Alabama

Brennan Center For Justice: 19 States With New Voting Restrictions Since 2016

The William Brennan Center For Justice, named after the great former Supreme Court Justice, tracks violations of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and has exposed the reality that 19 states, since the Supreme Court backtracked on the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in a decision in 2013, have made the right to vote much more difficult, and affecting election results.

In 2016, 14 states had new voting restrictions in place for the first time in a presidential election, with these states including Alabama, Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.

In 2017, Arkansas, North Dakota, Missouri, Georgia, and Iowa added new laws.

So 8 Southern states of the old Confederacy (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia) are back where they were before the Voting Rights Act of 1965, making it harder for blacks and other people of color, and poor people in general, to be able to have the chance to vote.

But also, the 8 Midwestern states of Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas have gown down the same road.

And Arizona in the West and New Hampshire and Rhode Island on the Atlantic Coast also have made it more difficult to vote.

Look at this list of states, and notice almost all of them, except Virginia, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island voted for Donald Trump.

So we have the possibility that despite public opinion polls that indicate a “Blue Wave”, the restrictions on voting rights could impact election result in November.

Donald Trump’s Further Unraveling At Rallies In Florida And Pennsylvania: How Degraded Can He Become?

It is hard to conceive of, but Donald Trump has further unraveled at rallies he held this week in Florida and Pennsylvania.

First, the audiences, consisting of the most ignorant, delusional, despicable people imaginable, all treating him as if he is a God! How sick and disgusting these crowds were, true examples of what Hillary Clinton correctly called “deplorables”, but even that word is too nice, as trash and garbage might be the more appropriate terms!

But then to Donald Trump, attacking Mexican Americans, who are more than 36 million people in America, eleven percent of the population of the nation, only a small amount less than the African American population, saying they are worse than how he described them in his announcement speech in June 2015? This is far worse than anything Alabama Governor George Wallace ever uttered in his Presidential campaign in 1968!

Trump continues to attack John McCain who is still hospitalized and clearly dying of cancer, and one wonders, when McCain passes, will Trump say something totally disgusting about his death?

Trump continues to deny Russian involvement in the 2016 campaign, while his national security team makes clear what Russia did, and the direct threat they are presenting every day now.

Trump lies all the time, including about the reality that he was 15 minutes late to meet Queen Elizabeth II, and that he, inappropriately walked in front of her, blocking her.

Trump has refused to allow undocumented immigrants who have broken no laws, and who are married to American citizens, to remain, even after clear pleas for clemency, as just happened with a woman forced out, breaking up a marriage, with that woman saying about Trump, “May God forgive you!”

Trump is a very sick and demented man, clearly deteriorating before our eyes, but Vice President Mike Pence is like a bobblehead doll, nodding yes standing on the left behind every Trump rant!

Donald Trump has led a life of darkness, of being in league with demonic forces, and Karma will come, and Donald Trump will pay the price for his lying, his meanness, his nastiness, his lack of humanity, compassion, empathy, ethics, morals, and decency.

This is a continuing nightmare, seemingly with no end, and will likely lead to widespread violence against journalists, who he is constantly attacking with viciousness, and it could lead to the total breakdown of order, and the outbreak of civil war.

Something has to give, and someone needs to step in and excise the cancer in our midst, before our enemies in the world totally overcome us!

Possible Democratic Gains In US Senate In Midterm Elections Of 2018

The Democrats have a massive challenge ahead, somehow to reelect all ten “Red State” Democratic Senators, but also, at the same time, to gain at least two additional seats and have a majority of 51 or more in the US Senate.

This is crucial to stop the worst of Trump Administration policies, and to insure that any future Supreme Court or Circuit or District Court judgeships not be as extreme right wing, as are occurring now.

Six seats seem open to switching to the Democrats:

Arizona, where Jeff Flake is retiring, and where Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema is ahead of three potential Republican opponents.

