Harry Reid

Chuck Schumer, The Great Jewish Hope: The Highest Ranking Elected Jew Ever In American Government!

The new Senate Minority Leader is New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who has been in the Senate since 1999, and defeated a tough opponent, Republican three term Senator Alfonse D’Amato.

Schumer began his political career at the age 23, and entered the House of Representatives at age 29 from Brooklyn, New York.

He had to compete first with fellow, soon to be retired Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and then his newly elected replacement, Hillary Clinton, who would seek the Presidency despite being the Junior Senator from New York.

Schumer worked his way up the leadership, being a loyal subordinate for ten years to Nevada Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and built up the Democratic majority in 2006 and 2008, before the bottom fell out, and the Democrats lost seats, from a high of 60 down to 46 and now up to 48 in 2017.

Schumer is a man who is very accessible and warm, and will do a lot of good for the Democrats, and he happens to have the distinction of being the highest ranking elected Jews ever in American government.

Yes, we have had other distinguished Jewish US Senators, but none in a leadership position in the Senate.

Yes, we had House Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, second ranking in the House of Representatives, and hoping to become Speaker of the House someday, before he was defeated for nomination to his seat in 2014 by a more extremist right wing Republican, David Brat.

Yes, we have had Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who was Vice Presidential nominee with Al Gore in 2000, when they won the popular vote, but lost the Electoral College to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

Yes, we have had Jewish cabinet officers, including Henry Morgenthau, Jr, Henry Kissinger, Abraham Ribicoff, and Arthur Goldberg among others, who have had impact on government.

And yes, we have had Jewish Supreme Court Justices by appointment, including Louis Brandeis, Benjamin Cardozo, Felix Frankfurter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and Elena Kagan among others.

But Schumer has the potential to have a greater impact politically than most party leaders, so we must wish him the best fortune as the Democrats battle against the Trump Presidency.

Yesterday, Schumer gave a fighting, defiant speech to the Senate on his first day as Minority Leader, making it clear his party would contest Trump on the Cabinet and on every policy that undermines the middle class and promotes the elite wealthy against the average American.

Four New Women Senators, And Now Total Of 21

In 2017, there will be 4 new women Senators and a grand total of 21, an all time high, up by one.

The four new women Senators are all Democrats, and altogether, there will be 16 Democrats and 5 Republicans.

California replaces Barbara Boxer, retired, with Kamala Harris, who is multi racial—a mother born in India, and her father being a Jamaican American from the Caribbean island—replacing Boxer, after having been Attorney General for six years.

Tammy Duckworth, who had been a Congresswoman from Illinois, replaced Senator Mark Kirk, and she is Asian American, born to a white American father and a Thai-Chinese mother in Thailand. She served in the military for 22 years, and was seriously wounded in the Iraq War, losing both legs and damaging her right arm.

Catherine Cortez Masto replaced Harry Reid, retiring, in Nevada. She was Attorney General of Nevada from 2007-2015. She is Latina with a Mexican American father and an Italian-American mother.

Maggie Hassan, the Governor of New Hampshire, defeated Senator Kelly Ayotte for her seat. She served two two year terms as Governor, after having served in the state legislature for three two year terms.

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!

Potential To Add Seven Democratic Women Senators In November Races

The potential exists to add seven Democratic women to the US Senate, and replace one Democratic woman with another Democratic woman this November.

Senator Barbara Boxer of California is retiring, and Kamala Harris is running to replace her, although her opponent, also a Democrat, is Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez. So no matter what happens, a Democratic woman in the Senate from California is being replaced by a woman from the Democratic Party.

Maggie Hassan, Governor of New Hampshire, is trying to defeat another woman, Republican Kelly Ayotte, for her Senate seat, and has a good chance of winning

Also, Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada is running to replace Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, but is in a tough race, that may be the only Democratic seat in danger, against Republican nominee Joe Heck.

Tammy Duckworth is running for the Illinois Senate seat held by Republican Mark Kirk, and is favored to win.

Katie McGinty is running in Pennsylvania against Republican Pat Toomey, a race seen as very close.

Deborah Ross is running in North Carolina against Republican Richard Burr, another close race.

Ann Kirkpatrick is in a very competitive race in Arizona against well known Republican Senator John McCain.

Finally, Patty Judge is running in Iowa to replace Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, a tough fight.

There are 20 women in the US Senate now, 14 Democrats and 6 Republicans. One woman, Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, will be replaced by a man, Chris Van Hollen. And Kelly Ayotte could be the one Republican woman who leaves the Senate if she loses to Maggie Hassan.

So the end result could be 5 Republican women and a grand total of 20 Democrats if all the women listed above were to win.

