Jeff Flake

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.

Congressional Republicans Growing Unease About Donald Trump

Less than two weeks in office, Donald Trump is starting to see growing unease among some Congressional Republicans about his independent, go it alone, style of leadership.

Trump clearly feels he was elected without true party unity, and intends to govern in an authoritarian manner, but there are Republicans who are unhappy with his style and manner.

These include:

Arizona Senator John McCain
Arizona Senator Jeff Flake
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham
Ohio Senator Rob Portman
Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse
Maine Senator Susan Collins

Also, some Congressmen are also speaking out, so Trump may be a President without a party, and to find that, one must go back to the 19th century, where two Presidents, who succeeded a President who died, had massive headaches trying to deal with the party that had accepted them, members of the opposition party, as their Vice President, due to the wishes of the Presidential nominee, but with no expectation that the President wold die in office.

I am referring to Democrat John Tyler, who ran on the Whig Party ticket with William Henry Harrison in 1840; and Democrat Andrew Johnson, who ran on the Republican “Union” Party line with Abraham Lincoln in 1864.

Both Tyler and Johnson would have never ending headaches with their adopted party, with major battles over Supreme Court and Cabinet appointments, and a threat to impeach John Tyler, and an actual impeachment trial for Andrew Johnson.

Could Donald Trump be on the way to similar resistance and possible impeachment? He is alienating Congress by being a “lone wolf”, showing his disdain for Congress and the party line he ran on.

One must recall that his victory for President was the worst ever in popular vote loss to his opponent, and seventh lowest percentage ever, but with all those Presidents with lower percentage of vote, having had two or three opponents who gained electoral votes, instead of just one opponent.

Most Crucial Trump Cabinet Member To Resist Is Jeff Sessions, Attorney General Nominee— A Danger To Civil Rights And Civil Liberties!

The Trump cabinet choices are overall horrific, but the most that might be expected is to stop maybe one or two of the nominees.

It is so hard to judge which are the worst of all of them, but clearly, after reflection, the record of Senator Jeff Sessions disqualifies him for the position of Attorney General.

This is a man who has displayed racism, misogyny, nativism, and homophobia, and was opposed to extension of the Voting Rights Act, and he was already rejected for a federal judgeship in 1986 by a Senate with a majority of his own Republican Party.

In an age when civil rights and civil liberties are in danger from Donald Trump and his mentality, to put Jeff Sessions into the Justice Department would set back the Bill of Rights tremendously, as Sessions is no different than if one were to select former Alabama Governor George Wallace, or former North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms, or former South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond to be Attorney General.

These were the worst of all Southern politicians who undermined civil rights, and there is no evidence that Jeff Sessions is any different in 2017.

All that is needed is for a few Republican Senators to show courage, and vote against their own colleague, replicating the Republican Senate of 1986, as then Arlen Specter and Charles Mathias blocked Sessions from a federal district court judgeship, a very rare occurrence.

Pressure must be brought on Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Jeff Flake of Arizona to show the same kind of courage now, within the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Otherwise, it is essential that such Senators as Susan Collins of Maine, Rob Portman of Ohio, Lisa Murkowksi of Alaska, John McCain of Arizona, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, and Dean Heller of Nevada be appealed to, to reject Sessions.

Republican “Firewall”, Added To Democratic Opposition In US Senate, Gives Some Hope To Control Trump Appointments And Initiatives

Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
Jeff Flake and John McCain of Arizona
Cory Gardner of Colorado
Marco Rubio of Florida
Rand Paul of Kentucky
Susan Collins of Maine
Ben Sasse of Nebraska
Dean Heller of Nevada
Rob Portman of Ohio
Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania
Lindsey Graham of South Carolina
Lamar Alexander of Tennessee
Mike Lee of Utah
Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia

We must realize that Donald Trump is not really a Republican or a conservative, and is impossible to figure out what his agenda is, so that means that there will be a “firewall” of Republicans in the US Senate, who at least in some cases, can be added to Democratic opposition in the Senate, and give some hope that there will be control over Trump appointments and initiatives over the next few years.

Not all of the above list will cooperate and collaborate together on all issues, but they all seem to be likely to fight Trump on some issues, and if three or four work together with a united Democratic Party in the Senate, Trump will be unable to accomplish all his goals, and he is likely to bitterly denounce these Republicans, and cause, by his language, more stalemate and gridlock, and prevent the most grievous nominees and parts of his agenda.

The most likely to oppose Trump are the following: Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Jeff Flake, and Rob Portman in that order.

