50-50 Tie In US Senate

America Is In A New “Gilded Age” Of Obscene Wealth And Monopoly Capitalism: Reform Is Essential!

At the beginning of the 20th century, America escaped the Gilded Age period of obscene wealth and monopoly capitalism, under the leadership of Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Robert LaFollette Sr., George Norris, and others who promoted the Progressive Era.

The Progressive Era was far from perfect, but it gave hope of escaping the worst elements of the GIlded Age in the last third of the 19th century.

We have had ups and downs since the Progressive Era, the New Deal, the New Frontier, and Great Society, particularly with the triumph of conservatism under Ronald Reagan and the two Presidents Bush, and then made ever worse by Donald Trump.

But now, the news of billionaires having arrangements to keep their wealth from being taxed by overseas havens and even South Dakota allowing such reprehensible tactics is highly disturbing. This, along with the clear cut monopoly of Facebook promoting division, conflict, polarization, and affecting even young girls’ self image due to the toxic Instagram social media site, cries out for strong movement toward another “Progressive Era”.

The idea that concentration of wealth and power rivals and is clearly greater than the time of John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, J P Morgan, and other monopolists of the late 19th and early 20th century is totally outrageous!

But is it possible in a nation with a 50-50 US Senate and a six vote margin in the House of Representatives to accomplish necessary reform?

This present, disturbing situation is a massive crisis of American democracy, with the threat of Donald Trump possibly regaining power, and destroying any possibility of reform!

The Supreme Court Majority Is Becoming Very Outspoken, Controversial In Actions And Statements!

The Supreme Court of the United States is supposed to be a nonpolitical body, that balances the law and the Constitution.

Of course, there are, and always have been, so called “liberals” and “conservatives” on the Court throughout its history, but the present Supreme Court with six conservatives and three liberals is badly unbalanced, and it is clear that the Court is the most extreme one sided to the conservative side that it has been since the 1930s, nearly a century ago!

There are three appointments to the Court by Donald Trump (Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett); two appointments by George W. Bush (John Roberts, Samuel Alito); and one appointment by George H. W. Bush (Clarence Thomas).

There are already ethical and moral problems with Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas, regarding their behavior and treatment of women in their past; and Amy Coney Barrett was rushed through to confirmation more rapidly than normal after the sudden death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, so that Donald Trump had one more appointment close to the Presidential election, which should have been left to the winner of the election, which turned out to be Joe Biden.

Also, a majority of the Court was chosen by Presidents who lost the popular vote in 2000 and 2016, although the two Bush II appointees actually came in the second term when Bush II did win the popular vote.

And now, since the horrendous decision to allow the Texas antiabortion law to go into effect without a full hearing, taking away a constitutional right of women to control their own bodies, in effect since Roe V. Wade in 1973, the criticism of the Court’s action has led to Thomas, Barrett, and now Alito to issue political criticisms which are not appropriate for Supreme Court Justices. They should NOT be making public statements, no matter what they are thinking, but they clearly are on the defensive and have politicized the Court by their utterances, as well as their actions.

It is not surprising, therefore, that the reputation and public opinion rating of the Supreme Court has declined radically in the last few years, and particularly in the present year of 2021!

The Supreme Court is moving far to the Right as the nation is clearly moving to the Left, in a nation in which the white majority is rapidly declining, and will be the minority (under 50 percent) by 2045 at the latest.

So a constitutional crisis is at hand, and there is the danger of a future 7-2 conservative Court, with Stephen Breyer refusing to consider retiring at age 83, claiming he does not plan to die on the Court. This is a preposterous statement, and could end up denying Joe Biden any Supreme Court selection if a Democratic Senator dies or is incapacitated, or if the Senate goes Republican in the midterm Congressional Elections of 2022!

A 50-50 Democratic Controlled Senate Could Any Time Switch To Control By Republicans!

With the reality in 2021 of a 50-50 US Senate, the ability of the Democratic majority to get the Joe Biden agenda adopted becomes a constant headache, and the inability to adjust the filibuster to allow votes on some issues without a 60 member majority support is infuriating.

And behind the scenes, there are concerns over the distinct possibility that were a Democratic Senator to die or become incapacitated and be unable to vote, such event would literally switch control of the Senate back to the Republicans, and Mitch McConnell.

The Senate has 5 members over 80, and 25 members in their 70s, an all time high such number, and the average age of all Senators is 63, also the highest in the history of the Senate.

