Presidential Elections

Trump Reversal Of Cuban Policy Of Obama A Massive Blunder And Sign Of Total Hypocrisy!

Donald Trump is continuing his mission of destroying the Obama legacy in every way possible.

So now, in Miami, and to appease Marco Rubio and the Diaz Balarts (one of whom is a Congressman), he has reversed Barack Obama’s policy of ending the embargo on Cuba, which failed for 57 years.

So now it will be more difficult for Americans to travel to Cuba, and business dealings designed to open up Cuban society after six decades of isolation will be curbed.

Ironically, this massive blunder and sign of total hypocrisy comes after the death of Fidel Castro, and the planned retirement of Raul Castro early in 2018.

This is precisely the time to work to open up Cuba, but the effect will be more Russian and Chinese intervention in economic terms in the island nation.

And to think we almost went to war in 1962 over Russian intervention in Cuba, and now we are promoting it by our narrow minded, outdated policy toward the Cuban regime.

Having isolated them for nearly six decades did NOT make Cuba a democracy, and doing that now will not help to democratize Cuba as much as interaction and influence.

We have people who condemn Cuba’s government because of violation of human rights, and in that, we all concur, BUT somehow, we have dealings and business with many nations that systematically violate human rights, including Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, the Philippines, and innumerable others.

But an island 90 miles from the Florida Keys is too full of sin, apparently, that we spite ourselves, and deny Cuban Americans free access to their relatives and heritage in their home nation, all because of extremist right wing Cubans in America who have no concern about human rights, but only about their desire to take back property confiscated at the time of the Cuban Revolution.

Yes, that is an outrage, but after six decades, and looking at victims of despotic governments elsewhere, the only reason for such intransigence by our government toward Cuba is because of the political significance of Florida in the Congress and in Presidential elections.

Why, for instance, do we say nothing about violations of human rights on a much wider scale, and instead embrace such a brutal government as Saudi Arabia, from where the September 11 hijackers came from?

How does Cuba affect national security, when Russia and Saudi Arabia and China in particular do so, and yet we treat them as nations we are willing to work with?

The Growing Democratic Party Suburbs: The Death Knell Of The Republican Party!

Traditional views of American politics tell us that the cities, the urban areas, are overwhelmingly Democratic in loyalty; that the suburbs, which blossomed after World War II, are Republican, as people escape the city and urban problems, and are heavily white; and that the exurbs, those areas much further away from the cities, are Republican, along with the widespread land we consider rural areas.

So as long as the Republican Party wins the suburbs, the exurbs, and the rural areas,a they can be competitive and win national elections.

But it is now apparent by statistics that the suburbs are rapidly turning Democratic, as they have become no longer white “flight” havens, but instead have become a mix of Americans of all races and religions and cultures, and sadly, poverty has come to the suburbs, in some ways almost as badly as in the cities, due to the Great Recession.

The Republican refusal to accept that poverty is not the fault of citizens, but of circumstance, and rejection of the concept that everyone should be entitled to health care, is having a long range effect on Americans living in the suburbs.

It is not just economic factors, but also social factors, such as the issues of gay marriage, abortion rights, labor rights, concern about the environment, education, and the recognition of the need to adjust to a changing American society, which is also helping the Democrats, as the Republicans come across as mean spirited, biased, prejudiced, uncaring about anyone except the wealthy, and refusing to recognize the demographic changes that have developed in suburbs, as well as the cities.

So a political party that thinks it can survive and prosper on the basis of winning the exurbs and the rural areas is a party in total denial, as while there are massive land areas where these people live, the percentages of population living in those areas is miniscule, compared to the larger population numbers in the suburbs, as well as the cities.

While many Congressional districts can be gerrymandered and give the Republicans greater influence than they should rightfully have in the House of Representatives, their agenda and public persona of their leadership insures that the cities and the suburbs will be majority Democratic for a long time, giving the Presidency and the Senate to the Democrats. In the long run, this guarantees that the future Supreme Court , and even the lower courts, will be heavily influenced by Democratic Presidential appointments, which are considered and approved by the Senate, where Democrats need to fight to keep control so that they can promote the agenda of Democratic Presidents, and resist a Republican House majority based on artificial conditions, that can eventually be turned over to a Democratic Party majority over time.

Multiple Times On National Ballot Of Presidents, And Total Popular Vote Combined!

The question arises as to how many times a candidate has been on the Presidential ballot in American history, and how many total popular votes any President has received historically.

The all time record for times on the Presidential ticket, either for President or Vice President, is shared by:

Franklin D. Roosevelt–five times–1920, 1932, 1936, 1940, 1944
Richard Nixon–five times—1952, 1956, 1960, 1968, 1972.

John Adams was on the ballot four times–1789, 1792, 1796, 1800.

Martin Van Buren was also on the ballot four times—1832, 1836, 1840, 1848.

George H. W. Bush was also on the ballot four times–1980, 1984, 1988, 1992.

