Bob Dole Reaches 96 Years Of Age, Now Seen As Statesman

Former Senator Bob Dole of Kansas yesterday reached the age of 96, and while often involved in heated political debates over four decades, is now seen as a statesman.

Dole served in the House of Representatives from 1961-1969, and as United States Senator from 1969 to 1996. He was the Chair of the Republican National Committee from 1971-1973; Chair of the Senate Finance Committee from 1981-1985; Senate Minority Leader from 1987-1995; and twice Senate Majority Leader from 1985-1987 and 1995-1996.

He had the distinction of being the Republican Vice Presidential nominee under Gerald Ford in the Presidential Election of 1976, and then the Presidential nominee in 1996, both losing efforts. He is the only person to be nominated for both offices, and lose both offices.

Dole was a combative, and often acerbic politician, who annoyed this blogger and author, but one knew that he was an ultimate patriot and would support Democrats in important and crisis moments over the years, while being a very partisan Republican.

He worked across the aisle with many Democrats, including Senator George McGovern of South Dakota on nutrition issues and food stamps.

He was a war hero, who nearly died in combat in Europe in April 1945, and lost the use of his left arm and limited mobility in his right arm, but that did not stop him from having a public career, and being an advocate for the disabled.

Dole has had a great sense of humor, and has worked to promote bipartisanship, starting the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas campus in Lawrence, Kansas.

He helped to raise funds for the National World War II Memorial in Washington, DC, and was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2018, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by his former opponent, Bill Clinton, in 1997.

His marriage to Elizabeth Hanford Dole has lasted 44 years, and his wife served as Secretary of Transportation under Ronald Reagan, and as Secretary of Labor under George H. W. Bush, before serving as a US Senator from North Carolina from 2003-2009.

By reaching the age of 96 today, Dole has outlived most of the colleagues of his age group who served in public office, and is one of the last World War II veterans of renown still with us.

Let us hope he reaches 100, although now he is almost exclusively using a wheel chair as he did in saluting his former rival, George H. W. Bush, at the funeral of the 41st President in December 2018.

The Maine-Nebraska Split Electoral Vote Nightmare And The Presidential Election Of 2020

Maine and Nebraska are the only two states that have allowed, by state legislative action, a split in the electoral vote for President.

Maine adopted this concept in 1972 and Nebraska in 1992, and a split has occurred once in each state.

In 2008, Barack Obama won the 2nd district of Nebraska (Omaha and its suburbs), the first and only time that Nebraska has seen a Democratic electoral vote since 1964.

In 2016, Donald Trump won Maine’s 2nd district, which covers most of the state away from Portland, Augusta, and nearly coastal areas, with that being the first time a Republican won an electoral vote since 1988.

So if Donald Trump won every state he gained in 2016, except Michigan and Pennsylvania, he would win the Electoral College no matter what the popular vote majority of the Democratic Presidential nominee, by a 270-268 margin. But if he lost the 2nd district of Maine, the Electoral College would be 269-269.

The same would occur if the Democratic Presidential nominee won the 2nd district of Nebraska as Obama did in 2008, as then the Electoral College would be 269-269.

This would be a true constitutional crisis beyond any other Presidential election in American history!

A Nightmare Scenario: Trump Loses Popular Vote By 6 Million, But Wins Electoral College 270-268

Imagine a nightmare scenario:

The Democratic Presidential nominee wins California by an additional one million votes, and gains 800,000 votes in Texas, and wins extra popular votes elsewhere, winning the national popular vote by 6 million, but not gaining Texas in the Electoral College.

The Democratic Presidential nominee wins Michigan and Pennsylvania from Donald Trump, winning 36 electoral votes.

But Donald Trump has a chance to win New Mexico (5), Nevada (6) and New Hampshire (4) in the Electoral College. But let’s assume Trump does NOT win these states.

Donald Trump wins Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, Arizona, North Carolina and Florida by small margins, winning 89 electoral votes.

Donald Trump wins the Electoral College 270-268!

So, in summary, the only change under this scenario is that Trump loses Michigan and Pennsylvania, but wins every other state he won in 2016, and he wins by the barest margin!

16 Months To Election: 15 States In Contention In Electoral College

With 16 months until the Presidential Election of 2020, the election is settled in 35 states, and the remaining 15 states are in contention, and will decide the Electoral College and the winner of the Presidency.

