members of Congress, Generation Z tended (7%) says they have seriously considered running for public to see everything as a little closer to the center. They viewed office (7-91 yes-no), but among Generation Z voters, the Congressional Republicans (5.72) as less conservative than percentage is higher (12%).

a more important factor to the two bases (6.41 for Republicans; the middle (5.68 among independents). He was also a less n Z (5.42).

the electorate views itself as center-right (5.32 on a scale of 1-9 rate, and 9 very conservative). On economic issues (5.62) and views itself slightly more to the right, but on social issues like nvironment (5.13) and moral issues (5.02), the country is even with their overall ideology (5.32).

ss, tly of 7), in th nie eir se ld of in


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(44%) or less (7%). Republican self-described engagement (50% more interested and engaged) is now on par with the engagement level of Democrats (48%), and higher than that of independents education fell into a second tier of potential influences, Debating with Friends (42%). LiberalandDemocrats still followed then by the media. However, Generation Z was and Family Impact of theare Media terms ofengaged/interested how often voters debate political topics more likely to cite family and education and less likely to slightlyIn more ( 5 8with % )friends t h aand n family, c o n sthe e rchart v a t below i v e shows that the cite their own experience than voters overall. There were more differences in how voters form largest percentage of the electorate describes the frequency Republicans However, this survey shows overall arebysustaining theirwere higher theirRepublicans political opinions, however, party than there of debate as (50%). “sometimes” (40%), rather than “very often” that analyzing starting GenerationtoZ reverse compared some to voters All (16%). However amongand Generation Z voters, the frequency level of engagement interest in the political process, of overall. the declines three parties cited their own personal experience as the of political debate is higher than voters overall, with 21% we had started to see among Republicans a year ago.

describing their debates as “very often” and 44% as most important or second-most important influence on their political views, although somewhat fewer Democrats “sometimes.” (65%) said this than Republicans (72%)running or independents Z and voters agree about the impact A smallGeneration percentage of theoverall electorate (7%) says they have seriously considered for public (72%). Independents were also the most likely to cite their of the news media, with 4 in ten voters (40%) and members of office (7-91 yes-no), but among Generation Z voters, the percentage is higher (12%). Generation Z (40%) saying the media has a “negative impact” education as an important influence (44% compared to 29% of Republicans and 32% of Democrats). For their part, in helping them understand national issues and news events. Democrats were the most likely to cite their media sources Debating with Friends and Family and Impact of the Media Generation voters overall agree about the impact of theinfluence news compared media, to with 4 in ten(29%) voters as an important independents InfluencesZonand Political Views Republicans only slightly more than third Correspondingly, media wasZnot amongsaying the or the (40%) and membersthe ofnews Generation (40%) media (21%), has abut“negative impact” in ahelping In terms of howpotential often voters debate political topics withdid friends and family, the largest percentage (37%) so. Republicans were twice more likely to most impactful influences on a person’s political them understand national issues and news events. of the describes the frequency of debate aschurch “sometimes” (40%), rather than “very cite their or religious community as an important views,electorate whether a member of Generation Z or not. Both influence (20%) compared to Independents (8%) orthan voters overall However and Generation Z citedGeneration their own experience often” (16%). among Z voters, the frequency of political debate is higher as the largest influence on their political views. Family and Democrats (9%).

Impactoverall, of News Media Overall Gen Z voters with 21% describing their debates as “very often” and 44% as “sometimes.” Positive impact How often do you debate political topics with your friends and family? No impact

Very oftenimpact Negative

31 Overall 22

28 Gen 22 Z

16 40

21 40

SometimesZ and voters overall agree about the impact of the news media,40 Generation with 4 in ten44 voters Influences on Political (40%) of Views Generation Z (40%) saying the media has a “negative Rarelyand members 30 impact” in helping 26 them understand national issues and news events. Never 13 9 Correspondingly, the news media was not among the most impactful potential influences on a person’s views, whether a member of Generation Z or not. Both voters overall Impact ofpolitical News Media Overall Gen Z and Generation Z cited their own experience as the largest influence on their political views. Family and "9 Positive impact 28 education fell into a second tier of potential influences, followed then by 31 the media. However, Generation No impact Z was more likely to cite family and education and less likely 22 to cite their 22 own experience than voters overall. Negative impact

