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Supreme Court Battle Could Move Potential Democratic Nominees Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, And Amy Klobuchar Into The Forefront

The battle over the Supreme Court nominee to be announced in four days by President Donald Trump could move potential Democratic Presidential nominees Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, and Amy Klobuchar into the forefront of the news.

All three potential candidates are members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and all three are expected to be vocal in their opposition to whoever Trump appoints.

These three Democrats are part of the “newer generation”, as opposed to Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, and Elizabeth Warren, all of whom will be past 70 or nearing 80 in the case of the first two named, in 2020.

Booker and Harris will be 51 and 56, and Klobuchar will be 60 in 2020.

Booker and Harris tend to be more vehement in their oratory, than is the case with Klobuchar.

Booker and Harris represent the Northeast and Pacific Coast respectively, while Klobuchar is from the Midwest (Minnesota), an important factor for the Democrats, who need to win the Midwest if they are to win the White House.

Sadly, Booker being African American, and Harris being mixed race (Asian Indian mother and Jamaican father) and a woman, have to be regarded as minuses in the present political atmosphere.

Klobuchar is also a woman, of course, but being Caucasian and from the Midwest are pluses, along with her avoiding being confrontational or overly controversial in her public utterances, as Booker and Harris tend to be, along with other women candidates Kirsten Gillibrand and Elizabeth Warren.

One might say that a progressive should be for the most leftist candidate possible, but this author and blogger at this point, which is very early, sees Amy Klobuchar as more “mainstream”, and in theory more electable in 2020.

Truthfully, however, there is no way to judge this early, 18 months before the earliest caucuses and primaries, and 28 months before Election Day on 2020, as to which Democrat is the best bet.

But these three Judiciary Committee members will certainly be making news in the next few months, before their likely announcements of Presidential candidacy.

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.

“Swing” States Becoming Fewer Every Election: Locking In Electoral Votes!

The number of “Swing” states in a Presidential election are becoming fewer in each four year cycle, and locking in the Electoral College outcome, to a much greater extent than ever before.

At this point, for the 2016 Presidential Election, it can be said there are ONLY ten states that are truly up for grabs, barring some unforeseen events:

These states are:
Florida
Ohio
Virginia
North Carolina
New Hampshire
Iowa
Indiana
Colorado
New Mexico
Nevada

Even these ten states are not truly ten, as North Carolina for now is more likely to go Republican; New Hampshire and Iowa are more likely to go Democratic; Indiana is more likely to go Republican; and New Mexico is almost certainly Democratic!

So only Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, and Nevada are truly “swing’ states for 2016, and most of the campaigning in the general election period will be in those five states, plus the other five more certain to be in one political camp over the other.

The Northeast and New England, with the exception of New Hampshire, are locked up for the Democrats, as are the Upper Midwest and Illinois, and the three Pacific Coast states and Hawaii!

The Great Plains states, the Mountain West except for the three states mentioned above, and the South, with the exceptions of the three states mentioned above, and West Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri, and Alaska seem locked up for the Republicans, making for more states than the Democrats, but many of them low electoral vote states. And when Texas and Georgia evolve, with more Hispanic-Latino voters in the next decade, the Electoral College will be locked up for the Democrats for the long haul, unless the GOP can convince many states’ voters to swing over from the Democrats, highly unlikely!

The move to allow states to vote by congressional district, as is so in Nebraska and Maine in theory, if it spreads to major states, such as Pennsylvania, where it has been proposed, COULD change the whole dynamic, and make for a much more competitive Electoral College race in the future!

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!

Ohio The Crucial State In Presidential Elections Since 1964! Republicans, Be Aware Of That Reality!

Ohio, the “Buckeye” state, is the crucial state in Presidential elections since 1964, with the winner in Ohio going on to win the election, and reside in the White House!

This makes it essential for the Republican Party to take this into consideration, and to nominate an Ohioan for the Presidency in 2016. It also makes it essential for Democrats to fight tooth and nail to win this state, although they could win the Electoral College without Ohio.

A recent assessment of the Electoral College theorizes that the Democrats may have the 270 electoral votes needed to win the Presidency in 2016, as the so called “blue” states add up to 257 electoral votes, including all of New England and the Northeast, down to the District of Columbia; the Midwest states of Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota; and the Western states of California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, New Mexico, and Hawaii. Add Virginia and its 13 electoral votes, and the fact that the state has gone “blue” in Senate and gubernatorial elections recently, and is influenced by the power of the Northern Virginia (DC suburbs) population, and you have the precise number of electoral votes needed.

