Indiana

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.

The Trump Juggernaut Overrunning Moderate Democrats: Between A Rock And A Hard Place!

The Democratic Party is at a crossroads, and moderate Senate Democrats are “between a rock and a hard place”, with the Trump juggernaut about to run them down!

There are 10 Democratic moderates who are running for reelection in states won by Donald Trump.

If they all remained loyal to their party, and IF Susan Collins or Lisa Murkowski joined them, a Supreme Court pick could be stopped, but that is asking for too much to be assured.

And if they do not support the Trump nominee, it could kill their chances of reelection.

But of course, if they vote for the Trump nominee, many Democrats and moderates might decide it is not worth voting, and they will lose their elections anyway.

So what to do?

Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota voted for Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee, last year.

All three are in great danger of losing their seats, with or without the Supreme Court nominee controversy they now face.

Then we have Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Jon Tester of Montana, also in great danger of losing their seats.

The other five “Red State” Democrats are probably safer, and unlikely to lose their seats—Bob Casey Jr of Pennsylvania (who however is anti abortion in his background); Sherrod Brown of Ohio; Debbie Stebanow of Michigan; Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin; and Bill Nelson of Florida (but his seat will be the most expensive race ever, with opponent Rick Scott spending tens of millions to defeat Nelson).

So if one is to promote the left wing Democratic view, we would say to hell with these Senators, whose voting record is far from ideal, but the alternative to staying united no matter what these ten Senators decide to do on the Supreme Court nominee of Trump, is to see the Republicans gain more seats and lock up the Senate for the long haul.

That is why it seems to this blogger that to promote or expect a left wing Democrat as the Presidential nominee, while ideal in theory, is likely to kill off any chance of the Democrats winning the Presidency in 2020, after what could be a Democratic debacle in the Senate races this year.

What seems likely to happen is that the three Democrats who voted for Gorsuch will vote for the Trump Supreme Court choice and will survive, and the other seven Democrats—particularly the three women—McCaskill, Stabenow and Baldwin—will vote against and yet survive as well. Casey will be conflicted but probably vote NO and survive, as well as Brown. And Tester should still be able to win another term as well.

The toughest seat to keep will be Bill Nelson in Florida, but it seems likely he will vote NO on the nominee.

So at the end, the likely vote will be 53-46, all 50 GOP Senators, including Collins and Murkowski, with the exception of the absent John McCain, and Manchin, Donnelly, and Heitkamp, with anger and disgust by Democrats, but the only likely road to those seats being saved.

So IF all seats are saved, except possibly Florida, and then IF Arizona, Nevada, Tennessee, and maybe Texas are gained, the Democrats MIGHT have a 51-49 or 52-48 Democratic Senate, and the battle against Trump will have another day and more to fight, the best possible under present circumstances.

Of course, all progressives have to pray for the good health and continued life of Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, to serve until 2021, a tall order, as if that does not happen, the Supreme Court is lost with a certainty until close to 2045-2050, past the lifetime of this blogger and probably all of my readers.

This is a gloomy reality, but we have to do whatever we can do to promote a Democratic majority in both houses, and accept that not all Democrats will be progressives, but will at least be of the party persuasion!

The Pressure To Be Brought On Senators Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Donnelly, Bob Casey Jr. And Joe Manchin On Supreme Court Nominee

With Donald Trump ready to announce his Supreme Court nominee on July 9, pressure is starting to be brought against four “Red State” Senators facing reelection, who might vote for Trump’s selection.

Three of them—Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, and Joe Manchin of West Virginia—crossed the aisle and supported Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court last year, and have visited the White House already, being lobbied by Trump.

They, and Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, Jr, strongly anti abortion, but not supporting Gorsuch last year, are the four Democrats most worried about, with at least the first three feared likely to cross the aisle again.

The problem is that the Democrats cannot afford to repudiate these three or all four Senators, if they hope to have any chance of regaining control of the US Senate in November.

So while wishing to be critical and denouncing them if they abandon the Democratic Senate caucus on this matter, they are still needed for the future.

What If Utah Senator Mike Lee Is Nominated For Supreme Court?

Early speculation on who Donald Trump might select to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court centers on Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee, an original Tea Party member, having served in the Senate, and promoting libertarian ideas since 2011.

Not always a supporter of Trump, and not backing him in 2016 due to the Access Hollywood tape, Lee would still be a prime choice for Trump.

Lee is only 47 and could be expected to serve on the Court until 2050 and beyond.

He is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has to consider the Supreme Court nomination, and there are 11 Republicans to 10 Democrats on that committee.

To believe that any of his GOP colleagues on the committee, or even in the Senate, would vote against their party member, is hard to conceive.

And if all 50 Republicans stay united (minus John McCain, who is not likely to return to Washington DC anytime soon), at the worst, Vice President Mike Pence can vote if need be, but a 50-49 vote is a majority, and likely, a few Democrats, in red states facing election, would cross the aisle and vote for Lee, as they did for Neil Gorsuch a year ago.

Having a Senator on the Supreme Court is not unheard of, as it has happened 15 times in American history.

Most famously, there was Alabama Democratic Senator Hugo Black, who served on the Court for 34 years from 1937 to 1971, appointed by Franklin D. Roosevelt. And President Harry Truman appointed two Senators—Sherman Minton of Indiana, who served from 1949-1956; and Harold Burton of Ohio who served from 1945-1958.

Also, there have been 17 Congressmen who served on the Supreme Court, including Warren G. Harding appointee George Sutherland of Utah who served from 1922-1938; and Chief Justice Fred Vinson of Kentucky, who served from 1946-1953, appointed by President Truman.

Finally, 6 Governors have been appointed to the Supreme Court, the last and most famous being California Governor Earl Warren, appointed Chief Justice by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953 and serving to 1969; along with significant appointments by President Abraham Lincoln of Ohio Governor Salmon P Chase to be Chief Justice, serving from 1864-1873; former New York Governor Charles Evans Hughes, first appointed to the Court by William Howard Taft from 1910 to 1916, and then returning to the Court as Chief Justice by appointment of President Herbert Hoover from 1930-1941; and Michigan Governor Frank Murphy, appointed by FDR and serving from 1940-1949.