In terms of your political views, which of the following is most

Influences on Political Views influential? (Two responses)




Gen Z

Your own experience 69 54 on a Correspondingly, the news media was not among the most impactful potential influences person’s political views, whether a member of Generation Z or not. Both Your family 36 voters overall 45 and Generation Z cited their own experience as the largest influence on their political views. Family and Your education 34 43 education fell into a second tier of potential influences, followed then by the media. However, Your news media 29 to cite their 24 own Generation Z wassources more likely to cite family and education and less likely experience than voterscommunity overall. Your church/religious 12 13 Your friends In terms of your political views, which of the following is most influential? (Two responses)




Gen Z

February 2018 There were more differences in how RIPON votersFORUM form their political opinions, however, by party 19 than Your own experience 69 54 there were analyzing Generation Z compared to voters overall. All three parties cited their own

Proposals In the survey, we asked voters to rate a series of proposals that Congress may address next. Given the electorate’s concern about financial security, retirement, and cost of living, the proposal that was most important to the electorate was “address cost of living” (7.14), followed by a second tier that included containing prescription drugs costs (6.89), modernizing infrastructure (6.84), reducing the national debt (6.84), and workforce education and training (6.82). It is important to note that the importance of containing prescription drug costs was largely driven by Democratic voters. Among independents, cost of living was first (7.12), with infrastructure (6.81), workforce training (6.71) and reducing the debt (6.71) being close seconds as priorities. The issues that Congress may pursue next should be evaluated through the lens of helping voters achieve their most important personal outcomes and address problems that voters are facing. Conclusion Although the environment remains challenging, Republicans have important opportunities before them as the midterms draw closer. Voters are split on supporting the tax plan, but this is an improvement on its standing from when it was a Republican bill that had not yet passed. Support for the plan increases once voters hear some of its basic provisions. By far, voters look to personal economic measures — like wages, income, and cost of living —

when assessing how the economy is doing, rather than looking to less personal metrics like unemployment, interest rates, or the stock market. This is an especially salient fact for Republicans looking for ways to promote the success of the tax bill. Personal outcomes are important, with concerns about cost of living, health care, and retirement at the forefront of voters’ minds. In terms of what issues or proposals that Congress may pursue next, Congress should consider the most important personal outcomes that voters want to achieve, and define and prioritize their proposals in light of how they address the problems that the electorate is facing. As we pointed out in an article for The Ripon Forum last June, the political outlook for Republicans this fall will largely depend on two basic statistics: how many jobs have been created and whether real wages have increased. The electorate will evaluate whether Republicans have delivered the kind of change, especially economic change, that they as the voters expected. The passage of the tax bill is a step in the right direction, but with the electorate still split on the question about who addresses problems important to them, there is more work to be done to build upon the progress that has been made. Ultimately, the electorate will judge success in terms of their personal economic situations and whether they can see the changes in their own lives. RF David Winston is the president of The Winston Group. Myra Miller is the firm’s Senior Vice President and Co-Founder.

Methodology - This analysis was based on a survey of 1,000 registered voters and 300 Generation Z voters, born 1995-1999, conducted online on January 13-15, 2018.


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On behalf of more than 9 million timeshare owners and the nearly $10 billion domestic resort industry,

ARDA-ROC is proud to support the Ripon Society.

The ARDA-Resort Owners’ Coalition (ARDA-ROC) is a non-profit program dedicated to preserving, protecting, and enhancing vacation ownership. RIPON FORUM February 2018



