US Senate

The Importance Of Maintaining A Democratic Senate Majority

Many people, who do not understand the importance of midterm elections, have wondered whether it makes any difference if we have a Democratic Senate or a Republican Senate.

There are many reasons why it is extremely crucial that the Democrats retain the Senate, since it is clear that the Republicans will keep control of the House of Representatives, and may gain more seats, and go from a 233-199 (with three vacancies) total to over 240, due to gerrymandering, and the power of incumbency.

A Democratic Senate gives Barack Obama the chance to gain a new Supreme Court Justice of his own choice, if Ruth Bader Ginsburg or any other Justice decides to retire in the next two years, or if any Justice should die while a member of the Court. Also, ability to have circuit and district court judges, and cabinet positions, and other appointments approved would be very difficult if the GOP controlled the Senate.

A Democratic Senate prevents any serious move toward a likely impeachment of Barack Obama, as the Republicans would see no point to doing it, if there was no chance of a conviction, which in reality would not happen in any case, as it would require a two thirds (67) vote to convict and remove. The Republicans might be fully aware that it would not succeed, but might wish to besmirch the historical record of Obama, much as they did with Bill Clinton in 1998-1999.

A Democratic Senate insures that in two years, with two thirds of the seats up for election being Republicans, that the Democrats would likely gain 6-8 seats, and might, in 2017, reach the magic number of 60 or more, preventing any possible use of the filibuster tactic.

A Democratic Senate would insure the survival of ObamaCare, and the inability of any further move to destroy this signature program. Additionally, attempts to reverse other changes and reforms that have occurred would be impossible, all to the good.

A Democratic Senate would make it unnecessary for President Obama to utilize the veto power, which he has used very sparingly in his time in office.

A Democratic Senate would mean that the Republican Party had lost its last opportunity to gain control of both Houses, and in 2016, with a strong Democratic nominee for President, and the likelihood of coattail effects in those states that are “blue” or “purple”, would likely lead to a flip in the House to Democratic control, and the GOP would never again, any time soon, gain control of either House of Congress, as they have shown no desire to deal with the important issues that face the nation in domestic policy, and refusal to support Barack Obama in foreign policy, having abandoned the long held view of a sense of bipartisanship when dealing with the world and its problems.

Family Names May Not Help Democratic Senators In Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, But Senate Will Remain Democratic With Margin of 53-47 Or 52-48!

Three Democratic Senators with famous family names and moderate conservative records in office seem likely to be victims of the Republican opposition, and to lose their seats in November.

Mark Begich’s father was a Congressman from Alaska, but Begich seems likely to lose his seat to Dan Sullivan, the GOP nominee for his seat.

Mark Pryor’s father was a Senator from Arkansas, but Pryor seems likely to lose his seat to Republican Congressman Tom Cotton.

Mary Landrieu’s father and brother were Mayors of New Orleans, but although she is known for winning tight races, it seems likely she will lose her seat in the Senate to Republican Congressman Bill Cassidy.

However, these losses are likely to be matched by victories in Kentucky, Georgia, and Kansas, which will make it an even balance, and Virginia, Minnesota, Michigan, Iowa, Colorado, and Oregon are highly likely to remain Democratic. It is also clear that Montana and West Virginia are likely to switch from Democratic to Republican.

So the one seat left to be mentioned is South Dakota, with its four way race of Republican former Governor Mike Rounds; former Republican, now Independent Larry Pressler; and Democrat Rick Weiland, with even a fourth candidate, another Independent, Gordon Howie, making it highly likely that either Weiland or Pressler (who voted for Barack Obama twice despite his earlier GOP service in the Senate) might win this donnybrook of a race and join the Democratic caucus in the US Senate.

So this blogger predicts a final Senate of either 52 or 53 Democrats and Independents, and 47 or 48 Republicans, depending on South Dakota’s final results. That would be a 2 to 3 seat gain in the Senate for the GOP, but control of the Senate continuing for the Democrats!

Two Democratic Senate Women Nominees On Way To Victory, Insuring A Democratic Senate Majority In 2015-2016!

As stated yesterday, the odds of two Democratic women Senators keeping their seats is highly likely–Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire and Kay Hagan in North Carolina.

Since the Democrats are bound to lose some seats in the US Senate, this is a good omen, but it is added to by the strong likelihood of two women running for the Senate in “Red” states, Kentucky and Georgia, who are seen as new women members of the upper chamber.

These are Alison Lundergan Grimes of Kentucky and Michelle Nunn of Georgia, who will counteract the likely loss of Democratic seats in Alaska, Arkansas and Louisiana.

