Kansas

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.

Important Facts About President-Elect Donald Trump

Donald Trump has achieved something quite unusual.

The President-Elect is the first President to lose his home state, New York, since James K. Polk lost his home state of North Carolina in 1844, although Polk did win the state he migrated to and served in public office, Tennessee.

Since Trump has spent his whole life in Queens County and New York City, he is unique even over Polk.

Additionally, Trump will be nearly eight months older than Ronald Reagan when he takes the oath of office on January 20, 2017, being 70 years, seven months, and six days, and so the oldest inaugurated first term President in American history.

And Trump will also be the first President ever to have served not a day in public office or the military.

And Trump will be the first New Yorker to serve as President since Franklin D. Roosevelt won his 4th term in 1944, although Dwight D. Eisenhower did live in New York when he served as President of Columbia University, and Richard Nixon lived in New York when he ran for President. But Eisenhower was born in Texas and spent much of his life when not away in the military in his boyhood state of Kansas, and Nixon spent most of his life in his native California.

Trump Support Hemorraghing Rapidly In “Red” States!

Three weeks to go until the Presidential Election of 2016, and it seems clear, by public opinion polls,that Donald Trump’s support in “Red” states is hemorrhaging rapidly.

His mishandling of the sexual assault allegations has turned many Republicans against him, and his condemnation of Republican leadership, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, is damaging his ability even to hold on to the loyal Republican states.

So we have evidence that the following states are possible pick ups by Hillary Clinton:

North Carolina
Georgia
Arizona
Utah
Indiana
Missouri
South Carolina
Texas
Alaska
Mississippi
Kansas
Nebraska (or at least the Omaha area)

One can be quite certain that many of these states will, in the end, still back Donald Trump, but by a much smaller margin than for Mitt Romney in 2012 or John McCain in 2008.

But the first four on the above list look ripe for being picked up by Hillary Clinton and the Democrats.

I will post an entry close to the election on my final projections, and I remind my readers that, independent of Nate Silver in 2012, I projected, as he did, the precise electoral vote distribution-332-206.

I also will publish my projection on History News Network, and will be on radio with Jon Grayson of CBS St Louis, KMOX 1120 AM, Overnight with Jon Grayson, one of the radio shows I have been on, and posted on the right side of the blog, on Election Night at 1 AM ET on November 9, a few hours after the polls have closed, to comment on the results.

The South’s Continuing Impact On Impeding Democracy With Voter Restriction Laws

The South lost the Civil War, but they continue to dominate American politics.

It used to be that the South was Democratic, and that they promoted slavery, Jim Crow segregation, and lynching.

Then, we had a Southern President, Lyndon B. Johnson, who accomplished the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, with the Southern wing of Democrats in Congress bitterly opposing it, and many of them, plus much of their population, abandoning the party and going to the Republicans.

Under Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, they found a home, and worked to undermine voting rights and civil rights, often with the support of those Presidents.

The state governors and legislatures became Republican controlled, and worked to limit civil rights and voting rights, and the Republican majority Supreme Court in 2013 cut back on enforcement of the Voting Rights Act.

As a result, Southern states and many midwestern and mountain states under Republican governors and legislatures started to pass new restrictive laws designed to undermine voting of minorities, particularly African Americans and Hispanics-Latinos.

This led to law suits and now decisions by federal circuit courts in North Carolina, Wisconsin, Kansas, and earlier, Texas, to declare such restrictive laws unconstitutional, a major victory which could affect the Presidential Election of 2016.

There will likely be an appeal to the Supreme Court, a clear cut reason to make sure that the Democrats win the White House and the US Senate, as the outcome for this election is uncertain, and the future of the Court and voting rights in the future hangs in the balance.

It seems likely that the present Court might split 4-4 without Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February, and that would uphold the lower court decisions declaring such laws to be unconstitutional, but no certainly of that.

The South is crucial in our nation’s politics as they hold 22 seats in the US Senate, 31 percent of the seats in the House of Representatives (138 out 435), and 162 electoral votes in the Presidential race. And this does not include the Border states such as Kentucky, West Virginia, Missouri, and Oklahoma, which tend to the same politics of exclusion toward minorities and voting rights.

