Jeff Bell on Principles & Values
Bell: Strongly Disagree.
Question topic: Judeo-Christian values established a framework of morality which permitted our system of limited government.
Bell: Strongly Agree.
Question topic: Briefly describe your spiritual beliefs and values.
Bell: I am a devoted Catholic and attend Mass daily.
He's not wrong. After winning Tuesday night's four-way Republican primary, Bell, a former speechwriter for Ronald Reagan, will now face Democratic Sen. Cory Booker, the former Newark mayor whose rise to national prominence was in part fueled by his high-volume tweeting. Booker has a whopping 1.47 million followers. Bell has 237.
His lower number isn't surprising--Bell, who is 70 years old, has been out of the game for decades. His last Senate campaign was in 1982, when he lost the Republican primary to former Rep. Millicent Fenwick. Prior to that, he ousted then-Sen. Clifford Case in New Jersey's GOP primary but lost the general election to Bill Bradley.
Bell acknowledges that he faces an uphill battle against Booker, in part due to Booker's hefty financial advantage. Booker has $2.9 million in the bank, compared with Bell's $3,976. Still, Bell said, "This was a cause campaign," he said. "So far, at least it's alive."
But on Tuesday, Bell defeated three other Republican challengers, winning 29.5% of the vote. All Bell, 70, has to do now is defeat Democratic incumbent and social media favorite Cory Booker.
Bell welcomes debates with Booker, saying, "I debated Bill Bradley 21 times in 1978, and I think I would be a good debater. I do have that reputation from the past."
Bell won that 1978 Republican Senate primary by defeating a 4-term incumbent, Clifford Case. Bell won the race by 1.5 percentage points, and called the victory "the major shocker to date of this political year." Almost nobody in politics gave Bell a chance to win, including his fellow Republican conservatives.
Such tension would not be possible in any other affluent democracy, because in those democracies nothing remotely resembling social conservatism exists. Its absence is the main reason the politics of Western Europe and Japan have not become polarized, and the continued presence and strength of social conservatism is the central reason politics is polarized here. Understanding why this is so, and why it is likely to continue well into the future, goes a long way toward explaining why American politics has such a different feel from the politics of other affluent democracies, as well as where our very different politics may lead.
Liberal-backed judicial curbs on public prayer and other symbols and expressions of faith were making believers more and more uneasy. The year 1988 television evangelist Pat Robertson's ability to mobilize previously uninvolved Christian activists began a new era in GOP presidential politics.
Now, affluence is no longer the main predictor. Rather, the more frequently you attended religious services, the more likely you were to vote for Republican George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. The centrality of economic issues in 2008 and the overall decline in Republican support did not make a significant dent in this pattern.
The transition from one political framework to a very different one took decades, and vestiges of the old alignment are still detectable today (e.g., union members remain heavily Democratic). But the earlier affluence-based politics, broadly prevalent from 1932 to 1964, was marked by Democratic dominance (7 of 9 presidential elections) and the rise of social issues, which began in 1968, has been marked by a shift toward Republican preeminence (7 of the past 11 presidential elections)
In the 20th century, aggressive secularism achieved a political breakthrough: Believers faced the prospect of a systematic campaign against public religion--or, as their legal adversaries preferred to define it, a wall of separation between public life and religious symbols and language.
For a nation that from its beginning appropriated public funds for congressional & military chaplains, that puts "In God We Trust" on its money, that in the 1950s added (by a near unanimous act of Congress) the words "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance, this was a huge and unexpected shift in elite opinion.
In the US, the country most influenced by the ideas of the conservative enlightenment, the left's emergence took a different form. While some of the early American left did bring monopolies or "trusts," the more important challenge came from within the broad national movement that came to be known as Progressivism.
Progressivism was particularly successful in enacting such political reforms as direct election of US senators, state-level initiative and referendum, and the party primary as a new means of nominating political candidates.
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Retiring in 2014 election:
Retired as of Jan. 2013:
Senate races 2017-8:
AL: Strange(R) ; no opponent yet
AZ: Flake(R) vs. Ward(R)
CA: Feinstein(D) vs. Eisen(D) vs. Sanchez?(D) vs. Garcetti?(D)
CT: Murphy(D) ; no opponent yet
DE: Carper(D) vs. Biden?(D) vs. Markell?(D)
FL: Nelson(D) vs. DeSantis(R) vs. Jolly(R) vs. Lopez-Cantera(R)
HI: Hirono(D) ; no opponent yet
IN: Donnelly(D) vs. Hurt(R)
MA: Warren(D) vs. Ayyadurai(R)
MD: Cardin(D) ; no opponent yet
ME: King(I) vs. LePage?(R)
MI: Stabenow(D) vs. Bouchard?(R)
MN: Klobuchar(D) vs. Paulsen?(R)
MO: McCaskill(D) vs. Kinder?(R)
MS: Wicker(R) vs. McDaniel?(R)
MT: Tester(D) vs. Racicot?(R)
ND: Heitkamp(D) vs. Becker?(R)
NE: Fischer(R) ; no opponent yet
NJ: Menendez(D) vs. Chiesa(R) vs. Codey?(D) vs. Chiesa?(R)
NM: Heinrich(D) vs. Sanchez(R)
NV: Heller(R) vs. Sandoval?(R)
NY: Gillibrand(D) vs. Kennedy?(D)
OH: Brown(D) vs. Mandel(R)
PA: Casey(D) vs. Saccone(R)
RI: Whitehouse(D) ; no opponent yet
TN: Corker(R) vs. Crim(I)
TX: Cruz(R) vs. Bush?(R)
UT: Hatch(R) vs. McMullin?(R) vs. Romney?(R)
VT: Sanders(I) vs. Giordano(D)
VA: Kaine(D) vs. Cuccinelli?(R) vs. Fiorina?(R)
WA: Cantwell(D) ; no opponent yet
WV: Manchin(D) vs. Raese(R) vs. Goodwin?(R)
WI: Baldwin(D) vs. Grothman?(R) vs. Gallagher?(R)
WY: Barrasso(R) ; no opponent yet
Senate Votes (analysis)