Connect with us

More Top Stories

Opinion: Democrats, here’s one reason not to celebrate



Spread the love
The secret to the blue wave that won the House for Democrats

Republicans lost a Senate seat in Arizona, while in the Texas Senate race, Democratic congressman Beto O’Rourke performed extremely well in conservative parts of the state despite his loss. Of the 111 million votes[1] cast for House candidates, which exceeded the 1974 midterm record of 8.7 million votes, Democrats won 53.1%. Democrats are rightly pointing to the results as a massive blow to President Trump. They now control the House of Representatives and will have a formidable platform from which to investigate the White House and push new legislative initiatives.
The blue wave seems to have gotten its energy from the Trump effect — Democrats are energized throughout the country and Republicans in a number of important areas are not inspired by their party under his leadership. The vote against President Trump seems to have been one of the most powerful factors on election day. New political stars such as O’Rourke have emerged on the scene and are gearing up for another blue wave in 2020.
But there is one part of the story that doesn’t fit with the rest: the US Senate. In the upper chamber of Congress, the blue wave crashed into a giant seawall and this will create serious problems for Democrats in the coming years. In a rare historic occurrence, the party of the President was able to increase the size of the majority from 51 to 53 seats. And even with a candidate like Cindy Hyde-Smith, a pure Trumpian who repeatedly identified with neo-confederate ideas and joked about public hangings in a state infamous for the lynching of African-Americans, Republicans remained loyal to their candidate.
Why Cindy Hyde-Smith won in Mississippi

There are many factors that explain the outcome of the Senate elections in the middle of these stunning Democratic House victories. The most important is the fact that the Senate map was always unfavorable for Democrats regardless of who was in the White House. The map included ten Democratic incumbents running to defend their seats in states where Trump won in 2016. Overall, Democrats were defending 26 seats during the election cycle while Republicans were just trying to keep nine.
But in politics, unfair advantages and bad playing fields are part of the game. Regardless of the reasons for the current situation in the Senate, the final numbers are what matter — and those numbers are not good for Democrats.
Not only will Republicans have more wiggle room when it comes time for Senate votes, but the outlook for 2020[2] is only slightly better for Democrats. The good news is that Republicans will be defending a far greater number of seats. But as Politico reports, only two of the Republicans who will be up for re-election in 2020 will be running in states that Trump lost in 2016.
In other words, Democrats will have to find candidates who can win statewide elections in Trump country if they want to have any chance of retaking control. Republicans will also have a few Democrat-held seats they can likely pick off, such as Doug Jones in Alabama who is vulnerable. The solidification of Republican support in rural areas in the 2018 elections will be extremely helpful in many of these 2020 races.
Why this 'blue wave' was not a tsunami

The Republican victories in the Senate can’t simply be treated as a “blip” in the blue wave narrative. The fact that the Senate is solidly in Republican hands is a big deal. With President Trump in the White House, a Republican Senate will allow the administration to continue moving forward with its court nominations, as well as give the President cover on key foreign policy decisions. House Democrats can propose many bills and debate all sorts of ideas, but the chances that they will obtain the support of McConnell and his ground troops in the Senate are slim to none.
Furthermore, as McConnell reveals by dismissing his colleague Senator Jeff Flake’s demand for legislation to protect special counsel Robert Mueller[3], he will likely do whatever he can to insulate the administration from the investigation. Any effort by the House to impeach President Trump would have to get through two-thirds of the Senate for a conviction. In other words, the Senate remains a bulwark of Republican power.
And even if Democrats manage to retake the White House in 2020, the President would find herself or himself in an enormously difficult governing environment unless conditions change. They wouldn’t be able to do much about the courts, they would be checked when trying to push for international treaties and agreements, and they would face the same kind of legislative gridlock that President Obama encountered after 2010 (without the benefit of a honeymoon period with united control).
Democrats should not be naive. The inability to turn the upper chamber was a devastating blow for the party, even if the odds of victory were always low. McConnell, who is one of the most important and influential Republicans in Washington, a walking embodiment of hardball politics, just saw his base of power expand. This should cause tremors among Democrats, since, as the Senate Majority Leader has repeatedly shown, he is someone who has no hesitation to use that power to enforce a tough partisan agenda.


  1. ^ 111 million votes (
  2. ^ outlook for 2020 (
  3. ^ demand for legislation to protect special counsel Robert Mueller (

More Top Stories

Houston Recalls Legacy of George Bush, Its Lone Star Yankee and Senior Booster



Spread the love

HOUSTON — Inside the airport that bears his name, George Herbert Walker Bush looks, at a distance, as if he’s wearing a cape.

