With Matthew Clark
With Benjamin Sisney
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By Dr. Jay Sekulow
My career in constitutional law began quite unexpectedly in 1987 when, as a thirty-one-year-old attorney, I was offered the chance to argue a religious speech case that had made its way to the Supreme Court of the United States. I won that case 9–01 and quickly realized there was a legal void that needed to be filled in this country. So, in the most grassroots way possible—my wife, Pam, writing the newsletters, my sons, Jordan and Logan, helping fold and mail them from our kitchen table (which we keep in one of our offices today)—we founded a legal organization to fight for constitutionally guaranteed religious liberty. That organization is the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ).
Now, even with offices around the country and international affiliates strategically placed around the world, I never forget how it all started—on a table at home with the whole family being involved. I know that this beginning impacted Jordan's interest in politics, law, and grassroots organizing at a young age. At the time, I did not know where it would take him or that one day he would be writing a book about how to utilize the tactics he has learned to keep our conservative ideas and principles on paths to victory.
While I began my constitutional law career as a trial by fire, I did not go from one Supreme Court case to another. In fact, much of the work done between the dozen oral arguments I have presented at our nation's highest Court was carried out at a very local level. I cannot count how many city councils, county commissions, and even school boards I appeared before while advocating for our clients. Jordan attended a lot of those meetings and saw how local government decisions could ultimately end up before the Supreme Court. In a sense, these experiences tie directly into what this book is all about. Of course, presidential and statewide federal elections are important. Yet our local political institutions—like school boards, city councils, county commissions, and state legislatures—have a tremendous impact to this day on my work and that of my many colleagues at the ACLJ. We continue to have ACLJ attorneys appear before city councils and county commissions to protect First Amendment rights even as we have attorneys preparing cases to be heard by the Supreme Court and international tribunals.
Everyone has an opportunity to go a step further than voting in elections. By reading this book, you will learn the value of becoming involved in your local and state governments; you will likely be surprised how easy it can be to get elected at a local level or join the leadership of a county political party. By getting involved, you will make an impact that often can be felt all the way to Washington—in Congress, federal courts, and even the White House.
Pundits often say that a key to a political party's electoral success lies in fielding great candidates. Never forget that a great field of candidates includes candidates for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House, state offices, and local government offices. In fact, great local government candidates can have a direct, positive impact on their communities. Do a good job locally and your constituents will likely look to you for guidance on whom to vote for in top-of-the-ballot races. Thus, you truly have the opportunity to affect your city, county, and state, as well as the nation. We preach this regularly on our radio broadcast, and I just cannot underscore it enough: take the next step in civic and political involvement and the issues you care about will get attention and, ultimately, your ideas may be adopted into good laws. That's where it starts.
We also must not ignore the continued attempts to silence conservative speech. I spearheaded the ACLJ's efforts in defending and ultimately defeating the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in its much publicized attempts to stifle conservative speech by small grassroots organizations—Tea Party groups, pro-life organizations, and various conservative organizations it perceived to be a threat to its liberal worldview. Our brave clients stood up to the IRS and won. Maybe you are beginning to notice a theme: individuals willing to go that extra step to fight against feared government institutions, and willing to take the risks that come with the fight. To file a legal action, a lawyer must have a client. At the ACLJ, our clients decide to take that next step as part of their civic duty. We just stand with them in the fight.
Today, we continue to battle the Deep State. I am pretty confident this is no longer seen as some sort of conspiracy by reasonable people willing to look past partisan politics. As Jordan's book thoroughly documents, federal bureaucrats are engaged in a very real, ongoing effort to undermine duly elected leaders because they disagree with their policies. We at the ACLJ are continuing to fight back in court;2 and, as the book will show you, we have exposed numerous attempts by Deep State actors, even in some of our nation's top law enforcement positions, to undermine our commander in chief. From the outset, Jordan and his coauthors have been directly involved in the ACLJ's Government Accountability Project and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) practice.
We will never stop fighting, but we need more of you—like-minded citizens—to take your next step in civic and political engagement. Voting is very important, but there is so much more that can be done.
Jordan and his coauthors have unique backgrounds in law and politics. While all three are attorneys, they have each spent time in the world of partisan politics—at the point where politics intersects with the law. I never imagined my son working for three presidential campaigns, dragging me out to the Iowa Caucuses along the way, all while continuing to advance in bare-knuckle politics. Grassroots is in his blood, and that makes sense, but I have been proud to see him rise through the ranks of local and statewide races to reach the top tier of politics—senior presidential campaign staff.
Jordan even figured out a way to stay involved in presidential politics during his first semester in law school, when he consulted on a presidential campaign and used his semester breaks and weekends to hit the campaign trail. After one more presidential campaign under his belt, where he rose to the level of senior adviser, he rejoined the ACLJ full-time and now cohosts our daily, live radio show, Jay Sekulow Live, with me. Often, Jordan hosts the show while I am away for a trial or other legal matter, and he brings his unique knowledge about campaigns and politics to enrich the show for our audience.
