Republicans Will Try to Hold onto Their Seats by Cheating

Republicans, cheating, 2018 midterms, elections, blue wave, Democrats, Brian Kemp
Greg Palast (right) accosted Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp (left) to ask him about the recent voter purges in the state. Kemp is a Republican running for governor, but he is overseeing the election. The image was taken via screenshot (video).

Two posts ago in this series, I talked about the chances of a blue wave occurring in the 2018 midterms. While one is certainly possible in the House of Representatives (and in governor’s races and in state legislatures), this is likely a bad year for Democrats in the Senate. Also, there are two things that would preclude a blue wave from happening at any level: the missteps of the Democratic Party’s leadership and Republican cheating.

In the previous post in this series, I went into detail about how the Democratic leadership harmed its own chances to at least take over one house of Congress. In this post, I will discuss how Republican cheating will hurt Democrats and voters.

One bit of good news we have moving forward is the demise of Trump’s voter suppression panel. In January 2018, President Donald Trump announced that he was dissolving the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, the advisory council he founded based on the claim that immigrants illegally voted in 2016. The commission was headed by Kris Kobach and nominally chaired by Vice President Mike Pence, but it only met twice, in July and September 2017.

The bad news is that there are so many cases of voter suppression in states controlled, at least in part, by Republicans. At least two of those states have elections officials running for governor.

Before I go into detail about those cases, I would like to talk about the hurdles awaiting Democratic candidates. Some are familiar, but some efforts to suppress the vote are relatively new and were enabled by the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision.

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These 2018 Midterms Are Tests Because They Will Be Hard

2018 midterms, Senate, House of Representatives, primaries, Democrats, Republicans
Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) is a Democratic hoping to unseat a Republican Senator this year. Specifically, he’s running against Sen. Ted Cruz in the general election. Here, O’Rourke can be seen at an event held for the 2016 President’s Leadership Council hosted by Inter-American Dialogue. Image via Flickr by Inter-American Dialogue. Some Rights Reserved.

The 2018 midterm elections are already underway, so I’d thought I’d keep a record of what has happened so far. I’d been thinking about doing something like this before, but my schedule was out of whack and I already passed up a chance to do something similar for 2016. Anyhoo, let’s take a look at the midterms from state to state and see how things are shaping up.

Note: I will need some time to catch up, but there have only been primaries in 10 states held so far. This post will be updated.

Continue reading “These 2018 Midterms Are Tests Because They Will Be Hard”

News Roundup Special: Have You Been Watching This Government Shutdown?

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Original image: by Andrew Van Huss (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Last week, the U.S. Congress reached an impasse on a spending bill and that lead to a government shutdown. While the House of Representatives was able to pass its spending bill with a 230-197 votes after concessions were made to the House Freedom Caucus, the Democrats in the Senate let it be known that the Republicans didn’t have enough votes.

In the Senate, the Republicans dealt with dissent in their own ranks. By Friday January 19, 2018, the nine Senate Democrats who voted for the spending bill in December joined the 30 Democrats and a handful of Republicans who opposed this spending bill. Among the Republicans joining the Democrats was Jeff Flake (Arizona), who said that he was withholding his vote because of the broken promise to protect DREAMers.

Ultimately, the Senate missed the midnight deadline, so the government was shut down. The shutdown was brief because of a vote on Monday which extended the funding for the government — for three weeks.

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If You Told Me That Alabama Could Turn Blue …

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If you told me the Alabama race for the U.S. Senate seat would end like this …

I’m going to be honest with you. I was fully ready to go off today, but a miracle happened: Doug Jones won the Senate seat vacated by one Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III. This was totally unexpected result, but it was a close one.

I loosely followed the news about this race, but I knew the odds were against Democrats running in a deep red state. Democrat Doug Jones had never run for office before, Donald Trump carried the state of Alabama in 2016 by 28 points, and the last time a Democrat held a U.S. Senate seat for Alabama, Richard Shelby had won reelection 25 years ago. (Richard Shelby became a Republican in 1994; he still holds his seat in the Senate.)

