Voting Rights

A Massive “Blue Wave” Despite A Good Economy, Low Unemployment, And Actions To Promote Voter Suppression

The biggest “Blue Wave” since the 1974 midterms, after Richard Nixon resigned due to the Watergate Scandal, has occurred this week.

It is also the greatest participation in a midterm election in 52 years, since 1966, when there was a lot of anger at Lyndon B. Johnson’s prosecution of the Vietnam War.

It is also an election in which the states that decided that Donald Trump would win the Electoral College–Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin–swung over to the Democrats.

This was an election in which the gender gap was the greatest we have ever seen, and more young people voted than at any time since the 26th Amendment gave 18 year olds the right to vote.

This election also saw suburbia swing to the Democratic Party en masse, and that is a major development long term.

We also saw many Republican Congressmen in California, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, and in the Midwest, lose their seats.

We witnessed Kansas reject the right wing views of past Governor Sam Brownback, and defeat Kris Kobach, a crooked candidate who worked to suppress voting rights all over the nation in the past few years.

All this occurred despite a good economy, low unemployment, and actions to promote voter suppression.

Donald Trump had said that voters should consider as if he was on the ballot, when he went out and campaigned all over the nation.

And the nation reacted with a sound rejection of Trump, with Democrats winning 7 percent more of the vote than Republicans, just as Hillary Clinton won over Donald Trump in popular vote by nearly 3 million votes.

And let us not forget that Democrats have won the popular vote for President six of the last seven national elections, all but 2004, starting in 1992 and through 2016!

The Record And Views Of Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh Could Determine Constitutional Law To 2050!

Tomorrow, the contentious hearings on the nomination of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh will begin in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

These will be the most controversial set of hearings since 1987 and Robert Bork, and 1991, with Clarence Thomas.

On both of those occasions, the Democrats controlled the Senate, and Bork was rejected by a vote of 58-42, while Thomas was confirmed by a vote of 52-48.

The effect of Justice Clarence Thomas for the past 27 years has been profound, with many future potential Circuit Court or Supreme Court candidates having clerked for him.

Thomas has been trying to take us back to the Articles of Confederation in many ways, but also admiring Presidential power at the same time.

This is the danger of Brett Kavanaugh, that he would take America domestically back to the Gilded Age, wiping out the New Deal, Great Society, and everything Barack Obama changed.

He comes across on the surface as a pleasant, nice man, but it is all very misleading.

This is a man who worked for Ken Starr in the impeachment of Bill Clinton, and now Kavanaugh has changed his view of Presidential power 180 degrees.

This is a man who worked in the White House for George W. Bush, and helped to plan the idea of an anti gay marriage amendment, that was part of the campaign of Bush in 2004. And now, Donald Trump has used executive privilege to prevent 100,000 documents from Kavanaugh’s time in the Bush White House from being made available, which is another controversy now created, as why should the Senate be unable to examine all pertinent material about a nominee?

This is a man who worked to deny September 11 victims the ability to sue for damages, limiting unsuccessfully that intent.

This is a man who in his Circuit Court decisions has come out against abortion rights, against ObamaCare, against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, against labor union rights, and willing to support limitations on voting rights.

This is a man who might be able to vote on whether Donald Trump can be indicted or prosecuted, and should recuse himself on any such matters as a conflict of interest, but likely will not do so. Justice William Rehnquist, when new on the Court as an Associate Justice, recused himself from the US Vs. Richard Nixon case in 1974 (after which Richard Nixon resigned), because Rehnquist had worked in the Justice Department under Nixon. So that famous and significant case was 8-0, not 9-0 or 8-1, and at the least, a Justice Kavanaugh should recuse himself from any case involving possible legal action against Donald Trump.

Kavanaugh could affect future decisions on campaign finance, climate change, election gerrymandering, and travel bans, and regulation of guns.

He would also create a right wing conservative Court, unlike any since 85 years ago.

And being only 53, he could be on the Supreme Court until 2050, when he would reach 85 years of age.

This would be the most long range effect of Donald Trump, no matter how much longer he remains in the Presidency, along with the 26 and more Circuit Court confirmations already accomplished by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, along with Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.

The Democrats’ only hope would be IF all 49 Democrats hold fast (highly unlikely); Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowksi (both pro choice on abortion) abandoning the party ties on this vote (highly unlikely); and the person who replaces John McCain in the Senate (maybe Cindy McCain) joining the two women Republican Senators in voting against Kavanaugh (highly unlikely).