But of course, the desire is not to barely win, so Ohio is crucial for Democrats, but also Republicans!

This author has said before that, therefore, the best choice for the GOP Presidential nomination is either Governor John Kasich or Senator Rob Portman, more than any others, but not even certain that either will run for the Presidency, or do well in the caucuses and primaries, starting in January 2016!

Kasich has accepted Medicaid funding for the poor in his state, and Portman has backed gay marriage after his son came out as gay, and these factors hurt both with the Tea Party base in the Republican Party.

On the other hand, Kasich has a long record of Congressional service in the past, and headed the House Budget Committee in the 1990s; and Portman was Budget Director under President George W. Bush.

Both are mild mannered, not the type to make outrageous or ridiculous or extremist statements, and both seem competent to serve as President, more than most of the other potential alternatives.

The GOP National Convention will be in Cleveland, and there is a good chance of the Democratic National Convention being in Columbus, so Ohio moves to the forefront as a major battleground for 2016, which should not be ignored by either party, but particularly the Republicans!

Realize that six Ohio Republicans went on to become President from 1868-1923—Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, William McKinley, William Howard Taft, and Warren G. Harding!

Will the GOP be smart enough to do the right thing? Don’t bet on it!

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!

The Desperate Need For Infrastructure Spending, And NOW!

America’s public works—its roads, highways, bridges, tunnels, canals, public buildings, beaches, parks, water supply, electric grids—are in desperate need of repair and expansion, with many of these public works being more than a century old, particularly in the Northeast and Midwest.

But Republicans in Congress refuse to reauthorize infrastructure spending, as part of their unwillingness to work with President Barack Obama on ANYTHING, no desire to cooperate for the nation’s benefit!

This will lead to disasters when bridges and roads and other public facilities suddenly collapse, and will cause great delays in traffic and services, costing billions upon billions of spending on emergency repairs, and causing waste of gasoline, and greater levels of environmental pollution as a result.

It will also cause the loss of an estimated 700,000 jobs over the next year, and it will deny millions of unemployed people the opportunity to compete for necessary jobs rebuilding and improving our public works structure.

This is unconscionable, and should lead to citizens waking up to the total GOP obstructionism, and defeat the party’s candidates in elections this fall, but will it? That is the question that awaits an answer in November’s midterm elections!

“Tight” Vs. “Loose” States: Strongly Enforced Social Rules Vs. Greater Tolerance

Two Psychology professors at the University of Maryland have studied the issue of strongly enforced social rules in many states, as against greater, more open minded tolerance in other states.

It is indeed true that America is a complex nation in which social attitudes and influences differ dramatically.

Among the issues utilized are corporal punishment in schools; executions in the state prisons; attitude toward alcohol accessibility; and the legality of same sex marriage and unions.

Predictably, the Southern states are the “tightest”; the Midwest is in the middle; and the Northeast and Pacific Coast are the “loosest” in social mores.

It shows up in political terms, as for instance, Barack Obama was able to win only 40.3 percent of the vote in the “tightest” states, and yet won 58.8 percent of the vote in the “loosest’ states!

War On The Liberal Arts In Florida, Texas, North Carolina: The Promotion Of Dumbness!

The right wing Republican Governors of Florida, Texas, and North Carolina have declared war on public funding of the liberal arts at the state university level in their states!

Considering that poverty is very high in these states, and educational attainment is lower than in the Northeast, Midwest, and Western states, it is clear that the Republican Party in these Southern states wants to keep people dumb, and prevent the promotion of skills that are essential for a good productive life–like reading, writing, analyzing, and simply THINKING!

A person who gains a college education with little or no exposure to the liberal arts is a person denied basic knowledge and appreciation of the great contributions of mankind over the millenniums!

To say that no one needs to major in anthropology, or literature, or history, or classics, etc is to declare war on intellectual pursuits, and it is clear that we have many people coming out of college ready for the technical and business worlds who have no basic communicative skills, but are simply robots who cannot read, write, analyze or think clearly!

And to say that different fields of knowledge are unworthy is to declare war on the whole point of education, to make people better human beings, not just train them for a field of work that might, very likely, disappear over the course of a work life!

