African Americans

Joe Biden Is Most Popular Of All Presidential Candidates In Public Opinion Polls, So Advice To Joe Biden: “Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained”!

Vice President Joe Biden is still wrestling with the issue of whether he should enter the Democratic Presidential nomination battle for 2016.

While he is still mourning his son, Beau Biden’s, death, and mulling whether he should try for the Presidency for a third time, public opinion polls show that he is the most popular and trusted of all Presidential possibilities, and would defeat Republicans Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, Dr. Benjamin Carson, Jeb Bush, and Marco Rubio in a one on one race.

Joe Biden is admired and loved by millions, and if he entered the race, while his record is not as liberal as Bernie Sanders, Biden would actually threaten Hillary Clinton’s support among minorities, particularly African Americans, in the crucial primary state of South Carolina and elsewhere.

Joe Biden is very personable, very charming very authentic, and is seen by many as the true heir of Barack Obama, and while the President is not likely to take sides publicly between Joe and Hillary, it seems clear that he prefers Joe as his successor.

The question remains if Joe will run, but with his son’s last words asking him to run; plus the public opinion polls being so positive; and with the old saying that applies: “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” being appropriately applied, it makes sense that Biden try for the White House, his last chance.

Sure, he could lose, but if he does not run, he will, probably, regret it forever afterwards, that he had a chance, and let it escape.  Life does not guarantee success, but even if he lost the nomination to Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, he would know that he had engaged in the “good fight”, and that would be better than to give up the chance to be our 45th President, with a record of more experience than ANY President in history–44 years of service to his nation in government!

JFK In 1960; Carter In 1976; Clinton In 1992; Obama In 2008; Vs Martin O’Malley In 2016: Why The Difference In Fortunes?

In 1960, Senator John F. Kennedy overcame Senator Lyndon B. Johnson, Senator Hubert Humphrey, and Senator Stuart Symington to win the Democratic Presidential nomination, despite being Roman Catholic in religion, and offered “a new generation” of leadership, after President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

In 1976, former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter overcame Senator Frank Church, Senator Birch Bayh, Governor Jerry Brown, and Congressman Morris Udall to win the Democratic Presidential nomination, despite being the first Southerner since 1848, and offered “a new generation” of leadership, after President Gerald Ford.

In 1992, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton overcame former Senator Paul Tsongas, Senator Tom Harkin, Senator Bob Kerrey, and former Governor Jerry Brown to win the Democratic Presidential nomination, despite revelation of a sex scandal, and offered “a new generation” of leadership, after President George H. W. Bush.

In 2008, Senator Barack Obama overcame Senator Hillary Clinton, Senator Joe Biden,  Senator Chris Dodd and Governor Bill Richardson to win the Democratic Presidential nomination, despite being African American, and offered “a new generation” of leadership, after President George W. Bush.

In 2016, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, despite his outstanding record as Baltimore Mayor and Maryland Governor, has gained no traction against Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and even Socialist Bernie Sanders, all much older than him, and despite O’Malley offering “a new generation of leadership”, instead of going “backward” a generation in age from President Barack Obama.

The question is why O’Malley has gained no substantial support, despite his charisma and good looks, often seen as equivalent to how JFK, Carter, Clinton and Obama came across as being, before being elected President of the United States.

The concern is that the Republicans may nominate a candidate who is much younger than the Democratic nominee, someone such as Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, or Rand Paul.  History tell us that most often,  the younger nominee wins over the older nominee opponent, as with Kennedy and Richard Nixon, Carter and Gerald Ford, Clinton and George H. W. Bush, and Obama and Hillary Clinton.

The Democrats, in theory, have a “bench” of potential younger candidates in the future, including New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, Minnesota Amy Klobuchar, and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, along with the potential of new senators and governors who might be elected in 2016 and beyond.  But for right now, O’Malley is the Democratic “bench”, and he has failed to stir any support, very frustrating to him and anyone who is worried about the “old timers” who are the top three Democratic nominees for the Presidency this time around.

