Alabama

State Politics Much More Complicated Than Often Realized: The Cases Of New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Texas, California

Anyone who follows American politics historically and contemporarily often seems unaware of the complexity of state politics around the nation.

We hear discussion of “Blue” states and “Red” states, but state politics is much more complicated that that.

Gerrymandering often distorts the reality of political loyalties in many states, and also the reality of about one third of voters being “Independent”, rather than loyal to Democrats or Republicans.

There are many examples of this across the nation, particularly noticeable in larger, more populated states.

Just a few examples:

New York State is often thought to be strongly Democratic, but not true in the state legislature, and New York City is vastly different in political culture from upstate New York areas, such as Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany. Even Long Island, Nassau and Suffolk Counties, often reflect different views than the five boroughs of New York City, and within New York City, Staten Island, is vastly different from Manhattan, the Bronx, and Brooklyn, with Queens County more balanced than the other boroughs in the city.

Pennsylvania is a state where gerrymandering has given the Republicans until now a great advantage, but new court ordered mandates may change that balance in Congress and the state legislature. Philadelphia has a very different political orientation than western Pennsylvania, often called “Alabama” outside of the city of Pittsburgh.

Virginia is well known to have a very liberal Democratic northern section (often called NoVa), reflecting the influence of being the Washington DC suburbs, while much of the rest of the state is reliably conservative and Republican.

Florida is strongly Democratic in the southern counties, particularly Broward and Palm Beach Counties, with somewhat less so in Miami Dade County due to the influence of Cuban Americans, but even that is diminishing, since it is now 60 years since the rise of Fidel Castro, and those directly affected negatively by Castro, are mostly no longer part of the population in Miami. At the same time, Central Florida is the real battleground in the state, the area that decides most elections. North Florida is much like Alabama or Georgia, its neighbors.

Ohio is strongly Democratic in the northern and central sections, particularly in Cleveland and Toledo, and the capital of Columbus, but in the more rural parts and in southern Ohio, near Kentucky, including Cincinnati, it is strongly Republican.

Illinois is dominated by Chicago in the northern part, but down state Illinois is much more Republican in orientation.

Michigan has Detroit as strongly Democratic but in western and northern Michigan, it is much more rural and Republican.

Texas has Democratic strongholds in the state capitol, Austin, and in Houston, while other portions of this very large state, including the rural areas, are strongly Republican.

California has Democratic strongholds in San Francisco and Los Angeles, but the Central Valley, San Diego, and cities like Bakersfield, where House Majority Leader and possible next Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy resides, are strongly Republican.

The next race for the Speaker of the House could be between two Californians of totally different mentalities–Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco and Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield.

A basic reality is that urban areas are always much more likely to be Democratic while rural areas are certain to be more Republican.

Suburban areas are what often decides the politics of a state and in Congress and the Presidential election, as they are the balancing force that determines a state vote, and recently it seems clear the suburban areas, often Republican, are starting to move away from that long time loyalty.

The Long, Controversial Career Of California Governor Jerry Brown, Arguably Now The Best Governor In America As He Leaves Office At Age 80!

California Governor Jerry Brown became 80 years old last week, and he has proved that an older political leader can be very effective, as he finishes his second consecutive term as the leader of the largest state, and the fourth term altogether going back nearly a half century.

Brown was elected Governor in 1974, when only 36 and served two terms of office until 1982. He was the youngest Governor in modern California history.

Twenty eight years later, at age 72, he was again elected in 2010 and is now finishing his second round of two consecutive terms in the California Governorship.

So over a period of 36 years, he served more years in office than all but a few state Governors in American history.

By the time he retires in January 2019, only Terry Branstad of Iowa, now Ambassador to China, with 22 years four months; George Clinton of New York serving 20 years and 11 months (in the late 18th and early 19th centuries); and South Dakota Governor William Janklow with 16 years and 7 days, will have served longer than Brown at 16 years and 5 days, with Alabama Governor George Wallace having one less day, at 16 years and 4 days–the only five Governors to have served 16 full years and more.

Brown, of course, also sought the Presidency in 1976 and 1980 against Jimmy Carter, and in 1992 against Bill Clinton. Additionally, he was California Secretary of State from 1971-1975, when he became Governor, and also Mayor of Oakland, California from 1999-2007 and California Attorney General from 2007-2011, when he was again elected Governor. Brown also ran for and lost a US Senate bid in 1982 to Peter Wilson, who later went on to be elected Governor of California in 1990 and 1994.

