Texas

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.

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.

The Dozen Most “Trumpian” Members Of Congress: Traitors To Democracy And The Rule Of Law

It is well known by now that the Republican Party as a party in Congress is guilty of cooperating with a President who is moving toward authoritarianism and dictatorship with their support and endorsement, if by nothing else than collaboration and lack of spine to speak up, and even endanger their seats.

But the party cares more about the perks of office, and in enriching the wealthy at the expense of the middle class, working class, and the poor.

They have no compassion, no empathy, no concern about the poor, the sick, the elderly, the disabled, or protection of the Bill of Rights.

They are a party condemned which deserves to be dissolved.

But there are a dozen Republican officeholders for whom any decent American should have contempt, so here is the list by word and action, or lack of action and speaking out, of the dozen most “Trumpian” members of Congress.

It is particularly disturbing that a number of these dozen names are leaders of the party, or strive to be such.

The leaders include: Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, President Pro Tempore of the Senate until January; Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan, who is leaving the House in January; and Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate Majority Leader, and potentially still so if the Senate remains Republican in the 116th Congress of 2019-2020.

These three, with the first two being two and three heartbeats away from the Presidency, have been a total disgrace and embarrassment to the high positions they hold.

Then, we have House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, who wants to be Speaker of the House to succeed Paul Ryan, and is seen as being the close “buddy” of the President, and was recorded speaking very loud in 2016 about Russian connections of Trump and other Republicans, until Paul Ryan shushed him, but it happened, and Robert Mueller knows it, and that means McCarthy is involved in Russian collusion, and likely Paul Ryan and other Republicans as well.

Also notable is Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who despite his libertarian bull, is constantly bowing to Donald Trump, and he, like his wacky father, retired Texas Congressman Ron Paul, is a disgrace and a fraud.

Then, we have the newly minted Republican nominee for Governor of Florida, Congressman Ron DeSantis, who is already openly racist and nativist in his appeal to the voters of the third largest state in population in America.

Also, we have House Freedom Caucus leader Mark Meadows of North Carolina, who is an extremist who wants to cut all government down to what it was decades ago, a very dangerous person who has promoted government shutdowns numerous times.

Then, we have indicted and now withdrawing from reelection Congressman Chris Collins of New York, who was the first House member to endorse Donald Trump, and now faces prosecution for “insider trading” on the stock market.

Also, we can add Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan, now engaged in a scandal about sexual abuse of college wrestlers decades ago when he was an assistant coach, and wanting to compete with Kevin McCarthy to be Speaker of the House if the Republicans keep control of the chamber. He is Vice Chairman of the reprehensible House Freedom Caucus.

The final three are the youngest Senator at present, including Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, who is very nasty and vicious in his personality; California Congressman Devin Nunes, who has been the head of the House Intelligence Committee, and has engaged in tactics to prevent an investigation of Trump, and to promote more “dirt” and accusations against Hillary Clinton, and is seen as a collaborator on Russian collusion; and California Congressman Duncan Hunter, who has been indicted on corruption involving campaign funds being spent for personal use, and who was the second House member to endorse Donald Trump after Chris Collins.

So we have four Senators and eight House members who are truly the “Trump Traitors”, willing to block action and take steps to undermine American democracy and the rule of law for their own selfish ends.

The Miracle Of Andrew Gillum, The Democratic Nominee For Governor In Florida

Today has been a glorious day, one of the best this author has experienced in a long time.

What seemed impossible happened, as Andrew Gillum, the African American Mayor of Tallahassee, Florida (the state capitol), overcame the disadvantages of no money, no winning of any polls, no advertising to speak of. He triumphed over four other candidates, all with tons of money, and polls and advertising on a large scale.

So now we have three African American candidates for Governor, with Stacey Abrams in Georgia, and Ben Jealous in Maryland, along with Andrew Gillum.

Gillum was an unknown, and this author did not vote for him, assuming he had no chance to win, but now that he has won, this author is thrilled beyond belief, and ready to help Andrew Gillum win and bring a Democratic government on the executive level to the Sunshine State, the third largest behind California and Texas.

Andrew Gillum is educated, intelligent, a great orator, with great charisma and presence, a sense of humor, exudes confidence and has had executive experience, and displays a humility that is very appealing.

Gillum is someone to take seriously, as since independents could not vote in Florida for either party’s nomination, the potential for a “blue wave” is there, with not only independents, but also moderates in the Republican Party who are unhappy with the Donald Trump led Republican Party and its candidate, a nasty, mean spirited, arrogant three term Congressman, Ron DeSantis, who already the day after the primary, is using the word “monkey”, appealing to white supremacy and white racists.

Additionally, the fact that Gillum is only 39 will appeal to African Americans, young people, educated suburbanites, and the growing Puerto Rican population after Hurricane Irma, and with them being citizens of the US, and able to vote against Trump, who was shameful in his treatment of the hurricane disaster on that island. Now we are learning that 2,975 died in Puerto Rico, 60 percent higher than died in Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005.

To make the situation even more impressive, the Attorney General nominee for the Democrats is also an African American, Sean Shaw, and the candidate for State Agricultural Commissioner is Nikki Fried, who is Jewish. So we have a truly diverse ticket, and all this should help Senator Bill Nelson hold off Governor Rick Scott, who is spending three times what Nelson is able to raise, for his campaign.

But the belief is that Gillum, Shaw, and Fried could carry Nelson on their backs, and lead to an all Democratic victory in Florida in November.

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!