William Howard Taft

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Following Tradition Of His Father, Seriously Considering Challenge To Donald Trump Within Republican Party

It now looks more likely that President Donald Trump may have a second, and potentially, more viable Republican opponent for the Presidential nomination in 2020.

Former Massachusetts Governor William Weld held office from 1991-1997, and was the Libertarian Vice Presidential nominee in the Presidential Election of 2016. He will be 75 years of age in 2020, nearly a year older than Trump. He is a legitimate candidate, but having been out of office for nearly a quarter century, it weakens his ability to draw support.

But now, Maryland Republican Governor Larry Hogan is exploring the idea of announcing, and this should be encouraged.

Hogan has been Governor of a very “Blue” state since 2015, and won his second term in 2018, He has managed to be bipartisan in a state in which the legislature is heavily Democratic. He will be 64 years of age at the time of the election, a full decade younger than Trump.

His father of the same name was a renowned Maryland Republican Congressman from 1969-1975, and served on the House Judiciary Committee that voted three articles of impeachment in 1974 against President Richard Nixon, and the only Republican on the committee to vote for all three impeachment articles. His speech announcing his vote for all three articles of impeachment was truly a “profile in courage” at the time.

Hogan is a rare “moderate” Republican, a centrist and pragmatist, much respected by Democrats. In a June 2018 poll, Hogan had 60 percent support from Democrats. He has a record of environmental reform; immigration reform; support of gay rights and gay marriage; gun control legislation; free community college tuition for middle class and lower class students in the state; supports abortion and reproductive rights for women; and opposed the nomination of Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

The question is whether Hogan or Weld, seen as similar “moderate” Republicans on most issues, have a real chance to stop Donald Trump’s renomination. The argument is that if they could make Trump weakened at all as a result of their challenge, history tells us that an incumbent President with a challenger in his own party, wins the nomination but loses the Presidency, as happened to William Howard Taft, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H. W. Bush in the 20th century.

Barack Obama Fortunate For History That He Is Between George W. Bush And Donald Trump In The Order Of Presidents In Office

In the long run of history, where a President is in the order of attaining the Presidency really matters.

So, for instance, John Adams is between George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, and while Adams ranks around the middle in ranking of Presidents by historians and political scientists, he is rated much lower than the two Presidents before and after him, who are in the top ten of any listing.

The same goes for William Howard Taft, who is between Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, both of whom are in the top quarter of Presidents, while Taft is rated in the mid 20s.

And the same is true for George H. W. Bush, who is between Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, both of whom are rated higher than Bush, who is rated in the later teens as President.

On the other hand, Abraham Lincoln comes between the two men usually rated the two worst Presidents, James Buchanan before him and Andrew Johnson after him.

And it is now clear that Barack Obama, rated 11th in one poll, 8th in another poll, and 17th in a third poll, all within the two years he has been out of the Presidency, is fortunate to have George W. Bush, rated in the 30s, and Donald Trump rated either at the bottom under Buchanan and Andrew Johnson, or at most just above them, insuring he will, like Lincoln, always be rated much better.

The Beginning Of A Challenge To Donald Trump For Renomination: William Weld And Larry Hogan

It seems as if the beginning of a challenge to Donald Trump for renomination by the Republican Party has arrived.

Former Massachusetts Governor William Weld (1991-1997) , also the Libertarian nominee for Vice President in 2016 with Presidential nominee Gary Johnson, has indicated he is planning to challenge Trump. He would be 75 at the time of the inauguration in 2021.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, who just won reelection last year by a 12 point margin, has also indicated he plans to compete for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2020. He would be 64 at the time of the next election.

Both are moderate Republicans, seen as centrist and pragmatic, and both won office in heavily Democratic states.

Weld has a distinguished aristocratic background starting with ancestors coming over on the Mayflower with the Pilgrims in 1620. He was a counsel with the House Judiciary Committee during the Watergate Impeachment inquiry, and with one of his colleagues being Hillary Rodham, before she married Bill Clinton.

Hogan has the heritage of being the son of a Congressman, with the same name, who, as a member of the House Judiciary Committee in 1974, voted to bring impeachment charges against President Richard Nixon.

Can either of them seriously overcome the advantages of being an incumbent President?

History tells us when incumbent Presidents are challenged for renomination, invariably, the President defeats his opponent, but then loses the election.

