Congressional Elections Of 2016

Final Projections On Congressional Elections: The House Of Representatives And US Senate 2016

With five days to go to the Presidential and Congressional Elections of 2016, I wish to state what I believe will be the likely results in the House of Representatives and the US Senate.

It is very difficult to project the results in 435 Congressional elections, but it is clear that under present circumstances, and with the existent gerrymandering, the Republican Party has a tremendous edge in House races, and they have a 30 seat edge over the majority of 218 seats required.

Presently the balance in the House is 247-188, and I forecast that the Democrats will gain 18-20 seats, to a total of 229-206 or 227-208, a major gain, but not enough to gain control.

So we will have divided government, as we had in 2011-2014, but with the Senate assuredly going Democratic from a present total of 54 Republicans and 46 Democrats, to at least 52 Democrats and 48 Republicans–a six seat gain.

Illinois–Tammy Duckworth
Indiana–Evan Bayh
Wisconsin–Russ Feingold
New Hampshire–Maggie Hassan
Pennsylvania–Kathleen McGinty
North Carolina–Deborah Ross

Also, three other seats are possible:

Florida–Patrick Murphy
Missouri–Jason Kander
Arizona–Ann Kirkpatrick

Finally, Nevada will elect Catherine Cortez Masto to replace Harry Reid, keeping that seat Democratic.

So if everything went well, the maximum Democrats in the Senate would be 55-45, which would be significant, since in 2018, the Democrats have to protect two thirds of the open seats, and the party in the White House tends to lose seats in midterms, so if only 52, the Democrats might lose the Senate two years hence!

Two Very Young Democrats Who Could Shape Future Of US Senate: Patrick Murphy (Florida), Jason Kander (Missouri)!

The minimum age to be a United States Senator is 30, and right now, we have two young Democrats seeking to become part of the upper house of Congress.

Congressman Patrick Murphy is running against Florida Senator Marco Rubio, and is only 33 years old; and Jason Kander, Missouri Secretary of State, is running against Senator Roy Blunt, and is only 35 years of age.

They would be the youngest members of the US Senate next year, and among the small number historically who have been Senators at such young ages.

They both offer “fresh blood” to the Democratic Party and the nation, and both could be considered, if successful and later re-elected in six years, as long range possibilities for higher office over the next generation of American politics.

We need younger Democrats to succeed and lead us into the future, as the “baby boomer” generation is having its “last hurrah” this year.

New ideas and inspired leadership will guarantee long range success, and both Florida and Missouri are significant states that could play a major role in the future in Presidential politics.

Two Former Democratic Senators On Way To Return To US Senate: Russ Feingold And Evan Bayh!

It seems as if two former Democratic Senators are on their way to a return to the US Senate this November.

Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, one of the very best progressive oriented Senators in all of American history, who lost his seat in the 2010 midterm elections to businessman and Republican Ron Johnson, after serving from 1992-2010, is now way ahead of Johnson, and so we will have a rare rematch. Johnson has been a horrible, extremist right wing Senator, and his leaving the Senate will be a plus for the institution, and re-install the progressive tradition, established by the La Follette father and son, Robert Sr. and Robert Jr. a century ago, and followed up by William Proxmire, Gaylord Nelson and Feingold.

Evan Bayh of Indiana, son of the great liberal Senator Birch Bayh, served in the Senate from 1998-2010, and chose not to run for reelection, but now is coming back to win his Senate seat. Bayh is much more moderate than his dad was, but Indiana is a tough state for a progressive, and Bayh is a plus for the Democrats, as they attempt to win a Senate majority, so important for the Supreme Court future.

The odds of a Democratic takeover of the Senate is growing as we come down to one month to the elections.

The Need To Promote Voting Among Millennials, Minorities, And Women

With less than two months to the election, there is a growing concern that millennials, minorities, and women are all being turned off from voting by the negativism and disillusionment engendered during the Presidential campaign.

Many millennials are disappointed that Senator Bernie Sanders failed to win the nomination, and that seems to be why many are thinking of avoiding voting, or choosing to back third party candidates Gary Johnson or Jill Stein.

There is a dire need for the Hillary Clinton campaign to avoid overconfidence and realize that this election cannot be won unless people go out and vote for their own benefit and advancement.

Otherwise, we could wake up with the nightmare of a dangerous, ill informed, and erratic man becoming our President, and Donald Trump would be an unmitigated disaster in the White House.

And it must be emphasized that voting For Congress is also crucial, as if the opposition keeps both houses, then stalemate, gridlock, and undermining of any progress will continue.

Revolutionary Moment In History Of House Of Representatives, Unmatched Since 1910 “Revolt” Against Speaker Joseph Cannon!

A century ago, in October 1910, Democrats and progressive Republicans united to state a “coup” in the House of Representatives, stripping Speaker of the House Joseph Cannon of his absolute power to decide committee appointments and control the legislative agenda all by himself.