How The Republican Majority Supreme Court Has Promoted Corporate Control And Voter Suppression, And Undermined American Democracy

Citizens United V. Federal Election Commission (2010) and Shelby County V. Holder (2013) are the two decisions of the majority Supreme Court in the last decade which have destroyed the concept of fair and free elections in America.

Those cases, and Bush V Gore (2000) have done everything possible to undermine the majority of the people in Presidential elections, as well as other elections in states, which should have favored the Democratic Party.

And now, with a new right wing Supreme Court Justice, Neil Gorsuch, possibly more extremist than Clarence Thomas or Samuel Alito on the Court since April, the future is very gloomy for progressive values and beliefs.

Realize that the Democrats have won the popular vote in Presidential elections six of the last seven times, from 1992 to 2016, only losing to George W. Bush in 2004.

But the Supreme Court Republican majority has allowed corporations to be seen as people, and this has led to extreme abuse by many wealthy corporate special interests, and individual millionaires and billionaires, to put excessive amounts of funding into negative campaigns against liberals and Democrats, and to fund right wing extremist campaigns for legislation they want, and for conservative candidates they desire.

And loosening the enforcement of voting rights by states has allowed many states to place new voter restrictions on poor people, minorities, young people, and the elderly, making voting an onerous process, and in effect, working for voter suppression, which apparently had an effect in the 2016 Presidential election in some states, and for sure, in Wisconsin, one of the crucial states that gave Donald Trump the victory by a very small margin of votes.

The undermining of American democracy is in full swing, and the fear is that we have just seen the tip of the iceberg in regards to Republican and conservative repression of much of the law and legislation, and the election process itself, in the future, with the ability of Donald Trump and the Republican Party to “fix” the future, one of moving backwards by a century or more in so many respects.

Trump Voter Fraud Commission An Attack On Voting Rights, Clear And Simple!

The Trump Voter Fraud Commission, set up and headed by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who is infamous for promoting voter suppression tactics, has become a total failure, as 44 states refuse to comply with all of the information that the commission is asking the states to provide.

Trump wants this commission, because he cannot accept that he lost the popular vote by 2.85 million to Hillary Clinton, and claims that millions of illegal immigrants voted, with absolutely no such evidence of this crazy theory.

What Trump is trying to do is a clear attack on voting rights, and an attempt to cut millions off the voter rolls, so that Trump can have less opposition for a reelection campaign in 2020.

The fact that all but a few states refuse to cooperate is a good sign, as we now have a situation in which the stares are the progressive forces, against a right wing reactionary federal government headed by Trump cronies.

This is the precise opposite of the 1960s, when we had southern states, including Mississippi and Alabama most notably, but others as well, that worked to undermine civil and voting rights, and were forced into compliance by the federal government.

There are those conservatives who believe in states rights when it is convenient, but now want that to be ignored when it comes to states and cities protecting the environment; and also law abiding immigrants, even if they may have overstayed their time as a visitor, or entered illegally, but have led law abiding lives for decades in this nation, and should not face deportation, as the Trump Administration is pursuing, to the outrage of millions of Americans!

The 4th Of July In The Trump Era: America Has Lost Its Way!

Today is the 241st anniversary of Independence Day, declared in 1776.

America was a great experiment in being a republic, and over the nearly two and a half centuries since, America ended slavery; opened its arms to scores of immigrants from all over the world; expanded the right to vote to all citizens over time, no matter what race, religion, nationality, or gender they were; promoted a social safety net; and expanded public education to all.

The Constitution was expanded to face modern realities; and both major political parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, contributed to the advancement of tolerance and justice and equal opportunity; and the Supreme Court became a body that dealt with expansion of civil liberties and civil rights.

There were many detours along the road to today, but overall, progress was made, and a sense of optimism reigned.

And then, September 11 occurred, and the nation’s politics veered from one viewpoint to another and then to what is now present, a dark view of our nation, its people, and the world.

We live in the Trump era, which is in process of delaying, deleting, and destroying so much progress that has been accomplished in the 20th and early 21st centuries.

We are seeing race, religion, ethnicity and gender being used in an abusive manner to take away basic civil liberties, civil rights, common decency, and a sense of civility.

We are seeing the wealthy becoming the most stratified group in American history, and the middle class, created in the 20th century, destroyed, and the poor being treated in a shabby fashion.

One political party, the Republicans, has become the party of negativism, hatred, prejudice, and pure nastiness, and we have seen the shift of the Supreme Court toward a hard right conservatism that brings back memories of the Gilded Age Supreme Court.

