Conservatives missed the mark in bank crisis response

Illustration by Dado Ruvic via Reuters

By Maggie Stalnecker

Throughout the past week, we have seen the shutdown of several large banks and their subsequent takeover by the federal government. At the time this article was written, both Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank have been taken over by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and this has created a troublesome outlook for the near future of both the stock and banking markets. Before the shutdown, SVB was the sixteenth largest bank in the United States, and Signature held nearly $110.36 billion in assets and $88.59 billion in deposits. This has created the second and third-largest bank failures in US history, respectively, and sent the financial markets into a tailspin. 

As the fallout from this situation continues, criticism has arisen on both sides of the political aisle. Liberal politicians blamed the actions of former President Donald Trump, claiming that his deregulatory policies, especially his repeal of certain provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, set the stage for this collapse. Meanwhile, conservative politicians and commentators have already pointed fingers at the supposedly “woke” bank boards they claim have become more focused on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) policies, rather than maintaining a capable board of directors. 

The Wall Street Journal recently published an opinion by Andy Hessler headlined “Who Killed Silicon Valley Bank?” Mr. Hessler argued that one of the many reasons for the SVB failure was that its board has been too focused on DEI initiatives. Meanwhile, the extremely popular conservative Instagram personality Rogan O’Handley, who goes by “DC Draino,” flooded his page last Sunday and Monday with calls to “just let the woke banks fail”. At the same time, Fox News commentators like Tucker Carlson doubled down on the same argument, blaming wokeness and woke policies for the bank failures. 

This was a big misstep in messaging from the right during a time when conservatives could have offered solutions, stepped in with leadership alternatives, or allowed the actions of the left to speak for itself. Instead, prominent figureheads on the right, including 2024 presidential hopefuls like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Mr. Trump, chose to use this as an opportunity to point fingers and approach the situation with a smug attitude.

While it is true that the increasing focus on both ESG and DEI policies are unwise and inefficient ways to conduct business, and the actions of the banks, the government, and President Joe Biden should certainly not be praised or glorified, either, what ultimately led to the bank collapses was actually the result of gross mismanagement, complicated financial situations, and an incredible lack of risk management, combined with the current tumultuous state of the US economy. The insistence from conservatives to blame only “wokeness” for this disaster is highly embarrassing and insensitive, especially when the facts prove several other factors are primarily to blame.

As an accounting major, I believe that a primary focus on ESG investing is not only ignorant but is one of the factors leading us toward the social credit score system. I also believe that government bailouts should not be considered and that liberal politicians are too quick to offer government assistance when a crisis arises. 

However, Republican leadership should have done a much better job managing its response to this crisis. Instead, the GOP did what is too often done in politics: pointed fingers and said “I told you so” when something happened while the “other side” was in charge. This could have been a major opportunity to rise above, take action, offer solutions, and be the party providing  Americans–many confused and fearful–clear direction in a tumultuous time.

Something has to change in politics if we want our country to improve. We are a great nation that is currently caught in a downward spiral of name-calling and accusations. Conservatives have an opportunity to set themselves apart and have a chance at gaining power again in the next election cycle. But in order to do that, we have to be different and be the people standing up and acknowledging that there is a mess, while laying out a clear, feasible plan for success. 

The conservative response to this situation was a missed opportunity to rise above and show what real leadership looks like in the face of a disastrous economic failure. Now is the time to take the lead and offer helpful solutions and goals, rather than lambast the left and the president every chance we get.

Ms. Stalnecker is a senior at Chapman University. She is majoring in accounting.

What Happened to the Red Wave?

Photo Credit: FiveThirtyEight/Getty Images

By Maggie Stalnecker

The political “Red Wave” the country expected ahead of the midterm elections last week turned out to be nothing more than a small tide, even with the highest inflation rates the country has seen in nearly 40 years, unscientific Covid lockdowns, and skyrocketing crime. It turns out that many of the major, pre-election polling outlets, such as CNN and FiveThirtyEight, determined that the economy was sure to be a top issue among voters, and the solution seemed to be to elect Republican candidates to the available House and Senate seats. However, it now seems that other issues and priorities took precedence for voters in many swing states. In fact, Democrats retained control of the Senate, and many Republican candidates who were favored to win their races, such as Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and Pennsylvania Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz, lost. If last week’s election results confirmed one thing, it’s that Americans have decided that emotionally-charged topics like climate change, abortion, and gun control hold more importance than whether they can afford gas or groceries.   

