Eugene McCarthy

Two Potential Democratic Presidential Contenders For 2020 From The Midwest: Sherrod Brown And Amy Klobuchar

The importance of the Midwest in presidential elections has always been something to realize, and ever more so after Hillary Clinton lost Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa in 2016.

Many think had she chosen Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, then she might have won those states, along with Pennsylvania, enough to swing the Electoral College.

So, therefore, much attention is being paid to two Midwestern Democratic Senators, both easily reelected in the Midterm Elections of 2018, as potential Democratic Presidential nominees.

One is the same Sherrod Brown, who never thought of himself as a future President, but is now seriously thinking about it. He is giving interviews where he makes clear that he is seriously considering a run for the White House, and is seen as someone that should not be ignored as a serious candidate if he runs.

Brown has been a member of the Senate for 12 years, and before that, of the House of Representatives for 14 years, after having served as Ohio Secretary of State for eight years, and in the Ohio legislature for eight years before that.

He is an unabashed liberal who has had appeal for the working class, something many Democrats have had trouble with, although Joe Biden has been of similar vein. Brown would be 68 in 2020, a full decade younger than Joe Biden, and Ohio has been a crucial state in presidential elections, with six Ohioans elected President between 1868 and 1923, and Ohio being a state every elected Republican President has won from Abraham Lincoln through Donald Trump.

Also reelected to a third term in the Senate is Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, a inheritor of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor tradition of Hubert Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy, Walter Mondale, and Paul Wellstone. Klobuchar was Hennepin County (Minneapolis) Attorney from 1998 to 2006,and gained a reputation as a tough prosecutor, before her election to the Senate. She has sponsored or cosponsored 98 pieces of legislation, more than any other Senator. She is seen as bipartisan, able to work “across the aisle”, and has a good public image, but not as controversial as Elizabeth Warren or Kirsten Gillibrand, other women thought to be likely to announce for President.

This author has particular feelings of support of Klobuchar for the Presidency, and think she has an excellent chance of being the Democratic nominee for President in 2020, and is more likely to gain support of white working class males, more than Warren, Gillibrand, or Kamala Harris of California. She would be 60 years of age at the time of the Presidential Election of 2020.

Both Brown and Klobuchar are solid possibilities for the Presidency, and are from the “heartland”, rather than the Atlantic and Pacific Coastlines.

So when assessing the upcoming Democratic Presidential race, do NOT dismiss Sherrod Brown nor Amy Klobuchar.

Midwest Governorships (Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa) All May Go Democratic In 2018, Affecting Future Reapportionment In States And Congress

With six days to go to the Midterm Elections of 2018, it seems more likely than not that the crucial area of the Midwest will see a tidal wave of Democratic Governorships.

Minnesota is already Democratic controlled in the Governorship, and will likely remain so.

The states of Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa all are tending Democratic, with a victory over Scott Walker in Wisconsin the most heralded election of them all, if it occurs.

If all or most of these states go Democratic in the Governorship races, reapportionment of the state legislatures and the US House of Representatives after the 2020 Census will be under control of Democrats, unlike what happened in 2010 after the last census.

Such victories by Democrats could also have an impact on the Presidential Election of 2020, as it would boost the chances of the leading Midwesterner who might seek the White House, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, part of the tradition of Hubert Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy, Walter Mondale, and Paul Wellstone. Being from a state that borders on Iowa and its first in the nation caucuses in 2020 is an advantage for Klobuchar.

Another possible gainer would be Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, and both Klobuchar and Brown would have an edge on gaining the white working class support in their section that fell short for Hillary Clinton, and helped Donald Trump to win the Electoral College in 2016.

So watching the Midwest this next Tuesday night and Wednesday will be a center of attention, and also include Congressional districts that are likely to flip Democratic in these states.

Multiple Women Running For President: Will That Help Men In the Democratic Presidential Race Of 2020?

It is not too soon to start considering potential nominees for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2020.

We know that as soon as the Midterm Elections of 2018 are decided, the 2020 Presidential battle begins.

We have the potential of four women running for President, but the question is whether that possible reality will actually help men to triumph, with the women neutralizing each other.

So one wonders if it would be a better idea for at least two of the four women to forgo the Presidential race, not that it is likely that will actually happen.

2020 is the year of the Centennial of the 19th Amendment, the woman suffrage amendment, and it would certainly be appropriate for a woman to be nominated for and win the Presidency, particularly after Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, and still lost the Electoral College in 2016.

Who among the women would be most likely to have a good chance to win?

This author would argue Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar would be the best case scenario.

Klobuchar has had both state and national experience, and comes across as less controversial and more mainstream than the other three women who are considering running for President.

