Tag Archives: Republicans

Crisis in Governing

31 Jul

Since the 1800’s the two current political parties have dominated our system of government.  Both parties managed to govern when it was their turn to run the government.  This system of government worked for us for some time.  This changed in recent years, (more specifically the 1990’s.)  Now only one party is capable of governing.

George Washington once warned of the dangers of a two-party system.  He was right.  It used to be that despite their differences, the two parties were able to govern, no matter who was in power.  After the 1994 election when Republicans took control of both chambers of Congress for more than a generation, things went downhill.  A government shutdown occurred and congress later tried to impeach the president because he lied under oath about Monica Lewinsky.  Despite this, they were eventually able to pass a budget and even managed to put our country on a pathway to settle our debt.

During the George W. Bush administration, there was animosity between the two parties but things still got done.  When Democrats took control of congress in 2007, budgets were passed, but the White House and Congress sparred over political differences.  In 2009, the Democrats gained control of two out of the three branches of government.  The Republicans immediately decided that they would attempt to block anything the Democrats tried to get done rather than compromise.

It was during that time that things slowed down in Congress.  Republicans worked tirelessly to make sure that business in government would grind to a halt.  They set a new standard of requiring 60 votes for anything except the budget to get anything passed.  Towards the end of the Obama administration, the Republicans blocked Obama from appointing a Supreme Court Justice.  By the time Trump took office, the Republicans managed to prevent a budget from getting passed on a regular basis.  Instead they would go months at a time passing a continuing resolution setting up budget battles.  The Republicans even shut down the government and nearly defaulted on our nation’s debt.

Today the Republicans control all three branches of government and are unable to govern effectively.  The latest Health Care debacle is an example of this.  Things that President Trump said he wanted to do in a bipartisan matter like improving infrastructure are going nowhere.  Republicans with few exceptions are spending most of their time trying to defend the president.  There are two main types of Republicans left in the party.  Those who are willing to defy Trump on some things and others who have made a deal with the devil to get what they want.

The Republican Party used to be the party of Civil Rights, low debt, fiscal responsibility and even helping working class people.  Today they are the party of racism, big business and servants for corporate America.  Last year they nominated someone with no morals and no ethics who was willing to commit treason to get elected.  The party may have lost its mind during the Obama years, but they lost their soul in supporting and continuing to support someone like Trump.

The Republican’s Health Care Bill

30 Jun

The Republicans have been criticizing The Affordable Care Act for the last 7 years.  They have been promising to repeal and replace it since it became law.  They have had that chance for the last several months, and they haven’t been able to.  Protests around the country have mostly prevented that from happening.  The most puzzling thing to me is that they have had years to come up with an alternative plan, and they didn’t have one ready to go when they had the chance.

The House barely passed a version of the Republican’s Health Care law.  The Senate is having trouble passing their version of Health Care.  The underlying problem in all of this is that Republicans have almost always been against social programs.  At the time the Affordable Care Act was being debated, many Republicans denied there was even a problem with Health Care.

We have had problems with our health care system for some time.  I personally think we need to move away from private insurance.  Health insurance companies have been abusing the system.  Before the Affordable Care Act insurance companies could deny people treatment or coverage for no reason.  No one’s life should be determined by whether or not the insurance company wants to pay for your treatment.

I hesitate to call either of the Republicans bills, “Health Care Reform.”  It uses the money it cuts from Medicaid to help wealthy Americans in the form of a tax cut.  This isn’t a health care bill, it’s the Republicans finding another way to give a massive tax cut for the wealthy.  Seven years ago the Republicans complained that the Affordable Care Act was done in secret and was rushed to a vote.  The Republicans in Congress wrote this bill behind closed doors and were trying to rush it through before the 4th of July.

If the Republicans are truly genuine about fixing the problems with our broken health care system, they would include Democrats in the writing of a new health care bill.  There are problems with the Affordable Care Act, but I am not confident the Republicans want to do anything to fix it.  The biggest problem with the Affordable Care Act is that it is improving a broken system, but doesn’t change it to where it needs to be.

Ever since Liberals introduced social programs, Republicans have been skeptical or opposed them.  FDR’s New Deal Programs were opposed by Republicans.  Republicans have either tried to oppose or weaken Medicare and Medicaid.  No Republicans voted for the final version of the Affordable Care Act.  Liberals have almost always supported social programs that benefit society.  If the Republicans have almost always been against social programs, why should we trust them to fix the problems on their own?

Russia Investigation

31 Mar

Last year, during the election there were reports that Russia was trying to interfere with our election.  While President Trump has denied there is link between him and Russia during the election, some of the people around him are under investigation for talking to the Russians before the election.  The investigation has hit a road block in the House of Representatives but it is going forward in the FBI as well as the U.S. Senate.  My hope is that the Democrats and Republicans pursue this and find out what happened in our election last year.

Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was forced to resign recently after only several weeks on the job.  It was revealed that he had spoken to Sergey Kislyak around the time the Obama administration put sanctions on Russia because of their interference in the 2016 election.  Michael Flynn lied about it and was forced to resign.  He has since agreed to testify in exchange for immunity.  The President’s son-in-law Jared Kushner also spoke with Sergey Kislyak before Trump became our president.

The U.S. House Intelligence committee were looking into connections between the Trump administration and Russia.  That changed when Intelligence committee chairman Devin Nunes rushed to defend Donald Trump and cancelled hearings this week.  Since congressman Nunes seems to be covering for Trump instead of investigating, Nunes should recusal himself and resign from congress if he is covering up a crime.  Attorney general Jeff Sessions has already recused himself from the FBI Russian investigation because of his contacts with the Russians before the Trump Administration took office.

I think President Trump had contacts with the Russians before the election and collaborated with them.  This would be considered Treason at the very least.  I am basing this on information we know already.  I do not make these charges lightly and I would like a full investigation to find out what happened.  The FBI and U.S. Senate are currently running investigations between Trump and the U.S. election last year.  We don’t know what all of the facts are so we need to find out so that we know what happened in the last election.

2016 Recap

30 Dec

2016 has been a strange and disappointing year.  Donald Trump was elected president.  Senate Republicans blocked President Obama from appointing someone to the Supreme Court.  We lost many great people including John Glenn, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, Muhammad Ali, among many others.  I wish I could be more optimistic for what lies ahead next year.

We have a president-elect who hasn’t changed much since he was elected.  Many presidents surround themselves with the best and brightest.  Donald Trump is surrounding himself with incompetent people and ideologues.  I think Trump will run into some opposition with some of his picks to help run the government.

I am however optimistic that we may finally be able to get an infrastructure bill passed.  The Democrats are willing to work with Trump on some issues and I hope they do.  I do however want the Democrats to fight Trump like hell on any of his extreme policy ideas.  Trump has said that he wants to tear up the Iran Deal and the Paris Climate Change deal.  That will not be as easy as he thinks.  Both deals are multi-national agreements.  The Paris Climate Change deal will expire in November 2020… at the end of Trumps first (and hopefully only) term.

The Republicans have an easier senate election map in 2018, but that doesn’t guarantee anything.  The president’s party usually loses seats in midterm elections.  (Recent exceptions being 1998 and 2002.)  It will also be interesting to see how Speaker Ryan and incoming Senate Minority leader Schumer will work with the president-elect.  House Speaker Paul Ryan will have to deal with the Tea Party wing, moderate wing, and the Trump supporters in his party.  Senator Schumer will lead the opposition as well as prepare his members for 2018.

Donald Trump will get a rude awakening next year, as with his supporters.  Governing is not as easy as Trump made it sound during the campaign.  Congress is very good at blocking legislation.  The presidents who have been able to get things done legislatively have either been insiders or have friends in congress.  Trump is no insider and he only has a small handful of supporters in congress.  I think Trump supporters will give him a lot of leeway, but they will turn on him if he doesn’t deliver on something.

Running the government is not like running a business.  Governor Rauner of Illinois hasn’t been able to pass his agenda through the Illinois legislature and he is a former businessman.  Trump will not be able to get everything he wants done.  If he tries to push congress around he won’t be able to get much done.  President-elect Trump has already faced several challenges in picking a cabinet.  If he is having this much trouble picking people to be in his administration, he will have a tough time running his administration.

Aftermath

30 Nov

The Democrats lost an election they should have won.  The Senate lead for the Republicans had narrowed and a Republican will be president despite the Democrat winning more popular votes.  No I’m not talking about this past election I am referring to the 2000 election.  I bring this up because history has a tendency to repeat itself.  I am also saying this to people who were as disappointed as I was by the election results.

Before I went to bed on election night I learned that Hillary Clinton had called president-elect Donald Trump to concede the election.  Like most of the country I was stunned.  What caused him to win in an upset?  Hillary Clinton did not do enough to win over working class people.  She expected to win Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania instead of campaigning hard to win them.  The WikiLeaks hack and the DNC favoring her over Bernie in the primaries also cost her.  Her email scandal and the FBI announcement weeks before the election didn’t help.  We won’t know all of the reasons why she lost for a while but what I mentioned covers the bulk of it.

The Democrats are in a bind.  They lost senate races that they were favored to win.  Donald Trump will get to appoint at least one Supreme Court justice because the Republicans blocked President Obama’s appointment to the Supreme Court.  The Democrats have several options, fight, compromise, or do both.   My hope is that the Democrats don’t obstruct the way the Republicans did under Obama.  Trump says he wants to get infrastructure spending done.  If he wants to get it done, the Democrats should work with him on it.  There has also been bipartisan talk about investigating the Russians trying to influence our election.