Nevada, where Dean Heller is the most endangered Republican Senator up for reelection, challenged by Congresswoman Jacky Rosen, and she has been ahead of Heller in many public opinion polls.

Tennessee, where Bob Corker is retiring, and former Democratic Governor Phil Bredesen is seen as ahead of Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn.

Texas, where Ted Cruz is gaining a serious challenge from Congressman Beto O’Rourke of El Paso, and O’Rourke has raised more money than Cruz, who famously is disliked by all his fellow Senators by the testimony of many Democrats and even Republican colleagues.

Mississippi, where Thad Cochran retired suddenly due to bad health, and will have a special election to fill the seat, temporarily filled, and the hope that an upset is possible, as occurred in Alabama last fall, with Doug Jones taking a normal Republican seat. Mike Espy, former Congressman, Secretary of Agriculture for two years under Bill Clinton, and an African American, is seen as having some chance to take the seat, although not seen as likely to win, but a surprise could occur.

Mississippi, where Roger Wicker faces a challenge from state legislator David Baria, Minority Leader of the state legislature, who is seen as having a reasonable chance to win.

The first three of these six seats seem likely to go to the Democrats, which if true, would allow the loss of one of the ten “Red State” Democrats, and still have 51 seats, but that does not leave much room for error.

If all six seats, magically, went Democratic, and no loss of any of the “Red State” Democrats in November occurred, in theory, the Democrats could have as many as 55 seats, but that is clearly a result with very low potential to occur.

One more issue: New Mexico, where Democrat Martin Heinrich should have no trouble winning, but if former Republican Governor and 2016 Libertarian Party Presidential nominee Gary Johnson decides to run for the Senate, creating a three way race, it could put Heinrich’s seat in jeopardy.

So the challenge for Democrats to gain a Senate majority of 51 votes is clouded by overwhelming challenges!

What If Utah Senator Mike Lee Is Nominated For Supreme Court?

Early speculation on who Donald Trump might select to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court centers on Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee, an original Tea Party member, having served in the Senate, and promoting libertarian ideas since 2011.

Not always a supporter of Trump, and not backing him in 2016 due to the Access Hollywood tape, Lee would still be a prime choice for Trump.

Lee is only 47 and could be expected to serve on the Court until 2050 and beyond.

He is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has to consider the Supreme Court nomination, and there are 11 Republicans to 10 Democrats on that committee.

To believe that any of his GOP colleagues on the committee, or even in the Senate, would vote against their party member, is hard to conceive.

And if all 50 Republicans stay united (minus John McCain, who is not likely to return to Washington DC anytime soon), at the worst, Vice President Mike Pence can vote if need be, but a 50-49 vote is a majority, and likely, a few Democrats, in red states facing election, would cross the aisle and vote for Lee, as they did for Neil Gorsuch a year ago.

Having a Senator on the Supreme Court is not unheard of, as it has happened 15 times in American history.

Most famously, there was Alabama Democratic Senator Hugo Black, who served on the Court for 34 years from 1937 to 1971, appointed by Franklin D. Roosevelt. And President Harry Truman appointed two Senators—Sherman Minton of Indiana, who served from 1949-1956; and Harold Burton of Ohio who served from 1945-1958.

Also, there have been 17 Congressmen who served on the Supreme Court, including Warren G. Harding appointee George Sutherland of Utah who served from 1922-1938; and Chief Justice Fred Vinson of Kentucky, who served from 1946-1953, appointed by President Truman.

Finally, 6 Governors have been appointed to the Supreme Court, the last and most famous being California Governor Earl Warren, appointed Chief Justice by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953 and serving to 1969; along with significant appointments by President Abraham Lincoln of Ohio Governor Salmon P Chase to be Chief Justice, serving from 1864-1873; former New York Governor Charles Evans Hughes, first appointed to the Court by William Howard Taft from 1910 to 1916, and then returning to the Court as Chief Justice by appointment of President Herbert Hoover from 1930-1941; and Michigan Governor Frank Murphy, appointed by FDR and serving from 1940-1949.

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!