Tammy Baldwin

Crucial Senate Races On Road To Democratic Majority In 116th Congress

The US Senate will be a major battleground this coming November.

Ten “Red State” Democrats face the challenge of winning their seats, with a few of them the most endangered.

If the Senate is to go Democratic, all ten seats must be won by their Democratic veterans, but that is a tall order, and is tied to the hearings over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

The most endangered regarding that issue are West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp, and Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly.

Also possibly in trouble on that issue is Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill.

These four Senators are seen as moderate, rather than liberal Democrats, and all of them except McCaskill, voted for Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch last year.

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, Jr., Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin, Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, and Montana Senator Jon Tester all seem safer in their Senate races as of now, but that could change.

The most endangered incumbent, with or without the Kavanaugh vote, is Florida Senator Bill Nelson, who has Governor Rick Scott as his opponent, and with Scott having triple the amount of funds that Nelson has been able to garner. Scott is horrific, but he won two close races for Governor in 2010 and 2014, using his own wealth.

Now there is a new threat, that New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich might have more trouble being reelected, as former Governor and Libertarian Party 2016 Presidential candidate Gary Johnson, has just entered the race as an Independent, and in a three way race, anything is possible.

The problem is that even if all of these 11 Senators are successfully reelected, the Democrats still must win two more seats, with Arizona, Nevada, Tennessee, and Texas as possibilities in that order.

If the Democrats are able to win 51 seats in 2018, it would have to be considered a true miracle!

The “Red State” Democratic Senators, The Midterm Elections, And Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh

Ten “Red State” Democratic Senators face a moment of great challenge in November 2018.

Running for reelection in states that went for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2016, they face the danger of defeat in their Senate races if they do not support the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, with a final vote expected in October.

Voting for Kavanaugh will insure the likelihood of a conservative majority on the Court for the next 20-30 years, which will affect many areas of domestic and foreign policy, and the powers of the Presidency.

But voting against Kavanaugh may retire many of them, and insure a Republican gain of seats in the US Senate, from 51 to quite a few more, allowing the Republicans to dominate into the future.

So what should these Senators do? Should they be profiles in courage and risk their seats to delay or prevent a conservative Supreme Court majority? Or should they vote for Kavanaugh and give themselves another six years to fight against Trump, without the burden of facing the voters until 2024?

It seems likely that at least the three Senators who voted for Neil Gorsuch last year—Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Joe Donnelly of Indiana—will end up voting to confirm Kavanaugh if the vote cannot be delayed until after the November mid term elections.

The other seven are seen as unlikely to vote for Kavanaugh—Bill Nelson of Florida, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Jon Tester of Montana, Bob Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania, and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, with all seven now, except possibly Nelson, considered likely for a successful reelection to their Senate seats despite a negative vote on Kavanaugh.

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!

The Year Of Democratic Women On The Ballot Coming In 2018: Ten Incumbents And Two Seeking Election To The US Senate

In the midterm Congressional elections of 2018, a total of 12 Democratic women will be on the ballot for the US Senate, with 10 coming up for reelection and two making major challenges against Republicans in Arizona and Nevada.

Altogether, there are 16 Democratic women in the US Senate in 2017, so all but six are facing reelection battles.

This includes women in Trump won states—Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Claire McCaskill in Missouri, Debbie Stabenow in Michigan, and Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin.

Additionally, in Hillary Clinton won states, the following Democratic women are up for reelection–Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts. Kirsten Gillibrand in New York, Diane Feinstein in California, Mazie Hirono in Hawaii, Maria Cantwell in Washington State, and Amy Klobuchar in Minnesota.

Jacky Rosen is competing for the Nevada Senate seat against most endangered Republican Senator Dean Heller, and Kyrsten Sinema is trying to win the Senate seat of Jeff Flake, who is not running for reelection in Arizona.

The odds for both Rosen and Sinema are seen as good, and could tip the balance of the US Senate, but only if the other women, particularly in Trump won states, are able to overcome their disadvantage.