I do think they should fight Trump on his extreme proposals.  Donald Trump has said that he wants to create a Muslim registry.  If he tries to implement that I hope that the Democrats and at least some Republicans will block it.  If the Republicans try to privatize Medicare or Social Security I hope the Democrats block it from happening.  I do however want to see the government fully functional with a long-term budget getting passed and not temporary stopgap measures like we have seen in recent years.

The next four years will be interesting to say the least.  The mid-term elections are only 2 years away.  Keep your head up Democrats and get your act together. Otherwise it is going to be a very long four years.

The Home Stretch

31 Oct

We are in the home stretch of the presidential election.  The candidates are making their final arguments to the voters and early voting is happening as we speak.  This election is important, but also a disappointing one.  With less than two weeks until the general election we have two most unpopular candidates in modern history.  In this presidential race we have reached the bottom.

In the beginning of the month an old tape of Donald Trump was released where he admitted to sexual harassment at the very least and sexual assault at worst.  The Access Hollywood tape has effectively ended the presidential race.  Republicans have finally condemned him and some have rescinded their condemnation of him.  The damage has been done.  After he got the nomination I thought that he had a slim chance of winning because of his tendency to act like a toddler.  The Access Hollywood tape has put his campaign in jeopardy and may even put the House Republican majority in jeopardy.

Republicans running for the House and Senate are in a bind.  Congressmen Joe Heck of Nevada is running for the U.S. Senate in Nevada.  His previous support for Trump may cost the Republicans a chance at picking up a senate seat.  Some Republicans are at risk of losing support if they abandon Trump.  What you are seeing happening right now is exactly what Republican insiders were afraid of when Trump announced his run last year.  He is damaging Republicans down ticket.

After the 2012 election the Republicans did an analysis on why they lost.  Although Romney won a high percentage of the white vote he lost women and Hispanics which cost Romney the election.  The Republican Party vowed change to appeal to more voters, but nominating Trump has done the opposite.  Trump is on track to get a lower vote of Hispanics than Romney did and Trump’s comments on women will cause him to lose a majority of the female vote.  The Republican establishment wanted to pass an immigration bill but they were unable to get it through the House of Representatives because Tea Party Republicans objected to it.

What happens after the election is somewhat uncertain.  If Trump loses (which he likely will) he will leave the Republican Party in ruins.  Trump’s supporters will probably blame a rigged system as well as the base of the Republican Party for not supporting Trump.  The Republican base will blame Trump and rightfully so for blowing a winnable election.  None of this had to happen.  If the Republicans nominated John Kasich or almost any other Republican candidate they would be leading Hillary Clinton.  The Republican Party will need to quell the talks of the election being rigged.

I will close my final blog before the election with this.  Please vote.  It is one of the most important things you can do as a citizen.  Go to www.ballotready.org and research candidates positions on the election and find your polling place.

An Unusual Election

30 Sep

After three essentially two-party candidate elections we are seeing something somewhat different this time around.  We still have the two dominate parties but this time we have four main candidates.  The obvious two are Clinton and Trump, the other main candidates are Gary Johnson and Jill Stein.  This is happening because of the unpopularity of the top two candidates.  I don’t think the third party candidates will make a significant difference on Election Day but it makes things more interesting.

As the race stands right now Hillary Clinton has a slight edge among the top two candidates.  Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson is running a distant third while Jill Stein is in fourth.  Gary Johnson is benefiting from Trump and Clinton’s unpopularity by taking away votes from them.  Jill Stein is taking some votes away from Clinton but it won’t be enough to swing the election.  There are some Republicans who will be voting for Gary Johnson because they despise Donald Trump.  It could be enough to give the election to Hillary Clinton.

The 1912 presidential election Teddy Roosevelt, a former Republican ran third party.  The split in the Republican Party helped elect Woodrow Wilson.  In the 1948 election, Strom Thurmond a Dixiecrat took away votes from president Truman in the general election.  President Truman defeated his main opponent Thomas Dewey in an upset even with Thurmond siphoning votes from Truman.  In 1992 Ross Perot helped elect Bill Clinton.  In 2000, Ralph Nader took away enough votes that it cost Al Gore the election.  I’m not saying that a third party candidate guarantees that they will play the spoiler, but it definitely can be a factor.

The other unusual thing we will likely see this year are Republicans voting for Gary Johnson for president and voting for Republican candidates down ballot.  The U.S. Senate races are tight with the Democrats having a slight advantage.  If there ends up being a landslide for Hillary the House of Representatives might be in play for the Democrats.  At this point it is possible but not likely.  The Democrats need to gain four senate seats to win the majority, five if Hillary Clinton doesn’t win.  My next update will give a clearer picture of who will win the election.