US House Of Representatives

Likely Republican Vice Presidential Candidates

Now that Donald Trump “seems” likely to be the Republican Presidential nominee, after last night’s five Northeastern primary victories, it is time to consider who might be his Vice Presidential running mate.

Many of the potential choices could be seen as true horrors, something to be worried about were Trump elected, and something happened to him, requiring the Vice President to succeed the President!

The list would include:

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn

Dr. Ben Carson of Maryland

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst

Tom Brady of the New England Patriots football team

Former Alaska Governor and Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin

Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley

Florida Governor Rick Scott

Florida Senator Marco Rubio

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

At this point, this blogger would think that Christie, Blackburn, Carson and Huckabee are the most likely choices in that order.

The worst choices in this blogger’s estimation would be Scott, Walker, Palin, and Sessions in that order.

Rubio and Haley would probably be much better choices than anyone on the list, but unlikely that either would be selected.

Tom Brady is just a real long shot, but since his ego is as great as Trump’s ego, it could be possible, but unlikely!

And Joni Ernst–good looking, young, and just as dim witted as Sarah Palin, but if Trump is looking for a Palin clone, it could happen!

Speakers Of The House Of Representatives Who Sought The Presidency, And Now Paul Ryan?

The Speaker of the House of Representatives is second in line for the Presidency after the Vice President under the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, the third such law.

The first such law, from 1792-1886, put the Speaker third in line for the Presidency, with the Vice President and the President Pro Tempore of the US Senate ahead of him, later reversed in 1947.

The second law, from 1886-1947, did not include the Speaker in the line of succession, but rather the Cabinet officers after the Vice President.

In our history, only one Speaker of the House became President, James K. Polk of Tennessee, from 1845-1849, and he proved to be one of the more significant Presidents, adding more real estate to America than anyone other than Thomas Jefferson.  This was accomplished by treaty with Great Britain over the Pacific Northwest in 1846, and by war with Mexico from 1846-1848, which added the Southwestern United States to the Union.

But seven other Speakers sought the Presidency, including the following:

Henry Clay of Kentucky sought the Presidency in 1824, 1832, and 1844, and is regarded as the greatest single legislator in the history of both houses of Congress.  In 1844, we had the only Presidential election where the two opponents had both been Speaker of the House, Clay and Polk!  Clay lost his three elections to John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, and Polk.

John Bell of Tennessee was the Constitutional Union Party nominee for President in 1860 on the eve of the Civil War, and lost to Abraham Lincoln.

James G. Blaine of Maine was the Republican nominee for President in 1884 and lost the election to Grover Cleveland, and was also Secretary of State under three Presidents–James A. Garfield, Chester Alan Arthur, and a full term under Benjamin Harrison.

Thomas Reed of Maine lost the nomination of the Republican Party in 1896 to future President William McKinley.

Champ Clark of Missouri lost the nomination of the Democratic Party in 1912 to future President Woodrow Wilson.

John Nance Garner of Texas, after being Vice President under Franklin D. Roosevelt for two terms from 1933-1941, lost the nomination of the Democratic Party to his boss, President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940

Newt Gingrich of Georgia lost the Republican nomination for President to eventual nominee Mitt Romney in 2012.

So four Speakers were nominated for President, with only Polk winning; and four other Speakers lost the nomination when they sought the Presidency.

Now we may have a ninth such Speaker seeking the Presidency, Republican Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, whose name is being promoted, despite Ryan’s denial of any interest in running for President.

Are We On The Road To A 5th Four Way Presidential Election?

In American history, we have had four Presidential elections in which there were four candidates who gained a substantial percentage of popular votes.

The first time was 1824, with Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, William Crawford and Henry Clay.

The second time was 1860, with Abraham Lincoln, Stephen Douglas, John C. Breckinridge, and John Bell.

The third time was 1912, with Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Eugene Debs.

The fourth time was 1948, with Harry Truman, Thomas E. Dewey, Strom Thurmond, and Henry A. Wallace.

The first two times, 1824 and 1860, saw the success of new political parties, the Democrats under Jackson by 1828 and the Republicans under Lincoln in 1860.  The third time brought the success of progressivism at its peak under Wilson with Roosevelt’s indirect contributions, and the fourth insured the forward movement in foreign and domestic policy under Truman.

Now in 2016, we could have four candidates, including Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and potentially Bernie Sanders or Jesse Ventura.  And who can deny that Paul Ryan or Mitt Romney or John Kasich might also be potential candidates?

The first three named above seem almost certain, but there is some speculation that Sanders could run on a independent line, and that Jesse Ventura, the former Governor of Minnesota, might run if Sanders fails to be the Democratic nominee, and decides to avoid an independent run.  If Trump is nominated, the odds of Ryan or Romney or Kasich running as the “Establishment” Republican opponent grows, just as is likely that Trump will run as an independent if he is not the party’s nominee.

Hillary Clinton would win against a split Republican Party, but IF Sanders runs or even Ventura, the potential exists, in a four way race, for anything to happen, including the need to use the 12th Amendment, as occurred in 1824, which would give the Republican nominee the advantage, with the Republican control of the House of Representatives!