GENERATION Z by J E F F R E Y M . B R A U E R About two years ago, I noticed I was much happier across the United States (Generation Z Goes to going to class than I had been in quite a while. At College, 2016). Politically, what they found is very first, I wasn’t sure why. Then it dawned on me. significant. 78% of Generation Z identifies as liberal The Millennials were on their way out, and a new to moderate on social issues and 83% identifies as generation, Generation Z, was moderate to conservative on on their way in. fiscal issues. To repeat, 78% of I find Generation Z, of which Generation Z identifies as liberal my 16-year-old son is a member, to moderate on social issues and to be far more interesting 83% identifies as moderate to and engaged students. While conservative on fiscal issues. they are definitely addicted to First of all, rarely in Social their smartphones, they don’t Science are such definitive constantly hide behind them and tendencies revealed. Second other forms of technology. They of all, these indicate that talk to each other and even talk Generation Z has strong to me before class begins. They libertarian leanings, similar to ask questions all class long and what is found in more moderate stay after class to ask even more Republican circles. While questions. They listen and they these findings are remarkable, laugh at my corny jokes. And they perhaps are not all that they are not just looking out to surprising. Generation Z grew get something for themselves. up in a time of immense racial Indeed (a total Gen Z word), and ethnic diversification in the class is fun again. United States, as well as during Since my professional the rise of LGBT rights. That Jeffrey M. Brauer epiphany, I have been studying would explain their more socially Generation Z, which is generally liberal views. At the same time, 78% of Generation Z considered to be ages 22 and these young people also lived younger. As a political scientist, through the Great Recession identifies as liberal to naturally my focus has been a time of perpetual war and moderate on social issues and on their political behavior – terrorist threats beginning with and 83% identifies as although I have also become 9/11. These events undoubtedly quite familiar with their other moderate to conservative shaped the more conservative tendencies. I have already been stances of Gen Z when it comes on fiscal issues. interviewed on my findings thus to economic and security issues. far by a number of regional and Given these inclinations national media outlets, but my and their ages, many Generation study is not yet complete. Since Generation Z has Z’s are not yet connected to either of the two major only recently begun to participate in elections, more political parties. However, as noted above, Gen Z’s election cycles are needed to be more conclusive. inclinations would generally fit that of moderate Here is a summary of what has been found to this Republicans, of which notably there aren’t as many in point: leadership positions anymore. The Republican Party, Researchers Corey Seemiller and Meghan Grace if it plays it cards right, has a chance to make lasting surveyed over 1,100 Generation Z students from inroads with this generation, even at an early age. 22

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That is something Republicans have struggled with it was 20 points. These dramatic declines helped give for decades. Democrats on the other hand can’t and Republican Donald Trump a win in each of these states, shouldn’t take Gen Z’s for granted, as they have with pushing him over the top in the Electoral College. previous young generations, including most recently Even in New Hampshire, a state that Democrat Hillary with the Millennials. Clinton won, the drop in the Democrat’s margin of The 2016 presidential election was the first one in victory for the youth vote was 20 points. In Nevada, which Generation Z voted. Yet, there was virtually no where Clinton also won, it was 21 points. Clearly, the attention paid to this demographic by anyone – not the youth vote had shifted toward the right, particularly in media, the pundits, the social scientists, the political some of the most critical states. parties, the candidates, etc. In almost every case, Gen It is highly unlikely that such significant declines Z was simply lumped with its significantly different in the Democratic margin of victory for the youth counterparts, the Millennials, in the 18 to 29 age vote were simply due to the more liberal Millennial group. Looking at the data, there was virtually no Generation changing their minds from one election to attempt to separate these two dissimilar generations of the next. It is much more likely that the precipitous voters. This was very drops were due to the unfortunate as it did more conservative not give a true picture Generation Z being of the election. able, for the first However, comparing time, to express their the numbers of political inclinations, the youth vote in especially in the 2012 and 2016 economically hardpresidential elections, hit swing states. one can begin to Some Generation surmise the impact of Z voters were Generation Z. Using likely attracted data from the Edison to the Republican Research National candidate because Exit Poll (http://www. of Trump’s strong stances on economic The Republican Party, if it plays it election-polling/), recovery and national cards right, has a chance to make from 2012 to 2016 security – two of the lasting inroads with this generation, the youth vote main concerns of that remained the same generation. They even at an early age. 19% of the electorate. were also likely to The difference was be dissuaded by the that in 2012 there was essentially no significant apparent lack of transparency and accessibility of the amount of Generation Z voters. The youth vote Clinton campaign. According to Seemiller and Grace’s was comprised of almost entirely Millennials. By study, those are traits that Gen Z demands in leadership, 2016, a key portion of the youth vote was from which Trump seemingly possessed during the election Generation Z. with his “tell it like it is” style. So then, what ended up being the difference in the Therefore, Generation Z possibly had a major, yet numbers from the one presidential election to the next? completely overlooked, impact in the historic 2016 From 2012 to 2016, Democratic Party identification presidential election. Just as importantly, the media, of the youth vote dropped 7 points (down 44% to pundits, academics, political strategists of both parties, 37%). Furthermore, from the one election to the and pollsters need to recognize and respect this new next, the Democratic candidate lost 5% of the youth generation of voters. In the upcoming election cycles, vote nationally (down 60% to 55%). Many went to Generation Z will continue to be a larger and larger third party candidates as the Republican candidates proportion of the youth vote. Eventually, they will received the same 37% in both elections. But, a closer make up the entire youth vote. So the time is now to look at specific swing states that ended up turning the start paying proper attention to Generation Z and their entire election is much more telling. In Florida, the politics. RF Democratic margin of victory for the youth vote from 2012 to 2016 dropped 16 points. In both Ohio and Jeffrey M. Brauer is a professor of political science at Pennsylvania, the drop was 19 points. In Wisconsin, Keystone College. RIPON FORUM February 2018