So even if Weld or Hogan cannot defeat Trump, hopefully, they can weaken him enough that he will follow in the tradition of William Howard Taft, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H. W. Bush, who overcame, respectively, Theodore Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, Ted Kennedy, and Pat Buchanan, and yet lost the second term as President.

Growing Likelihood Of Challengers To Donald Trump For GOP Presidential Nomination In 2020

With Donald Trump being “individual No. 1”, clearly the center of probes by Robert Mueller, the Special Counsel, and also by the Southern District of New York, the likelihood grows of Republicans, who have just come off a 40 seat loss in the House and control of the lower chamber, being alarmed enough that serious challengers to Donald Trump’s nomination for a second term seem likely.

One can expect the following Republicans to consider challenges to Trump.

Outgoing Ohio Governor John Kasich.

Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse.

Utah Senator Mitt Romney, the 2012 Presidential nominee.

Outgoing Arizona Senator Jeff Flake.

Former South Carolina Governor and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley.

There could be others as well, but this list seems quite realistic, although the more that challenge Trump, the less likely there would be success.

It would be much easier if only one challenger took the bait, and went after Trump.

One can think back to 1979-1980, when President Jimmy Carter was challenged by both Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy and California Governor Jerry Brown.  

The one thing about even one challenger to a sitting President is that the result has been that while the President won the nomination, he ended up losing the election, with three of the four times losing massively.

William Howard Taft won only 23 percent in 1912 after being challenged by former President Theodore Roosevelt, and having to deal with TR as the Progressive Party nominee, as well as Democratic nominee Woodrow Wilson.

Jimmy Carter won only 41 percent in 1980 after being challenged by Ted Kennedy and Jerry Brown, and having to deal with an independent nominee, John Anderson, as well as Republican nominee Ronald Reagan.

George H. W.  Bush won only 37 percent in 1992 after being challenged by Pat Buchanan, and having to deal with independent nominee Ross Perot and Democratic nominee Bill Clinton.

At this point, before we begin the new year, it would seem as if John Kasich would have the upper hand on a challenge over others, and that Ben Sasse, representing a new generation of conservative leadership, would be an additional major challenge to Trump, were Sasse willing to mount a campaign.

Of course, any challenge to Trump would also be indirectly a challenge to Vice President Mike Pence as the “heir apparent”.

Is George H. W. Bush The “Best” One Term President In American History, Surpassing James K. Polk, And What About Jimmy Carter?

Now that George H. W. Bush is part of American history, the question arises whether he should be judged the “best” one term President in American history.

We have had the following 12 one term elected Presidents who finished their term, but were not given a second term:

John Adams
John Quincy Adams
Martin Van Buren
James K. Polk
Franklin Pierce
James Buchanan
Rutherford B. Hayes
Benjamin Harrison
William Howard Taft
Herbert Hoover
Jimmy Carter
George H. W. Bush

Eight of them, all but Polk, Pierce, Buchanan, and Hayes were defeated for reelection, with those four choosing not to run, and all of these four, except Polk, very unpopular and aware that they were not wanted to be nominated for another term.

The usual viewpoint has been that James K. Polk, with the acquisition of the American Southwest by war with Mexico, and acquisition of the Pacific Northwest by the Oregon treaty with Great Britain, was the most successful one term President. Labeled an expansionist and an imperialist by many, the fact that he presided over the greatest expansion of US territory since Thomas Jefferson, has helped him to be regarded by scholars as a “successful” President, rated 12 to 14 in scholarly polls.

Now, some are saying that George H. W. Bush may be greater than Polk, due to his foreign policy accomplishments in particular, including the end of the Cold War, the unification of Germany, and the Persian Gulf War, along with his domestic policies of “A Thousand Points Of Light”, and the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Some on this list, including Van Buren, Pierce, Buchanan, Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, Taft, and Hoover are seen in a poor light, while J. Q. Adams is seen as not having succeeded in his one term, although a great man, and his father, John Adams, criticized for the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798, curbing civil liberties during his term.

The only other one term President who could be seen as competing would be Jimmy Carter, with his Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel, the Panama Canal Treaty, his Human Rights advocacy, his creation of new cabinet agencies (Departments of Education, Health And Human Services, Energy), and his exceptional record on the environment, but his negatives, including high inflation, the Iranian hostage crisis, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and the Cuban Mariel Boat Lift all help to undermine his case.