A Dozen Republican Governors Are The Most Horrendous In Memory!

It is amazing how so many people seem to believe that the federal government cannot be trusted, and that the true level of competence is state government–legislatures and governors, when the evidence is that, despite the many problems of the federal government, the state governments in many states is absolutely horrendous.

Both parties have their issues in state governments, but it is Republican governors which are particularly wretched as witness the following governors who have set records for the most incompetent and inhumane leadership:

Michigan–Rick Snyder, who has created a major health crisis in Flint, where the water system is totally lead polluted, and is responsible for the poisoning of many infants and young children, who will suffer effects for the rest of their lives.  For this, Snyder should be removed from office, and should be indicted and convicted and sentenced to life in prison, as effectively, he has destroyed thousands of young lives, through his decision to save money by forcing Flint to use polluted water systems.

Maine–Paul LePage, who has been totally off the wall in his rhetoric, and has displayed racism and other indications of insensitivity on a regular basis for the past five years, and faces a likely move toward impeachment and removal from office.

Kansas–Sam Brownback, who has totally bankrupted his state, and has cut education and health care coverage to dangerous levels  that undermine the state, all to cut taxes for the wealthy, and is a great example of a fake religiously devout leader.

Texas–Greg Abbott, who wants to take Texas back to the Civil War, calling for a constitutional amendment to forbid the federal government from having any influence or power over the states, arguing states rights will better protect the nation.

Florida—Rick Scott, who has refused to accept climate change as having an effect, even though his state is already seeing great evidence of the damage that the Sunshine state faces in the next 20-40 years, and also has done everything possible to undermine the lives of the poor in the state.

Wisconsin–Scott Walker, who has engaged in policies to undermine public workers and to destroy the reputation of the state as one of the most advanced states in the nation, and has also engaged in widespread political corruption on a massive scale.

North Carolina–Pat McCrory, who has managed to turn a progressive Southern state into one of the most backward, regressive states in America, one influenced by the corruption and move for dominance by the Koch Brothers in so many areas  of public policy.

Oklahoma–Mary Fallin, one of the most heartless and nasty state leaders, ignoring the growing number of earthquakes caused by the fracking industry, and totally committed to capital punishment even if there are no appropriate drugs to use for execution.

Louisiana–Bobby Jindal, who lost his Presidential ambitions, but set a record as a totally destructive and  heartless governor toward the poor of his state, and destroyed the public education system of New Orleans entirely.

Indiana–Mike Pence, who has caused a major health crisis over AIDS, by his refusal to address the issue of drug abuse, and has shown unwillingness to deal with the needs of those at the bottom of the economic system.

Arizona—Doug Ducey, who has shown total lack of competence or concern for the large number of Latinos in his state, and has shown evidence of corruption on a level that makes one wish former governor Jan Brewer was still in office, as bad as she actually was.

Kentucky—Matt Bevin, with no government experience, and a Tea Party activist, wishing to destroy the ObamaCare Medicaid system of his state, which was a model for the nation, but now is on the chopping block.

 

American Presidents And The Institution Of Slavery

Yesterday, the author was watching the reenactment of the funeral of Abraham Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois, on C Span 3–American History TV, and the question has arisen, while watching the event, of the truth about America’s Presidents and the institution of slavery.

It turns out, through further research, that more Presidents than once thought, owned slaves in their lifetime, and that others showed lack of concern about the institution, and compromised on it in their Presidencies.

So it turns out that 12 of the first 18 Presidents owned slaves, including

George Washington
Thomas Jefferson–some expressed discomfort in his writings, but sill benefited from the institution
James Madison—some expressed discomfort in his writings, but still benefited from the institution
James Monroe
Andrew Jackson
Martin Van Buren
William Henry Harrison
John Tyler
James K. Polk
Zachary Taylor
Andrew Johnson
Ulysses S. Grant.

