Indiana

Birch Bayh, One Of The Best Senators Of Late 20th Century Dead At Age 91, A Truly Creative Legislator Who Should Have Been President

Former Indiana Senator Birch Bayh, who served in the Senate from 1963-1981, passed away this week at age 91.

Birch Bayh was one of the best United States Senators of the late 20th century, a truly creative legislator who should have been President.

He competed in 1976 for the Democratic Presidential nomination against Jimmy Carter and many others, and he was the favorite of this blogger and author.

This is a man who promoted the passage of the 25th Amendment, providing for an Acting President if the President was incapacitated, and of the appointment and approval of a Vice Presidential replacement when there was a vacancy in that office.

This was the reaction of Bayh and others after John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, and with Lyndon B. Johnson having had a serious heart attack in 1955, and with potential successors being House Speaker John W. McCormack (age 73), and President Pro Tempore of the Senate Carl Hayden (age 86).

Bayh also promoted the 26th Amendment, giving 18 years olds the right to vote, and he also sponsored the unsuccessful Equal Rights Amendment, which failed of passage by enough states.

He also sponsored Title 9 of the amended Civil Rights Act in 1972, ending quotas for women in higher education and giving women equal opportunity to participate in sports.

Additionally, Bayh saved Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy when they were both in a small plane crash in 1964.

Bayh was the father of Indiana Governor and Senator Evan Bayh. He won three close races in Indiana, and then was defeated by future Vice President Dan Quayle in 1980.

New US Senators In 116th Congress (2019-2020)

Arizona–Kyrsten Sinema (D) and Martha McSally (R)

Florida–Rick Scott (R)

Indiana–Mike Braun (R)

Missouri–Josh Hawley (R)

Nevada–Jacky Rosen (D)

North Dakota–Kevin Cramer (R)

Tennessee–Marsha Blackburn (R)

Utah–Mitt Romney (R)

These 9 Senators (2 Democrats and 7 Republicans) will be added to the all time list, which will reach 1,983 people who have served in the US Senate in the 232 years from 1789 to 2021.

Democratic “Blue Wave” Victory Much Greater Than Had Been Imagined Possible

It is now evident that the Midterm Elections of 2018 were a revolution in many respects, a true “Blue Wave.”

We now know that 8.8 million more people voted Democratic than Republicans, the widest margin in American history, more than any other midterm election in modern times.

We now know that the Democrats gained 39 seats, and one more possible, in the House of Representatives, greater than anyone could have envisioned, meaning they will have 234 or 235 seats to the Republicans 200 or 201.

We now know that white suburbia, women, younger voters, independents, and racial and ethnic minorities all went over to the Democratic camp by wide margins.

We know know that seven more states have Democratic Governorships, and that such despicable people as Scott Walker, Kris Kobach, David Brat, and all of the Orange County Republican House members (Reagan Country) lost their races to Democrats.

We know that now Arizona and Nevada, along with Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania seem more likely to go Blue in 2020.

However, we also know that Democrats and progressives lost in Florida, Georgia, and in the Texas Senate race, and that seats were lost in the Senate in Florida, Missouri, Indiana, and North Dakota.

Overall, with some disappointments, a great result, and optimism about 2020.

The Aftermath Of The Midterm Elections: A Lot Of Positives, But Also Negatives

Now that the Midterm Elections of 2018 are over, after having time to think about the events that transpired, several conclusions are clear.

There certainly were positives, but also negatives.

The big positives were that the House of Representatives once again fell into the hands of the Democrats, after eight years in the wilderness, and Nancy Pelosi, who was an excellent Speaker from 2007-2011, is likely to become Speaker again, although there is a movement among younger and new members to have someone else as their leader, to be decided in the coming weeks.

Another big positive is the gain of a substantial number of new Governorships, including in the all important Midwest, and having a majority of governorships insures a better future for the Democratic Party when the Census of 2020 occurs, and reapportionment of seats in state legislatures and in the House of Representatives occurs in 2021 and 2022.

A third big positive is that some of the most disgraceful and despicable Republicans lost, including Scott Walker, Kris Kobach, and David Brat.

However, some major negatives stand out, and the most significant is the loss of at least two Senate seats or more, although it is also clear that the Democrats have gained at least one Senate seat in Nevada, and may win in Arizona. However, they have lost North Dakota, Missouri, and Indiana, and likely, Florida,

Also, the most disappointing aspect of the election was in my state of Florida, where it looks like Governor Rick Scott is likely to defeat Senator Bill Nelson, and where right wing extremist Ron DeSantis has defeated Andrew Gillum, who would have been the first African American governor, and had developed quite a following.