Grimes has had to fight a rough battle against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, but the top two Kentucky newspapers have endorsed her, and the negativism and nastiness and obstructionism of McConnell makes him the number one target to defeat for Democrats nationwide. McConnell has done nothing for the large poor population, both white and black, in his state, and has been the cheer leader of every attempt to prevent Barack Obama from having any success in his time in the Presidency. In that, McConnell has failed, and it will be a glorious moment when he is forced to concede to Grimes, who has proved she is a tough lady, and that she will be a positive force in the Senate over the next six years.

Michelle Nunn, daughter of respected former Senator Sam Nunn, has run an excellent race against business David Perdue, who brags about his success at outsourcing jobs. Nunn is ahead in most polls, and is very competent and qualified, and like Grimes, is seen as likely to win, and this blogger predicts their success, along with Shaheen in New Hampshire and Hagan in North Carolina.

Tomorrow, we will look at three highly endangered seats–in Alaska, Arkansas, and Louisiana.

Senate Races Tight, But Two Democratic Women Senators Could Be Key To Keeping Democratic Party Majority In Upper Chamber!

It is clear that the battle for the US Senate is a real combat zone, but two Democratic women Senators, one in New England, and one in the upper South, could be the key to keeping the Democratic Party majority in the upper chamber!

In New Hampshire, we have Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who has been the first woman to serve as Governor for two terms, followed by one term in the US Senate. She has a solid record, and New Hampshire, as the only state to have both Senators being female, along with the Governor, and both Congressional seats, and all Democrats, except for Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte, bodes well for Shaheen.

Her opponent is former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, who took over Ted Kennedy’s seat, and then lost it to Elizabeth Warren in 2012. Brown had defeated Attorney General Martha Coakley, and he now has the distinction of being the only person to run for the Senate three times, and have women as his opponents each time!

Brown is seen as making the election close, but it seems highly unlikely that as a Massachusetts resident who only has a vacation home in New Hampshire, and is therefore seen as a “carpetbagger”, will be able to convince voters to kick out a popular leader who has been in the top government offices of Governor and Senator for a total now of 14 years. And it has been made clear that despite his assertion that he is a “bipartisan” Senator, ultimately he will support the Republican agenda, and undermine the last two years of Barack Obama’s Presidency. Also, it is rumored that he wants to use the Senate seat to run for President in 2016, while Shaheen has shown her total loyalty to her state!

The other seat which seems likely to remain Democratic is North Carolina, where Senator Kay Hagan faces a tough contest against North Carolina Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis, who is extremely right wing in his record, and has set North Carolina backward in health care and education with the assistance of Governor Pat McCrory, who turned much more right wing than he indicated when he ran for and won the Governorship two years ago!

Kay Hagan is ahead in most polls, and it seems a good bet that she, and Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire, will keep these Senate seats “blue”, and help to keep the Democrats in control of the US Senate in 2015-2016!

Elizabeth Warren Should Run For President!

Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren has been talked about for months as a potential Presidential candidate, but she has always said she is not interested, and has signed a statement backing Hillary Clinton.

But she has been campaigning for the election and reelection of Democrats across the nation, and has attracted large and enthusiastic audiences everywhere she goes, including early caucus and primary states, such as Iowa and New Hampshire, along with many other states.

She inspires people with her message of attack on the barons of Wall Street, and the need to make the banks lower interest rates on repayment of college loans, which have burdened millions of students, who will never be able to marry, own a home, own an automobile, have children, and a normal life, because their college education has enslaved them in long term debt, due to very high interest rates.

Warren also promoted the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, one of the major accomplishments of the Obama Presidency.

She has come across as a truly genuine, real, human being, rare for a politician. Her sincerity and real concern for promoting fairness and equity in America has pushed the demand that she run for President.

The odds of her being the Presidential nominee seem low, but her campaign would make other Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and other potential candidates work harder, and make for a better campaign, and she could certainly end up as Vice President or a key member of the cabinet under a Democratic President, assuming she loses the chance to be the Democratic Presidential nominee.

Running for President will certainly not hurt her future, and it just might make our future as a nation much better!

Sexism In Congress: Mistreatment Of Women Who Serve In Our Legislative Institutions

New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand recently wrote about the sexism that exists in Congress, where she has served in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Now Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren has seconded Gillibrand’s account, making clear that some male members of Congress speak and act in an inappropriate manner, and have no shame about their behavior.