Klobuchar has a great advantage coming from the Midwest, and the Democratic Farmer Labor tradition of Hubert Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy, Walter Mondale, and Paul Wellstone.

Do not forget that the Midwest is the crucial area of the nation that the Democrats must win, and there is no other leading figure from the Midwest in the Presidential competition.

Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts may be best known, but she comes across to many people as too combative, too outspoken, too divisive a figure, and too much like Bernie Sanders, who might co-opt her support.

Kirsten Gillbrand of New York has an earlier history of being quite conservative in her upstate New York district, and then suddenly being very liberal, and then becoming controversial when she pressured former Minnesota Senator Al Franken to resign without a hearing about sexual harassment charges lodged against him, which alienated many people, including this author.

Kamala Harris of California may be the best alternative to Amy Klubuchar, and being of mixed race (mother from India, father from Jamaica), and with a compelling background of long experience in law enforcement as District Attorney of San Francisco and then Attorney General of her state, and her dynamic and charismatic manner, she could be a great possible choice for the Presidency. She is often called “the female Barack Obama”, but has much more experience in government than Obama had when he ran for President in 2008.

The Midwest Battleground Will Determine The Political Future, And The Prospects For Democrats Look Good

The Midwest battleground—Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Michigan, Wisconsin, Michigan—is where the modern political system began, and has been a crucial factor in elections ever since the Republican Party was first created in Michigan and Wisconsin in the summer of 1854.

The Midwest is the heartland of the nation, often ridiculed by those who are from the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts, but the states of this area have a “wallop”, the potential to decide the national political trend.

Nine Republican Presidents came from the Midwest—Abraham Lincoln from Illinois; Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, William McKinley, William Howard Taft, Warren G. Harding from Ohio; Benjamin Harrison from Indiana; and Herbert Hoover from Iowa; along with Gerald Ford from Michigan inheriting the Presidency via the 25th Amendment.

Also, other Republican nominees (Alf Landon, Bob Dole) and Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower were from “next door” Kansas in the Great Plains.

At the same time, Midwestern Democrats who ran for President include James Cox of Ohio, Adlai Stevenson II of Illinois, Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale from Minnesota, and George McGovern of “next door” South Dakota in the Great Plains, along with Harry Truman of Missouri and Barack Obama of Illinois.

So the Midwest and its nearby neighbors have had an amazing impact, and now the polls indicate the Midwest Governorships that are up for election trend toward Democrats in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, with Ohio also in play.

If the Midwest or most of it is won by Democrats, then the effect on reapportionment of seats in the House of Representatives after the 2020 Census figures are in, will greatly change the political equation for the next decade, so these gubernatorial elections are crucial turning points.

And it may help any Midwestern Democrat who plans to run for President, with Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar having a great opportunity, in the tradition of Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale, plus the image of Eugene McCarthy and Paul Wellstone also helping to give her candidacy a boost.

If the Democratic Presidential nominee is from the Midwest, it gives a boost that a candidate from the Atlantic Coast or Pacific Coast cannot give it, as the “Fly Over” States really will, again, as in the past, determine Presidential elections as well as control of Congress.

The Growing Significance Of Minnesota In The Vice Presidential Sweepstakes For The Democrats!

Minnesota is a strongly Democratic state, with a Democratic Governor, Mark Dayton, who has been very successful in promoting economic growth in the state.

It also has two Democratic Senators, Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar, both supremely qualified to be Vice President.

It was also the state of Vice President and Presidential nominee Hubert Humphrey in 1968, and Vice President and Presidential nominee Walter Mondale in 1984.

It was also the state of Senator Eugene McCarthy and Senator Paul Wellstone.

Hillary Clinton has to consider both Franken and Klobuchar, as it is assured that either one in the Vice Presidency would be replaced by a Democrat, not assured in other states, including New Jersey, Ohio, and Virginia.

Franken would be a great “attack dog” against Republican Donald Trump, and would be the first Jewish Vice President if Hillary Clinton won the White House.

Klobuchar would be the first woman Vice President, and far superior to Geraldine Ferraro and Sarah Palin in qualifications and experience.

Either Franken or Klobuchar would be a worthy successor to Joe Biden to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency!

47 Years Since The Assassination Of Robert F. Kennedy: The Might Have Beens!

Today, June 5, in the year 1968, 47 years ago, New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy, an active seeker of the Democratic Presidential nomination, had just won the California Primary over Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota.

It seemed as if RFK was on the way to the Democratic nomination, although Vice President Hubert Humphrey, who had not entered the primaries, had a strong backing from party bosses, labor unions, and city mayors and many Senators and Governors, so there was great uncertainty as to what might happen at the Chicago Convention at the end of August.