Others who have been on the ballot three times include:

Thomas Jefferson–1796, 1800, 1804
Andrew Jackson–1824, 1828, 1832
Grover Cleveland–1884, 1888, 1892
Theodore Roosevelt–1900, 1904, 1912

Additionally, several Presidential nominees who lost were on the ballot multiple times:

Henry Clay—1824, 1832, 1844
William Jennings Bryan–1896, 1900, 1908

And which President had the MOST popular votes in total for all of the elections that he was on the ballot for either President or Vice President?

One would assume Franklin D. Roosevelt or Richard Nixon, who were on the ballot more times than anyone.

Realizing there was no counted popular vote for John Adams, and a small population for Martin Van Buren’s time, the only other candidate for the most total popular votes, of these three people who were on the ballot four times, would be George H. W. Bush.

So which one of these choices—FDR, Nixon or Bush I has the distinction of the most total popular votes in American history?

The answer is, surprisingly to many, George H. W. Bush who benefited from the massive reelection victory of Ronald Reagan in 1984, followed by Nixon and FDR, realizing far fewer people were voting in the time of FDR, and more so for Nixon, but fewer in his time than in the 1980s and early 1990s, when Bush was running for national office.

So the totals for Bush were, in round numbers, a total of 192 million popular votes in two elections where he ran for Vice President, and two for President.

Richard Nixon was next, with 182 million popular votes in two elections where he ran for Vice President, and three for President.

And finally, Franklin D. Roosevelt is third, with 112 million popular votes in one election where he ran for Vice President, and four for President.

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!

Second Obama Term More An Accomplishment Than First Term Election

As great an accomplishment as the first term victory of Barack Obama was, the election of the first African American President, one could always have naysayers who would claim that it was a mistake, an emotional action, a reaction to difficult times, an experiment, a fluke.

But the fact that Barack Obama has now won a second term, and both times by a majority of the popular vote, and in the midst of the highest unemployment for a sitting President running for reelection since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936, and with the tremendous polarization that sadly exists in America as the second inauguration looms, it cannot be said that Obama being President fits any of the descriptions listed above.

America is indeed divided, the most since 1879 in Congress, it has been stated, but again, Obama has won the majority of the popular vote twice now, and has won a majority of states twice, and has won most of the heavily populated states as well, with the major exception of Texas.

So this inauguration is something to celebrate more than even the first one, and while many will be unhappy, that is actually not all that uncommon, particularly considering how many times a President has been elected by fewer than a majority of popular votes, including in the past half century, the following: John F. Kennedy in 1960, Richard Nixon in 1968, Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996, and George W. Bush in 2000–five times out of 13 elections.

So it is time to celebrate American democracy!

Barack Obama Joins Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, And Ronald Reagan In Major Accomplishment!

President Barack Obama joins three other Presidents in the past century in a major accomplishment.

Franklin D. Roosevelt was the last Democrat to win a majority of the popular vote in two consecutive elections.

Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan are the two other Presidents, both Republican, who have accomplished that same goal.

So now Barack Obama joins that exclusive fraternity, and since the other three are put into the top ten of all Presidents in American history in most polls, the odds of Barack Obama ending up there eventually are greatly improved.

Imagine this accomplishment, and it is a marvelous extra dividend for the historical record and significance of Barack Obama!

Presidential Election Day Should Be A National Holiday To Encourage More Voting!

America’s Presidential elections are a very important time, occurring once every four years.

It is important enough that there is a need to have the once in four years event become a national holiday, so that as many citizens as possible may participate, while still permitting early voting as well!

Since it is only one day in four years, its economic effect would be minimal, and those who would have to work on that day would be granted time off, either to be able to vote during early election vote days, or three hours off on the actual Election Day, so that everyone would have time to vote.

This would be a major step toward raising the percentage of American voting from what has been normally only a little more than 50 percent, although the percentage reached closer to 60 percent the last two national elections.

As the leader of the free world, the United States should have a participation rate matching that of Western Europe and Japan, more like 75-85 percent!

New Series On C-Span On Presidential Contenders (Losers) Who Made A Difference Historically, Starting Friday at 8 PM!

An important new series on C-Span begins this Friday night, September 9, at 8 PM, and continues for a total of 14 Fridays through December 9!

This is worthwhile for anyone who reads this blog to note, and to watch, as it adds a great deal to our history. The whole concept of this series excites me, and hopefully, all others who love American History and Politics!

The series will consist of 90 minute episodes, centered at important historic sites of 14 men who ran for President and lost, all part of this series.

The 14 Presidential losers being covered in the series include:

Henry Clay
James G. Blaine
William Jennings Bryan
Eugene Debs
Charles Evans Hughes
Al Smith
Wendell Willkie
Thomas E. Dewey
Adlai Stevenson
Barry Goldwater
Hubert Humphrey
George Wallace
George McGovern
Ross Perot

As a side commentary, this series could be substantially longer than 14 episodes, as 12 other Presidential losers that could be seen as significant would include:

Stephen Douglas
Samuel Tilden
Robert La Follette, Sr.
Strom Thurmond
Henry A Wallace
John Anderson
Walter Mondale
Michael Dukakis
Bob Dole
Al Gore
John Kerry
John McCain

I highly recommend all who read this blog to tune in to this wonderful series, and in the process, gain new insights into American History!