There is a tendency to wish to avoid confrontation by naming names, and holding Congressmen and Senators to account.

But, it would be a great step forward, not only for Congress, but for American society for women to make it clear they will not tolerate inappropriate behavior in the name of “getting along”.

A well known Senator, Republican Bob Packwood of Oregon, was forced to resign after investigation in the mid 1990s of his horrible behavior over a 27 year period in the Senate.

This should not be forgotten, and if heads must roll, so be it, as it is overdue for women in Congress, and everywhere, to have proper respect and behavior displayed toward them by their colleagues, as well as those who have power over them as employers and supervisors!

The Coming War On The 17th Amendment By Conservatives!

The right wing in America has a planned strategy to conduct war on the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, one of the greatest of all amendments added since the first ten were enacted as the Bill of Rights!

The 17th Amendment, added to the Constitution in 1913, came as the outgrowth of the Progressive Era, and occurred at its peak, the vigorous campaign for progressive reform promoted by Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson in the Presidential Election of 1912. It was also endorsed by the incumbent President, William Howard Taft, who had elements of progressivism in him despite his general reputation as a conservative, which led to his disastrous third place finish in 1912, despite being the Republican nominee.

The 17th Amendment developed in reaction to “muckraker” David Graham Phillips’ path breaking non fiction exposure, “THE TREASON OF THE SENATE”, which demonstrated the corruption of the US Senate, and its leading figure, Senator Nelson Aldrich of Rhode Island, and led to direct popular election of the US Senate from 1913 onward.

One could argue that even with popular vote, the US Senate often disappoints us, and there are Senators who are an embarrassment and a disgrace to that legislative body.

But now, conservatives are promoting the idea of the repeal of the 17th Amendment, returning us to the method in the Constitution adopted in 1787, to have the often corrupt state legislatures choose the Senators, and deny the population the popular vote involvement in selecting the members of the upper body of Congress.

The theory has developed that all the laws passed to promote political, social and economic reform since 1913, including the massive reforms of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, and all other Presidents might be repealed as illegitimate if the Senate method of election returned to the pre 1913 system.

This is an alarming development, and joined with the desire to get rid of the 16th Amendment (federal income tax) and the 19th Amendment (woman suffrage), all of these “Progressive” amendments, could, if enacted take us back to the 19th century Gilded Age!

Washington Post 95% In Belief Republicans Will Win Senate In November: Totally A Delusion!

It is amazing that the Washington Post is predicting by a percentage of 95 percent that the Republicans will win the six seats needed to control the US Senate in 2015-2016.

Even if they do, which is highly unlikely, with two thirds of the seats in 2016 having incumbent Republicans, it is certain that the Democrats, if they lose control will regain it with a major margin in 2016!

But to believe that the Republicans will gain six seats is belied by the likely defeat of Pat Roberts in Kansas and Mike Rounds in South Dakota, both which no one had thought possible to go to the Democrats.

And those who think Mary Landrieu is not going to win her seat in Louisiana forget her ability to survive, as the only sane major figure in a state which includes Bobby Jindal and David Vitter, both disgraces in every possible manner!

And Mitch McConnell in Kentucky is not going to win his seat this time around against Allison Lundergan Grimes, and Georgia will go Democratic as well with Michelle Nunn, which means even if the Republicans win six seats, they will lose three in those those two states and Kansas, and will not win one of the so called three “guaranteed” states of South Dakota, Montana, and West Virginia!

North Carolina with Kay Hagan seems safe, while admittedly, Arkansas, with Mark Pryor, is in more danger.

Expect overall a three seat Senate gain for the Republicans, with the Senate going from 55-45 to 52-48, including a likely four independents, from Maine, Vermont, South Dakota (or Democrat Rick Weiland winning instead of Independent Larry Pressler), and Kansas!

Jon Huntsman Withdraws From Presidential Campaign Of 2016 Before It Begins; Sees The Handwriting On The Wall!

This blogger and author has, over the past few years, made clear his admiration for former Utah Governor, and former Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, as an unusually good choice for the Republican Presidential nomination, both in 2012 and now in 2016.

Unlike every other potential nominee, Huntsman has a solid record in foreign policy, and along with Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton, is one of the three potential Presidents fully experienced and qualified to deal with the world.

With his announced withdrawal from any consideration for the Presidency in 2016, now the only hope for a well experienced person to deal with foreign policy is either the Vice President or the former Secretary of State and First Lady!

The Republican Party has a dearth of decent, qualified candidates, with most of them far off to the Right, and many of them pure lunatic fringe!

