New York State

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.

State Offices Held By Presidents Before Becoming The Chief Executive

Continuing the analysis of Presidents that has been done on this blog in the last week or so, today we will examine what state offices were held by Presidents before becoming the nation’s Chief Executive.

Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe and John Tyler all served in the Virginia House of Delegates.

James K. Polk and Andrew Johnson served in the Tennessee House of Representatives, while Johnson also served in the Tennessee Senate.

James Buchanan served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

William Henry Harrison, James A. Garfield, and Warren G. Harding served in the Ohio Senate.

Millard Fillmore and Theodore Roosevelt served in the New York State Assembly.

Martin Van Buren and Franklin D. Roosevelt served in the New York State Senate.

Franklin Pierce served in the New Hampshire House of Representatives.

John Quincy Adams and Calvin Coolidge served in the Massachusetts Senate, while Coolidge also served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

Abraham Lincoln served in the Illinois House of Representatives, while Barack Obama served in the Illinois Senate.

Finally, Jimmy Carter served in the Georgia State Senate.

Additionally, Martin Van Buren served as Attorney General of New York State; Millard Fillmore as New York State Comptroller; Warren G. Harding as Lieutenant Governor of Ohio;’ Calvin Coolidge as Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts; and Bill Clinton as Attorney General of Arkansas.

Also, three Presidents served as Mayors–Andrew Johnson as Mayor of Greeneville, Tennessee; Grover Cleveland as Mayor of Buffalo, New York; and Calvin Coolidge as Mayor of Northampton, Massachusetts.

The Need For Wealthy, Powerful People To Be Held Accountable In Our Justice System

The conviction of Bill Cosby today on sexual abuse charges should be the tip of the iceberg.

We are living in a time where famous and wealthy people, mostly men, are abusing their power and influence in innumerable ways.

Whether in the Hollywood community, the sports community, the business community, the politics and government community, or any other situation, it is time for the indictment, trial, conviction, and incarceration of anyone who is abusing his or her position to take advantage of women, children, minorities, immigrants, workers, consumers or any other category of person mistreated in a violent or abusive manner!

We need the law to stop favoring the rich and the powerful, and to set good moral and ethical examples, and no matter how high a station, prosecution should be possible.

This includes our President, Donald Trump, who has abused his authority, in his love life, his business life, his refusal to release his financial history, as it would show the truth about his Russian Collusion and his lies about his wealth; and his abuses of power every day, that should lead to his facing justice as much as anyone else.

Fortunately, the New York State violations of the Trump family cannot be resolved in their favor for Trump or anyone else, and they will ultimately face the music! Presidential pardoning would not be in play for state violations, and that is driving Donald Trump mad!

The Odyssey Of Donald Trump: From Roy Cohn To Michael Cohen, 1973-2018

Donald Trump first became a public figure in 1973 when he defended his father’s discrimination against African American tenants in his real estate projects in Queens County, New York. He utilized infamous attorney Roy Cohn, who had been the major figure assisting the despicable Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy in his tirade against those in government and academia, who he labeled as being Communists, “Reds”, a danger to the American people, all part of his “Red Scare”, also known as “McCarthyism”.

Cohn well knew the falsehoods of Joseph McCarthy, but he played “hardball”, while living a very corrupt life long after McCarthy had fallen from power, and died in 1957.

Cohn connected with Organized Crime interests and led a lascivious lifestyle, including being openly gay, while denying and condemning gays and lesbians, a true hypocrite, and at the end, he died of the effects of AIDS.

But he became after 1973 an adviser to young Trump, and Trump has said that Cohn was a shaping force in his life.

And now, Donald Trump has been very close to his attorney, Michael Cohen, who has done all kinds of “good deeds” for him, including dealing with Trump’s love life scandals, and after the raid on his home, hotel room and offices, apparently was enmeshed in scandalous activities that may help to bring Donald Trump down, and cause Cohen to face prison time.

So Donald Trump’s odyssey has been to go from the disgraced Roy Cohn to the newly disgraced Michael Cohen over 45 years. The present situation may lead to the removal of Donald Trump from office, and even with potential pardons in the offing, Trump and Cohen and others, in regards to their business and love life dealings, may still be prosecuted in New York State, and would not be covered by the pardon power of the Presidency.

Stormy Daniels Scandal Not Going Away, And Neither Is Robert Mueller: Dual Threats To Trump Presidency

The Stormy Daniels Scandal is not going away, and it is causing Donald Trump to avoid commenting on Twitter or in public utterances, very unlike the behavior of the 45th President.

And Trump is having great trouble finding good attorneys to supplement his defense against the upcoming interview with Robert Mueller, which assuredly will not save him, his family, and his administration from a massive series of indictments and convictions, including the removal of the President sooner rather than later.