How Generation Z Gets their News by J A C K M Y E R S It’s been said that each generation learns from the past Without the traditional filters of trusted news organizations and that young people tend to be more progressive than their and journalists, this new generation of potential voters may parents. It’s also been said that the generation just entering be highly susceptible to fake and biased news and may find their adult years -- known as Gen Z -- is the smartest and it difficult to discern fact from fiction. Compounding this most well-informed in history, having grown up online with reality, Instagram -- the #1 source of news for young people unlimited access to news and opinions. -- is dependent almost exclusively on visual images, and The reality, however, is none of the major social media that ubiquitous access to news channels invest meaningfully and information may be having in original news reporting, nor the opposite effect. According do they provide user-tools for to a new study of 1,000 young deeper investigative analysis of people aged 18 to 32 conducted their content. by Anchor Free for Jack Myers Accustomed to having Knowledge Exchange, young real-time access to big stories people have become overly via Facebook, Twitter and dependent on social and userInstagram, young people generated media and may, inherently distrust news outlets in reality, be less exposed to that were lauded by older news sources than any recent generations. This is evidenced generation. by a recent Future of Work When asked to identify their Research Consortium survey of two primary sources of news, Gen Z teens from all around the the majority of this cohort name world in which they confessed Instagram (29%), YouTube to being super skeptical of (22%), and Facebook (15%) as mass media. Only 4.6% of Jack Myers the media where they are most respondents admitted to trusting likely to read/see the news. the media completely, compared Fewer than a quarter of young When asked to identify their to over 11% who completely people depend on newspaper or banks and 23% who two primary sources of news, trusted television news, with 8% reading trusted the pharmaceutical the majority of this cohort national newspapers such as the industry. These three categories New York Times, Washington were actually the least trusted name Instagram (29%), You Post, and USA Today, 10% sectors in the survey, and yet Tube (22%), and Facebook watching broadcast and cable pharma and banks beat out the network news, and 6% exposed media by a mile. The result is (15%). regularly to local television news a generation that prefers news or newspapers. Radio talk shows that focuses on political and influence only 4.4% of young people, a number only slightly social content similar to their own, with only 36% open to larger than Breitbart News (3.9%), and half the number that news that presents views different from their own. depend on late night TV for their news and information Historically, youth is a bastion where liberalism about the world. By comparison, a stunning 82% of Gen Z thrives, but this first Internet generation appears to be and younger Millennials include among their primary news reversing this trend. Studies indicate that today’s teens and sources Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, BuzzFeed, young adults are more conservative than their Millennial Instagram, Snapchat, and their desktop newsfeed. predecessors. According to the Knowledge Exchange 24

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study, the political polarization apparent in society Finally, a warning for those politicians and their also extends to the younger generation, with 28% selfaides who embrace politics as usual: Gen Z has the reporting as liberal and 26% identifying as alt-right. strongest “BS” filter of any generation. In other words, Sixteen percent say they’re progressive, compared to 12% they can see right through the spin. At the same time, who are politically conservative. Only 17% are centrists. they also are the least likely to actively seek out news With limited access to news sources, a propensity to seek and information on policies, positions, and the priorities news that is consistent of political candidates. with their pre-disposed Their worldview is beliefs, and little trust informed by their in institutions, Gen Z A warning for those politicians and online friends and and young Millennials social networks. their aides who embrace politics as usual: will be difficult to reach The compelling Gen Z has the strongest “BS” filter of any through traditional message for politicians generation. In other words, they can see media and even more and marketers who difficult to influence. seek to influence this right through the spin. While it’s clear that generation is that social media campaigns communications must will be a required be personal, highly component of any political campaign targeting young targeted, and should reinforce pre-conceived ideas. voters, the challenge will be how to effectively engage Generic messages targeted to generic audiences, and and involve a cohort that is disengaged from the political assumptions that Gen Z is a predictable generation, will system. be misguided. RF There are also no clear issues that are coalescing Gen Z into a cohesive voting bloc. When asked to identify the Jack Myers is the founder of MediaVillage and chairman issues most important to them right now, no major issue of Jack Myers Knowledge Exchange. He is also the was identified by more than 10% of respondents (see chart author of Hooked Up: A New Generation’s Surprising below. While they are more socially aware and gender Take on Sex, Violence and Saving the World and, most neutral, more multi-cultural and global, their issues are recently, The Future of Men: Men on Trial. He can be unusually diverse. reached at