Therefore, while all of the Democratic women except Heidi Heitkamp are backed by the pro choice Emily’s List organization, it is important NOT to have a litmus test for Heitkamp, who while supportive of Trump about 51 percent of the time, still supports many Democratic Party goals, although she is not truly pro choice on abortion. If we want purity, then the Senate will be lost, as such a Senator as Joe Manchin of West Virginia, also running for reelection, is not any more pro choice than Heitkamp. The party needs to be more inclusive if it is to win and keep control of the US Senate in the future.

Wisconsin Political History: Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde!

The state of Wisconsin, the cheese and dairy state, has had a distinguished history in many respects.

It was the base of the great Mr. Progressive, Governor and Senator Robert La Follette, Sr, who also was the Progressive Party nominee for President in 1924, and had the third best percentage of the vote of any third party nominee in history, with one out of every six voters backing him.

It was the state of his son, Senator Robert La Follette, Jr, and also of his second son, Governor Philip La Follette, both leading Progressives in the 1930s.

It was the state of Senator Gaylord Nelson,  Senator Herb Kohl, Senator William Proxmire, and Senator Russ Feingold, the latter now seeking to regain his Senate seat that he lost to Ron Johnson in 2010, with these two men running against each other again in 2016.  It was also the state of Governor Patrick Lucey and Gaylord Nelson, before the latter became a Senator.

It is the state of Senator Tammy Baldwin, the first lesbian US Senator.

However, it was also the state of Senator Joseph McCarthy, the infamous Red Scare leader in the 1950s.

It is also the state of the disgraceful Governor Scott Walker; Senator Ron Johnson; and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, all very willing to work against the interests of the middle class and the poor.

How a state with a progressive tradition can often “go off the rails” is hard to understand.

But the progressive-liberal tradition remains a significant part of the Wisconsin historical story!

Now it is becoming the center of attention again, after Scott Walker endorsed Ted Cruz in the Republican primary to be held next week, with Cruz leading Donald Trump in polls; and Bernie Sanders leading Hillary Clinton in polls for the Democrats.

The Future Of The Democratic Party: Younger Liberals In The US Senate

When one sees that Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski, California Senator Barbara Boxer, and Nevada Senator Harry Reid are retiring in 2016, and know that other older Senate Democrats have limited time left in the Senate, it makes it clear that it is time to examine who among the “younger” generation of liberal Senate Democrats may be perceived as the future of the Democrats beyond Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and even Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

Even if Hillary Clinton becomes President, where is the hope for liberal Democrats in the future, as there are very few Democratic governors. The “youth” movement in the Democratic Party is therefore in the hands of the following younger liberal Senate Democrats:

Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy (41)
Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz (42)
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker (45)
New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (48)
Colorado Senator Michael Bennet (50)
Delaware Senator Christopher Coons (51)
Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin (53)
Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar (54)
Michigan Senator Gary Peters (56)
Virginia Senator Tim Kaine (57)
Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley (58)
Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (59)

These are the present Democratic hopes for the future, to make an impact on the level of Mikulski, Boxer, Reid, along with Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, California Senator Diane Feinstein, Florida Senator Bill Nelson, Maryland Senator Ben Cardin, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, New Mexico Senator Tom Udall, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed, Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, Washington Senator Patty Murray, New York Senator Chuck Schumer, Minnesota Senator Al Franken, and Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, as well as Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

Of course, more liberal Senate Democrats yet unknown could be elected in 2016, including Kamala Harris in California and Patrick Murphy in Florida, and hopefully, the Democrats will take back control of the United States Senate, and some new Democratic governors might be elected, assuming a coattail effect of the candidacy of the Democratic nominee in the Electoral College, still highly likely!

Quandary Over Progressives Opposing Military Action Against ISIL (ISIS)

The Senate vote last week authorizing aid to the Syrian rebels fighting ISIL (ISIS) was a strange vote, bipartisan, which is rare, but 22 Senators of both parties voting NO!

This included such progressive Democrats as Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, and Chris Murphy of Connecticut.  It also included Independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

On the other hand, it included Republicans such as Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah, and Rand Paul of Kentucky, all Tea Party types.