Trump is doomed, and he knows it, and his administration will go down, ultimately, as the most corrupt administration in all of American history, worse than Richard Nixon, Warren G. Harding, and Ulysses S. Grant, with the latter two not personally involved, as Nixon was, so Nixon and Trump will be in exclusive company with each other.

But Nixon will, by comparison, look like a choir boy in the extent and seriousness of scandals.

Trump will be seen as a traitor; as a person who obstructed justice; as a President who broke the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution; as a Chief Executive abusing power; as someone who openly colluded with Russia in fixing the Presidential Election of 2016; as a leader involved in illegal financial activities that could land him in prison in New York, outside of the Presidency itself, and also put his family members in prison as well.

Donald Trump will rue the day that he decided to seek the White House!

Nine Presidential Nominees Who Lost In Very Close Races To Their Opponents

It is not generally known that we have had several Presidential candidates who lost the Presidency in very close races, where one could note that a small switch of votes would have changed the result, with five such cases in American history. And some Presidential candidates have lost despite winning the national popular vote, with four such cases in American history. So therefore, nine elections saw these scenarios.

Andrew Jackson lost the Election of 1824 to John Quincy Adams despite winning the national popular vote by about 45,000.

Henry Clay lost the Election of 1844 to James K. Polk by losing New York State by about 5,000 votes.

Samuel Tilden lost the Election of 1876 to Rutherford B. Hayes despite winning the national popular vote by about 250,000.

James G. Blaine lost the Election of 1884 to Grover Cleveland by losing New York State by about 1,000 votes.

Grover Cleveland lost the Election of 1888 to Benjamin Harrison despite winning the national popular vote by about 100,000.

Charles Evans Hughes lost the Election of 1916 to Woodrow Wilson by losing California by about 3,800 votes.

Richard Nixon lost the Election of 1960 to John F. Kennedy by losing the state of Illinois by about 8,000 votes.

Gerald Ford lost the Election of 1976 to Jimmy Carter by losing the state of Ohio by 5,600 votes and the state of Hawaii by 3,700 votes.

Al Gore lost the Election of 2000 to George W. Bush despite winning the national popular vote by 540,000, and by losing the state of Florida by 537 votes.

Of course, Jackson, Cleveland, and Nixon went on to win the next national election in each case, and Ford, although never being elected, had the satisfaction of having been President for almost two and a half years.

Tilden and Gore were the most tragic cases, as they never ran again for President, and yet had won the national popular vote in each case.

Henry Clay and Charles Evans Hughes were exceptional public servants in so many ways, but would never be President.

Finally, James G. Blaine losing was probably good, as he was regarded as the most corrupt national candidate in American history!

One Of The Last True Liberals, Mario Cuomo, Passes From The Scene On New Year’s Day!

Former three term New York Governor Mario Cuomo, one of the last true liberals in American politics, passed from the scene yesterday, New Year’s Day, just as his son, Andrew Cuomo, was inaugurated for his own second term as Governor of New York.

Mario Cuomo was a dynamic, charismatic, inspiring political figure, who flirted with the idea of running for President in 1988 and 1992, but ended up not running. He also was the front runner for a Supreme Court nomination by President Bill Clinton in 1993, but turned it down, in favor of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and ran, instead, for a fourth term as Governor, but losing to George Pataki in 1994.

Cuomo was, without any question, the second greatest Italian American political figure in American history, only surpassed by New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia (1934-1945), and he will be much missed, as he was a rarity in politics–a truly decent, principled politician who cared about the poor and the oppressed of all races, both in New York and nationwide!

The Decline Of The New York State Government And Governorship!

New York State, the “Empire State”, is a victim of government decline in so many ways.

This was the state that gave us Presidential candidates in Alfred E. Smith, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Thomas E. Dewey, and potential Presidential candidates in Averell Harriman, Nelson Rockefeller, Mario Cuomo, and George Pataki.

But now, we have had Eliot Spitzer, forced out of office by a sex scandal, and Andrew Cuomo, subject of an ethics investigation, who has displayed arrogance and entitlement about his control of who can investigate him, which has now blown up in his face.

Ironically, Cuomo seems an easy winner for his second term, but could be forced out of office during the next term, reminiscent of the circumstances of President Richard Nixon, who won easy reelection while under investigation, and then was forced to resign in disgrace.

This will end any hope that Cuomo could ever run for the Presidency, if for instance, Hillary Clinton chose not to run.

Having said that as reality, this author wishes to state that he has always had an uneasy feeling about Cuomo, over many years. It is something hard to pinpoint, but this blogger always liked Mario Cuomo, Andrew’s dad, but never felt comfortable with his son, even though he resembles him a lot in speaking manner and appearance!

Nations Breaking Up: Could It Happen Among American States?

We are living in a world where nation states have broken up, and where the potential for more such breakups is increasing.

