Dean Heller

The Urgency Of The Democratic Party Taking Back The House Of Representatives, And State Governorships And Legislatures In 2018

Jon Ossoff, the Democratic front runner in the 6th Congressional District of Georgia (Atlanta suburbs), fell just short of the 50 percent needed to win that seat in the House of Representatives, and avoid a runoff.

Now he will face Republican Karen Handel on June 20, and it will be more difficult to gain the seat, a traditionally GOP district in the past 38 years since Newt Gingrich won the seat in 1979, followed up by Tom Price, the Health and Human Services Secretary, who vacated the seat to become part of Donald Trump’s cabinet.

One can be assured massive amounts of money will be spent on both sides of this race, which, if Ossoff wins, would be a major blow to Donald Trump and his agenda.

The 24 point swing in Kansas’s special election for the House, and now the 10 point swing in Georgia, in the first round, are signs that the Democrats COULD regain the majority in the House of Representatives in 2018, after eight years in the “wilderness”.

It is simply a sign of the reality that the Democratic Party, at a low point, having lost so many seats in both houses of Congress in the Barack Obama era, along with governorships and state legislatures, have the urgency to work very hard to start their revival.

The average number of seats gained by the “out” party in the midterm elections is 23 in the House of Representatives, and right now, the Democrats need 24 seats to regain control, so it is within potential gains that one might expect.

The US Senate will be nearly impossible to win seats, however, as only 8 Republicans are up for reelection in 2018, as against 25 Democrats.

Looking at the GOP held seats, the only possible gains, and not easily, might be Jeff Flake’s seat in Arizona, and Dean Heller’s seat in Nevada. The only other possible hope would be if somehow Ted Cruz could be unseated in Texas, but that is highly unlikely. So at this point, the most that could be expected is a 50-50 tie in the Senate, with Vice President Mike Pence able to use his vote in a tied Senate.

One must realize that while many of the 25 Democratic seats are seen as safe, a large number are not so, including Claire McCaskill in Missouri, Jon Tester in Montana, Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota, Joe Manchin in West Virginia, Joe Donnelly in Indiana, Bill Nelson in Florida, and Bob Casey in Pennsylvania. Note that Heitkamp, Manchin, and Donnelly tried to protect their flank by voting for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, but McCaskill, Tester, Nelson and Casey did not do so.

But beyond Congress, it is urgent that state governorships be gained, as well as control of more state legislatures, all in planning for the next census of 2020 and the redistricting of House seats and state legislative seats that will come after 2020, with the evil reality of gerrymandering affecting the next decade.

Republican Skeptics On Ryan Health Care Plan: John Kasich, Rand Paul, Tom Cotton, Darrell Issa, And Many Others

The Republican Party has an increasing number of skeptics about the Paul Ryan alternative bill to ObamaCare, which has now been scored on its effect on the budget by the Congressional Budget Office, and it is a total disaster.

All of the following are unhappy with the Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare, as it is, but warn against the House sponsored plan:

Governor John Kasich of Ohio
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky
Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas
Congressman Darrell Issa of California
Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
Senator Rob Portman of Ohio
Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado
Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia
Senator Susan Collins of Maine
Senator Dean Heller

But also there are the right wing extremists, the Freedom Caucus House Republicans who oppose the Ryan bill, as do the following groups:

Freedom Works
Club For Growth
Heritage Action

And the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, and the American Association Of Retired Persons, and many other groups are also totally against the legislation.

So in the midst of control of both Houses and the White House, the Republican Party is in a crisis as to how to appeal to their base, as they work to deny them health care–elderly, sick, disabled, and poor.

Most Crucial Trump Cabinet Member To Resist Is Jeff Sessions, Attorney General Nominee— A Danger To Civil Rights And Civil Liberties!

The Trump cabinet choices are overall horrific, but the most that might be expected is to stop maybe one or two of the nominees.

It is so hard to judge which are the worst of all of them, but clearly, after reflection, the record of Senator Jeff Sessions disqualifies him for the position of Attorney General.

