I am a Bernie Sanders supporter and proud of it. Sanders shined some lights and rekindled some hopes in areas where it has seemed that government feared to tread since Ronald Reagan and his band of thieves were in power. Taking on the wealthy, the entrenched, the powerful was not for the weak of heart. Sanders made taking on the entrenched interests the central theme of this years campaign.
Hillary Clinton joined in in a slightly more tepid approach. But with either Sanders or Clinton, the focus of the Democratic party will be in one form or another for the Democratic Party to begin to reclaim the legacy of FDR, HST, JFK and LBJ along with the legacy of all the office holders, volunteers and voters who gave much of their lives to making the Democratic Party truly the party of the people.
We have been in a sometimes contentious fight to decide who will lead this great party into our next battle for leadership of the country. At this juncture it is becoming increasingly likely that Hillary Clinton will be the nominee of the Democratic Party. Once again the Democratic Party will be shattering barriers as a woman heads a ticket into what has almost become a cliche – the most important election ever in this country.
As it looks as if Republicans will also be making a historical nomination in the person of Donald Trump. Mr. Trump has never been associated with government other than to try to buy influence. Trump has little knowledge of the machinery of government and seems to care little about learning the workings of government. He has ascended his ladder to the nomination through racist, misogynistic, homophobic statements and junior high school bullying behavior. Even if Trump somehow fails to secure the nomination the likely alternative – Ted Cruz – is nearly as bad.
While some folks may have specific gripes with the Clinton candidacy there should be nothing in her platform or background that should cause one to sit out the election and let a Donald Trump become president. That would be hard to live with.
To remind folks here are a few of the issues that are crucial in this election:
1) Picking the president who will choose the next, maybe several, SCOTUS justices.
2) Continuing internet neutrality
3) Continuation and perhaps expansion of the ACA
4) Continuation and perhaps expansion of Social Security and Medicare
5) Confronting climate change.
Just a reminder of a few of the issues that the SCOTUS may be deciding on in the near future: Women’s reproductive health and abortion rights, voting restrictions, religion in public events, claims for religious freedom that cause discrimination and many others. Republicans would like to roll the clock back prior to FDR’s administration, Democrats would like to see the country progress.
If you think that the the Republican Party will be imploding because of the Trump insurgency, think again. While there may be trouble at the top, below that level let me remind you that Republicans hold power in most of the elected offices in this country:
First – in both houses of congress. They are hostile majorities in that they refuse to work with or compromise with anyone.
Second – Republicans control both houses of the legislature AND the governors office in 23 states
Third – democrats control the legislatures and governors office in only 7 states with 20 states having divided control
Fourth – Republicans control 34 governorships, 55% of all state senate seats and 56% of all state house seats in the country.
Fifth – Election districts have been gerrymandered to prohibitively favor retention of those ratios.
While it may be fun to watch the fireworks at the top of the party, the body below seems much healthier than what the Democrats offer. On a state level we need every Democrat voting to recapture state legislatures and governorships. If for no other reason we need to recapture legislatures to get in shape to stop even worse gerrymandering following the 2020 census.
Also expect much of the money that the Koch Brothers and associates will be pouring into this election to bypass the presidential race and fall down to controlling even more state legislatures.
Staying home in Iowa will mean the re-election of the very obstructionist Charles Grassley as Senator. We look to have competitive US house races in the 1st, 3rd and possibly the 4th district. Staying home will greatly hurt our chances in those races.
Possibly most importantly in Iowa, right now the state senate is controlled by Democrats by one vote. If we lose one seat, the Republicans will have the governor and both state house trifecta here because Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds becomes the deciding vote in case of a tie in the senate. We don’t have to look too far afield to see what kinds of disasters having Republican one party rule can mean to a state. Look at the disaster in Kansas where schools can’t even stay open or Wisconsin where unions have been gutted, or to Michigan where children have been permanently damaged by lead in the water in Flint.
So now is the time to heal. Now is the time to put away differences. Now is the time to resolve to take on the true enemy – the Republicans and their party of catering to the oligarchs.