Yugoslavia broke up into multiple nations in the 1990s, as did the old Soviet Union, and Czechoslovakia.

Sudan broke up into two nations in 2011, and Iraq seems on the road to a similar breakup, sadly through religious revolution, fanaticism and loss of life.

There has been the threat in the past of Quebec breaking away from Canada, although that seems less likely now.

Scotland will decide whether to split from the United Kingdom in a referendum this September.

There are threats of the breakup of Belgium and Spain, where strong nationality groups wish for independence.

At the same time, there has been secessionist talk by right wing groups in Texas, and even outgoing Governor Rick Perry talked up the idea a few years back, and then abandoned such talk.

But seriously, without violence, not like the Civil War in the 1860s, there are ideas floating out on the political wilderness of the possible future breakup of eight states, and the theoretical creation of an additional 16 states as a result, requiring an additional 32 US Senators, making the total possibly 132, instead of the present 100, in the upper chamber, while not changing the number of members of the House of Representatives.

These possibilities are as follows:

California–six states instead of one—Jefferson (rural Northern California); North California (centered about Sacramento, the state capital); Silicon Valley (San Francisco and San Jose); Central California (Bakersfield, Fresno and Stockton); West California (Los Angeles and Santa Barbara); and South California (San Diego and Orange Counties).

Texas–five states instead of one—New Texas (Austin, the present state capital and College Station); Trinity (Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington and Tyler); Gulfland (Houston, Corpus Christi, Galveston); Plainland (Lubbock, Amarillo, Waco, Abilene); and El Norte (San Antonio, El Paso, Brownsville).

New York–three states instead of one—Suburban counties of Southeast New York (Westchester, Rockland, Dutchess and Orange Counties) and Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk); New York City (Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Bronx, Staten Island); and Upstate New York (including the rest of the state, including Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse, Binghamton).

Florida—two states instead of one—South Florida (the Keys, Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach); and Northern Florida (the rest of the state).

Illinois–two states instead of one—Chicago and near suburbs; and the rest of the state.

Pennsylvania–two states instead of one—Philadelphia and near suburbs; and the rest of the state, including Pittsburgh and Harrisburg).

Virginia–two states instead of one—Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC; and the rest of the state.

Maryland–two states instead of one—Baltimore, Annapolis, and Washington DC suburban counties (including Montgomery and Prince George’s County) and three rural eastern shore counties; and Western Maryland.

Is any of this likely to happen? Probably not, but great food for thought. It would require revolutionary changes in the US Senate, and would create new issues of which party would benefit, the Democrats or the Republicans, since the major metropolitan areas would be separate from the more rural counties in these eight states, and it would create a new dynamic in American politics hard to predict long term!

Six Cities For Democrats and Four For Republicans Competing For 2016 National Conventions!

The bids are in for the two national conventions of the major political parties competing for the Presidency in 2016.

The Democrats have bids from Birmingham, Alabama; Cleveland, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; New York City (Brooklyn); and Phoenix, Arizona.

The Republicans have bids from Cleveland, Ohio; Dallas, Texas: Denver, Colorado; and Kansas City, Missouri.

It would be interesting if both parties chose Cleveland, as the parties have, occasionally, chosen the same city for their conventions, but somehow, this author does not see either party actually choosing Cleveland.

What makes the most sense is to choose a city in a state that is competitive, or significant enough to be considered possibly a win for the political party involved.

Going on that assumption, it makes no sense for Birmingham, Alabama to be chosen by the Democrats.

New York City (Brooklyn) would be a popular favorite, but New York is guaranteed to the Democrat Presidential nominee in 2016.

Philadelphia would be a good choice, in a state which could be competitive, although the Democrats are a heavy favorite to win the state, so it seems unlikely as the choice that will be made.

So that leaves Columbus, Ohio and Phoenix, Arizona as the remaining choices, as both states are highly competitive, but with Ohio more likely to go Democratic, and being, in many ways, the key swing state.

So the prediction of this blogger is that Columbus will be the host for the Democratic National Convention, the capital city of the state, and a better choice, overall, than Cleveland would be.

As far as the Republicans are concerned, the best choice, in the opinion of the blogger, is Denver, Colorado, a true swing state, but Dallas would be the backup if the GOP wants to send the message just how important Texas is, as the danger of an eventual move toward becoming a “blue” state becomes more possible as the years go by.

So the emotional favorite for this author for the Democrats is his home of New York, which he left for Florida 25 years ago, but the likelihood that Columbus will be chosen, with a backup of Phoenix.

While the author has no emotional favorite for the Republicans, the likely emotional choice for them would be Dallas, but with the likelihood that Denver will be chosen, and doubtful for Kansas City and, particularly, for Cleveland!

We shall see how accurate the author is in his predictions of Columbus for the Democrats and Denver for the Republicans!