So called Establishment Republicans have lost their own credibility, including 2012 Presidential nominee Mitt Romney; New Jersey Governor Chris Christie; and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, all of whom have major shortcomings.

The thought of an Ohio Republican, such as Governor John Kasich or Senator Rob Portman crosses one’s mind, but although Ohio is crucial, the odds of either man becoming the Presidential nominee are very low, and already it has been made clear that Portman, one of only four Republican Senators who has supported Gay Marriage, has no chance, as the GOP will NOT nominate a pro Gay Rights and Gay Marriage nominee, due to the deleterious effect of the Christian Right, which continues to promote hate and poisonous rhetoric on the subject.

So the fact that Huntsman realizes the odds are impossible for a decent, solid candidate like him to run, is a sign of the death knell of the party of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Dwight D. Eisenhower!

The Presidential Election of 2016 will be a landslide Electoral College victory for the Democrats!

The Future Of The Republican Party: Rob Portman Vs. Mike Huckabee As A Symbol!

With Gay Marriage rapidly expanding, by refusal of the Supreme Court to stop it in eleven states, raising the total of states to 30 and counting, the Republican Party now faces its future!

With a majority of states and population now supporting or accepting gay marriage, and with a majority of people under 50, and even a majority of Catholics and even evangelical Christians in support, how long will the Republican Party hold out and be on the wrong side of history?

Do they wish to be recorded and remembered in the long run for their refusal to accept that marriage is NOT something to be voted on, to have a popular vote (which would not be lost in any case) on a basic human right, both in race in Loving V. Virginia and on sexual orientation now? Do they wish to be seen for what they are now, biased, prejudiced, hateful, narrow minded, and allowing religious beliefs of some people to dictate the lives of everyone else, when we have separation of church and state?

Conservatives were wrong on civil rights for African Americans, wrong on interracial marriage, wrong on women’s rights, wrong on immigration then and now, and wrong on gay rights and marriage, and for the Republicans to continue to follow their hateful, narrow minded views, will guarantee the demise of the party of Lincoln, TR, and Ike!

The Republican Party has a choice! It is time for MORE Republican Senators, Congressmen, and Governors and other office holders to come out in support of gay marriage NOW! So far, only four sitting US Senators and a few members of the House of Representatives have had the courage to speak up. The Senators are Liza Murkowski of Alaska, Mark Kirk of Illinois, Susan Collins of Maine, and Rob Portman of Ohio.

The GOP will have a massive problem being elected to the House and Senate majorities in 2016, as it is, and the suddenly emerging “dark horse” status of Rob Portman, the only one of the above four Senators, who MIGHT consider running for President, and have a shot at being the nominee, present the Republican Party with a choice!

Either demand that any GOP nominee accept the inevitable, OR nominate Senator Portman as the most legitimate candidate for 2016, bypassing all the other extremist, lunatic, whacky candidates in the field, picking a moderate mainstream conservative as the future of the party!

Republicans, reject Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, and anyone else who refuses to accept gay marriage, and ONLY support a person such as Rob Portman, who has accepted it, and is from a key swing state, Ohio, which every winning President has won except in 1960 in modern times!

It is true that Portman supported gay rights and gay marriage due to his son coming out as gay, but he could have done what many so called “religious” people do, and repudiated his son, a most despicable act for any so called “religious” person to do, a mockery of the idea of religiosity!

If the GOP decides to follow the route of the above candidates who have made it clear that they will not accept gay marriage, the ideal candidate for them would be former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, a once seriously mainstream conservative candidate for President in 2008, who has gone off the deep end, become a lunatic, a bigoted man with crazy views, since he joined Fox News Channel, and now mirrors the lunatic right wing talk show hosts on radio, as well as Fox News Channel!

Huckabee has made clear that he will NOT accept what is happening on gay marriage, and if the GOP continues to give in to Supreme Court actions or lack of action on gay marriage, that he will leave the Republican Party!

The best thing the GOP could do is repudiate Huckabee, who has already destroyed his name in history, and have him leave the Republican Party, and let the swinging door hit him in his rear end, or in fact, kick him out the door, declaring to him and others like him, “good riddance!”

The best thing the GOP could do is nominate Rob Portman, or others who finally accept gay rights and gay marriage, and look to a future of NOT accepting prejudice, bias, and the power of the Religious Right, which should be escorted to the door, and told to go to Hell, where they belong!

A great ticket right now would be Portman of Ohio for President and Susan Collins of Maine for Vice President, and that would also overcome the misogyny of the Republican Party!