So altogether, he served in public office for 32 of the past 48 years, and was not in public office for 16 years after being in office for 12 years, but then had a “renaissance ” leading to a second period of 20 years. And even in that period of being out of office, he ran for the Presidency a third time.

Brown has always been controversial, but he is now acknowledged by many observers as being the best state governor in America, having revived the fortunes of California in his third and fourth round in Sacramento.

And he has been a leader in fighting Donald Trump and his agenda, particularly in regard to the environment, and on immigration.

So despite the fact that he would be 82 in 2020, some have wondered if he would seek the Presidency yet again 44, 40, and 28 years after earlier seeking the White House.

The odds of his announcing for President or being able to win the nomination and election are extremely long, but Jerry Brown has proved he cannot be judged by normal circumstances, and that if anyone can defy the odds, it is Jerry Brown!

Likely Changes In Electoral Votes And Congressional Seats As Result Of 2020 Census Figures

We are two years away from the 2020 Census, which will determine:

Electoral Vote Changes for 15 or 16 states
Congressional Seat Changes for 15 or 16 states
Federal Funding of Domestic Programs for all states

With Donald Trump’s attempt to cut population growth in the Census by putting fear into undocumented immigrants filling out the Census forms, it could affect all of the above.

As things now stand, 6 states are certain to gain electoral votes and Congressional seats, while 9 other states lose electoral votes by 2024, and Congressional seats by the 2022 midterm elections.

Interestingly, California, which has regularly gained multiple seats for decades, has not grown enough in comparison to the total population of the entire nation, so will for the first time ever gain no seats at all. Of course, with many undocumented immigrants, more than any other state, there is a theoretical possibility that California could, conceivably, lose a seat if enough of this group do not fill out Census forms.

The state of Virginia also has not grown enough, just like California, so is unlikely to gain a new electoral vote or Congressional seat.

Texas will likely gain 3 electoral votes and seats, while Florida will gain 2, and with Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina, and Oregon all gaining one each. All these states are in the Sun Belt, except Oregon in the Pacific Northwest.

So a total of 9 seats and electoral votes will be gained by a total of 6 states, which means those 9 seats will come from 9 different states, with 7 coming from the Northeast (Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania) and Midwest (Ohio, Michigan Minnesota, Illinois), and two from the South (West Virginia, Alabama).

It is also possible with changes in population in the next three years, that an additional seat could be lost by Illinois, and gained by Montana in the Pacific Northwest, which has lost a seat before, and might gain it back.

So at a maximum, 16 states will see their electoral votes and Congressional seats change, 7 gaining as a maximum and 9 losing as a maximum. The other 34 states will have no change at all.

Also, with Rhode Island about to lose a seat, it will be left with only one Representative At Large, joining Alaska, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and Delaware, assuming Montana gains a seat. Otherwise, the total number of states with only one House seat would grow from 7 to 8.

Conor Lamb Victory In Pennsylvania Congressional Race Indication Of Major Democratic Wave This November In Midterm Elections!

Democrat Conor Lamb won the Pennsylvania Congressional race in a strongly gerrymandered Republican district won by Donald Trump in 2016 by more than 20 points.

This should not have happened, and it is a sign of a major Democratic wave this November in midterm Congressional elections.

There are 119 GOP districts which are not as strongly Republican in 2016 as this particular Pennsylvania district.

The suburbs are starting to turn against Republicans nationwide, and that is the key to Democratic victory.

Joe Biden campaigned for Lamb, while Trump campaigned for the Republican nominee, and almost completely ignored him on Saturday night, as he gave the most unhinged imaginable speech, making a fool of himself, and every time Trump gives a crazy speech, he is losing support.

Meanwhile, Joe Biden was a major factor for Lamb, and this will boost his expected Presidential campaign.

People are starting to back away from Trump and his party, and remember only 23 seats are needed as a minimum to gain control of the House of Representatives. Many Republicans have decided not to run for reelection, and those numbers will now grow as a result of this Republican defeat yesterday.

The Democrats have now won 43 races since November 2016, while the Republicans have won just 4, and this includes the Governors of New Jersey and Virginia, and the Alabama Senate seat.