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What Generation Z Thinks of Washington by KYLE CHANCE In 2018 America, everyone seems to have an opinion “a culture of inaction and incompetence has proliferated when it comes to national politics and the city which it due to elected officials [posturing] to look good for inhabits. My generation is no exception. As a student electoral or fundraising reasons.”
Kennick stresses that enrolled at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, I wanted to the public’s involvement is absolutely essential for a reach out to a handful of my peers to illustrate how people representative democracy, saying that government “will my age view the current political climate in Washington, always be the product of the citizens, and if they don’t DC. care, neither will Washington.”

 Luke Schroeder (age 20) interned The argument of our political in a Republican Congressman’s leaders being disconnected from office this past summer, his first the general public is echoed by time experiencing the workings the sentiments of Kaitlyn Napoli of Washington in person. During (age 21). “[They] are out of touch his time there, he saw gridlock up with the problems facing everyday close, something he understood Americans. This is why they were as part of the legislative process. so caught off guard when Trump But what stood out to him was the won the presidency.”

Rather toxic environment that seemed to than retreating to everyone’s accompany the disagreements. own side of the aisle, Napoli “There needs to be a return to wants to see a renewal of crosscordial debate,” Schroeder insisted, party communication, and most talking about the current state importantly, a willingness to of rhetoric exchanged between compromise. Without mutual politicians in the United States. understanding and working with one He identifies the attitude of the another, how can the government Kyle Chance constituencies as a catalyst for the properly serve its citizens?
 degradation of political decorum. Conversation about President “Why would Congress change Donald Trump is as abundant “[They] are out without the constituency changing?” as ever among college students, of touch with the Every day, constituents called especially since 2016 was the first the office he was interning for, and problems facing time we participated in the election those of us who have had experience of our Commander in Chief. everyday Americans. working on Capitol Hill know Hana Hall (age 20) has This is why they were just how intense some of those previously interned for a calls can be. Schroeder does not Democratic Senator and a women’s so caught off guard cite the constituents as the cause rights organization in Washington, when Trump won the of the partisan anger. Rather, he and she is particularly skeptical points toward the polarized media presidency.”
 of the President’s knowledge on environment, where 24-hour cable most issues. “His policy agenda is news coverage demonizes those on constantly changing, and I genuinely the other side.

 believe he does not understand how to effectively lead his Charles Kennick (age 20) is the president of Miami party,” Hall explained. “He is reckless and uninformed, University’s College Democrats. He believes there is a spending the majority of his time tweeting and watching problem in Washington arising from the seemingly endless the news instead of serving the people who elected him campaign for office. “Instead of basing their decisions on and implementing positive change.”
 sound policy that helps their neighbors,” Kennick argues, This view of the President being erratic and RIPON FORUM February 2018


unpredictable is present among many of the students contributed to shifting the national conversation away I spoke with. “Foreign policy-wise, I am terrified,” from the content of the issues and has centered attention confessed Brendan Greenlee (age 20). With the world’s on a ‘reality TV show’ version of politics.” changing economy, nuclear proliferation, and international Of these six students, three were Republicans intrigue unfolding on social media, Greenlee believes that and three were Democrats, and there is a lot more in Trump’s policy of “America first” is the wrong way to common between them than one might think. Both sides govern the country in the twenty-first century—in his own agreed that the conduct of our President was hindering words, “the world needs a leader the success and image of the now more than ever.”