To gain intellectual skills is to gain vision, gain a sense of humanity and compassion, and to have a quality life, not one only judged and based on materialism and greed!

These governors—Rick Scott, Rick Perry (and his likely successor, Greg Abbott), and Pat McCrory–prefer stupidity and ignorance, as that makes it easier for them to pursue their right wing goals to undermine the future of their states, among the lowest in achievement, and bound to get worse with this kind of damaging attack on the liberal arts! They are only out to promote the top one to two percent, and want a work force that is unable to compete in a way to advance and, actually, challenge the establishment elite!

Those who do not know the past are doomed to repeat it! We still need anthropologists, historians, poets, playwrights, artists, musicians, and others in the liberal arts, as part of a humane society, and no student should be denied the opportunity to major in any of these or other liberal arts fields, and they are often better educated than those who come out of colleges with no exposure to the liberal arts!

There is a need for a strong reaction to this detrimental attack on basic human knowledge by the scholarly community!

Jeb Bush: Can He Do What Only Abraham Lincoln, Richard Nixon, And Ronald Reagan Did?

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, the son and brother of two Presidents, is again having his name bandied about for President of the United States, despite his mother, Barbara Bush, saying there have been enough Bushes in the White House, and that more than three or four families have talent for the Presidency. While saying that repeatedly, she always adds that her son is best qualified to be President, so it is an odd statement, to say the least!

But Speaker of the House John Boehner went out of his way to suggest Jeb Bush would be a great nominee, and certainly, the “Establishment” Republicans on Wall Street see him as more likely now than ever before, as their front line of defense against the Tea Party Movement and Ted Cruz et al, and the libertarians and Rand Paul.

Both Cruz and Paul, and really EVERY other suggested nominee, has all kinds of issues with their extreme right wing tilt. That is why New Jersey Governor Chris Christie seemed so appealing to many, after his wide victory for a second term. But now the scandals that have erupted have besmirched his reputation, and in any case, Christie would have had great trouble winning in Iowa, South Carolina, and other states as he is from the Northeast, and seen as too much like John McCain and Mitt Romney, failed GOP Presidential candidates, who are disliked by right wing talk show hosts, conservative think tanks, and the Tea Party right wingers.

So who is left for the “Establishment”? Really, only former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, who also was Ambassador to China, under President Obama, an excellent, and really the best choice, but with not a chance in hell of being able to compete, because he is too “moderate” by comparison, too smart, too intelligent, too interested in science and world affairs, too independent minded, and even not allowing his Mormon faith to dictate public policy views!

Huntsman would have the best chance to win of any Republican, but the party has a death wish, and he will not be the nominee. More likely, it would be one of a large group of horrible candidates, including, not only Cruz and Paul, but also Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, and other “nightmarish” candidates!

So the only place to turn for the “Establishment” is to another Bush, who is comparatively a moderate conservative, who has not come across as a “whacko” in office and in his public statements. He has shown tolerance on immigration issues, as with his brother, President George W. Bush, and he seems to have a comparatively open mind.

But his challenge, beyond overcoming the Bush name, after the damage his brother did in eight years in the Presidency, is that Jeb Bush has been out of public office for ten years by 2016, after eight years served as Governor of Florida. While a few military people, including retired ones, have become President, only three non military people have become President with extended periods out of public office.

Abraham Lincoln had 12 years since his one term in the House of Representatives, until his Presidential triumph in 1860.

Richard Nixon had eight years since his defeat for the Presidency in 1960, until his victory in 1968.

Ronald Reagan had six years since his Governorship of California until his victory in 1980.

Note Nixon and Reagan had a shorter number of years, than Jeb Bush has, and Nixon ran for Governor of California in 1962, and Reagan competed for the Presidential nomination in 1976, both two years after they left public office.

And Lincoln, while twelve years since his last time in public office, ran for and lost the Senate race in Illinois against Senator Stephen Douglas in 1858, ten years after his one term in the House of Representatives, and just two years before he won the Presidency.

So Jeb Bush really has no exact comparison to Nixon and Reagan, and comes closest to Lincoln.

The ultimate question is whether Jeb Bush can copy Lincoln, or even Nixon or Reagan. The betting odds on his nomination are less than 50 percent for now, and far less in a race against any Democrat in 2016, particularly Hillary Clinton!