Harry Truman

Today, May 8, Is The 135th Anniversary Of Harry Truman’s Birth, And The 74th Anniversary Of The End Of World War II In Europe

Today, May 8, is a momentous day, as it is the 135th Anniversary of the birth of President Harry Truman, and also the 74th Anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe.

There are very few veterans left from World War II, as the only survivors would be at least 92 if they had just entered war service in the last months of the war in 1945.

The “Greatest Generation”, as Tom Brokaw called the veterans of World War II, made great sacrifices and we honor them every Memorial Day in May and Veterans Day in November.

And we honor President Truman, who despite much controversy over his actions in office, is ranked in polls of scholars and experts as either number 5 or number 6 among all our Presidents, something no one in his time in office ever imagined he would reach.

Truman proved that an “ordinary man”, the only modern President not to have attended or graduated college, could be an effective President, and a voracious reader, proving that not all education and drive comes from a college degree, but from ambition and motivation to overcome one’s shortcomings.

This author and blogger would rank Truman Number 4, ahead of Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower, now rated in the C Span 2017 Poll of Historians above him, as he faced crises greater than all Presidents except George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. We were blessed to have two exceptional Presidents in a row in FDR and Truman.

Vice Presidency Has Led To Presidential Nominations Multiple Times Since The 1960s

The Vice Presidency was never good breeding ground for Presidential nominations since the Civil War.

Only John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Van Buren and John C. Breckinridge were nominated for President before the Civil War, with all winning the Presidency, except for Breckinridge, who had been Vice President under James Buchanan from 1857-1861, and then nominated by Southern Democrats who refused to accept the official Democratic nominee, Stephen Douglas in 1860.

The only Vice President from 1860 to 1960 who was nominated for President was Franklin D. Roosevelt’s third term Vice President, Henry A. Wallace, who ran as the Progressive Party nominee for President in 1948 against his own successor in the Vice Presidency, President Harry Truman.

But since 1960, six Vice Presidents have run as Presidential candidates, including;

Richard Nixon in 1960 and 1968

Hubert Humphrey in 1968

Gerald Ford in 1976 (who had succeeded Richard Nixon under the 25th Amendment)

Walter Mondale in 1984

George H. W. Bush in 1988

Al Gore in 2000

Nixon and Bush won the Presidency, while Ford lost a full term after finishing the partial term he succeeded to, and Gore won the popular vote, but failed to win the Electoral College.

The point is that Joe Biden would be the 7th Vice President who ran for President after serving as Number 2 in the executive branch.

And Nixon the first time, Mondale, Bush, and Gore all had a jump start on the nomination of their party for the Presidency, with only Humphrey and Ford having major challengers.

So at least by recent history in the past half century plus, being a Vice President gives a leap forward to those who wish to run for President.

America Will Never Be A “Socialist” Country, But We Have “Socialist” Ideas Americans Want To Keep: Social Security, Medicare, Environmental, Labor, Consumer, Health Care, Education, And Civil Rights Laws, All Which Make Capitalism Work Better!

Donald Trump attacked “Socialism” in the State of the Union address, knowing full well that is simply a code word to attack progressive reforms that have become part of the American tradition and system of social justice.

“Socialism” in America is Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Federal Environmental Laws, Federal Labor Laws, Federal Consumer Laws, Federal Health Care, Education and Civil Rights Laws.

These laws are the hard, years fought for, efforts of primarily Democrats and some moderate Republicans over the century since Theodore Roosevelt, including Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and even contributions of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, George H. W. Bush, and innumerable Senators and Congressmen and state governors who saw these laws as essential for American advancement.

We are a nation of capitalism but with “socialism” mixed in, due to the promotion of such legislation by the Socialist Party of the 20th century, and its leaders, including Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas, and most Americans support and see the need for the laws we have.

We are not going to go back to the Gilded Age of the late 19th century, as the Progressive Era, the New Deal, the 1960s, and the Obama era have made our nation better, and the right wing attack on all these reforms will be fought bitterly and defeated!

Inspiring January 20s—1961 And 2009, And Then Depressing January 20s, 2017 And Today

Today is commemorated as the Presidential Inauguration Day every four years, since the passage and ratification of the 20th Amendment in 1933, changing the date from the original March 4 from 1789 to 1933, to the new date starting in 1937 and every fourth year after.

The history of January 20 is one of two particularly inspiring Inauguration Days, those of John F. Kennedy in 1961, with his soaring oratory, and Barack Obama in 2009, with the largest Inauguration crowd in American history, and with this author and blogger in attendance with his older son, witnessing the historic event.

