Tennessee

Brennan Center For Justice: 19 States With New Voting Restrictions Since 2016

The William Brennan Center For Justice, named after the great former Supreme Court Justice, tracks violations of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and has exposed the reality that 19 states, since the Supreme Court backtracked on the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in a decision in 2013, have made the right to vote much more difficult, and affecting election results.

In 2016, 14 states had new voting restrictions in place for the first time in a presidential election, with these states including Alabama, Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.

In 2017, Arkansas, North Dakota, Missouri, Georgia, and Iowa added new laws.

So 8 Southern states of the old Confederacy (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia) are back where they were before the Voting Rights Act of 1965, making it harder for blacks and other people of color, and poor people in general, to be able to have the chance to vote.

But also, the 8 Midwestern states of Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas have gown down the same road.

And Arizona in the West and New Hampshire and Rhode Island on the Atlantic Coast also have made it more difficult to vote.

Look at this list of states, and notice almost all of them, except Virginia, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island voted for Donald Trump.

So we have the possibility that despite public opinion polls that indicate a “Blue Wave”, the restrictions on voting rights could impact election result in November.

Candidates For US Senate Who Might Start First Term In Their 70s: Mitt Romney In Utah And Phil Bredesen In Tennessee

A new phenomenon is that newly elected members of the Senate are tending to come into office at advanced ages.

In 2019, we could have two new Senators in their 70s upon taking the oath of office to serve their states in the Senate.

Mitt Romney, the former Republican nominee for President in 2012, is almost certain to win the Senate seat in Utah, and he would be two and half months short of 72 in January 2019.

Phil Bredesen, the former Democratic Governor of Tennessee, if he wins the open Senate seat, would be two months past 75 in January 2019.

They would both surpass two other Senators who were a bit younger–Republican S. I Hayakawa of California who took office in 1977 at age 70; and Angus King, Independent of Maine, who was 68 in 2013 when first came to the Senate, and running again now in 2018 at age 74.

The Kavanaugh Supreme Court Battle Increases Chances Of Democratic Controlled Senate In 116th Congress

The battle over the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, who now faces further scrutiny, due to sexual assault charges, improves the chances of the Democrats being able to win the US Senate for the 116th Congress.

As a result of this situation, none of the ten “Red State” Democrats need to feel political pressure to back Kavanaugh, as three of them did for Neil Gorsuch in 2017.

And it seems highly likely that two Republican women Senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, will now be able to justify refusing to support Kavanaugh, if he does not withdraw.

Even two Senators who are leaving at the end of the year, Bob Corker of Tennessee and Jeff Flake of Arizona, might also reject Kavanaugh if he comes up for a vote after next week’s hearings for his accuser, as well as for Kavanaugh himself.

So it now seems likely that there will be no new Supreme Court nominee before the election, and probably not before the new Congress, and if the Democrats can win Arizona, Nevada, Tennessee, and Texas, or at least two of those states, and keep all 49 of their Senators, then they have the ability to tell Donald Trump, that they will refuse to accept any appointment to the Court, except Merrick Garland, who was denied a hearing in 2016.

Since Garland is a moderate centrist, and in his mid 60s, his appointment to the Court would be shorter in duration, but it would keep a balanced Court, and allow a good man to gain what he was entitled to two years ago.

So there may be yet some justice in this whole situation, or else Trump may have to live with a long term eight member Court.

Key Republicans To Defeat: Ted Cruz, Rick Scott, Marsha Blackburn For Senate, And Scott Walker For Governor

As the midterm elections get closer, this blogger sees four key Republicans that he hopes will be defeated, as he considers them the worst of the worst of all Republicans running for office.

In ranked order, the first would be Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who this blogger thought was more dangerous than even Donald Trump during the 2016 Presidential campaign. Cruz is a true monster, a very evil force, hated even by Republicans, due to his arrogance and cockiness and his despicable voting record. El Paso Congressman Beto O’Rourke is running a very close race against Cruz, and there are many who think that even “Red” Texas is ready to be flipped to the Democrats and O’Rourke, as part of a growing belief that Texas will be “Blue” in future years. Nothing would satisfy this blogger more than to see Cruz retired from the Senate.

Second on the list would be Florida Governor Rick Scott, leaving the Governorship, but running for the US Senate against Democrat Bill Nelson. Scott has been a horrible Governor, and should have been in federal prison for Medicare and Medicaid fraud, and his eight years as Florida Governor have been a horror, setting Florida back, and making Jeb Bush look far better by comparison. He has doubled his wealth despite a blind trust, and is outspending Nelson, but polls indicate the election is close, and this man should not be given a Senate seat, and the fact that he won two terms as Governor by very small margins gives hope that Nelson can pull it out, hopefully on the coattails of Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum.