Additionally, three Presidents, all Northerners, referred to as “doughfaces”, who went along with the institution through their actions, also supported continuation of slavery, including

Millard Fillmore–the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850
Franklin Pierce–the Kansas Nebraska Act of 1854
James Buchanan–support of the Dred Scott Supreme Court Case, and the Kansas LeCompton Constitution of 1857

It should be pointed out that Martin Van Buren had a few slaves at one point through family members but not while being President, but defended the institution while in office, and theh later had a change of heart, and ran as the Free Soil Party candidate for President in 1848, at that point opposing slavery,

Also, James Buchanan, technically, owned one slave for a brief period of time through his family, but not while President.

The same holds for Andrew Johnson and Ulysses S. Grant, ownership of slaves through family at some point, but neither while President. Grant, in particular, felt uncomfortable about the slavery heritage of his wife’s family.

The point is that only THREE Presidents always condemned slavery and worked against it

John Adams
John Quincy Adams
Abraham Lincoln

JQ Adams was extremely active against slavery, participating in the Amistad Supreme Court Case of 1839-1841 as one of the lawyers defending the slaves on that slave ship, in their bid for freedom, and sponsoring the move to condemn slavery in the House of Representatives, in his years after the Presidency. While a member of the House from Boston, he was censured for fighting the “gag rule”, which forbade discussion of the institution in House debate from 1836-1844. He also opposed the Mexican War as a war for slavery expansion.

Right Wing Hysteria Over Obama, Proved Wrong Again And Again!

When Barack Obama was reelected President in 2012, the right wing went nuts, claiming all kinds of disasters for the nation, and they continued to state that in 2014, as well as 2013.

Gasoline was supposed to rise to over $5 a gallon, but instead it is half of that or less.

Unemployment was supposed to stay at 8 percent, but instead it is under 6 percent.

The stock market was going to crash, but instead it is at an all time high.

The American economy was going to go belly up, and instead, we have the strongest growth in many years, and a 5 percent growth rate in the third quarter of 2014.

Nearly eleven million jobs have been created, the most since Bill Clinton was President.

Ebola was supposed to decimate America, and it has, instead, turned out to be a major scare based on hysteria and panic, encouraged by the right wing.

California was going to go bankrupt, and instead has a four billion dollar surplus, a tremendous revival, despite projections that this “blue” state was going down the wrong path, and instead it is Kansas, a “red” state, that is in dire condition because, unlike California, which raised taxes, Kansas cut them dramatically.

Barack Obama was accused of undermining Israel, but it was our Iron Dome system which saved Israel in the recent Mideast conflict, and despite petty differences between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Obama remains a strong supporter of the Jewish state, without necessarily having to agree on every detail and request of the Israeli government.

Obama was accused of having one scandal after another, but every so called scandal has collapsed on its own weight of no substance, including the attack on Benghazi, Libya, that led to the death of four diplomats and support staff, including the US Ambassador to Libya.

It was said that Barack Obama was going to declare martial law, and that he was lawless and dictatorial, while also being accused of being weak and unwilling to use American military power, but both accusations have been proved ridiculous, and Obama is doing an excellent job of dealing with terrorism in the Middle East and Africa, without putting boots on the ground.

The right wing, whether Fox News Channel, Talk Radio, the Republicans in Congress, or the conservative think tanks, have been proved wrong and hysterical so often, one wonders how any intelligent person could take anything that they claim to be legitimate!

Outrageous Arrogance And Corruption By Many Governors In America, Including Sam Brownback, Andrew Cuomo, Chris Christie!

We often hear about accusations that Barack Obama has abused his powers, which is far from reality!

Meanwhile, we have outrageous, arrogant, and corrupt governors of many states who do not care about their poorer and disabled citizens, and are willing to deny Medicaid expansion or accept ObamaCare, with the most despicable of all being Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, a supposedly very “religious” man, and a “good Christian”, who has privatized Medicaid, and is now, after bankrupting the state budget by giving the wealthy and corporations massive tax cuts, forcing disabled people off Medicaid, which will cause the death of many of them over time!

This is a man who professes to be “pro life”, while willing to deny poor children and the disabled of all ages basic medical care! How is that being “pro life”, or is that just insuring every fetus is born, and then to hell with what happens after birth?