So, one could argue that Polk and Bush may be competitive as the “best” one term elected President, without a clear cut answer to the question of who was the better President.

It might be best to say that Polk was the best 19th century one term elected President, while Bush was the best 20th century one term elected President, with Jimmy Carter as the runner up in that regard.

One Term Presidents Who Lose Reelection Reassessed

The historical image of One Term Presidents is that it is the worst thing imaginable to lose reelection, and that their historical image is damaged.

Actually, though, it could be argued that a one term Presidency often is a blessing in disguise in the long run.

Let’s examine what happened to the lives of Presidents defeated for a second term.

John Adams lost reelection to Thomas Jefferson in 1800, but went on to live another 25 years, see his son John Quincy Adams be elected and inaugurated President, and die at the age of 90 years and seven months, the all time record until the 21st century, when four other Presidents surpassed him in age.

John Quincy Adams lost reelection to Andrew Jackson in 1828, but went on to live another 19 years, and be elected to nine terms as a Congressman from Massachusetts, engaged in the fight against slavery as the only President elected by popular vote to an elected office after being President.

Martin Van Buren lost reelection to William Henry Harrison in 1840, but went on to live another 21 years, and be the Presidential nominee of the Free Soil Party in 1848, winning about 10 percent of the national popular vote, the first such third party to have an impact on a national election.

Grover Cleveland lost reelection to Benjamin Harrison in 1888, but came back to the White House by election in 1892, and later served on the Princeton University Board of Trustees after his retirement.

William Howard Taft lost reelection to Woodrow Wilson in 1912, but went on to become the only President also to serve as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court from 1921-1930.

Herbert Hoover lost reelection to Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932, but went on to the longest retirement of more than 31 years, only surpassed by Jimmy Carter in 2012, and Hoover having growing respect for his post Presidential activities, and dying at the age of 90 in 1964, only five months less lifespan than John Adams, and the second President to reach that age.

Gerald Ford lost election to Jimmy Carter in 1976, after succeeding Richard Nixon under the 25th Amendment, but went on to growing recognition and respect in his nearly 30 years after his Presidency, setting the record for longevity until 2018, dying at the age of 93 and five months.

Jimmy Carter lost reelection to Ronald Reagan in 1980, but went on to become the most outstanding former President in his activities and commitments to public service, and has had the longest retirement of any President, nearly 38 years, and has just reached the age of 94, being 111 days younger than George H. W. Bush.

George H. W. Bush lost reelection to Bill Clinton in 1992, but went on to see his son, George W. Bush be inaugurated and serve two terms in the Presidency, and growing respect as he set the all time record of age 94 in June 2018.

The Midwest Battleground Will Determine The Political Future, And The Prospects For Democrats Look Good

The Midwest battleground—Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Michigan, Wisconsin, Michigan—is where the modern political system began, and has been a crucial factor in elections ever since the Republican Party was first created in Michigan and Wisconsin in the summer of 1854.

The Midwest is the heartland of the nation, often ridiculed by those who are from the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts, but the states of this area have a “wallop”, the potential to decide the national political trend.

Nine Republican Presidents came from the Midwest—Abraham Lincoln from Illinois; Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, William McKinley, William Howard Taft, Warren G. Harding from Ohio; Benjamin Harrison from Indiana; and Herbert Hoover from Iowa; along with Gerald Ford from Michigan inheriting the Presidency via the 25th Amendment.

Also, other Republican nominees (Alf Landon, Bob Dole) and Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower were from “next door” Kansas in the Great Plains.

At the same time, Midwestern Democrats who ran for President include James Cox of Ohio, Adlai Stevenson II of Illinois, Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale from Minnesota, and George McGovern of “next door” South Dakota in the Great Plains, along with Harry Truman of Missouri and Barack Obama of Illinois.

So the Midwest and its nearby neighbors have had an amazing impact, and now the polls indicate the Midwest Governorships that are up for election trend toward Democrats in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, with Ohio also in play.

If the Midwest or most of it is won by Democrats, then the effect on reapportionment of seats in the House of Representatives after the 2020 Census figures are in, will greatly change the political equation for the next decade, so these gubernatorial elections are crucial turning points.

And it may help any Midwestern Democrat who plans to run for President, with Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar having a great opportunity, in the tradition of Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale, plus the image of Eugene McCarthy and Paul Wellstone also helping to give her candidacy a boost.

