Pacific Coast

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.

Republicans, Normally States Rights Advocates, Now Trying To Limit States Rights On Sanctuary Cities, Marijuana Laws, And Oil And Gas Drilling!

The Republican Party is long famous for promotion of states rights, and their strong stand against national government authority over the states.

Oh, until now, when they are doing their best to LIMIT states rights.

The Trump Administration and the Republicans in Congress are working to undermine “sanctuary cities”, major cities around the nation which are working to protect and support undocumented immigrants from arrest and deportation, as long as they have no criminal record.

Also, with eight states allowing marijuana use, and medical marijuana permitted in many other states, we have Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Trump Administration trying to promote enforcement of penalties, that has led to tens of thousands of people in prisons, for possession and or sale of the drug, when there is no connection between marijuana and crime, or auto accidents, or deaths.

Also, oil and gas drilling off the coasts of the United States, is an attempt to take away environmental rights of mostly “blue” states, but with Florida, under Republican Governor Rick Scott getting special dispensation on the matter, and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie working with Democrats to prevent such drilling off of New Jersey shores. But all the other states, along the Atlantic Coast, from New England to Georgia; the Pacific Coast; and Alaska should also have the freedom and authority to ban such energy exploration as detrimental to the environment.

When one compares the “Red” States and how they are governed, to the “Blue” states and their greater progress and open mindedness, it is as if we have two nations, and the Republicans are becoming so extreme that a chasm has developed between them and the Democrats.

Off Shore Drilling Prevented In Florida By Rick Scott Intervention: Time To Prevent All Off Shore Drilling On All Coasts Of United States!

The Trump Administration and Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke have called for open offshore drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts, and in the waters surrounding Alaska, a violation of past environmental policies.

Favoring the oil and gas industries over the preservation of our coastlines is an outrage, and all Governors of the states affected have protested, rightfully.

But already, Republican Governor Rick Scott of Florida, who plans to run for Bill Nelson’s Senate seat this fall, has joined Nelson and Republican Senator Marco Rubio in pressing for leaving Florida out of the offshore drilling edict, and the Trump Administration and Zinke have caved in, clearly for political reasons.

But that is not enough, as all states with ocean shoreline should be freed from this cave in to the oil and gas industry, and we do NOT need such exploration of our oceans, and too many oil spills and accidents have occurred, which kill of ocean life and pollute the waters.

The problem is that most of the coastal states are “blue”, or Democratic states,in New England, the Middle Atlantic, and the Pacific Coast. This includes Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, with only the latter three being Republican states, as is Florida. The Pacific Coast states include Washington, Oregon, and California, along with Hawaii and Alaska, with all but Alaska being Democratic states. Alaska, Florida, and California are the top three in coastline waters.

This should not be a political issue, and the fight to protect our wetlands is one that must be fought in a vehement, no holds barred, manner.

It should also include any new drilling in the Great Lakes area and along our various river systems, as we need to move toward alternative sources of energy, as so many nations in Europe, particularly Germany as an example, are doing.

“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!

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!

“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!

The Most Significant Long Range Events Of 2013

Now that we are in the last day of 2013, it is time to reflect on what the most significant long range events of 2013 are, events that will affect us in the future, and are signs of progress, which can never be reversed.

They include in no special order:

The accomplishment of national health care, a dream since Theodore Roosevelt first mentioned the concept in his Progressive Party campaign in 1912, later suggested by Harry Truman, partially enacted by Lyndon B. Johnson, attempted by Bill and Hillary Clinton unsuccessfully, promoted by Senator Ted Kennedy, and finally becoming law under Barack Obama. Even with all of the kinks and quirks now and in the future, national health care is here to stay, finally making America reach the stage of all other democracies in the world, but as usual the last to adopt social and economic reform, as compared to Europe, Canada, and Australia.