It is as if we are in a time warp, and have reverted to 140 years ago!

So while we celebrate our national holiday, we have a lot to mourn, and it MUST make all of us determined to fight and resist with all our abilities combined, to resolve this crisis in a constitutional manner, with the removal of Donald Trump from the Presidency, as a tyrant and authoritarian figure who has met his match with our Constitutional remedy!

Most Significant Issue Of Entire Campaign: The Supreme Court Future And A Democratic Majority US Senate!

No more important issue is on the plate for this election year than the Supreme Court future, tied into a Democratic Majority US Senate!

The Republicans have made it clear that if Hillary Clinton wins the Presidency, but the Republicans retain the control of the Senate, that NO Supreme Court nominee will be confirmed, and in fact, not even considered in hearings.

This is totally unacceptable, and cannot be allowed to occur for the next four years, as effectively, that is destroying the whole purpose of the separation of powers and constitutional government!

The Supreme Court has been Republican majority since 1972, and finally, the tipping point to a Democratic and more progressive/liberal Court is in the offing.

Such issues as the following could end up before the Court in the next four years:

Abortion
Affirmative Action
Campaign Finance
Class Action Suits
Climate Change
Contraception
Gun Rights
Immigration Reform
LGBTQ Rights
ObamaCare
Redistricting
Unions
Voter ID Laws
Voting Rights

Hillary Clinton Comes Out Fighting, Evoking Franklin D. Roosevelt On Roosevelt Island

Hillary Clinton began her Presidential campaign officially on April 12, the day that Franklin D. Roosevelt died in 1945.

She began her aggressive, active campaign today, June 13, on Roosevelt Island in New York, evoking the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and came out fighting to make America a better place than it has been under Republican leadership in Congress, and the disastrous Republican field of Presidential candidates.

Just as Hillary inspired people when she spoke in Texas recently about enforcing the right to vote, which has been worked against in Republican controlled state governments, when Hillary gets out on the stump, she gives people new hope that she can be an outstanding Presidential candidate; defeat whichever GOP candidate survives the upcoming campaign; and emerge triumphant and successful as the 45th President!

Hillary has faults and shortcomings, as she herself admits; and she said she knew she would make mistakes as any candidate, any human being would, but that she would always be fighting for the middle class, and for those left behind, meaning the poor and disadvantaged, as well.

That is the message we want to hear from Hillary Clinton, and while Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley and Lincoln Chafee offer more “liberal” alternatives to Hillary in the Democratic Presidential race, and are all decent and inspirational in nature, the odds are still that Hillary will win and carry the mantle of the Democratic Party into November 2016.

And ultimately, the issue is not whether Hillary is “liberal enough”, but the future of the federal courts, and particularly, the Supreme Court, as that will be the most lasting impact of the next President of the United States.

We cannot allow a reactionary, right wing Republican gain control of the future of the Supreme Court, as that would condemn much of what Democratic Presidents have achieved in the past century since FDR!

150 Years Since Final Confederate Surrender Of Robert E. Lee To Ulysses S. Grant At Appomattox Court House In Virginia, Ending Civil War!

Today, April 9, marks the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War between the Union and the Confederacy, with General Robert E. Lee, the leading Confederate general, surrendering to Union General and future President Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia.

This tragic war ended a four year conflict, just three days before its fourth anniversary, having killed an estimated 620,000 men, with the Union military losing about 360,000 and the Confederate military losing about 260,000 men.

The Civil War ended slavery forever, and upheld nationalism over states rights, and was an inspiration to many people in England and France, which saw it as a movement toward the evolution of democracy.

But sadly, the end of the war did not change the minds of many white Southerners, and over the generations, the Democrats of the South continued to promote Jim Crow segregation; brutal lynchings of African Americans and others, including Jews and Catholics; and fought toot and nail against civil liberties and civil rights, while parading the Confederate flag, which even today flies in South Carolina and some other Southern states.

And when civil rights laws were forced on the South fifty years ago under Lyndon B. Johnson, the Democrats lost their tight control of the South, and the Republicans, the party that had freed the slaves under Abraham Lincoln and promoted civil rights under Dwight D. Eisenhower, abandoned their principles and decency and became the new party of Southern resistance to justice and civil rights. Today, all of the Southern governors, with the exception of Virginia, and the Senate, with the exception of the two members from Virginia and one from Florida, are Republicans, working to undermine voting rights and promote racism and nativism at full speed, a total disgrace.