Could We Be Facing Another 1824 Presidential Election, And Use Of The “Ugly” 12th Amendment Once Again, Where The House Of Representatives Selects The Next President?

There is growing concern that if we have a third party candidacy of Donald Trump, that we could end up with a scenario of the House of Representatives choosing the next President of the United States!

In 1824, in the first participation by all white males in the election, Andrew Jackson was first in popular votes and electoral votes, but lost the election to second place finisher, John Quincy Adams, because Jackson did not have a majority of the electoral votes, and the House chose Adams over Jackson, pure politics!

With a theoretical race of Democrat Hillary Clinton,  Republican Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump, Clinton could end up having the most popular and electoral votes, but fail to reach 270, the number required to win the White House.

The outgoing House of Representatives, with a clear cut Republican majority, would have each member have his or her own vote, and assuredly in that scenario, Ted Cruz would be elected President, even, in theory, if he ended up third in both popular and electoral vote, as the 12th Amendment provides for a choice of the top three candidates!

This would be unconscionable, but could happen, another quirk of the Presidential election process, that has not been used for 192 years, but could rear its ugly head once again!

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.

Front Runners In Delegates At National Conventions Who Failed To Become The Nominee Of Their Party: William Henry Seward, Champ Clark, And Martin Van Buren!

Senator William Henry Seward of New York was the front runner in delegates at the Republican National Convention in 1860, but Abraham Lincoln won the nomination on the 3rd ballot, and went on to become the greatest President in American history!

Speaker of the House Champ Clark of Missouri was the front runner in delegates at the Democratic National Convention in 1912, but Woodrow Wilson won the nomination on the 46th ballot, and went on to become one of the most significant President in American history, and took us through World War I.

Former President Martin Van Buren of New York was the front runner in delegates at the Democratic National Convention in 1844, but James K. Polk won the nomination on the 9th ballot, and went on to gain more territory, by peace treaty with Great Britain and war with Mexico, than any President except Thomas Jefferson!

Seward went on to become Lincoln’s and Andrew Johnson’s Secretary of State, and helped to prevent Great Britain or France from recognizing the Confederate States of America during the Civil War, and was able to arrange the purchase of Alaska from Czarist Russia in 1867.

Champ Clark remained Speaker of the House, and served eight years, from 1911-1919, one of the longer lasting Speakers in American history, with only five Speakers serving longer than him.

Martin Van Buren could have been the first Grover Cleveland, to have served two non-consecutive terms in the White House, but instead ran for President once again in 1848 as the candidate of the Free Soil Party, and in so doing, undermined the Democratic Party nominee, and helped indirectly to elect Whig nominee Zachary Taylor.  Van Buren became the first former President to run on a third party line, and the Free Soil Party was the first significant third party, winning 10 percent of the national popular vote, and being a forerunner of the modern Republican Party, which formed six years later, in 1854.

A total of  nine times in American history, we have seen the front runner in delegates fail to win the party’s nomination–three times for the Democrats, five times for the Republicans, and once for the Whigs, so if Donald Trump were to be denied the Republican nomination  in 2016, it would be far from unique or unusual!

Sixth Anniversary Of ObamaCare, The Third Great Social And Economic Reform, Alongside Social Security And Medicare!

It was six years ago on March 23, 2010, that the Affordable Care Act, better known as ObamaCare, was signed into law by President Obama, after a year long fight, with only three Republican Senators early on giving any support, and no House members.

The fact that ObamaCare was just like the Heritage Foundation–Newt Gingrich–Bob Dole program of 1993, designed as an alternative to HillaryCare, was ignored.

Also, the fact that Mitt Romney accomplished much the same thing in Massachusetts as RomneyCare was denied, even by Romney himself when he ran for President in 2012!

The hypocrisy and pure obstructionism of Republicans and conservatives was so obvious, and is obvious, to anyone who looks at the subject dispassionately!

Today, six years later, ObamaCare, while having its definite quirks and shortcomings, is a success, in the sense that it covers 20 million people who did not have health care before; has lowered the uninsured from 14 percent to 9 percent of the population; and has saved hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of lives of people who, without coverage, would have died in the past six years!

This is the ultimate Pro Life movement, the acceptance of the idea that ALL Americans should be entitled to health care as a basic human right, especially considering that every other modern industrial nation in Europe, along with Canada, Australia and New Zealand have it, and all of them way ahead of us!

So this is a time to salute Barack Obama and the Democratic Party, for having accomplished one of the three greatest economic and social reforms of the past century, alongside Franklin D. Roosevelt and Social Security (now 81 years old), and Lyndon B. Johnson and Medicare (now 51 years old)!

Try to imagine America in 2016 without Social Security and Medicare, and yet, if left up to the right wing Republican Party, they would not only repeal ObamaCare without any replacement for the 20 million Americans who have gained health care coverage, but also would repeal both Social Security and Medicare, “privatizing” both of them, and giving useless “vouchers” to millions of elderly, poor, and disabled people!

