The 2016 election and Trump
I started this diary before Trump's win in IN. After his win, I am more sure than ever. The coming Progressive Wave. Sounds impossible, sounds ridiculous, or sounds like a fantasy. In fact, it is a totally realistic prediction and far more probable than Trump being elected in Nov. FAR more likely since Trump's chances are essentially zero. He has alienated so many demographic blocks that there are not the votes there for him to win. And please don't predict that he is suddenly going to switch modes because now we are entering the general election phase. What nonsense!
1. He can't switch modes. He has only one. We have been hammered by it for the better part of a year so America is totally familiar with it.
2. Even if he could pull it off, that routine has not worked in the past and won't now. Remember the famous etch-a-sketch Romney. It went over like a lead balloon. No Latino or woman or Muslim is going to forget his many vicious insults and certainly would be suspicious if he suddenly started voicing support, real support for any of them.
3. HRC is going to control every aspect of the campaign and she will continually poke at him until she gets an out of control response, which won't be difficult since it is plain that he can't deal with her on ANY level.
I'll throw out a prediction here. Right now, beginning of May, I predict Hill Clinton will win in Nov with a greater number of EV than Mr. Obama's 2008 smashing number of 365. A minimum of 380 EV and quite possibly over 400. And not because she is our first woman presidential candidate, but because she is, by far, the most qualified candidate of them all, but mostly because she is running at a unique time that is especially favorable to the democratic candidate, no matter who they might be.
HRC first term - finish the ground work
Do I think HRC is going to usher in that Progressive Wave? Yes and no. I can't say as I think we are going to see the fruits of a mature Progressive Movement in her first 4 years. There is a lot of domestic ground work to do before a Progressive Movement can really take root. The country has not fully recovered from the Great Recession despite the low unemployment rate and the high stock market. There is still a massive wealth inequality that is hampering the recovery and until that is dealt with, the recovery will not be complete.
Senate turns democratic in 2016
Forget Republicans keeping the senate. I'm not sure they will keep the House at this point. Trump's winning the nomination has republican leaders in a tizzy. Their fear? With The Donald at ticket top, disgust, disappointment and anger will be the biggest emotion driving many republicans in Nov, with the biggest result being low voter turnout. This must be avoided at all costs if republicans want to keep either house of congress.
As I understand their plan today, they are looking for a sacrificial lamb to run as a third party candidate who has NO chance of winning (good luck with that career ending move, folks!) in order to lure non-Trump voters to the polls and therefore protect down ballot candidates. Add to it the absurd idea that knowing HRC is going to win, democratic voters won't bother to vote. Where do they come up with such nonsense? Really repubs?? If this is the best plan, you are in serious trouble.
So, why will democrats win the senate and how does that start the progressive movement? Less than 2 years ago Republicans were promising all sorts of legislative action if given both houses of congress. None of it good from a democratic viewpoint mind you, a boatload of conservative looooong standing wishes, but still legislative action was forthcoming! Something completely different than the previous 113th session of congress, which ranked as the most unproductive congress in history. They were going to have the president using his veto pen more than any president in history!
"Put me in coach, I'll deliver!" McConnell's leadership
Republicans wanted both houses. They campaigned on getting stuff done, making rash, impossible to keep promises which would come back to haunt them later. With both houses of congress in repub hands, there would be no more unproductive sessions, a mountain of conservative bills were coming! With the lowest voter turnout in history, and a pro-Republican election, Republicans got what they asked for in Nov 2014 and they have delivered a session of congress even less productive than the record breaking last session.
As time went on from Jan 2015, McConnell was stretching for lies as to why Do Nothing was still the working rule of congress. So far from keeping any of those promises made, or producing landmark conservative legislation, which would force the president to veto it and therefore deliver to their base a ready made argument for the 2016 tough senate elections, i.e. look how bad the president (mean old President Obama, vetoing that bill that allowed only Christian religions to be practiced) and democrats (we have to keep them out of the senate in 2016!), they couldn't produce any legislation at all!
What was happening?? Republicans had majorities in both houses, so blaming democrats was a see threw lie, although that never stopped them before. Blaming the president didn't really work either. They couldn't point to a veto pen when there had been nothing to veto. Why was nothing getting accomplished, except naming the bison as America's national animal, with 2 tries before getting it right?
