Texas

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!

Crucial Gubernatorial Races That Could Affect The Future In Reapportionment Of Seats In Congress And State Legislatures After 2020 Census

There are a number of crucial gubernatorial races coming up in November, which could dramatically change the future of American politics, and change the reapportionment of seats that comes about after the Census of 2020.

In Florida, Gwen Graham, the daughter of well respected former Governor and Senator Bob Graham, is now leading the Democratic primary in the polls, and she could affect the beginning of the return of Democrats to influence in the state legislature and in Congress, and is far preferable to Congressman Ron DeSantis, the favored Republican candidate backed by Donald Trump.

In Georgia, the Democrats have nominated Stacey Abrams, who has been the minority leader in the state House of Representatives, and is African American, against Trump endorsed Brian Kemp, the Georgia Secretary of State, who is extreme on gun rights.

In Ohio, Richard Cordray, the former head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and past Attorney General and State Treasurer, is the Democratic nominee for Governor, and is challenged by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, former US Senator, Lieutenant Governor, and Congressman.

In Illinois, the Democratic nominee for Governor is J B Pritzker, a venture capitalist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, competing against incumbent Republican Governor Bruce Rauner, also a venture capitalist and entrepreneur, who has had a contentious relationship with the Democratic controlled state legislature.

In California, Gavin Newsom, the Lieutenant Governor, is the Democratic nominee for Governor, running against Republican John Cox, a businessman, attorney and political activist backed by Donald Trump.

In Pennsylvania, sitting Democratic Governor Tom Wolf is heavily favored to win reelection, over Republican nominee and state representative Scott Wagner.

In Texas, Republican Governor Greg Abbott is challenged by former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, with Abbott strongly favored to be reelected, but thought that she would be a strong challenge to Abbott.

These seven large states in population could see six out of seven victories for the Democrats, all but Texas, in all likelihood.

With Democrats having only 16 state Governors, but 36 gubernatorial elections coming up, the odds of a majority or more of state governors being Democrats in 2019 is considered a likelihood, and would allow the Democrats to have a great influence on reapportionment and gerrymandering in the next decade.

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!

Potential New Faces On The National Scene After The Midterm Elections Of 2018

The upcoming midterm elections of 2018 may bring on the political scene some new Democrats who could become major players in the future of the party.

We have Democrats having a chance to become Governors of major states, and potentially playing a role in the 2020 Presidential election.

For instance, we have Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom of California as the odds on favorite to become the successor to Jerry Brown as Governor of the largest state, which means he will not be someone who can be ignored on the national scene.

We have former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, who is Jewish, and who seems to be the front runner for the Democratic nomination for Governor of Florida, and has a reasonable chance to become the leader of the third largest state.

We have Richard Cordray, the former head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and former Ohio State Treasurer and Attorney General, as the Democratic nominee for Ohio Governor.

We also have J.B Pritzker, a venture capitalist and part of the family that owns the Hyatt Hotel chain, and happens to be Jewish, who is the Democratic nominee for Illinois Governor.

Finally, we have Stacey Abrams, the first African American woman nominated for Governor in American history, the Minority Leader of the Georgia State Assembly, nominated by the Democrats.

Also, for the US Senate, we have Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke of El Paso, who has served in the House of Representatives since 2013, challenging Senator Ted Cruz for his Senate seat, with Cruz being the most widely derided and hated member of the Senate, even by his own Republican colleagues.

A leading priority should be to retire Ted Cruz, who this blogger thought was actually more dangerous than Donald Trump, among 2016 Republican Presidential contenders, although more recent developments have shown even Cruz not willing to be as disgraceful as Donald Trump has become, although still a despicable human being!

Trump’s Crime Against Children And Parents At The Mexico Border: A Crime Against Humanity, For Which His Administration Should Be Prosecuted!

