Florida

The Parkland High School Massacre Must Lead Finally To Actions On Gun Regulation, And Republicans Will Lose Seats Over This In November

The massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida yesterday is a siren call that America must finally take action on gun regulation, as we have the most murders in public places of any civilized nation.

Florida itself has had three major such events in two years, including the gay nightclub in Orlando in 2015, the Fort Lauderdale Airport shooting in 2016, and now this in Broward County.

We are the most violent society in the world, and 95 percent in public opinion polls want background checks on buyers of firearms, and 80 percent want a ban on assault weapons, including the AR 15, which only is useful to kill people, and is not used in hunting,

In less than two years, before the end of 2019, we will lose the same number of Americans lost in the Vietnam War (58,000) over a decade.

This is unacceptable, and to cut back on oversight of gun purchasers invites more such massacres in the future.

This is an issue which should affect public support of Republicans, and will help to cause loss of seats, and hopefully control, in both houses of Congress in November.

If it does not, then we live in a society which glorifies death, a society in which children and, really, all of us have to face the likelihood of someday becoming victims in a nation which cares more for gun profits, and the lunacy of a minority of Americans who worship guns more than life.

If so, it would be appropriate for the children of such extremists to become victims, along with the perpetrators of this disease, really a mental illness that believes guns are a sign of masculinity.

36 Legislative Seats In States Flipped From Republicans To Democrats Since Trump Election

With a victory in a state legislative race in Florida last night of a Democrat in a Republican held seat, we can say that 36 legislative seats in states that Trump won in 2016 have now flipped, a sign of likely great results for Democrats in November 2018 for the US House of Representatives, US Senate, state legislative races, and state governors.

Many traditional Republican voters are clearly alienated from Donald Trump, and specific groups–suburbanites, women, and young people–are seen as likely flippers in large numbers, to the Democrats in the upcoming elections.

Several other races that have ended up with Republican wins have been by much closer margins than in the past.

Changing the state legislatures and making for more Democratic seats will be extremely important when it comes to reapportionment of seats in 2020 and after, and it is urgent that Democrats gain the edge, as that will affect politics for the entire decade of the 2020s.

So the urgency is to make sure voters come out in greater numbers than is traditional in midterm election years, and if people stay home and allow the Republicans to continue their control of state legislatures, governors, and the two houses of Congress, they will have no one to blame but themselves for the disastrous long term results of such apathy.

The Key To A Majority Of Democrats In House Of Representatives: Gains In New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Illinois, California

Five “Blue” States for Hillary Clinton and the Democrats have a total of 42 seats of Republicans in the House of Representatives—New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Illinois, California.

All of these states, except Illinois, presently have Democratic Governors, with Bruce Rauner in great trouble in trying to win reelection in Illinois, including the possible Democratic challenger being Chris Kennedy, one of the sons of Robert F. Kennedy.

Five out of nine in New York; four out of five in New Jersey; four out of seven in Virginia; four out of seven in Illinois; and eight out of fourteen in California—these are the vulnerable seats, a total of 25, with the Democrats needing 24 seats to gain majority control of the House of Representatives.

Not all will be won, of course, but some of these Republicans have decided not to seek reelection, which makes their seats even more likely to switch. Altogether, 25 of the 42 seats that are presently Republican in these five states are in play.

of course, there are many other vulnerable seats for Republicans, but if a high percentage of these seats in the five “Blue” states go Democratic, then it is assured that the Democrats will gain majority control in November 2018.

Arizona, Florida, and Pennsylvania also have contested seats that could go Democratic, so the real battleground is the five “Blue” states and these three states that went to Donald Trump.

American History Since The Civil War: President’s Party Loses 32 House Seats And 2 Senate Seats In First Midterm Election

American history tells us that the party of the President regularly loses seats in the first, and all but once in the second (when it occurs) Presidential term of office.

The one major exception was 1934, when in the midst of the Great Depression, and FDR’s New Deal programs, the Democratic party gained 9 seats in the Senate and 9 seats in the House of Representatives.

Also, in 2002, after September 11, George W. Bush and the Republican Party gained 2 seats in the Senate and 8 in the House of Representatives.

And Bill Clinton and the Democratic Party, in the second term midterm election in 1998, gained 5 House seats, with no change in the US Senate.

That is the total historical record since the Civil War, more than 150 years, so it is clear that the Democrats will gain seats in the midterm elections of 2018.

The average since the Civil War is 32 House seats and 2 Senate seats, and if that happens precisely, the Democrats will have gained the House, needing only 24 seats, and the average historically being 23 seats, when one includes both first and second term midterm elections of a President.

But also, if the Senate were to see just the 2 seat gain as the average, then the Democrats would have the majority with 51 seats, which can be brought about by gaining the contested seats of Arizona, where Jeff Flake is retiring, and Nevada, where Dean Heller is seen as the most endangered Republican in 2018.

