Presidential Election Of 2016

Left In Democratic Party Not Comfortable With Hillary Clinton, Looking Elsewhere For Primary Challenge!

Hillary Clinton may be the runaway favorite in most polls for the Democratic Presidential nomination for 2016, but we have never seen a non-incumbent to compete without an opponent in their party’s battle for the Presidential nomination.

So we are starting to feel, see, and sense that there will be challengers to Hillary, and the speculation has become wide and deep that any or some of the following will, indeed, challenge the former Secretary of State, Senator, and First Lady:

Vice President Joe Biden of Delaware
Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont
Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland
Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York
Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota
Senator Mark Warner of Virginia
Governor Jerry Brown of California
Former Governor Howard Dean of Vermont
Governor Jay Nixon of Missouri (totally new to any speculation)
Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado

There is discontent with Hillary Clinton’s ties to Wall Street; her gaining as much as $275,000 a speech before wealthy donors and groups; and the image of her as a “hawk” in foreign policy. She is seen as part of the “Establishment”, and as not sufficiently understanding of the plight of the middle class and the poor. Her husband worked against the left, sticking to a centrist viewpoint in his years in the White House, and while there are salutes for him as a former President, the Left is looking for someone more in the line of doing more for the poor and middle class, and staying out of foreign wars, and regulating Wall Street.

So that is the appeal of Warren, Sanders and O’Malley in particular, but the idea of Brown coming back, mentioned in an earlier blog entry, is fascinating, and Dean trying again after 12 years is also intriguing! And imagine a “Nixon”, not related to the former President, running from the “heartland”, the state of Missouri, which was always on the winning side of every election from 1900 to the present, except 1956, 2008, and 2012, but close in the first two years!

And of course, Hillary could decide, ultimately, NOT to run, and then it is a true donnybrook in the making for the Democrats in 2016!

Could there be a surprise in the Democratic Presidential sweepstakes? After 2008, who can say?

Senator Elizabeth Warren And Senator Rand Paul Gaining Attention In 2016 Presidential Race!

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul are gaining a lot of attention for the 2016 Presidential race with their recent speeches and campaigning.

Warren, a freshman Senator, who gained fame from her campaign for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has stirred the imagination of left wing Democrats, who are unhappy with the comparatively centrist campaign of Hillary Clinton.

Warren has made issues of unemployment compensation, raising the minimum wage, attacking Wall Street, and calling for revising the college student loan system, which has effectively enslaved millions of students in unending college loan debt, due to high interest rates.

She comes across as folksy, not bad for a former Harvard professor, and has gained large audiences in red states such as Kentucky and West Virginia, where she has campaigned for candidates Alison Lungergan Grimes and Natalie Tennant for Senate seats. Remember, however, that she was born and lived for years in Oklahoma.

She is a new face, in the sense of national exposure, but only two years younger than Hillary Clinton.

Paul, the son of former Congressman Ron Paul of Texas, has gained attention by his attack on Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Vice President Dick Cheney, who have both called for returning troops to Iraq. Paul makes it clear that America should not return to involvement in Iraq, and he seems to have the American people on his side, based on public opinion polls. He comes across as principled, while neocons attack him as isolationist, which he denies.

It is still hard to imagine either Warren or Paul gaining the nominations of their parties for 2016, but anything is possible, and they are certainly adding a lot of interest into the race!

Ohio And The Republican Party

So the Republican Party has chosen Cleveland, Ohio, for its national convention in 2016!

This is a very interesting selection, to choose a strong Democratic city to hold their convention!

It is true, however, that Ohio is the ultimate “swing state”, as it, most recently, decided the Presidential Election Of 2004 in favor of President George W. Bush over Senator John Kerry.

And Ohio gave us six Presidents, all Republicans, from 1868-1923, with the elections of Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, William McKinley, William Howard Taft, and Warren G. Harding.

Only Grant and McKinley were reelected, however, and only Grant served two full terms, with Garfield and McKinley assassinated in office; Hayes denied renomination of his party; Taft defeated with the worst popular vote percentage and lowest electoral vote for an attempted reelection in 1912; and Harding dying of natural causes in office. Also, Grant and Harding presided over the greatest corruption in American history on the national level until Richard Nixon came along!

