Progressives

The Right Wing Supreme Court Seems Ready To Declare War On Abortion, Gay Rights, Gun Rights, Immigration, Separation Of Church And State, And Presidential Power

The new session of the Supreme Court has begun, and the full effect of Donald Trump appointees Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh will now, likely, be felt.

While it is true that Gorsuch and Kavanaugh are not “twins”, to expect any major surprises in constitutional law in this 2019-2020 term are highly unlikely, as right wing law looks in the ascendancy.

What the Court decides ends up as the law of the land, and for progressives, it does not bode well on the issues of abortion, gay rights, gun rights, immigration, separation of church and state, and the growth of Presidential power.

The fulcrum of the Court, Anthony Kennedy, is now retired for a year, and the only hope to avoid extreme right wing judgments is if Chief Justice John Roberts, who has been a surprise a few times in his views on the Court in recent years, becomes the new “swing” vote on the Court this term.

Roberts might also preside over an impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, who he, clearly, has been critical of in a number of ways, and the Court could limit Trump’s Abuse of Power, beyond Roberts presiding over an impeachment prosecution.

Since Roberts is worried about the image of “his” Court, some surprises may be in the offing, and of course, progressives will be watching the health and stability of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, now 86, having survived a third and fourth cancer, and wondering if she will be able to continue on the Court into the next Presidential term in 2021.

Democratic “Blue Wave” Victory Much Greater Than Had Been Imagined Possible

It is now evident that the Midterm Elections of 2018 were a revolution in many respects, a true “Blue Wave.”

We now know that 8.8 million more people voted Democratic than Republicans, the widest margin in American history, more than any other midterm election in modern times.

We now know that the Democrats gained 39 seats, and one more possible, in the House of Representatives, greater than anyone could have envisioned, meaning they will have 234 or 235 seats to the Republicans 200 or 201.

We now know that white suburbia, women, younger voters, independents, and racial and ethnic minorities all went over to the Democratic camp by wide margins.

We know know that seven more states have Democratic Governorships, and that such despicable people as Scott Walker, Kris Kobach, David Brat, and all of the Orange County Republican House members (Reagan Country) lost their races to Democrats.

We know that now Arizona and Nevada, along with Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania seem more likely to go Blue in 2020.

However, we also know that Democrats and progressives lost in Florida, Georgia, and in the Texas Senate race, and that seats were lost in the Senate in Florida, Missouri, Indiana, and North Dakota.

Overall, with some disappointments, a great result, and optimism about 2020.

The Ultimate Outcome Of The Midterm Elections Of 2018: The Social Welfare, Social Justice State Is Permanent After 83 Years

The ultimate outcome of the Midterm Elections of 2018 is the success and institutionalization of the Social Welfare, Social Justice State, finally permanent after 83 years.

It all goes back to the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the passage of Social Security in 1935, bitterly fought by Republicans and conservatives of that era, and still argued about by such leaders as Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan over the next half century.

But in 1983, President Reagan and Democratic Speaker of the House Thomas “Tip” O’Neill negotiated a bipartisan deal to save Social Security, not destroy it as Reagan had wanted to do, and it is the fundamental part of the Social Safety Net.

In 1965, after years of opposition by Republicans and conservatives, Lyndon B. Johnson and his Great Society accomplished Medicare and Medicaid. It has continued to be attacked and condemned, but it has survived and is a great part of the Social Safety Net.

Then, in 2010, Barack Obama accomplished the Affordable Care Act or ObamaCare, with no cooperation from Republicans or conservatives, even though back in 1993, conservatives, with the support of Bob Dole and Newt Gingrich, came up with a very similar health care plan, in opposition to the Bill and Hillary Clinton health care plan, which ultimately failed of passage. Also, Mitt Romney in Massachusetts accomplished a very similar plan as ObamaCare, but ran against his own plan for the nation when he ran for President in 2012.

The Republicans continued to try to destroy ObamaCare ever since 2010, having 70 votes on it over the years, but Chief Justice Roberts and Senator John McCain in 2012 and 2017, respectively, backed continuation at crucial moments. Now, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated that, clearly, ObamaCare is here to stay, so like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, ObamaCare has survived and become a permanent part of the Social Safety Net.

The Democrats and progressives have accomplished these great pieces of legislation since 1935, and the goal has always been to improve the laws, as no one ever said they were perfect, but it is the Democrats, not the Republicans who have advocated and succeeded in accomplishing the Social Welfare, Social Justice state, and they should be very proud of the work they have done.

