Al Gore

From Election To Inauguration: Four Worrisome Times, And Now Again In 2020

In American history, we have witnessed four times when the period from the election to the inauguration has been a worrisome time.

The first time was 1860-1861, when Abraham Lincoln was facing the secession of the South, and likely civil war, and even the danger of assassination threats before he took office.

The second time was 1876-1877, when the popular vote went to Samuel J. Tilden, but the electoral vote went to Rutherford B. Hayes, decided by a special Electoral Commission, which resulted in the closest electoral vote imaginable, a one vote margin of electors.

The third time was 1932-1933, when Franklin D. Roosevelt faced a recalcitrant Herbert Hoover, who refused to cooperate with the President-Elect as the Great Depression worsened.

The fourth time was 2000-2001, when the electoral vote was decided by the Supreme Court, awarding Florida to George W. Bush over Al Gore, by the second closest electoral vote, only five electoral vote margin.

And now, in 2020, we have to fear that Donald Trump will refuse to concede the election, and will fight it in every possible way, if the electoral vote is contested. And even if it is an easy victory for Joe Biden, Trump might create a constitutional crisis, and attempt to declare martial law and suspend the Constitution. He also might attempt to start a war with China or Iran, in the midst of the CoronaVirus Pandemic.

So we have a lot to worry about as we move toward the Presidential Election of 2020!

Crucial Vice Presidential Choices In American History, Good And Bad

As Joe Biden decides soon who will be his Vice Presidential running mate, this is a good time to look at crucial Vice Presidential choices in American history, both good and bad.

There is a myth that the Vice Presidential choice does not matter, but it most certainly does.

Abraham Lincoln, in order to help his reelection chances in 1864, dropped Vice President Hannibal Hamlin in favor of Andrew Johnson. Johnson would go on to be the worst blunder of Lincoln, as he succeeded Lincoln after only six weeks in office, divided the country, and was impeached.

William McKinley lost his Vice President, Garret Hobart, in 1899, due to heart disease. If Hobart had not died, he would have become President in 1901, but instead, it was Theodore Roosevelt, who transformed the office of the Presidency.

Franklin D. Roosevelt dropped third term Vice President Henry A. Wallace in 1944 in favor of Harry Truman, who succeeded him after 82 days as Vice President, and most scholars believe Wallace would have been a terrible choice to be President.

John F. Kennedy could not have won in 1960 without Lyndon B. Johnson, who would carry along to success the domestic goals of JFK, and expand beyond it in the “Great Society” programs in the mid 1960s.

Jimmy Carter had a perfect match for Vice President in Walter Mondale, who became the most active and engaged Vice President, practically a co-President.

Ronald Reagan had no foreign policy experience, and George H. W. Bush was a great asset to him in the 1980s.

Bush made a terrible choice in Dan Quayle as his Vice President, and made everyone pray for his health when he had an “atrial fibrillation” in office.

Bill Clinton was fortunate to have Al Gore as his VP, as Gore helped to direct Clinton on the environment, an issue Clinton had performed poorly as Arkansas Governor.

George W. Bush had a smart, intelligent, capable Vice President in Dick Cheney, except for the reality that he “ran the show” in the first term, and pushed us into unwise wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and managed to make millions of personal wealth from Halliburton.

He is often called the most powerful Vice President in American history, in the sense of his impact and powerful influence in policy under Bush, although somewhat less so in the second term, as Bush separated himself to some extent from Cheney.

The Barack Obama-Joe Biden “Bromance” was extremely close and influential, only matched by the Carter-Mondale partnership.

The relationship between Donald Trump and Mike Pence has been one of total sycophancy by Pence, as he hopes to become President at some point in the future. The evangelical Christian Right has been a major factor in the total degradation, and lack of ethics and morals of the Trump Presidency.

So for good or for bad, the Vice Presidency has made a difference!

The Vice Presidency More Crucial Than Ever Before In The Presidential Election Of 2020

The office of the Vice Presidency has become an office of real substance and significance since the time of Richard Nixon as Vice President under Dwight D. Eisenhower from 1953-1961.

Before that, the Vice Presidency was an office ignored and forgotten, except when a President died in office.

Only three Vice Presidents, all early on in American history (John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Van Buren) had been elevated to the Presidency by election, rather than succession due to death of the President.

Only when George H. W. Bush succeeded Ronald Reagan by election in 1988, did we again have a Vice President elected directly to the Presidency.

However, we did have Nixon lose the Presidency after Eisenhower, only to win it eight years later in 1968. And we did have Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale, and Al Gore run for President and lose.

Now, we have former Vice President Joe Biden having a good chance to be the Presidential nominee of his party in 2020.