For example, the states that had abortion propositions on the ballot (California, Kentucky, Vermont, Michigan, and Montana) all saw their respective measures passed in favor of legal abortion procedures. Montana’s ballot measure, which would have simply mandated that a baby born alive after a failed abortion be afforded the medical care of a legal person, was even rejected. While these ballot measures are constitutionally correct in reserving the abortion vote to the states, it is still a sad statement on where our country has decided to place its value. It’s discouraging and disheartening, to say the least, to see unity in this specific area during an election that was otherwise lacking.

Despite the fact that these election results did not come close to meeting expectations for Republicans, all is not lost for conservatives. They recently took over control of the House of Representatives, ending Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s disastrous reign as Speaker of the House. Because of this, Republicans will have more sway in the Legislative branch, dividing government and impeding the Democrats’ agenda. This is not nearly the “Red Wave” that was predicted before the election, but it does signal a political swing among the American people. Candidates like Stacey Abrams and Beto O’Rourke, who have been running for office for several election cycles, were again defeated, showing that those in their respective states still will not be persuaded by condescension and pandering. This is an indication that some voters, at least, are ready for a change and willing to take the necessary action to move toward electing officials with the policies to make that happen.

It will be interesting to see what these results mean for the elections in 2024. With former President Donald Trump announcing his campaign to run for president once again, we are sure to see another election cycle full of emotion, division, and political excitement. As the economy will likely continue on its current path and a probable Supreme Court vacancy will occur over the next few years, it will be up to the American people, yet again, to make a decision about what is important to them in the leaders that we elect. 

In the meantime, Republicans need to take a hard look at who they are putting support behind, which candidates actually have the ability to win over the American people, and how they can unify, rather than divide their own party. Supporting a greater number of candidates that are younger, represent their constituencies well, and can provide viable, practical solutions to the very real problems that Americans are facing is needed and will ultimately win elections. As a country, we must stay informed, know the issues, and study how they will affect us so that we can finally see change happen for the better.

Ms. Stalnecker is a senior at Chapman University. She is majoring in accounting.

The Rise of Socialism in Gen Z America

Photo Credit: Democratic Socialists of America

By Charlie Sisk

To any young conservative, it should come as no surprise that there is a larger push from the political left to switch America’s economic system to that of a “democratic socialist” one. This mentality was almost unheard of a few decades ago, even when there was a prominence of communists living within the United States. However, widespread support for socialist policies and a shift away from capitalism didn’t happen until Generation Z, comprised of those born between the late ‘90s and 2012, came of age.

The largest factor in this newfound interest in socialism is the lack of knowledge about socialist policies. Many, if not all, individuals in Gen Z grew up with their parents talking about their childhoods during the Cold War and their grandparents sharing stories of the USSR and other socialist countries that sought to destroy the United States. So, why is the new generation so upset with the capitalist system? A strong appeal to the uneducated masses, lack of historical knowledge, the rise of woke-ness, and idealism are just some of the many reasons America is seeing an uptick of young socialists.

“It wasn’t real socialism/communism” is an expression many are familiar with as the main talking point for any socialist; however it was real socialism. In fact, the past has shown us that the socialist USSR reaped the consequences, which included the death of millions, economic ruin, and starving citizens. While socialism might seem good in theory compared to capitalism, the latter has helped millions of people out of poverty, created jobs, aided scientific and medical research, and preserved the rights and freedoms of the individual. As Forbes explains it, socialism is a “three-act ‘people’s romance.’” 

The first act points to socialism’s short run success in the past and how it might function in an economy like Finland, Denmark, or Sweden. In fact, Sweden has begun to roll back much of its historically socialist practices, citing economic ruin. The second act pertains to excuses. Socialists try to find reasons to justify why certain factors, such as how acts of god are the sole reason for widespread food shortages and economic ruin that led to the downfall of a particular socialist system. The third and final act is the aforementioned phrase: “it wasn’t real socialism”.

The left’s incorporation of woke-ness into its political theory is also a leading cause of socialism rising in the new generation. It comes under the guise of “equity” and “progressivism,” both of which originated as leftist social movements but quickly devolved into calls to “get rid of the system” simply because proponents disagree with it. Socialism’s history, however, will clearly show the opposite is true. If equity and equality means that top government officials get bountiful amounts of food and housing while the rest of the country is starving and homeless, then socialism is exactly what the left wants. But why would the American left, which is a self described “party of change” (and has consistently advocated for more and more government control), want to subjugate the American population to socialism? If they truly want to help the American people, they should focus less on trying to get rid of capitalism and more on real solutions to current issues facing the nation.