Average Americans work every weekday and are productive or they don't keep the job. Lots of us work more than that. And on top of the non-production, we are greeted with the news that McConnell is closing shop for the rest of the year.
Yep, very important decisions need to be made, because running a government does require work, but not this year. McConnell is going AWOL. With an open Supreme Court seat and no still no budget, naming a national animal is all the work he is willing to do. When asked why he is refusing to do his job, both as senate leader and as a working senator, McConnell's excuse is classic. "This is an election year. We can't decide anything until after Nov and maybe not even then!" In all seriousness, that is the lamest excuse of all excuses. Never before in our entire history has government stopped working because there was an election in Nov. I'm guessing McConnell is tired of finding excuses for the inaction and has decided to go home to Kentucky. "Screw you" working Americans is the unmistakable message to us and "screw you" fellow senators is the unmistakable message to senate republicans up in tough reelection races this year. You are on your own.
In numerous town halls this summer, not only will these senators have to defend their actions or lack of actions, but now they get to answer questions on the performance of the republican senate as a whole. For his refusal to do his job, McConnell should be fired and would certainly be if he was employed anywhere other than the US Senate. Frankly, he is too old to be doing this anymore. He is burned out and does not care. The same problem John Boehner had.
Scalia's death effects on republican senate
The Grim Reaper came for Scalia at the perfect time. His death is proving to be a huge blow to the republican senate. Quite simply, McConnell is point blank refusing to do his job of filling that seat, and has threatened to continue refusing unless he personally approves the president's choice. This is not how the senate is suppose to act and Americans know it. Every poll taken with that question shows majority support for moving forward on filling this seat. Mr. Obama's choice deserves a hearing and a vote. It is not the job of the senate to pass personal judgement on the nominee. It is their job to vet the nominee and determine qualifications. So not only has McConnell done nothing about passing bills of any kind, let alone the dream conservative agenda, he thinks his job is to obstruct the president to the point where the Supreme Court is working with only 8 justices. This has had a profound effect on cases decided so far.
Scalia's death is the final blow to the myth that republicans can adequately and competently govern. There has been an argument around for a while that claims republicans are great at talking governing, but really lousy at actually doing the work of governing. I think given their feat of accomplishments since just 2000, we can safely say that argument is proven.
In fact, his death has exposed the republican party's dysfunction to such a degree, even the ever blind mainstream media is aware of it. They actually talk about it now, after ignoring it for years. Even Fox is aware of the problem although they are the haziest and most confused about it. (How did this happen? What went wrong? Over wrought emotions on full display.) Simply blaming the president and the democrats for the republican fiasco of failure to legislate, to do the job they were elected to do, that they PROMISED to do no less, is no longer an accepted line for all but Hannity and Rush (deaf, dumb and blind to the bitter end, those 2) and no longer an accepted line at all in other news organizations.
The reality of how badly the republican party is functioning has hit established conservatives very hard and very, very late. This problem has been developing over years, getting worse and worse. All the ignoring and papering over the cracks and hoping it would go away, has allowed the disease of dysfunction to progress to the point of paralyzing the entire republican party. The current level of Do Nothing Obstruction is a brand new phenomenon in American politics. The time of acting like Do Nothing Obstruction is normal is over. It's not!
The reasons for it are varied and fascinating, but I will not discuss that here. Sufficient enough to say it is real and the consequences are coming home, BIG TIME. (Trump over all others is proof enough, Wrong Way Bill Kristol!)
No thanks says Americans to the offer of Republican Kool-Aid
Americans are tired of the rampant dysfunction that has so gripped republicans, basic level functioning is not possible and congress is just going home for the year, with a possible 5 or 6 months left to work. They are tired of republican broken promises. For years, every election, republican candidates would make promises to their voters that they KNEW would be impossible to keep, but just sounded good to a mass of people ignorant on how our government actually works. A sampling of vocally made impossible promises include:
1. Repeal and replace ObamaCare with a republican solution (although ACA IS a republican solution. Romney's MA state healthcare was the blueprint after all)
2. Outlaw abortion once and for all, some way or another never specified (this promise ALWAYS riled up people so no specifics have ever been required)
3. Outlaw gay marriage with an amendment to the Constitution
4. Re-write the 14th amendment to outlaw birth right citizenship
5. Round up and deport 11 million aliens
6. Build a physical border wall and make Mexico pay for it
7. Force President Obama to use his veto pen on conservative legislation a record number of times. Made in 2014 to get both houses of congress (he has only used it twice in 7 years, in 2010).
