US House Of Representatives

Major Roles To Be Played By Democratic Committee Chairs In 116th Congress

The 116th Congress will see Democrats taking over the committee chairmanships in the House of Representatives.

Adam Schiff of California will be the Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, and will require many Trump Administration figures, including his children and son in law, to testify.

Elijah Cummings of Maryland will head the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Jerrold Nadler of New York will head the House Judiciary Committee, which might move to have impeachment hearings against Donald Trump.

Eliot Engel of New York will lead the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and deal with the problems of unstable foreign policy of Donald Trump.

Maxine Waters will lead the House Financial Services Committee, and is sure to demand lots of testimony and documents from the Trump Administration.

Nita Lowey of New York will be the Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, clearly crucial in dealing with spending programs.

Raul Grijalva of Arizona will be the Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, and will be engaged in combat with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department over Donald Trump’s refusal to combat global warming.

These seven committee Chairs are going to face a constant assault by the right wing extremists, Fox News Channel, and Donald Trump himself, along with others who are Chairs of other committees in the House of Representatives.

One point of particular concern is that four of these seven committee Chairs named above are Jewish (Schiff, Nadler, Engel, Lowey), two (Cummings and Waters) are African American, and Grijalva is Hispanic, which makes it likely that white supremacists, encouraged by Donald Trump rhetoric, are likely to pose a growing threat to these committee Chairs, and makes it likely they will need security services to protect them, a horrendous reality.

But the move to investigate and hold Donald Trump and his administration responsible is urgent, even with the growing threat.

New Diverse House Democratic Leadership Emerging: Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico And Hakeem Jeffries Of New York

Although there is some opposition to the existing Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives, it is now clear that younger members of diverse background are being groomed to be in the top leadership by the 117th Congress in 2021.

Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico, The Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for the past four years, will now have the position of Assistant Democratic Leader, the fourth ranking position in the House leadership. Lujan is 46 years old, and has been a member of the House for ten years, and would be the highest ranking Latino in Congressional history. He is a leader on the issue of public lands, and has also led on Native American issues in his tenure, and is an inspiring figure who could become the new Speaker of the House or the House Majority Leader in the 117th Congress.

Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee in the present Congress, will have the position of Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, the fifth ranking position in the House leadership, He is 48 years old, and has been a member of Congress for the past six years, after six years in the New York State Assembly. He has been the Congressional Black Caucus Whip, and has been active in pursuing programs to deal with the high public housing and high unemployment of his Congressional district. He is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, and is seen as a rising star in the party, who also might contest to be Speaker of the House or House Majority Leader in the future.

So in a nation becoming more diverse, we have a Latino member and African American member of the House of Representatives who will be making news in the coming years, and rising into House leadership.

The 116th Congress, 2019-2020, In Detail: Hopefully, The First Step To A Democratic Senate and Democratic President Elected In 2020

The 116th Congress, opening on January 3, 2019, will have exactly 100 new members, an all time high turnover.

It will contain 235 Democrats and 200 Republicans in the House of Representatives, a gain of 40 seats by the Democrats, the most massive turnover since the Midterm Elections of 1974, after Richard Nixon had resigned that August due to the Watergate Scandal.

The Senate will be 53 Republicans to 45 Democrats and 2 Independents (Angus King of Maine and Bernie Sanders of Vermont), an increase of two seats for the Republicans.

It is much more “Blue” or Democratic and younger and more diverse in every way, a true “Blue Wave”.

The average age of the newcomers is age 49.

63 of the new members are Democrats, and 37 are Republicans, with the Democrats having 60 new House members and 3 Senators, while the Republicans have 31 new House members and 6 Senators.

So there are 91 new House members and 9 new Senators, making a turnover of about 20 percent of the House and 9 percent of the Senate in membership.

40 of the new 100 members of Congress are women, 36 in the House and 4 in the Senate.

60 of the new members are men, 55 in the House and 5 in the Senate.

24 of the new House members are Hispanic, Native American and people of color, but all of the newly elected Senators are white.

History Makers include: Marsha Blackburn (R) of Tennessee, the first woman elected to Congress from her state; two Native American women elected to the House from Kansas and New Mexico; the Kansas Congresswoman being the first openly gay person elected to Congress from Kansas; first two Latina women elected to Congress from Texas; first Muslim women elected to Congress from Michigan and Minnesota; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York the youngest elected Congresswoman ever in Congress; the first black Congresswoman ever elected from Massachusetts and Connecticut; and Kyrsten Sinema the first woman elected to the Senate from Arizona, and also first openly bisexual member of the Senate.

We also have older new members in their 70s, Mitt Romney in the Senate at 71, and Donna Shalala of Florida in the House at 77.

The new Congressional group is highly educated, with 70 percent having gone to graduate school; one third having law degrees; 12 having MBAs; seven members having at least two graduate degrees; and Kyrsten Sinema having four graduate degrees.

19 members have served in the military, including 6 in the Army, 11 in the Navy, and 2 in the Air Force.

4 of the newcomers are professional athletes in their past, including 2 NFL football players, 1 professional hockey player, and 1 mixed martial arts fighter.