Overall, these six Ohio Presidents did not add much to the record of the Presidency in a positive manner, with McKinley being rated the best of the group; Grant usually the worst, although now undergoing some historical rehabilitation; Harding also near the bottom of the list of Presidents, but also being reevaluated by some scholars: and Garfield seen as possibly the major loss of the group, due to his short time in office before being assassinated.

Ohio is also the home of Governor John Kasich, former long term Congressman and one of the leaders of the GOP in the House of Representatives, who is seen as one of the longer shots who might run for President, and this author has already mentioned him as a potential candidate, with some positives greater than the list of candidates usually mentioned in print as the most likely candidates.

But the reality is that Ohio is likely to go Democratic as it did in 2008 and 2012, and the Democratic Party can win the Presidency without Ohio.

For the Republican Party to believe that holding their convention in Ohio insures their victory for the White House in 2016 is truly delusional!

Two Experienced National Presidential Campaigners Who Could Challenge Hillary Clinton For Democratic Presidential Nomination: Al Gore And Jerry Brown!

The basic belief that goes around in political circles is that Hillary Clinton has the Democratic Presidential nomination for the asking, and has more experience and background than anyone who could possibly run against her in the primaries, with the major exception of Vice President Joe Biden!

But it is also noted that, actually, there are two very experienced Democrats who have run for President before, along with Hillary and Joe, and yet few are paying any attention to these two men!

I am talking about former Vice President Al Gore, who lost the Presidency in 2000 to George W. Bush, despite having won the national popular vote by about 540,000, but losing the contested election in Florida in the Supreme Court case of Bush V. Gore. Also, Gore sought the Presidency in 1988, before losing the nomination to Michael Dukakis.

I am also referring here to three time Democratic Presidential seeker, California Governor Jerry Brown, who sought the nomination in 1976 and again in 1980 against Jimmy Carter, and against Bill Clinton in 1992!

Both are tested, although both are from “long ago” in many people’s minds, since Gore has never tried for public office since 2000, and sixteen years is a very long time in politics. One could say that Hillary and Joe are also from “long ago”, but they have continued to hold public office consistently since the new century began, with Hillary only “retiring” in 2013 to write her memoir on her years as Secretary of State!

Jerry Brown goes back much further having been Governor of California at age 35, serving from 1975 to 1983; then later being Oakland Mayor and California Attorney General; and then returning to the Governorship 28 years after leaving it, and becoming the oldest Governor in the history of the state in 2011, and now running for a second term at age 76.

There have been rumors that Brown would love to run again, and dog the Clintons, as he did Jimmy Carter. It would be ironic if he was to challenge Hillary as he did her husband in 1992!

Of course, Brown would be nearly 79 were he to become President in 2017, and Al Gore would be nearly 69, just five months younger than Hillary Clinton, while Joe Biden would be 74 at the time of the inauguration!

One might say that having all these “old folks” running or considering the Presidency is disturbing, and add to that mix, two liberals who are rumored to run, If Hillary chooses not to run, or possibly even if she does—Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who would be 67 on Inauguration Day, and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (technically a Socialist), who would be 75.

While we are at it, why not add Secretary of State John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic Presidential nominee, to the list, with him being 73 if elected to the Presidency in 2016!

These people, all seven of them, represent a lot of talent and experience and brilliance, but ranging from 67 to 79 is NOT a good trend, particularly with the strong likelihood that the Republican Party will nominate someone much younger, probably by a full generation, or close to it, in years!

The Supreme Court Of 2014 Most Right Wing Since Early 1930s!

The Supreme Court has been controversial at different times in its history, but the present Court of 2014 is considered the most right wing Court majority since the early 1930s!

Since the Warren Court, which began in the 1950s, we have never had such conservative Justices as we have now.

Three of the present Justices are among the most conservative ever to sit on the Court, including Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice Clarence Thomas, and Justice Samuel Alito.

If one adds former Chief Justice William Rehnquist and former Associate Justice Lewis Powell, we have the five most conservative Justice since 1953, a period of 60 years.