That is certainly unlikely to happen, but if it did, we would have the highest number of women Senators in any Congress in American history—25!

Small States’ (One House Member And Two Senators) Influence In Congress Since 1945

There are seven states that have had only one member of the House of Representatives, along with two US Senators, in the past 70 years. but despite their small populations, these states have had a massive impact on American politics and history!  In addition, for the first few decades since 1945, Nevada also had one House member until growth caused two, and then, three seats in the House.

The seven states are Vermont, Delaware, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, and Alaska!

But North Dakota, South Dakota,and Montana had two members of the House until recent decades when reapportionment caused them to lose a second seat.

So only Vermont, Delaware, Wyoming, and Alaska (since 1959) stand alone as consistently having one House member and two Senators per state.

But look at their influence:

Vermont had George Aiken (R) (1941-1975) and has Patrick Leahy (D) for 41 years (1975 to Present) and counting now, and Bernie Sanders since 1990,  who  was the lone House member for 16 years before election to the Senate in 2006,making him the longest serving Independent in the history of both houses of Congress.  Also, Howard Dean, former Governor of the state, was a leading contender for the Democratic nomination in 2004, and then became head of the Democratic National Committee, and helped the rise of Barack Obama with a “50 state” strategy between 2004-2008.

Delaware had Joe Biden as Senator for six terms from 1973-2009, and now as Vice President.  He became one of the longest serving Senators of all time, and sought the Presidency in 1988 and 2008.

Wyoming had Dick Cheney as its lone Congressman for ten years from 1979-1989, before he ended up as Secretary of Defense under the first Bush Presidency, and Vice President in the second Bush Presidency.  Also, Alan Simpson served in the Senate from 1979-1997 as  a Republican, and Gale McGree from 1959-1977 as a Democrat.

Alaska had Ted Stevens in the Senate for 40 years from 1968 to 2009, the longest serving Republican Senator in American history.  Also, Sarah Palin , while Governor, was the Vice Presidential nominee for the Republicans in 2008.

And if one looks at the other states which had one Congressman at least for the last few decades, we have South Dakota and Senator George McGovern (1963-1981), the 1972 Democratic Presidential nominee; Montana, with Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield (D) (1953-1977) from 1961-1977; Nevada with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) (1987-Present) from 2007-2015; and North Dakota Senators Kent Conrad (1987-2013) and Bryan Dorgan (1992-2011).

So the “small” states have really had a major role in American politics, despite their small populations!

Age Limits In Congress Arise As Issue As John McCain Plans For Another Term In Senate In His 80s!

As Senator John McCain of Arizona announced that he will seek another six year term in the US Senate, which would bring him into his mid 80s in that chamber, the question arises of some type of age limits that needs, desperately, somehow, to be applied in the future.

The number of octogenarians who have served in the Senate is, by research, somewhere in the mid 30s, out of a total number of Senators since 1789 numbering, at this point, 1,973 in total!

So one might say that having about 1.6 percent of all US Senators lifetime in their 80s or 90s is not a big deal, but it actually is, as level of health and well being, while fine for some, realistically, is not overall good statistically for people in their 80s, with dementia a particular problem and early death a statistical likelihood. Really, when one has reached the ninth or tenth decade of life, no matter how good in performance one has been, and no matter how much one feels he or she can do and contribute, it is, simply, time to allow someone new and younger to serve a Congressional district or state!

No one is indispensable, and that should include Supreme Court Justices as well, as the likelihood of excellence at such an advanced age is highly unlikely, but often, it is just stubbornness and ego that keeps these government leaders in their positions.

Harry Reid of Nevada and Barbara Mikulski of Maryland and Barbara Boxer of California realized this, and on the other hand, Diane Feinstein of California did not, Chuck Grassley of Iowa did not, Orrin Hatch of Utah did not, Richard Shelby of Alabama did not, James Inhofe did not,and now John McCain has not. Additionally, Pat Roberts of Kansas, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee will reach 80 in the next few years, and yet, it is really time to go, gentlemen!

Do we really want Senators possibly reaching their 90s in office, as Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, Theodore Green of Rhode Island, Robert Byrd of West Virginia, and Carl Hayden of Arizona did, reaching the ages of 100, 93, 92, and 91 in office?

Enough is enough, and age 80 should be the limit with no exceptions, and therefore, one would not be permitted to run for office past age 74 at the time of the election, so that they leave during the year they reach age 80!

in other words, we need a “youth movement” in the United States Senate, as well as in the House of Representatives, so it is time for such luminaries as Michigan Congressman John Conyers and New York Congressman Charles Rangel to stay goodbye at the end of their present term of Congress!