Kennedy was the youngest elected President, and the first and only Catholic President, and Obama was the first and only mixed race African American President, and both appealed to the highest ideals of the American spirit.

Already, both are rated in the top third or better of our Presidents, and both will always excite and inspire our image of what America could be.

But sadly, now we are in a crisis, which makes Richard Nixon look better, something thought to be impossible after the Watergate Scandal. We never thought we could have a worse and more corrupt President than Nixon, who with his manifest shortcomings actually had some positive contributions.

But with Donald Trump, we have a wrecking ball out to destroy American domestic policies since Theodore Roosevelt onward, and American foreign policies since Harry Truman onward.

We have a President who has collaborated and colluded with the Russian government of Vladimir Putin, and yet we have one third to 40 percent of the nation totally in delusion, and proving that as PT Barnum said long ago, “There’s a sucker born every minute!” People who should know better have their heads in the sand, as if they are ostriches, and nothing will convince this ill informed and morally deficient portion of the population to see the reality of the disaster we face.

Donald Trump gave a bitter, divisive Inaugural Address two years ago today, and has not stopped from his mission of total destruction, and division of our population with his insults, his racism, his nativism, his misogyny, his repudiation of our long time allies, and his promotion of the destruction of the environment and the concept of civil rights and civil liberties in our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

January 20, 2017, was not a day to celebrate, and January 20, 2019 is not either, as the Federal Government Shutdown continues, with the long range goal of the undermining of the Federal government agencies, and the destruction of the lives of millions of dedicated workers, and the collapse of the American economy, as we hurtle toward another Great Recession or maybe even another Great Depression.

It is impossible to have hope that we can survive this Trump disaster without long range damage and harm that will permanently undermine the future of American democracy.

The Wealthiest And The Poorest Presidents

The American Presidents have varied greatly in wealth acquired or inherited in their lifetimes.

Some were born poor, such as Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton, due to family circumstances, with Clinton and Nixon acquiring wealth in their lifetimes, but Johnson would still be the seventh poorest President at death, according to statistics.

Materials gathered by scholars have led to conclusions on the net worth of our 44 Presidents, including their post Presidential years.

Easily, at least by the knowledge we have now, Donald Trump is likely the wealthiest President, although subject to change by further Congressional investigation of Trump’s finances, sure to come in the 116th Congress by congressional subpoenas. By estimate, Trump is wealthier than all the other 43 men who have been President of the United States.

After Trump, probably John F. Kennedy, had he not been assassinated, would have inherited close to $1 billion later in his life.

Other than Trump and Kennedy, George Washington would be considered the wealthiest President, in modern terms, around $580 million.

Behind him would be Thomas Jefferson ($234 million); Theodore Roosevelt ($138 million); Andrew Jackson ($131 million); James Madison ($112 million); and Lyndon B. Johnson ($108 million), with all those numbers being estimates.

Other Presidents who had substantial estimated wealth would include Herbert Hoover ($82 million; Bill Clinton ($75 million); Franklin D. Roosevelt ($66 million); and John Tyler ($57 million). Clinton acquired most of his wealth post Presidency by speeches and authored books, and will likely rise much higher if he lives a long life.

At the other end of the scale, we had 13 Presidents who had $1 million or less wealth by all estimates, in 2016 dollars, including in ranked order:

William McKinley

Warren G. Harding

James Buchanan

Abraham Lincoln

Andrew Johnson

Ulysses S. Grant

James A. Garfield

Chester Alan Arthur

Woodrow Wilson

Calvin Coolidge

Harry Truman

Notice that the bulk of these Presidents served in the years from Buchanan to McKinley, the last half of the 19th century, a total of seven out of eleven Presidents.

The three Presidents from Wilson through Coolidge also are on this list, and Harry Truman ends up as the least prosperous President at his death, as compared to Andrew Johnson the poorest at birth.

Barack Obama is rated just below John Tyler at number 13 on the wealth list at an estimated $40 million, with potential over a long lifetime to become one of the top few wealthiest Presidents by speeches, books, and other activities due to the stature and prestige of being a former President in modern times.

Other Presidents are rated in the middle on wealth, such as George W. Bush at $39 million; George H. W. Bush at $26 million; John Quincy Adams at $23 million; John Adams at $21 million; Richard Nixon at $17 million; Ronald Reagan at $14 million; Dwight D. Eisenhower at $9 million; and Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter at $8 million each.

