Michigan

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!

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.

State Politics Much More Complicated Than Often Realized: The Cases Of New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Texas, California

Anyone who follows American politics historically and contemporarily often seems unaware of the complexity of state politics around the nation.

We hear discussion of “Blue” states and “Red” states, but state politics is much more complicated that that.

Gerrymandering often distorts the reality of political loyalties in many states, and also the reality of about one third of voters being “Independent”, rather than loyal to Democrats or Republicans.

There are many examples of this across the nation, particularly noticeable in larger, more populated states.

Just a few examples:

New York State is often thought to be strongly Democratic, but not true in the state legislature, and New York City is vastly different in political culture from upstate New York areas, such as Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany. Even Long Island, Nassau and Suffolk Counties, often reflect different views than the five boroughs of New York City, and within New York City, Staten Island, is vastly different from Manhattan, the Bronx, and Brooklyn, with Queens County more balanced than the other boroughs in the city.

Pennsylvania is a state where gerrymandering has given the Republicans until now a great advantage, but new court ordered mandates may change that balance in Congress and the state legislature. Philadelphia has a very different political orientation than western Pennsylvania, often called “Alabama” outside of the city of Pittsburgh.

Virginia is well known to have a very liberal Democratic northern section (often called NoVa), reflecting the influence of being the Washington DC suburbs, while much of the rest of the state is reliably conservative and Republican.

Florida is strongly Democratic in the southern counties, particularly Broward and Palm Beach Counties, with somewhat less so in Miami Dade County due to the influence of Cuban Americans, but even that is diminishing, since it is now 60 years since the rise of Fidel Castro, and those directly affected negatively by Castro, are mostly no longer part of the population in Miami. At the same time, Central Florida is the real battleground in the state, the area that decides most elections. North Florida is much like Alabama or Georgia, its neighbors.

Ohio is strongly Democratic in the northern and central sections, particularly in Cleveland and Toledo, and the capital of Columbus, but in the more rural parts and in southern Ohio, near Kentucky, including Cincinnati, it is strongly Republican.

Illinois is dominated by Chicago in the northern part, but down state Illinois is much more Republican in orientation.

Michigan has Detroit as strongly Democratic but in western and northern Michigan, it is much more rural and Republican.

Texas has Democratic strongholds in the state capitol, Austin, and in Houston, while other portions of this very large state, including the rural areas, are strongly Republican.

California has Democratic strongholds in San Francisco and Los Angeles, but the Central Valley, San Diego, and cities like Bakersfield, where House Majority Leader and possible next Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy resides, are strongly Republican.

The next race for the Speaker of the House could be between two Californians of totally different mentalities–Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco and Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield.

A basic reality is that urban areas are always much more likely to be Democratic while rural areas are certain to be more Republican.

Suburban areas are what often decides the politics of a state and in Congress and the Presidential election, as they are the balancing force that determines a state vote, and recently it seems clear the suburban areas, often Republican, are starting to move away from that long time loyalty.

Likely Changes In Electoral Votes And Congressional Seats As Result Of 2020 Census Figures

We are two years away from the 2020 Census, which will determine:

Electoral Vote Changes for 15 or 16 states
Congressional Seat Changes for 15 or 16 states
Federal Funding of Domestic Programs for all states

With Donald Trump’s attempt to cut population growth in the Census by putting fear into undocumented immigrants filling out the Census forms, it could affect all of the above.

As things now stand, 6 states are certain to gain electoral votes and Congressional seats, while 9 other states lose electoral votes by 2024, and Congressional seats by the 2022 midterm elections.

Interestingly, California, which has regularly gained multiple seats for decades, has not grown enough in comparison to the total population of the entire nation, so will for the first time ever gain no seats at all. Of course, with many undocumented immigrants, more than any other state, there is a theoretical possibility that California could, conceivably, lose a seat if enough of this group do not fill out Census forms.

The state of Virginia also has not grown enough, just like California, so is unlikely to gain a new electoral vote or Congressional seat.

Texas will likely gain 3 electoral votes and seats, while Florida will gain 2, and with Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina, and Oregon all gaining one each. All these states are in the Sun Belt, except Oregon in the Pacific Northwest.

So a total of 9 seats and electoral votes will be gained by a total of 6 states, which means those 9 seats will come from 9 different states, with 7 coming from the Northeast (Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania) and Midwest (Ohio, Michigan Minnesota, Illinois), and two from the South (West Virginia, Alabama).