This is a man who has displayed racism, misogyny, nativism, and homophobia, and was opposed to extension of the Voting Rights Act, and he was already rejected for a federal judgeship in 1986 by a Senate with a majority of his own Republican Party.

In an age when civil rights and civil liberties are in danger from Donald Trump and his mentality, to put Jeff Sessions into the Justice Department would set back the Bill of Rights tremendously, as Sessions is no different than if one were to select former Alabama Governor George Wallace, or former North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms, or former South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond to be Attorney General.

These were the worst of all Southern politicians who undermined civil rights, and there is no evidence that Jeff Sessions is any different in 2017.

All that is needed is for a few Republican Senators to show courage, and vote against their own colleague, replicating the Republican Senate of 1986, as then Arlen Specter and Charles Mathias blocked Sessions from a federal district court judgeship, a very rare occurrence.

Pressure must be brought on Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Jeff Flake of Arizona to show the same kind of courage now, within the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Otherwise, it is essential that such Senators as Susan Collins of Maine, Rob Portman of Ohio, Lisa Murkowksi of Alaska, John McCain of Arizona, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, and Dean Heller of Nevada be appealed to, to reject Sessions.

Republican “Firewall”, Added To Democratic Opposition In US Senate, Gives Some Hope To Control Trump Appointments And Initiatives

Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
Jeff Flake and John McCain of Arizona
Cory Gardner of Colorado
Marco Rubio of Florida
Rand Paul of Kentucky
Susan Collins of Maine
Ben Sasse of Nebraska
Dean Heller of Nevada
Rob Portman of Ohio
Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania
Lindsey Graham of South Carolina
Lamar Alexander of Tennessee
Mike Lee of Utah
Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia

We must realize that Donald Trump is not really a Republican or a conservative, and is impossible to figure out what his agenda is, so that means that there will be a “firewall” of Republicans in the US Senate, who at least in some cases, can be added to Democratic opposition in the Senate, and give some hope that there will be control over Trump appointments and initiatives over the next few years.

Not all of the above list will cooperate and collaborate together on all issues, but they all seem to be likely to fight Trump on some issues, and if three or four work together with a united Democratic Party in the Senate, Trump will be unable to accomplish all his goals, and he is likely to bitterly denounce these Republicans, and cause, by his language, more stalemate and gridlock, and prevent the most grievous nominees and parts of his agenda.

The most likely to oppose Trump are the following: Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Jeff Flake, and Rob Portman in that order.

However, Ben Sasse and Mike Lee, as strong conservatives, are also likely to try to limit Trump Administration goals if they find them objectionable.

The others–Dan Sullivan, Cory Gardner, Dean Heller, Pat Toomey, Lamar Alexander, and Shelley Moore Capito–may, occasionally, join with the members of this group.

Remember that seven of this group—Murkowski, McCain, Rubio, Paul, Portman, Toomey, and Lee have a new six year term, so are not threatened by Trump as far as their Senate seat is concerned.

Only Flake and Heller face election contests in 2018, while the other seven –Sullivan, Gardner, Collins, Sasse, Graham, Alexander, and Capito face election in 2020.

So 16 Senators out of 52 Republicans, fully one third, could stand in the way of Donald Trump, and if he went too far in abuse of his powers, could, potentially, join in a possible move to promote impeachment, although even if all 48 Democrats joined in, would still fall short of the 67 needed to convict and remove him by three votes.

Which Republican Senators Might Stop Republican Agenda On Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid And Other Issues In Domestic And Foreign Policy?

With the Republican Party in full control of both houses of Congress again, although with smaller margins, one wonders what Republican Senators might ignore party lines at times, and fight against Donald Trump on changes in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other issues, including nominations, and domestic and foreign policy actions that are feared by many people, including not only Democrats but moderate conservative Republicans and some conservative intellectuals.

All that would be needed to stop actions would be three Republican Senators, along with the 48 Democrats in the Senate, with the filibuster a weapon that could be used by Democrats under Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Which Republicans might be willing to buck the party and Donald Trump on specific issues?

