With Donald Trump ready to announce his Supreme Court nominee on July 9, pressure is starting to be brought against four “Red State” Senators facing reelection, who might vote for Trump’s selection.
Three of them—Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, and Joe Manchin of West Virginia—crossed the aisle and supported Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court last year, and have visited the White House already, being lobbied by Trump.
They, and Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, Jr, strongly anti abortion, but not supporting Gorsuch last year, are the four Democrats most worried about, with at least the first three feared likely to cross the aisle again.
The problem is that the Democrats cannot afford to repudiate these three or all four Senators, if they hope to have any chance of regaining control of the US Senate in November.
So while wishing to be critical and denouncing them if they abandon the Democratic Senate caucus on this matter, they are still needed for the future.
I am going to set aside a discussion about the midterm elections of 2018. I want to touch on just a more general take on what we now have. And what we we should look toward.
I want to go over the states Hillary Clinton carried in 2016; their margins (whole-number estimate; she won the U.S. Popular Vote by +2); which states have U.S. senators affiliated with the Democratic Party; those incumbentsâ€™ next scheduled election cycle; and whether they are progressiveâ€”or at least goodâ€”enough to support for re-election to the U.S. Senate and/or for a future presidential election.
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01. Hawaii (+32) â€” Brian Schatz (2022) and Mazie Hirono (2018). Yes. (In the case of Schatz, who turns 46 this year, no to the presidency and vice presidency.)
02. California (+30) â€” Dianne Feinstein (2018) and Kamala Harris (2022). No to both corporate Democrats.
03. Massachusetts (+27) â€” Elizabeth Warren (2018) and Ed Markey (2020). Okay with both.
04. Maryland (+26) â€” Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen. Not sure with Van Hollen. No to corporate Democrat Cardin.
05. Vermont (+26) â€” Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders (independent caucusing with the Democrats). Yes to both.
06. New York (+22) â€” Chuck Schumer (2022) and Kirsten Gillibrand (2018). No to both corporate Democrats.
07. Illinois (+17) â€” Dick Durbin (2020) and Tammy Duckworth (2022). No to both.
08. Washington (+16) â€” Patty Murray (2022) and Maria Cantwell (2018). No to both corporate Democrats.
09. Rhode Island (+16) â€” Jack Reed (2020) and Sheldon Whitehouse (2018). Okay with both.
10. New Jersey (+14) â€” Robert Menendez (2018) and Cory Booker (2020). No to both corporate Democrats.
11. Connecticut (+14) â€” Richard Blumenthal (2022) and Chris Murphy (2018). Yes to both. (In the case of Murphy, who turns 45 this year, no to the presidency and vice presidency.)
12. Delaware (+11) â€” Tom Carper (2018) and Chris Coons (2020). No to both corporate Democrats.
13. Oregon (+11) â€” Ron Wyden (2022) and Jeff Merkley (2020). No to Wyden. Yes to Merkley. (Merkley is the only one of these two who is worth considering for a presidential or vice-presidential run.)
14. New Mexico (+8) â€” Tom Udall (2020) and Martin Heinrich (2018). Yes to both. (In the case of Heinrich, who turns 45 this year, no to the presidency and vice presidency.)
15. Virginia (+5) â€” Mark Warner (2020) and Tim Kaine (2018) â€” No to both corporate Democrats. (In the case of Tim Kaine, the Democratic Partyâ€™s 2016 vice-presidential running mate for Hillary Clinton, Ronald touched on this here: http://www.theprogressiveprofessor.com/?p=33226 .)
16. Colorado (+5) â€” Michael Bennett (2022). No to this corporate Democrat.
17. Maine (+3) â€” Angus King (2018). No.
18. Nevada (+2) â€” Catherine Cortez Masto (2022). No.
19. Minnesota (+2) â€” Amy Klobuchar (2018) and Tina Smith (interim; a special election scheduled in 2018; regular in 2020). No to Klobuchar. Not sure about Smith.
20. New Hampshire (+0) â€” Jeanne Shaheen (2020) and Maggie Hassan (2022). No to both.
Now come the states which carried for Donald Trump. Pickups have an [*] cited. The margins are all based on by how much they were lost. In other words, best-performed states (even those not carried in the Democratic column) by a 2016 Hillary Clinton.
21. * Michigan (â€“0) â€” Debbie Stabenow (2018) and Gary Peters (2020). No to both corporate Democrats.
22. * Pennsylvania (â€“1) â€” Bob Casey (2018). No to this corporate Democrat.
23. * Wisconsin (â€“1) â€” Tammy Baldwin (2018). Yes. (No to the presidency and vice presidency.)
24. * Florida (â€“1) â€” Bill Nelson (2018). No to this corporate Democrat.
28. * Ohio (â€“8) â€” Sherrod Brown (2018). Yes. (No to the presidency and vice presidency.)