Also, it seems as if Stacey Abrams, who would be the first African American female governor in American history, is likely losing the Georgia Governor race to Brian Kemp, another right wing extremist.

And Beto O’Rourke did well, but still lost to Ted Cruz in the Texas Senate race.

So it is a mixed bag in regards to the results of the midterm elections.

Final Projection On The 2018 Midterm Elections: Democratic House And Senate, And Massive Gain In Democratic Governors

The time has come, the day before the Midterm Elections of 2018, to come up with a final projection on the results.

The sense is that the Democrats are in better shape than many polls indicate, although it might be seen by many as fanciful thinking on my part.

But I sense that the Democrats will do very well on Tuesday, as the first time, other than special elections, to register the people’s view on Donald Trump and the Republican Party.

Yes, there is the loyal base, but that is below 40 percent of the nation.

It seems clear that Independents, Suburban men and women, millennials of both genders, African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, the Jewish community, and Social Justice Catholics are united in their disgust at the behavior, policies, and corruption of Donald Trump and his administration.

The American people are a good people overall, and one must remember that Donald Trump lost the popular vote massively, but now all that matters is winning more votes than any opponent, and in that regard, Trump and the Republicans who refused to take a stand against him, are on the way to a massive repudiation by the voters.

That does not mean that every nasty Republican will lose or every Democrat that many would wish elected will be successful.

And it could be that, as in 2016, this blogger and author could be way off in his assessment, and I am prepared for that, as much as one can be.

But my inner being tells me the following:

There are so many Republican seats in play in the House of Representatives, including those that Hillary Clinton won in 2016, that one has to believe that many are turning Democratic in this election—including in upstate New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin, Texas, and California. So expect that while in theory there could be as many as maybe 71 or as few as 15 gains by the Democrats, my feeling is that a safe number is 40-45 seats, which if 45, would make for about 240 Democrats to 195 Republicans, basically a switch from what it is now.

In the US Senate, the Democrats would have to win a net gain of two seats, which now seems attainable. This blogger senses a gain of four Republican seats—Arizona, Nevada, Tennessee, and even Texas with Beto O’Rourke, but with a loss of two seats, Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota and Joe Donnelly in Indiana. But that means Claire McCaskill in Missouri, Jon Tester in Montana, and Bill Nelson in Florida would retain their seats, as all three are tough political leaders. So if this all happened, a bit of a miracle, there would be 51 Democrats and 49 Republicans, so the Democrats would control and organize the Senate. This prognosis also means the three leading politicians who this author has placed on his “Dream List” of those he wanted defeated, would be—-Ted Cruz, Rick Scott, and Marsha Blackburn.

As far as Governorships, the Democrats have 16 right now, and my projection is that they would gain the Midwest states of Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Kansas, along with Southern states Florida and Georgia, along with New Mexico, Nevada, and New England states Maine and Vermont, giving them a total of 28 states under Democratic control. This also means that Scott Walker and Kris Kobach would not be elected in Wisconsin and Kansas, making my “Dream List” fulfilled for the first five on the list.

On the other hand, it is likely that Steve King will win in Iowa for his Congressional seat, although this blogger believes David Brat in his Richmond, Virginia Congressional seat, will lose.

So overall, all but Steve King on my “Dream List” to defeat would lose, while all five of my “Dream List” to win—Beto O’Rourke, Andrew Gillum, Stacey Abrams, Richard Cordray, and Gavin Newsom, would be triumphant.

This blogger and author may look silly two or three days from now, but that is my final projection, and we shall see!

Brennan Center For Justice: 19 States With New Voting Restrictions Since 2016

The William Brennan Center For Justice, named after the great former Supreme Court Justice, tracks violations of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and has exposed the reality that 19 states, since the Supreme Court backtracked on the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in a decision in 2013, have made the right to vote much more difficult, and affecting election results.

In 2016, 14 states had new voting restrictions in place for the first time in a presidential election, with these states including Alabama, Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.

In 2017, Arkansas, North Dakota, Missouri, Georgia, and Iowa added new laws.

So 8 Southern states of the old Confederacy (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia) are back where they were before the Voting Rights Act of 1965, making it harder for blacks and other people of color, and poor people in general, to be able to have the chance to vote.

But also, the 8 Midwestern states of Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas have gown down the same road.