The Future Of The Democratic Party: Younger Liberals In The US Senate

When one sees that Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski, California Senator Barbara Boxer, and Nevada Senator Harry Reid are retiring in 2016, and know that other older Senate Democrats have limited time left in the Senate, it makes it clear that it is time to examine who among the “younger” generation of liberal Senate Democrats may be perceived as the future of the Democrats beyond Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and even Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

Even if Hillary Clinton becomes President, where is the hope for liberal Democrats in the future, as there are very few Democratic governors. The “youth” movement in the Democratic Party is therefore in the hands of the following younger liberal Senate Democrats:

Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy (41)
Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz (42)
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker (45)
New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (48)
Colorado Senator Michael Bennet (50)
Delaware Senator Christopher Coons (51)
Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin (53)
Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar (54)
Michigan Senator Gary Peters (56)
Virginia Senator Tim Kaine (57)
Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley (58)
Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (59)

These are the present Democratic hopes for the future, to make an impact on the level of Mikulski, Boxer, Reid, along with Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, California Senator Diane Feinstein, Florida Senator Bill Nelson, Maryland Senator Ben Cardin, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, New Mexico Senator Tom Udall, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed, Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, Washington Senator Patty Murray, New York Senator Chuck Schumer, Minnesota Senator Al Franken, and Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, as well as Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

Of course, more liberal Senate Democrats yet unknown could be elected in 2016, including Kamala Harris in California and Patrick Murphy in Florida, and hopefully, the Democrats will take back control of the United States Senate, and some new Democratic governors might be elected, assuming a coattail effect of the candidacy of the Democratic nominee in the Electoral College, still highly likely!

Need For New Democratic Congressional Leadership Urgent! New Blood Needed!

With the defeat of the Democratic Party, and the losing of up to nine seats in the US Senate and about 15 in the House of Representatives, it is time for fresh blood leadership in both chambers!

It is time for Harry Reid to give up the leadership of his party in the Senate, and for Nancy Pelosi to give up the leadership of her party in the House of Representatives.

Senator Reid will either be retiring in 2016, or seeking another term, and it is time for Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, a more aggressive leader, but also better at negotiation with Republicans, to take over that position.

Congresswoman Pelosi was an outstanding Speaker of the House, but it will now be three defeats for her party in the House, with no likelihood of regaining majority control for many years. It is really time for her to give younger members the chance to move up to leadership, and that includes second in command Steny Hoyer also giving up his position as well.

These three leaders are all over 70, and it would not be surprising if all three chose not to run in 2016, part of the necessity of new blood coming into the party and its leadership for the long haul!

Congressional Gold Medal For Martin Luther King, Jr. And Coretta Scott King Today In Capitol Rotunda!

Today, Congress held a commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in the Capitol Rotunda.

Congressional Gold Medals were posthumously given to the children of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King.

Speaker of the House John Boehner and Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, both trying to limit the right to vote in GOP state run governments, either by their silence or direct collusion, both looked very awkward as they jointly held hands with Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, all of them singing “We Shall Overcome”.

It was an important commemoration, and my older son, David Feinman, was privileged to be one of those who was present for the event, a treasured moment!

50 Years Ago Today, “Great Society” Speech Of Lyndon B. Johnson!

A half century ago, on this date, President Lyndon B. Johnson gave a commencement address at the University of Michigan, on the six month anniversary of his becoming President, due to the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Instead of just stating that he would finish the work of John F. Kennedy that had been left undone, LBJ enunciated the greatest series of domestic reform goals ever formulated, more than the New Deal programs of Franklin D. Roosevelt thirty years earlier, particularly in the “Second New Deal” legislation of 1935-1936.

What followed in 1965-1966 was the most productive Congress in American history, the 89th Congress, with the FDR 74th Congress the second most productive ever in American history.

We saw the Voting Rights Act, Medicare, the War on Poverty, education legislation, consumer legislation, environmental legislation, immigration reform, and so much else that advanced the American domestic agenda!

While we celebrate that 50th anniversary, one must realize that we have taken many steps backward, and no worse than the present 113th Congress, the absolute worst ever in American history in taking care of the nation’s domestic agenda.

And this comes just four years after the end of the 111th Congress under Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, the most productive since the 89th Congress, during the first two years in office of Barack Obama.

The nation has been poorly served, and we have backtracked on so much that had been done under FDR and LBJ!

This is a tragedy, the extent of which we will not fully realize for many years, and it is a moment to commiserate and to mourn what mean spirit and lack of compassion can do to undermine the “American Dream.” Government activism has been rejected for a harsh, individualistic, libertarian mentality that favors leaving those less fortunate to the “wolves”.