Tragically, however, history was transformed, as RFK was assassinated by a Palestinian Christian immigrant, Sirhan Sirhan, who was angered at RFK’s backing of Israel in the year earlier Six Day War, in which Israel won territory from Egypt, Jordan and Syria, with the war beginning precisely on that date in 1967!

There is still debate and speculation on the RFK murder, with some believing it was a conspiracy with more than one gunman involved.

In any case, RFK comes closest to any non Presidential nominee to be considered a likely winner of the Presidency, had he not been killed, so therefore the “Might Have Been” issue arises.

My forthcoming book on August 15, available with a 30 percent discount from Rowman Littlefield, with the indicated four digit code, devotes Chapter 10 to the Robert F. Kennedy assassination!

Bernie Sanders Reminds Many Of Robert Kennedy And Eugene McCarthy In 1968

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont announced his candidacy yesterday in Burlington, Vermont, in a more formal way than his original announcement several weeks ago.

It was an exciting event, with about 5,000 people showing up in the city that Sanders once governed as Mayor in the 1980s.

Sanders was inspiring in his rhetoric, and reminded many of the candidacies of Robert Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy in 1968, tragically ending in the assassination of RFK in June, 1968.

RFK and McCarthy gave people hope in so many ways, just as Sanders does that today, in a much more complex time, when we have billionaires dictating much of the agenda; when we are engaged in foreign turmoil in many ways worse than even the Vietnam War, as the threat to the homeland is real; and when there is cynicism similar to that in 1968.

Bernie Sanders is highly unlikely to have any real opportunity to be the Democratic nominee for President in 2016, but he can push Hillary Clinton to the left in ways that will benefit her and the nation, and help to lead to Democratic control of the Presidency and the US Senate, and gains in the House of Representatives.

Bernie Sanders can be the conscience of the nation, appealing to our better side and instincts, something sorely needed in a time of many people no longer motivated to get involved in politics. It is likely that he will have many people, who never had an interest in government, suddenly be galvanized into action, which is all to the good for the nation and its future!

The “Might Have Been” Vice Presidents And Presidents!

Every four years, Presidential candidates pick a running mate for Vice President, and every four years, there are potential running mates who are passed over.

Sometimes, these potential running mates for Vice President may feel as they are “a bridesmaid, instead of the bride”, when they come close to being the choice more than once.

And sometimes, a potential running mate passed over sees someone else become President by succession.

Examples in the last half century are numerous!

Florida Senator Bob Graham was on the “short list” for both Bill Clinton in 1992 and Al Gore in 2000.

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty made the “short list” for John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012.

Missouri Senator Stuart Symington was the favored choice for John F. Kennedy in 1960, but Lyndon B. Johnson was picked instead for political and sectional reasons, to gain the support of the South for Kennedy, despite his Catholicism. Of course, Johnson went on to be President.

Minnesota Senator Eugene McCarthy was on the “short list” to be Vice President with Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964, but Hubert Humphrey was selected instead, and McCarthy went on to become a major critic of the Vietnam War, and challenge Johnson in the New Hampshire primary in 1968. Who knows whether or not Johnson might have avoided a primary challenge altogether if he had picked McCarthy in 1964, although it is still likely that Robert Kennedy would have challenged Johnson for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 1968 in any case. And of course, there were rumors that Kennedy was considered by Johnson to be his running mate in 1964, which would have made it impossible for Kennedy to challenge Johnson in 1968 altogether. But then, maybe Humphrey would have done so instead, without the trap of being Vice President under Johnson!

Mayor John Lindsey of New York City was on the “short list” for Richard Nixon in 1968, and had he been on the ticket and become Vice President, he would have succeeded Nixon after the President resigned due to the Watergate scandal!

When Nixon faced having to replace Spiro Agnew in 1973, due to scandal, he considered John Connally, former Democratic Governor of Texas, but who had become a Republican and was his Treasury Secretary, as his new Vice President, but knew that there would be a battle for him to be confirmed, so Nixon picked Gerald Ford instead, and Ford became President. Connally might have been President, if he had not alienated Democrats by switching parties!

So if things had worked out differently, we might have had President Symington in 1963, President Lindsey in 1974, or President Connally in 1974, and President Johnson might have had no challenge, run and defeated Nixon in 1968!

And poor Bob Graham and Tim Pawlenty were passed over twice each, by two different candidates for President in their parties! Graham never had another opportunity, and Pawlenty will not, either!

Barack Obama And Progressive Disillusionment: What Is The Alternative?