If the Democratic Presidential nominee is from the Midwest, it gives a boost that a candidate from the Atlantic Coast or Pacific Coast cannot give it, as the “Fly Over” States really will, again, as in the past, determine Presidential elections as well as control of Congress.

Senator John McCain: Rest In Peace, You Did Your Country Well, And Will Be Well Remembered In The Annals Of American History!

One of the giant figures of the US Senate, a true “Lion of the Senate”, Arizona Senator John McCain, has left us as of last evening, and the nation is in deep mourning for his family, and for the loss to the nation by his passing.

Let me make it clear, that I did not vote for Senator McCain in 2008, but I have always had deep respect for him as a human being.

I did not always agree with his views on issues either, but I knew his viewpoints were sincere and based on his conservative values.

Ironically, McCain died on the same day that his good friend and also rival, Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, passed away nine years ago.

McCain worked well across the aisle, and was particularly close with Democratic Senators Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, Joe Biden of Delaware, John Kerry of Massachusetts, and Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, along with Ted Kennedy. McCain promoted campaign finance reform with Feingold, something we desperately need in 2018. And probably his closest friendship was with South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.

He thought of creating a bipartisan Presidential ticket with Joe Lieberman, and who knows, if he had done so, would the Presidential Election of 2008 ended up differently?

He knew he had made many mistakes in his life, and did not deny that, but he was always a decent man, who while so many were attacking Sarah Palin in 2008 and ever since, he never said he had made a mistake in selecting her as his running mate, even though he certainly knew that was the case.

He fought bitterly with George W. Bush for the GOP nomination in 2000, and against Barack Obama for the Presidency in 2008, and often disagreed with both Presidents’ policies, but he asked both of them to give eulogies for him at his upcoming funeral.

At the same time, Donald Trump never showed any respect for McCain, and the suffering he went through as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam for five and a half years, and could not show any common decency toward McCain in his declining days. So rightfully, McCain ordered that Trump NOT attend his funeral, which was his right to assert that. For what Trump has done regarding McCain, as well as the innumerable sins Trump has visited toward everyone imaginable, the 45th President will pay the price in the after life, and his funeral one day will not have the deep mourning that we are witnessing for John McCain.

McCain will be best remembered for his defense of Barack Obama at that campaign rally in 2008, when that crazy woman was saying Obama was an Arab. This was a moment that stands out for the ages, when we need unity, and not racism and nativism.

Also, in his last appearance on the Senate floor, John McCain, who had voted against ObamaCare, saved ObamaCare from Donald Trump and the evil Republican leadership and membership, which wanted to destroy it in 2017, without any alternative for millions of Americans. That showed the true statesmanship of the Arizona Senator.

John McCain will go down in the annals of American history as one of the small number of US Senators who made a real difference in a positive way in the evolution of American history.

And unbelievably, his mother Roberta is still alive at past the half way point from 106 to 107 in age, making her one of a very small number of Americans still alive who were born in the year of the most dramatic election of the 20th century, 1912, when McCain’s favorite President, Theodore Roosevelt, ran as a “maverick” against President William Howard Taft. And McCain was proud to be called a “maverick”.

It seems likely that Cindy McCain, now a widow, will replace her husband by appointment for the next two years, and it is believed she is a moderate, and could have a dramatic effect on the Senate if she indeed moves toward shifting the momentum of the party in votes, whether the Republicans remain the majority, or end up in the minority in the next two years.

God bless John McCain, rest in peace, as you did your country well, and will be well remembered and honored in the annals of American history!

Theoretical Possibility Of Nine Business People Or Celebrities With No Government Experience Who Might Run For The Presidency In 2020

Donald Trump is the first totally non government experience candidate ever to win the Presidency.

Before him, Wendell Willkie for the Republicans in 1940, and Ross Perot, as an Independent in 1992 and 1996, also had no government experience.

With the horrific Trump experience, the question arises whether another business person or celebrity with no government experience might run for the White House in 2020, and might have a chance to win.

At least nine potential candidates have been mentioned, but most are not considered serious possibilities.

Oprah Winfrey , Kanye West, and Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson come from the entertainment world, but none of these has seemed serious about running, and somehow, with all three being African American, and Oprah being a woman, it is hard to imagine, without government experience, and just basically being a celebrity, that anyone of them would get very far.