Jordan was joined in the endeavor to write this book by two excellent coauthors. Benjamin Sisney serves as senior counsel for litigation and public policy at the ACLJ's Washington, D.C., office, following five years in private practice, a judicial clerkship for a United States district judge, and a legal fellowship for a U.S. senator on Capitol Hill. Matthew Clark serves as senior counsel for digital advocacy at the ACLJ. Previously, he served as a judicial law clerk for the chief judge of the Court of Appeals of Virginia. He has worked on multiple statewide political campaigns, including two election recounts. He has authored pieces for the Washington Post, Washington Times, and Washington Examiner while also serving as a contributing editor to RedState.com. At Regent University, he cofounded and served as editor in chief of the Regent Journal of Law and Public Policy, a legal publication he cofounded with Jordan. Jordan, Matt, and Ben are all graduates of Regent University School of Law.
The message of this book is critical. Elections have consequences. The president nominates and the U.S. Senate confirms Supreme Court justices. A successful conservative presidential campaign is great…but not if that new president is stonewalled by Congress every step of the way legislatively—via nominations, and even by pointless, distracting investigations that lead nowhere.
I am proud of my son's accomplishments and believe this book is so important, now more than ever, in providing a guide to future conservative victories. There will always be electoral setbacks, but many of those can be corrected in two to four years. That's the beauty of the American governmental structure that our founders so wisely built for us. But our political opponents evolve with the times. The time to prepare for a new form of political battle is now.
Young or old, you will learn a lot from this book and come away feeling encouraged about the power you have to put our conservative ideas into action.
You are about to learn how to get involved, how to win, how to combat the Deep State, how to expose and avoid fake news, and how to defeat the radical Left's agenda. Start reading. There's no time to waste.
Preparing for the Next
Red Wave—Winds Are Forming
The next red wave is coming: November 3, 2020.
The Deep State bureaucracy—while certainly weakened over the last few years by investigations, firings, and scandals—will stop at nothing to undermine the conservative agenda, even when that's the agenda chosen by the American voter. The liberal bureaucracy will continue to work alongside former liberal government officials from, yes, the Obama-Biden administration and Team Clinton. In the upcoming election, the Left's most prized goal is not to win control of the U.S. Senate, maintain control of the U.S. House of Representatives, obtain a majority of the governors' mansions, or win a tremendous number of state and local races. For liberal activists, those objectives are completely secondary, if they are on their minds at all. Goal Number 1—exclusively—will be defeating President Donald J. Trump, by whatever means necessary.
A red wave that surpasses the turnout figures of the historic 2016 election will be the only way for conservatives to win back the House, keep control of the Senate, and most important, keep President Trump in the White House.
Our opponents won't be caught off guard by President Trump again. I promise you, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and liberal, activist organizations began working on plans to defeat President Trump in 2020 before he was even inaugurated in 2017. In fact, we1 have evidence of FBI officials attempting to undermine President Trump as he was preparing to take the oath of office back in 2016 and continuing those activities after he became commander in chief.
The radical Left relentlessly forces its liberal agenda on the American people. Even when Republican majorities controlled both houses of Congress, the deck felt stacked against us. The confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, while ultimately successful on the thinnest of margins, were a good reminder of the chaos liberals can cause, even when they are in the minority. Since Justice Kavanaugh's confirmation, liberals have taken the House of Representatives. While that will not affect nominations requiring Senate confirmation, like cabinet positions and judicial nominees, it will—in the short term—affect conservative legislative priorities. We need to deliver to our President a solid, conservative House and keep building on our successes in the Senate.
Sure, even when the Republicans controlled the House and the Senate, we were frustrated. We were so close to repealing all of Obamacare and defunding Planned Parenthood, yet the Republican majorities failed us. In fact, we almost lost the Kavanaugh confirmation because of a weak, RINO (Republican In Name Only) Senate majority. This is why we are not just blindly calling for the election of Republican majorities; we're calling for the election of conservative majorities in both houses of Congress.
We deserve better. All Americans deserve better. We deserve the legislative priorities we voted for in 2016, and we have a president willing to sign those priorities into law. We face a real uphill battle against fired-up Democrats, from the moderates to the far Left, and at least two years of a divided Congress.
The so-called progressives too often succeed in forcing their leftist agenda on the American people, while the Republican majority we elected relies, with some exceptions, on President Trump to accomplish their goals. It is one reason why the House was lost to the Democrats in 2018.