Is our country in danger? Arguably, yes. The majority of lies propagated by radical leftists stems from decades of misinformation and fallacies. A simple, elementary understanding of history will prove that socialism has not worked, and it never will. Until we can collaborate to combat these dangerous lies, more misinformed young people will continue to gravitate towards these baseless ideas.

For anyone looking for some reading material about this topic, I found a great 2019 book about the rise of socialism in the United Kingdom by Dr. Kristian Niemietz. It can be downloaded for free here.

Mr. Sisk is a freshman at Chapman University. He is majoring in political science.

The Erroneous Solutions of Tateism

Photo Credit: Andrew Tate’s Instagram

By Guillermo Orozco

Emory Andrew Tate III, known to his fans as “Top G,” is a 35-five-year-old British-American former kickboxer who has become well-known for his Internet personality. His messages resonate with younger men and often revolve around wealth, careers, women, and dating. His advice, which often encourages men to be with women simply for their status and beauty, has gained him popularity and led to much controversy. Despite his often outlandish claims about women, only few of them are valid.

Men and women have unique strengths and weaknesses. For example, a man should protect and lead the relationship while his wife advises him. This is part of our innate biology, but modern-day feminists, who continue to make provenly false claims that there is a gender wage gap, condone single motherhood and discouragement of masculinity.

Therefore, Mr. Tate’s statement that “the most dangerous men on Earth are the Weak men” is far from outlandish. There must be an abundant supply of strong men for society to function correctly. And it is true that teaching men to be weak and emotionally driven leads to disastrous societal ramifications regarding crime and violence, particularly in young men. Growing and wielding the physical strength men have been gifted, which society has failed to produce and has even discouraged, will benefit a strong family unit. However, Mr. Tate has some flawed views, especially regarding dating.

In an episode clip of Stand Out TV, he stated that “there is nothing intriguingly wrong with women doing only fans,” as long as he gets some of that money. Further, he revealed that within a relationship, he believes that a woman belongs to the man and everything that he profits from, especially things of sexual nature. However, this is an erroneous claim because he disregards the sanctification of sexuality and the private purpose of that unique bond within the confines of marriage. Allowing your spouse to sell their bodies to someone else as meat is disordered and abominable. 

Mr. Tate’s endorsement of polygamy is also problematic. In the podcast on the YMH clip with Tom Segura and Cristina P,  he states that “Every single king, sultan, and shake since the dawn of human time had multiple women. Men are allowed, multiple women… under the will of God, I can walk and have ten wives behind me. It’s perfectly acceptable”. However, a 2020 study from the University of British Columbia revealed that polygamous societies have “contributed to higher levels of crime, violence, poverty, and gender inequality than in societies which institutionalize monogamous marriage.” This is because the family unit is ruined, disregarding the idea of a mother and a father and encouraging a man to be with many women. Thus, children have a higher likelihood of being neglected by their fathers.

Mr. Tate is incorrect, as God has not willed it. Christ performs the perfect union in Matthew 9:3: “a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh…the one who is able to accept this, let him accept it.” Abraham, Jacob, and David had many wives; however, Mr. Tate doesn’t seem to understand that Jesus perfected the law by restating the marriage as monogamous.  

Though parts of his ideas are valid, Mr. Tate preaches a mostly prideful and self-indulging lifestyle of sexual promiscuity and materialism. No young man should ever take him seriously as a role model. Faithful men are humble and meek, chaste and self-controlling. 

Mr. Orozco is a sophomore at Chapman University. He is majoring in creative writing.

President Biden’s Foreign Policy Failures

Photo Credit: Getty/The Atlantic

By Ethan Oppenheim

President Joe Biden’s incompetence is obvious. While some of his daily slip-ups and missteps might be funny, they’re also embarrassing and a sign of weakness, lack of awareness, and ineptitude. They demonstrate Mr. Biden’s inability to lead not just the United States, but the entire free world. Below are just some instances of his disastrous foregin policy thus far:

The Afghanistan withdrawal

In Aug. 2021, the Biden administration coordinated a withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, and the radical Islamic military and political group known as the Taliban quickly took power, leading to severe instability in the region. The group has since rolled back years of reforms related to democracy, women’s rights, and equality that persisted during United States occupation. In addition to the suffering of millions of Afghani citizens, including but not limited to the Taliban sexually enslaving women and girls, thousands of Americans were left behind, leading to a haphazard rescue effort in which 13 US service members were killed

Russo-Ukraine war

In April, 2021, Russia began deploying thousands of troops, as well as weaponry and military equipment, along Ukraine’s border. Mr. Biden’s Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, even acknowledged this was extremely problematic. “We’re now seeing the largest concentration of Russian forces on Ukraine’s borders since 2014,” said Mr. Blinken, when the buildup first began to take place. “That is a deep concern not only to Ukraine, but to the United States.”