This is why the Republican Party, as it now is constituted, is doomed to be in the dustbin of history!

Trump Effect: Likelihood Of Major Democratic Wave In 2016!

The effect of Donald Trump’s Presidential candidacy is the likelihood of a major Democratic wave in the upcoming Presidential and Congressional Elections of 2016.

Polls indicate that the Electoral College could be a landslide for the Democrats, with the chance to gain such states as North Carolina, Georgia and Arizona, major areas of Hispanic and Latino growth, and indications of many registering to vote because of Trump’s anti Hispanic and anti Latino rhetoric, including against the nation of Mexico, which shares a 2,000 mile boundary with the United States.

The Senate has 34 seats facing election, with 24 of those seats being Republican, and at least ten seats of Republicans in danger of being lost, which would create a large margin of Democrats in the upper chamber.

The House of Representatives is a tough nut to crack, due to gerrymandering and the largest Republican majority in the lower chamber since 1928.  At the least, the large GOP majority will dwindle, with an outside chance of a slim Democratic majority, which probably would be lost in the midterm elections of 2018.

But even a two year “window” would allow a Democratic President with both houses of Congress in his favor to accomplish major changes!

And, of course, the transformation of the Supreme Court would occur, which would have a long range effect.

This is what Donald Trump has done to the moribund Republican Party, and it looks more likely by the day!

Conservatives Desperate! Floating Idea Of Tom Coburn Or Rick Perry As Third Party Alternative To Donald Trump!

The conservative movement is desperate, as they foresee disaster for their movement and for the Republican Party, and rightfully so, with the almost certain nomination of Donald Trump as the Republican Presidential nominee this summer at the GOP National Convention in Cleveland.

The likelihood is, more than ever, that the Democrats will win the Presidency, regain control of the US Senate, be able to transform the Supreme Court majority to the liberal-progressive side, and possibly win the House of Representatives majority.

The latter is hard to accomplish, but the effect of Trump could cause that disaster for the Republican Party.

So now, Bill Kristol of THE WEEKLY STANDARD and other conservatives are promoting the idea of a third party movement, with former Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn or former Texas Governor Rick Perry as potential nominees!

That is so hilarious, as both are terrible choices and will NOT help the conservative cause.

This blogger has already listed Coburn as one of the absolutely worst members of the Senate historically in previous posts over the last number of years, and Perry is a true example of an
“empty suit”,who can never outlive the embarrassment of his inability to remember federal agencies he wished to eliminate, during debates in the Presidential Election campaign of 2012!

With such choices, it demonstrates just how clueless and bankrupt the conservative movement has become, as it reaches a nadir in its evolution!

 

Paul Ryan Boomlet For President Begun By John Boehner: Really?

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has now been endorsed and promoted to be the Republican Presidential nominee by former Speaker John Boehner.

Boehner does not exactly have great popular support in the Republican Party, and the Tea Party Movement and other right wing extremists do not wish to give Boehner “the time of day”, having, basically, forced him out of the Speakership.

Ryan had said he did not want to be Speaker, but caved in to pressure.  The question is whether he can now be pressured to promote a revolt against front runner Donald Trump.

The Republican establishment wants Ryan to run, feeling that John Kasich has little chance of success in his quest to stop both Trump and Senator Ted Cruz, who no one in the Republican Establishment can tolerate!

If Ryan, who is the presiding officer at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, were to lead a revolt, it will likely cause turmoil on the scale of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968, which doomed the chances of the Democrats to elect their nominee, Hubert Humphrey in that election year.

It is clear, as this blogger has stated for awhile, that the Republican Party, as we know it, is done, and that Ryan cannot stop that demise.

If a third party movement starts, it insures that the Democrats and Hillary Clinton will win the Presidency, the Senate, a slight chance to gain the House majority, and transform the Supreme Court, in a truly “wave” election.

And if, somehow, Ryan ends up taking the GOP Presidential nomination, it will bring back memories of the 2012 Presidential election, when Ryan was “conquered” by Vice President Joe Biden in their VP debate.

Yes, Ryan has a handsome face, and youth, but he is also a flawed candidate, which this blogger emphasized four years ago, causing for awhile a major right wing attack on this blogger, including in THE BLAZE, the media creation of talk show host Glenn Beck.  How dare I attack Paul Ryan, showing his many faults and shortcomings!

Also, were Ryan to be the Presidential nominee, it would be only the second time that a sitting member of the House has been the nominee of a major political party for President, with the only  time being Ohio Congressman James A. Garfield, who was elected in 1880, and then, sadly, was mortally wounded by an assassin, Charles J. Guiteau,  which is covered in Chapter 3 of my new book, ASSASSINATIONS, THREATS, AND THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCY: FROM ANDREW JACKSON TO BARACK OBAMA (Rowman Littlefield Publishers, August 2015).

So the track record on a Congressman going to the Presidency is not a good marker for success!