Third on the list would be Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker, who is after Scott the most disgraceful governor in the past eight years, doing great harm to the past progressive image of the state of the La Follettes, Gaylord Nelson, William Proxmire, and other reform oriented leaders that made Wisconsin a leader in reform. Walker is another arrogant, cocky leader who richly deserves being retired. The Democrats have nominated the State Superintendent of Instruction Tony Evers, and the race is close, based on public opinion polls.

Finally, on this short list is Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, giving up her certain House seat to run for an open Senate seat in Tennessee, created by the retirement of Senator Bob Corker. Blackburn is an obnoxious, insufferable person, as annoying as former Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann was in her years in the House of Representatives. Blackburn, however, has a tough competition in former Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen, who is ahead of her by a good margin, and hopefully, Bredesen, extremely popular, will soundly defeat Marsha Blackburn.

If all four of these Republicans could be defeated, it would be as if one was in heaven, and right now, there is a good chance that all four will lose out, to the benefit of Texas, Florida, Wisconsin, Tennessee, and the nation at large. Additionally, any plans in the future for Cruz or Walker to run for President again, or for Scott to plan to do so, would be gone, if they lose reelection in the case of Cruz and Walker, or election for Scott.

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!

Possible Democratic Gains In US Senate In Midterm Elections Of 2018

The Democrats have a massive challenge ahead, somehow to reelect all ten “Red State” Democratic Senators, but also, at the same time, to gain at least two additional seats and have a majority of 51 or more in the US Senate.

This is crucial to stop the worst of Trump Administration policies, and to insure that any future Supreme Court or Circuit or District Court judgeships not be as extreme right wing, as are occurring now.

Six seats seem open to switching to the Democrats:

Arizona, where Jeff Flake is retiring, and where Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema is ahead of three potential Republican opponents.

Nevada, where Dean Heller is the most endangered Republican Senator up for reelection, challenged by Congresswoman Jacky Rosen, and she has been ahead of Heller in many public opinion polls.

Tennessee, where Bob Corker is retiring, and former Democratic Governor Phil Bredesen is seen as ahead of Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn.

Texas, where Ted Cruz is gaining a serious challenge from Congressman Beto O’Rourke of El Paso, and O’Rourke has raised more money than Cruz, who famously is disliked by all his fellow Senators by the testimony of many Democrats and even Republican colleagues.

Mississippi, where Thad Cochran retired suddenly due to bad health, and will have a special election to fill the seat, temporarily filled, and the hope that an upset is possible, as occurred in Alabama last fall, with Doug Jones taking a normal Republican seat. Mike Espy, former Congressman, Secretary of Agriculture for two years under Bill Clinton, and an African American, is seen as having some chance to take the seat, although not seen as likely to win, but a surprise could occur.

Mississippi, where Roger Wicker faces a challenge from state legislator David Baria, Minority Leader of the state legislature, who is seen as having a reasonable chance to win.

The first three of these six seats seem likely to go to the Democrats, which if true, would allow the loss of one of the ten “Red State” Democrats, and still have 51 seats, but that does not leave much room for error.

If all six seats, magically, went Democratic, and no loss of any of the “Red State” Democrats in November occurred, in theory, the Democrats could have as many as 55 seats, but that is clearly a result with very low potential to occur.

One more issue: New Mexico, where Democrat Martin Heinrich should have no trouble winning, but if former Republican Governor and 2016 Libertarian Party Presidential nominee Gary Johnson decides to run for the Senate, creating a three way race, it could put Heinrich’s seat in jeopardy.

So the challenge for Democrats to gain a Senate majority of 51 votes is clouded by overwhelming challenges!

Bob Corker And Jeff Flake Both Retiring, Should Use Their Influence On The Senate Foreign Relations Committee To Quell Donald Trump

Two Republican Senators have decided not to run for reelection, and both have been critics of Donald Trump.

Bob Corker of Tennessee is the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, and Jeff Flake of Arizona is on the committee.

Both have no reason to cooperate with Donald Trump, now after this horrific week of foreign policy. We have witnessed the trashing of NATO and the European Union, and criticism of leaders of major allies, including Angela Merkel of Germany, Theresa May of Great Britain, Emmanuel Macron of France, and Justin Trudeau of Canada by Trump. At the same time, we have seen the praise and secret diplomacy of Trump with Vladimir Putin, causing an uproar, and now Trump’s invitation to Putin to come to the White House in the fall, possibly before the midterm elections, or alternately to witness the military parade ordered by Trump for Veterans Day, to be celebrated Saturday November 10 in Washington DC.

