South Dakota

The Midwest Battleground Will Determine The Political Future, And The Prospects For Democrats Look Good

The Midwest battleground—Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Michigan, Wisconsin, Michigan—is where the modern political system began, and has been a crucial factor in elections ever since the Republican Party was first created in Michigan and Wisconsin in the summer of 1854.

The Midwest is the heartland of the nation, often ridiculed by those who are from the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts, but the states of this area have a “wallop”, the potential to decide the national political trend.

Nine Republican Presidents came from the Midwest—Abraham Lincoln from Illinois; Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, William McKinley, William Howard Taft, Warren G. Harding from Ohio; Benjamin Harrison from Indiana; and Herbert Hoover from Iowa; along with Gerald Ford from Michigan inheriting the Presidency via the 25th Amendment.

Also, other Republican nominees (Alf Landon, Bob Dole) and Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower were from “next door” Kansas in the Great Plains.

At the same time, Midwestern Democrats who ran for President include James Cox of Ohio, Adlai Stevenson II of Illinois, Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale from Minnesota, and George McGovern of “next door” South Dakota in the Great Plains, along with Harry Truman of Missouri and Barack Obama of Illinois.

So the Midwest and its nearby neighbors have had an amazing impact, and now the polls indicate the Midwest Governorships that are up for election trend toward Democrats in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, with Ohio also in play.

If the Midwest or most of it is won by Democrats, then the effect on reapportionment of seats in the House of Representatives after the 2020 Census figures are in, will greatly change the political equation for the next decade, so these gubernatorial elections are crucial turning points.

And it may help any Midwestern Democrat who plans to run for President, with Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar having a great opportunity, in the tradition of Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale, plus the image of Eugene McCarthy and Paul Wellstone also helping to give her candidacy a boost.

If the Democratic Presidential nominee is from the Midwest, it gives a boost that a candidate from the Atlantic Coast or Pacific Coast cannot give it, as the “Fly Over” States really will, again, as in the past, determine Presidential elections as well as control of Congress.

The Long, Controversial Career Of California Governor Jerry Brown, Arguably Now The Best Governor In America As He Leaves Office At Age 80!

California Governor Jerry Brown became 80 years old last week, and he has proved that an older political leader can be very effective, as he finishes his second consecutive term as the leader of the largest state, and the fourth term altogether going back nearly a half century.

Brown was elected Governor in 1974, when only 36 and served two terms of office until 1982. He was the youngest Governor in modern California history.

Twenty eight years later, at age 72, he was again elected in 2010 and is now finishing his second round of two consecutive terms in the California Governorship.

So over a period of 36 years, he served more years in office than all but a few state Governors in American history.

By the time he retires in January 2019, only Terry Branstad of Iowa, now Ambassador to China, with 22 years four months; George Clinton of New York serving 20 years and 11 months (in the late 18th and early 19th centuries); and South Dakota Governor William Janklow with 16 years and 7 days, will have served longer than Brown at 16 years and 5 days, with Alabama Governor George Wallace having one less day, at 16 years and 4 days–the only five Governors to have served 16 full years and more.

Brown, of course, also sought the Presidency in 1976 and 1980 against Jimmy Carter, and in 1992 against Bill Clinton. Additionally, he was California Secretary of State from 1971-1975, when he became Governor, and also Mayor of Oakland, California from 1999-2007 and California Attorney General from 2007-2011, when he was again elected Governor. Brown also ran for and lost a US Senate bid in 1982 to Peter Wilson, who later went on to be elected Governor of California in 1990 and 1994.

So altogether, he served in public office for 32 of the past 48 years, and was not in public office for 16 years after being in office for 12 years, but then had a “renaissance ” leading to a second period of 20 years. And even in that period of being out of office, he ran for the Presidency a third time.

Brown has always been controversial, but he is now acknowledged by many observers as being the best state governor in America, having revived the fortunes of California in his third and fourth round in Sacramento.

And he has been a leader in fighting Donald Trump and his agenda, particularly in regard to the environment, and on immigration.