Bernie Sanders Leads Hillary Clinton In Iowa And New Hampshire: Time To Take Vermont Senator Seriously!

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is no joke anymore, as he now leads Hillary Clinton by 22 points in New Hampshire and by 10 points in Iowa in the latest polls.

Sanders is seeing his support mounting, while Clinton seems to be quickly falling apart.

Of course, two states do not make a nomination, and Hillary is ahead of Sanders by a wide margin in South Carolina.

But it is clear that it is not only the Republicans who are rejecting the so called “Establishment”, but also the Democrats, who seem to want a genuine, authentic, consistent principle driven candidate, and Bernie Sanders is therefore, the “man”!

Whether Sanders can sustain his surge and go beyond Iowa and New Hampshire is the question, but right now, his performance is making Vice President Joe Biden, another person who is genuine, authentic, and and consistent principle driven, reconsider whether he has the “fire in the belly” to challenge Hillary Clinton.

Certainly, the Democratic nomination, once thought to be guaranteed to Hillary Clinton, as in 2008, is again up for grabs.

Last time, it was a first term African American Senator with an odd name of Barack Obama; this time, it is the longest serving Independent member in the history of Congress in both houses, a Socialist, a person of Jewish heritage with a “Brooklyn” accent, and would be the oldest President upon inauguration of any of the potential Presidential candidates,  Bernie Sanders, who is the surprise of this campaign season!

The Likely “Best” Choice For The Republican Ticket In 2016: John Kasich And Marco Rubio

The first Republican debate is long over, and Donald Trump is monopolizing all of the oxygen in the room, but he is a calamity waiting to happen to the Republican Party.

It is clear already that the best ticket the GOP could offer the American people, in November 2016, would be to nominate Ohio Governor John Kasich for President and Florida Senator Marco Rubio for Vice President.

This would offer the American people a 64 year old Congressional veteran, with 18 years in the House of Representatives and 6 years as Ohio Governor—a man who is a clear cut conservative but centrist in nature, accepting Medicaid; accepting gay marriage as established and tolerant of gays and lesbians; having an element of compassion toward the poor working class, drug offenders, and mentally ill people; great experience in balancing budgets as head of the House Budget Committee; great communications ability, including six years as a talk show host on Fox News Channel; a very popular Governor of the crucial state for any Republican to win the White House; who has accepted that climate change exists; has supported gun regulation in the past; has supported criminal justice reform; is open minded on illegal immigration and eventual citizenship; and has an enlightened view of Christianity and its doctrines, so that recently he has been called a Pope Francis type personality.

However, others have said that Kasich has a “prickly” personality; that he has a “hair trigger” temper; that he is condescending, arrogant, and manipulative, which is, of course, quite disturbing. It also has been pointed out that he has weakened labor unions in Ohio, and has undermined public education in Ohio, in favor of charter schools. So, as with any candidate, he has definite shortcomings, but there is also the reality that, in comparison to his rivals, he stands out as having more potential as a candidate, and to have some, if not all, of the proper character traits, with no one having all, unfortunately.

So it is clear that Kasich is not preferable to a Democratic nominee, any of them in reality, but he comes across as the best person in the race on the Republican side at this writing.

At the same time, Marco Rubio, at age 45 in 2016, might be the best choice for Vice President. He has charisma; good looks; is Hispanic (Cuban American); represents another swing state like Ohio is, but Florida is the largest state to be a swing state; and while he is much more conservative than Kasich, he has potential for growth and maturity in his views over time. Rubio would not be thrilled to be Vice President, but it is a stepping stone to the Presidency when he is older and more seasoned. Besides, he has given up his chance to hold his Senate seat, so it would be more enticing for him to accept the Vice Presidency if he fails to win the Presidential nomination of his party.

This would be a team that would easily give the Republican Party their best shot at winning, but if they do not appeal to women, African Americans, Hispanics, the young, and to working class Americans, they have no chance of winning, so they need to moderate their image.

