Gerrymandering

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.

Trump Drops To 35 Percent In Gallup Poll, With 59 Percent Negative Toward His Presidency

Donald Trump is falling fast in the polls, hitting an all time low for a new President after 70 days, of only 35 percent in the latest Gallup poll.

Trump is striking out at the House Freedom Caucus, threatening primary challengers to the extreme right wing group, not realizing that in their gerrymandered districts, they are likely to beat any primary opponents in 2018.

Trump talks about cooperating with Democrats, but why would they, since he wishes to destroy Obama Care, and has forced an extreme right wing judge, Neil Gorsuch, on them, with the potential for this man who seems to be to the right of Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, to be on the Court for the next 30 or more years, as he is only 49.

59 percent in the latest Gallup poll have a negative attitude toward Trump, and his second Muslim Ban has again been held up in the courts.

His Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, has admitted that building a Mexico Wall will be a major challenge due to topography, including the Rio Grande River in Texas.

And the Russian connection is being ratcheted up by the Senate Intelligence Committee headed by Republican Richard Burr and Democrat Mark Warner.

Finally, there are reports that former National Security Adviser General Michael Flynn, is ready to testify in exchange for immunity from prosecution so it now seems likely that Donald Trump will NOT finish his term, and that Mike Pence will become President during this term.

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!

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!

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!

The Confederate South Lost To Democrats For The Long Haul!

Hard to believe, but 150 years after the Civil War, the party of Abraham Lincoln, which was hated in the South for a century, now controls 70 percent of all Congressional seats, helped along by Republican gerrymandering, and the future is gloomy for the Democratic Party in the Confederate South.

For the eleven states involved, there are now only four Democrats to the 18 for the Republicans, and it is thought likely that Mary Landrieu’s Louisiana Senate seat will be lost in the runoff election in that state in December. Only Bill Nelson’s seat in Florida and Tim Kaine’s and Mark Warner’s seats in Virginia are Democratic, and Warner nearly lost his seat eleven days ago!

In the House of Representatives, in the eleven states, there are only 37 Democrats to 99 Republicans, and 21 of the 37 Democratic seats are in mostly urban areas of Texas and Florida, and most of those seats are held by African Americans, Latinos, or Jews.

So the South has become an area totally different now than in the 19th century, but with, sadly, the same mentality on race, and lack of concern about the poor amongst themselves!

The Importance Of Maintaining A Democratic Senate Majority

Many people, who do not understand the importance of midterm elections, have wondered whether it makes any difference if we have a Democratic Senate or a Republican Senate.

There are many reasons why it is extremely crucial that the Democrats retain the Senate, since it is clear that the Republicans will keep control of the House of Representatives, and may gain more seats, and go from a 233-199 (with three vacancies) total to over 240, due to gerrymandering, and the power of incumbency.

A Democratic Senate gives Barack Obama the chance to gain a new Supreme Court Justice of his own choice, if Ruth Bader Ginsburg or any other Justice decides to retire in the next two years, or if any Justice should die while a member of the Court. Also, ability to have circuit and district court judges, and cabinet positions, and other appointments approved would be very difficult if the GOP controlled the Senate.

A Democratic Senate prevents any serious move toward a likely impeachment of Barack Obama, as the Republicans would see no point to doing it, if there was no chance of a conviction, which in reality would not happen in any case, as it would require a two thirds (67) vote to convict and remove. The Republicans might be fully aware that it would not succeed, but might wish to besmirch the historical record of Obama, much as they did with Bill Clinton in 1998-1999.

A Democratic Senate insures that in two years, with two thirds of the seats up for election being Republicans, that the Democrats would likely gain 6-8 seats, and might, in 2017, reach the magic number of 60 or more, preventing any possible use of the filibuster tactic.

A Democratic Senate would insure the survival of ObamaCare, and the inability of any further move to destroy this signature program. Additionally, attempts to reverse other changes and reforms that have occurred would be impossible, all to the good.

A Democratic Senate would make it unnecessary for President Obama to utilize the veto power, which he has used very sparingly in his time in office.

A Democratic Senate would mean that the Republican Party had lost its last opportunity to gain control of both Houses, and in 2016, with a strong Democratic nominee for President, and the likelihood of coattail effects in those states that are “blue” or “purple”, would likely lead to a flip in the House to Democratic control, and the GOP would never again, any time soon, gain control of either House of Congress, as they have shown no desire to deal with the important issues that face the nation in domestic policy, and refusal to support Barack Obama in foreign policy, having abandoned the long held view of a sense of bipartisanship when dealing with the world and its problems.

The Do Nothing 113th Congress Worse Than 112th Congress, And Far Worse Than Truman’s 80th Congress In 1947-1948!

