Republican Party: Rigging is better than conforming

When Trump was electorally elected (never forget that he actually lost the election – lost the vote of the people by nearly 3 million votes), I said it was a pushback against the country having had an African-American President for 8 years. But, given Trump’s bluster, his nastiness, his dishonesty, his schoolyard bullying ways, I thought it would not be long before Republicans began leaving the GOP in droves, thus forcing the party to change its ways, to move back more to the center of political ideology and distance itself from Trump. Shows what I know, eh? That didn’t happen, still hasn’t happened, and the GOP has sacrificed any shred of integrity it may have once had to rig and skew next year’s election. Jeff over at On the Fence Voters has written a well-researched piece and included a link to a documentary that is an eye-opener. Thanks, Jeff, for your hard work on this post and permission to share it with my friends & readers.

On The Fence Voters

How Obama’s election prompted a desperate power grab

A few days ago, I happened to watch the new documentary called Rigged – The Voter Suppression Playbook, which you can now catch on Amazon Prime. It deals with how the Republican Party began a systematic voter suppression and gerrymandering extravaganza not long after an incident that occurred in 2008.

Af first I wasn’t sure what event they were talking about. Let’s see, what event transpired in 2008 that would have inspired such actions?

Oh yeah! The black guy won.

Now it makes sense. It must have been as if one of the Tsunami Warning sirens, which are sometimes tested out here in the Pacific Northwest, blasted so loud to every member of the Republican hierarchy, that it became an ‘all hands on deck’ response. Or, maybe it was like the loud signal we sometimes hear on the local newscast when…

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Note To Democrats: It Wasn’t Just Issues That Helped Dems Win In 2018/ Try Black Voter Turnout

I admit that I am still on the fence about whether or not the House of Representatives ought to begin impeachment proceedings. That said, more and more I am leaning toward it, for every day I see more and more damage to this nation being done by the person in the Oval Office. I listen to both sides of the issue, and both sides make a compelling case. Today, I share with you Gronda’s post that makes a compelling case in favour of at the very least opening an impeachment inquiry. What are your thoughts? Many thanks, Gronda, for this enlightening post and for permission to share it.

Gronda Morin

Image result for photos rallies for impeaching trump

Dear Democrats, as per the historian Jon Meacham, “If I were in Congress, I’d want to hold Trump impeachment hearings;” and “If you raise the bar for an impeachment inquiry to impossibly high standards, you then lower the bar for what the country will have to tolerate with future lawless presidents.”

According to a new CNN poll,”Democrats are increasingly in favor of impeaching President Donald Trump, with 76 percent saying they support the move.” Ignoring the will of the party’s base of voters is in itself, a risky political calculation.

Our Black brothers and sisters have become an important/ crucial voting bloc for Democratic Party candidates. They also represent a bloc of voters who don’t get why the US House Democrats have failed to at least commence an impeachment inquiry which doesn’t have to result in an actual impeachment vote against President Trump, based on his numerous felonious acts…

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Election 2020 … Part First of Many To Come

I have lost count of how many times I’ve heard people say that the democrats will win big in 2020, that Trump doesn’t stand a chance, that the democrats have a bunch of good candidates, that the nation will not re-elect Donald Trump, etc., etc.  And I know those people saying this mean well, and in most cases, I think they believe it.  But folks … make no mistake … it will be an uphill battle, and we haven’t yet taken the first step up that hill.  In this post, I want to talk just a bit about what is wrong with the democratic stance and what some of the problems facing the democrats are going to be.  I speak at the moment only of the presidential election, though I will later talk about the Senate and at some point, the House.

First problem … yes, we have a number of highly qualified candidates, from the elders, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, to the newbies like Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker.  But that is exactly the problem.  Let me explain …

In 2016, when Bernie Sanders failed to be nominated by the Democratic Party, what did his most loyal supporters do?  Some voted for independent candidates, some even voted for Trump, but the majority simply did not vote.  If every Bernie supporter had cast their vote for Hillary Clinton, we would not have Trump in the Oval Office today.  So, next year, at the Democratic Convention, if Kamala Harris is the nominee, what will Buttigieg’s and Warren’s supporters do?  Some will vote for Ms. Harris, but more will likely either vote for an independent simply to show their anger with the Democratic Party or will simply stay home and not vote at all.  Some will even vote for Trump.  This is a big problem, folks, and while it makes no sense, it is reality.