Now in June 2016, the Democrats have staged a one day sit down, demanding a vote on a gun control measure. They proceeded to prevent normal routine in the House of Representatives, and to shout down any attempt at taking action on other legislative business.

While Speaker of the House Paul Ryan was befuddled, and waited until 10pm to attempt normal legislative business, which failed, and led to the end of the official session until after the 4th of July recess, the Democrats have drawn attention to the issue of gun regulation, and it is clear they will defy Ryan again when the House of Representatives comes back into session next month.

The effect will be to put the Republicans on notice, that it is time that they stopped being captives of the National Rifle Association and Wayne La Pierre. The issue will be a major one in November, and hopefully, might cause a massive switch of seats, putting the Democrats into the majority again, although that is still highly difficult to do, as 30 or more seats would need to be gained.

But taking action, led by the icon civil rights leader Congressman John Lewis of Georgia is better than just doing nothing! Hope springs eternal!

Can Bill Clinton Hold Government Position Under Hillary Clinton? NO, As Of 1964 Nepotism Law

The Hillary Clinton Presidential campaign is spreading information that former President Bill Clinton may be utilized by his wife in a government position if she wins the White House.

However, under the 1964 Nepotism Law, passed after Robert Kennedy left the government to run for the US Senate, it is illegal for a relative of any President to be in a public, paid position in the government. It is seen as a conflict of interest, so for instance, Jeb Bush, after leaving the Governorship of Florida in 2007, was not eligible to serve in the administration of his brother, George W. Bush.

RFK was Attorney General under his brother, President John F. Kennedy, but the Congress decided after the Kennedy Administration’s end, that such a situation should not happen again. Also, JFK’s brother in law, R. Sargent Shriver, served as head of the Peace Corps.

So Bill Clinton could be an unpaid advisor, but cannot go on the government payroll, even assuming he would agree to donate any government paycheck to charity, as RFK did under his brother.

It is clearly assumed that Bill Clinton would have an important background role, but again, it cannot be as a cabinet officer or an official part of the White House staff, unless Congress agrees to change the law, but that is highly unlikely in the present political climate, with a Republican Congress, and the likelihood that at least the House of Representatives will remain Republican after this year’s Presidential and Congressional elections!

Trump Effect: Likelihood Of Major Democratic Wave In 2016!

The effect of Donald Trump’s Presidential candidacy is the likelihood of a major Democratic wave in the upcoming Presidential and Congressional Elections of 2016.

Polls indicate that the Electoral College could be a landslide for the Democrats, with the chance to gain such states as North Carolina, Georgia and Arizona, major areas of Hispanic and Latino growth, and indications of many registering to vote because of Trump’s anti Hispanic and anti Latino rhetoric, including against the nation of Mexico, which shares a 2,000 mile boundary with the United States.

The Senate has 34 seats facing election, with 24 of those seats being Republican, and at least ten seats of Republicans in danger of being lost, which would create a large margin of Democrats in the upper chamber.

The House of Representatives is a tough nut to crack, due to gerrymandering and the largest Republican majority in the lower chamber since 1928.  At the least, the large GOP majority will dwindle, with an outside chance of a slim Democratic majority, which probably would be lost in the midterm elections of 2018.

But even a two year “window” would allow a Democratic President with both houses of Congress in his favor to accomplish major changes!

And, of course, the transformation of the Supreme Court would occur, which would have a long range effect.

This is what Donald Trump has done to the moribund Republican Party, and it looks more likely by the day!

House Speaker Becomes A Race: Kevin McCarthy, Jason Chaffetz, Or Daniel Webster? YES, Daniel Webster (Not The Famous One)!

There is now developing a real race for who should be Speaker of the House, in the wake of the resignation of John Boehner.  It will make us miss Boehner, for all of the faults and shortcomings he possesses!

Present House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has flubbed badly in his comment on the House Benghazi Committee investigating the attack in Libya which led to the death of the ambassador and three others on September 11. 2011.  That committee has been in business longer than any special committee in the history of the United States, and is seen as a purely partisan venture. McCarthy made it clear that the committee was formed to weaken  Democratic front runner Hillary Clinton, and now has tried to backtrack that statement, infuriating Jason Chaffetz of Utah, head of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, who has decided to challenge McCarthy for the Speakership.

McCarthy comes across as incompetent and a poor candidate to be two heartbeats away from the Presidency, and his inability to use good judgment on what to say publicly, plus his lack of experience (only nine years), lack of accomplishments, and his use of words such as “Hungria” for the nation “Hungary”. and making up a new word for Hillary Clinton (untrustable) instead of “untrustworthy”, raises intelligent people’s eyes.

But Chaffetz himself, while better spoken, has only seven years in the House, two fewer than McCarthy, and he was a former Democrat, who actually campaigned for Democrat Michael Dukakis for President in 1988, before meeting former President Ronald Reagan in 1990, seemingly transforming his  life.

To top it off, Florida Congressman Daniel Webster from central Florida, a distant relation of the famous Massachusetts Senator of the same name before the Civil War, but no match for his ancestor, is also in the race, and is seen as a Tea Party candidate for the Speakership.