So while we celebrate the end of the Southern rebellion a century and a half ago, in many ways, the rebellion still lives on, poisoning the political atmosphere in many states, and in the national government, and particularly so with the very clear disrespect of Southern office holders for the African American President of the United States, who has been vilified in a manner unlike anyone since Abraham Lincoln!

Alabama And Gay Marriage: The Shame Of Roy Moore, Clarence Thomas, And Antonin Scalia

So Alabama becomes the 37th state to see gay marriage in effect, and it is to the shame of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, and Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, that they will go down in history as hateful, divisive jurists who use Christianity to justify their hate and defile Jesus Christ at the same time.

Moore is the controversial top jurist in a state which still has the shame of being the center of civil rights controversies, including the bombing of a church in Birmingham which killed four young black girls; the use of police dogs, tear gas and high pressure water hoses against peaceful civil rights marchers in Birmingham; the spectacle of Governor George Wallace standing in the door of the Registrar’s Office at the University of Alabama to try to prevent two black students from registering for classes; and “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, Alabama, when police attacked peaceful demonstrators on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, shocking Americans who could not believe what was happening, over what was the push for voting rights.

Fifty years later, the spectacle of the leading jurist in the state of Alabama, ordering legal authorities in the state to refuse to grant same sex marriage licenses, is a mockery of the rule of law, and of obedience to federal courts and the Constitution. And to see Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia make a public denunciation of their colleagues on the Court, refusing to stop gay marriage until the Court decides in June on this matter, is a rearguard action by two Justices who are a disgrace to the Court, and has displayed constant conflict of interest in their dealings with the Koch Brothers and others who they should steer clear of. It is a clear indication of the incompetence and arrogance of these two right wing Justices, the most right wing members of the Court in the past hundred years, and a disgrace to the Court’s history with their narrow mindedness and intolerance!

And the idea that Christianity is brought into this by Moore, and indirectly by Thomas and Scalia, is a mockery of a religious doctrine, which distorts the true teachings of Jesus Christ, a man who promoted tolerance, open mindedness, and understanding!

Conservative Right Wing Attack On The Constitution: The Threat Of Another Constitutional Convention Wiping Out Constitutional Amendments!

The Founding Fathers gave us a Constitution, admitting in the process that there would always be room for improvements, so made clear that amendments were appropriate over time.

So we have had 27 Amendments, including the first ten that make up the Bill of Rights.

When one looks at the amendments, particularly those that came after the Bill of Rights, one realizes that the vast majority of them were “progressive” in tone, designed to expand democracy in America, or else, amendments dealing with the office of the Presidency.

So the “progressive” amendments included the 13th (ending slavery and involuntary servitude); the 14th (promoting due process and equal protection and making African Americans citizens); the 15th (guaranteeing the right to vote for African Americans and others which had been denied that right); the 16th (providing for a federal income tax to raise revenue to deal with mounting social and economic issues); the 17th (granting the people the right to elect their two United States Senators by popular vote); the 19th (guaranteeing women the right to vote); the 23rd (guaranteeing residents of Washington, DC the right to vote); the 24th (preventing a poll tax for voting); and the 26th (guaranteeing young people 18-21 the right to vote).

So nine of the seventeen amendments after the first ten of the Bill of Rights promote progressive change, while the 12th, 20th, 22nd and 25th deal with the office of the Presidency.

The only amendment that was ever passed to limit the freedom of Americans was the 18th (prohibition of liquor), but later repealed by the 21st Amendment.

Now we have the real threat by right wing conservatives, including the Tea Party Movement, who want a new Constitutional Convention to wipe out these “progressive” amendments!

They do not like voting rights for African Americans, other minorities, women, residents of Washington DC (mostly African Americans) and young people; and they are unhappy that African Americans are considered equal under the law, and if they had the ability to do so, they would love to re-enslave poor people, which by corporate power is occurring in an informal way for many minorities, as well as white lower class people struggling every day to survive!

And they wish they could restore the US Senate elections to the corrupt state legislatures, taking away the popular vote. Finally, they hate the federal income tax, even though many of them avoid substantial taxation by having investments, rather than working for a living like most of us do. So they would prefer a sales tax, which is regressive, and would hurt the middle class and the poor much more than the wealthy elite!

But that is exactly the extremist right wing intention—to restore the “good old days” when they were in charge, and everyone had to kowtow to them!

We must not allow such a threat to develop, so the battle for progressivism is never ending, as a result!