Mark Warner

The Complete Reversal Of American Politics: Republicans In The South, Democrats In Large Populated Northeastern, Midwestern And Western States!

The defeat of Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu on Saturday marks the complete reversal of American politics from the years 1877 to the present.

After the Reconstruction of the South ended, with Union Army troops leaving, twelve years after the Civil War, the South became an area totally dominated by Democrats, resentful of the Republican Party, Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War defeat, and the passage of Amendments 13, 14, and 15, ending slavery, making blacks citizens, and giving the men the right to vote.

The South went into massive resistance, creating Jim Crow segregation to replace slavery, and until the election of Herbert Hoover in 1928 and Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952, it was always a solid Democratic South with no black voting, due to discriminatory state laws that were ignored by generations of the federal government. Hoover won much of the South due to his Catholic opponent, Alfred E. Smith, in 1928, and Eisenhower won over Adlai Stevenson twice in the 1950s due to his personal popularity and World War II D Day reputation.

But only when the Civil Rights Movement was in full swing, starting in the 1950s, and reaching its peak with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 under Lyndon B. Johnson, did we see the beginning of a mass exodus of office holders and ordinary white population, to the Republican Party, starting with Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina in 1964, switching parties to back Republican Senator Barry Goldwater against President Lyndon B. Johnson.

As the Democrats started to lose power in the South, the nomination of Southern governors Jimmy Carter in 1976 and Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996, and the rise of “New South” Governors like them and others in the Democratic Party, slowed up the switch to the GOP.

But the election of Barack Obama, considered anathema in the South, has now led to the entire wiping out of Southern Democrats in Congress, except for black and Jewish members of the House in districts gerrymandered that give the Republicans more total Congressional and state legislative seats in the South. Only a few other white non jewish members of the House remain, and they are endangered in the political climate of the South in 2014.

Only Virginia has both its Senators and Governor (Mark Warner, Tim Kaine, Terry McAuliffe) as Democrats, and only Florida has one other Democratic Senator, Bill Nelson at this point, as we enter 2015.

And both Virginia and Florida have Republican dominated legislatures, as well as the other states that made up the Confederate States of America.

And, of course, Florida includes the heavily Northern South Florida, and Virginia has the heavily Northern North Virginia, influenced by being part of the DC suburbs, and otherwise, these three Senators and one Governor would not be in public office.

So the complete reversal of a century and a half ago has occurred, and is unlikely to be changed for a generation or more, at the least.

This means that the South will remain as it is now for a generation or more, and that the issue of race nearly a century and a half ago, again stands out as the key difference that separates that section from the rest of the country.

Meanwhile, the heavily populated areas of the nation in the Northeast, Midwest and West are more Democratic than ever, and are unlikely to change either over time, creating political deadlock long term over the future, stifling change and creating constant political conflict and deadlock!

A Presidential Race Without Hillary Clinton Or Jeb Bush Would Be Better For The Nation!

CNN Anchor Candy Crowley has said that she believes Hillary Clinton will not run for President in 2016.

Charlie Cook, Editor of the Charlie Cook Political Report, has said that Hillary hurt her cause on her recent book tour, and is seen as “rusty” by many, and that many think she will not run, although he thinks she will run. Cook also says that it is highly unlikely that Jeb Bush will run, and if he does, the odds of him being the GOP nominee for 2016 are low, predicting that a Tea Party Senator or a Midwest Governor will be the likely nominee.

What Cook says, if it happens, will actually be good for the nation, as we really need new faces, someone who has not run for President, on both sides of the political divide, and that includes Mitt Romney!

So if one goes by what Crowley and Cook are saying, the most likely strong competitors on the Democratic side would be Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland, and two Virginians, Senator Mark Warner, and former Senator Jim Webb (who has recently made clear he intends to run no matter what Hillary Clinton does). Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, should not be left out of the fray, with the last two possibly entering if Hillary does not run. And New York Governor Andrew Cuomo might also choose to run. At this point, the favorite would be Elizabeth Warren. This is all based on the assumption that Vice President Joe Biden, not a new name himself, will not run, or will falter. In other words, a non Hillary race would be a lot more exciting, and a surprise could emerge from the race.

On the Republican side, if Charlie Cook is correct, it means one of the Tea Party Senators–Rand Paul of Kentucky, Marco Rubio of Florida, Ted Cruz of Texas–would emerge as the favorite, alongside a Midwestern Governor—meaning John Kasich of Ohio, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, or Mike Pence of Indiana.