But to accomplish that, the Democrats must produce, miraculously. the retention of Senate seats in 10 Trump states in 2016–Missouri, North Dakota, Indiana, Montana, West Virginia, Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio, and also retain the Minnesota seat recently vacated by Al Franken, and the New Jersey Senate seat of Bob Menendez, who faces another criminal trial after a hung jury. That will be a tall order for sure!

Republicans, Normally States Rights Advocates, Now Trying To Limit States Rights On Sanctuary Cities, Marijuana Laws, And Oil And Gas Drilling!

The Republican Party is long famous for promotion of states rights, and their strong stand against national government authority over the states.

Oh, until now, when they are doing their best to LIMIT states rights.

The Trump Administration and the Republicans in Congress are working to undermine “sanctuary cities”, major cities around the nation which are working to protect and support undocumented immigrants from arrest and deportation, as long as they have no criminal record.

Also, with eight states allowing marijuana use, and medical marijuana permitted in many other states, we have Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Trump Administration trying to promote enforcement of penalties, that has led to tens of thousands of people in prisons, for possession and or sale of the drug, when there is no connection between marijuana and crime, or auto accidents, or deaths.

Also, oil and gas drilling off the coasts of the United States, is an attempt to take away environmental rights of mostly “blue” states, but with Florida, under Republican Governor Rick Scott getting special dispensation on the matter, and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie working with Democrats to prevent such drilling off of New Jersey shores. But all the other states, along the Atlantic Coast, from New England to Georgia; the Pacific Coast; and Alaska should also have the freedom and authority to ban such energy exploration as detrimental to the environment.

When one compares the “Red” States and how they are governed, to the “Blue” states and their greater progress and open mindedness, it is as if we have two nations, and the Republicans are becoming so extreme that a chasm has developed between them and the Democrats.

Off Shore Drilling Prevented In Florida By Rick Scott Intervention: Time To Prevent All Off Shore Drilling On All Coasts Of United States!

The Trump Administration and Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke have called for open offshore drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts, and in the waters surrounding Alaska, a violation of past environmental policies.

Favoring the oil and gas industries over the preservation of our coastlines is an outrage, and all Governors of the states affected have protested, rightfully.

But already, Republican Governor Rick Scott of Florida, who plans to run for Bill Nelson’s Senate seat this fall, has joined Nelson and Republican Senator Marco Rubio in pressing for leaving Florida out of the offshore drilling edict, and the Trump Administration and Zinke have caved in, clearly for political reasons.

But that is not enough, as all states with ocean shoreline should be freed from this cave in to the oil and gas industry, and we do NOT need such exploration of our oceans, and too many oil spills and accidents have occurred, which kill of ocean life and pollute the waters.

The problem is that most of the coastal states are “blue”, or Democratic states,in New England, the Middle Atlantic, and the Pacific Coast. This includes Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, with only the latter three being Republican states, as is Florida. The Pacific Coast states include Washington, Oregon, and California, along with Hawaii and Alaska, with all but Alaska being Democratic states. Alaska, Florida, and California are the top three in coastline waters.

This should not be a political issue, and the fight to protect our wetlands is one that must be fought in a vehement, no holds barred, manner.

It should also include any new drilling in the Great Lakes area and along our various river systems, as we need to move toward alternative sources of energy, as so many nations in Europe, particularly Germany as an example, are doing.

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.

Puerto Rican Migration To Florida In Two Months 200,000, Double Original Estimate: A Harbinger Of Florida Turning “Blue” In Future Presidential Elections

The effects of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico will change future Presidential elections, with the Democratic Party winning the state in future contests for the White House.

Puerto Rico is losing a substantial portion of its citizenry due to the slow and inadequate response on the island to this natural disaster by the Trump Administration.

Some Puerto Ricans, all of whom are citizens of the US, and can register to vote immediately, have migrated to New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Illinois, but the vast majority, more than 200,00, double the original estimate, have moved to Florida, preferring warm weather.

Most have settled in Central Florida, in the Orlando and Tampa areas, with the Puerto Rican population having multiplied since the 2010 Census, while a lesser number have moved to South Florida.

As long as these citizens register and vote, the largest number will vote Democratic, and in close races for the White House, that can make a difference, and it could also, over time, affect state elections for Governor and other executive offices, as well as the state legislature.

When Florida becomes reliably “Blue”, it will add 29 electoral votes in the 2020 Presidential election, and more than that once reapportionment of seats based on the 2020 Census, and in time for the 2024 and 2028 Presidential elections.

And when the Hispanic vote of any part of Latin America becomes larger and reliably Democratic, except for Cuban Americans then Georgia, Arizona, and eventually Texas will be “Blue”, and the Republicans are doomed on the Presidential level.