This team of Kasich and Rubio could accomplish what no other combination would be able to do–win the White House for the Republicans!  Having said that, the odds for the Democrats to keep the White House are excellent, and if Trump runs as an independent or third party candidate, it is guaranteed that the Democrats will win, and likely be certain to regain the Senate, and possibly,. even the House of Representative!

August 28—Emmett Till Murder, 1955; March On Washington, 1963!

60 years ago today, one of the most outrageous racial crimes  in American history occurred in Mississippi, when 14 year old African American Emmett Till of Chicago, visiting relatives, flirted with a white woman, and was murdered by a mob of whites, infuriated at his behavior.  They tortured him, beat him to a pulp, and shot him, and dragged his body, one of the worst examples of lynching that went on for many decades in the South, without any accountability.

Eight years later, we had the March on Washington, by a quarter of a million people of all races, and the momentous and historic “I Have A Dream” speech by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, calling for civil rights laws, which would come to pass in 1964 and 1965, but with King being assassinated in 1968.

These two anniversaries should sober us on the unfinished work on race relations, which is so evident in 2015, with the racial divide still massive despite progress from the time of Emmett Till!

Happy 107th Birthday, President Lyndon B. Johnson!

107 years ago today, President Lyndon B. Johnson was born, destined to have a career that would change the lives of more Americans than any other President, including Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Many will remind us of the disastrous Vietnam War, which LBJ waged, and which forced him out of office, giving up a chance to be only the second President to serve more than eight years, the only one doing so being FDR!

Many will point out that LBJ is accused of being involved in the assassination plot against John F. Kennedy, well spread by several authors, but still seen as highly speculative.

Many will tell us of the statements that LBJ was possibly the most corrupt President in American history, and the one who enriched his own fortune more than any other, without any positive proof of their allegations.

Many will look to find other chinks in the armor of the 36th President, and certainly, LBJ would be the first to declare his own imperfections, including his tendency to use racist Southern terms for African Americans, common in Dixie in his lifetime.

But even with whatever shortcomings there were, and whatever mostly unprovable accusations that are lodged against him, there is certainly another LBJ–the man who used the powers of his office to better the lives of more Americans—-the elderly, the sick, the poor, the uneducated, the ethnic minorities, deprived whites, women—-than any President before him, and unmatched by any President since his time.

The Great Society did so much good, much of it still with us 50 years later, a goal that LBJ had, to match and surpass his “idol”, FDR, and his New Deal programs of 30 years earlier.

Poverty was cut dramatically in the time of LBJ; more people had a chance to get an education than ever before; Medicare and Medicaid came into being, providing a “safety net” added to the Social Security programs of FDR; Civil Rights laws finally fulfilled the purpose of what Abraham Lincoln had promoted a century earlier; the environment, consumer protection, transportation and urban affairs improvement became the priority of the federal government; public radio and television offered enlightenment and still do; and we saw the beginnings of opportunity for top positions in the federal government for ethnic minorities who had never played a role in government affairs before.

So despite obvious faults and shortcomings, Happy 107th Birthday, Mr. President!

Donald Trump: A Mix Of Wendell Willkie, George Wallace, And Ross Perot

Donald Trump’s Presidential candidacy has brought back memories of three other Presidential candidates.

First is Wendell Willkie, a corporate leader and Wall Street industrialist from Indiana who had never run for public office, who wowed the Republican convention in 1940 with his charisma, rhetoric, and attack on “career politicians”.  He was able to win the Republican Presidential nomination in 1940, and run a good but losing race against the master politician, Franklin D. Roosevelt, running for an unprecedented third term.