History tells us that President Harry Truman ran against the Republican controlled 80th Congress in his election campaign of 1948, calling it a “Do Nothing” Congress.

What he meant was that they were passing laws that he considered counterproductive, including the anti labor Taft Hartley Act, which he vetoed, but passed over his veto by a two thirds vote in both houses of Congress.

But in actuality, that 80th Congress passed over 900 laws, and cooperated with Truman on funding for the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan, and also agreed to creation of the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council and the Defense Department.

By comparison, the 112th Congress of 2011-2012 became the least productive Congress in history, passing fewer than 300 laws, but now the 113th Congress has passed fewer than 150 laws, making them half as accomplished as the previous Congress.

There is a total refusal of Republicans to cooperate at all with Barack Obama, and they have had the shortest work calendar of any Congress, including the previous one!

Now they are taking a five week break, despite so many crucial issues to deal with, and their public opinion rating is the lowest it has ever been!

But will the American people, with the reality of gerrymandering ruling the House of Representatives, be able to unite and give the Democrats back control of the House? Not likely, and the US Senate is also dangerously in play!

So two more years of stalemate and gridlock are likely!

The Republican Party 2014–Anti Immigrant, Anti Women, Anti Gay, Anti Labor, Anti Science

The Republican Party of 2014 has put itself into a box it cannot get out of, and it is doomed to lose the nation short term and long term, as a result!

Yes, the Republicans can win gerrymandered Congressional districts in the “hinterland” of the nation, but they cannot win the African American vote, the Hispanic-Latino vote, the women’s vote, the gay and lesbian vote, the labor vote, or the science and environmental vote!

Without those, they cannot EVER become a serious threat to the Democrats for the White House or the US Senate long term, even if somehow they are able to gain six Senate seats and the majority in the Midterm Elections of 2014!

In 2016, with two thirds of the Senate seats being Republican seats, and with Tea Party activists leaving behind a record of total rejection of government, and total lack of concern for their fellow citizens, the Senate will have a major Democratic majority, and the House has a good chance of being take back by the Democrats!

And with the states of Texas, Georgia, and North Carolina turning “Purple” toward “Blue”, with growing numbers of Hispanics and Latinos, and also the growing Asian vote there and elsewhere; and with Florida and Virginia also more “Blue” than ever in Presidential races, the Republican Party will be “toast” as a serious political opposition!

There would have to be a major realignment of the GOP for this pessimistic assessment of its future to change, but the spokesmen for the party, and the candidates jockeying for position for 2016, shows otherwise.

The Republican Party is deaf, dumb, and blind at their own self destruction, and their reward will be total repudiation by all but the ignorant and biased of the “hinterland”, who want an America which is no longer there, the America of the 1950s, when we favored the traditional immigrant groups from Northern and Western Europe; when women “knew their place” as housewives and mothers, and not workers and educated; when those who were gay or lesbian “stayed in the closet”: when the labor movement offered tons of blue collar jobs that no longer exist, due to the greed and selfishness of American corporations looking for “cheap” labor overseas; and when we abused the environment, and yet woke up to the importance of science after the Soviet orbiting of the first space satellite, Sputnik I!

Those days are gone forever, but the GOP is like an ostrich with its “head in the sand”, denying reality, and for that, they are, and will be, punished and repudiated!

Republican “Retreads” Emerge, Demonstrating The Sad State Of Their Presidential Race For 2016!

The Republican Party has a long list of potential Presidential candidates for 2016, many of them “new,” including Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, and even Paul Ryan and Jeb Bush, who have never run before for President.

Then, they have the “retreads”, including Rick Perry, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Santorum, those three being a sorry lot as alternatives.

All three are way out of the mainstream of American politics, with Rick Perry making a total fool of himself in 2012; Mike Huckabee, once seen as fairly “moderate” in 2008, having converted into a right wing extremist due to his Fox News Channel weekly show; and Rick Santorum, well just a total embarrassment to himself and everyone around him!

The Republican Party is a sorry lot, with lots of candidates on the bench, but none having the slightest chance to become President!

Instead, the GOP looks completely past former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman (also former Ambassador to China and Singapore), the only solid, foreign policy experienced, sensible, mainstream candidate, who could attract support across the aisle, and make Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, or any other Democratic nominee squirm, as he did for awhile in the Barack Obama campaign in 2012, with them considering Huntsman a real threat.

Huntsman is sitting on the sidelines, and considering an independent run on a “No Labels” campaign, and reminding people that the Republican Party of the pre Ronald Reagan era is the only hope for a revival of GOP fortunes, as the country has passed by the anti immigrant, anti gay, anti women, anti labor, anti environment mentality of the Tea Party Movement, which may be able to win gerrymandered Congressional seats, but cannot win the US Senate majority or the White House anytime soon!