At the same time, it is shocking to see New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie join together and defy the unanimous vote of both state legislatures, to bring about reform of the Port Authority, which has been subject to politics and corruption for years, but with both governors vetoing legislation to promote reform, and their veto cannot be overridden, as a President’s veto can be by Congress!

What are Cuomo and Christie, both interested in running for President, thinking? They are coming across as totally corrupt and arrogant, which was already the image of Christie, but now Cuomo has also come across as no different than Christie! He is not the match of his dad, former New York Governor Mario Cuomo!

These are two powerful men, who won easy reelection, as Sam Brownback did in Kansas! What were their constituents thinking? Are the people of Kansas, New York, and New Jersey, and many other states with corrupt, arrogant, uncaring Governors, that ignorant, that stupid, that unconcerned, that they manage to encourage continued abuse of power by Governors, who want us to think that state governments are better than the national government?

It is Sam Brownback, Andrew Cuomo, Chris Christie, and numerous other Governors who are truly abusing power, not our principled President, who has accomplished so much in his first six years in office, which this author will delineate tomorrow, the last day of 2014!

Christmas Day: 15 States Refuse To Promote ObamaCare Or Expand Medicaid To Their Poorest Citizens!

Today is Christmas, and one would think it is a day when caring about others less fortunate than ourselves would be at the top of the agenda.

But not true in 15 of the states, heavily Southern and Great Plains–the rabidly Republican areas with a political establishment that does not care about the plight of the poor one iota, and have refused to promote ObamaCare or a Medicaid expansion!

These states should be embarrassed at the lack of concern over health care, which should be a human right, as much as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, as one cannot be very happy if one is unable to afford health care and, therefore, is certain to die earlier rather than later!

The list of states that make up this infamous list include: Maine and Wisconsin, who have two horrific Tea Party Governors, Paul LePage and Scott Walker; Missouri, with a Democratic Governor, Jay Nixon, who has not distinguished himself with his handling of the Ferguson controversy over the death of an unarmed black teenager; the Great Plains states of South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma, with some of the worst Governors in the nation; and the Southern states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.

Think about it: Besides Paul LePage and Scott Walker, other Governors who are seen by progressives in a negative light, include Sam Brownback, Mary Fallin, Nikki Haley, Rick Scott, Bobby Jindal, and Rick Perry (soon to be succeeded by Greg Abbott)!

Only Missouri has a Democratic Governor, and yet not a good one, in Jay Nixon. Otherwise, these states, overall, have a record of being among the worst states in so many economic statistics, with the exception of Wisconsin, often a progressive state, but now under the control of a despicable Governor who wants to be President, but is, hopefully, going to fail in that mission!

The Republican State Governors Who Defied Common Sense, And Were Re-elected Despite Disastrous Performances!

Probably the most shocking result of the Midterm Elections Of 2014 was the reelection of six Tea Party Governors who had disastrous performances in office, and were awarded by a primarily older citizenry with another term as Governor.

Records like these Governors had would have, in normal times, led to defeat, but not in the crazy year of 2014. Clearly, a Governor can lie, insult, attack labor rights, and promote racism, misogyny, nativism, and homophobia, and still convince his constituency that he or she deserves reelection!

How could the state of Maine reelect Paul LePage, with his embarrassing rhetoric and lack of class? How could the state of Florida reelect Rick Scott with his uncaring attitude for the sick, disabled, poor? How could the state of Michigan reelect Rick Snyder when he was a disaster for the state? How could the state of Wisconsin reelect Scott Walker with his attack on labor rights, and constant deception and lying? How could the state of Georgia reelect Nathan Deal with his disastrous performance? And how could the state of Kansas reelect Sam Brownback, who put Kansas into a disastrous economic spin, with his reckless cutting of taxes on the wealthy and on corporations?

And even states where it was clear the Republican Governor would win, one has to sit in wonderment! How could South Carolina reelect Nikki Haley, one of the most mean spirited of all Governors? How could Oklahoma reelect Mary Fallin, when she demonstrated total lack of sensitivity and decency?

What is wrong with these eight states and even others, that they overlooked horrible records of their Governors, and reelected these people, one of the worst groups of Governors ever in American history?