Second problem … this election will not be, for the Democratic Party, about who is the most qualified and capable candidate, but will be only about who can beat Donald Trump.  Which translates to:  who has the most public appeal, who is the best-looking, who can win what will be naught more than a popularity contest.  Oh yes, I hear you saying that we all care about the issues, and I agree … those reading this post no doubt care more about the candidate’s stance on such things as climate change, health care, taxes, foreign policy, gun regulation, Social Security, etc.  But we, my friends, are not the majority.  The majority do not vote with their heads, do not study the candidates and issues, but rather vote with their hearts.  Why do you think Hillary failed to attain a larger margin in 2016? (I remind you that she did win the election by nearly 3 million votes)  Because she was not warm & fuzzy, was not a ‘likeable’ persona.  And the two straws that broke the camel’s back were her calling republicans ‘deplorables’, and Jim Comey’s “October Surprise”.

Third problem … nobody seems to be doing a damned thing about the fact that Russia did, in fact, influence our 2016 election and, while we will never know for certain if Hillary would have won the electoral college without the Russian influence, we can surmise that would have been the case.  This should be something that Congress is demanding be addressed by our intelligence community, and perhaps it is being addressed, but it doesn’t seem to be taken very seriously at all.

Fourth problem … voter disenfranchisement and gerrymandering.  Most of Trump’s base are white, middle-income, Christian, non-college-educated voters.  They have driver’s licenses, they own cars, and they live in predominantly white, middle class neighborhoods with a polling place only a short distance.  A large number of likely democratic voters are poor, are minorities, and live in neighborhoods where there are no polling places close by.  They may not have driver’s licenses, they may not own reliable vehicles.  They work at minimum wage jobs and by the time they get off work, take a bus to the closest polling place, it has closed, or the line is so long that they cannot wait in line to vote, for they must pick their child up at daycare.  States are, even today, trying to pass stricter voting laws.  In Texas, proposed legislation would force anyone taking more than 3 non-family-members to the polls to fill out a form listing the people being transported and the reason.  In many states around the nation, voter ID laws are being introduced.  Polling places on college campuses are being dismantled.  And I haven’t seen much being done in the way of re-districting gerrymandered districts.  These are all blatant attempts to discourage poor and minority voters, to make it harder for them to vote, and to ensure their votes are diluted when they can vote.

Fifth problem … voter apathy.  We are so bombarded every day with news of corruption on both sides of the aisle that some people … I have had people tell me this … just throw up their hands and say, essentially, “To heck with it … they are all corrupt, so why bother?”  As heated as the 2016 election was, do you know what percentage of eligible voters didn’t bother to vote?  Take a guess.  Almost 40%!!!  Colorado, Minnesota, Maine & New Hampshire were the only states where 70% or more of eligible voters turned out to vote.

I don’t mean to be a wet blanket, but the real danger, as I see it, is in being too complacent, in believing that because Trump is such a terrible president, he cannot possibly win.  He was an awful candidate, but he won in 2016, largely because of Russian interference, Hillary’s unpopularity, voter apathy, and voter disenfranchisement.  The Democratic Party needs to seriously get their act together, unite behind the best qualified candidate, and put together a winning platform that includes health care solutions, environmental stewardship, civil rights reform, gun reform, and a host of other solutions to the issues that are plaguing this nation today, such as dealing with Iran, North Korea and Russia, not to mention mending fences that Trump has torn down with our allies.

Let us not make the same mistake we made in 2016, thinking that Trump is such a buffoon he cannot possibly win.  He is a buffoon, he is a madman, but … he won in 2016.  Let us not let him win in 2020.

Kirsten Gillibrand: The 7 Issues Guide

Today I bring you the 7th installment of TokyoSand’s excellent series, The 7 Issues Guide, helping us get to know a bit about the platforms of the democratic candidates running for the office of president next year. Kirsten Gillibrand is on deck today, and she is one that I know very little about. Thank you, TokyoSand, and your diligent volunteers, for helping us get to know Ms. Gillibrand!

Political⚡Charge

gillibrand

The Democrats have a big field of candidates running for President in 2020. To briefly use a sports analogy, I see our candidates as the starting players on the Blue team, each bringing their own unique strengths to the table in a bid to take our country in a very different direction than the one we’re on today.

But as we well know from 2016, the media (and especially social media) gets fixated on non-substantial issues that take up all the oxygen. Plus, they don’t give the candidates the same treatment or the same amount of airtime.