8. Pass a balanced budget amendment
9. Attack Iran, for whatever reason can be found
10. Restore America's hubris which has been sadly depleted under President Obama. A president more in tune with negotiation than with wielding military power. (The truth is our prestige was destroyed by a republican and restored by a democrat, but it is easy to lie to republicans voters about THAT fact.)
Non-vocal but implied promises made with a wink include:
1. Make Christianity the national religion or ban Islam
2. Stop the "browning" of the nation's population and make whites a permanent majority.
None of these promises were kept, EVER.
Next election you would hear the same old promises again along with a few new ones. There was no end to the Kool-Aid offers. And the voters would fall for it again, only to be disappointed again. Why should there be any surprise republican voters feel BETRAYED? ALL Americans felt betrayed on republican lies on WMD reasons for invading Iraq (the reason I give HRC a pass on her vote in 2003.)
This year was the breaking point. With the current congress's performance or rather non-performance, after all the promises made, plus the refusal to fill Scalia's seat or DO THEIR JOB, on top of closing congress in the middle of the year, Republicans once again disappointed their party, BIG TIME. Only this time the result was not just disappointment. There was real anger to add to the betrayal. The republican party shattered.
The democrats need 5 seats to take the senate in a election year favorable to democrats. With such chaos surrounding republican candidates, it won't be difficult to persuade independent and moderate repubs to vote democratic. Not at all.
HRC and the Supreme Court
There is one area where HRC will start the Progressive Movement in her first term right away. The Supreme Court.
As an aside here, I think leaving Scalia's seat open is a big mistake on McConnell's part. The current nominee Garland, is a moderate. Not a liberal, but a middle of the road choice. He will pull the court to the left, but not as much as a more liberal justice will. McConnell ought to take what he has now instead of making a very poor gamble on Nov. No one knows what Trump will do, where as HRC's actions are completely predictable.
With a democratic senate, HRC can put young progressive liberals on the Supreme Court and she will. 2 maybe 3, even 4 are possible. How? Fill the open seat plus RBG's and Breyer, both of whom are in their 80's and could retire late in her first term, just to ensure that liberal majority. That is 3. (Throw in Kennedy, an outside but possible chance and you get 4). The court will be set for the next 2, possibly 3 decades. Rulings will include reversal of Citizen's United, Voter ID restrictions struck down, abortion restrictions struck down, outlaw gerry mandoring voter districts, upholding immigration reform, no more threats to ACA. These are just a few of the possible rulings. The impact will enormous. (The conservatives must be feeling like a hunted species) And this is a progressive change we will see right away. A remade Supreme Court is going to be the first step of the Progressive Wave.
HRC and the appeals courts
Thanks to McConnell, the number of vacancies on the appeals courts number anywhere from 1/4 to 1/3. These court actually influence law more than the Supreme Court does. With a democratic senate, one of HRC's first jobs will be to fill those vacancies. And she will fill them with left leaning judges. Think about what effect that will have.
Bernie and the Millenniums
Bernie won IN. Added to his other wins, his impact on this election is the equivalent of a level 9 earthquake, felt coast to coast. Bernie was never suppose to be a factor in this race. He is an outsider, despite being in the senate for decades. Looked upon more of a kook than anything else, he has always had socialist ideas and has always talked progressive agenda. How did he suddenly come from left field to capture so much attention? Because of the Millenniums. His ideas caught fire with the largest generation of Americans. They are the victims of the wealth inequality that is still holding our economy hostage. The president has wanted to raise taxes and close loopholes from the beginning. But all he and the democrats have been able to do is let the Bush tax cuts expire and pass healthcare reform. They are the generation most affected by global warming and want action on it. Being the most ethnically diverse generation, they want action on immigration. They feel, rightly too I think, that they have been short changed out of the American Dream. Derided as "parent's basement dwellers" by the uber rich republicans, who do not realize that most of these kids don't have the choices their parents had. Those choices have been gradually eroded away by fiscally conservative economic policies that have favored the rich. Austerity is NOT a necessary policy for this rich, rich country. We can easily afford to support a more socially equitable economic policy.