So despite the fact that he would be 82 in 2020, some have wondered if he would seek the Presidency yet again 44, 40, and 28 years after earlier seeking the White House.

The odds of his announcing for President or being able to win the nomination and election are extremely long, but Jerry Brown has proved he cannot be judged by normal circumstances, and that if anyone can defy the odds, it is Jerry Brown!

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.

George McGovern Birthday, What Would Have Been His 95th: A Moment To Remember

Senator George McGovern of South Dakota, the 1972 Democratic Presidential nominee against President Richard Nixon, would have been 95 today, a moment to remember this great man, who passed away five years ago on October 21, 2012.

McGovern may have been an historic loser, winning only Massachusetts and the District of Columbia in his race against Nixon 45 years ago.

But McGovern was, in many ways, the most principled man ever to run for President.

He ran as an anti Vietnam War candidate, who had been a fighter pilot in World War II.

He ran as a person committed to the hungry, the poor, the disadvantaged in our society. He worked across the aisle with Bob Dole of Kansas to take action to help the most deprived in our society.

He ran as a principled and decent political leader who wanted to bring America back to its purpose, to promote equality, justice and compassion.

Americans instead voted for the most unprincipled and corrupt President in American history, until Donald Trump came along.

George McGovern was my idol, my hero, as a young man in graduate school, inspired by the fact that he had, like myself, pursued a PH. D. in American history, and had taught on the college level before entering politics.

What is it about America that too often they vote for the candidate who is far less principled, decent, and compassionate–as with Richard Nixon and Donald Trump as two examples?

Why is it that we have, as a nation, too often made the wrong choice?

This is something that will be repeated until the better side of our nature finally returns to the basic principles of America, and steers away from those who exploit our fears and insecurities and worsens the American condition!

Small States’ (One House Member And Two Senators) Influence In Congress Since 1945

There are seven states that have had only one member of the House of Representatives, along with two US Senators, in the past 70 years. but despite their small populations, these states have had a massive impact on American politics and history!  In addition, for the first few decades since 1945, Nevada also had one House member until growth caused two, and then, three seats in the House.

The seven states are Vermont, Delaware, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, and Alaska!

But North Dakota, South Dakota,and Montana had two members of the House until recent decades when reapportionment caused them to lose a second seat.

So only Vermont, Delaware, Wyoming, and Alaska (since 1959) stand alone as consistently having one House member and two Senators per state.

But look at their influence:

Vermont had George Aiken (R) (1941-1975) and has Patrick Leahy (D) for 41 years (1975 to Present) and counting now, and Bernie Sanders since 1990,  who  was the lone House member for 16 years before election to the Senate in 2006,making him the longest serving Independent in the history of both houses of Congress.  Also, Howard Dean, former Governor of the state, was a leading contender for the Democratic nomination in 2004, and then became head of the Democratic National Committee, and helped the rise of Barack Obama with a “50 state” strategy between 2004-2008.

Delaware had Joe Biden as Senator for six terms from 1973-2009, and now as Vice President.  He became one of the longest serving Senators of all time, and sought the Presidency in 1988 and 2008.

Wyoming had Dick Cheney as its lone Congressman for ten years from 1979-1989, before he ended up as Secretary of Defense under the first Bush Presidency, and Vice President in the second Bush Presidency.  Also, Alan Simpson served in the Senate from 1979-1997 as  a Republican, and Gale McGree from 1959-1977 as a Democrat.

Alaska had Ted Stevens in the Senate for 40 years from 1968 to 2009, the longest serving Republican Senator in American history.  Also, Sarah Palin , while Governor, was the Vice Presidential nominee for the Republicans in 2008.

And if one looks at the other states which had one Congressman at least for the last few decades, we have South Dakota and Senator George McGovern (1963-1981), the 1972 Democratic Presidential nominee; Montana, with Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield (D) (1953-1977) from 1961-1977; Nevada with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) (1987-Present) from 2007-2015; and North Dakota Senators Kent Conrad (1987-2013) and Bryan Dorgan (1992-2011).