Also, there are 3 doctors, one dentist, 1 nurse, and 5 educators in the group of 100 new members of Congress.

The average age of members of Congress remains about the same as it has been, 58.5 years.

The total number of women in Congress are 124, an all time high, including 100 in the House and 24 in the Senate.

Finally, 21 percent of the Congress is Hispanic, Native American, and people of color.

Hopefully, the “Blue Wave” of 2018 will lead to a Democratic Senate and Democratic President in the Presidential Election of 2020.

Orange County California, Reagan And Goldwater Stronghold, Goes Completely Democratic In Midterm Elections Of 2018

Orange County California, with a population of about three million people, sandwiched between Los Angeles and San Diego, has long been conservative Republican “Country”, but in the Midterm Elections of 2018, all of the Congressional districts went to the Democrats, a startling development.

The heroes of Orange County have been Ronald Reagan, and before him, Barry Goldwater, and Democrats knew they had no opportunity to succeed in that Southern California bastion.

But now, not only did Democrats gain all four seats in that county, but also won seven of the 14 formerly Republican held seats in the California state delegation, making for a total of 46-7, compared to the former 39-14 division between Democrats and Republicans.

The Republican nominee for Governor, John Cox, lost Orange County by a hair to incoming Governor Gavin Newsom as well.

The Republican Party is dead in California for now, although the House Minority Leader is Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield.

It all started 25 years ago when the Republicans promoted nativism and bigotry under Governor Pete Wilson against Latinos and other immigrants, and started their generation long decline in the Golden State.

The same is likely in the future for Arizona, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida, and if these named states start to veer to the Democrats, which is likely in the 2020s, then the Democrats will have a lock on the Electoral College, after being victimized twice in 2000 and 2016.

Two Mayors Potential 2020 Democratic Presidential Contenders: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti And Former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu

At least two Democrats who have served as Mayors of their cities are likely to enter the Democratic Presidential sweepstakes.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has spent his entire career in city government, serving on the LA City Council before his election as Mayor of the second largest city in 2013. He has had to deal with the issues facing nearly four million people, and has spent time in Iowa and New Hampshire, hinting of his plans to seek the Presidency. Garcetti has ties to the Jewish, Italian, and Mexican communities as he is ethnically related to all three groups.

Of course, California will also likely be the state that will contribute other potential nominees, including Senator Kamala Harris and Congressman Eric Swalwell, and potentially billionaire and liberal activist Tom Steyer, who has led the impeachment movement against Donald Trump.

Former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu offers the rare case of a Southerner who might be able to gain some traction, having served as Mayor from 2010-2018, after earlier service as Lieutenant Governor of the state, and as a member of the state House of Representatives. He is seen as a moderate, in the vein of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton in the past, but most observers would see him as more likely to be a potential Vice Presidential running mate to help a more progressive Presidential nominee.

The odds of Garcetti lasting longer in the Presidential competition than Landrieu seems likely, but at this early point, there is no way to know what the political future holds.

The New Chair Of The House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff Of California, To Engage In “Combat” With Trump Administration In 2019

Southern California Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff, who has been a member of the House of Representatives since 2001, will be the new Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, when the 116th Congress convenes on January 3, 2019.

Schiff is one of the most reputable members of the House, and has long taken critical positions on the foreign policy of Donald Trump, and of the Republican Party before Donald Trump.

Now, he will have the ability to engage in “combat” with the Trump Administration, and order investigations and subpoenas to get to the bottom of the Russian collusion scandal, and the obstruction of justice and abuse of power that has been going on without pause for the past two years.

Schiff is a true professional, and is not afraid or intimidated by Trump calling him “Little Schitt”, and Trump will rue the day that he decided to insult this reputable Congressman who is in the best tradition of statesmanship.

This author thinks that Schiff, becoming more influential, should be considered as Speaker of the House material to follow Nancy Pelosi in 2020, as he has the credentials, the experience, and the wisdom to lead Democrats into the 117th Congress in 2021 and after.

We do not know if Schiff has thought about this long range plan, but this author believes he should be on the short list of future Democratic party leaders in the House of Representatives.

President Trump In Time Of Tragedy: A Horrific Leader, Unable To Express Deep Mourning And True Compassion

Donald Trump is truly the most horrific leader possible in time of tragedy, unable to express deep mourning and true compassion and empathy.

Think of Ronald Reagan and the Challenger Astronaut Disaster in 1986.

Think of Bill Clinton and the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995.

Think of George W. Bush after September 11, 2001.

Think of Barack Obama after the Charleston Church Massacre in 2015, and the Sandy Hook School Massacre in 2012.

These and many other disasters are times when we look to leaders to act appropriately, and we see Presidents of both parties and all philosophies know how to act.

Not so with Donald Trump, who instead:

Throws paper towels in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, and threatens to cut off funding for the island.

Shows up at an inappropriate time after the Pittsburgh Synagogue Massacre, when funerals for the victims are being held.

Comes to Paradise, California, after the most disastrous fire in modern history, and refers to the town as “Pleasure”, of all names.