The tide is turning, and the key thing is not expecting that all Democrats must be hard left, as that is a prescription for disaster, and there is a need for more moderate Democrats, who will disappoint on some bills, but will generally back the party when push comes to shove.

17 Democratic Senators Have Learned Nothing From Great Recession, And Are To Be Condemned For Joining Republicans To Cut Back Banking Reforms

In 2008-2009, we saw the collapse of the American economy, with the biggest banks and Wall Street firms guilty of causing it.

None of those banks or Wall Street firms paid a price for their illegal, unethical activities, which destroyed the economy in a manner unseen since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Under Barack Obama, the Dodd-Frank Law was passed to insure accountability of banks and Wall Street, so that what happened a decade ago would never happen again.

But now, under a Republican Congress, the action to destroy the Dodd_Frank Law is occurring, and has been assisted by 17 Democratic Senators, and only with at least 10 of them, could such action to eliminate Dodd-Frank have moved forward.

It is shocking to see 17 of the 49 Democrats and Independents in the Senate become turncoats who effectively joined in this evil act, and all 17 need to be called out and denounced.

The problem is too many politicians gain campaign contributions from the big banks and Wall Street, so it compromises their ability to represent their states in a proper manner.

The problem is that if these Democrats are repudiated, it would only aid Republicans in possibly gaining their seats, so the issue is that it is preferable to have Democrats who will support the party on many issues, even if not on this issue.

Liberals and progressives will argue that they should be “primaried”, but the reality is that would only help promote more Republican senators, so we are in an area that could be described as “between the devil and the deep blue sea”!

But we must at least list these 17 Senators, so we are all aware of their “treason”:

Michael Bennet of Colorado
Tom Carper of Delaware
Chris Coons of Delaware
Joe Donnelly of Indiana
Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire
Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota
Doug Jones of Alabama
Tim Kaine of Virginia
Angus King of Maine (Independent)
Joe Manchin of West Virginia
Claire McCaskill of Missouri
Bill Nelson of Florida
Gary Peters of Michigan
Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire
Debbie Stabenow of Michigan
Jon Tester of Montana
Mark Warner of Virginia

Ten of these 17 Senators face an election in 2018—Carper, Donnelly, Heitkamp, Kaine, King, Manchin, McCaskill, Nelson, Stabenow, and Tester.

Of these 10, only Carper, Kaine and King are in states that went to the Democrats. The other seven were Republican states, and makes the task of keeping their seats ever more difficult.

Of the 17 Senators, only 8 of them, those from Colorado, Delaware (2), New Hampshire (2), Virginia (2), and Maine came from states carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016.

So, sadly, we do not have the privilege and ability to call for the defeat of the ten who are running this year, but even true of the seven who are not running, as they are still better than Republicans to hold the seats.

Otherwise, the Democrats will lose all chance of ever gaining a majority, if they stick to an extreme progressive view of who is acceptable as a Democratic member of the US Senate.

However, one point should be made clear, that none of this list above should ever be considered seriously for President, with the reality that only the two Virginia Senators, Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, are even talked about at all as potential nominees.

Tim Kaine may have run for Vice President with Hillary Clinton in 2016, but his support of repeal of the Dodd Frank Law should disqualify him and Warner for future Presidential consideration.

CPAC Rejects Outspoken Conservative Woman Critic (Mona Charen) And Former Black Republican National Chairman (Michael Steele), And Senator John McCain

The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is an extreme right wing organization, and becoming more so every year.

Although they call themselves conservative, many respectable and legitimate conservatives have stopped going to the annual meetings, and have denounced their stands on issues, as well as their rhetoric.

And now, CPAC has made clear that it is racist, misogynistic, nativist , homophobic, and has elements of antisemitism in its membership, and who they support and applaud.

To see outspoken conservative journalist Mona Charen booed, when she condemned the behavior of Donald Trump toward women, and his support of Roy Moore for the Alabama Senate seat back in December, shows just how misogynist the organization has become, and their full support of Donald Trump is shocking and disturbing.

To see former Republican National Chairman Michael Steele (who is African American) termed a token, who should not have been the RNC head in 2009-2010, is insulting and shows the racism of the group.

To see Arizona Senator John McCain booed, when he is a national hero for his involvement in the Vietnam War, and spent years in prison and faced torture, while Donald Trump evaded the draft, is totally reprehensible.