Trump’s Border Wall Is Not Based On National Security, But Simply Pure Racism Against Darker Skinned People

Trump’s insistence on a border wall with Mexico is NOT based on concerns about national security, as there is little danger of that, and statistics demonstrate that most people we would term “terrorists” come through airports or ports of entry, not by walking or traveling through the difficult terrain that Central American migrants escaping violence, sexual abuse, and gang violence have used to pursue freedom and a new chance on a decent life for what is mostly women and children.

Yes, there is the problem of cocaine and other drugs coming to America, but it mostly goes through elaborate tunnels that have been constructed, are very sophisticated, and are extremely numerous in number and hard to detect by drug agents and border agents.

So why is Donald Trump pursuing this, despite two thirds of the American people being opposed to it, and wanting the end of the crippling federal government shutdown that is impoverishing millions, not just the actual federal workers and their families, but subsidiary businesses that are suffering from the lack of economic activity that has ensued?

Clearly, it is pure racism against darker skinned people, who Trump sees as inferior, and we have already heard his disgraceful, despicable comments about people from Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America, as well as from Asian countries.

We have never had a President as racist as Donald Trump. Yes, we had Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnson, Woodrow Wilson,and all of the slave holding Presidents. We also had others who we know had the tendency to be racist in their language, such as Richard Nixon on the Watergate tapes, and in earlier lives, such as Harry Truman and Lyndon B. Johnson. But Trump is far worse than any of these, and has been his entire life, including when he was a landlord with his father back in the 1970s in New York City, and in many other situations ever since.

Trump is a combination of the worst racists of modern times in America—the dead Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms, and George Wallace; and those who are alive, including Pat Buchanan, David Duke, and Richard Spencer, among others.

The only time we had to worry about such a personality on the Presidential level was George Wallace in 1968, but he ran on a third party, winning five states and 13.5 percent of the vote, so could not win the Presidency.

And even George Wallace, in later years, after the assassination attempt by Arthur Bremer in 1972 left him paralyzed for life, changed his views, asked for forgiveness for his racism, and was accepted as reformed by many in the Civil Rights Movement.

There is no hope for Donald Trump in this regard, and his racism will always mark him as, certainly for modern times, the worst person on the race issue, without any chance of redemption.

Two Profiles In Courage, Harry Truman And Gerald Ford, Died On This Day

Today, December 26, marks the anniversary of the death of President Harry Truman in 1972, and of Gerald Ford in 2006.

Both Truman and Ford were rare, Presidents who succeeded to the office during the term of others elected, and both facing major challenges and being “Profiles in Courage”.

Both never actively sought the Presidency, did not have the driving ambition and motivation to run for President, and both were thrust into crises—Truman with the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt before the end of World War II, and Ford with the resignation of Richard Nixon in the Watergate Crisis—that required firm determination to keep the nation united in difficult times.

Many may have wondered if either Truman nor Ford would meet the challenges they faced, but they both did, at a time now when we have the greatest crisis since at least the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, and yet we have the most incompetent, amoral, unstable, and unprincipled President in all of American history, when what we need is a Harry Truman or Gerald Ford.

Sadly, it does not seem as if Mike Pence has the guts or commitment to do what needs to be done, to take action to assert the need for the 25th Amendment Section 4 to take away power for mental reasons from Donald Trump, or to push for his resignation, or for his Republican Party to take action in league with the Democratic Party, as the two parties did in 1974, pressuring Nixon to resign for the good of the nation.

Let us stop for a moment, however, to honor both Harry Truman and Gerald Ford as men who deserve our respect and approval for what they did to advance America in difficult times.

Midterm Election History In First Presidential Midterms Since 1946, And Likelihood Of Results Of Midterm Elections In 2018

With the Midterm Elections of 2018 upon us in less than two weeks, it is time to analyze midterm election results in the first such elections after a new President has come to office, starting with Harry Truman in 1946 and all the way through to Barack Obama in 2010.

We are discussing 12 Presidents and how they were factors in the midterm elections which followed their entering the Presidency.

Six of the 12 Presidents entered that first midterm election with their popularity in public opinion polls under 50 percent—with the order of lack of popularity being lowest to highest the following—Truman, Reagan, Lyndon B. Johnson, Obama, Clinton, and Carter. Notice this list is all Democrats except for Reagan.

