Vote 2018

The Midterm Elections will be held on Tuesday, November 6, 2018.

In 34 States and the District of Columbia, you can vote early now.
So what, you say?

Nobody’s running for President. Why should I care? You should care because, we will be electing:

  1. 87.5% of the members of the 116th Congress of the United States which will convene on January 3, 2019.Spacer - Half
    • Every 2 years, every seat in the House of Representatives (435) are elected.
       
    • Every 2 years, one third of the seats in the Senate (33 this year) are elected.
       
  2. 36 State Governors.
     
  3. 82% of all State Legislative seats.
     
  4. Innumerable members of local governments.

Depending on the position, these elected officials will be making our Laws; running the various committees of Congress; and running our State and Local Governments for the next 2 to 6 years.

Who do I Vote For?

The good news is “You get to choose”. The bad news is “You need to choose wisely”. (Choosing stupidly is often easier.) I can give you information and suggestions, but your vote must be your own. Our system cannot work unless each of us takes the responsibility to make known her or his own opinion.

Information and Suggestions

Although I am not a member of any political, be forewarned. I’m not happy with what the Trumpist Party [1] has been doing. That bias is likely to raise its ugly head.

The Federal Deficit

The major accomplishment of the 115th Congress is the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Many have called it a “tax cut for the rich”. President Trump is talking about a “resolution” giving a 10% tax cut for the Middle Class before the Midterms. He can submit as many resolutions as he wants, but only Congress has the authority to determine taxes. Congress is not in session again until after the Midterm Elections.

I don’t know whether “tax cut for the rich” is an accurate assessment or partisan jockeying. I do know that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has exacerbated deficit spending.

Consider this chart: Deficit 400

In 1998 through 2001 under the 105th and 106th Congresses, the deficit went negative for the first time in decades. We were actually living within our means. The 107th Congress returned the over-payment to the tax payers. [2]  Then, September 11, 2001 and the war that followed were thrust upon us. The costs associated with War on Terror forced us to return to deficit spending. [3]

Just as we were regaining control of spending, the effects of the Worldwide Great Recession hit the United States in late 2007. Our economy was on the verge of collapse. Enormous expenditures of Federal funds … and the enormous deficits that accompanied them … prevented that collapse. By 2015, our economy was well on the way to recovery and the deficit dropped below its 2008 level.

Now, Federal Deficit Spending is rising again. The 2018 deficit is above the 2013 level. The 2019 deficit is projected to be close to the level of 2012. Why?

The formula for increasing deficits is simple raise expenses and reduce revenue. Tax cuts are a good way to reduce revenue. Increasing the military budget is one good way to increase expenses. Increasing the budget for “building a wall” and protecting our southern border from immigrants … including those legally seeking asylum … is another. [4]  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blames the rising deficit on “Entitlements”. (That’s Republican for programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and, of course, the Affordable Care Act.) [5]

Border Security

President Trump is warning us about the “migrant caravan”Caravan 225 from Central America about to “invade” our country. Don’t worry. The Fear-Monger-in-Chief is deploying more than 5000 troops to the border to protect us.

The “invasion” is going rather slowly. As of October 28th, it was at least 900 miles from the southernmost border of the United States. Those who actually reach our border will have traveled … most of them on foot … 11 or 12 hundred miles.

This so-called “invasion” is composed primarily of refugees seeking asylumFamily Separation Montague 225 from threats, violence, [6] and poverty in their home countries. They have given up their homes, their relatives, and their meager possessions to seek a better life for themselves and their children. They need not worry about their reception. The 5000+ troops being sent to the borders are there to relieve regular border agents so that they can focus on separating the families and putting the children safely in cages.

Gerrymandering

The Constitution requires Congressional redistricting every 10 years. The party in power in each state can exercise a lot of control in drawing the linesGerrymandering 225 that define the voting districts within their states. If one party gains control of the state’s legislature and executive branch, they may be able to draw lines that consolidate areas in which the majority of the voters are from their party and fragment the voters from their opponent’s party are concentrated. The picture on the right shows some of the country’s creatively drawn districts. [7]

When a party gets control of enough redistricting in enough states, PA Before and After Final 225it can gain control of the Federal House of Representatives and, to a lesser extent, the Senate. The district in the upper right … often referred to as Goofy kicking Donald … was in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. I say was because someone brought a case opposing the state’s gerrymandering to the State Supreme Court … and won. Here’s a picture of the old and new districts. Hopefully, this year’s Midterm Elections will more accurately reflect the views and choices of the citizens of Pennsylvania.