Not much behind is Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, both capable of surprises in their votes and rulings, but still most of the time joining Scalia, Thomas, and Alito.

These seven named Justices were all picked by Republican Presidents–two by Richard Nixon; two by Ronald Reagan, plus his promotion of Rehnquist to the Chief Justiceship; one by George H. W. Bush; and two by George W. Bush.

But also, Republican Presidents have selected Justices who turned out to be quite moderate, and even sometimes liberal, including Chief Justice Earl Warren and Associate Justice William Brennan by Dwight D. Eisenhower; Chief Justice Warren Burger and Associate Justice Harry Blackmun by Richard Nixon; John Paul Stevens by Gerald Ford; Sandra Day O’Connor by Ronald Reagan; and David Souter by George H. W. Bush.

Since 1953, Republicans have controlled the White House for 36 years, while Democrats have had control for 25 plus years, and that has caused the right wing tilt of the Court, which could have been even more so, if not for the surprises presented by the seven “less” conservative, and some “quite liberal” Justices listed in the above paragraph!

So the Republicans have chosen 17 of the past 25 Justices since 1953, with John F. Kennedy picking two, but one (Byron White) turning out to be conservative, and Arthur Goldberg leaving the Court after only three years, due to the urging of Lyndon Johnson that he become United Nations Ambassador. Johnson selected Abe Fortas to replace Goldberg, but he stayed on the Court for only four years, and left the Court under the cloud of scandal. The first African American Justice, Thurgood Marshall, would go on to serve as a champion liberal for 24 years from 1967 to 1991.

Jimmy Carter would have no appointments to the Court in his four years in the White House, the only such situation in the 20th century, and one of only four Presidents to have had no appointments, but the only one to have a full term in the Presidency. The other three Presidents were William Henry Harrison (one month); Zachary Taylor (16 months); and Andrew Johnson (almost a complete term, but so unpopular that the Senate would not confirm any Court appointments in his time in office).

Bill Clinton selected Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer; and Barack Obama has chosen Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan as his appointments, so far, on the Supreme Court. So note that out of the eight appointments by Democrats in the Presidency, three have been women; five have been Jewish; one has been African American; and one has been Puerto Rican, with only Byron White being a typical white Anglo Saxon Protestant.

The question has now arisen whether Ginsberg, and maybe even Breyer, should retire, and guarantee that Obama could replace them, with the concern that the Senate might go Republican in November, making any Court appointment nearly impossible due to gridlock and stalemate. There is also fear that were the Republicans to win the White House in 2016, which is highly unlikely, that then the Court would be ever more right wing reactionary than it already is.

It is a calculated gamble for Ginsburg and Breyer to remain on the Court for now, but it is not uncommon for Justices to retire at very advanced ages–such as Blackmun at 85 and Stevens at 90!

So do not expect that either will retire, but with a good chance of Democrats retaining the Senate majority in 2014, or regaining it on the back of the Democratic Presidential nominee’s expected major victory in 2016!

The Supreme Court Has Gone Too Far!

The majority Republican Supreme Court, an unelected body that acts often as if they are outside of any concern about public opinion, has simply gone too far, in ruling that a corporation is not only a person, and therefore unlimited corporate donations are permitted, but also a corporation can limit access to birth control and contraception on its health care plan, based on the “Christian” values of its owners!

Also, the Court has worked to weaken public labor unions, and set out to undermine voting rights in the South and Midwest, leading to mass violations of voting rights, and new voter limitations for poor people.

This Court has gone amuck, demonstrating that it is involved in a war on woman, labor, blacks, and immigrants, all while being extremely pro corporation and pro religion, when we have separation of church and state as part of our basic constitutional beliefs!

The Court majority is promoting a religious oligarchy of powerful, wealthy corporate leaders, and this will motivate women, workers, blacks, immigrant groups, environmentalists and people of both genders who care about social justice and equality to become politically active and vote in November!

If the people do not react, they will get what they deserve–a government of, by and for the top one percent!

The Senate must remain Democratic for future Court appointments, and the Presidency must stay in the hands of the Democrats, in order to prevent conservative activist nominees in the future, such as Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito represent.