It is enough to make any decent human being vomit to witness what is happening at the US border with Mexico in Texas, California, Arizona, and New Mexico, where immigrant migrant children are being ripped from the arms and protection of their mothers and fathers by border agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), who are acting like Nazi Gestapo agents.

Babies being breastfed by their mothers; wailing toddlers; children of older age; and preteens and teenagers are being effectively incarcerated by order of the racist, nativist government of Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions and others in the Trump regime, in former Walmarts and newly planned “Tent Cities” in the hot summer in Texas, reminding us of former Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arpaio who set up such inhumane conditions, and was pardoned by Donald Trump!

And Jeff Sessions has the gall to quote the Bible in defense of the inhumanity being practiced, and Bible Toters are promoting child abuse, creating emotional damage to children which will last a lifetime, and will likely cause mental trauma that may lead to these children as adults to commit crimes in revenge for their mistreatment.

One can be certain that many parents will never find their children again as record keeping and accountability are not evident, and that there will be many cases of their babies being sold into slavery, and that sexual abuse will occur, including mixing boys of prepubescent and teenage years together, encouraging bullyism and abuse by older against younger.

The horrors of what is going on makes Trump and his government ever more lacking in ethics, morals, common decency, conscience, compassion or empathy!

The so called “family values” claim of the Republican Party is a mockery, and yet we see little reaction by Republican Congressional leaders and those in Texas!

This is a massive violation of human rights that cannot be allowed to stand, as what Trump is doing is against international law, and stains the image of all decent Americans, that we allow such abuses to go on for any amount of time without immediate rectification!

Trump and his cabinet advisers involved in this crime against humanity need to be removed and prosecuted for what they have done to our nation and its people!

The Disaster Of Puerto Rico, 4,645 Dead, More Than September 11: A Violation Of Human Rights Perpetrated By The Trump Administration

The tragic disaster of Puerto Rico, whose population are US Citizens, is a massive violation of human rights perpetrated by the Trump Administration.

The total of 4.645 dead, not the 64 first stated, is an unbelievable loss of life, nearly two and a half times the loss of life in Hurricane Katrina (1833), and one and a half times the losses of September 11 (2996).

And yet, nothing is said or no apologies offered, or mistakes acknowledged, by Donald Trump or any of his underlings in the cabinet, and also in the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which has the primary responsibility in natural disasters.

There is no conscience, no sorrow, no regrets, as Trump and his advisers are openly racist against Puerto Ricans.

If this loss of life had occurred in Texas or Florida, we would have heard mass denunciation of the lack of response, but the Republican Party in Congress has nothing to say about this great tragedy.

And with the hurricane season upon us, and reconstruction of facilities not accomplished in Puerto Rico, there is great fear of the final decimation of the island, which deserves equal treatment and consideration as much as any state and any other group of people.

If the government cannot guarantee the safety and security of its own population, then the government has failed the ultimate test—protection of national security of all of its citizens.

On this ground alone, Donald Trump and his ilk should be forced out of office, and indicted, convicted, and imprisoned for basic violation of human rights!

State Politics Much More Complicated Than Often Realized: The Cases Of New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Texas, California

Anyone who follows American politics historically and contemporarily often seems unaware of the complexity of state politics around the nation.

We hear discussion of “Blue” states and “Red” states, but state politics is much more complicated that that.

Gerrymandering often distorts the reality of political loyalties in many states, and also the reality of about one third of voters being “Independent”, rather than loyal to Democrats or Republicans.

There are many examples of this across the nation, particularly noticeable in larger, more populated states.

Just a few examples:

New York State is often thought to be strongly Democratic, but not true in the state legislature, and New York City is vastly different in political culture from upstate New York areas, such as Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany. Even Long Island, Nassau and Suffolk Counties, often reflect different views than the five boroughs of New York City, and within New York City, Staten Island, is vastly different from Manhattan, the Bronx, and Brooklyn, with Queens County more balanced than the other boroughs in the city.