Trying to imagine the final two in the Presidential race from this group is purely a guess–but somehow, the thought of Warren vs Kasich comes to mind, but really is a pure random guess!

Virginia The Only “Blue” State In The Old South In 2015, In Regards To Governorship And Senators!

Who would ever have thought that Virginia, the capital of the Confederate States of America a century and a half ago, and the home of the Harry Byrd Dynasty for so long, resisting civil rights advancements, would end up the only state of the “Old South” to have a Democratic Governor, and two Democratic Senators going into 2015?

Terry McAuliffe, Mark Warner, and Tim Kaine are the only ones from the Democratic Party to be in office, although the state Congressional delegation is actually 8 Republicans and 3 Democrats.

Only Steve Beshear in border state Kentucky is a Democratic Governor, but he is term limited and leaves at the end of 2015.

Only Bill Nelson in Florida is a Democratic Senator, other than the Virginians mentioned above, although Mary Landrieu in Louisiana has not yet lost her Senate seat, although seen as likely to lose it this coming weekend.

This historic transition from the Democratic to Republican Party in the Old South is now as complete as it has ever been!

Are We Entering An Age Of Older Presidents?

In American history, we have had only five Presidents who were 64 or older in office when inaugurated—Ronald Reagan, William Henry Harrison, James Buchanan, George H. W. Bush, and Zachary Taylor.

An additional five Presidents were ages 60-63 when inaugurated: Harry Truman, Gerald Ford, John Adams, Andrew Jackson, and Dwight D. Eisenhower, but Truman and Ford were not elected at that age, but instead succeeded to the Oval Office.

This means 33 of our 43 Presidents were younger than 60 when being inaugurated President, with 24 in their 50s, and 9 in their 40s, and with Grover Cleveland in his 40s for his first term, and 50s for his second nonconsecutive term. The nine Presidents in their forties were, at the time of inauguration: James K. Polk and James A. Garfield (49); Franklin Pierce (48); Grover Cleveland and Barack Obama (47); Ulysses S. Grant and Bill Clinton (46); John F. Kennedy (43); and Theodore Roosevelt (42).

But it is now likely that the next President will be in his or her 60s, or even 70s, at the time of taking the Presidential oath. There are a total of eight potential Republican nominees in their 60s–ranging from, at the time of inauguration as follows: Mitt Romney (69); Rick Perry (66); Dr. Benjamin Carson (65); John Kasich (64); Jeb Bush (63); Mike Huckabee, Rob Portman, and Lindsey Graham (61). Romney and Perry would reach the age of 70 during a first term, and Romney, Perry, Carson, Kasich and Bush would all be in their 70s in a second term.

Meanwhile, the Democrats have four potential Presidential nominees who will be in their seventies when they would take the oath of office—Jerry Brown (78); Bernie Sanders (75); Joe Biden (74); and Jim Webb (70). All four, plus Hillary Clinton (69) and Elizabeth Warren (67) would reach the 70s during a first term, and Mark Warner (62) would reach 70 as well in a second term.

So a total of eight Republicans and seven Democrats would be over 70, either at the time of the inauguration, or within the next four years after, or the next eight years after!

When one realizes that only Dwight D. Eisenhower (70) and Ronald Reagan (77) were actually in the Presidency past their 70th birthday, and Ike was only three months beyond 70, it is clear that we are likely to create new ground, since much of the talent pool is comparatively old, and from the “Baby Boomer” generation born from 1946 onward.

Of course, there are younger Presidential candidates or potential candidates–for the Republicans–Rick Santorum (58); Mike Pence (57); Rand Paul and Chris Christie (54); and in the 40s in 2016, the following: Scott Walker (49); Ted Cruz and Paul Ryan (46); Marco Rubio and Bobby Jindal (45), a total of nine other potential Presidents.

The Democrats have fewer alternatives: in the 50s in 2016 are: Andrew Cuomo (59); Amy Klobuchar (56); Martin O’Malley (54); and Kirsten Gillibrand (50). No one in their forties is seen as a potential Democratic nominee.

So we might end up with the oldest combination of Presidential candidates in American history, with Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney being front runners for now, and both reaching 70 within months of taking the oath of office!

The Democratic Party Winners In The 2014 Midterm Elections!

While the Democrats lost more seats in the House of Representatives, and lost 8-9 seats in the US Senate and majority control as a result, there WERE Democratic triumphs worthy of mention!