18 of these 30 members over 70 and into their 80s are Democrats, so in many respects, the clock is ticking, and it is essential for quick action on a multitude of issues before a possible tragedy occurs.

Also, history tells us that the party NOT in the White House tends to gain seats in the midterm elections that follow, and that portends a disaster for the Democrats, with an evenly divided Senate and only a 6 vote margin in the House of Representatives.

Of course, the tumult around Donald Trump and the “Big Lie” might help the Democrats to gain seats, and history is not a guarantee for the party out of power in both houses of Congress.

But this is certainly a time of concern, including the possible future retirement, although clearly not imminent, of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer!

A Nightmare Thought: What If America Ends Up With A 218-217 GOP House And A 50-50 GOP Senate For The 116th Congress?

With the midterm election only three weeks away, all kinds of scenarios are developing in the minds of political junkies, such as this author.

What if the House of Representatives ends up with a 218-217 majority held by the Republicans, meaning the Democrats only gain 22 seats in the lower chamber, rather than the 23 or more needed to control?

And what if miraculously, the Democrats gain one seat in the Senate, such as Arizona or Nevada, but lose two seats, such as North Dakota and Florida, and end up in a 50-50 tie, meaning Vice President Mike Pence organizes a Senate perfectly divided, and keeps the Senate Republican?

The question arises, have these scenarios ever occurred before in Congressional history, and the answer is YES in both houses of Congress, with twice in the House of Representatives.

In 1917-1919, the Republicans had a 215-214 margin, and third parties and Independents having 6 seats.

Also in 1931-1933, the Republicans had a 218-216 margin, and one third party seat.

In the Senate’s history, there have been eight such cases as follows:

In 1881-1883, there were 37 Republicans and 37 Democrats and two Independents.

In 1883-1885, there were 38 Republicans, 36 Democrats, and two Independents.

In 1893-1895, there were 44 Democrats, 40 Republicans, and four Independents.

In 1931-1933, there were 48 Republicans, 47 Democrats, and one Independent.

In 1953-1955, there were 48 Republicans, 47 Democrats, and one Independent.

In 1955-1957, there were 48 Democrats, 47 Republicans, and one Independent.

In 2001-2003, there were four switches of majority–From January 1-20, Democrat; from January 20 to June 6, Republican; from June 6, 2001 to November 12, 2002, Democratic; and then from November 12, 2002 to January 3, 2003 Republican. This was due to the switch of party and Vice President from Al Gore to Dick Cheney; the switch of Jim Jeffords of Vermont from Republican to Democratic; and the election of a new Senator from Missouri of the opposition party taking the oath of office before the new Senate of 2003 was organized.

Finally, in 2007-2009, there were 49 Democrats, 49 Republicans, and two Independents.

Unwise For Republicans To Denounce Lisa Murkowski, And Democrats To Denounce Joe Manchin: They Could Switch Parties After Midterm Elections

Now that the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court has been accomplished, by the smallest margin since 1881, there is discussion in both political parties about retribution to be paid for the one Republican Senator, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and the one Democratic Senator, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who broke ranks in their parties and voted against the party line.

This is very unwise, and could reverberate after the midterm elections are completed.

What if the US Senate ends up with a 50-50 split, which would give Vice President Mike Pence the ability to organize the Senate for the Republicans?

If Lisa Murkowski is angry in November, she could decide to switch parties, becoming a Democrat, as long as the party promised, with her 16 years of Senate experience, to give her a committee chairmanship. That would make the Senate 51 Democrats and 49 Republicans, backfiring on the Republicans.

Or what if the Senate became 51-49 Democratic, and Joe Manchin decided to switch to the Republican Party, making a 50-50 tie, giving Mike Pence the ability to organize the Senate for the Republicans?

What it comes down to is that no political party should punish its members because they are not always in lockstep with their party.

There is no reason why all Democrats have to be to the left of center, and all Republicans have to be to the right of center.

In the past, there were a lot of people who “crossed the aisle” on a regular basis, and accomplished great goals, as for instance Lyndon B. Johnson gaining support of many Republicans for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 due to his ability to work with Republican Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen.

Another instance was a deal on Social Security reform in 1983 between Ronald Reagan and Democratic House Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill.

The only way to move ahead is to overcome the confrontational, no holds barred rhetoric, that now has made Congress such an inept institution, and promote willingness of both parties to negotiate and compromise for the good of the nation and its future.