Next is George C. Wallace, Governor of Alabama, who formed the American Independent Party in 1968, rallying those opposed to the Civil Rights laws passed under Lyndon B. Johnson.  He attracted angry working class whites, and won 13.5 % of the popular vote, the fourth best percentage for a third party in American history.  He also won five Southern states and 46 electoral votes, making him the second best in total states and electoral votes in American history, only behind former President Theodore Roosevelt, who won six states and 88 electoral votes as the nominee of the third party known as the Progressive (Bull Moose) party, in 1912.  TR also is the only third party nominee to end up second, rather than third in the election results.  His campaign in 1912 decimated the Republican Party under President William Howard Taft, and helped to elect Democrat Woodrow Wilson.

And then we have Ross Perot, a billionaire businessman who had never run for public office, who ran an independent race twice, winning nearly 19 percent of the vote in 1992, and 8 percent of the vote in 1996, while winning no states in the Electoral College.  He appealed to those who were disgusted with the federal government, and worried about the growing national debt.  His candidacy undermined the Republican Party nominees, President George H. W. Bush in 1992 and Senator Bob Dole in 1996, and elected Democrat Bill Clinton twice.

Now we have Donald Trump, a billionaire, who has developed an appeal to those who are disillusioned with politics and the federal government, making him similar to Perot.  But Trump also appeals to the baser instincts in many people, those who dislike African Americans, Latinos, immigrants in general, in these ways having similar views  to Wallace.  These Trump supporters  also think women should not be treated equally, preferring the old image of women who should cook, clean, and be available for the sexual satisfaction of their men, but with no rights over their bodies and reproduction,  similar to the Tea Party Movement.  Also, there is a distaste for labor rights, and for the environment, and an orientation toward absolute belief in religion as the gospel, and a repudiation of science.

Can Trump “storm” the Republican Party, as Wendell Willkie did in 1940; or will he run on a third party, like Ross Perot, and make it impossible for the GOP to win the White House?  And will Trump continue to appeal to the George Wallace type voters, and promote a right wing populism as Wallace did?

This is what is yet to be evolving, but in many ways, Trump is a combination, right now, of Willkie, Wallace, and Perot!

The Anti Political Establishment “Rebellion” In Full Swing In Summer Of 2015

The summer of 2015 has witnessed a clear cut “rebellion” against the the political establishment in both political parties.

The Republican Party is observing the rise of Donald Trump, who, although he is part of the “one percent” as a billionaire, is perceived as “anti Establishment”.

No matter how Donald Trump acts, and no matter what he says, he is still the clear leader in public opinion polls, reinforced after the controversial Fox News Channel Republican Presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio, on Thursday, August 6.

Not only is Trump still with a wide lead, but now, at least in the NBC News poll that has emerged on Monday morning, Texas Senator Ted Cruz has ended up second; former pediatric surgeon Dr. Benjamin Carson is third; former Hewlett Packard businesswoman Carly Fiorina is fourth; and Florida Senator Marco Rubio is fifth.

So this means that three of the top four in the poll are “non politicians”, and Cruz at number two is in the Senate for only three years; and Rubio at number five is in the Senate for only five years, meaning even they are not seen by many as part of the “political establishment”, since they are both in their first term in national politics.

Also of interest is that we witness an African American, two Cuban Americans, and a woman in the top five of the Republican Presidential poll.

At the same time, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has attracted the largest crowds of any candidate on either side of the Presidential race; has had crowds such as 15,000 in Seattle, 20,000 plus in Portland, and impressive crowds in Texas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado, and Maine; and is now only a few points behind Hillary Clinton in polls in New Hampshire, and definitely gaining poll points everywhere at the expense of Hillary. This is so despite the fact he is identified as a Socialist, and only has connected to the Democratic Party in the House and Senate for committee appointments, but is certainly to the left of just about all Democrats in Congress. So he is, in many ways, anti “political establishment” in his platform and rhetoric.

The question is whether this “rebellion” in both political parties will lead to real transformational change, or whether in the end, Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton will triumph as the nominees of their parties, and possibly lead to many people staying home and not voting in protest, or rallying to a Donald Trump third party candidacy!

