As 2018 came to a close, Heritage expert James Jay Carafano scanned the horizon to see what 2019 will bring to the world stage. In a Fox News column, the vice president of the Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy predicted the five major national security headlines you will see this year.

Carafano started with Israel, pointing out how their elections may lead to a day of reckoning for Hezbollah. He said that China would pull back its horns as it deals with a stumbling economy and seeks to ease trade tensions with the United States. He also predicts that, notwithstanding the president’s recent policy change regarding troops in Syria, the U.S. would stay in Afghanistan to address the Taliban.

He further forecasts that the administration will keep working with Mexico and Brazil to meet the humanitarian challenges wrought by a collapsing Venezuela. Finally, he foresees continuing disputes with Russia over nuclear weapons, specifically in regards to the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

The bottom line: foreign powers are holding their breath to see how the 2020 presidential election will shape American foreign policy. With experienced observers like James Jay Carafano, we can continue to inform policymakers in the conservative movement and beyond to create the best policy outcomes for the United States.

Read Carafano’s Fox News column here.

What do you think will be the biggest foreign policy challenge of 2019?

In a recent interview with Fox’s Harris Faulkner, President Trump cited Heritage Senior Legal Fellow Hans von Spakovsky’s work in The Daily Signal. The piece addressed the popular liberal argument that claims President Trump conspired to violate campaign finance laws by giving money to Karen McDougal and Stephanie Clifford.

The President’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, pled guilty to tax evasion and financial fraud charges, but von Spakovsky takes issue with the notion that there were violations to campaign finance law, which were part of Cohen’s plea agreement.

As a former member of the Federal Election Commission, von Spakovsky notes that spending restrictions established by the Federal Election Campaign Act specifically do not apply to expenditures that would “exist irrespective of the candidate’s election campaign.”

Von Spakovsky also recalled that the Justice Department’s prosecution of similar charges against former Senator John Edwards resulted in acquittal. The claim that the President violated campaign laws doesn’t withstand scrutiny.

When you have the best legal minds analyzing the issues of our day, it’s possible to dismantle an attempt to use election laws as a weapon against the president. Thank you for giving us the resources to defend the truth and lay out the facts for all—even the President of the United States.

Read Hans von Spakovsky’s Daily Signal commentary here.

What should be done about the criminalization of politics, and the endless investigations against public officials?

The United States could have ceded its immigration lawmaking power to the United Nations. But it didn’t, because as Ambassador Nikki Haley said last year, “immigration policies must always be made by Americans and Americans alone.” Under the Obama administration, the United States supported the United Nations’ Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, and the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants.

The U.S. will not sign the migration compact, and that’s a good thing, according to Senior Legal Fellow Hans von Spakovsky and Senior Research Fellow Brett Schaefer. The pact was deeply flawed, blurring the line between legal and illegal immigration and making detention of illegal immigrants “a measure of last resort.” Had the U.S. signed onto those agreements, U.S. immigration laws would have been overruled by international laws.

Von Spakovsky and Schaefer originally released their analysis in The Daily Signal, telling the backstory of how the U.S. narrowly escaped from entering a binding arrangement that would have greatly increased our national security risks, even as it undercut our national sovereignty. Thank you for supporting The Daily Signal and helping us share stories the progressive media would rather suppress.

Click to read von Spakovsky and Schaefer’s analysis here.

Given that we didn’t sign on to the compact, how should the United States help refugees while maintaining border security?

Heritage believes that our nation’s current and future political leaders should us the guiding the principles that animated the Founders. Furthermore, they must be equipped with policy recommendations that apply those principles to today’s problems. That’s why we started the Candidate Briefing Program, which helps state, congressional, and presidential candidates understand, articulate, and apply conservative principles and policy solutions.

This year, Heritage experts briefed 84 candidates in need of conservative answers. Heritage was able to provide each candidate with a briefing and impactful parting gift: Solutions 2018, a compendium of our latest policy recommendations.

Fourteen of the candidates, briefed by Heritage, won their races. Soon, they will be putting what they’ve learned to use. But Heritage doesn’t wait until they’re sworn in to help them be effective advocates of conservative policy.

On Nov. 20, Heritage welcomed almost two-thirds of the incoming House Republican class to our 2018 New Members Orientation. In addition to reminding them of the conservative values they promised to uphold, the two-day program provided practical information on organizing and staffing a congressional office. And each new Member left with a binder containing resumes of over 300 qualified, conservative job-seekers compiled by our Truluck Center for Leadership Development.

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to inculcate conservative ideas in aspiring national leaders, to inoculate candidates against progressivism, and to build relationships that helps produce better policy.

If you had one thing to tell candidates before they became elected officials, what would it be?


The so-called Affordable Care Act may die on the steps of the Supreme Court. That will depend on the Fifth Circuit, and the Supreme Court Justices later on. Last week, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, a George W. Bush appointee, granted a motion to strike down the Affordable Care Act.

Marie Fishpaw, Heritage’s Director of Domestic Policy Studies, and John Malcolm, Vice President of the Institute for Constitutional Government, wrote a joint commentary discussing what happened and where to go from here. They also highlighted the Health Care Choice Proposal, the next logical step for Congress to consider if the Court voids Obamacare.

States that received waivers under Obamacare were able to innovate around the burdensome regulations and reduce premiums for their residents. The Health Care Choice Proposal would build upon that experience. In the end, Fishpaw and Malcolm write, “[it] would lower premiums up to an estimated 32 percent and ensure that everyone can access a quality private coverage arrangement of their choice.”

Because of your support, Heritage stands ready to help you regain the healthcare freedom and choice lost under Obamacare. We are ready to replace that failed program with something that costs less, and returns the power of choice to Americans everywhere. Thank you for standing with us on this issue.

Read John Malcolm and Marie Fishpaw’s commentary here.

Read the Health care Choice Proposal here.

Should the states make healthcare policy, or should the federal government make a new policy to replace Obamacare?

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