Voter Suppression

Gerrymandering is a subtle form of Voter Suppression. We are seeing more obvious examples of this practice in these Midterms … in Georgia … in Kansas … in North Dakota … in Texas … and elsewhere. In 2018, those who are the most often targeted for Voter Suppression are Liberals, the Young, the Elderly, and Minorities. Liberals and the Young are targeted because they’re idealistic. They believe in the reality of our Ideals. The Elderly and Minorities are targeted because they have well-tuned “Crap Detectors“. They know President Trump [8] and the “Trumpists” in Congress are interested only in maintaining and consolidating their own power.

Vote Early 75Don’t let them win … especially if you’re a member of a group who the “Trumpists” are trying to bully and intimidate. If your state allows it, Vote early. If not Vote on Tuesday, November 6th. Take your photo identification if you have one, do whatever you have to to get to the polls, stand in line with your fellow citizens as long as is necessary.Standing in Line 01 200 If anyone tries to stop you, demand your rights. If you are a United States citizen who is 18 years of age or older, you are entitled to a Provisional Ballot at the very least. If you don’t like the direction that the country is going, it’s time to be heard. A midterm election cannot select a new President, but it can control his capriciousness.  When the Congress and the Presidency are controlled by different parties, the balance of power is easier to maintain and, occasionally, something can be done that benefits all of us. It was Democratic President Bill Clinton and Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich who eliminated Federal Deficit Spending for a few years.

The Last Word

Right now, Former President Obama [9] is the de facto leader of the Democratic Party. Recently, at a campaign rally for Democratic Midterm Candidates in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he presented his reasons why we need to reject Republican control of Congress. Here’s what he had to say.

 

It’s Hard to Keep Pace with Villainy

I had really intended to give Former President Obama the “Last Word”, but this morning (October 30th), I heard something so egregious that I had to mention it. President Trump has threatened to end birthright citizenship by executive order. This is a direct attack on the Constitution … specifically the 14th Amendment. [10]

No matter what you think of immigration; no matter how much you believe the President’s lies about the “caravanTrump Dictator 275 invading from Central America” bringing “crime, smallpox and leprosy, ‘middle easterners’, etc., etc., etc.” to our southern border, you cannot allow this attack on the Constitution. If our would-be dictator were to get away with destroying the 14th Amendment, which one will he go for next … the 1st; [11]  the 2nd? [12]  What’s your favorite Amendment? You can bet that President Trump is fond of the 5th. [13]

Fortunately, the 21st Amendment [14]  is proof that Congress cannot simply pass a law repealing an Amendment to the Constitution. As usual, PRESIDENT TRUMP IS LYING!Trump - Lies and Prison 250 He is lying about Congress having the authority to change an Amendment to the Constitution. He is lying about being able to change an Amendment to the Constitution by Executive Order. He is even lying about the United States being the only country in the World that does this. 35 other countries have unrestricted birthright citizenship. He is abysmally ignorant with no interest in learning anything. Lacking information, he just makes up something that he believes will further his agenda and “sounds good”. When the President says, “people are saying,” the “people” he’s hearing are often the voices in his own head.

Being an ignoramus does not excuse treachery. At his Inauguration, President Trump swore an oath [15]  that includes the words “… and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” One cannot “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” if one is giving voice to the idea of pursuing illegal means for changing it.

Regardless of what President Trump, the enablers in his Administration, the sycophants in Congress, and the ratings chasers in the Right-Wing Media believe, words matter! When you repeatedly demonize the Democratic Party and their supporters; when you constantly call the segments of the Media “enemies of the people”, [16]  can you really feign innocence when one of your supporters who is a serious nut-job decides to send mail bombs to prominent Democrats, Democratic Party supporters, and CNN. When you claim that a caravan of refugees a thousand miles away are an invasion bringing crime and disease, should you be surprised that an anti-Semite obsessed with a Jewish refugee agency [17]  decides to attack and murder worshipers in a synagogue. Of course not! Maybe we should ask President Trump to take a DNA test to determine if he has even a smattering of human blood.

The United States of America is not some “Banana Republic” and Donald Trump is not “Dictator for Life”.Trump Banana Republic 250 He is an uninformed,  under-educated, narcissistic huckster and bully, with loyalty to nothing and no one, who is barely fit to run his own real estate business; much less the richest and most powerful country in the World. For the good of our country and its citizens … for the good of the World, President Trump, his Administration, and the self-serving members of Congress who cover for him must be stopped.