8 states were Republican last time, but are, in theory, in contention:

Arizona

Florida

Georgia

Michigan

North Carolina

Pennsylvania

Texas

Wisconsin

Additionally, Nebraska is Republican, but allows split electoral votes since 1992, and in 2008, Barack Obama won the 2nd District electoral vote, so in theory, that district, including Omaha and its suburbs, is in contention.

The Democrats won 5 states that are, in theory, in contention:

Colorado

Minnesota

Nevada

New Hampshire

Virginia.

Additionally, Maine is Democratic, but allows split electoral votes since 1972, and Donald Trump won the 2nd District electoral vote, so in theory, that district, including most of the state away from Portland, Augusta and nearby coastal areas, is in contention.

So both Nebraska and Maine have the potential to see one electoral vote go to the loser of the state, in the statewide race.

If the Hispanic-Latino vote can be magnified for the Democrats, it gives them the chance to win Arizona, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas.

The close Democratic majorities in their five states in contention—Colorado, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Virginia—give the Republicans the opportunity to pick up electoral votes there.

It seems clear at this time that when and if the Hispanic-Latino vote increases enough for the Democrats, likely by 2024 and 2028, and with increased electoral votes in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Texas assured after the 2020 Census, then the Democrats could have a lock on the Presidency for the long term, even if the Midwest states of Michigan and Wisconsin become more Republican, and even if Minnesota and Virginia were to become more competitive for the Republicans. And Colorado and Nevada, with increased Hispanic-Latino influence over the next decade, would be more assuredly Democratic as well.

Even Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Maine, and Nebraska would matter far less, as well as Ohio, which now looks out of contention for the Democrats at present.

Donald Trump, By Far The Most Racist, Nativist, And Misogynist President In American History, Condemned By House Of Representatives Resolution

Donald Trump has been officially condemned by the House of Representatives (H. R. 489) by a vote of 240-187, with four Republicans and one Independent (Justin Amash) voting in favor with all Democrats.

He was condemned because of his bitter attack on four Congresswomen of color for being critical of his administration, and challenging the leadership of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as the battle for the future of the Democratic Party continues. Pelosi and the Democrats are now more united than ever against Trump, as despite these four women’s criticism of Pelosi, they all just see it as a dispute within the family

Even more disturbing was Trump’s continued personal attack on the “squad”–Alexandria Ocasio Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota–in his North Carolina speech two days ago, which led to shouts from the audience to “Send her back”–referring to Omar, who was born in Somalia, and came to the United States at age 12, and is a US citizen.

The audience listening to Trump came across as white bigots who are racists, nativists, and misogynists, and reminded many of Nazi rallies held by Adolf Hitler 80-85 years ago in Germany.

Trump has outraged decent people for the past four years, but he goes lower and lower every day, and it is alarming to many how he is utilizing racial and religious animosity as part of his reelection campaign.

One does not have to agree with everything these four women utter and believe, but now there are serious death threats against them, and it is extremely worrisome as to their safety.

We do not want to see another wave of violence and assassinations, as occurred in the 1960s and early 1970s, and yet, even ordinary citizens of color and diverse religious beliefs now face daily threats from followers of Donald Trump, who feel their prejudices are acceptable because the President talks that way.

We are living in a nightmare scenario, where the terrible circumstances that exist could get worse, much worse.

Former Congressman And South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford Considers GOP Challenge To Donald Trump For 2020 Presidential Nomination: A Waste Of Time

It seems possible that Donald Trump may gain a second challenger for the GOP Presidential nomination in 2020, as former South Carolina Governor and former Congressman Mark Sanford is considering announcing for President in the next 30 days.

Sanford would join former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld as a challenger, but with far less legitimacy.

Weld was the Vice Presidential running mate of Gary Johnson on the Libertarian Party ticket in 2016, with the party gaining nearly three million votes. Weld was an outstanding governor from 1991-1997, and while there is no realistic chance that Weld can stop Trump, at least he has dignity and principle, unlike Sanford.

Sanford considered running for President in 2012, but was destroyed by a sex scandal ten years ago, and lost all credibility as a decent political figure, no matter whether one agreed with his principles. He resigned, and went on to be sent back to the House of Representatives, where he had served before becoming Governor. He then lost his seat in the primary in 2018 due to his open opposition to Donald Trump.

He is a rare figure who came out against Trump, and paid for it with loss of his seat, but he is no paragon of virtue, even on the subject of racism, as he says he might run against Trump, but not because of Trump’s racist, nativist, and misogynistic utterances and actions, but rather on the issue of the budget deficits.

So we have yet another disgraceful person, added to the late entry of Billionaire Tom Steyer, to the Democratic race, but at the end, neither Sanford nor Steyer is getting anywhere near the White House in 2021.