Then, we have Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook billionaire, who is Jewish and would be only 36 years old in 2020, and has controversy surrounding Facebook’s role in affecting the 2016 Presidential election. Also, he has made controversial statements, and comes across to many, including this blogger, as extremely arrogant, and needing much more maturity and judgment to even consider running at any time in the future.

Then we have Andrew Yang, who is an entrepreneur, promoting startups in business in many different cities across America. Yang, born of Chinese parents from Taiwan, would be 45 years old, and wants to promote a Universal Basic Income of $1,000 a month to all Americans 18-64, as part of his platform, and he has already announced for President, but the question is whether he can gain any traction.

Bob Iger, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Walt Disney Company, is Jewish, and is rumored to be interested, but there has been criticism of his leadership of Disney, and he would be close to 70 on Inauguration Day 2021.

Howard Schultz, the former Chief Executive Officer of Starbucks, is Jewish, and would be 67 years old if he won in 2020, and has a very liberal image, and seems to be seriously considering announcing his candidacy.

We also have Mark Cuban, who owns the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, is very outspoken, and has hinted at running for President. He has been all over the map politically, having expressed admiration for libertarian author Ayn Rand, but backing Hillary Clinton for President in 2016. Also Jewish in his religion, Cuban has been more of a public relations oriented person, much more noticed in the news media than most other businessmen, including Zuckerberg, Yang, Iger and Schultz. He would be likely a Republican candidate if he ran, as he calls himself fiscally conservative, although a social moderate by his own definition.

Finally, much more in the public eye since Donald Trump became President, is Tom Steyer, a billionaire hedge fund manager, philanthropist, environmentalist, liberal activist, and fundraiser, who has been on an active campaign to impeach Donald Trump, gaining a lot of attention. He has long been a Democratic activist, going back to Walter Mondale in 1984 through Hillary Clinton in 2016, and was considered to be a cabinet member twice under Barack Obama, for Secretary of the Treasury in 2009 and Secretary of Energy in 2013, but others were chosen. Steyer is often seen as the adversary of Charles and David Koch.

The only ones on this list of nine who this author and blogger see as “legitimate” are Andrew Yang and Tom Steyer, who seem to have the best credentials, but still, no desire here to have another businessman or celebrity without any government experience as our President in 2021.

In the “real world”, somehow, three African Americans (Winfrey, West, Johnson); one woman (Winfrey); four Jews (Zuckerberg, Iger, Schultz, Cuban); and one Asian American (Yang) potential candidates seems highly unlikely, in the political climate we are in, to have a real shot at being the nominee. So this means probably Tom Steyer, who is most “out there” in the present political climate and is a white Episcopalian, might be the one of the nine with the best potential. Had he actually served in Barack Obama’s cabinet, he might seem to many as a more legitimate candidate, as we have had Presidents who were never elected before the Presidency but were cabinet members, specifically William Howard Taft and Herbert Hoover.

The Trump experience makes it difficult to look at others in the non political world as better than having a Governor, Senator, Congressman, Mayor, or Cabinet Officer in the White House.

We shall see how far these nine possible candidates go in seeking the Presidency, as after the next 100 days, the announcement of Presidential candidacies, will rapidly emerge!

Supreme Court Membership Could Be Increased In Future By Democratic Party Senate Majority, Perfectly Legal

Progressives have developed the idea that in the future, when Democrats gain the majority of the US Senate, they may move toward increasing the membership of the Supreme Court, playing hardball as much as the Republicans have under Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

McConnell refused to allow hearings for Merrick Garland, Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee to replace the dead Antonin Scalia, saying it was an election year, and improper to allow an outgoing President to make an appointment.

This was preposterous, as John Adams named John Marshall Chief Justice in 1801, after losing reelection to Thomas Jefferson; Andrew Jackson chose Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney in 1836, his last year in office; and Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison and William Howard Taft chose Justices in their last year in office; and Herbert Hoover chose Benjamin Cardozo in 1932, his last year in office; and Dwight D. Eisenhower chose William Brennan in the year of his reelection campaign; and Ronald Reagan chose Anthony Kennedy in his last year in office in 1988.

We have had differing numbers of justices. up to ten, and there is no constitutional barring of adding more Justices, as Franklin D. Roosevelt wished to do in 1937.

What is good for the goose is good for the gander, as the saying goes, and this might be a way to wield power on the part of the Democrats to create a balanced Court, as otherwise, we will have the most extremist Court since the 1920s!