Thursday, November 8, 2018

REFLECTIONS ON THE 2018 MID TERMS

The counting is not quite completed, and there will be re-counts) but some general truths are obvious.  Racism is still an effective political strategy.  Corporate interests can still dominate the reality.  Gerrymandering and voter suppression is a significant factor.

As a progressive I am actually disappointed.  Definitely some results were encouraging, but I thought the logic of the situation merited a lot more changes. Although the majority of voters expressed a disgust of Trump the system is "rigged" against their wishes.

House of Representative vote does indicate a massive anti Trump sentiment but the Constitution restricted the impact.  The total vote for the House of Representative was over 3 million extra for the Democrats, but they didn't get the equivalent number of seats with the actual power.

Voting rights were boosted in a number of states which will enable more voters to exercise their rights the next time around in a more equitable fashion.  In Florida ex felons will be given an easier voting opportunity.  Other states will have fairer districting or easier registering.

The Kavanagh confirmation vote cast a shadow.  Joe Manchin decided to confirm and that probably saved his re-election in a state won by Trump.  Ohers were not so lucky as they didn't vote to confirm where Trump was popular--Heidi  Heitcamp and a few others paid for their Kavanagh votes.  This may illustrate that many of Trump supporters were most keen on the Supreme court having an anti-abortionist to be the deciding vote.  The religious right still has power but they are tied to the financial and political goals of the 1%.

Another positive factor was that seven new scientists were elected.  They are all Democrats, but hopefully will help boost fact based decisions.  On the other hand it was pointed out that Florida with its environmental problems rejected the more environmental candidates for Senator and Governor.

There is more diversity in power than ever including African American, indigenous, women and LGBT people.  Mostly on the Democratic side which more closely reflects the actual population.

Attitudes and reactions are constantly changing.  The whole world pays attention when a President is about to be voted upon, however the American system gives an adjustment every two years.  It is all meant to give checks against power abuse while at the same time providing some government stability.

The president is given power for a period of four years with the possibility of renewing for another four years.  Senators are elected for a term of 6 years and their elections are staggered so that 1/3 are replaced every two years.   The length assures enough time to accomplish something while change is possible.  The House of Representatives are elected every two years.

Overseeing this is the Supreme Court whose members are nominated by the president in power, but confirmed by the Senate which may or may not be of the same party.  They are supposed to be beyond political pressures, but obviously they are not.

A few reminders why I feel Trump has to go.  Climate change is becoming more obvious, but vested interests are able to bribe politicians.   The Middle East is a mess made worse by trumpian decision regarding,Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Israel.  De-regulations are helping to increase deadly pollution, warming gases and the next financial disaster.   The Supreme Court will likely be even more conservative (against interest of most of  99%).  Russia has something on him or maybe he is just mesmerized with dictators.  His racism and attitudes towards immigration is dangerous for everyone. Drain the swamp is a joke.  Medicare needs to be expanded not restricted.

Likely there will be meaningful investigations.  Trump has immediately taken steps to curtail the Russian probe by firing Jeff Sessions and bypassing Rod Rosenstein.  And now the Supreme Court is  more friendly to the president he can get away with more mischief and worse.

What to do with the hard earned advantage in the House of Representatives?  They should be careful not to copy the Republican obstructionist strategy.  There will be plenty of offensive legislation to fend off, but there should be an effort to compromise perhaps on infrastructure and maybe even medicare.  There is the danger that Republicans will claim credit for anything popular which means Democrats have to toot their own horn.  They should also expect to get some of their own legislation in return.

While we are in the lame duck transition we can expect more developments as Republicans will try to stymie Democrat efforts.  For at least another two years there will be a more conservative tilt to the total judicial system.  Hopefully voters will realize the role the courts play in everyday life.

The photo is of Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

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