 Despite United States on a global scale, his reservations, Greenlee sees and they agree that Washington “Foreign policy-wise, I some potential in the President’s is broken: not necessarily by the am terrified … the world administration. Like many hand of corruption, but by the Democrats one year ago, he needs a leader now more dark cloud of derision and disdain wanted to see bipartisanship on that has been lingering above the than ever.” policies that many Americans city for the entirety of our adult agree on. “I hope common sense is lives.

Presidents come and go, but found in infrastructure spending,” unfortunately the culture persists. Greenlee said. “Unfortunately, it seems the administration Since speaking to these students, the government has shut is not pursuing this golden opportunity.”

 down for the second time in five years. This spectacle Hannah Shepherd (age 21) believes that President of brinksmanship is yet another example of what my Trump “generally has a positive agenda.” Similar to the generation sees as the problem with politics. It is simply other college-aged Republicans I have spoken to for this another disappointment. RF piece, it is not Trump’s agenda which fosters discontent with the 45th President, but rather his tactless attempts to Kyle Chance is a senior at Miami University in Ohio, and dramatize daily political events. “I fear that he has heavily a former intern with The Ripon Society.

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News & Events

Gardner Calls on Congress & the President to Ramp Up Pressure on Kim Jong Un WASHINGTON, DC – In a January “This is a very serious situation of the Senate Foreign Relations 18th speech before a breakfast in North Korea because we have a Subcommittee on East Asia, meeting of The Ripon Society, U.S. person who knows exactly what he the Pacific, and International Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) urged is doing. He knows exactly how to Cybersecurity. In the two years Congress and the President to “ramp twist the United States. He knows he has served in this role, he has up the economic and diplomatic exactly how to pin China and South become a leading voice in the pressure on North effort to contain Kim Korea,” saying that Jong Un. He has also recent overtures by Kim authored several key Jong Un do not disguise pieces of legislation the fact that North Korea aimed at achieving that not only remains a very goal. dangerous country, “When I first came but that the North into the Senate,” the Korean leader remains Colorado lawmaker a very dangerous – and observed, “North potentially unstable – Korea was the eighth man. most sanctioned “Kim Jong Un is a country by the United very smart individual,” States around the globe Gardner stated. “That — number eight. Last doesn’t rule out the fact Congress, I led the that he may be crazy. passage of the North But he is a very smart Sanctions Policy “It is time that the United States starts Korea individual. Just look and Enhancement Act moving away from paper diplomacy at how he has played that was approved the Olympic Games in unanimously by the in North Korea.” South Korea. They are Senate and signed into going to be sending a law. As a result of that delegation of 600 people marching Korea and the United States in a action and as a result of additional under the unified flag with South very, very challenging way. We action that the executive branch Korea in the opening ceremony, have China looking at us saying, has taken, North Korea is now the walking out in that glorious moment ‘Okay, we kind of like the United fourth most sanctioned nation on for Kim Jong Un. The guy knows States being busy with North Korea, earth. They are still not number how to be a publicist for his country. because if the United States is busy one. And I believe that they A country that has put hundreds of with North Korea, then they can’t be deserve to be number one. Let’s do thousands of its men, women, and busy with the South China Sea. They more. Let’s ramp up the economic children into political gulags, where can’t be worried about the ‘One Belt, and diplomatic pressure on North they are tortured and starved. A One Road’ initiative. They can’t Korea to move them into a place country that would rather spend be worried about our expansionist where they feel the pressure. They money to develop a nuclear program policies and our predatory economics are starting to feel the economic to threaten the United States and our taking place in South East Asia.’ pressure that we have put on them allies instead of feeding their own And so we are tied up into knots over and the diplomatic isolation. But people. A country that welds radios North Korea, while China’s power more needs to be done — by China to the single state station so that no continues to rise.” and by others.” one can get any other information.” Gardner serves as Chairman To that end, Gardner noted 30