With the announcement of a deal on the Debt Ceiling Crisis last night, but still to be voted on today by both houses of Congress without a guarantee of its passage at this moment of writing, the question arises as to what is the future of the progressive movement in America.

Many might say the answer is to give up on Barack Obama and challenge him in the primaries, and or run a candidate on a third party line in November 2012.

If one looks at the history of such efforts, however, it always leads to the worst alternative to progressivism being triumphant!

In November 1967, Senator Eugene McCarthy entered the race for the Presidency against President Lyndon B. Johnson, followed by Senator Robert Kennedy in March 1968, leading to his withdrawal and replacement as the administration candidate by Vice President Hubert Humphrey. The split engendered in the party over the war in Vietnam led to a divided Democratic convention, and the defeat of Humphrey by Richard Nixon, who proceeded to continue the war in Vietnam another four years, something assuredly that would not have happened under a President Humphrey. This tumultuous split in the Democratic Party helped to make for a Republican advantage, and permanently changed the Democratic party, whereby they would only win the Presidency three times out of the next ten national elections.

In late 1979 and early 1980, President Jimmy Carter was challenged in the primaries, for being too moderate and centrist, by both Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts and Governor Jerry Brown of California. The effect of the primary challenge was to weaken Carter for the campaign, with all of the attacks by Kennedy and Brown used by the Republicans against Carter, and Ronald Reagan won the election, setting back the progressive movement dramatically, still having an effect in 2011!

There was similar discontent among some progressive elements with Bill Clinton in his first term, but no revolt or challenge from within the progressive movement, and Bill Clinton, with his faults and shortcomings, was reelected to a second term, the only Democrat to do so since Franklin D. Roosevelt.

So while there can be discontent and disappointment with Barack Obama, that he has not achieved everything that progressives desire, try to imagine President John McCain instead, and try to imagine whether any of the many accomplishments of the Obama Presidency would have been achieved, and the answer is clearly negative.

So when Ralph Nader, who helped to defeat Al Gore by running in Florida in the 2000 election, talks about challenging Barack Obama, the answer is to steer clear of him unless one wants another 2000 election, unless one wants a Republican likely to be further to the right than George W. Bush or Ronald Reagan were in 2000 or 1980.

And when one tries to consider what progressive spokesman could really win the nation in 2012, one comes up empty handed. Certainly, Ralph Nader has no credibility and is seen as fringe in nature. Dennis Kucinich has appeal for some of what he advocates, but has run twice in the Presidential primaries and comes across as loony to many with his personal quirks. Bernie Sanders is appealing to many, but is actually a Socialist, not a Democrat, and could not possibly have broad based appeal. Russ Feingold is probably the most attractive alternative, and has formed Progressives United, an advocacy organization in Madison, WIsconsin, but he is weakened by the loss of his Senate seat in 2010, and it would be better if he ran for Senator Herb Kohl’s Senate seat with Kohl retiring, with a good chance to come back to the Senate in 2012 and promote the progressive cause from that location, in a more constructive manner.

Who else is possible, with any credibility? Realistically, NO ONE, and therefore, there is no alternative but to support Barack Obama, have him and his party fight the good fight over the next 15 months, and work to create a solid majority for progressive causes in the House of Representatives and the Senate!

If that quest is successful, and with a second term and no reelection to face, Barack Obama would likely turn further to the left, stick his neck out, and become more progressive than he has been able to do, logistically, in this first term. With all the criticism that has been and will be made of Barack Obama, he still has the most progressive term in office since Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1960s with his Great Society!

The Split Political Personality of Minnesota

Minnesota is certainly not the only state to have a split political personality, but right now it really stands out as unusual!

My colleague, Professor Steve Watnik, pointed this out today, and made me really think about this, so here goes!

Minnesota had great political luminaries in the past, including Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale, Eugene McCarthy, and Paul Wellstone, and continues to have some today in Senators Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar, and Congressman Keith Ellison, who is the first Muslim in Congress.

But it is also the state of two potential GOP candidates for President: the solid conservative former Governor Tim Pawlenty, who has managed to avoid looking or acting loony or weird, as so many others in the party have appeared; and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who has no problem in looking loony and weird, and seems to revel in it, as she displays total ignorance and outrageous comments while claiming to be religious and led by God’s command. Only Sarah Palin may be more outrageous in her behavior and comments than Bachmann, but certainly it is a close race between the two ladies!

So Minnesota is likely to see two home staters competing for the nomination, along with others, and Pawlenty seems legitimate, while Bachmann most certainly does not, all adding to the allure of following Minnesota politics for the Presidential Election year of 2012!