In order to help voters get to know the Democratic candidates, I’ve enlisted the help of a team of terrific volunteers who have helped gather quotes and information about what the candidates have said or done in regards to the 7 issues that midterm voters identified as the most important. I hope…

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The Electoral College … Keep, Abolish, or Circumvent?

One of the big debates in Washington and around the nation is whether it is time to get rid of the electoral college.  It’s funny in retrospect, but after President Barack Obama won his second term of office, Donald Trump tweeted this …

trump-tweet

But, when the electoral college put him, against the majority vote, into the Oval Office, suddenly he didn’t mind it so much anymore.  Funny how that works, isn’t it?

trump-tweet-2.png

One of Elizabeth Warren’s talking points as she campaigns for next year’s presidential election is the abolishment of the electoral college, and it seems a majority in this country are in agreement.  A Pew Research Center poll last year found that a 55% majority support picking presidents by popular vote, compared to 41% who prefer keeping the electoral college.  The usual 4% were asleep … again.

Most of the candidates from both political parties, a number of members of Congress, and others have opined on this issue in recent weeks, but I don’t really care about any of that right now.  I prefer to talk facts … you know, those pesky statements that are supported by hard data?  Let’s first take a look at the rationale behind the electoral college as it was first written into the U.S. Constitution.

There were two primary reasons for the electoral college.  The first was to ensure that only a qualified person becomes president (are you laughing yet?).  The framers of the Constitution believed that with the Electoral College no one would be able to manipulate the citizenry. It would act as check on an electorate that might be duped.  The founders did not trust the population to make the right choice. The founders also believed that the Electoral College had the advantage of being a group that met only once and thus could not be manipulated over time by foreign governments or others.

The second reason for the electoral college system was to mitigate the disadvantage of states with smaller populations.  That, however, is rather a myth, as I will show in a bit.

Now, the majority in this country believe the electoral college has outlived its usefulness.  I have to agree … it is obvious that in the 2016 election it did the exact opposite of what it was intended to do and put the candidate who actually lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes, or 2.1%, in office.  This was the least qualified candidate imaginable, yet he now sits in the Oval Office.  It is time for a change.

However, the only means to repeal or abolish the electoral college would require a constitutional amendment, which is not even remotely likely to happen at this point.  But … there is another option.

Contrary to popular belief, the Constitution does not mandate that the winner take all in each state … that was the decision of the individual states over the course of the 19th century.  A state can decide, as 12 states plus the District of Columbia have recently done, to essentially bypass the electoral college.  The states that have signed onto this plan, the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, are …

  • District of Columbia – 3 electoral votes
  • Colorado – 9 electoral votes
  • Connecticut – 7 electoral votes
  • Hawaii – 4 electoral votes
  • Illinois – 20 electoral votes
  • Maryland – 10 electoral votes
  • Massachusetts – 11 electoral votes
  • New Jersey – 14 electoral votes
  • Washington – 12 electoral votes
  • Vermont – 3 electoral votes
  • California – 55 electoral votes
  • Rhode Island – 4 electoral votes
  • New York – 29 electoral votes

If enough states pass the bill to account for 270 electoral votes, the bill will become law of the land and as a result, would ensure that every vote will be equal throughout the U.S. and that every vote, in every state, will matter in every presidential election.  Not only would this bypass the electoral college, but would also make gerrymandering* pointless.  There are 8 additional states, totaling 72 more electoral votes, where the bill has passed one chamber of the state legislature.  If all 8 pass the bill and the governors sign it into law, added to the 181 electoral votes above, that accounts for a total of 253, a mere 17 short of the magic number.

Under the compact, states pledge to allocate all their electoral votes to the winner of the nationwide popular vote in presidential elections.  While this would not abolish the electoral college, it would guarantee that the candidate with the most popular votes would win the election.  Seems to me there can be no logical argument about that … it is as it should be.  We the People are supposed to elect a president, not the Republican Party nor the Democratic Party … We The People!

The argument against this compact mainly comes from the Republican Party, and their argument is that a popular vote system would encourage candidates to only campaign in the larger (population) states, and the smaller states would suffer.  The reality is that in 2016, two-thirds of the visits by both Clinton and Trump took place in just six states (Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and Michigan), and 94 percent of the visits went to just 12 states. Twenty-four states plus the District of Columbia got zero campaign visits.  Kind of puts that argument to rest, don’t you think?