It is also possible with changes in population in the next three years, that an additional seat could be lost by Illinois, and gained by Montana in the Pacific Northwest, which has lost a seat before, and might gain it back.

So at a maximum, 16 states will see their electoral votes and Congressional seats change, 7 gaining as a maximum and 9 losing as a maximum. The other 34 states will have no change at all.

Also, with Rhode Island about to lose a seat, it will be left with only one Representative At Large, joining Alaska, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and Delaware, assuming Montana gains a seat. Otherwise, the total number of states with only one House seat would grow from 7 to 8.

17 Democratic Senators Have Learned Nothing From Great Recession, And Are To Be Condemned For Joining Republicans To Cut Back Banking Reforms

In 2008-2009, we saw the collapse of the American economy, with the biggest banks and Wall Street firms guilty of causing it.

None of those banks or Wall Street firms paid a price for their illegal, unethical activities, which destroyed the economy in a manner unseen since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Under Barack Obama, the Dodd-Frank Law was passed to insure accountability of banks and Wall Street, so that what happened a decade ago would never happen again.

But now, under a Republican Congress, the action to destroy the Dodd_Frank Law is occurring, and has been assisted by 17 Democratic Senators, and only with at least 10 of them, could such action to eliminate Dodd-Frank have moved forward.

It is shocking to see 17 of the 49 Democrats and Independents in the Senate become turncoats who effectively joined in this evil act, and all 17 need to be called out and denounced.

The problem is too many politicians gain campaign contributions from the big banks and Wall Street, so it compromises their ability to represent their states in a proper manner.

The problem is that if these Democrats are repudiated, it would only aid Republicans in possibly gaining their seats, so the issue is that it is preferable to have Democrats who will support the party on many issues, even if not on this issue.

Liberals and progressives will argue that they should be “primaried”, but the reality is that would only help promote more Republican senators, so we are in an area that could be described as “between the devil and the deep blue sea”!

But we must at least list these 17 Senators, so we are all aware of their “treason”:

Michael Bennet of Colorado
Tom Carper of Delaware
Chris Coons of Delaware
Joe Donnelly of Indiana
Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire
Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota
Doug Jones of Alabama
Tim Kaine of Virginia
Angus King of Maine (Independent)
Joe Manchin of West Virginia
Claire McCaskill of Missouri
Bill Nelson of Florida
Gary Peters of Michigan
Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire
Debbie Stabenow of Michigan
Jon Tester of Montana
Mark Warner of Virginia

Ten of these 17 Senators face an election in 2018—Carper, Donnelly, Heitkamp, Kaine, King, Manchin, McCaskill, Nelson, Stabenow, and Tester.

Of these 10, only Carper, Kaine and King are in states that went to the Democrats. The other seven were Republican states, and makes the task of keeping their seats ever more difficult.

Of the 17 Senators, only 8 of them, those from Colorado, Delaware (2), New Hampshire (2), Virginia (2), and Maine came from states carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016.

So, sadly, we do not have the privilege and ability to call for the defeat of the ten who are running this year, but even true of the seven who are not running, as they are still better than Republicans to hold the seats.

Otherwise, the Democrats will lose all chance of ever gaining a majority, if they stick to an extreme progressive view of who is acceptable as a Democratic member of the US Senate.

However, one point should be made clear, that none of this list above should ever be considered seriously for President, with the reality that only the two Virginia Senators, Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, are even talked about at all as potential nominees.

Tim Kaine may have run for Vice President with Hillary Clinton in 2016, but his support of repeal of the Dodd Frank Law should disqualify him and Warner for future Presidential consideration.

Is Presidential Race Of 2020 Beginning Early? Rumors About Mitt Romney And Joe Biden Emerge

Hard to believe, but on the 13 month anniversary today of Donald Trump’s inauguration, rumors and gossip are spreading about the Presidential race of 2020 beginning early.

Early speculation talks about former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican Presidential nominee, now running for the open Senate seat in Utah, being vacated by Senator Orrin Hatch, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, leaving after 7 terms and 42 years of service. Rumors have it that Romney is positioning himself for another Presidential run against Donald Trump or if he leaves office, Vice President Mike Pence, in two years.