So FDR, LBJ, and Obama are the three most successful domestic policy Presidents, and not just in the areas mentioned in this article!

A “Dream List” To Defeat: Ted Cruz, Rick Scott, Marsha Blackburn, Scott Walker, Kris Kobach, Steve King, Dave Brat

For anyone who is “progressive”, there is a “dream list” of Republicans to defeat.

This would include Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, arguably the most important of all to defeat, as he is a truly disgraceful man and Senator, hated by his own Senate colleagues, including those of his own party. Back in 2016, this blogger thought Cruz was worse than Donald Trump, and still considers him to be purely evil in his demagoguery, and it is hoped Texas will elect Beto O’Rourke, a truly dynamic and inspiring candidate. That would end Ted Cruz’s future quest to run for President in 2020 or 2024.

Governor Rick Scott of Florida, a truly horrific leader for the past eight years, is among the very worst of all Republican governors. He is now trying to win the Senate seat of Bill Nelson, and as a Floridian for the past 30 years, it is hoped that Nelson, who is a moderate, and therefore perfect for the complex politics of Florida, will be able to retire Scott from public life. Otherwise, expect that Scott might seek the Presidency in 2024.

Marsha Blackburn has been a disgraceful Congresswoman from Tennessee, in the same camp as former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota in her lack of any compassion or empathy. It is hoped former Democratic Governor Phil Bredesen will win the seat of retiring Senator Bob Corker.

Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin may be actually worse than Rick Scott, although both are as terrible as one can imagine as state governors. Seeking a third term, it is hoped that Tony Evers, the Democratic nominee and state Superintendent of Instruction, will retire him and his future presidential ambitions.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has spent his career trying to deny the right to vote, and headed a presidential commission working to deny that right, which was disbanded as a failed concept. Now he is running for Kansas Governor against state senator Laura Kelly, and Kansas desperately needs a Democrat in the Governorship after the failed leadership of former Governor and earlier Senator Sam Brownback.

Congressman Steve King of Iowa is probably the most outrageous and despicable Republican in the House of Representatives, an openly white supremacist, racist, nativist demagogue, who has stirred such outrage even among Republicans, that he might be facing a potential vote of expulsion from the House, if he is reelected. J. D. Scholten is his opponent, and it is hoped he can pull off an upset in that Congressional district.

Finally, David Brat, a former Economics Professor, who defeated Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader in a primary in 2014 in a Richmond, Virginia Congressional District, and is allied with the Tea Party Movement, faces a real challenge from Abaigail Spanberger. Former Republican Senator John Warner just endorsed Spanberger over his own party nominee, so there is hope Brat will be retired from the House of Representatives.

If four or five of these seven were to be defeated, it would be a celebratory result of the Midterm Elections of 2018!

The States That Will Decide Senate Control—Moderate Democrats Bill Nelson Of Florida, Claire McCaskill Of Missouri, Heidi Heitkamp Of North Dakota

Three “Red” States, those who voted for Donald Trump, have moderate Democratic Senators, who face tough challenges to be reelected.

Those states are Florida and Bill Nelson, Missouri and Claire McCaskill, and North Dakota and Heidi Heitkamp.

Progressives are not necessarily happy with these Senators, as they tend to be far less liberal than most Democrats, but there is no way for the Democrats to succeed and be a majority, if they repudiate those who tend to be more centrist.

So the hope is that Nelson, McCaskill, and Heitkamp can keep their seats, as if they do not, there is no chance of Democrats being a majority in the US Senate, and the potential loss of some of the 49 present Democratic seats would be disheartening.

It is ironic that it seems likely that the Democrats will win Nevada with Jacky Rosen, and Arizona with Kyrsten Sinema, but if they lose any or all three of the presently held Democratic seats, they will end up in negative territory.

Of course, IF the Democrats could produce a “miracle” and win with Beto O’Rourke in Texas over Ted Cruz, and in Tennessee with Phil Bredesen over Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, along with Nevada and Arizona, the loss of the moderate Democrats would be less significant, as long as at least one of those three seats was retained.

Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh A Very Political Choice, Reminding Us Of Past Political Wars

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh comes across as a very nice man on the surface, with a nice family, and a long history and record as a Judge on the Court of Appeals in Washington, DC.

He is smart enough and well spoken enough, but that is not enough for the Supreme Court.

Kavanaugh is a political “animal”, involved in the Ken Starr Impeachment investigation of Bill Clinton two decades ago, and also engaged in the fight to help George W. Bush stop the vote count in the state of Florida in the Presidential election of 2000.