For a couple of years I have talked about the coming influence of this unique generation and the rise of Bernie Sanders is the first sign of their influence that can be pointed to, without any doubt. His speeches struck a chord with the Millenniums and they responded by giving their support to him. Besides the Trump crazies, they are the only demographic HRC does not have a lock on. And they FAR outnumber the crazies. HRC knows that if she is to make the connection with this all important demographic, she is going to have to embrace Bernie's agenda. And Bernie's agenda is strongly progressive. She can't embrace all of it, but there is absolutely NO doubt of his influence.
Millenniums number more than any previous generation, some 90+ million with the youngest still not able to vote for a couple of years. They are a powerhouse and anyone who discounts them will not get into office or stay in office very long. And they believe in progressive ideas. Socially aware more than any previous generation since the 1960's, they support free college, universal healthcare, immigration reform with amnesty, gay marriage, transsexual rights, anti-war. A whole slew of progressive ideas.
One of the reasons they have not supported HRC over Bernie is because they see her as part of the group of people who has short changed them. Someone who is more in league with Wall Street than them. HRC MUST capture this demographic if she wants to have 2 terms. The democrats must capture them (right now most register as independents) if they want to wash out the most extreme members of congress who have been instrumental in causing the dysfunction of congress and put congress firmly in democratic control. If democrats don't take the house this year, with Millennium support they will in 2018, especially if those extreme right wingers react to the democratic wins of 2016 by doubling done on the craziness and continue with the Do Nothing Obstruction policies that have done NOTHING for this country. They block all democratic progress at all costs, but are so unrealistic they cannot get any of their own ideas law. The net result is the complete unhappiness of Americans and we know who to blame this on.
Will Millens vote for HRC? Red state rejection
In 2016, yes certainly. To be able to count on their support in the future, the democrats must see her make progress on ideas that Millens support. If only to protect her back from the republican backlash of her Supreme Court and appeals court nominees.
However I am going to make another prediction here. Republicans lose control of the state houses. I read how republicans hold so many governor seats and state houses that the conservative agenda is safe. I would not be so sure of that. Red state voters are slow, it is true. Re-electing Sam Brownback is proof of that, but they are not totally stupid. Electing a democratic governor to replace Jindal is proof of that. Both KS and LA suffered terribly under these men who insist on enacting the conservative agenda. Both states are in financial crisis, thanks to these policies. Both are in social crisis with high unemployment, homelessness, failing infrastructure, failing education.
I think the republican control of the state houses is in serious jeopardy. In the next 4 years we will see a firm rejection of extreme conservatives at the state level. Immigrants and Millens will take control of the voting booth, despite all efforts to suppress their votes. All the state VoterID laws are going to be over-ruled in the next couple of years. Combine a lot of illegally disenfranchised voters with newly remade appeals courts and bingo that problem goes away.
The whole key is whether HRC can start to implement a Progressive agenda. A lot depends on whether the democrats take the house along with the senate this year. If they do, America will start to see more liberal legislation passed right away. If not and repubs are successful at stopping progress, they will pay the price in 2018.
I am so confident of this because of how bad off the republican party is. The dysfunction disease has gone so far it will take years of repair work before republicans can once again go before the American people with any chance of being successful. A lot of politicians who have been part of this cancer will have to go. McConnell, Blunt, Graham, Grassley, Cruz, to name only a few in the senate. Ryan and the Freedom caucus in the house. To be replaced by whom? Scott Walker, Rick Scott, Perry? Why does that strike me as wrong? Replacing dysfunctional congress with dysfunctional state? That won't be a selling point to voters already tired of dysfunction. While this repair work goes on, Progressiveness is in full force. It is completely possible if Millens are not happy with HRC's first term, we will see Bernie or his replacement show up in 2020. No matter what I think the days of extreme conservatives are over. Time is against them. Trump was the high point and what a low point in American politics he is.