Justice John Paul Stevens, Longest Lived, And One Of Greatest Supreme Court Justices In American History, Dies At 99 Years Of Age

America has just lost one of its greatest Supreme Court Justices in all of American history, with the death yesterday of retired Justice John Paul Stevens at the age of 99.

Second longest serving, after his predecessor William O. Douglas, and second oldest at retirement at age 90, after Oliver Wendell Holmes, Stevens came on the Supreme Court as a conservative, and became more liberal by the year, and was the leader of the liberal wing of the Court in his last years, serving altogether 35 years from 1975 to 2010.

The only appointee of President Gerald Ford, Stevens was clearly the best appointment and best action taken by President Ford in his nearly two and a half years in the White House.

Stevens spoke up for gay rights, abortion rights, gun control, and against the death penalty, and against the Bush V. Gore and Citizens United Supreme Court decisions.

Stevens was a truly decent, compassionate man, a true jewel, a rare public servant who was on the proper side on so many decisions.

We will probably never see another Republican appointed Justice of the caliber of John Paul Stevens, but then again, we will probably not have a Republican President of the basic decency and moderation of Gerald Ford!

Yet Another Democratic Presidential Contender: Billionaire Tom Steyer

The Democrats have yet another Presidential contender, billionaire Tom Steyer, who earlier had led a movement to impeach Donald Trump.

The last thing we need is yet another billionaire, entitled, non officeholder President, even if he is, in theory, a progressive.

Steyer does not plan to run a campaign based on contributions from Americans, but instead to spend $100 million of his own fortune, upending the whole idea that elitist money should not dominate the campaign.

The question is whether he can even participate in future debates, based on public opinion poll support, and hopefully, his attempt to do so will be an utter failure.

At least, Michael Bloomberg, former NYC Mayor, who flirted with running, chose not to, although he had thought of spending his own money, and at least he had government experience, unlike Steyer.

The best advice to Steyer is find something else to spend on, including helping migrants and refugees who are suffering on the border due to the Fascist policies of Donald Trump.

Use your money in a constructive way, Tom Steyer, rather than an egomania binge!

Justin Amash And Howard Schultz The Potential Spoilers In 2020 Presidential Election

In the midst of the battle for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2020, one can lose sight of the reality that a third party or independent candidate could affect the election result, as it did in 2016.

Third parties and independent candidacies for President have played a role in past elections, and the death last week of Independent and Reform Party Presidential candidate H. Ross Perot brings that to mind.

Presently, we have two potential spoilers–Michigan Republican Congressman Justin Amash, who might run as the Libertarian Party nominee against Donald Trump; and billionaire businessman Howard Schultz of Starbucks fame, who might run as an independent nominee, and harm the Democratic Presidential candidate.

Either or both could draw millions of votes, as Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party and Jill Stein of the Green Party did in 2016, when Johnson gained 4.5 million votes and Stein gained 1.5 million votes. Additionally, Evan McMullin of Utah, who ran as an Independent, gained about nearly three quarters of a million votes. So together, these three non major party nominees gained a total of about 6.75 million votes , about 5 percent of the total popular votes cast.

Ralph Nader and Patrick Buchanan had played roles in the 2000 Presidential election, as Ross Perot did in 1992 and 1996. And John Anderson was a factor in 1980, as George Wallace was in 1968.

Whether Amash and or Schultz will be a major factor in 2020, and draw millions of votes, is a center of speculation in the summer of 2019!

The Possibility Of A Latino President: Julian Castro

The idea of a Latino President is becoming more possible, as former Obama Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, who also was Mayor of the 6th largest city, San Antonio, Texas, has reached the 130,000 donors needed to be able to participate in the third Democratic debate in September.

This development, along with his excellent performance at the first debate and making fellow Texan former Congressman Beto O’Rourke look weak by comparison, elevates Castro to a much more serious candidacy.

With people of Hispanic ancestry being one of every six Americans, and with Mexican Americans being two thirds of all Hispanics, Julian Castro can be seen as a possible President.

There is no larger minority in America than Mexican Americans and of Hispanics totally, and Castro has proved he can govern a major city, and a major federal bureaucracy as a cabinet officer.

Castro would be 46 at the time of the next Presidential inauguration, the third youngest President in American history, about a month younger than Bill Clinton, and about six months younger than Ulysses S. Grant.

It would also mean that “a new generation” of leadership–with John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama—would be added to by Julian Castro, making them the second, third, sixth, and fourth youngest Presidents in American history.