President Trump has done a great job, but he needs a Congress that is willing to fully implement the policies he was elected to enact. Republicans in Congress, especially Republican majorities, cannot be wasted, as they were in the immediate aftermath of President Trump's victory. We saw a Republican majority House and Senate unable to deliver on key conservative goals. One example is the repeal of Obamacare.
While we are thankful that many so-called moderate Republicans have chosen to retire, it will take a red wave in 2020 to get the legislative agenda back on track so that the burden does not fall completely on President Trump.
He is working tirelessly for the American people, willing to cut bipartisan deals, but the Left wants none of it. The Left's goal is to defeat President Trump, who is arguably the most effective Republican president in decades. He is effective because he doesn't play by the old rules, which conservatives have opposed for many years. He is draining the swamp, and it is our job to fight alongside him against the Left, the elitist (and, dare we say, fake news) mainstream media, the Democrats, and the Deep State bureaucracy.
We deserve politicians who keep their promises. Aren't their promises the reason we took the trouble to go to the polls to vote for them? The only way to force action and hold our elected officials accountable is to know the issues and engage the political process. But doing that requires more than just fulfilling our civic duty at the ballot box. It requires being actively engaged in public discourse between elections. Battles—important battles—are won far more often in the court of public opinion than in any federal courtroom. These battles affect our lives every day.
If we allow broken political promises, political apathy, and the virus of bureaucratic deception to continue to erode the conservative agenda we chose, we could quickly lose the strong America we have been building since the 2016 election. Remember, we have already lost the House. Everything is on the table in 2020.
It's time to fight back and come together to generate the next red wave. We can't wait another moment. Now is the time to do it. It really is up to us. The clock is ticking. With President Trump's energy and willingness to relentlessly campaign and fight for the ideas we believe in, the wind is forming to create the next red wave.
Yet we must not forget that the Deep State bureaucracy will stop at nothing to undermine the conservative agenda—even when that's the agenda chosen by you, the American voter. You didn't elect the bureaucracy, but does it matter? The radical Left continues to ferociously force its liberal agenda on the American people. The radical Left is relentless. Why aren't we? The liberal, elitist mainstream media is muddling the truth with fake news and leftist propaganda. Whom can you trust? The Republican majority in both houses of Congress that was elected has, so far, proven itself incompetent—both feckless in its convictions and ineffective in accomplishing even the slightest reforms. Because of that, Republicans lost the House to leftist Democrats bent on destroying everything we have been building.
The deck seems stacked against us. It is. We deserve better.
America will never be perfect. But it can be better. A lot better. Yet if the America of tomorrow is better than the America of today, that is a victory. How much better depends on you.
There are things you can do, actions you can take to make America better. But it doesn't start in Washington. Yes, we hope the current administration, along with a stronger conservative majority in the Senate, can radically reform, repeal, and replace outdated, liberal policies and the out-of-control bureaucracy. But we're realists. Washington never really fixes anything. It starts right where you are. Without control of the House, that statement has never been truer for conservatives.
Think about it. Our political system allows us to choose our decision makers. But it does not allow us to control the decisions they make. We elect them, but they, not us, are the ones who actually make the decisions that shape our communities, our states, and our nation.
Those decisions come in the form of committee votes, council resolutions, budgets, legislation, amendments to legislation, directives, executive orders, and special appointments. Even when we vote yes or no on state questions and ballot referenda, we might think that we decided them. But guess who voted to include (or not to include) that question on the ballot? And guess who drafted the language of the question in order to make it more or less appealing? That was done by the decision makers we elected.
Some of these decisions make headlines. Many of them, however, do not. They just happen. Quietly. In a city council session you never heard about. So while we are right to focus on the presidential, House, and Senate races in 2020, we must never forget the importance of local races—right down to city council and school board.
After all, we are working forty, sixty, maybe even eighty hours a week, raising a family, and paying bills. Some of us are taking evening classes at the local university or community college to better our lives. Others are taking care of an elderly parent or perhaps a family member who needs some extra care. Some of us have our own medical challenges. We try to stay active in our churches and places of worship. And wow, our kids' sports teams sure have a lot of practices. We vote every November, or at least most Novembers.
By the time Saturday arrives, the last thing in the world we want to do is call our representative and leave a voicemail message to express why we want him or her to vote a certain way on an amendment to somebody's bill that's going to be heard by some committee next week.
But then, when the next week rolls around, we skim a headline in the paper or on our phone announcing that committee's vote that amended a bill to spend state money (which means our money) on abortions. And we think to ourselves, "That's horrible. That's not what I wanted my representative to do. How in the world did that happen?"
Even worse, the news media may not want you to know that your state or local government decided to spend your hard-earned tax dollars promoting abortion, so the headline might use terms like "reproductive health" or "family planning" in describing the latest measure passed.