It is likely there will be three to four nominees for the high Court by 2020, so Democrats must have control, but to do that, the people must react to these outrages of the Supreme Court!

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley Goes To New Hampshire And Iowa: Sign Of Presidential Planning, Despite Hillary Clinton!

Just as almost everyone imaginable seems to think Hillary Clinton is running for President, and will be the next President, we are seeing the emergence of Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley as a potential challenger to Clinton for the Democratic Presidential nomination.

O’Malley makes the case that he is simply preparing If Hillary, ultimately, does not run, and he is boning up on domestic and foreign policy issues, and emphasizing his broad experience as an executive, as Mayor of Baltimore for eight years, and now finishing up eight years as Governor of Maryland.

But is is certainly possible that O’Malley might decide to challenge Clinton if she does run, and that would place him on a short list of potential Vice Presidential nominees, and therefore, the possible heir apparent to Clinton after eight years as Vice President.

O’Malley’s candidacy is, certainly, more legitimate than that of former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, who has seemed more of a long shot, and just did a lot of damage in the past week with his comments about Eric Cantor and Dianne Feinstein.

All the other potential challengers on paper are officeholders, making the job of running for the Presidency a lot more difficult, with the list including New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York Senator Kirsten Gillbrand, Virginia Senator Mark Warner, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

Of course, there is also Vice President Joe Biden, who would become the immediate frontrunner in the Democratic battle for President were Hillary Clinton to shock just about everyone, and announce she was not running for the Presidency.

Meanwhile, Martin O’Malley is drawing attention by making appearances and speeches in the early caucus and primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire, and is making a good impression upon citizens!

The Argument For A Midwestern Governor For The Republican Party In 2016 Presidential Race!

There is a growing feeling in the Republican Party, and among prognosticators, that the pool of GOP candidates for President in 2016 is lacking in so many ways.

Chris Christie is in trouble due to the scandal over the George Washington Bridge, and his handling of Hurricane Sandy money.

Scott Walker is in trouble over charges that he was involved in corruption during the 2012 recall campaign in Wisconsin.

Ted Cruz has made enemies every time he opens his mouth, and his push to close down the government in 2013 backfired, and caused division within Republican ranks.

Rand Paul is leading a fight against the “Establishment”, and is unlikely to be able to win support to be the nominee, with his libertarian and isolationist views.

Marco Rubio made enemies with his immigration reform plan, and is seen as having floundered ever since.

Paul Ryan has come across as someone who has no understanding of what middle class people go through, and with little compassion for the poor, and even fellow Catholics are often critical of him.

Bobby Jindal has come across as insincere, uncaring about his own constituents, and has lost whatever luster he once had.

Rick Perry may have gained classy glasses to wear, but he is still a horrible candidate in so many ways.

Rick Santorum is trying to reform his image as well, but he is still a former Senator who lost his seat ten years ago.

Mike Huckabee is an also ran from the 2008 Presidential campaign, and has sounded more looney than ever each month as his Fox News Channel show pushed him much further right than he had been in 2008, when he actually sounded reasonable.

Jeb Bush looks much better by comparison with other Republicans, but he is still a Bush, and has supported immigration reform and the common core education curriculum, both unpopular with his party, and besides, he certainly represents the “Establishment” more than anyone.

Mitt Romney claims not to be interested at all in running again, but yet he is seen by many as the fallback choice, despite his losing the Presidency in 2012.

Jon Huntsman, arguably the best candidate possible, seems to have absolutely no chance to convince the Republican Party that his moderate, practical conservatism is the right path.

The more one thinks about it, it makes sense that the Republican Party should seriously consider finding a candidate, preferably a Governor, from the Midwest, which is the true battleground of the Presidential Election of 2016!

None of the above mentioned candidates for the Presidency are from the Midwest, except for Ryan and Walker, both from Wisconsin, but both have fatal flaws hard to overcome.

But all of the Midwest, except Illinois, is arguably a battleground, although only Indiana and Missouri went Republican in 2012, and only Missouri in 2008!