How do we do that? Must Trump be impeached? It would be nice, but it isn’t necessary … and a “President Pence” might be worse. If the Democrats and their Independent allies take control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, they can muzzle the President with all the investigations that he deserves. By the 2020 Presidential Elections he will have to choose between stepping aside for an honorable Republican Candidate or being abjectly defeated in the General Election.

If you want to be part of the solution, get to the polls and vote for those who oppose the “Trumpists”.

Your Vote Counts 01 350

End Notes
  1. I offer my condolences to those Republicans who have had your party commandeered by a man who does not really care about your ideals … and people like Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell and Representative Devin Nunes who are willing to “look the other way” as long as President Donald Trump forwards their personal agendas. (To his credit, Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan sometimes speaks in opposition to the “Trumpist Chorus”.)
     
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  2. The relatively small amount that I received was nice enough, but even then I thought it would have been better for the Federal Government to keep it until we needed it … or make a tiny dent in the National Debt. It was only $5,807,000,000 back then.
     
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  3. Like Natural Disasters, wars are hard to predict. Like many individuals, the Federal Government must live paycheck-to-paycheck. In coping with the unexpected, governments are not much different than individuals … deficit spending is unavoidable.
     
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  4. I wonder if President Trump thinks the Federal Government can declare bankruptcy. That’s always worked well for his businesses.
     
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  5. I would have sworn that I paid a special tax to support those programs. Isn’t it called FICA? That’s why I and other recipients are entitled to them.
     
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  6. A lot of that violence comes from an international gang called Mara Salvatrucha also known as MS-13. MS-13 originated in Los Angeles, California. We exported it to Central America.
     
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  7. We now have software that draws these lovely designs. Just enter your state’s voter registration statistics and the party you want to favor, then click on OK.
     
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  8. If you support or supported President Trump because you wanted to see the country “run like a business”, you’re twice fooled.
     
    The Federal Government is not a business. The primary goal of government is to maintain the ideals upon which a country is built. In our case, those ideals are codified in the Constitution of the United States and its Amendments.
     
    Donald Trump is not a very good businessman. He’s a real estate hustler who knows nothing beyond win-lose negotiations. A skilled businessman knows that win-win negotiations are possible. When one company produces something that another company uses for its product or service, both win. When countries negotiate, an agreement that benefits both is the norm; not the exception. The President has never even answered to a Board of Directors or Stockholders. In his business career, his word was the law. He seems to think that the President’s word should be law. It isn’t!
     
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  9. I wasn’t always in agreement with President Obama’s opinions and decisions, but I never for a moment doubted his right to be President. Even if he had not been born in the United States (which he was), he was still a citizen by bloodline. His mother was a birthright citizen of the United States.
     
    Ann Dunham was born on November 29, 1942 in Wichita, Kansas. She earned a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Hawaii.Barack Obamas Mother 02 150 Her later graduate work led to a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the same university on August 9, 1992.
     
    Her father’s family moved to what is now the United States during the 17th Century. On Ann’s side of his family, President Obama is a 10th Generation American. President Trump, who likes to wrap himself in the Flag at every opportunity, is only a 3rd Generation American … a relative newcomer.
     
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  10. Section 1 of the 14th Amendment says:
     
    All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
     
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  11. The 1st Amendment says:
     
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
     
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  12. The 2nd Amendment has two formats:
     
    As passed by the Congress and preserved in the National Archives, with the rest of the original handwritten copy of the Bill of Rights prepared by scribe William Lambert, the amendment says:
     
    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
     
    The amendment was ratified by the States and authenticated by Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson as:
     
    A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
     
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  13. The 5th Amendment says:
     
    No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
     
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  14. The 21st Amendment was needed to repeal the 18th Amendment. The 18th Amendment initiated the Prohibition of Alcoholic Beverages in the United States:
     
    Section 1. After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all the territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.
     
    Section 2. The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
     
    Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.
     
    The 21st Amendment repealed Prohibition:
     
    Section 1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.
     
    Section 2. The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.
     
    Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.
     
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  15. In a combination of Constitutional definition and Presidential tradition, the Presidential Oath of Office is:
     
    I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. So help me, God.
     
    (George Washington added “So help me, God” when he took the oath. Since then, other Presidents have followed his example.)
     
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  16. The phrase “enemies of the people” has negative historical connotations. The Roman Senate declared Emperor Nero an enemy of the people. Nazis referred to Jews as a sworn enemy of the German people. Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin called anyone who disagreed with their ideologies enemy of the nation/people.
     
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  17. The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) was founded in the late 19th Century to help Jewish emigrants fleeing Imperial Russia. Since 1975, it has been focused on helping emigrants all over the World regardless of their religion.
     
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