So the “small” states have really had a major role in American politics, despite their small populations!

Political Correctness Gone Mad: The Attack On Historical Figures’ Monuments And Statues Because Of Their Racism And Bigotry!

Face the facts, racism and bigotry is part of human history, whether we like it or not!

Many great leaders in government were racists, bigots, and should be denounced for that part of their historical record!

But to say that Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, and innumerable others who have been important figures in American history should, therefore, be wiped out of history–have all statues removed, all monuments destroyed, all buildings renamed, all streets and schools no longer reflect their historical significance, much of it good,— is CRAZY and distorting history!

We can condemn the fact that many Presidents were slave owners; that Lincoln had a mixed record on racial matters; that Confederate leaders were out to defend slavery; that many 20th century Presidents had a prejudice toward various religious, racial and ethnic groups in American society; and recognize there is much to do to overcome racism and bigotry.

But all of the people mentioned are an important part of history in ways and on issues other than negative ones!  They had positive contributions that affected the long run of history!

So should the effect of Woodrow Wilson on Princeton University be wiped out; and should the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials and Washington Monument; and should Stone Mountain in Georgia and Mount Rushmore in South Dakota; and endless other monuments and sites named after imperfect people— be destroyed because some people are affronted about our past?

The answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT, and instead use the truth of the past as a teaching moment, and strive to make America a better place now and in the future!

Christmas Day: 15 States Refuse To Promote ObamaCare Or Expand Medicaid To Their Poorest Citizens!

Today is Christmas, and one would think it is a day when caring about others less fortunate than ourselves would be at the top of the agenda.

But not true in 15 of the states, heavily Southern and Great Plains–the rabidly Republican areas with a political establishment that does not care about the plight of the poor one iota, and have refused to promote ObamaCare or a Medicaid expansion!

These states should be embarrassed at the lack of concern over health care, which should be a human right, as much as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, as one cannot be very happy if one is unable to afford health care and, therefore, is certain to die earlier rather than later!

The list of states that make up this infamous list include: Maine and Wisconsin, who have two horrific Tea Party Governors, Paul LePage and Scott Walker; Missouri, with a Democratic Governor, Jay Nixon, who has not distinguished himself with his handling of the Ferguson controversy over the death of an unarmed black teenager; the Great Plains states of South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma, with some of the worst Governors in the nation; and the Southern states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.

Think about it: Besides Paul LePage and Scott Walker, other Governors who are seen by progressives in a negative light, include Sam Brownback, Mary Fallin, Nikki Haley, Rick Scott, Bobby Jindal, and Rick Perry (soon to be succeeded by Greg Abbott)!

Only Missouri has a Democratic Governor, and yet not a good one, in Jay Nixon. Otherwise, these states, overall, have a record of being among the worst states in so many economic statistics, with the exception of Wisconsin, often a progressive state, but now under the control of a despicable Governor who wants to be President, but is, hopefully, going to fail in that mission!

The Republican “Insane Asylum” Rears Its Ugly Head!

The Republican Party is reveling in its midterm victories, but the victory will be short lived, as already, the GOP is self destructing in its reaction to the expected move of President Obama on immigration reform sometime soon.

Talk of impeachment of President Obama is rampant, along with threats to shut down the government once again, even though that was harmful to the Republicans, and hurt the American economy.

Obama is also infuriating right wingers with his plan to veto the Keystone XL Pipeline, if the Senate approves the construction of this environmentally damaging project, which will create few jobs, and contradict treaties with native American tribes, including the Rosebud Sioux of South Dakota.

And potential Presidential candidates are acting as if they are patients in the “insane asylum”!

One example is former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, who advocates that we promote the kind of racial harmony that existed when Jerry Falwell and Jesse Helms were alive! Falwell, leader of the Moral Majority and then the Christian Coalition, and Helms, Republican Senator from North Carolina, did just the opposite of what Santorum claims, and makes us realize that Santorum is from a parallel universe!