Historian Allan J. Lichtman And Presidential Election Predictability

Professor Allan J. Lichtman of American University in Washington, DC has published over many years his theories about predicting Presidential elections.

Originally publishing THE KEYS TO THE WHITE HOUSE in 1984, Lichtman has continued to update his predictions and his theory.

Lichtman suggests that there are 13 factors involved in a Presidential election, and that IF a candidate is positively rated on EIGHT or more of the 13 factors, he wins the election.

Based on this, Lichtman now predicts that Barack Obama will win the 2012 election, since he has NINE of the 13 factors in his favor!

The positive factors include:

1. No serious contest for the incumbent party nomination.
2. The President in office is running for reelection.
3. There is no significant third party challenge.
4. The party in power has brought about major policy changes.
5. There is no major social unrest during the term.
6. There is no major scandal during the term.
7. There are no major foreign policy failures during the term.
8. There are major successes in foreign and military policy.
9. The candidate of the incumbent party is charismatic and well liked personally.

The four factors against Obama include:

1. The party in power has lost seats in the midterm election in the House of Representatives as compared to the number of seats in the previous midterm election.
2. The economy is in poor shape.
3. The long term economy outlook is not good.
4. The challenging candidate may be charismatic.

Lichtman claims this series of factors has always worked, going back to the beginning of our popular vote elections for President in 1824.

There is much debate about the validity of this series of factors judging who will win Presidential elections, both past and the future.

Nate Silver of the NEW YORK TIMES contests the validity of much of what Lichtman says.

If nothing else, however, the Lichtman formula makes for interesting discussion and debate, and it will be interesting to see if his prediction of an Obama victory holds up.

For that, we will have to wait 14 months!

Time For Reality Check On Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment And Third Party Potential For Success In Presidential Elections

Unfortunately, many Americans, probably a vast majority, live with a false set of facts about American government, as it stands under the Constitution. There is a major need for a reality check!

Many people, including Republicans in Congress, seem to think that a balanced budget amendment will solve our economic problems, when there is absolutely no chance of that occurring! Any constitutional amendment required a two thirds vote of the House of Representatives, followed by a two thirds vote of the US Senate, and then a majority vote in each of the two houses in three fourths or 38 of the 50 states, with the only exception being Nebraska, which only has a one house or unicameral legislature.

We are not ever going to bring about 290 out of 435 votes in the House of Representatives and 67 out of 100 votes in the Senate for such an amendment! Only 36 proposed amendments have EVER achieved this two thirds vote, and the number of failed amendments is in the hundreds over our history!

But notice, even with 36 amendments making it through the Congress, we have only 27 amendments, telling us that NINE amendments failed to gain a three fourths support of state legislatures. Another way to put it is that IF there is a one vote majority in one of the two houses of the state legislatures against an amendment in just THIRTEEN states at a minimum, the amendment fails to be added to the Constitution.

There is no realistic possibility of a balanced budget amendment EVER making it into the Constitution, no matter what politicians say! And were it to happen, it would create a strait jacket, paralyzing us in a time of economic collapse, war, or natural disaster, no matter what limitations are put into such an amendment. It is time for serious minded people to give up the idea that such an amendment will EVER pass, and instead, take responsibility for the fact that the federal government IS necessary, and that we are all going to have to pay more taxes, whether we like it or not, and that it is PATRIOTIC to pay our fair share, including the super wealthy being thankful for their good fortune, and paying the tax level they used to pay from the 1940s through the 1970s, and certainly at the least, the levels of the Bill Clinton years in the White House!

It is also time for “dreamers”, who have the view that a serious third party movement could lead to the election of a President, to get a reality check as well!

Our electoral college system, which can only be changed by a constitutional amendment, which is not going to happen either, prevents a third party candidate from winning, with Theodore Roosevelt performing the best as a third party candidate of the Progressive Party in 1912, but only winning six states and 88 electoral votes, about a third of what is needed to win the White House. The only reason even he did that well was that he was a former President and extremely popular. Such a scenario will NEVER happen again, particularly with the 22nd Amendment, which limits Presidents to two complete terms in office, something not existing in 1912, when Theodore Roosevelt ran for what would have been a third, but non consecutive term as President.

Even if such a thing could happen, a third party candidate without major party backing would have an impossible situation gaining support to govern effectively, as indeed, independent Governor Jesse Ventura of Minnesota discovered in his term from 1999-2003!

For good or for bad, we are stuck with the two party system, and we will be electing a Democrat or a Republican for the Presidency for the long term future!

So forget the constitutional amendment route for a balanced budget, and ignore the thoughts of a third party movement electing a President, and instead accept the reality of the American future–we need to work within the system and just pick better people for public office, as we always have the right to do by voting and organizing, and stop hating our government, which with its faults, is still essential and necessary in our daily lives, as much as we would wish otherwise in our dreams!