Pennsylvania is a state where gerrymandering has given the Republicans until now a great advantage, but new court ordered mandates may change that balance in Congress and the state legislature. Philadelphia has a very different political orientation than western Pennsylvania, often called “Alabama” outside of the city of Pittsburgh.

Virginia is well known to have a very liberal Democratic northern section (often called NoVa), reflecting the influence of being the Washington DC suburbs, while much of the rest of the state is reliably conservative and Republican.

Florida is strongly Democratic in the southern counties, particularly Broward and Palm Beach Counties, with somewhat less so in Miami Dade County due to the influence of Cuban Americans, but even that is diminishing, since it is now 60 years since the rise of Fidel Castro, and those directly affected negatively by Castro, are mostly no longer part of the population in Miami. At the same time, Central Florida is the real battleground in the state, the area that decides most elections. North Florida is much like Alabama or Georgia, its neighbors.

Ohio is strongly Democratic in the northern and central sections, particularly in Cleveland and Toledo, and the capital of Columbus, but in the more rural parts and in southern Ohio, near Kentucky, including Cincinnati, it is strongly Republican.

Illinois is dominated by Chicago in the northern part, but down state Illinois is much more Republican in orientation.

Michigan has Detroit as strongly Democratic but in western and northern Michigan, it is much more rural and Republican.

Texas has Democratic strongholds in the state capitol, Austin, and in Houston, while other portions of this very large state, including the rural areas, are strongly Republican.

California has Democratic strongholds in San Francisco and Los Angeles, but the Central Valley, San Diego, and cities like Bakersfield, where House Majority Leader and possible next Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy resides, are strongly Republican.

The next race for the Speaker of the House could be between two Californians of totally different mentalities–Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco and Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield.

A basic reality is that urban areas are always much more likely to be Democratic while rural areas are certain to be more Republican.

Suburban areas are what often decides the politics of a state and in Congress and the Presidential election, as they are the balancing force that determines a state vote, and recently it seems clear the suburban areas, often Republican, are starting to move away from that long time loyalty.

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.

State Governorships And The Presidency

As reported two days ago on here, there were 19 Presidents who had served in the US House Of Representatives, almost 45 percent of all Presidents

When one examines state governors who became President, we discover that there were 17 such cases, two less than those who were Congressmen, so about 40 percent of all Presidents.

The list of state Governors who went to the White House include, in chronological order:

Thomas Jefferson
James Monroe
Martin Van Buren
John Tyler
James K. Polk
Andrew Johnson
Rutherford B. Hayes
Grover Cleveland
William McKinley
Theodore Roosevelt
Woodrow Wilson
Calvin Coolidge
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Jimmy Carter
Ronald Reagan
Bill Clinton
George W. Bush

Four of these Presidents were NY Governor (Van Buren, Cleveland, TR, FDR), with three Virginia Governor (Jefferson, Monroe, Tyler), two from Ohio (Hayes, McKinley), and two from Tennessee (Polk and Johnson). There were also one each from New Jersey (Wilson), Massachusetts (Coolidge), Georgia (Carter), California (Reagan), Arkansas (Clinton), and Texas (George W. Bush).

Four ascended to the Presidency from the Vice Presidency, with John Tyler and Andrew Johnson not elected President later, while Theodore Roosevelt and Calvin Coolidge were elected President in their own right.

Five times in American history, we had one governor succeed another one–1845 when Polk succeeded Tyler; 1897 when McKinley succeeded Cleveland; 1901 when TR succeeded McKinley; 1981 when Reagan succeeded Carter; and 2001 when George W. Bush succeeded Clinton.

There were two periods of years when there were no governors in the White House–from Polk leaving office in 1849 until Andrew Johnson in 1865; and from FDR leaving office in 1945 until Carter in 1977.

Twenty eight of the last 40 years between 1977 and 2017 saw a total of four Governors in the Presidency, from Carter to Reagan to Clinton to George W. Bush.