But in many ways, even more significant now than the Presidential race, is the reality that the odds of a future Vice President succeeding during the term is magnified by the fact that all four leading individuals who might be President in 2021 are old men–Donald Trump at 74, Joe Biden at 78, Michael Bloomberg at 78, and Bernie Sanders at 79, when the term begins in January 2021.

All except Bloomberg have known health issues–Trump both mentally and physically, Biden mentally, and Sanders physically. Bloomberg at this point seems free of any mental or physical health issues.

But the reality that the three Democrats will reach 80 in either the first or second year of the next term is alarming and worrisome, and magnifies the importance of choosing the right Vice Presidential choice, with the odds growing that whoever it is, he or she is likely to occupy the Oval Office before January 2025.

It is a sobering thought, but one must face reality, so the choice of a running mate is more crucial than ever before.

14 Weeks Until First Vote In Iowa Caucuses

As the House of Representatives is working on its impeachment inquiry involving President Donald Trump, the political calendar is starting to close in on many Democratic Presidential contenders.

It is now only 14 weeks until the first Americans vote on 2020, with the Iowa Caucuses taking place on Monday, February 3.

Iowa is not truly decisive on who wins the nomination and the Presidency in either major political party, as the only times that Iowa was a sign of the future was when an incumbent President was not on the ballot, and even then, not very often.

Democratic Party

Walter Mondale in 1984

Al Gore in 2000

John Kerry in 2004

Barack Obama in 2008

Hillary Clinton in 2016

George McGovern in 1972, Jimmy Carter in 1976, Michael Dukakis in 1988, and Bill Clinton in 1992 failed to win Iowa.

Republican Party

Gerald Ford in 1976

Bob Dole in 1996

George W. Bush in 2000

Ronald Reagan in 1980, George H. W. Bush in 1988, John McCain in 2008, Mitt Romney in 2012, and Donald Trump in 2016 failed to win Iowa.

So only George W. Bush in 2000 and Barack Obama in 2008 won Iowa and went on to win the Presidency in the fall of those years.

So do not expect that who wins Iowa will automatically be the nominee for the Democrats in November 2020.

Since 1972, Iowa has been accurate on the Democratic nominee 43 percent of the time, and 50 percent accurate on the Republican nominee.

Iowa is not representative of the nation in its population mix, but it gives a leg up to a few of the candidates, while dashing the hopes of so many others.

Billionaires Howard Schultz And Tom Steyer Represent Threat To Democratic Victory In 2020

The last thing the country needs is another multi billionaire who has no government experience as a Senator, a Congressman, a Governor, a Mayor, a Cabinet Officer, or a military career.

We have gone that route with Donald Trump, and while multi billionaires Howard Schultz and Tom Steyer might be considered vastly different than Trump for sure, still the reality is that they are simply running, because they have the financial means to run, and do not need to ask for public support and funding.

That in itself is an outrage, and we should not consider anyone who has not faced Americans in a voting situation in his or her past, and a proven record of accomplishment, to be our President.

The fear is that either Howard Schultz, who has said he will run as an Independent, and Steyer, who is saying he is a candidate for the Democrats but could decide to run an Independent race, could be on the ballot in all or most states, and take away votes that would favor the Democratic nominee, and throw away the hard efforts of the Democrats, and reelect Donald Trump.

Either or both could become the spoiler, as was the case with Pat Buchanan and Ralph Nader being on the ballot in Florida, and taking away the election from Al Gore, in favor of George W. Bush in the 2000 Presidential election.

Is It Time For A New Generation Of Leadership For The Democrats?

After watching both Democratic Presidential debates this week, one has to ask the question:

It is time for a new generation of leadership for the Democrats?

The Democratic Party, historically, has regularly gone for younger candidates for President than the Republicans.

Witness Franklin D. Roosevelt, age 51; Adlai Stevenson, age 52; John F. Kennedy, age 43; Lyndon B. Johnson full term, age 56; Hubert Humphrey, age 57; George McGovern, age 50; Jimmy Carter, age 52; Walter Mondale, age 56; Michael Dukakis, age 56; Bill Clinton, age 46; Al Gore, age 52; Barack Obama, age 47.

Compare this to Dwight D. Eisenhower, age 62; Gerald Ford, 1976, age 63; Ronald Reagan, age 69; George H W Bush, age 64; Bob Dole, age 73; John McCain, age 72; Mitt Romney, age 65; Donald Trump, age 70.

So nominating Bernie Sanders, age 79; Joe Biden, age 78; or Elizabeth Warren, age 71—all of whom would be the oldest first term nominated Presidential candidate—might be the wrong way to go!

Might it NOT be better to nominate, at their ages at the time of the Presidential Election of 2020?