Clearly, the Biden administration knew that Russia intended to act maliciously in deploying troops and weaponry along Ukraine’s border. However, the president refused to act until it was too late. He did not send a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin that this kind of reckless behavior would not be tolerated. Mr. Biden’s negotiations on the issue of Ukraine failed at the June 2021 Russia-United States Summit in Geneva, Switzerland. Additionally, Mr. Biden failed to coordinate with our NATO allies to amass protection for Ukraine, which is the least he could have done.

The administration had over 10 months to deter, or at least prepare for, Russia’s impending invasion of Ukraine. Instead, they chose the passive route, refusing to act decisively and allowing Mr. Putin to act maliciously. And unfortunately, this culminated in Russia’s abhorrent, illegal, and destructive invasion of Ukraine.

Mr. Putin’s invasion has caused massive devastation to Ukraine and its people, with several cities being destroyed and millions of civilians being displaced. According to the United Nations, at least 12 million people have fled their homes in Ukraine. Over the course of the war, more evidence of serious war crimes committed by Russia has been uncovered.

While Mr. Biden should be commended for his success in rallying NATO and uniting the Western world behind supporting Ukraine (which should be expected from the leader of the free world), he has backed down from taking decisive action in numerous cases that could have otherwise prevented needless deaths.

After Russia shifted its strategy entirely toward the East, Mr. Biden had the opportunity to persuade NATO to enforce no-fly zones over the Western and Northern regions of Ukraine, especially Kyiv. Not doing so has allowed Russia to target civilians in Kyiv and over 40 other major cities in retaliation for Ukraine striking a major supply line crucial to Russia’s war effort. In addition, the Biden administration has been reluctant to supply Ukraine with longer-range missiles in what is another pathetic example of letting Mr. Putin dictate the terms of the ongoing conflict. 

Mr. Biden’s failure to prevent OPEC+ from cutting oil production

Over the summer, Mr. Biden met with the Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman. One of Mr. Biden’s primary goals was to encourage Saudi Arabia to increase oil production. However, it appears that Mr. Biden knew Saudi Arabia was planning to slash oil production, and the Saudi Foreign Affairs Ministry suggested in a statement that the Biden administration asked them to postpone its decision until after the midterm elections in November.

While Mr. Biden has threatened retaliatory measures against Saudi Arabia, he has yet to follow through on his promise or even explain his plan to punish the Saudis. Mr. Biden’s failure to dissuade Saudi Arabia from tightening the global oil supply will have a devastating impact on American families at the pump. It could have been avoided simply by asserting American strength and influence to deter Saudi Arabia rather than letting a corrupt dictator determine what Americans pay for gas.

Since the start of his presidency, Mr. Biden’s foreign policy strategy has been one of passivity, allowing foreign leaders who show a lack of regard for international law and human rights to dictate international relations. If Mr. Biden’s goal is to maintain world peace and preserve human rights, equality, democracy, and liberal values, clearly his strategy has not worked out thus far.

Mr. Oppenheim is a junior at Chapman University. He is majoring in political science and philosophy and minoring in film music and history.

Letter to the Editor: Martha’s Vineyard Stunt Shows Republican Party’s Decline

Photo Credit: USA Today

On Oct. 3, The Hesperian published an abysmal op-ed titled “Martha’s Vineyard Deserved It,” by Jordan Rosenberg, which perfectly characterizes the cognitive and philosophical decline of the political right. There are a myriad of interesting quotes in Mr. Rosenberg’s article. First, he credits illegal immigration as a root cause of “drug overdoses, rape, and murder.” He also blames coastal elites for immigration: “it is about time that East Coast elitists, who live in their privileged bubble, wake up to the problem of illegal immigration.” 

The Republican Party has seemed to follow the mental deterioration of their beloved President Donald Trump, a man who some may describe as a corrupt plutocrat with a bad wig. Statistics show that from 2007 to 2017, the number of undocumented Mexicans living in the US dropped from 6.9 million to 4.8 million; from 2010 to 2019, there was also an overall decline from 11.7 million to 10.3 million illegals in the country. Furthermore, the amount of unauthorized immigrant crossings has been on a steady decline for the last 10 years. In addition, over the past decade, the amount of immigrants living in immigration hotspots like California has decreased by millions. 