Another example is former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who was perceived as moderate conservative in 2008, but then sold his soul by going to Fox News Channel, and has said reckless and dangerous things since. He is now on a speech tour stating that America is moving toward becoming Nazi Germany under Barack Obama!

Interesting and crazy statement, as it is precisely people like Santorum and Huckabee, and Fox News Channel, the Heritage Foundation, and the Tea Party Movement, who are moving us closer to Nazi Germany or Fascist Italy, with their reckless attacks on Obama.

And yet we thought that Obama was a Communist, a Socialist, a Kenyan, an Indonesian, a black power racist–and now, suddenly, he is on the other side of the political spectrum with Nazism and Fascism, even though he is African American, and Nazis and Fascists would be out to kill people of so called “inferior” races!

This demonstrates how nuts and looney the GOP is becoming, and they will discover that their extremism, racism, nativism, misogyny, and homophobia will destroy their Senate majority and chances for the Presidency in 2016 and beyond!

Family Names May Not Help Democratic Senators In Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, But Senate Will Remain Democratic With Margin of 53-47 Or 52-48!

Three Democratic Senators with famous family names and moderate conservative records in office seem likely to be victims of the Republican opposition, and to lose their seats in November.

Mark Begich’s father was a Congressman from Alaska, but Begich seems likely to lose his seat to Dan Sullivan, the GOP nominee for his seat.

Mark Pryor’s father was a Senator from Arkansas, but Pryor seems likely to lose his seat to Republican Congressman Tom Cotton.

Mary Landrieu’s father and brother were Mayors of New Orleans, but although she is known for winning tight races, it seems likely she will lose her seat in the Senate to Republican Congressman Bill Cassidy.

However, these losses are likely to be matched by victories in Kentucky, Georgia, and Kansas, which will make it an even balance, and Virginia, Minnesota, Michigan, Iowa, Colorado, and Oregon are highly likely to remain Democratic. It is also clear that Montana and West Virginia are likely to switch from Democratic to Republican.

So the one seat left to be mentioned is South Dakota, with its four way race of Republican former Governor Mike Rounds; former Republican, now Independent Larry Pressler; and Democrat Rick Weiland, with even a fourth candidate, another Independent, Gordon Howie, making it highly likely that either Weiland or Pressler (who voted for Barack Obama twice despite his earlier GOP service in the Senate) might win this donnybrook of a race and join the Democratic caucus in the US Senate.

So this blogger predicts a final Senate of either 52 or 53 Democrats and Independents, and 47 or 48 Republicans, depending on South Dakota’s final results. That would be a 2 to 3 seat gain in the Senate for the GOP, but control of the Senate continuing for the Democrats!

Washington Post 95% In Belief Republicans Will Win Senate In November: Totally A Delusion!

It is amazing that the Washington Post is predicting by a percentage of 95 percent that the Republicans will win the six seats needed to control the US Senate in 2015-2016.

Even if they do, which is highly unlikely, with two thirds of the seats in 2016 having incumbent Republicans, it is certain that the Democrats, if they lose control will regain it with a major margin in 2016!

But to believe that the Republicans will gain six seats is belied by the likely defeat of Pat Roberts in Kansas and Mike Rounds in South Dakota, both which no one had thought possible to go to the Democrats.

And those who think Mary Landrieu is not going to win her seat in Louisiana forget her ability to survive, as the only sane major figure in a state which includes Bobby Jindal and David Vitter, both disgraces in every possible manner!

And Mitch McConnell in Kentucky is not going to win his seat this time around against Allison Lundergan Grimes, and Georgia will go Democratic as well with Michelle Nunn, which means even if the Republicans win six seats, they will lose three in those those two states and Kansas, and will not win one of the so called three “guaranteed” states of South Dakota, Montana, and West Virginia!

North Carolina with Kay Hagan seems safe, while admittedly, Arkansas, with Mark Pryor, is in more danger.

Expect overall a three seat Senate gain for the Republicans, with the Senate going from 55-45 to 52-48, including a likely four independents, from Maine, Vermont, South Dakota (or Democrat Rick Weiland winning instead of Independent Larry Pressler), and Kansas!