Coming into Tuesday, December 12, 2017, Jones trailed in most polls. Despite the allegations against Republican Roy Moore, the former judge was expected to win. Yet in the end, the race was a very close one.

All eyes were on Alabama because a Moore election would have serious implications for the Republican Party, the state, the nation, and political discourse in this country. A Jones win would be a good sign for the Democratic Party. Regardless, this was a lose-lose situation for Republicans.

Now, what does this mean for the Democrats? I don’t have a complete answer, but let’s look at what transpired and see what we can find.

Continue reading “If You Told Me That Alabama Could Turn Blue …”

OMG, Republicans Are Disgusted by Trump!

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Sen. Jeff Flake (pictured at the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s Annual Legislative Luncheon in Phoenix, AZ in 2014), announced his retirement on Tuesday, October 24, 2017. Picture by Gage Skidmore via Flickr. Some rights reserved.

This afternoon, I caught the tail end of a news report concerning the pending departures of two Republican Senators, Jeff Flake and Bob Corker. The news comes days after George W. Bush made statements that were understood to be against President Donald Trump. After the news segment, I knew I had to blog about my reaction to these Republicans’ reactions.

Currently, I am looking at the problems within the Democratic Party. But I would also like to look at the problems of the other major party in American politics. These developments provided a prime opportunity.

What do I have to say? There are three things, actually. But first, let’s discuss what transpired over the past few days.

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Are Third-Party Voters to Blame When Democrats Lose?

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Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party) and Jill Stein (Green Party) are often blamed for taking votes away from Hillary Clinton in 2016. Why are third-party voters often blamed for Democratic defeats?

In April, CalicoJack posted a meme based on last year’s presidential election. In short, the meme equated a vote for third-party candidates to being a vote for Trump. Third-party voters were being blamed in advance throughout 2016 and with all due respect, I disagree with that notion.

Basically, a vote for Trump was a vote for Trump. Of course, there are plenty of people throwing shade at Trump voters. Others have decided to retract their claws when dealing with those voters and instead go after other liberals, third-party voters, and nonvoters.

Just today, I got an angry post from an ignorant person because I questioned the efficacy of liberals biting each other’s heads off because of what happened in November 2016. That person also proved all my points, though.

You wanna know why this person was ignorant? In 2016, I told others that voting for Clinton (at least in the states where she needed the electoral votes) gave them a better chance getting some of their progressive platform items passed. I just wanted Clinton to each out more to disaffected voters (instead of Republicans who hated her guts). So I don’t know why this … individual was getting mad at me.

Speaking of third parties, though: A vote for a third-party candidate was more complicated then it looked on the surface. Don’t believe me? Well, let’s look at why people may have voted third-party. Let’s take a look at the numbers while we’re at it.

Continue reading “Are Third-Party Voters to Blame When Democrats Lose?”

Republicans Face Their Angry Constituents

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The health care debate leads the day. Original photo (which was cropped) by Ted Eytan via Flickr. (Some Rights Reserved.)

Since January, large groups of activists have confronted lawmakers at town halls and outside their offices. Many are concerned that Republicans will repeal the Affordable Care Act. The Democrats are facing a backlash for voting for Trump’s awful cabinet picks (but they at least all voted against Betsy DeVos, who is absolutely horrible as Education Secretary) and they were being lobbied to filibuster (obstruct) Neil Gorsuch (but we all know how that turned out).

By February, the Affordable Care Act, Barack Obama’s signature health care legislation, was climbing in popularity. Despite the polls, Republicans were taken advantage of Trump’s (limited) presence in the White House and rushing to repeal the health care law.

Notable Democrats have faced their crowds, but some Republicans are running scared. Some have cancelled town halls. Others have cut theirs short and used the police to escort them from the scary protesters.

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