The first list of seven Progressive Democrats and one Independent is highly respected by this author and blogger, and it makes him pause in his own support of the concept of starting a war against Islamic terrorism, what he sees as the beginning of World War III!

Of course, other Progressive Democrats DID support the majority vote, and it makes one wonder who is right, and who will be judged as correct by history, and it could affect the Presidential Election of 2016 and beyond, as, for instance, Hillary Clinton backing the Iraq War can be, and has been used, against her, and could be a problem in 2016!

These are difficult times, and we face a crisis of massive proportions, and trying to figure out what is best for the nation puts one in torment daily!

“The Progressive Professor” Favorites In The US Senate, 113th Congress!

With the new Senate coming in on January 3 for the 113th Congress, this author and blogger has decided to indicate who his “favorite” members, those he has real respect and admiration for, and expects great things from for the next two years. The following list is not ranked, but simply a list of the top ten by state alphabetically! At the end, though, the author will list the two Senators he most admires, who he sees as tied for BEST! So here goes!

Tom Harkin of Iowa
Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts
Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota
Al Franken of Minnesota
Sherrod Brown of Ohio
Jeff Merkley of Oregon
Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island
Bernie Sanders of Vermont
Tim Kaine of Virginia
Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin

Seven of the above are incumbents, while Warren, Kaine and Baldwin are newcomers to the US Senate. And seven are men, while three are women.

And my favorite Senators of this group would have to be a tie between:

Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, true heroes in my mind!

Notice that FIVE of these Senators come from the Midwest (both from Minnesota, and Wisconsin, Iowa and Ohio).

Three come from New England–Massachusetts, Vermont and Rhode Island.

One comes from Virginia and one comes from Oregon.

And both favorites are New England neighbors.

This is the true progressive in action, with the Midwest, the area of progressivism in the past century, and New England as the areas of dominance, but with Oregon and Virginia adding admirable members to this select group!

The author invites commentary on this entry!

Twenty Women In The United States Senate In The 113th Congress: All Time High!

The 113th Congress will have TWENTY women, the highest number in American history!

The 112th Congress had seventeen women, 12 Democrats and 5 Republicans.

The 113th Congress will have 16 Democrats and 4 Republicans, with Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, both Republicans, retiring!

Five new women will join the Senate—Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts,.Tammy Baldwin of WIsconsin, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, and Deb Fischer of Nebraska, with Fischer being the lone Republican. Fifteen women Senators will remain, including three Republicans—Susan Collins of Maine, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. The twelve returning Democratic women include: Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Diane Feinstein of California, Barbara Boxer of California, Parry Murray of Washington, and Maria Cantwell of Washington.

Also, three states have both Senators being women—New Hampshire, California, and Washington!

And to top it off, New Hampshire not only has two women Senators, but also both House members are women, and the new Governor is a woman, the first state to have an all female representation in Congress and the Governorship!

How far America has come as we enter the year 2013!

The 113th Congress Most Diverse Congress In History

One of the greatest results of the Congressional Elections of 2012 is the tremendous diversity that will be present in the upcoming 113th Congress, which begins on January 3.

Just in the new membership, there will be:

4 African Americans
10 Latino Americans
5 Asian Americans
24 Women
2 Hindus
1 Buddhist
1 Non theist
4 openly gay
1 openly bisexual
1 gay of color
4 born in the 1980s

It will include such likely stars of the future as:

Joaquin Castro of San Antonio, whose brother, Julian Castro, is Mayor of that city
Joe Garcia, who is the first Cuban Democrat to represent Miami
Ted Cruz, second Cuban Republican Senator, from Texas
Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, first Hindu Congresswoman
Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, first Buddhist Senator
Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, Iraq War hero and diabled from her service in the war
Lois Frankel of Florida, former Mayor of West Palm Beach
Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, professor and promoter of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, first openly gay Senator
Patrick Murphy of Florida, youngest member of the new House
Joseph Kennedy III, son of former Congressman Joseph Kennedy II, and grandson of Robert Kennedy

It will be a most interesting Congress coming up in 2013-2014!