I’ve put together a chart showing each state’s population and electoral votes (electoral votes, by the way, are equal to a state’s representation in Congress).

State Electoral Population # of people represented by each elector
Number of Electoral Votes % of Total Population % of Total
Alabama 9 1.67% 4,874,747 1.50%          541,639
Alaska 3 0.56% 739,795 0.23%          246,598
Arizona 11 2.04% 7,016,270 2.15%          637,843
Arkansas 6 1.12% 3,004,279 0.92%          500,713
California 55 10.22% 39,536,653 12.14%          718,848
Colorado 9 1.67% 5,607,154 1.72%          623,017
Connecticut 7 1.30% 3,588,184 1.10%          512,598
Delaware 3 0.56% 961,939 0.30%          320,646
District of Columbia 3 0.56% 702455 0.22%          234,152
Florida 29 5.39% 20,984,400 6.44%          723,600
Georgia 16 2.97% 10,429,379 3.20%          651,836
Hawaii 4 0.74% 1,427,538 0.44%          356,885
Idaho 4 0.74% 1,716,943 0.53%          429,236
Illinois 20 3.72% 12,802,023 3.93%          640,101
Indiana 11 2.04% 6,666,818 2.05%          606,074
Iowa 6 1.12% 3,145,711 0.97%          524,285
Kansas 6 1.12% 2,913,123 0.89%          485,521
Kentucky 8 1.49% 4,454,189 1.37%          556,774
Louisiana 8 1.49% 4,684,333 1.44%          585,542
Maine 4 0.74% 1,335,907 0.41%          333,977
Maryland 10 1.86% 6,052,177 1.86%          605,218
Massachusetts 11 2.04% 6,859,819 2.11%          623,620
Michigan 16 2.97% 9,962,311 3.06%          622,644
Minnesota 10 1.86% 5,576,606 1.71%          557,661
Mississippi 6 1.12% 2,984,100 0.92%          497,350
Missouri 10 1.86% 6,113,532 1.88%          611,353
Montana 3 0.56% 1,050,493 0.32%          350,164
Nebraska 5 0.93% 1,920,076 0.59%          384,015
Nevada 6 1.12% 2,998,039 0.92%          499,673
New Hampshire 4 0.74% 1,342,795 0.41%          335,699
New Jersey 14 2.60% 9,005,644 2.76%          643,260
New Mexico 5 0.93% 2,088,070 0.64%          417,614
New York 29 5.39% 19,849,399 6.09%          684,462
North Carolina 15 2.79% 10,273,419 3.15%          684,895
North Dakota 3 0.56% 755,393 0.23%          251,798
Ohio 18 3.35% 11,658,609 3.58%          647,701
Oklahoma 7 1.30% 3,930,864 1.21%          561,552
Oregon 7 1.30% 4,142,776 1.27%          591,825
Pennsylvania 20 3.72% 12,805,537 3.93%          640,277
Rhode Island 4 0.74% 1,059,639 0.33%          264,910
South Carolina 9 1.67% 5,024,369 1.54%          558,263
South Dakota 3 0.56% 869,666 0.27%          289,889
Tennessee 11 2.04% 6,715,984 2.06%          610,544
Texas 38 7.06% 28,304,596 8.69%          744,858
Utah 6 1.12% 3,101,833 0.95%          516,972
Vermont 3 0.56% 623,657 0.19%          207,886
Virginia 13 2.42% 8,470,020 2.60%          651,540
Washington 12 2.23% 7,405,743 2.27%          617,145
West Virginia 5 0.93% 1,815,857 0.56%          363,171
Wisconsin 10 1.86% 5,795,483 1.78%          579,548
Wyoming 3 0.56% 579,315 0.18%          193,105
Totals 538 100.00% 325,727,661 100.00% ————–

As you can see, the smaller states are better represented in the electoral college than the more populous ones.  Take a look, for example, at California, the most populous state, that gets only 1 electoral vote for every 718,848 people, versus the least populous state, Wyoming, with 1 electoral vote for every 193,105 people.  Something doesn’t seem quite fair here, don’t you think?

It is my belief that the electoral college has been proven not only unnecessary, but a direct impediment to a fair and honest democratic election.  Since at this juncture it is virtually impossible to pass an amendment to repeal it, the next best thing is to pass legislation to make certain that every vote counts equally.  I also think this might go a long way in overcoming voter apathy, one of the biggest stumbling blocks we have.  Let us hope that enough state legislatures and governors will see this as the best way and choose to do the right thing.