Corker and Flake, along with others, should denounce the Putin invitation and the wasted money on an unnecessary military parade, so that Donald Trump’s ego is further glorified.

The two Senators should do everything possible to make life for Trump more difficult, and should refuse to move forward on any policy, foreign or domestic, where their votes are needed to make a majority.

Both should order more subpoenas to require administration cabinet members to testify under oath, and make clear that they have declared war on the corrupt Presidency of Donald Trump!

Their leadership could make a difference in so many ways, and encourage more Senators on the Republican side to join them and the ill Senator John McCain of Arizona, and the principled Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, who has been a never ending critic of Donald Trump, and could face retribution when he faces his own reelection in 2020.

Of course, it is possible to imagine that Bob Corker, Jeff Flake, and Ben Sasse could end up challenging Trump for the Republican Presidential nomination of 2020 against Trump, or Vice President Mike Pence, were he to become President later in this term.

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 Surrender Of The Republican Party To The Cult Of Donald Trump Seems Complete

The Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, George H W Bush, Gerald Ford, and even Ronald Reagan is gone.

So is the party of Robert LaFollette, Sr., George Norris, Nelson Rockefeller, Mark Hatfield, Clifford Case, William Scranton, and innumerable others who served as Governors or US Senators.

The Republican Party of 2018 has sold its soul to the idea of maintaining office at all costs, and all principles, morals, and ethics have totally disappeared.

No one, literally no one, who is running for election now or in the near future, is willing to gamble losing his or her position of power.

Only those who are dying, as John McCain–or not running for reelection, such as Bob Corker of Tennessee and Jeff Flake of Arizona—or not in office or those who have journalistic integrity despite their Republican or conservative credentials in the past—have the willingness to speak up. Or the most recent example of South Carolina Congressman and former Governor Mark Sanford, a strong conservative Republican, who lost his party’s primary despite his conservative credentials, because he had the “nerve” to criticize Donald Trump!

The only way to purge the party future is for all officeholders, or most of them, who are facing election and staying silent, to be forced out of office by the voters in the midterm Congressional and state elections in November 2018.

This is, and it is not meant to sound dramatic, but this is the only hope for American democracy, that the Democrats have a massive, overwhelming victory.

If not, we are living in a period where the Constitution and Bill of Rights are being destroyed before our eyes, with most Americans not caring, or complicit by silence and lack of interest and participation in voting, in the downfall of the American experiment as the great constitutional democracy America was meant to be!

We are living in a time of a cult, a mass worship of a very flawed, evil human being, who has no concern for the future, but only for his own material wealth and stroking of his ego.

We have a very sick, mentally deranged individual who has the capability of destroying the planet, or caving in to the whims of other totalitarian leaders who he wises to emulate.

If there is a history to be written in the future, however, Donald Trump will be condemned as the most despicable, evil leader we have ever manufactured!

State Elections Lost By Presidents

Today, we will examine elections at the state and Congressional level lost by future Presidents, indicating that about a third of our Presidents lost election on the way to the White House.

William Henry Harrison lost election as Governor of Ohio in 1820, and as a Congressman in 1822.

John Quincy Adams lost election as Governor of Massachusetts in 1833.

James K. Polk lost election as Governor of Tennessee in 1841 and again in 1843.

Abraham Lincoln lost election as Senator of Illinois in 1854 and again in 1858.

Andrew Johnson lost election as Senator of Tennessee in 1869 and again in 1872.

Rutherford B. Hayes lost election as Congressman of Ohio in 1872.

Benjamin Harrison lost election as Governor of Indiana in 1876 and as Senator in 1887.

William McKinley lost election as Congressman of Ohio in 1890.

Warren G. Harding lost election as Governor of Ohio in 1910.

Lyndon B. Johnson lost election as Senator of Texas in 1941.

Richard Nixon lost election as Governor of California in 1962.

George H. W. Bush lost election as Senator of Texas in 1964, and again in 1970.

Jimmy Carter lost election as Governor of Georgia in 1966.

Bill Clinton lost election as Congressman of Arkansas in 1974 and as Governor in 1980.

George W. Bush lost election as Congressman of Texas in 1978.

Barack Obama lost election as Congressman from Illinois in 2000.

What this all demonstrates is that just because someone running for office is defeated does not mean to give up the idea of running again, as clearly, the proof is that 16 future Presidents did not give up the idea of running for public office again.

It also shows that 9 states defeated future Presidents running for public office, with 4 future Presidents in Ohio, 3 in Texas, two in Tennessee and Illinois. and one each in Massachusetts, Indiana, California, Georgia, and Arkansas.