Therefore, the Martha’s Vineyard fiasco is a convenient talking point for the right and a distraction from real progress, away from the reactionist “Trump Right” towards centrist moderation. “Moderate” may not be a popular word in 2022, but moderates will continue to be proved correct as the Republican Party disintegrates before our very eyes, and Mr. Rosenberg’s article is a perfect example of this terminal decline. Well, guess what? Mexicans have just as much a right to be in Martha’s Vineyard as wealthy conservatives from Newport Coast do to vacation in Cabo. So why are conservatives so angry about Mexicans visiting Martha’s Vineyard, one of America’s most luxurious places? This indicates a more significant issue with the Republican Party: they claim to represent down-to-Earth, middle America, while pulling funding from billionaires, corporate lobbyists, and the elite. While climate change destroys crops, these same elites drive gas-guzzling monstrosities (think your typical Jeep Cherokee or Cadillac Escalade) while decrying electric vehicles.   

It’s convenient to cherry-pick anecdotal evidence and generalize it to seem part of a more significant trend. Real Republicans are more concerned about pressing issues such as energy prices and America’s stagnating economy than race-baiting. And let’s face it, that’s what this is. Govs. Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbot worry more about political points than real issues, like a child who didn’t get the gift he wanted for Christmas. 

-A Concerned Republican 

Biden is to Blame for America’s Decline

Photo Credit: Dominic Lipinski/Time Magazine

By Maggie Stalnecker

As an American, perhaps the most disheartening occurrence at Queen Elizabeth’s funeral last week was watching President Joe Biden seated in the 14th row of the Westminster Abbey and his refusal to offer any public condolences to her family ahead of the event. His actions in the past two weeks are a reminder of how far he has caused the United States to decline as a world power since taking office almost two years ago. 

Mr. Biden damaged our reputation internationally after his sloppy withdrawal of our country’s troops from Afghanistan last year. Not to mention, his forced vaccine mandates for federal employees and mask requirements on public transportation as a response to the coronavirus pandemic threatened our freedoms and put some people’s wellbeing at risk. Both instances very publicly represent the poor leadership and decision making skills that our president possesses. We are little more than a joke to the rest of the world. 

Historically, the United States has supported democracy and freedom internationally due to our strong position as a country. We have been a forceful influence abroad and have supported other countries when appropriate. Domestically, we used to put the safety and security of our country first, focusing on our well-being as a nation before anything else. However, Mr. Biden has been doing the opposite. 

Instead of proposing common sense solutions for issues, such as record-high inflation, the border, and the homelessness crisis, Mr. Biden decided that it was appropriate to send billions of dollars overseas, only further involving us in foreign conflicts and affairs. 

In a recent speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Mr. Biden addressed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s threat to use nuclear weapons. While this address would have been a perfect opportunity to stand up to a bully and positively reposition the United States, Mr. Biden spent a majority of his speech talking about the money the United States is going to send abroad for climate reform.

Mr. Biden’s predecessor, former president Donald Trump, was also a great divider in politics, causing even those within his own political party to fight and disagree. His presidency, along with the polarizing influence of the media, led to rifts within families and ended friendships, but we were able to feel physically safe and secure within our borders with Mr. Trump as our Commander-in-chief. 

We had the ability to voice our opinions, protest, and freely demonstrate our beliefs because we live in a free country and had a leader whose priority was protecting those freedoms. He displayed countless times that he prioritized Americans’ safety and wellbeing, such as when he secured the border and offered major tax cuts to corporations. He demonstrated that he took the interests of our nation seriously. Additionally, his “America First” policies of focusing on our own interests, updating our outdated treaties with other countries, and implementing financial policies to help put us on the path to compete with China showed that he cared about putting the United States first. We took a stronger stance against China and the Communist party, provided support for Taiwan, and continued to push back against the Taliban’s tyrannical rule in areas between Iraq and Syria, maintaining respect and igniting fear in our enemies. These are actions that promote democracy and encourage freedom around the world. But, most of all, Trump reminded us that, despite our faults, we are the greatest country in the world and should believe nothing less.  

If the United States is to regain respect and its place as a leader and influencer in the world, we need a leader who protects our interests, keeps our borders secure, and promotes the well being of the American economy. We need a leader that makes moves and implements policies that support democracy and freedom. We need a president who can speak coherently and present ideas clearly, rather than the absent-minded, embarrassing president we have now.