The other six Presidents were above 50 percent popularity at the time of the first midterm elections–from the highest to the lowest being George W. Bush, Kennedy, Eisenhower, George H. W. Bush, Nixon, Ford. Notice this list is all Republicans except for Kennedy.

The record shows that only George W. Bush and Kennedy saw the best results, with Bush seeing a gain of 8 House seats and 1 Senate seat, in the year after September 11, and Kennedy losing 4 House seats but gaining 2 Senate seats in the weeks after the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

And George H. W. Bush, Nixon, and Eisenhower midterms showed respectively 8 House seats and 1 Senate seat lost; 12 House Seats lost and 1 Senate seat gained; and 18 House seats and 1 Senate seat lost.

Only Ford, three months after taking over the Presidency, and with still a high public opinion rating of 54 percent, but the Nixon Watergate Scandal still reverberating with Ford’s pardon of Nixon, do we see a major loss of 48 House seats and 4 Senate seats lost.

Meanwhile, those six Presidents with a lower than 50 percent public opinion poll rating at the first midterm of their Presidency saw a much greater loss, with Carter having the smallest loss, 15 House seats and 3 Senate seats lost with a 49 percent rating.

Reagan, with a 42 percent rating, lowest except for Truman, saw a loss of 26 House seats but one Senate seat gained.

The other four Presidents—Johnson, Clinton, Truman, Obama—suffered far worse losses—with Johnson losing 48 House seats and losing 4 Senate seats, the same as Ford, who had ten points higher public opinion rating of 54 percent to LBJ’s 44 percent.

Clinton, Truman, and Obama, all Democrats,lost massively in seats in both houses of Congress—Clinton losing 54 House seats and losing 8 Senate seats; Truman losing 55 House seats and losing 12 Senate seats; and Obama losing 63 House seats and losing 6 Senate seats.

What all this leads to is the strong belief that Donald Trump, with 47 percent approval rating most recently, will see a major loss of House seats for sure, and the guess at this time, after much reflection, is that it will be between 40-45 seats. In the Senate, with the great Republican advantage in only having 9 seats open for election, and the Senate having a 51-49 Republican margin, the odds of the Democrats holding on to their seats and gaining two or more of the nine contested Republican seats would seem to lead likely to a 50-50 tie, meaning a one seat Democratic gain, but still a Republican controlled Senate at 50-50, whereby Vice President Mike Pence will still organize the Senate for the next two years. This so unless there is a move by Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, who voted against Brett Kavanaugh, and has been attacked by her state’s Republican party leadership, to switch to Independent or Democratic support, and giving the Senate to the Democrats.

The Governorships generally follow Congressional results, and are extremely important for reapportionment of state legislative districts and US House districts after the Census 2020 population figures are tabulated, so having more Governors of one party over the other are crucial. At this point, it would seem likely that the Democrats will gain from 16 present Governorships by 10-11, and have 26-27 Chief Executives of states.

So overall, a Democratic gain to a majority of House seats to about 235-240 and 26-27 Governorships, but likely a tied 50-50 Senate, putting the results worse for Trump than for Reagan in the House and Senate, but not as bad as for Ford among Republican Presidents.

Hysteria, Hyperbole, And Advocacy Of Violence: Donald Trump Campaign Against Democrats Making Them Appear “UnAmerican”

“Angry, ruthless, unhinged mob”—is the Donald Trump campaign pitch against the Democrats, as the 2018 Midterm election campaign comes down to its last two weeks.

Promoting hysteria, hyperbole, and advocacy of violence are the tactics, something never utilized before in the entirety of American history.

Other Presidents campaigned in midterm elections in harsh terms, such as Andrew Johnson in 1866, and Richard Nixon in 1970, but never on the scale or recklessness of Donald Trump.

A President such as Harry Truman, in his reelection campaign in 1948, gave the Republican opposition “hell”, but never on a level anything near what Donald Trump has done.

He has aroused his crowds with fear, trepidation, and encouraged violence as in Montana, all signs of Fascist authoritarianism.

He has made these midterm elections all about him, so he must be answered by the voters or else doom is ahead!

This election in 16 days MUST repudiate Trumpism, or else the Republic is in dire danger, clear and simple!

This is not the time or place to be lazy or disinterested about politics, as we are in greater danger than we have ever been, worse than the Great Depression, World War II, or September 11!

In those moments of crisis, we had Franklin D. Roosevelt and George W. Bush, a strange pairing it might seem, but both committed to the protection of the nation, as compared to the clear aggrandizement of power and egotism of Donald Trump, who does not respect the Constitution.

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.