The acceptance by the Supreme Court of the concept of gay marriage, and the expansion from nine to eighteen states of acceptance of same sex marriage, and nothing will ever reverse what has happened, and eventually, the Supreme Court will mandate its legality throughout America, just as they did for interracial marriage in 1967. Many may not like it, but just as with interracial marriage, one does not have to engage in either interracial or same sex marriage, but it is nobody’s business to tell someone else who he or she is to love and to have the benefits of marriage, and no religious institution needs to accept it, as civil marriage will always be available.

The civil war raging in the Republican Party, which will determine if the party of Lincoln, TR, and Ike will survive or go into the dustbin of history, which Is certain, if the right wing Tea Party Movement is allowed to take over the party apparatus, and control the House and Senate Republican caucuses, and control major state governments around the nation. An extreme right wing Republican Party will not survive, and will give the Democrats such dominance that a moderate centrist party, maybe on the pattern of the Whig Party of Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, John Quincy Adams and Abraham Lincoln in the 19th century, will then emerge as a valid alternative to the more leftist Democratic Party by comparison.

The rise of a permanent Democratic majority in the Electoral College, as Georgia, Texas, Arizona and North Carolina will turn “blue” over the rest of the second decade of the 21st century, due to the growth in the Hispanic-Latino population, and the alienation of women from the Republican Party, which is working to control the reproductive lives of women. Both groups will swing these Sun Belt States to the Democrats, and with the Atlantic Coast from New England down to Virginia, and the Pacific Coast and the Upper Midwest more “blue” all of the time, there will be no way that Democrats will lose the White House over the next couple of decades, whether they nominate Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden, or someone else, for the Presidency in 2016 and beyond.

The Supreme Court will turn more liberal, as over the remaining years of this decade, the likelihood of new Supreme Court appointments, as well as circuit and district courts, will fall to Democratic Presidents, who no longer have to worry about a filibuster proof majority of 60 votes. The need for only 51 votes or 50 with the Vice President breaking the tie, insures that the courts, and eventually the high Court, will take a different view over time on same sex marriage, abortion rights, civil rights, and civil liberties, reminding one over the next two decades (due to lifetime appointments) of the history of the Warren Court.

A happy 2014 to all my readers and contributors!

Governors And The Presidential Election Of 2016

It has often been pointed out that more Governors have been elected President over the course of American history than Senators.

From 1900 on, the following Presidents were earlier Governors of their states—Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush.

The argument is that being a Governor prepares one better for the Presidency than serving in the national government in Washington, DC.

Whether this is true or not, the argument now is that the national government, and particularly the Congress, is so engaged in stalemate and gridlock, that the best choice in the Presidential Election of 2016 would be to go once again for a Governor or former Governor, as occurred four times of the past six Presidents, and seven of the past ten national elections.

So if that is the case, what is the market among Governors?

First, the Democratic side:

Martin O’Malley of Maryland
Andrew Cuomo of New York
John Hickenlooper of Colorado
Mark Warner of Virginia
Brian Schweitzer of Montana
Jerry Brown of California
Howard Dean of Vermont
Deval Patrick of Massachusetts
Dannel Malloy of Connecticut

Now the Republican side

Chris Christie of New Jersey
Jeb Bush of Florida
Scott Walker of Wisconsin
Bobby Jindal of Louisiana
Rick Perry of Texas
John Kasich of Ohio
Jon Huntsman of Utah
Nikki Haley of South Carolina
Mike Pence of Indiana
Brian Sandoval of Nevada
Susana Martinez of New Mexico
Rick Scott of Florida

So, at least in theory, nine former or sitting Democratic Governors and twelve former or sitting Republican Governors are potential Presidential nominees.

Having said that, it is clear that some of these two groups are highly unlikely to be a candidate, or to have any realistic chance to be the nominee, including for the Democrats: Brown, Dean, Malloy, and Patrick, and for the Republicans: Scott, Martinez, Sandoval, Pence, Haley, and sadly (because he would be the best choice for the GOP long term), Huntsman.