Ms. Stalnecker is a senior at Chapman University. She is majoring in accounting.

An Objective View of the Mar-a-Lago Raid

Photo Credit: Department of Justice/CNBC

By Ethan Oppenheim

Both sides of the political aisle are exploding over the ongoing investigation into former President Donald Trump’s possession of confidential documents that the FBI seized from his Mar-a-Lago residence last month. Democrats and those on the left claim that Mr. Trump’s actions are a violation of several laws, including the Espionage Act, and that they obstructed justice and put national security at risk. On the other hand, some Republicans and allies of the former president claim that President Joe Biden’s administration, particularly Attorney General Merrick Garland, is weaponizing the Department of Justice in an effort to dig up dirt on a political opponent. But what both sides fail to see is that the two may not necessarily be mutually exclusive. In fact, both sides may have legitimate claims.

On Aug. 8, the FBI executed a search warrant at Mr. Trump’s Florida residence, citing Sections 2071, 1519, and 793 of Title 18, which relate to the mismanagement of government documents or obstruction of justice, as grounds for it. Of the 13 boxes of evidence the FBI seized that day, over 100 of the documents had classified markings, some of which were even labeled “top secret.” Clearly, the FBI has valid reasons to question Mr. Trump. 

Mr. Trump, however, claims that the president reserves the power of declassification and that he used it to declassify the documents in his possession. However, as legal experts have pointed out, there needs to be “traces of such a decision,” and all federal agencies should be aware if documents are declassified. Regardless, this poses the question of whether declassifying documents justifies Mr. Trump having stored sensitive national defense information at his residence at all.

But even if this claim holds and one were to take the position that his actions do not directly violate any laws on the books, the fact that they have the potential to put national security at risk is enough reason to be concerned over his actions. Further, Mr. Trump taking hundreds of highly confidential documents to his residence without notice and refusing to comply with investigators for months is undoubtedly problematic as well.

However, the former president isn’t the only one Americans deserve answers from. Those who are questioning the fairness of this investigation have legitimate reasons to do so. For one, a majority of the Justice Department’s heavily-redacted affidavit regarding the FBI’s approved search warrant was left blacked out, leaving many outstanding questions unanswered. Further, the FBI previously spent nearly three years investigating Mr. Trump’s collusion with Russia and their interference in the 2016 presidential election. The Mueller Probe concluded that there was no evidence of collusion with the Russian government, suggesting that the FBI’s actions in targeting Mr. Trump may have been politically motivated to begin with (something the Durham probe is currently looking into). Given these troubling facts, it is fair for Americans to demand transparency from the federal government.

Some who defend the investigation have argued that full transparency would only further put national security at risk and that there are certain things that should be kept confidential, not just to preserve the integrity of the investigation and to prevent it from being compromised, but also to keep those involved in the investigation safe. While this claim is legitimate, the unprecedented circumstances surrounding this case, specifically the fact that a Democrat administration is conducting an investigation into the most powerful figure and likely 2024 nominee of the Republican Party, certainly warrants transparency. In addition, the current lack of transparency only lends further credence to the claims posed by Mr. Trump and his loyal allies that the investigation is nothing more than a partisan hack designed to discredit him and the Republican Party.

If Mr. Trump committed a crime, obstructed justice, or put national security at risk – and it appears that he very well might have – then he should be held accountable. However, given the FBI’s troubling history of corruption and politicization, as well as the fact that Mr. Biden’s administration is targeting its primary political opponent ahead of the 2024 elections, it is imperative that the investigation is as transparent as possible. Otherwise, this troubling affair will only result in a further exacerbation of both political polarization and distrust in not just the United States government, but its entire justice system.

Mr. Oppenheim is a junior at Chapman University. He is majoring in political science and philosophy and minoring in film music and history.

Women’s Sports In Deep Water After NCAA Transgender Ruling

Photo Credit: Brett Davis

By Kate Robinson

I will never forget the feeling of joy that my 16-year-old self felt as I stepped on to the podium with my 200-yard medley relay team after finishing third at one of the biggest high school swim invitationals of the season.

I will also never forget the excitement that coursed through my veins one year later as I sprinted across the pool deck into my teammate’s arms upon hearing that we had just made the cut to swim in the finals at the state championship meet.

But as I watched Lia Thomas, the biological male-turned-female swimmer from the University of Pennsylvania place first in the women’s 500-yard freestyle at the national championships last week, I only felt disgusted.

