North Dakota

The Aftermath Of The Midterm Elections: A Lot Of Positives, But Also Negatives

Now that the Midterm Elections of 2018 are over, after having time to think about the events that transpired, several conclusions are clear.

There certainly were positives, but also negatives.

The big positives were that the House of Representatives once again fell into the hands of the Democrats, after eight years in the wilderness, and Nancy Pelosi, who was an excellent Speaker from 2007-2011, is likely to become Speaker again, although there is a movement among younger and new members to have someone else as their leader, to be decided in the coming weeks.

Another big positive is the gain of a substantial number of new Governorships, including in the all important Midwest, and having a majority of governorships insures a better future for the Democratic Party when the Census of 2020 occurs, and reapportionment of seats in state legislatures and in the House of Representatives occurs in 2021 and 2022.

A third big positive is that some of the most disgraceful and despicable Republicans lost, including Scott Walker, Kris Kobach, and David Brat.

However, some major negatives stand out, and the most significant is the loss of at least two Senate seats or more, although it is also clear that the Democrats have gained at least one Senate seat in Nevada, and may win in Arizona. However, they have lost North Dakota, Missouri, and Indiana, and likely, Florida,

Also, the most disappointing aspect of the election was in my state of Florida, where it looks like Governor Rick Scott is likely to defeat Senator Bill Nelson, and where right wing extremist Ron DeSantis has defeated Andrew Gillum, who would have been the first African American governor, and had developed quite a following.

Also, it seems as if Stacey Abrams, who would be the first African American female governor in American history, is likely losing the Georgia Governor race to Brian Kemp, another right wing extremist.

And Beto O’Rourke did well, but still lost to Ted Cruz in the Texas Senate race.

So it is a mixed bag in regards to the results of the midterm elections.

A Nightmare Thought: What If America Ends Up With A 218-217 GOP House And A 50-50 GOP Senate For The 116th Congress?

With the midterm election only three weeks away, all kinds of scenarios are developing in the minds of political junkies, such as this author.

What if the House of Representatives ends up with a 218-217 majority held by the Republicans, meaning the Democrats only gain 22 seats in the lower chamber, rather than the 23 or more needed to control?

And what if miraculously, the Democrats gain one seat in the Senate, such as Arizona or Nevada, but lose two seats, such as North Dakota and Florida, and end up in a 50-50 tie, meaning Vice President Mike Pence organizes a Senate perfectly divided, and keeps the Senate Republican?

The question arises, have these scenarios ever occurred before in Congressional history, and the answer is YES in both houses of Congress, with twice in the House of Representatives.

In 1917-1919, the Republicans had a 215-214 margin, and third parties and Independents having 6 seats.

Also in 1931-1933, the Republicans had a 218-216 margin, and one third party seat.

In the Senate’s history, there have been eight such cases as follows:

In 1881-1883, there were 37 Republicans and 37 Democrats and two Independents.

In 1883-1885, there were 38 Republicans, 36 Democrats, and two Independents.

In 1893-1895, there were 44 Democrats, 40 Republicans, and four Independents.

In 1931-1933, there were 48 Republicans, 47 Democrats, and one Independent.

In 1953-1955, there were 48 Republicans, 47 Democrats, and one Independent.

In 1955-1957, there were 48 Democrats, 47 Republicans, and one Independent.

In 2001-2003, there were four switches of majority–From January 1-20, Democrat; from January 20 to June 6, Republican; from June 6, 2001 to November 12, 2002, Democratic; and then from November 12, 2002 to January 3, 2003 Republican. This was due to the switch of party and Vice President from Al Gore to Dick Cheney; the switch of Jim Jeffords of Vermont from Republican to Democratic; and the election of a new Senator from Missouri of the opposition party taking the oath of office before the new Senate of 2003 was organized.

Finally, in 2007-2009, there were 49 Democrats, 49 Republicans, and two Independents.

Brennan Center For Justice: 19 States With New Voting Restrictions Since 2016

The William Brennan Center For Justice, named after the great former Supreme Court Justice, tracks violations of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and has exposed the reality that 19 states, since the Supreme Court backtracked on the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in a decision in 2013, have made the right to vote much more difficult, and affecting election results.

In 2016, 14 states had new voting restrictions in place for the first time in a presidential election, with these states including Alabama, Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.

In 2017, Arkansas, North Dakota, Missouri, Georgia, and Iowa added new laws.

So 8 Southern states of the old Confederacy (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia) are back where they were before the Voting Rights Act of 1965, making it harder for blacks and other people of color, and poor people in general, to be able to have the chance to vote.

But also, the 8 Midwestern states of Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas have gown down the same road.

And Arizona in the West and New Hampshire and Rhode Island on the Atlantic Coast also have made it more difficult to vote.

Look at this list of states, and notice almost all of them, except Virginia, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island voted for Donald Trump.

So we have the possibility that despite public opinion polls that indicate a “Blue Wave”, the restrictions on voting rights could impact election result in November.

It Is Time For Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, And Red State Democrats To Put Nation Ahead Of Their Own Senate Seats

It is perfectly understood that all people who work like to keep their jobs and earn their income.

But there is no member of the US Senate that is “desperate” and “needy” to keep their jobs.

What is needed now is, as John F. Kennedy wrote, “Profiles in Courage”.

Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, so called “moderate” Republicans, need to stand up and say, “NO WAY”, would they support Brett Kavanaugh to fill the available seat on the Supreme Court, since he clearly has a record of being anti abortion, and both women Senators claim they are pro choice, so they must refuse to support him.

It is clear that Brett Kavanaugh has committed perjury a number of times in earlier hearings before the Senate while under oath, and he should not be promoted to the Supreme Court, with his record of pursuing Bill Clinton with Ken Starr 20 years ago; his advocacy of torture in the Iraq War; his promotion of an anti gay marriage amendment under George W. Bush; and his unwillingness to say he would recuse himself from any case involving Trump and the scandals that have erupted in the past two years.

But even if Collins and Murkowksi were to back off on Kavanaugh, the requirement also is for Red State Democrats, who are running for reelection, to vote against Kavanaugh in unison, even if it leads to their defeat, which seems unlikely in the present political climate.

So that means West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp, Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly, Montana Senator Jon Tester, and Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill MUST save the nation from a Right Wing extremist Supreme Court, even if they lose their seats, putting the nation ahead of their own ambitions.

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!

The Pressure To Be Brought On Senators Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Donnelly, Bob Casey Jr. And Joe Manchin On Supreme Court Nominee

With Donald Trump ready to announce his Supreme Court nominee on July 9, pressure is starting to be brought against four “Red State” Senators facing reelection, who might vote for Trump’s selection.

Three of them—Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, and Joe Manchin of West Virginia—crossed the aisle and supported Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court last year, and have visited the White House already, being lobbied by Trump.

They, and Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, Jr, strongly anti abortion, but not supporting Gorsuch last year, are the four Democrats most worried about, with at least the first three feared likely to cross the aisle again.

The problem is that the Democrats cannot afford to repudiate these three or all four Senators, if they hope to have any chance of regaining control of the US Senate in November.

So while wishing to be critical and denouncing them if they abandon the Democratic Senate caucus on this matter, they are still needed for the future.

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.