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that he traveled to the Philippines last summer to convince President Duterte to stop trading with the Kim regime. “I told him, ‘You’ve got to stop trading with North Korea,’ Gardner recounted. “They are one of North Korea’s most significant trading partners. He told me they would. And in August of last year, they announced that they would stop trading with North Korea. It is time that the United States starts moving away from paper diplomacy on North Korea and starts putting into place real restrictions, real enforcement, and real sanctions against nations who are violating these.” Gardner added that it was critical for the United States to keep up the pressure on China in this regard. “There are over 5,000 businesses in China who do

business each and every day with North Korea,” he declared. “Ten of them – ten companies in China — are responsible for 30% of the exports and imports with North Korea. We named them in legislation that we introduced. As a result of that legislation, several of them contacted our office saying they would no longer do business with North Korea. Just the fact that we introduced a bill naming companies changed their entire behavior. We have to do more. And before we start talking about bloody nose strikes or any other kind of military action, we have to use the full extent of the economic and diplomatic runway to shut this threat down and convince the world that a madman with a nuclear weapon is not in anyone’s interest.” Following his remarks, Gardner was asked about the U.S.-China

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relationship, and how the U.S. can leverage this relationship to contain North Korea at a time when many Chinese may be concerned about American influence in Asia-Pacific affairs. “We need to build a level of trust that does not exist between China and the United States right now as is relates to North Korea,” Gardner stated bluntly. “We need to assure them that our interest is in securing a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. If that means Kim Jong Un stays in power, that means Kim Jong Un stays in power. As Admiral Harris, our commander in the Pacific, said, ‘It is our intention to bring Kim Jong Un to his senses, not to his knees.’ What that means is that we want the complete verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of the North Korean regime. If we can accomplish that, we’re happy. That is all we want.” RF


Name: Pete Ricketts Occupation: Governor of the State of Nebraska First job & the lesson(s) you learned from it: My first job was as a paperboy in Omaha in the seventh grade. I loved it. It was like a mini small business that I ran with my brother. We split the route and hired our younger two siblings. We’d deliver the papers in the afternoon on the weekdays and early in the morning on the weekends. That job quickly taught us the value of customer service and work ethic. Book you’ve read that you’re recommending to friends: I always recommend my favorite book, The Lord of the Rings. I first read its precursor, The Hobbit, when I was 13-years-old. J.R.R. Tolkien’s amazing stories and values have stuck with me ever since. The Lord of the Rings presents its readers with a great, uplifting vision for society, positive examples of cooperation, and an inspiration to fight for good in the world. The Christian values of love, humility, and duty that run through The Lord of the Rings are so necessary for a fulfilling life today. Most significant accomplishments of your first three years in office: The main focus of my administration has been to change the culture of government to provide better service to our people. Governments should have a mindset of effectiveness, efficiency, and customer-focus. This requires us to find innovative solutions to perennial problems. For instance, Nebraska recently created a first-in-the-nation reemployment system that replaced our unemployment system. This new reemployment system requires participants to sit down with a job coach first as a condition of receiving unemployment benefits. Job-seekers get tips on searching for their next job and direction on how to find resources and training. Participants also post searchable resumes in the state’s job database. We’ve seen great results. Nebraska sees fewer individuals exhaust their unemployment benefits as they get back to work faster. The savings have allowed us to decrease our insurance tax rate for businesses by 25 percent, saving them just under $20 million in 2017. Employers are projected to save another $7.4 million in 2018 from this change. Improving our culture to become effective, efficient, and customer-focused has allowed us to do more with less. Not only are we improving services, we’re also reducing the headcount at our state agencies. As positions open through attrition or retirement, we’re often able to close the position permanently. This has allowed us to reduce the state workforce by 500, about four percent, and eliminate over 1,500 vacant positions. Increased efficiency has stabilized costs in our state agencies, allowing us to drastically cut government growth. I’m proud to say that we managed to cut the growth of government by over 90 percent in my first three years in office, from 6.5 percent to just 0.6 percent. Challenge facing the people of Nebraska that you are working to address: The people of Nebraska are the best in the world. We have great neighborhoods that are characterized by loyalty, hard work, and family values. People love living in Nebraska. The two biggest challenges facing Nebraska involve our budget and taxes. Budget and taxes are two sides of the same coin. To have sustainable tax relief, we need to control spending. To balance our budget this year, I have proposed a two percent across-the-board cut and a four percent cut next year. This will allow us to balance our budget without raising taxes. While controlling spending, we are still prioritizing key investments like K-12 education, which we have exempted from across-the-board cuts. Controlling spending will not only allow us to balance our budget, but will also set us up for tax relief. Finally, finish this sentence: “If I could have Washington do one thing, it would be…” To pass term limits, the single most effective way to reform the culture in Washington, D.C.


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