An 8-foot-tall bronze statue at the Houston airport shows Mr. Bush, who , Barbara Bush[4], who died in April at the age of 92. After Mr. Bush’s death on Friday, Houston lost its two most famous residents in the span of seven months.

“George H.W. Bush served with valor and integrity as the 41st president of the United States,” Houston’s mayor, Sylvester Turner, said in a statement. “But to Houstonians he was one of our most esteemed and relatable neighbors. He and his wife, Barbara Bush, were our sports teams’ biggest fans, and boosters for everything Houston.”

This was the man whose most memorable quote in years had to do with men’s hosiery. In 2012, as his fondness for wearing bright eye-catching socks was going strong, he explained that he simply “likes a good sock.” At his wife’s funeral at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, Mr. Bush wore a pair of socks with a colorful stack-of-books design, a tribute to Mrs. Bush’s advocacy work for family literacy.

In Houston and its surrounding suburbs, Mr. Bush had not only an airport in his name but a park, a high school and a few more life-size statues. Above Buffalo Bayou, a bronze statue of Mr. Bush looks out into the distance with his hand in his pocket, gazing at, of all things, James A. Baker III, the former secretary of state and Mr. Bush’s tennis partner at the Houston Country Club. The statues of the two close friends face each other in the downtown park, separated by about 100 yards, in Houston’s oddest and longest-running staring contest.

“All I can do now,” Mr. Bush told The New York Times in 2011 about the statue, “is hope that the pigeons will be kind and gentle.”

Charles C. Foster, a Houston immigration lawyer and a longtime friend of the Bush family, came up with the idea for the George H.W. Bush Monument, which was unveiled in 2004. Mr. Foster recalled the day he sat in Mr. Bush’s office at 10000 Memorial Drive and asked for his blessing for the project.

Mr. Bush in 1970, when he was a congressman.CreditAssociated Press

“He looked at me and he sort of looked up at the ceiling,” Mr. Foster said. “He pointed to the ceiling and said, ‘Shouldn’t you wait until I’m up there?’ And then he said, pointing downward, ‘Or perhaps down there?’”

In 1990, Mr. Bush helped turn the eyes of the world to Houston.

As president, he brought thousands of reporters and foreign dignitaries to Houston that summer for the Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations, an annual gathering of the world’s economic powers. The summits had been held in a number of global cities — London, Tokyo, Paris, Venice — and Mr. Bush made the case that his adopted hometown belonged among such world-class company.

Houston was scrappier back then. The city was rebounding from an oil bust in the 1980s that crippled the economy, and it tried hard to present its best, and cleanest, face to the cameras and the visitors, picking up millions of pounds of trash, repaving roads and enlisting the aid of 12,000 volunteers.

“That was huge for Houston,” Mr. Foster said of the 1990 summit. “When the president had a chance, he could have picked some mountain retreat. But he picked his hometown. He was well aware of the chip on our shoulders that we didn’t feel like Houston got the recognition that it should.”

Now, with 2.3 million residents (compared with 1.6 million in 1990), Houston is the fourth-largest city in America, known as much for its diversity as its energy-capital status. George Bush High School, part of the Fort Bend school district, is 43 percent Hispanic, 38 percent black, 12 percent Asian and 4 percent white. More than 90 languages and dialects are spoken in the district.

Early Saturday morning in the upscale Tanglewood area, Houstonians paused at the gates at South Post Oak Lane and North West Oak Drive — the entrance to the gated community where Mr. Bush lived. Someone draped an American flag in the center of the gates, decorated for the holidays with Christmas wreaths.

Shirley Matthews, 66, a lifelong Houstonian who lives nearby, walked up and took a picture of the memorial for her mother. “He was just a good person,” she said. “He wasn’t perfect. But it’s family, and we love each other.”


  1. ^ died at his home here on Friday (
  2. ^ Read the obituary of George H.W. Bush. (
  3. ^ the funeral for his wife (
  4. ^ Barbara Bush (

Continue Reading

More Top Stories

A Close Race, a Mysterious Ballot and Control of Alaska’s House at Stake



Spread the love

With a crucial legislative seat in Alaska teetering toward a tie earlier this month, lawmakers in Juneau braced for the possibility of a coin toss deciding control of the state’s House of Representatives. Then a mysterious extra ballot emerged that threw the process into further disarray.

Amid several counts, the latest coming on Friday afternoon, a single ballot drew scrutiny across the state.