35. Missouri (â€“19) â€” Claire McCaskill (2018). No to this corporate Democrat.
36. Indiana (â€“19) â€” Joe Donnelly (2018). No to this corporate Democrat.
38. Montana (â€“20) â€” Jon Tester (2018). No to this corporate Democrat.
43. Alabama (â€“28) â€” Doug Jones (2020). No to this corporate Democrat.
47. North Dakota (â€“36) â€” Heidi Heitkamp (2018). No to this corporate Democrat.
49. West Virginia (â€“42) â€” Joe Manchin (2018). No to this corporate Democrat.
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A recent report, about Democratic Party candidate recruitment for the U.S. House, can be read here: http://theintercept.com/2018/04/26/steny-hoyer-audio-levi-tillemann/ .
An opinion piece appears here (which relates to the linked report from the previous paragraph): http://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/03/opinion/dccc-democratic-primaries-interference.html?partner=rss&emc=rss .
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A question that I have is this: â€œIf you could make changes, and do so in whatever ways you would, and that you would succeed, what would you do?â€
D, as usual, I highly admire your research, attention to detail, and insights.
However, I am very much against a lot of what you state in this response to my entry, and I wish to make that clear.
To eliminate so many potential candidates as “corporate” or simply unacceptable to seek the Presidency and or Vice Presidency is suicidal in my view!
I disagree on the following individuals:
Why no to Kamala Harris?
Why no to Kirsten Gillibrand?
Why no to Cory Booker?
Why no to Chris Murphy?
Why no to Amy Klobuchar?
Why no to Sherrod Brown?
Also, there are others you repudiate in general, including Brian Schatz, Tammy Duckworth, Chris Coons, Ron Wyden, Martin Heinrich, Michael Bennet, Catherine Cortez-Masto, Jeanne Shaheen, Maggie Hassan, and Tammy Baldwin!
If you are going to denounce so many Democrats, you are ceding the future to Republicans for Senate seats!
We cannot only have “ideal” left wing Democrats, and what you are promoting is sure defeat in 2018 and 2020, it seems to me!
And I happen to like some of those considered for President, while admitting they are not perfect, but neither is Sanders or Warren or others you like.
I think in particular, Harris, Booker, Murphy, and Klobuchar have great promise. I am NOT thrilled by Gillibrand, but also not thrilled by Sanders either!
The point I am making is that you have declared war on the Democrats, but if only the left wing are candidates, we will lose the national and Senate elections in the future!
Agree with the Professor. This is not a time to be picky about ideal Democrats. Trump’s government is extremist and needs to be removed from power. This is a battle for the soul of America. We cannot afford to give fear, cruelty, and divisiveness a pass.
The Republican running against Tim Kaine is Corey Stewart, a neo-Confederate! Corey Stewart is anti-immigrant and has ties to neo-Nazis and white nationalists! There is no way my Democratic family and friends and I will sit back and let Corey Stewart win that Senate seat!
Sounds like Michael Cohen may flip.
The Professor is right. If we reject Democratic candidates just because they aren’t perfect, our side will continue to lose for years to come.
If the GOP keeps winning, you will never get universal healthcare of any kind. In fact, the ACA will die and youâ€™ll send tens of millions back to the rolls of the uninsured, including tens of millions of children.
If the GOP keeps winning, we will do nothing about climate change, and fossil fuel interests will become even more entrenched.
If the GOP keeps winning, the deficits will pile up, the debt will continue to rise and the burden of paying it down will fall on the poor and working class.
If the GOP keeps winning, the minimum wage will stay low and wealth and income inequality will continue to worsen.
If the GOP keeps winning, college tuitions will continue to rise and public schools will continue to lag, which means an even greater debt burden for the graduates we need to keep the economy humming along.
If the GOP keeps winning, the economy will crash, yet again, and there will be no one to get us out of it this time, which is exactly what Trump’s BFF Putin wants.
If the GOP keeps winning, unarmed black men will continue to get shot by police with regularity and no one will care.
If the GOP keeps winning, the poor will continue to get poorer, while the rich will become â€œtoo rich to fail.â€
If the GOP keeps winning, immigrants will continue to be terrorized and internment camps will continue to grow and thrive.
If the GOP keeps winning, Trump will be able to continue to pillage the US Treasury in every way you can imagine and corruption will become the absolute norm.
That’s why I refuse to play the purity game when it comes to voting for Democrats.
Southern Liberal, I am ONE HUNDRED PERCENT in agreement with your post!
Liberal magazine, The Nation, is publishing pieces with a Russian propaganda outlet, Russia Today (RT). Shame on them!
The midterm elections are shaping up to have a giant gender gap.
â€œJust one-third of women say they would pick a Republican this fall.â€
I am shocked, Former Republican, at Stephen Cohen, who now joins Alan Dershowitz, as once reputable academics who have sold their soul to Putin and Trump!
And I deplore the NATION magazine, published since 1865, for allowing their contributors to connect to a Russian propaganda organ, and I hope they will suffer in circulation and subscriptions, and in readership willingness to trust them in the future!
Princess Leia, it is time for women to let the men in their lives KNOW they will not be controlled by their thoughts or wishes!