Only by voter suppression and discrimination will the GOP have a chance to win, and one can be sure they will use every imaginable tactic to prevent Hispanic voting, so Democrats have to work incessantly to insure that Hispanics are not denied the right to vote, including law suits to stop this disgraceful tactic of the party that, more than ever, represents the Tea Party mentality.

Time To Move Against Electoral College Distorting Popular Vote, Through National Popular Vote Interstate Compact Agreement

The issue of the Electoral College having failed to elect the popular vote winner of the Presidency for a total of five times now, and twice in the last 16 years, continues to plague us, particularly when the present incumbent of the White House lost the popular vote by the biggest margin yet, 2.85 million votes.

There is no other political election in America where the person with the most popular votes is not the winner of the election.

The Founding Fathers might have seen the Electoral College as a necessary bulwark against mass popular control at the time, but once we began having popular votes in the 1824 Presidential election, it was an advancement of democracy, and the idea that a popular vote loser would win the Presidency was appalling.

It happened in 1824 in a four person race, but then, it occurred in 1876 with a two person race, and then in 1888, again with a two person race.

Since it did not happen again for more than a century, it was assumed to be flukes that would not happen again, and over the years of my teaching career, I was often asked whether it would happen again, and I responded, that while it could happen, it was highly unlikely that it would.

And then came the Presidential Election of 2000, where George W. Bush won with Supreme Court intervention stopping the recount in the state of Florida, winning that state over Al Gore by 537 votes out of six million cast, and therefore barely winning the Electoral College, despite a 540,000 popular vote lead nationally of Al Gore.

In 2016, the situation was even worse, as Donald Trump won by very small margins in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, and lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton nationally by 2.85 million popular votes, so five and a half times the popular vote lead for Clinton over Trump as compared to Gore over Bush in 2000, but Trump winning the Electoral College, but only 12 national elections with a smaller electoral vote majority out of a total number of 58 national elections.

The problem is trying to end the Electoral College by constitutional amendment is dead upon arrival, as it requires a two thirds vote of the House of Representatives and a two thirds vote of the Senate, followed by a majority vote in both houses of state legislatures (except in the one house of Nebraska) in three fourths of the states (38 out of 50). Clearly, that will never happen, particularly with Republican majorities in both houses of Congress, and four of the five times that the Electoral College failed, the ultimate winner was a Republican, and the loser each time was a Democrat.

But the alternative is the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact Agreement, developed in recent years, with 10 states and Washington DC with 165 electoral votes agreeing by legislation that they would support the popular vote winner nationally, instructing their electors to do so. The problem is that the 10 states and DC are clearly, at this point, Democratic or “Blue” states—California, DC, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington State.

Once states with 105 additional electoral votes agree to pass such legislation, it would go into effect, but that is the more difficult matter. At this point, 12 states with 96 electoral votes have had one house of the state legislature agree to such a law—Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma,and Oregon. Also, two other states have had committees in the state legislature approve it unanimously, with these two states—Georgia and Missouri—having 27 additional electoral votes.

So if all these states that have taken partial action completed the process in the next few years, we would have 24 states and DC, with a majority of the total popular vote and population, being capable of awarding the Presidency to the winner of the national popular vote, and this would end the idea of a popular vote loser becoming President.

Republican reliable states—Arkansas, Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Missouri—are part of this group, but the question is whether they will take the steps to put it into effect.

While there is no certainty this will ever happen, there is optimism that it will eventually occur, as otherwise, the possibility of a return of 2000 and 2016 is highly likely in the future, and not just once.

If this were to occur, it would promote a truly national Presidential campaign, instead of the present focus in recent decades on 12-15 states, and ignoring the clear cut “Blue” and “Red” states in favor of the “Purple” or “Swing” states alone.

Two Democratic Women Governors, And Six Democratic Women Candidates For Governor In 2018 Midterm Elections

The Democrats have two women Governors, and six other women running for Governor in the 2018 midterm elections.

Gina Raimondo in Rhode Island and Kate Brown in Oregon are running for reelection, and both would be favored to keep their Governorships in strongly Democratic states.

The six candidates have a more difficult road to travel, as they will have male challengers and opponents, and some of them in states won by Donald Trump.

Gwen Graham, daughter of former Florida Senator Bob Graham, will have challengers and opponents in the Sunshine State, which is strongly Republican in state elections.

Stacey Abrams is African American, and running in Georgia, also heavily Republican in recent decades.

Gretchen Whitmer is running in Michigan, a state that Donald Trump won by a small margin in 2016.

Cary Kennedy in Colorado, Michelle Lujan Grisham in New Mexico, and African American wife of Congressman Elijah Cummings, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings in Maryland, have the advantage of running in Democratic states, but will have to fight off male opponents in the primaries.

None of the six women are guaranteed even nomination at this point, as primaries will decide that.