Known antisemites and homophobes have also been embraced by many participants in this organization, a disgraceful situation.

What kind of people participate in CPAC meetings? Clearly the lowlifes of society, who are mentally ill in many cases, including their full endorsement of the National Rifle Association and its refusal to accept any gun limits even after the Parkland Florida Massacre of ten days earlier than the conference.

It is clear that CPAC has become much like a modern example of the Nazi Party, and Donald Trump as their “Fuhrer”, something that must be resisted, as that is the destruction of America!

Stephen Miller Needs To Be Kicked Out Of Trump Administration And Face Investigation, As He Is Most Dangerous Person Around Trump!

Who would think a 32 year old bully, racist, white supremacist, and nativist, with the credentials of having been on the staff of former Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, and former Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, would end up becoming in many ways the most dangerous person around Donald Trump?

This blogger and author is referring to Stephen Miller, a disgrace to the Jewish people and religion, who has somehow become the center of the debate over immigration, and is helping to push the President toward extremism on many issues, including immigration and civil rights.

Miller was brought up in a liberal leaning Jewish family in Santa Monica, California, with his mother’s family having escaped from Belarus in the early 20th century, coming to America as non English speaking immigrants who achieved the “American Dream”, that now Miller wishes to deny immigrants from Latin America and from the Middle Eastern nations, including Muslims, and Africa.

In high school, Miller showed intolerance, as he promoted right wing conservatism, including the extremism of National Rifle Association spokesman Wayne La Pierre, and spoke on right wing talk radio as young as 16 years of age. He stirred controversy as he promoted white supremacist views in high school and at Duke University. He had a constant confrontational attitude, and befriended white supremacist Richard Spencer and right wing propagandist David Horowitz, another Jewish public figure who had once been on the left, and then became connected to the Far Right, and has promoted attacks on academic freedom of left leaning college professors.

Miller helped future Virginia Congressman David Brat defeat House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in 2014, and went to work for the Trump campaign early in 2016, and became the warmup speaker for many Trump campaign rallies, and helped to write Trump’s speech accepting the Republican National Convention nomination for President. He became a senior adviser to the White House, connecting himself closely to Stephen Bannon, but has lately separated himself from Bannon, since Bannon left the White House staff and was shown to have given ammunition against Trump in the recently published Michael Wolff blockbuster book, FIRE AND FURY, which has become a best seller. Miller remains closely allied with Trump son in law Jared Kushner, who also looks more outrageous and objectionable on a daily basis, and may be involved in Trump Administration corruption.

Miller helped to write the controversial Inauguration speech of Donald Trump, and has made controversial and confrontational statements on various Sunday news shows, including that the President had absolute authority and “will not be questioned”. He confronted Jim Acosta of CNN about immigration, at a White House appearance in which Miller defended travel bans against Muslims and the promotion of limiting immigration from various parts of the world, against many nations. Most recently, he became combative against Jake Tapper of CNN, and was cut off by the host, and then refused to leave, and was escorted out by security guards.

Stephen Miller is a racist, nativist, white supremacist, all despite the fact of his Jewish heritage, and he is a disgrace, and needs to be kicked out of the Trump Administration and face investigation in the Trump scandals, as Robert Mueller is in the process of doing.

He is clearly the most dangerous person around Trump now, influencing Trump to the point of the present government shutdown, preventing any protection of “Dreamers”, the immigrant children who were protected under the DACA program, but now face deportation to nations they know nothing about, but where they were born before being brought to America as children.

Miller is a peddler of hate, who needs his comeuppance, and should never again be allowed to be interviewed on any news program, unless and until he apologizes for his misbehavior, which most assuredly will never happen.

The thought that comes to mind is that Stephen Miller is the equivalent of Roy Cohn to Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin, infamous for the Red Scare of the 1950s, or Rasputin, the adviser to Czar Nicholas II of Russia, before the Russian Revolution of 1917. In other words, Miller is an evil and dangerous force, who needs to have his rapid gaining of power taken away from him now!

Former Living Vice Presidents To Be Proud Of: Walter Mondale, Al Gore, Joe Biden

Today, January 5, marks the 90th Birthday of former Vice President Walter Mondale.

Two days ago, when Vice President Mike Pence swore in Doug Jones and Tina Smith as new Senators from Alabama and Minnesota, we had Mondale join Joe Biden, and we had a rare scene of three Vice Presidents together.