At the top of the list would be Susan Collins of Maine, followed by Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

Others who might join these two women would be Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Jeff Flake and John McCain of Arizona, Dean Heller of Nevada, Rob Portman of Ohio, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.

The problem is that there is no certainty that any of these nine Senators will prove to be a “profile in courage”.

A Great Moment For Progressives: Sean Hannity, Rand Paul And Other Right Wingers On The Defensive Over Racist Comments Of Cliven Bundy!

This is a glorious time for progressives, as the Cliven Bundy story becomes one not only anarchism, law breaking, and tax evasion, but also one of pure and simple racism!

Any sane person would see that Cliven Bundy is a piece of crap, and that the government MUST enforce the law against this anarchistic lawbreaker, and use whatever federal intervention is necessary, so that he does not get way with breaking federal law with impunity, as that will only stir up others to think they can defy their government, when there is no just cause to do so!

It has been fun watching Sean Hannity, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Dean Heller, Rick Perry, Greg Abbott and others squirm and try to escape their endorsement and support of this garbage!

The answer is that Fox News Channel is to be blamed for backing Cliven Bundy, and the answer should be to fire Sean Hannity as losing all credibility, and promoting disrespect for our laws, and being an advocate of anarchism and violence!

And those Republicans who have backed Bundy have lost all credibility to be our Commander in Chief, and any Republican who backed Bundy should be promptly defeated for any more terms in Congress or state government!

Cliven Bundy And Republican Move Toward Anarchism And Domestic Terrorism Support!

Cliven Bundy is a rancher in Nevada who has had his cattle grazing on federal land for years, and has refused to pay about $1 million in taxes to the Bureau of Land Management.

Bundy has gathered a group of gun toting haters of the federal government and its authority to control use of federal lands, and they have declared that they do not accept the authority of the federal government. In a confrontation a week ago, the Bureau of Land Management decided to back away as weapons were brandished, signs were aplenty, and women and children were being gathered as a front line of defense against action by the federal government to enforce federal law and authority.

This is an absolutely horrifying situation, and there is fear that violence will ensue when the time comes that the US government determines it will follow through on assertion of federal authority, and the collection of federal taxes due by this lawbreaker, Cliven Bundy.

If the US government does not enforce the law against Cliven Bundy, it will be seen as weak, indecisive, and having been intimidated by a hoodlum who has taken the law into his own hands, and has brought out right wing lunatics to back him up, and yet is cowardly enough to put women and children in the front line of defense! It will convince other ranchers who have obeyed the law and paid their taxes to wonder why they should continue to do so, if Cliven Bundy can bully the government and get away with it!

What is even more troubling than this is that Republicans, including Nevada Senator Dean Heller, usually a fairly moderate person, is backing Cliven Bundy, as is Texas gubernatorial nominee Greg Abbott, the present Texas Attorney General. And reckless right wing Fox News Channel talk show host Sean Hannity has been egging on Cliven Bundy, endorsing his illegal activities and his attack on the US government!

Hannity is inciting violence and riots, is conducting himself as outside the obeying of federal law, and should be condemned for that advocacy, if bloodshed breaks out. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is absolutely correct in calling what is going on as “Domestic Terrorism.”

The Republican Party is starting to move toward endorsement of anarchism, domestic terrorism, law breaking, and if there is a confrontation, which seems inevitable at some point, the Republican Party had better back away from the image that is developing, as if they are seen as endorsing Cliven Bundy over the federal government, that will be the final nail in the coffin of the party of Lincoln, TR, Ike, and even Reagan.

Abraham Lincoln is turning over in his grave right now!

The Ten Senate Republicans Who Supported The Employment NonDiscrimination Act

The Employment NonDiscrimination Act was approved by the US Senate this week by a vote of 64-32, including 54 Democrats and 10 Republicans, who agreed that to allow discrimination against workers based on sexual orientation or gender identity was immoral, unethical, simply wrong in America in 2013.

At the same time, 32 Republican Senators continued to show no concern about such discrimination, and in so doing, condemned themselves in history, as much as those opposed to the Civil Rights laws passed over time to ban discrimination against Americans, based upon race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, and disability.