But even when we have an idea of what's going on behind the scenes, by the time we get off work on a typical night, the last thing we want to do is drive over to the city council building to attend a hearing or go to a precinct meeting to vote on our county's party leadership or platform. Then, months later, we hear the news that our party voted somebody into leadership who is well known for being hostile to homeschooling or religious schools. And we mention to our spouse, "Can you believe what's happening to our party?"
We are tired. And understandably so. There's only so much gas in the tank. It's just too much. But we have time to recharge right now. Time to recruit great candidates up and down the ballot. The 2018 elections should be a wakeup call. While conservatives fared well in many statewide races, they fared poorly in the House, where Democrats seized the majority. This is a House Democrat majority bent on investigating every action by the executive branch; their leadership has no interest in legislating and some of their far-left members are calling for the President of the United States to be impeached because they don't like his policies.
Regardless, we do more than choose our decision makers. Choosing them, by voting, is a critical first step. But it's just the first step. We have the right, the privilege, and the moral obligation not just to choose them, but also to influence them once they are in office.
Decision makers are listening to somebody when they make the decisions. It sure better be us.
You can be certain others are clamoring for their attention, and exerting pressure in obvious and subtle ways. Special interests. Lobbyists. They're all fighting for a seat at the table. Shouldn't we?
So let us not overlook something here that is critically important: we get to choose our decision makers. Stop and think about that for a moment. Don't take that for granted. Do you realize how incredible that is? Citizens of this country are recipients of such a special gift. So many people living elsewhere in the world could hardly comprehend not only our freedoms, but our ability to choose our leaders. But we have to actually choose them. That means we have to vote.
It's not just a right. It's not just a civic exercise. Our vote is actually a sacred duty. Because it's a God-given right, it is a responsibility, even a biblical calling. If God has blessed us to live in a land where "we the people" are the government, and God has established and ordained the government, then it becomes our spiritual responsibility to vote. "Vote your conscience" isn't just a catchphrase. It's a biblical imperative.
The next red wave won't happen overnight. It won't happen in one race. It won't happen in one state. It won't happen by casting just one vote. It will require each and every one of us to engage—to really engage. That means doing more than just going to the polls on Election Day and pulling the lever for one of the names in front of you. The next red wave is about far more than just voting. That's why we wrote this book. It's not for politicians—though they could certainly learn from it. It's for you. It's for we the people. You can make the difference. You can be the difference. You can see we are up against a lot, but we can win. Again.
Elections Have Consequences
Elections have consequences. Every election matters. We can't overstate the importance of that truth. If you need another reminder, remember 2018 and look to the current Democrat Speaker of the House.
Those consequences extend beyond the federal level.
Our county commissioners dictate tax breaks, benefits, and services for groups whose philosophy and mission we strongly agree with or strongly disagree with.
For example, many county commissions exert authority over zoning decisions. Sometimes this authority is exercised by zoning boards or some municipal (city or town) form of government. These zoning authorities often grant permission to groups that we don't want in our communities allowing them to do business in them anyway. Yet, ironically, the same boards may deny permission to entities whose presence and influence we do want, such as churches, Bible-study groups, and faith-based ministries.
Sometimes, a zoning authority's decisions are based on partisan political animus or even fear of retribution from the PC police, favoring the latest politically correct religion—let's say Islam—over a disfavored religion—let's say Christianity. The zoning board could vote to provide county services—such as extending water and sewer lines—to an Islamic community center in a rural community, while refusing to do the same for numerous area churches.1
In other cases, it's not necessarily animosity per se toward religion that drives these hostile zoning decisions. Many times, it's just the bottom line. Money.
Religious organizations enjoy certain tax exemptions, and they do not typically generate a taxable product or service. As a result, their presence within a town, city, county, or district simply does not generate the same amount of revenue that a commercial enterprise would generate operating in that same space. The result, however, is the same. Disfavor toward religion—in this case manifested by greed.
Religion-based organizations often face uphill battles when they try to find places to fulfill their calling and serve their communities. They often face challenges when they need to move and when it is time to expand into a bigger structure.2 Do we want our local governments to make it difficult for these groups to carry out their missions? Did we even know it was happening? Have we directly asked our state and local governments to explain their positions to us on these issues?
On a different front, our city, county, and state governments siphon our wallets dry in unfathomable ways. But we must begin to fathom their reach. We must begin to realize just how influential local and state governments are when it comes to our communities. Yes, in 2020 it is critical to reelect President Trump, maintain a conservative Senate majority, and retake the U.S. House. But we cannot forget what's going on right at home in our communities. If we are going to get involved, let's get completely engaged—educate ourselves on the issues, participate in grassroots activism, and ultimately, persuade our friends, neighbors, and colleagues to get out and vote.
- On Sale
- Sep 24, 2019
- Page Count
- 288 pages
- Center Street