50 Years Of The Voting Rights Act, And Reluctance To Enforce It By Supreme Court And Many States Now A Sad Reality!

On August 6, it will be 50 years since the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, overcoming a near century of the denial of the right to vote to African Americans, despite the passage of the 15th Amendment in 1870.

The Southern states denied African Americans the right to vote through all kinds of methods for three quarters of a century, but finally it was a Southern President and many Congressional Republicans joining with Democrats that caused that denial of democracy to be overcome, finally.

And Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush, all Republicans, continued to endorse, promote, hail, and extend the provisions of the Voting Rights Act.

But then the Supreme Court majority under Chief Justice John Roberts weakened enforcement in a Supreme Court decision in 2013 (Shelby County, Alabama V. Holder), effectively giving license to states run by Republican governors and legislatures to pass new restrictions on voting, that would not only hurt African Americans, but also Hispanics, poor whites, the elderly, college students—all being required to make onerous efforts to meet the new restrictions on voting rights, when there was no earlier evidence of voting fraud.

This sad reality has pained John Lewis, Georgia Congressman, who was involved in the movement for voting rights in Alabama (the Selma-Montgomery March), and was seriously beaten, along with others who were killed, fighting peacefully for the basic right to vote.

So while we celebrate the 50th anniversary of this path breaking legislation, we have to hope that the Supreme Court will revisit what it has done by a 5-4 vote in the next term, with the hope that they will reconsider what they have done, based on the discrimination now being practiced in many states across the nation.

Death Of A President: Warren G. Harding, August 2, 1923

On this day, 92 years ago, the 29th President of the United States, Warren G. Harding, died in San Francisco, on his way back from a tour of Alaska, and taking time away from the White House, which was besieged by scandals erupting around him, causing him to be depressed and despairing from the political pressures.

Harding had never been all that interested in running, but his wife, Florence, had ambitions for him, and Republican establishment leaders of the time saw him as someone ideal in place of the image of a crusading, reform President, as Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson had been perceived.

Harding is best remembered for the scandals that erupted around him, generally known as the Teapot Dome Scandals, including the indictments of Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall; Attorney General Harry Daugherty; and Veterans Bureau administrator Charles Forbes, plus the later revelations of his love life before and during the White House years.

For those reasons, Harding is rated the worst President of the 20th century, and near the bottom of all Presidents in scholarly rankings.

Yet, Harding had appointed former President William Howard Taft to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; Herbert Hoover to be Secretary of Commerce; and Charles Evans Hughes to be Secretary of State. Looking back, he had appointed a former President; a future President; and a Presidential nominee who lost to Woodrow Wilson in 1916. All three had a major impact on their institutions, and Hughes presided over the Washington Naval Conference and naval disarmament, an accomplishment that makes him one of the greatest Secretaries of State in American history.

Also, Harding had been responsible for the creation of the Bureau of the Budget, the first national agency to promote a national budget; and had given a pardon to Eugene Debs, the Socialist party leader imprisoned for his opposition to America’s involvement in the First World War. He had also spoken out against lynchings of African Americans in the South and Midwest, a growing phenomenon, which he strongly deplored.

His sudden death shocked the nation, and he was mourned as a popular President, until the scandals started to emerge.

The debate about his death from a cerebral hemorrhage has been to promote conspiracy theories about a coverup, that possibly Harding had committed suicide due to the scandals erupting around him, and the thought that his wife might have known about the sexual liaisons Harding had, and murdered him, and supposedly the Secret Service covered it up. But there is no basis for either of these rumors. It was known that he had gained weight and was having medical issues, well hidden at the time of his passing.

The fact that the casket was not open at his funeral, and that his wife burned a lot of documents in the year after his death until her own death in 1924, adds suspicions about Harding.

The irony is that Harding is most interesting in regards to the scandals erupting under him, the most since Ulysses S. Grant and the most until Richard Nixon; for his love life; and for the rumors about his death, not for anything else that occurred, including what has been mentioned above.