Jeanne Shaheen won a second term in the Senate, defeating Scott Brown in the New Hampshire Senate race.

Al Franken won a second term in the Senate in Minnesota.

Jeff Merkley won a second term in the Senate in Oregon.

Dick Durbin won a fourth term in the Senate in Illinois.

Chris Coons won a second term in the Senate in Delaware.

Ed Markey won a first full term in the Senate in Massachusetts, after having a special election victory in 2013 to replace Secretary of State John Kerry.

Cory Booker won a full Senate term in New Jersey.

Tom Udall won a second Senate term in New Mexico.

Jack Reed won a fourth Senate term in Rhode Island.

Mark Warner won a second Senate term in Virginia after a very close race with Ed Gillespie.

Brian Schatz won the remainder of a full term in the Senate from Hawaii.

Gary Peters was a new Senator elected in Michigan, to replace retiring Senator Carl Levin.

In the Governorship elections, Andrew Cuomo in New York and Jerry Brown in California won major victories, and also, Democrats kept or gained control of Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont–a total of ten victories. Their biggest win, however, was Tom Wolf, defeating Tom Corbett, making Pennsylvania, the sixth largest state, run by Democrats again!

It is not that Democrats have a total great number of victories, but it is worth mentioning that they are far from giving up on regaining the Senate in 2016, and many Governorships are likely to go to the Democrats as part of a “wave”, helped along by the strong likelihood of a Democratic Presidential nominee winning in 2016, and by a substantial majority in the Electoral College!

Short Term Weakening Of Potential Democratic Presidential Nominees

The midterm elections of 2014 have had the effect of creating a short term weakening of many potential Democratic Presidential nominees.

Hillary Clinton was involved in a lot of campaigning for fellow Democrats, who mostly lost their Senate and Gubernatorial races.

Joe Biden also was hurt, simply by association with President Obama, as the loss of the Senate was a blow to the administration and the Vice President.

But other potential Democratic nominees also suffered from the midterm elections.

Virginia Senator Mark Warner, considered a moderate alternative to most other potential Democratic candidates, struggled to win a close victory over Ed Gillespie, when polls indicated he would have an easy ride to reelection, so this might have affected any plans he had to run for President.

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, also considering a Presidential bid, was hurt by the surprise defeat of his Lieutenant Governor, Anthony Brown for the Governorship. losing to Larry Hogan, the Republican nominee in a very “blue” state. Maryland has had only two previous GOP Governors in the past 50 years, Spiro Agnew and Bob Ehrlich.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, also flirting with running for President, was not helped by a surprising Republican victory in the Gubernatorial race, with Charlie Baker defeating State Attorney General Martha Coakley, who also lost the 2010 Senate race to Scott Brown, who succeeded Ted Kennedy. Massachusetts has been strange in the reality that it has elected a number of Republican Governors, while the Democrats dominate the state legislature, and House and Senate races, with the brief exception of Scott Brown for three years.

It is likely that these temporary blows, to five leading potential nominees on the Democratic side, will have no long lasting effect, with the Democrats still having an overwhelming edge in the Electoral College for the 2016 Presidential election.

The US Senate Becomes More Ideological Than Ever!

The US Senate used to be a legislative body with moderate and even liberal Republicans, and moderate and conservative Democrats, allowing for a “crossing of the aisle”, and the creation of coalitions of Republicans and Democrats to promote legislation.

The recent Senate elections further destroyed any such “crossing of the aisle”, and insured more deadlock and gridlock, as moderate Democrats were defeated, and the most moderate Republican Senate nominee was defeated.

I am referring to the defeat of Mark Pryor of Arkansas, and the pending likely defeat of Mark Begich of Alaska and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, on the Democratic side, and the defeat of Scott Brown of New Hampshire, who was often called the most moderate Republican.

When one looks at the new 2015 Senate, who is really “Moderate”?

On the Democratic side, we could say Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Bill Nelson of Florida, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Jon Tester of Montana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and the almost defeated Mark Warner of Virginia, who shocked everyone, including himself, by his almost loss to Ed Gillespie.

On the Republican side, the list of “Moderates” would include Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, John McCain of Arizona, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Mark Kirk of Illinois, Susan Collins of Maine, Rob Portman of Ohio, and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia.

Some readers might be shocked to see McCain and Flake included on this list, but in comparison to the rest of the GOP, they are, often, somewhat moderate and reasonable, although not reliably so.

This is a sad state of affairs, and not likely to change anytime soon!