Disgusted at the NCAA for its lax regulations, which are the reason Thomas is competing against women to begin with. Disgusted at USA Swimming for knowingly allowing this to happen, and disgusted that society has come to a point in which we are debating the merits of whether males should be competing against females.

It shouldn’t even be a question. Thomas is a biological male who went from being a decent, mid-500s ranked swimmer across all divisions in the men’s category to transitioning to a female and becoming a national champion.

Even though Thomas followed the NCAA’s shameful rules, which only require one year of testosterone suppressant to be eligible to compete, she still has the anatomic capabilities of a male that will never go away, like a larger heart for oxygen efficiency and bigger hands and feet to pull through the water more quickly – luxuries that cisgendered women are not afforded.

Thomas has advantages over the competition, and the proof lies in her swimming times. According to John Lohn, the editor-in-chief of Swimming World Magazine, there’s nearly an 11% difference between men’s and women’s record times. Since starting her transition and completing testosterone treatment, Thomas’s times have only slowed about three to six percent, nowhere close to the 11% average. It is evident that 12 months of treatment – or even the two and a half years that Thomas completed to even out hormonal levels that her body had spent over 20 years producing – will do next to nothing to put her in a place where she can fairly compete in the women’s division.

The science is undeniable, and recognizing it doesn’t make a person “transphobic,” as one British Parliament member recently claimed. Instead, it simply makes us team players who want an equal playing field for all.

Swimmers work too hard for too long. We train hours on end for years to hopefully cut just half a second off our best times. So, I now wonder: where are the self-proclaimed feminists? Are they not alarmed that women’s sports are currently being hijacked by biological men?

Of course, I support Thomas’s right to self-identify as whatever gender she chooses and for her to live her life freely. We all should. But we also can’t ignore the women who are negatively impacted by this.

I feel for Emma Weyant, the female who took second behind Thomas in the 500 freestyle last week. She’s the true definition of a national champion in my mind and the minds of many.

I feel for Reka Gyorgy, the fifth-year senior competing in the last race of her career, who finished seventeenth in the event that Thomas placed first in. Gyorgy missed her chance to swim in the finals by one spot. This is a pain that perhaps only swimmers will understand.

But, most of all, I feel for the young girls watching the meet at home, who dream of one day becoming collegiate swimmers, too. It saddens me to think what witnessing a man beating women is teaching our next generation of swimmers about integrity, sportsmanship, confidence, and self-worth. What does this mean for the future of our sport?

I only hope that swimmers and all athletes across the country rally to take a stand against the discriminatory policies that are destroying women athletes. If we continue to allow Thomas to set a precedent for males to compete against females in the name of “equality,” then there could very soon come a day in which a biological woman never feels the joy of stepping on to the podium or the excitement of qualifying for a championship final ever again.

Ms. Robinson is a sophomore at Chapman University majoring in Strategic & Corporate Communication. She is also a member of the Chapman women’s swim team.

Joe Biden won Virginia by over 10 percentage points in 2020. So how did Republican Glenn Youngkin win the governorship one year later?

By Ethan Oppenheim

Many Americans were surprised when Virginia Republican Glenn Youngkin beat former Democratic governor incumbent Terry McAuliffe in the state’s gubernatorial election on November 2nd. Former President Barack Obama won the state by over six points in 2008 and around four points in 2012, Hillary Clinton won the state by five points in 2016, and President Joe Biden won it by over 10 points just one year ago. While Virginia has never been overwhelmingly progressive, Mr. Youngkin is the first Republican to be elected to the governor’s seat since 2009. Despite this rare victory for the GOP, Americans should not be shocked.

It is safe to assert that President Joe Biden’s role as the face of the Democratic Party played a major role in the recent Republican victory. The first major indication of the sinking national environment for Democrats is Mr. Biden’s low approval rating. According to a poll conducted by USA Today and Suffolk University, it currently sits at a meager 38%, a near 20% drop since he took office less than a year ago. The continuous drop in approval signals a change in perspective among primarily independents and moderate voters within both parties. In order to understand why this trend is taking place, it is important to look at the primary issues driving this negative trend.

According to the labor department, prices have risen significantly over the past year in many key categories, including rent (2.9%), electricity (5.2%), restaurants (4.7%), hotels (18%), meats, poultry, fish, and eggs (10.5%), furniture (11.2%), TVs (11.2%), and most notably, gas (42.1%). Overall, the average retail gas price in the United States has risen from about $2.33 per gallon at the beginning of the year to now almost $3.5. This is over a dollar increase, and Americans are well aware of this significant change. 