Ohio and Iowa are true battlegrounds, and Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota are potentially up for grabs by either party.

So what seems to make sense is to give a hard look at two Midwestern Republican Governors, both of whom have served in Congress, and understand Washington, DC, but have also governed key states that are good models for preparation for the White House, at least in theory!

These two Governors are:

John Kasich of Ohio

Mike Pence of Indiana.

A lot more attention will be given to these two men as we get closer to the real beginning of the Presidential race at the end of 2014 and going into early 2015!

Mississippi Victory Of Thad Cochran Leads To Move For Right Wing Third Party–Fantastic For Democratic Party And Saving Grace For Future Of Republican Party!

It looks as if the two party system of Democrats and Republicans is about to see the emergence of a third party movement, an extremist right wing party that will break away from the Republican Party!

This is all based on the victory of solidly conservative, but NOT Tea Party whacko, Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi over Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel!

The reality is that the primary runoff in Mississippi saw African Americans, who are Democrats, swing over in an open primary system to support Cochran, simply on the basis that he has done a lot to bring federal largesse to the poorest state of the Union, while McDaniel condemned any federal assistance to help black and white poor on housing, education, and health care!

Without what Cochran has been able to do, Mississippi would qualify not only as the poorest state, but matching third world nations in poverty! He is no paragon of virtue, but a vastly preferable choice over McDaniel, a mean spirited, nasty radio talk show host, who immediately gained the support of right wing radio talk show hosts, Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz and other destructive forces, who are out to move the GOP toward fascism, and to destroy any chance of cooperation on anything between the two major political parties! This cooperation would be to the benefit of the American people, but the right wing does not care about anything but the top two percent and the rapidly diminishing white population in this nation!

So, if Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Laura Ingraham, and other right wing lunatics push for a third party, all to the good, as it will force the Republican Party to move back toward the center of the political spectrum, and become a responsible political party, as it was for much of its legendary history!

And in the short run, it is fantastic for the Democratic Party, as it insures Democratic dominance in Congress and the Presidency after 2016 for certain! So bring it on, Tea Party whackos and right wing talk show hosts, and Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz et al!

Foreign Policy And The Republican Party: Time For Jon Huntsman, NOT Rand Paul Nor Dick Cheney Viewpoint!

Foreign policy is tearing the Republican Party into factions, nothing really new, as the same situation arose in the time of World War II and the Cold War.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney is calling for a return to military options in the Iraq mess, with much of the nation being take over by Sunni Muslims, establishing Sharia Law and slaughtering Shiite Muslims, and also endangering Iraq’s neighbors, including Syria, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, and alarming Shiite Iran.

This whole mess was caused by the US intervention in Iraq in 2003, based on false premises promoted by Dick Cheney and the neoconservatives, who want a similar intervention now to overcome ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), a group even rejected by Al Qaeda as too violent and extremist!

This is a nightmare in the making, and also threatens Israel, and is bound to lead to a wider war in the Middle East very soon, as it is believed ISIS is not content to gain control of Iraq.

So along comes Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, often called an isolationist, who is against any intervention in the Middle East, and blames the George W. Bush-Dick Cheney administration for the present mess, rather than Barack Obama for having withdrawn all military forces at the end of 2011. But Rand Paul is seen by many as having no clue to foreign policy issues.

So one might wonder: Where can Republicans turn to for a rational, reasonable, intelligent foreign policy, not based on the advice of neoconservatives and Dick Cheney, but also not isolationist like Rand Paul?

The answer is former Utah Governor and Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, who has the ONLY extensive foreign policy experience of any potential GOP nominee for President in 2016. No one is paying attention, because Huntsman is seen as not conservative enough, not Tea Party backed, not sufficiently anti Obama.

The only hope for the Republicans in 2016, however, is for them to overcome their divisions, and unite around Jon Huntsman as the only legitimate nominee, who is sensible, sane, and also able to deal with “real world” situations in the world, without the extreme reaction of the neoconservatives and Dick Cheney, or the isolationism of Rand Paul!

But will the GOP be smart enough to realize this? The betting odds are, sadly for them, and for the nation, NO!