The House of Representatives majority would back such legislation, but it is clear that Speaker of the House John Boehner, personally opposed to the bill, will not call for a vote, because he knows a large percentage of his own party would vote against it, so it will likely languish until the Democrats can win a majority of the House in future years.

The honor roll of those Republicans who showed a conscience and principle include:

John McCain of Arizona
Susan Collins of Maine
Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire
Jeff Flake of Arizona
Rob Portman of Ohio
Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania
Mark Kirk of Illinois
Orrin Hatch of Utah
Dean Heller of Nevada

Notice that not even one Senator from the South supported ENDA. One would have thought that, possibly, Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker of Tennessee, Richard Burr of North Carolina, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, sometimes open minded on some issues, would have done so, but the power of the Tea Party, religious groups that promote prejudice and hate in the name of their brand of Christianity, and the reality of reelection contests for Alexander and Graham in particular, make that impossible.

After all, being reelected is more important than doing the right thing for the long run of history, right?

Advancements On Gay Rights, But Plenty Of Struggle Ahead

The vote of the US Senate yesterday to agree to overcome a potential filibuster, and allow a final vote on ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act) is a great move forward on civil rights.

The proposed law, discussed for many years, would ban employers from firing, refusing to hire, or discriminating against workers or job applicants based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The procedural vote was 61-30 with 54 Democrats (all but Claire McCaskill, who was not present), and 7 Republicans (Susan Collins, Kelly Ayotte, Dean Heller, Mark Kirk,. Rob Portman, Orrin Hatch, and Pat Toomey) in favor.

So the bill will pass the Senate in the next few days, but disturbing is that 30 Republicans had the nerve to vote for continued discrimination, and 8 Republicans were not recorded as voting.

It will be interesting to see if any of these 38 Republicans will vote for the final bill, particularly such Senators as John McCain and Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker and John Thune, who at times have shown some moderation as compared to most in the Senate Republican caucus.

At the same time, Illinois moved today toward final acceptance of gay marriage, making that state the 15th to have gay marriage, going into effect by the summer of 2014.

At the same time, other states seem to be moving in the same direction, including Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, although at different measurements of progress.

Regarding the ENDA legislation, IF Speaker John Boehner allowed an open vote, the legislation would become law, with most Democrats and enough Republicans to make it the law of the land , but Boehner has indicated that he will not allow a vote, which, if it is pursued all the way, would stop any chance to do what is morally right to do, stop job discrimination, So pressure must be brought to convince him to change his mind, and allow a vote even without a majority of his caucus.

14 Republican Senators And The Future Of The GOP On Immigration Reform

A total of 14 courageous, principled Republican Senators voted for the immigration reform bill which creates a path to citizenship over 13 years; doubles the number of troops at the Mexican border; spends twice as much on border security; and builds a 700 mile fence between Mexico and the United States.

32 Republican Senators voted against the bill in the US Senate, with a final vote of 68-32, all Democrats included in the majority.

The roll of honor of GOP Senators includes:

Marco Rubio of Florida
John McCain of Arizona
Jeff Flake of Arizona
Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire
Lamar Alexander of Tennessee
John Hoeven of North Dakota
Lindsey Graham of South Carolina
Bob Corker of Tennessee
Susan Collins of Maine
Orrin Hatch of Utah
Dean Heller of Nevada
Mark Kirk of Illinois
Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
Jeff Chiesa of New Jersey

These 14 Senators realize they will have their head handed to them by the Tea Party and right wing talk show hosts, but they did the right and moral thing by supporting reform.

Sadly, the other 32 Republican Senators and the majority of the House Republicans are not going to go along, and it will be up to Speaker of the House John Boehner, whether he will sacrifice his Speakership to do the right thing, promote passage of the Senate immigration reform bill, which is very rational and reasonable, and gives the Republicans a chance to gain some Hispanic and Latino support down the road!

Without this legislation, and maybe even with it, with the attack on women’s rights and gay rights, the Republican Party long term future is doomed!