Moreover, American citizens, especially the lower and middle class, are bearing the brunt of these rising prices due to the supply chain crisis and an unprecedented number of unfilled job openings, which currently stands at 10.1 million, greater than the number of unemployed Americans looking for work (8.4 million). According to a Quinnipiac University Poll conducted in early October, Biden’s approval on the economy sits at 39% compared to a 55% disapproval.

But perhaps worse than the economy is Mr. Biden’s greatest failure thus far – 

the botched withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan in August. After the administration coordinated pulling troops out of the country, the radical Islamic military and political group known as the Taliban quickly took power, leading to severe instability in the region. The group rolled back years of reforms related to democracy, women’s rights, and equality, prompting backlash against the Biden administration’s handling of the withdrawal. Thousands of Americans were also left behind in Afghanistan, leading to a rescue effort in which 13 US service members were killed. The Quinnipiac poll has Biden’s foreign policy approval at an abysmal 34% compared to a 58% disapproval.

Moreover, Biden’s recent handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has also drawn criticism. When he was running for president last year, Mr. Biden promised to “shut down the virus,” which is a rather incoherent and implausible promise to make. However, after a rather optimistic vaccine rollout in the spring which led to a decline in coronavirus cases and deaths across the nation, a surge in cases over the summer as a result of the Delta variant brought this optimism to a halt. Despite attempts to curb the coronavirus surge with a series of unconstitutional vaccine mandates and other extremely regulatory protocols, Biden’s efforts proved ineffective in the end, leading Americans to question whether the president actually had a grasp over the pandemic or whether it was just another promise unkept.

As if it could not get much worse for the Biden Administration, there are, of course, Mr. Biden’s rather disappointing approval ratings regarding immigration (35% according to AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research), crime (38% according to ABC News/Washington Post), and climate change (42% according to Quinnipiac). 

These, along with Mr. Biden’s unwillingness to answer questions during press briefings, the countless instances of him losing track of thoughts or sounding completely incoherent, and his inability to successfully unify his party in congress all contributed to the increase in negative sentiments toward the president and the Democratic Party. And these sentiments are why Mr. Youngkin won in Virginia.

Governor-elect Youngkin campaigned on lowering taxes, especially the grocery and gas taxes, to counter rising prices as a result of inflation. He pledged to lower crime rates and defend law enforcement to make Virginia a safer place to live. He promised to “restore…high standards for schools and…students,” “invest in…teachers and schools,” and give parents a say in what is taught in Virginia public schools. His message was clear: “Better-paying jobs, the best schools, the safest communities, and a government that works for you.”

On the other hand, Terry McAuliffe, the governor of Virginia from 2013-2017, seemed unable to campaign on anything other than his opposition to former President Trump and the related set of ideologies known as “Trumpism,” which he consistently accused his opponent of espousing. Had Democrats given McAuliffe actual policy positions and legislative achievements to sell to voters, it would have undoubtedly benefited his campaign by motivating greater turnout among Democrats, as well as allowing independents to sympathize more with the struggling Democratic Party. However, disagreements surrounding Mr. Biden’s Build Back Better proposal and infrastructure plan, key agenda items of his, have caused internal party divisions which plagued Congressional Democrats’ ability to deliver any major legislation before November 2nd. To voters, the ineptitude of the Democratic party made Biden and the Democrats appear incompetent and inefficient. Despite the eventual passing of a bipartisan infrastructure deal of approximately $1 trillion, it came about a week too late for Mr. McAuliffe.

Like some political commentators have consistently suggested, the election between Virginia’s two gubernatorial candidates was really a national election – a reflection of the choice between Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump – both of whom are seen as the current leaders of their respective parties.

Therefore, Mr. Youngkin’s victory should come as no surprise. Rather, it is a direct reflection of Mr. Biden’s drop in support, and the strong Republican turnout was merely a rejection of his job as president. Before Mr. Biden’s spiraling decline in support started taking effect, Mr. McAuliffe maintained a near 8-point lead over his Republican opponent. If not for Mr. Biden’s lackluster handling of many key issues, it is more than likely that Mr. McAuliffe would have won a second term.

Mr. Biden’s disappointing presidency, congressional Democrats’ inefficiency, and Mr. McAuliffe’s awful appearance and campaign strategies all contributed to the results of the 2021 Virginia Gubernatorial Election. And to give credit where it is due, Glenn Youngkin and the Virginia GOP played their cards right and took advantage of each of the major flaws in the Democratic Party. If Democrats want to avoid another night like November 2, 2021, they have a lot of work to do before the 2022 midterms.