* This small graphic explains the effects of gerrymandered districts as well as any I have seen.gerrymandering

Leopards Don’t Change Their Spots …

When I heard the news last week about Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, my jaw dropped.  WTF???  I saw the yearbook picture, and my heart clenched.  I heard his apology that, on the surface, seemed sincere, but in the back of my mind kept ringing this refrain:  “Leopards don’t change their spots, leopards don’t change their spots, leopards don’t change their spots.”

I went to bed sometime that night, having moved on to other topics, and early that morning, Politico, The Washington Post and the New York Times all woke me to inform me that Governor Northam had decided, after admitting the night before that he was in the picture, that he wasn’t actually in the picture.  Though for the record, he did wear blackface once when entering a dance contest and doing Michael Jackson’s Moonwalk.

By now, I had the man pegged as a liar and a bigot.  The sooner he stepped down, as surely he must, the better for the State of Virginia.  But, rather than stepping down, the man dug in, refusing to resign, declaring that this, too, can be fixed.  He sounded so Trump-like that I’m fairly certain there was a conversation between the two between the first and second public announcement.  It was reminiscent of Trump’s apology for his horribly sexist remarks heard on the campaign trail in 2016, and then later his denial that he had ever made the remarks … plainly heard … on tape … by the world.

If you were wondering why I hadn’t tackled this subject yet, it’s largely because I was waiting for the next shoe to drop.  I couldn’t believe that some were actually taking his side, defending him.  I knew that it was unlikely he could be impeached, for the crimes of which he is accused do not meet the legal criteria for impeachment.  The president of the United States can remove a governor at any time, but we have no president, at least not one with any degree of morality or set of values.  And the last option would be for Northam to step down, which he said he wouldn’t do.  My head spun, as I pondered what this would mean for the State of Virginia, for the Democratic Party, and for the value of morality in the 21st century.  I also wondered who dug into Northam’s past to come up with this … why now?  Somewhere, there is more to this than meets the eye.

So, I have been silent, trying to fit the pieces of the puzzle together, but fortunately our friend Don Lemon has not shared my silence, and in this video, I think he lays out the facts clearly.  Take just a couple of minutes to listen to him, then think about it.  Is this the direction our nation is going?  We are 21 months from the next election, and guess what, folks … we are going to see more and more and more and more of this.  At the end of the day, we may have to ask ourselves if there is anybody in our government who is not corrupt, who has values, who represents We the People.

MY 2020 Fantasy Democratic Ticket/ It’s Time GOP Lawmakers Got Together To Fire US President

Gronda has a Christmas wish … and it is one that I share! You can read all about that Christmas wish on her excellent post, and I bet most of you will share the wish also! Thank you, Gronda, for this excellent post and for allowing me to share it. Happy Christmas, Happy Holidays to all my friends and readers!

Gronda Morin

I’ve just prayed for my Christmas gift. I have even previously shared my fantasy 2020 Democratic Party presidential ticket which is General James Mattis at the top based on President Trump’s claim that he’s a Democrat with a VP choice of one of the current party stars like Andrew Gillum, Beto O’Rourke or Stacey Abrams.

On a 12/23/18 tweet, Robert Costa floated the idea of General James Mattis as the VP choice which is perfectly fine with me.

Here’s the Robert Costa tweet:

A prominent Republican strategist confides, uneasily, today to WashPost: “Can you imagine if the Democrats were able to convince Mattis to be their VP nominee in ’20?”

Image result for photos of general mattis/ beto o'rourke

Frankly, I would be thrilled with either option. I’m for a ticket that can appeal to ‘Never Trumpers’ from the left to the right. My primary desire is for the democratic candidates to win…

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Hey Democrats — Listen UP!!!

As a left-leaning, liberal-thinking independent voter, I have had serious reservations regarding the ‘blue wave’ that everyone is talking about.  It is a theory that democrats will win big in November simply based on the fact that Trump and his sycophants in Congress are doing such a horrible job that all sensible voters will vote in a democratic candidate … any democratic candidate.  For months, I have said that it wasn’t enough, that the democratic party needs cohesion, that the candidates need a solid, respectable platform.  I have called for the DNC to find and support candidates who are ‘squeaky clean’, who carry no baggage that would give the GOP an opening for mud-slinging and under-handed shenanigans.  Last night I found my sentiments echoed by Anthony Zurcher, a journalist for the BBC.