However, Ben Sasse and Mike Lee, as strong conservatives, are also likely to try to limit Trump Administration goals if they find them objectionable.

The others–Dan Sullivan, Cory Gardner, Dean Heller, Pat Toomey, Lamar Alexander, and Shelley Moore Capito–may, occasionally, join with the members of this group.

Remember that seven of this group—Murkowski, McCain, Rubio, Paul, Portman, Toomey, and Lee have a new six year term, so are not threatened by Trump as far as their Senate seat is concerned.

Only Flake and Heller face election contests in 2018, while the other seven –Sullivan, Gardner, Collins, Sasse, Graham, Alexander, and Capito face election in 2020.

So 16 Senators out of 52 Republicans, fully one third, could stand in the way of Donald Trump, and if he went too far in abuse of his powers, could, potentially, join in a possible move to promote impeachment, although even if all 48 Democrats joined in, would still fall short of the 67 needed to convict and remove him by three votes.

Republican Split Begins, As Several US Senators Indicate They Are Ready To Fight Trump Cabinet Appointments

It is now clear that Donald Trump will NOT work to avoid Republican party splits, but instead will do everything he can to stir division within the party, and within America, as shown with his horrendous Cabinet appointments.

Democrats MUST fight tooth and nail against many of the Cabinet appointments, including the nominees for Attorney General (Jeff Sessions); Health and Human Services (Tom Price); Labor (Andrew Puzder); Education (Betsy DeVos); and Environmental Protection Agency (Scott Pruitt).

But there are Republicans unhappy over issues of foreign policy, including close association between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson: and the proposed nomination of John Bolton to be Deputy Secretary of State, despite his continued belief that the Iraq War was justified, and the opposition of many top Republicans who despise the former United Nations Ambassador by recess appointment under George W. Bush, who could not be confirmed by the US Senate.

Republican Senators, including Marco Rubio, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Jeff Flake, Rand Paul, Ben Sasse and Susan Collins, and possibly others, could prevent some of these appointees in committee or on the floor, and in league with Democrats, create more Cabinet turmoil and rejections than any modern President, reminding us of the battles some earlier Presidents, including John Tyler and Andrew Johnson, had with Congress over their choices for the Cabinet and the courts.

Also, even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan are calling for a full investigation of Russian hacking of the Democratic Party campaign in the recent election, and many are alarmed by Donald Trump seemingly cozying up to Putin, and Trump’s denial that he believes the evidence of such hacking as concluded by the Central Intelligence Agency, undermining respect and support of the President Elect for the intelligence agencies. And Trump’s refusal to get intelligence briefings regularly and to show mistrust of the Intelligence community, which is so important for the national security of the nation, is very worrisome and alarms many in his own party, as well as the nation at large.

Which Republican Senators Might Stop Republican Agenda On Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid And Other Issues In Domestic And Foreign Policy?

With the Republican Party in full control of both houses of Congress again, although with smaller margins, one wonders what Republican Senators might ignore party lines at times, and fight against Donald Trump on changes in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other issues, including nominations, and domestic and foreign policy actions that are feared by many people, including not only Democrats but moderate conservative Republicans and some conservative intellectuals.

All that would be needed to stop actions would be three Republican Senators, along with the 48 Democrats in the Senate, with the filibuster a weapon that could be used by Democrats under Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Which Republicans might be willing to buck the party and Donald Trump on specific issues?

At the top of the list would be Susan Collins of Maine, followed by Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

Others who might join these two women would be Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Jeff Flake and John McCain of Arizona, Dean Heller of Nevada, Rob Portman of Ohio, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.

The problem is that there is no certainty that any of these nine Senators will prove to be a “profile in courage”.

Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake Defend Mexican American Contributions, And Denounce Donald Trump’s Nativism!

It is great news to see Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake criticizing Donald Trump before his visit to the state this weekend.

It is also great to see them point out the major contributions of Mexican Americans and other Hispanics-Latinos to their state’s development.

It is, at the same time, disturbing to see Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the master of “racial profiling”, who has been a holy terror against all Mexican Americans and other Hispanics-Latinos, harassing motorists, and using unconstitutional methods in his jails in the county, come to Trump’s support. The federal government is working hard to overcome the civil rights violations of Sheriff Arpaio, but Arpaio has been a friend of Donald Trump and will greet him this weekend. They share the belief in the “Birther” theory about Barack Obama being born outside the United States.

Also, former Governor Jan Brewer has come to the support of Trump, which only adds to the image of Brewer as one of the absolutely worst Governors in America in the past half dozen years.