His body language and facial expressions show he does not give a damn, and he does not know how to console and hug and show a dose of empathy and compassion.

Rather, he is going through the motions, more staging an appearance so he can draw attention to himself than anything else.

Donald Trump proves again, and again, and again, and again, that he is a horrible human being, a disgrace to the American Presidency, who deserves none of our compassion as he faces the challenge of a Democratic House of Representatives ready with subpoenas and investigations galore, which will stress him out in massive ways.

It could not happen to a “better” person.

Democratic “Blue Wave” Victory Much Greater Than Had Been Imagined Possible

It is now evident that the Midterm Elections of 2018 were a revolution in many respects, a true “Blue Wave.”

We now know that 8.8 million more people voted Democratic than Republicans, the widest margin in American history, more than any other midterm election in modern times.

We now know that the Democrats gained 39 seats, and one more possible, in the House of Representatives, greater than anyone could have envisioned, meaning they will have 234 or 235 seats to the Republicans 200 or 201.

We now know that white suburbia, women, younger voters, independents, and racial and ethnic minorities all went over to the Democratic camp by wide margins.

We know know that seven more states have Democratic Governorships, and that such despicable people as Scott Walker, Kris Kobach, David Brat, and all of the Orange County Republican House members (Reagan Country) lost their races to Democrats.

We know that now Arizona and Nevada, along with Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania seem more likely to go Blue in 2020.

However, we also know that Democrats and progressives lost in Florida, Georgia, and in the Texas Senate race, and that seats were lost in the Senate in Florida, Missouri, Indiana, and North Dakota.

Overall, with some disappointments, a great result, and optimism about 2020.

Five Or Even Six Potential California Presidential Candidates In 2020: Kamala Harris, Eric Garcetti, Eric Swalwell, Tom Steyer, Gavin Newsom, Jerry Brown

California may have up to five or six Democratic Presidential candidates competing in the primaries and caucuses in 2020.

Senator Kamala Harris, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Congressman Eric Swalwell all are expected to announce in the coming months.

Additionally, entrepreneur and political activist Tom Steyer has been promoting the impeachment of Donald Trump in the past year, and the Los Angeles resident is believed to be planning to run as well.

And some think even newly minted Governor Gavin Newsom might also decide to announce for President.

And get this, even outgoing Governor Jerry Brown, age 80 now, might even, it is rumored, decide to try for the Presidency for a fourth time, as he did in 1976, 1980, and 1992.

California is one out of every eight people, and with the California primary slated for March 3, 2020, it could be a Californian who wins the primary, and gets the largest portion of delegates out of a total larger than any other state.

So to ignore California is to do so at one’s own risk.

Two Potential Democratic Presidential Contenders For 2020 From The Midwest: Sherrod Brown And Amy Klobuchar

The importance of the Midwest in presidential elections has always been something to realize, and ever more so after Hillary Clinton lost Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa in 2016.

Many think had she chosen Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, then she might have won those states, along with Pennsylvania, enough to swing the Electoral College.

So, therefore, much attention is being paid to two Midwestern Democratic Senators, both easily reelected in the Midterm Elections of 2018, as potential Democratic Presidential nominees.

One is the same Sherrod Brown, who never thought of himself as a future President, but is now seriously thinking about it. He is giving interviews where he makes clear that he is seriously considering a run for the White House, and is seen as someone that should not be ignored as a serious candidate if he runs.

Brown has been a member of the Senate for 12 years, and before that, of the House of Representatives for 14 years, after having served as Ohio Secretary of State for eight years, and in the Ohio legislature for eight years before that.

He is an unabashed liberal who has had appeal for the working class, something many Democrats have had trouble with, although Joe Biden has been of similar vein. Brown would be 68 in 2020, a full decade younger than Joe Biden, and Ohio has been a crucial state in presidential elections, with six Ohioans elected President between 1868 and 1923, and Ohio being a state every elected Republican President has won from Abraham Lincoln through Donald Trump.

Also reelected to a third term in the Senate is Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, a inheritor of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor tradition of Hubert Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy, Walter Mondale, and Paul Wellstone. Klobuchar was Hennepin County (Minneapolis) Attorney from 1998 to 2006,and gained a reputation as a tough prosecutor, before her election to the Senate. She has sponsored or cosponsored 98 pieces of legislation, more than any other Senator. She is seen as bipartisan, able to work “across the aisle”, and has a good public image, but not as controversial as Elizabeth Warren or Kirsten Gillibrand, other women thought to be likely to announce for President.

This author has particular feelings of support of Klobuchar for the Presidency, and think she has an excellent chance of being the Democratic nominee for President in 2020, and is more likely to gain support of white working class males, more than Warren, Gillibrand, or Kamala Harris of California. She would be 60 years of age at the time of the Presidential Election of 2020.

Both Brown and Klobuchar are solid possibilities for the Presidency, and are from the “heartland”, rather than the Atlantic and Pacific Coastlines.

So when assessing the upcoming Democratic Presidential race, do NOT dismiss Sherrod Brown nor Amy Klobuchar.