“One of the ongoing criticisms of Democrats since Barack Obama moved out of the White House is that the party has been defined by what it opposes, instead of what it wants to do.

They’re not Donald Trump. They’re against travel bans, border walls, trade wars, financial and environmental deregulation, corporate tax cuts and repeal of the Obamacare health insurance system.

But what are they for? What are their ideas?”

It’s true.  Think about it … we know exactly what the GOP stands for because they are loud and obnoxious about it.  They will defend to the death their 2nd Amendment rights, they applaud Trump’s vision of a wall along the southern border, they want immigration stopped, they want environmental regulations removed on businesses, especially the fossil fuel industry, and the list goes on.  There is no doubt what they stand for.  But ask the average person what the democrats stand for, and the answer would likely be … the opposite of all of the above.  They know what they are against, but they don’t know what they are for.  Which, of course, is not quite true, but one could be forgiven for thinking it was, given that the democratic party as a whole is not speaking above a whisper these days.

“We’re not going to win if we spend all our time bemoaning that he’s there. He’s there. And we have to offer an alternative.” — Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar

“People ask how come you’re not offering alternatives. And I say we are.” – Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown

During a recent “Ideas Conference”, democrats tried to zero in on the party platform …

  • Minimum wage increases
  • Expanding public schooling
  • Ethics, reform and oversight
  • Dismantling the oligarchy
  • Guns, the environment and health care

That’s it … that is what comprises the core values of the democratic party.  Okay, I am on board with all of the above, but there is so much more.  And why are the three arguably most important issues lumped together at the very end???

My concern is that this election will devolve into a mud-fest.  I am also concerned that for democrats, it will become a single-issue election:  gun regulation.  While gun regulation is certainly among the top concerns today, if it is allowed to become the central focus, I’m not sure how well the democrats will fare, for it is also the single most contentious issue on the docket, with far too many being told by the GOP that democrats want to abolish the 2nd Amendment and ‘take all your guns’.

While political ideologies do have a base platform, the day-to-day issues tend to be reactionary.  In this, the era of Trump, they are typically a reaction to whatever horrific thing he has most recently said or done, and there is no dearth of material on which to react.  But this gets us nowhere, it pulls us down to the level of the GOP, and it won’t win elections in November.

The Democratic Party stands for many things:  social & economic equality, social programs, labour unions, affordable college tuition, universal health care, equal opportunity for all, consumer protections, and environmental protections, to name a few.  This, then, is what the candidates need to be focusing on, the message they need to be getting out.  It will help that Trump & Co are making a mockery of our government, and the anger that generates will certainly play a role, but it is not going to be enough to carry the day.  It is absolutely essential to the continuation of this nation as a democratic republic that the demographics of Congress be changed.  The current majority in both the House and the Senate are naught but sycophants, book-lickers, who will bow to Trump’s will and who will fight to keep the madman in office, for he is their job security.

Please, democratic candidates, focus on the issues rather than simply being the “anti-Trump”.  Trump will, I firmly believe, help sink his own boat as well as that of the GOP, so leave him to it, and focus on presenting a united, sensible, humanitarian front. It is easy to argue against every single thing Trump has done or will do between now and November 6th, but there is a bigger goal here, and to achieve it, we must do better than to be the “Party of No”.

Charles Blow’s Thoughts About Donna Brazile’s Tell All Book On Hillary Clinton

The disastrous outcome of the 2016 election could have been prevented in so many ways, but it serves no purpose to look back and cry. When we look back, it should be to learn lessons from mistakes made. The “new” Democratic Party is being built as we speak, and friend Gronda has shared an excellent post about that. Please take a few moments to read! Thank you, Gronda!!!

Gronda Morin

Image result for photo of donna brazile's book

I have already stated my opinion that Donna Brazile as the former head of the Democratic National Committee had every right to have her book published. However, my analysis is that her underlying premise that the democratic candidate rigged the nomination process is way overstated.

Here are the thoughts on this subject by one of my favorite columnist…

On November 5, 2017, Charles M. Blow of the New York Times penned the following report, “The New Democratic Party.”

“A year ago this week, America made what I believe history will record as one of the greatest electoral mistakes in the life of the nation: It elected Donald Trump president of the United States.”

“It did so while drowning in Russia-produced propaganda, under a torrent of Russia-stolen emails, facing the stiff arm of renewed voter suppression, and on the watch of a splintering and dysfunctional Democratic Party.”