Ironically, new Governor Doug Ducey, condemned by progressives for his hard line views on immigration, has decided to join McCain and Flake in refusing to meet up with Trump, but the state government of Arizona still remains troublesome in their approach to immigration.

Foreign Policy Is Made By Presidents, NOT Senators! The Gall Of 47 Republican Senators To Interfere In Diplomacy With Iran, Encouraging War!

The insults to President Barack Obama continue to mount up, with the Republican Senate, at least 47 of the 54 sitting members, having the gall to interfere in diplomacy of the Obama Administration with Iran over its nuclear program and development.

Can one imagine a Democratic Senate interfering with Richard Nixon as he negotiated with the Soviet Union or China?

Can one imagine a Senate interfering with Jimmy Carter as he negotiated with Egypt and Israel in the late 1970s?

NEVER does a Senate have any right to give input to negotiations of our government with any other government in process, and to promote war with Iran, rather than try to prevent war, is a reprehensible act by these 47 Republican Senators!

Basically, these 47 Senators have interfered with and broken the Logan Act of 1798, updated in 1994, and should be condemned for illegal interference with the Executive Branch. They could be prosecuted for violating the Logan Act, and could be expelled from the US Senate!

If war was to break out, the Republican Senate would be held responsible for provoking it, and their sons and daughters should be first in line for military action that their own fathers and mothers have recklessly backed!

Kudos go to the following seven GOP Senators who did NOT sign the letter, and keep their dignity: Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Bob Corker of Tennessee (chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee), Dan Coats of Indiana, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, and Jeff Flake of Arizona!

Barack Obama Since The Midterm Defeat: Finally Asserting His Executive Powers, A La TR, FDR And Other Outstanding Presidents!

Since the defeat of the Democrats in the Midterm Elections of 2014, Barack Obama has changed his whole manner and approach to governing.

Obama is now asserting himself, via his executive powers, a la Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and other outstanding Presidents.

In less than two months, Obama has done the following, all significant initiatives:

Declared his support for internet neutrality, meaning federal regulation of the internet.

Reached a momentous climate deal with China, to reduce greenhouse gases.

Issued an executive order protecting up to five million undocumented immigrants from deportation, and protecting families from being broken apart.

Established regulations through the Environmental Protection Agency to limit ozone emissions.

Promoted new sanctions on Russia and Vladamir Putin for their intervention in Ukraine, crippling the Russian economy in a massive way.

Accomplished the confirmation of over 90 nominees to executive branch and judicial branch appointments, including the Surgeon General, held off for almost a year.

Normalized relations with Cuba, with the help of Canada and Pope Francis, and the support of some Republicans, including Jeff Flake of Arizona and Rand Paul of Kentucky.

To have accomplished so much in such a short time, despite his party’s defeat in November, makes Barack Obama well situated to make his mark in the last two years, free of any controls, other than the Constitution and the precedents set by his predecessors in the White House!

Republican Split On Obama’s Cuban Initiative Will Cause Turmoil In GOP Presidential Race

President Barack Obama’s decision to change policy toward Cuba is already stirring up controversy in the Republican Party Presidential race.

Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona went along on the trip to Cuba to bring back Alan Gross and an American spy in exchange for three Cuban spies, and he has long believed that the 54 year old policy of isolation of Cuba has been wrong, and needed to be revisited.

But Flake is not running for President, so he is a rare standout for his views on Cuba in the Republican Party, although his actions and words insure a tough race for reelection, when he comes up in 2018.

But the big news is that Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, a full fledged Presidential aspirant, has taken the same stand, just as his father, former Texas Congressman Ron Paul, took on Cuba for many years, making him a pariah in the Republican Party.

Rand Paul has come under bitter attack by Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Texas Senator Ted Cruz, two rivals of his for the nomination, and both Cuban Americans. And others in Republican leadership have also joined in the attack, including Jeb Bush.

The question is whether Rand Paul has forfeited any chance to be the GOP Presidential nominee by his decision to back Barack Obama on this initiative.

It will, most certainly, stir up the race, and make future attitudes and policies toward Cuba a key issue in the Republican Presidential primaries, as it is likely that the critics of Obama’s changed policy will promise to restore the isolationist policy that has been in existence for a half century, were any of them to become President.

Ironically, though, by 2017, we will be nearing the end of the Castro brothers in power, as Raul Castro has said he will retire in 2018, when he is 87, and Fidel Castro is 92. So the end is near for this two brother dominance of the future of Cuba!