And Arizona in the West and New Hampshire and Rhode Island on the Atlantic Coast also have made it more difficult to vote.

Look at this list of states, and notice almost all of them, except Virginia, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island voted for Donald Trump.

So we have the possibility that despite public opinion polls that indicate a “Blue Wave”, the restrictions on voting rights could impact election result in November.

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.

It Is Time For Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, And Red State Democrats To Put Nation Ahead Of Their Own Senate Seats

It is perfectly understood that all people who work like to keep their jobs and earn their income.

But there is no member of the US Senate that is “desperate” and “needy” to keep their jobs.

What is needed now is, as John F. Kennedy wrote, “Profiles in Courage”.

Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, so called “moderate” Republicans, need to stand up and say, “NO WAY”, would they support Brett Kavanaugh to fill the available seat on the Supreme Court, since he clearly has a record of being anti abortion, and both women Senators claim they are pro choice, so they must refuse to support him.

It is clear that Brett Kavanaugh has committed perjury a number of times in earlier hearings before the Senate while under oath, and he should not be promoted to the Supreme Court, with his record of pursuing Bill Clinton with Ken Starr 20 years ago; his advocacy of torture in the Iraq War; his promotion of an anti gay marriage amendment under George W. Bush; and his unwillingness to say he would recuse himself from any case involving Trump and the scandals that have erupted in the past two years.

But even if Collins and Murkowksi were to back off on Kavanaugh, the requirement also is for Red State Democrats, who are running for reelection, to vote against Kavanaugh in unison, even if it leads to their defeat, which seems unlikely in the present political climate.

So that means West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp, Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly, Montana Senator Jon Tester, and Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill MUST save the nation from a Right Wing extremist Supreme Court, even if they lose their seats, putting the nation ahead of their own ambitions.

Crucial Senate Races On Road To Democratic Majority In 116th Congress

The US Senate will be a major battleground this coming November.

Ten “Red State” Democrats face the challenge of winning their seats, with a few of them the most endangered.

If the Senate is to go Democratic, all ten seats must be won by their Democratic veterans, but that is a tall order, and is tied to the hearings over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

The most endangered regarding that issue are West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp, and Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly.

Also possibly in trouble on that issue is Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill.

These four Senators are seen as moderate, rather than liberal Democrats, and all of them except McCaskill, voted for Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch last year.

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, Jr., Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin, Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, and Montana Senator Jon Tester all seem safer in their Senate races as of now, but that could change.

The most endangered incumbent, with or without the Kavanaugh vote, is Florida Senator Bill Nelson, who has Governor Rick Scott as his opponent, and with Scott having triple the amount of funds that Nelson has been able to garner. Scott is horrific, but he won two close races for Governor in 2010 and 2014, using his own wealth.

Now there is a new threat, that New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich might have more trouble being reelected, as former Governor and Libertarian Party 2016 Presidential candidate Gary Johnson, has just entered the race as an Independent, and in a three way race, anything is possible.

The problem is that even if all of these 11 Senators are successfully reelected, the Democrats still must win two more seats, with Arizona, Nevada, Tennessee, and Texas as possibilities in that order.

If the Democrats are able to win 51 seats in 2018, it would have to be considered a true miracle!

The “Red State” Democratic Senators, The Midterm Elections, And Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh

Ten “Red State” Democratic Senators face a moment of great challenge in November 2018.

Running for reelection in states that went for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2016, they face the danger of defeat in their Senate races if they do not support the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, with a final vote expected in October.

Voting for Kavanaugh will insure the likelihood of a conservative majority on the Court for the next 20-30 years, which will affect many areas of domestic and foreign policy, and the powers of the Presidency.

But voting against Kavanaugh may retire many of them, and insure a Republican gain of seats in the US Senate, from 51 to quite a few more, allowing the Republicans to dominate into the future.

So what should these Senators do? Should they be profiles in courage and risk their seats to delay or prevent a conservative Supreme Court majority? Or should they vote for Kavanaugh and give themselves another six years to fight against Trump, without the burden of facing the voters until 2024?

It seems likely that at least the three Senators who voted for Neil Gorsuch last year—Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Joe Donnelly of Indiana—will end up voting to confirm Kavanaugh if the vote cannot be delayed until after the November mid term elections.

The other seven are seen as unlikely to vote for Kavanaugh—Bill Nelson of Florida, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Jon Tester of Montana, Bob Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania, and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, with all seven now, except possibly Nelson, considered likely for a successful reelection to their Senate seats despite a negative vote on Kavanaugh.