“All of those…

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Consequences of Greed …

Menendez

Bob Menendez

The trial of democratic Senator Bob Menendez began yesterday.  Menendez is charged with 14 counts of criminal corruption, including bribery, conspiracy, and making false statements. The charges stem from accusations that Menendez used his office as senator to benefit his personal friend, Salomon Melgen.  Melgen is an eye doctor in Florida who, in 2012, donated more than $700,000 to a political action committee (PAC), some $582,000 of which went toward Menendez’ campaign for re-election. As if that weren’t enough, Melgen offered Senator Menendez an array of perks including trips on his private jet, three nights at a five-star Paris hotel, a round of golf at a private club in West Palm Beach and access to an exclusive Dominican resort. Menendez did not report these ‘perks’ on his financial disclosure forms.  In exchange, it is said, Menendez used the power of his office to negotiate for a lucrative port security contract that would have benefitted Melgen.  Oh yes, and Menendez also helped acquire visas for several of Melgen’s girlfriends.

Granted, the trial only started today, and Senator Menendez is entitled to the same rights as any other citizen, meaning that he is innocent until proven guilty.  I strongly suspect, based on what I have read, that there is sufficient evidence for the Department of Justice to obtain a conviction. This is a distraction that Congress, just back from their month-long recess and with many looming issues on their plate, does not need.  It is also a black mark that the Democratic Party does not need just over a year before the crucial mid-term elections.

In addition to the distraction that the trial is certain to provide, it raises the question of whether Senator Menendez should be allowed to keep his Senate seat.  The Republican National Committee has already begun a campaign aimed at pressuring Democratic senators to call on Menendez to step down if he’s convicted. In truth, I cannot argue against that.  One of the biggest problems with Congress today is greed, and if Menendez is guilty of the accusations leveled against him, he acted solely out of greed, rather than in the best interest of the Constitution he swore to uphold.  As such, if he is found guilty, he must be forced to step down.

christie

Chris Christie

However, the results of this will create a terrible situation in the Senate, one which will likely see a significant difference in the outcome of several issues.  Why?  Because if Menendez steps down from his position, the Governor of New Jersey will then appoint a person to finish out Menendez’ term, which is set to expire in January 2019 after the 2018 mid-term elections.  And the Governor of New Jersey just happens to be none other than Chris Christie … a republican and one of Donald Trump’s personal boot-lickers. There is not a snowball’s chance in hell that Governor Christie will appoint a democrat, and it is guaranteed that he will appoint somebody who is certain to do Trump’s bidding.

The Senate is so closely divided with 52 republicans and 48 democrats, that every vote is a close call.  Many votes have been determined by a single vote.  Remember the failed ACA repeal where three republican senators, John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins caused the bill to die?  If Governor Christi appoints a replacement for Menendez, the Senate then becomes 53 republicans and only 47 democrats.  Under this mix, the abomination of the ACA repeal would have passed, even with the opposition from the three republican senators.

There is one possible way this can have a different outcome.  New Jersey will hold an election to elect a new governor on November 7, 2017.  Governor Christie is not eligible to run, having already served two terms.  The polls are currently showing the democratic candidate, Phil Murphy, to have a substantial lead (23%) over the republican candidate, Kim Guadagno.  If Murphy is elected, and if Menendez is not forced to step down until after Murphy’s inauguration (a huge ‘if’), then it is likely that Murphy would appoint another democrat, and the mix of the Senate would remain as it is.

A report by John Fund in the National Review actually suggests that Governor Christie might appoint himself to fill the vacant senate seat, and Christie left the possibility open when he appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.  I mention this only in passing, for the reality is that it is not that simple.  Christie would have to resign as governor, then the lieutenant governor could make the appointment.  Not out of the realm of possibility, but I think it is highly unlikely.

If elected, Murphy’s inauguration would not be held until January 16, 2018.  Is it possible that a final decision will not be rendered until after that date?  I cannot say.  The courts sometimes move very slowly, however in this case, the Department of Justice is involved, meaning Jeff Sessions, and I suspect that with so much at stake, a concerted push will be on to wrap it up rather quickly.

If Senator Menendez is, in fact, guilty of the charges against him, he has done a tremendous disservice, first of all to his constituents, the people of New Jersey who placed their faith in him and elected him.  But even more, he has done a disservice to this nation and we may all pay a steep price for his greed and dishonesty.