Kudos to women who are riled up enough to take action, including running in wider numbers for public office!
This Is Not the Time to Fight Over Defining the Democratic Party
The other day I saw an article titled â€œDemocrats need to choose: Are they the party of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or the party of Michael Bloomberg?â€ This was but one instance of a theme encountered these days concerning a battle between the progressive and moderate wings of the Democratic Party over the partyâ€™s future path.
The issues involved are important, but they are not the issues of this moment. What is paramount right now is nothing less than the future of American democracy, of the constitutional order and the rule of lawâ€”all of which are threatened at present by Trump and by the Trump Party that has made itself his servant.
Given that threat to the very nature of the nation our founders gave us, the battle to define the Democratic Party cannot be allowed to distract from fighting this battle â€” at once more immediate, more urgent, and more fundamental â€” that our moment in American history has foisted upon us.
Now is not the time for Democrats to focus on the choice of whether to be â€œthe party of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or the party of Michael Bloomberg.â€ It must be bothâ€”and more. History has mandated that the Democratic Party understand itself at this moment as the necessary instrument for saving the American constitutional order.
It must be the party not only of both its centrist and its progressive wings, but also of principled Republicans who understand the crisis into which America has descended.
Such is the nature of the present battle that people such as Steve Schmidt, Joe Scarborough, Max Boot, Jennifer Rubin, Benjamin Wittes and Jonathan Rauch, even George Will â€”lifelong Republicans â€” have recognized that the demands of the present crisis take precedence over their old partisan allegiance. Theyâ€™ve recognized that their old party must now be defeated because it has become a threat to whatâ€™s most important about America.
*Steve Schmidt, who ran the campaign of Republican Presidential nominee John McCain says that, in view of â€œthe threat posed by a political party where conservatism is now defined by absolute obedience to a leader with autocratic tendencies who fetishizes dictators and autocrats all over the world,â€ he says, â€œthe Democratic Party is called to be the sentinel of American democracy and liberty,â€
*George Will â€“ arguably Mr. Conservative among pundits for the past 40 years â€“ says, in view of â€œthe carnage of Republican misrule in Washington,â€ that Americansâ€™ votes this year should be guided by the necessity that the Republicans be â€œreduced to minoritiesâ€ in Congress.
*Two conservatives â€“ Wittes and Rauch â€“ call for voters to vote a â€œstraight Democratic ticket,â€ rejecting all Republicans because â€œthe rule of law is a threshold value in American politicsâ€ and the Republican Party has disqualified itself by threatening that value. Despite what they regard as the â€œimperfections of the Democratic Party,â€ they declare that America needs a Blue Wave because â€œthe Democratic Party is not a threat to our democratic order.â€
*Joe Scarborough, former Republican member of Congress, has said, â€œYou have to ask yourself, what exactly is the Republican Party willing to do? How far are they willing to go? How much of this country and our values are they willing to sell out?â€
*Writes Max Boot, who was one of Senator McCainâ€™s foreign policy advisors, â€œI join â€¦other principled conservatives, both current and former Republicans, in rooting for a Democratic takeover of both houses in November. Like postwar Germany and Japan, the Republican Party must first be destroyed before it can be rebuilt.â€
In other words, for the present urgent battle, these prominent Republican figures â€” and any Republicans in the electorate at large who understand the threat to the nation their party has become â€“ are part of the definition of â€œourâ€ side in the political battle that matters right now.
They are important allies for creating the Blue Wave that America needs this November.
(Any Democrats with qualms about embracing the idea that for the coming election Democrats should form an alliance with such lifelong Republicans should recall how important it was that Churchill and FDR made common cause with Stalinâ€™s Soviet Union during WW II. They understood what then needed to be fought and defeated. If those great wartime leaders could wage battle together with a monster like Stalin, it shouldnâ€™t be too difficult for even the most progressive Democrats to welcome an alliance with principled Republicans like theseâ€”people well within the range of human decency, however wrong-headed any of us might think some of their conservative political leanings to be.)
It is not necessary for the other questions about the nature of the Democratic Party to be put entirely on the back burner. Those differences can be discussed, and they can be fought out in primaries. But hereâ€™s the necessary limit to any of that struggle: nothing can be allowed in any way to subvert the solidarity for the battle at hand.
(For if that battle is not dealt with successfully, it wonâ€™t much matter where the party comes down on a variety of other matters later.)
Everyone should have learned two years ago how costly a mistake it can be to fight the wrong fight, and neglect the battle that needs to be fought. Trump would not now be president, it seems reasonable to assert, if a lot of Bernie people had not been so focused on the difference between their guy and Hillary that they failed to rally wholeheartedly to the truly urgent cause of assuring that the next president was not Trump.
In view of the steep cost of that error now so terribly visible â€” the threat to democracy, the loss of the Court for a generation, the shredding of the Atlantic alliance, the withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord and roll-back of environmental protections, ongoing assault on the rule of law and the free press, etc. â€“ is it too much to hope that no one will make the same error again?
I totally agree with this article, Rational Lefty!