This whole embarrassment of the battle between McCarthy, Chaffetz, and Webster makes clear that the nation is in trouble, having to look at any of these three men as being two heartbeats away from the Presidency, and it will make us wish John Boehner had not resigned.

And the job to make the House Republicans be united and responsible, with the Tea Party element of 40 or so members the balancing act, means tough times ahead for the GOP, and gives a glimmer of hope that the Democrats might, maybe, be able to squeak out a majority of seats in the 2016 elections, but considered highly unlikely!

The Crisis In The Speakership Of The House Of Representatives: Not A Laughing Matter!

The Speaker of the House of Representatives is, under the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, second in line for the Presidency behind the Vice President of the United States.

Therefore, who is the Speaker of the House is not an idle matter, but of crucial importance, that he or she be a mainstream, responsible public official.

The Republican Party has produced disasters in the Speakership since 1994.

First, we had Newt Gingrich, who had a scandalous private life, and was extremely confrontational in his dealings with President Bill Clinton, and yet, right wing conservatives were unhappy with him, and he resigned after two terms as Speaker, a total of four years.

Then, his theoretical successor, Bob Livingston, was forced to turn down the Speakership, due to his own private life scandals.

Then, Denny Hastert became Speaker, seemed noncontroversial, and in comparison to Gingrich and Livingston, was just that.  But now, years after his decision to leave Congress after the Republicans lost control of the House in 2006, Hastert faces prosecution and is involved in a sex scandal involving when he was a high school wrestling coach 35 years ago.

And then, there was John Boehner, who lasted almost five years, but was under constant attack by the far right Tea Party Movement, and now has decided to resign at the end of October.  Boehner created constant confrontations with Barack Obama, but also, at times, was cordial with limits imposed by his party’s dynamics.

Eric Cantor, who was supposed to be Boehner’s successor, unexpectedly lost his seat in a nomination fight last year, just as he had the chance to become the first Jewish Speaker of the House, and his defeat apparently delayed Boehner’s decision to leave, until now after the Pope has visited the United States, and spoken before the Congress in joint session.  This event brought out the tears so common to Boehner, a devout Catholic.

Now the issue is who should succeed Boehner, two heartbeats away from the Presidency, with new House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy  of California favored even though he has only been in Congress nine years, has sponsored no important legislation, and never would have been in this position had Eric Cantor not been defeated  last year.

McCarthy seems pleasant enough on a personal basis, actually more than Gingrich, Livingston, Hastert, and now Boehner, but will the right wing Tea Party movement be satisfied with him, and will he be responsible enough to conduct himself with a willingness to work with President Obama for the next year?

What if a true right wing extremist ends up as Speaker, with House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, a possible successor seen as a true extremist and often compared by many to David Duke, the former KKK leader, due to Scalise’s opposition to a Martin Luther King Holiday in Louisiana, one of the last states to adopt it?

America cannot tolerate a right wing extremist to be two heartbeats away from the Presidency, and it can be hoped that, under the present circumstances, Kevin McCarthy become Speaker, but somehow, although unlikely, hope that disillusionment with the Republican control of Congress leads to Democratic control of the House, as well as the Senate, to occur in the 2016 national elections.

Since the House is gerrymandered, giving the GOP control despite more total popular votes for the chamber being Democratic, this seems unlikely, but those who feel it is urgent that the next Democratic President have both chambers of Congress willing to work with him or her, must work very hard to try to elect a Congress controlled by the Democrats!

Former Senator Russ Feingold, In LaFollette Progressive Tradition, Attempting Return To Senate In 2016 Election!

Wisconsin, the home of LaFollette progressivism a century ago, and the home of many progressive leaders since “Fighting Bob” LaFollette became the most prominent progressive in America, has had difficult times recently with the election of Scott Walker as Governor and Ron Johnson as Senator, defeating Senator Russ Feingold, one of the finest public servants ever to grace Wisconsin government and the US Senate, in the 2010 midterm elections.

Between Congressman Paul Ryan being the Vice Presidential nominee for Mitt Romney in the Presidential Election of 2012 and being elevated to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman in 2015; and Governor Walker hoping to be the Republican Presidential nominee in 2016; along with the backward, regressive record of Senator Johnson, Wisconsin has been dealt a terrible hand, and it is time to move to return Wisconsin to its proud progressive tradition!

That can be accomplished by working to prevent Scott Walker from being the GOP Presidential nominee, and by bringing Russ Feingold back to the US Senate, kicking Ron Johnson out!

There is great hope for change, now that Feingold has decided to attempt a return to his Senate seat, which he honored with an outstanding record from 1993-2011!

Feingold can be part of the mission of the Democrats to return to control of the US Senate in the 2016 Congressional elections. He has been one of the most outstanding members of the US Senate in the past two decades, and his defeat was a major blow that helped to undermine any chance of Wisconsin continuing its traditional role as a state which led the nation in so many ways!