He also has a clear record of opposition to abortion rights as a devout Catholic who wishes to impose his personal views on the nation, instead of promoting “Stare Decisis”.

He also has a record of opposition to the Affordable Care Act.

So both of these important issues are now in danger as a result of his nomination.

Kavanaugh also has stated that a President should not face indictment and prosecution in office, which makes him a likely ally of Donald Trump in any future possibility of pursuing the President for obstruction of justice, abuse of power, violation of the Emoluments clause, and Russian collusion.

It will be extremely difficult to stop Kavanaugh’s nomination, but the Democrats, if they stay united, and if Republicans Susan Collins and or Lisa Murkowski can be convinced to oppose, it can be stopped.

These are very difficult times for progressives, but it is not time to give up, not yet at least!

The Trump Juggernaut Overrunning Moderate Democrats: Between A Rock And A Hard Place!

The Democratic Party is at a crossroads, and moderate Senate Democrats are “between a rock and a hard place”, with the Trump juggernaut about to run them down!

There are 10 Democratic moderates who are running for reelection in states won by Donald Trump.

If they all remained loyal to their party, and IF Susan Collins or Lisa Murkowski joined them, a Supreme Court pick could be stopped, but that is asking for too much to be assured.

And if they do not support the Trump nominee, it could kill their chances of reelection.

But of course, if they vote for the Trump nominee, many Democrats and moderates might decide it is not worth voting, and they will lose their elections anyway.

So what to do?

Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota voted for Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee, last year.

All three are in great danger of losing their seats, with or without the Supreme Court nominee controversy they now face.

Then we have Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Jon Tester of Montana, also in great danger of losing their seats.

The other five “Red State” Democrats are probably safer, and unlikely to lose their seats—Bob Casey Jr of Pennsylvania (who however is anti abortion in his background); Sherrod Brown of Ohio; Debbie Stebanow of Michigan; Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin; and Bill Nelson of Florida (but his seat will be the most expensive race ever, with opponent Rick Scott spending tens of millions to defeat Nelson).

So if one is to promote the left wing Democratic view, we would say to hell with these Senators, whose voting record is far from ideal, but the alternative to staying united no matter what these ten Senators decide to do on the Supreme Court nominee of Trump, is to see the Republicans gain more seats and lock up the Senate for the long haul.

That is why it seems to this blogger that to promote or expect a left wing Democrat as the Presidential nominee, while ideal in theory, is likely to kill off any chance of the Democrats winning the Presidency in 2020, after what could be a Democratic debacle in the Senate races this year.

What seems likely to happen is that the three Democrats who voted for Gorsuch will vote for the Trump Supreme Court choice and will survive, and the other seven Democrats—particularly the three women—McCaskill, Stabenow and Baldwin—will vote against and yet survive as well. Casey will be conflicted but probably vote NO and survive, as well as Brown. And Tester should still be able to win another term as well.

The toughest seat to keep will be Bill Nelson in Florida, but it seems likely he will vote NO on the nominee.

So at the end, the likely vote will be 53-46, all 50 GOP Senators, including Collins and Murkowski, with the exception of the absent John McCain, and Manchin, Donnelly, and Heitkamp, with anger and disgust by Democrats, but the only likely road to those seats being saved.

So IF all seats are saved, except possibly Florida, and then IF Arizona, Nevada, Tennessee, and maybe Texas are gained, the Democrats MIGHT have a 51-49 or 52-48 Democratic Senate, and the battle against Trump will have another day and more to fight, the best possible under present circumstances.

Of course, all progressives have to pray for the good health and continued life of Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, to serve until 2021, a tall order, as if that does not happen, the Supreme Court is lost with a certainty until close to 2045-2050, past the lifetime of this blogger and probably all of my readers.

This is a gloomy reality, but we have to do whatever we can do to promote a Democratic majority in both houses, and accept that not all Democrats will be progressives, but will at least be of the party persuasion!

Supreme Court Membership Could Be Increased In Future By Democratic Party Senate Majority, Perfectly Legal

Progressives have developed the idea that in the future, when Democrats gain the majority of the US Senate, they may move toward increasing the membership of the Supreme Court, playing hardball as much as the Republicans have under Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

McConnell refused to allow hearings for Merrick Garland, Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee to replace the dead Antonin Scalia, saying it was an election year, and improper to allow an outgoing President to make an appointment.