Of course, Romney denies such rumors, but it is said that many mainstream conservatives want Romney to run, and possibly Trump realizes that potential, as he has now come to endorse Romney for the Senate, after having encouraged Hatch not to retire,

Romney is well known for his bitter denunciation of Trump’s candidacy in 2016, and then being manipulated by Trump for the possible post of Secretary of State, but passing him by for that position, so this will be something to watch, if Romney decides to challenge Trump or Pence.

Also, former Vice President Joe Biden, ahead in early polls for the Democratic Presidential nomination, over both Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Oprah Winfrey, is making clear through friends that he is seriously considering another run for President, as he is well aware that many have said had he run in 2016, and been the Democratic Presidential nominee, that he would have won the working class white vote in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, and defeated Trump. Of course, the tragic death of son Beau Biden prevented that, and is seen by many as a tragic turning point in American history.

Realize, however, that were Romney and Biden to be their party nominees, we would have a candidate who would reach 74 after two months in office (Romney), and a candidate who would reach 78 two weeks after the election in 2020.

Either would be the oldest Presidential first term winner in American history, and once again, despite loyalty of many to both Romney and Biden, as being “Presidential”, one has to wonder if younger voters would be turned off by two “Grandpa” candidates, rather than moving toward supporting nominees in their 40s, 50, or early 60s, as preferable.

There is a long list of such potential nominees, and this will all be explored over time, but for now, the “Old Guard” is in the forefront of speculation.

A Doctor In Michigan, A College Professor In Kansas, An Afghanistan Army Veteran From Illinois: All Facing Deportation

Lukasz Niec (Poland)—-Syed Ahmed Jamal(Bangladesh)—Miguel Perez, Jr. (Mexico)–these are just three victims of Donald Trump’s nativism, accomplished through heartless policies of the Department of Homeland Security and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.

Nativists, including White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, White House Counselor Stephen Miller, and ICE’s Director Thomas Homan, are leading a Reign of Terror on all undocumented immigrants of all ages and longevity in America, and having a clean record without any crimes is not enough.

So we are having people here 30-40 years in many cases, who have no memory of the country they were born in, have no family connections, do not know the language of their native country, and in many cases will be endangered and possibly killed by returning to a strange land, facing deportation.

As the three mentioned above, a doctor in Michigan, a college professor in Kansas, and an Afghanistan Army veteran in Illinois–ripped apart from their homes, businesses, jobs, and family members–a despairing situation which will insure these monsters in government and the administration of Donald Trump, will be condemned in history, with Fortune Magazine already lowering the rating of the United States as a democracy which pursues human rights, to a lower category of a flawed democracy, similar to Poland, Mongolia, and Italy among other nations, for the first time in American history.

This violation of civil liberties, and the threats against sanctuary cities by the federal government, are a sign of Fascism and authoritarianism taking over, and it cannot be allowed to stand, by all decent Americans.

We have not learned from past violations of civil liberties and civil rights, and we are living through a dark period of American history.

American History Since The Civil War: President’s Party Loses 32 House Seats And 2 Senate Seats In First Midterm Election

American history tells us that the party of the President regularly loses seats in the first, and all but once in the second (when it occurs) Presidential term of office.

The one major exception was 1934, when in the midst of the Great Depression, and FDR’s New Deal programs, the Democratic party gained 9 seats in the Senate and 9 seats in the House of Representatives.

Also, in 2002, after September 11, George W. Bush and the Republican Party gained 2 seats in the Senate and 8 in the House of Representatives.

And Bill Clinton and the Democratic Party, in the second term midterm election in 1998, gained 5 House seats, with no change in the US Senate.

That is the total historical record since the Civil War, more than 150 years, so it is clear that the Democrats will gain seats in the midterm elections of 2018.

The average since the Civil War is 32 House seats and 2 Senate seats, and if that happens precisely, the Democrats will have gained the House, needing only 24 seats, and the average historically being 23 seats, when one includes both first and second term midterm elections of a President.

But also, if the Senate were to see just the 2 seat gain as the average, then the Democrats would have the majority with 51 seats, which can be brought about by gaining the contested seats of Arizona, where Jeff Flake is retiring, and Nevada, where Dean Heller is seen as the most endangered Republican in 2018.

But to accomplish that, the Democrats must produce, miraculously. the retention of Senate seats in 10 Trump states in 2016–Missouri, North Dakota, Indiana, Montana, West Virginia, Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio, and also retain the Minnesota seat recently vacated by Al Franken, and the New Jersey Senate seat of Bob Menendez, who faces another criminal trial after a hung jury. That will be a tall order for sure!