The Confederate South Lost To Democrats For The Long Haul!

Hard to believe, but 150 years after the Civil War, the party of Abraham Lincoln, which was hated in the South for a century, now controls 70 percent of all Congressional seats, helped along by Republican gerrymandering, and the future is gloomy for the Democratic Party in the Confederate South.

For the eleven states involved, there are now only four Democrats to the 18 for the Republicans, and it is thought likely that Mary Landrieu’s Louisiana Senate seat will be lost in the runoff election in that state in December. Only Bill Nelson’s seat in Florida and Tim Kaine’s and Mark Warner’s seats in Virginia are Democratic, and Warner nearly lost his seat eleven days ago!

In the House of Representatives, in the eleven states, there are only 37 Democrats to 99 Republicans, and 21 of the 37 Democratic seats are in mostly urban areas of Texas and Florida, and most of those seats are held by African Americans, Latinos, or Jews.

So the South has become an area totally different now than in the 19th century, but with, sadly, the same mentality on race, and lack of concern about the poor amongst themselves!

Republican Weakness In Defeating Democratic Incumbents In Senate Races A Long Term Trend!

In all of the discussion of US Senate races in the upcoming Midterm Elections of 2014, many fail to realize the historical record of the failure of Republicans to have much success in defeating Democratic incumbents over a long period of time, while Democrats have been much more successful in that regard.

From 1946 to 2012, only TWICE have Republicans been able to defeat a large number of Democratic incumbents–1946 (10) and 1980 (12).

Since 1982, the number of Democratic incumbents defeated in each two year cycle has never been more than two, and six times there have been NO Democratic incumbents defeated.

Meanwhile, Democrats have defeated Republican incumbents in large numbers many times—8 in 1948; 10 in 1958; 7 in 1986; 5 in 2000; and 6 in 2006.

So to assume that a large number of Democratic incumbents, including Mary Landrieu of Louisiana; Kay Hagan of North Carolina; Mark Begich of Alaska; Mark Pryor of Arkansas; Mark Udall of Colorado; Al Franken of Minnesota; Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire; Tom Udall of New Mexico; and Mark Warner of Virginia will be defeated, defies history!

Since World War II, the reelection rate for US Senators is 80 percent.

And since 1980, Democrats have defeated 38 Republican incumbents, to just 12 for Republicans defeating Democratic incumbents!

Imagine A Presidential Election Battle Without Any Previous Candidates In The Race!

The thought has crossed this blogger’s mind what it would be like if for once, just once, no one who had previously competed for the Presidential nomination of either party, nor had been a Vice Presidential running mate, became involved in the upcoming Presidential Election campaign of 2016.

Think of who would be eliminated from consideration:

Democrats (8)–Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Al Gore, Jerry Brown, John Kerry, Howard Dean, Bill Richardson, Dennis Kucinich

Republicans (11)–Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Herman Cain, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, John Kasich

Who would be left to compete?

Democrats (13)–Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kirsten Gillibrand, Andrew Cuomo, Martin O’Malley, Mark Warner, Corey Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Jay Nixon, John Hickenlooper, Brian Schweitzer, Deval Patrick, Rahm Emanuel

Republicans (13)–Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Peter King, Mike Pence, Rob Portman, Scott Walker, Brian Sandoval, Susana Martinez, Nikki Haley

One can wonder who would be competitive for the Presidential nominations, and who would galvanize support among the population and go on to be the nominees of the two major political parties!

We would have a true “donnybrook” situation, with anyone having the potential to be the nominees, “catch fire”, and go on to be the 45th President of the United States!

If this author was to venture an educated guess, one would come to the following conclusions:

Democrats–The major battle would be among Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, Martin O’Malley and Mark Warner.

Republicans–The major battle would be among Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Mike Pence and Rob Portman.

The final battle would be between Warren and O’Malley for the Democratic nomination, and between Marco Rubio and Mike Pence for the Republican nomination.

The two finalists would be Martin O’Malley and Marco Rubio, with O’Malley being the winner and the 45th President of the United States!

This is due to the reality of the Electoral College, which strongly favors the Democrats to win the White House in 2016 and beyond, as the Northeast, New England, Upper Midwest, and Pacific Coast are strongly “Blue”, and most of the “swing states” are favored to go “Blue” as well, including Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Virginia, Ohio, and Iowa.

Florida and North Carolina would be more difficult for the Democrats, particularly if Rubio is the GOP nominee, but the electoral vote would still be heavily Democratic, even without those two states!