This was preposterous, as John Adams named John Marshall Chief Justice in 1801, after losing reelection to Thomas Jefferson; Andrew Jackson chose Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney in 1836, his last year in office; and Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison and William Howard Taft chose Justices in their last year in office; and Herbert Hoover chose Benjamin Cardozo in 1932, his last year in office; and Dwight D. Eisenhower chose William Brennan in the year of his reelection campaign; and Ronald Reagan chose Anthony Kennedy in his last year in office in 1988.

We have had differing numbers of justices. up to ten, and there is no constitutional barring of adding more Justices, as Franklin D. Roosevelt wished to do in 1937.

What is good for the goose is good for the gander, as the saying goes, and this might be a way to wield power on the part of the Democrats to create a balanced Court, as otherwise, we will have the most extremist Court since the 1920s!

Republicans Plan “Scorched Earth” Midterm Election Campaign, As Nasty And Degrading As Donald Trump Pursued In 2016!

Hard to believe, but indications are clear that the Republicans are planning a “scorched earth” midterm election campaign, as nasty and degrading as Donald Trump pursued in 2016.

Insults, smearing, and the dirtiest tactics imaginable beyond comprehension are planned, with the argument that Trump understands the American people, and therefore, the campaigns for office will be as vile and mean spirited as his, to meet the new low level of public discourse brought about by Trump.

No apologies, no limits, no second thoughts, about saying and promoting further division and hatred of people who are not the opponents, but the “enemies”.

One can be sure there will be massive doses of misogyny, racism, nativism, Islamophobia, antisemitism, and foul language utilized, since it appeals to the lowest common denominator among Americans.

Instead of bringing the level of dialogue to a higher level, we will see yet more disgusting and reprehensible behavior by candidates.

Character assassination will be common, and likely, it will turn off many voters who might decide to avoid voting, out of fear, or disgust, or resignation that the era of Trump is here to stay.

That is why Democrats and liberals and progressives must fight hard to resist this, and to convince voters change IS possible!

While not easy for Democrats, liberals, and progressives, we must fight tooth and nail, and now allow ourselves to be intimidated, as the common decency and future of the American people is at stake!

Why Don’t Republicans Abandon Donald Trump, And Promote A “True Believer”, Mike Pence?

A growing question, in the midst of ever expanding Donald Trump corruption regarding Russian Collusion, Obstruction Of Justice, Violation of the Emoluments Clause, Stormy Daniels Scandal, and the Michael Cohen controversy, is why Republicans do NOT abandon Trump, and promote a “true believer”, Vice President Mike Pence.

For those of us are who progressives, the thought of a President Mike Pence is a horror, as Pence is clearly a man who promotes theocracy in a manner that is clearly dangerous.

This is a man who was losing, at least in polls, his original plan for reelection as Indiana Governor in 2016, when Donald Trump “rescued” his career, by selecting him as his Vice Presidentila running mate.

Pence had a record of being allied with the Tea Party Movement while a Congressman, that arose in the wake of the election of Barack Obama in 2008.

Pence had a record of promoting the tobacco industry, and denying that cigarette smoking caused lung cancer.

Pence had a record of advocating conversion therapy to undo the “sin” of being gay or lesbian, even though he has denied that, but it is fact that he was and is a vehement opponent of gay rights and gay marriage, and that he wears his evangelical Christianity on his sleeve.

Pence had a record of being a leading misogynist, vehemently opposing the right of a woman to choose in regards to abortion, and his wife Karen has had a strong influence on his thinking on this, and on issues involving women’s equality in other areas.

Pence has a very good relationship with Republican leaders and many conservatives, as well as right wing evangelical leaders, so it would seem logical that at some point, the pressure will be on for these groups to pressure Trump to resign.

An upcoming meeting of right wing evangelicals, scheduled for Tuesday June 19 with President Trump, could become the motivation to tell Donald Trump the gig is up, and that if he does not resign, that the move will be on to force him out.

That day will mark 23 days after the length of time of Zachary Taylor in the White House in 1849-1850 before his death, a total of 492 days. So on the 515th day of his Presidency, one might expect the pressure to grow on Trump, and to lead to his resignation shortly after, making him the fourth shortest term of any President in American history!

A total of 10 Presidents have served less than a full term, but seven of them had at least two years and five months, but the likelihood of Trump lasting two years to January 20, 2019, can now be seen as extremely unlikely. And to expect him to last five more months to June 20, 2019, and surpass the fourth shortest Presidency, that of Warren G. Harding from 1921-1923, is certainly a long shot!