For the Democrats, O’Malley and Cuomo and Warner (who has also served in the Senate), would be the best choices, were it not for the “800 pound gorilla” of Hillary Clinton and the slightly smaller version of Joe Biden. Were it not for them, these three listed Democrats would be a great term to compete for the nomination. Hickenlooper is also a good candidate, but would not be considered as likely to have a good chance, and Schweitzer might very well run, based on recent comments and activities, but the odds for him, especially against Clinton and Biden as things now stand, are extremely high of failure, and even of being mostly ignored by political pundits.

For the Republicans, Christie and Bush would be the most likely to have a real opportunity for the Presidency, but with the Tea Party Movement, neither is very popular, to say the least. Walker might be a better bet on that score, with Jindal seeming less attractive as time goes by, and Perry a real long shot based on his past performances. The “dark horse” to watch would be Kasich, who had a long career on Capitol Hill and knows how Washington works, and despite his mixed record in so many areas, is personally appealing, unlike any of those listed In this paragraph, in many ways the most appealing personally other than Huntsman.

If one had to bet which of each list would have the best chance, all things being equal, one would say O’Malley for the Democrats and Kasich for the Republicans, but the odds are that it will be someone from Capitol Hill–Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden for the Democrats, and Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, or Paul Ryan for the Republicans, with the Democrats having the clear edge in the Electoral College, because of the support of the Atlantic Coast and Pacific Coast, and the likelihood of strong support in the upper Midwest and Illinois and Iowa, along with Virginia, an unmatchable scenario for the Republicans, as we look at the political situation as 2013 ends, but always subject to changing times that are unpredictable.

The Most Diverse And Yet The Most Divisive Congress In More Than A Century: The 113th Congress!

It is ironic that the 113th Congress is the most diverse in history, but also the most divisive and partisan in more than a century, which does not bode well for any future cooperation or progress on the important issues facing the nation!

96 women, 42 African Americans, and 31 Hispanics serve in Congress, but the vast majority are Democrats!

Partisan polarization is endemic, however, more than in the past century or more, probably back to the Civil War-Reconstruction period!

Of course, we have never had a Congress, except in the 112th Congress and this one, in which there has been a Republican House of Representatives and a Democratic Senate, and only five other Congresses since 1900 in which there has been a Democratic House of Representatives and a Republican Senate, with those occasions (1911-1913, 1931-1933, 1981-1987) being much more cooperative and accomplished by comparison to the past two and a half years since the beginning of 2011!

Party unity in the House is now 72.8 percent, while in 2006, it was 54.5 percent!

Less than 50 percent of the time do we see Republicans supportive of the President’s agenda, an extremely low level historically!

Regional loyalty to a party is extreme, particularly in the Northeast, New England and Pacific Coast for Democrats, and in the South and Great Plains for Republicans.

The likelihood of any major change in this scenario is gloomy, sadly for the nation’s future!

The Republican Delusion That They Can Win The Presidency And Majority Status Just By Having More Whites Voting!

The Republican Party is truly delusional in their belief that they can win the Presidency and majority status in the future as long as they can convince more whites to vote, than did so in the Presidential Election of 2012.

With the percentage of whites in the population declining, and with the reality that it will continue to decline, this is a losing strategy in so many ways.

Not all whites would vote Republican, even in the South and Great Plains and Mountain West, GOP strongholds, and certainly NOT in the Northeast, New England, Midwest, and Pacific Coast, and in parts of the Mountain West.

Not all whites would wish to back the right wing policies of Republicans toward women, minorities, labor, and on other issues, such as the environment and science.

Not all whites would endorse the social conservatism of the religious right, particularly with a decline in religiosity among younger whites and voters generally.

A majority of whites who vote Republican are old, and once they pass the scene, many younger whites will have a greater influence on elections, and combined with those who are social liberals, female, and minority background, will NEVER vote Republican because they know that the Republicans are trying to ignore them, if not undermining their right to vote!

With their backward, regressive, vindictive policies toward the middle class and the poor, along with their anti women, anti labor, anti environment, anti minority viewpoints, the GOP will insure that they will be dinosaurs, looked back upon as a historical curiosity as to the issue of how they self destructed despite many warnings as to their self suicide by refusal to adapt!