Pete Buttigieg age 39

Tulsi Gabbard age 39

Eric Swalwell age 40

Julian Castro age 46

Beto O’Rourke age 48

Cory Booker age 51

Steve Bullock age 54

Kirsten Gillibrand age 54

Kamala Harris age 56

Amy Klobuchar age 60

Clinton Case And Trump Case For Impeachment Totally Different, Including Clinton Popularity Remained High, And Trump Has Never Had A Majority Popularity Rating!

As the debate begins over whether Donald Trump should face impeachment by the House of Representatives, even if the US Senate will not convict, it is instructive to examine the Bill Clinton Impeachment and compare it to the proposed Donald Trump Impeachment.

Bill Clinton remained popular through the whole impeachment crisis and after, and yet the majority of the American people did not support his impeachment, based on the Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky scandals. But the Republican Party played politics, and insisted on impeaching him and bringing him to trial in the Senate, knowing full well that Clinton would NOT be removed from office, and knowing that if he was removed, Al Gore would have become President and had an edge as a sitting President for the 2000 Presidential election.

Donald Trump, on the other hand has never been popular with more than 42-43 percent of the American people, and the support for his impeachment has grown as time has passed, although a majority in polls do not yet support action to be taken, despite the clear cut abuses of power and obstruction of justice being utilized by Trump, including refusal to hand over documents and have people testify before Congressional committees. And the fact that he has earned hundreds of millions of dollars from his properties, violating the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, is yet another reason for his impeachment, no matter what happens in the Senate.

Democrats know that if Donald Trump were to be removed, Mike Pence would replace him, a horrifying thought, but for the record of history, it is clear that Donald Trump is more abusive of power, and violating the separation of powers and checks and balances, endangering the nation in international affairs, and in retaining the great reforms of Democratic and Republican Presidents since Theodore Roosevelt and through Barack Obama.

There is no acceptable excuse for moving ahead on impeachment, and it is time for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to stop worrying about the impact of impeachment, and do the right thing, make Donald Trump accountable under the Constitution for his violation of his Presidential oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States!

Vice Presidency Has Led To Presidential Nominations Multiple Times Since The 1960s

The Vice Presidency was never good breeding ground for Presidential nominations since the Civil War.

Only John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Van Buren and John C. Breckinridge were nominated for President before the Civil War, with all winning the Presidency, except for Breckinridge, who had been Vice President under James Buchanan from 1857-1861, and then nominated by Southern Democrats who refused to accept the official Democratic nominee, Stephen Douglas in 1860.

The only Vice President from 1860 to 1960 who was nominated for President was Franklin D. Roosevelt’s third term Vice President, Henry A. Wallace, who ran as the Progressive Party nominee for President in 1948 against his own successor in the Vice Presidency, President Harry Truman.

But since 1960, six Vice Presidents have run as Presidential candidates, including;

Richard Nixon in 1960 and 1968

Hubert Humphrey in 1968

Gerald Ford in 1976 (who had succeeded Richard Nixon under the 25th Amendment)

Walter Mondale in 1984

George H. W. Bush in 1988

Al Gore in 2000

Nixon and Bush won the Presidency, while Ford lost a full term after finishing the partial term he succeeded to, and Gore won the popular vote, but failed to win the Electoral College.

The point is that Joe Biden would be the 7th Vice President who ran for President after serving as Number 2 in the executive branch.

And Nixon the first time, Mondale, Bush, and Gore all had a jump start on the nomination of their party for the Presidency, with only Humphrey and Ford having major challengers.

So at least by recent history in the past half century plus, being a Vice President gives a leap forward to those who wish to run for President.

Hillary Clinton Running Again For President Is A Terrible Idea

Rumors are spreading that Hillary Clinton is considering the idea of announcing again for President in 2020.

That would be a terrible idea, and would divide the Democratic Party, when it needs to move on from the disappointments of 2016.

Hillary Clinton is very talented, smart, and knowledgeable, and it is true that she won the national popular vote by 2.85 million votes in 2016, more than many Presidents, including John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and Jimmy Carter.

But she was unable to win over the white working class vote of the Midwest, and nothing we know of her would indicate that she can magically win over that voting bloc in 2020.

It is tragic that she lost the Electoral College, but just as with Al Gore after 2000, it is time to move on, as there are so many other talented, smart, capable potential nominees in the Democratic Party, who could carry the mantle of the party into November 2020.

So, please, Hillary Clinton, campaign for others for 2020, make speeches, write books, and enjoy Chelsea’s children, now soon to have a third child. Even Chelsea has said a blessing of the loss was that her mom had a chance to spent more time with her grandchildren.

Enough is enough, and it is time to move on from the Age of the Clintons.

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.