Biden came to DC to be there for his good friend, Doug Jones, and Mondale was in DC to support a new Minnesota Senator, Tina Smith.

It brought back memories of when Mondale was Vice President under Jimmy Carter from 1977-1981, and when Joe Biden was Vice President under Barack Obama from 2009-2017.

Both Vice Presidents were extremely close to their Presidents, and both played a major role in adding to the stature and influence of the Vice Presidency.

Also, with Mondale reaching the age of 90, it marks the second President and Vice President who reached the age of 90, after Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.

It will be 37 years out of office for Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale on January 20, an all time record out of office for any President and Vice President.

Also, Mondale became today the sixth Vice President to reach the age of 90, along with three Presidents who served as Vice President–John Adams, Gerald Ford, George H. W. Bush–and two Vice Presidents who lived longer than any of the others—John Nance Garner under Franklin D. Roosevelt, living to age 98, and Levi Morton under Benjamin Harrison, living to age 96.

The scene of three Vice Presidents together also brought back the tragic result of the Presidential Election of 2000, when Vice President Al Gore under Bill Clinton from 1993-2001, won the national popular vote by 540,000, and yet lost the Electoral College 271-266, when the Republican majority Supreme Court ruled in favor of George W. Bush, awarding Florida to Bush by 537 votes out of a total of 6 million.

One has to wonder how Al Gore would have been as President, with the assurance that he would have done better than Bush.

The scene of Mike Pence posing with Mondale and Biden also sobers us that he is likely to become the 46th President this year, unless he is shown to have collaborated on the Russian collusion, and if so, could be the second Vice President to resign due to scandal, after Spiro Agnew in 1973.

As 2017 Ends, Trump Approval Rating In Rapid Decline, And Democrats In Rapid Rise Among Major Voting Groups

As 2017 ends, Donald Trump is in free fall in his approval rating.

CNN has just come up with new figures that show the Trump base is rapidly declining in its support of the person they backed in 2016.

The approval rating overall has dropped to an all time low of 32 percent from a high in February of 39 percent right after Trump’s inauguration.

Republicans have dropped from 84 percent to 76 percent in their support, shocking in the fact it has not dropped much more, and a sign that the GOP might be in its death knell, as many observers have predicted.

Men have declined in support from 45 percent to 40 percent.

Whites support for Trump dropped from 49 percent to 41 percent.

Those over 50 years of age declined in support of Trump from 47 percent to 38 percent.

White Evangelicals, a major part of Trump support, despite the hypocrisy involved, went from 78 percent to 61 percent.

And White Non College support went from 56 percent to 46 percent.

When specific groups of voters have dropped 5 points to 17 points in nine months, that is a danger sign for the future.

Beyond these specific groups, it is clear that women, young voters, suburbanites, college educated, and African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans are clearly going over to the Democratic Party, and this is what fueled victories in New Jersey, Virginia, and Alabama.

So the future bodes well for the Democratic Party in the upcoming Congressional and Gubernatorial and state legislative races in November 2018.

Richard Shelby, An Unexpected Hero, Stops Roy Moore In Alabama, And Is Friendly Toward New Fellow Senator, Doug Jones

Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, a conservative Republican, although a Democrat until 1994, stands out as the unsung hero of the election of Doug Jones to the US Senate over Roy Moore.

Shelby made it clear very early that he could not vote for or support Moore as a Senate colleague, with his despicable record of sexual abuse, along with his racism, nativism, homophobia,Islamophobia, antisemitism,misogyny and theocratic views on Christianity.

Shelby never backed away from that stand, despite the fact that the Alabama GOP establishment went along with Moore reluctantly, and Shelby was not swayed by Donald Trump ultimately backing Moore.

Shelby said that would not be voting for Democrat Doug Jones, but would, instead have a write in candidate that he would vote for, without saying who that was.

His stand convinced enough Republicans, who respected Shelby’s stand, but did not want to vote for Jones, to do the same, with the effect being that Jones was elected as a result.

And now, Shelby has made clear that he knew and liked Jones, and would find it palatable to work with him for the advancement of Alabama, despite their party line differences.

So Shelby should be commended for what he did, and it turns out, it helped elect the first Democrat state wide since 1992, when Shelby was running for his second term in the US Senate, and was still a Democrat.