The state’s review board certified the race, between Kathryn Dodge, a Democrat, and Bart LeBon, a Republican, as a tie earlier this week, with exactly 2,661 votes going to each candidate. The extra ballot, for Ms. Dodge, could have settled the race for the Fairbanks-area district seat.

Later on Friday, the mystery appeared to have been solved — but the standoff over who won the election continued.

Samantha Miller, a spokeswoman for the state elections office, said that workers at Fairbanks’s No. 6 precinct told officials that a woman had come into the polling place to request a special needs ballot on behalf of her husband, who was outside in a vehicle.

The woman came back into the precinct. Her husband had made a mistake, she told the precinct worker, and needed a new ballot. She left behind the one he had already marked, thus making it a spoiled ballot.

The precinct chair told the worker who took the spoiled ballot to put it into a secrecy sleeve, “and that they would deal with it later in the day,” Ms. Miller said.

But instead, the spoiled ballot was put into a compartment with other questioned ballots.

Typically, Ms. Miller said, spoiled ballots are destroyed once they are accounted for. So, because the mystery ballot was found to be spoiled, it will not be counted, she said.

Still, that left the question of what happens if the recount that began on Friday afternoon ends in a tie — again.

Ms. Miller said that both candidates had five days to file a legal challenge to the results. And if the court decided the recount went as it should have, and the race was still a tie?

The prevailing candidate would be determined “by lot,” Ms. Miller said. “It could be a coin toss or some other way of deciding, as long as it’s random.”

It would not be the first time an Alaska race was determined by coin toss.

In 2006, State Representative Bryce Edgmon[1], a Democrat from Dillingham, beat the incumbent, Carl Moses. Mr. Moses’s name was drawn, so he got to make the call: Heads.

The state’s elections director at the time flipped an Alaska Mint medallion — the side with a walrus being heads and the side with the state seal being tails. It landed state seal side up.

Ms. Miller would not speculate about when the recount would be complete, but said both candidates were present, along with observers and officials.

Mr. LeBon did not respond to requests for comment on Friday.

Sara Harriger, a spokeswoman for Ms. Dodge, said in a statement that during Friday’s recount, one additional vote was found for Ms. Dodge and a challenged ballot was allowed for her opponent, Mr. LeBon, which meant that the tally stood at 2,662 apiece. Still tied.

Ms. Dodge said in a statement that she believed every legally cast ballot should be counted. “I just want everyone watching this process to take away a sense of confidence in our democratic system and a commitment to cast their votes in future races,” she said, “and knowing that their votes will matter.”

Ms. Dodge had said earlier on Friday that legal action “unfortunately” seemed probable.

“It’s certainly not what any of us expect when we set out to campaign, to find ourselves in a squeaker of this nature,” she said. “I hope we don’t have a coin toss. I don’t know quite what to say, but it doesn’t feel like it’s an appropriate way to settle an election.”

In Alaska, the repercussions of this race will be felt into the next legislative session, though party control of the House in Juneau will be far from clear-cut.

Political coalitions in Juneau do not always come down to party-line votes like in other state houses. Even if Ms. Dodge wins the race, Democrats would still not have an outright majority, and so members of the House will still be tasked with negotiating a coalition majority.


  1. ^ Bryce Edgmon (

Continue Reading

More Top Stories

3 Killed After Pickup Truck Fleeing Border Patrol Hits Tire Spikes and Crashes



Spread the love

Three people in a packed pickup truck were killed on Thursday afternoon after the driver ran over tire spikes and crashed on a Southern California highway while trying to flee Border Patrol officers, the authorities said.

The officers turned on their vehicle’s emergency lights and began chasing the pickup truck on Interstate 8, near Boulevard, Calif., at around 4:20 p.m., according to the United States Customs and Border Protection. The authorities said they believed that the pickup truck had been illegally driven over the southern border and had crashed through an “iron bar vehicle barrier.” They said they identified it by matching a piece that was missing from the truck to one agents had spotted on the ground near the border, though they did not elaborate.

The pickup truck reached speeds of over 100 miles per hour, weaving between cars and bypassing others on the side of the highway, before it drove over spikes that the Border Patrol had placed on the road, the California Highway Patrol said. About a mile later, the truck spun out of control and flipped over, ejecting the nine people who were riding in the truck’s bed, the authorities said.

A woman inside the truck, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was killed, as were two people riding in the bed, the police said. Seven people who had “multiple serious injuries” were taken to the hospital, a spokesman for Customs and Border Protection said.

The driver, a United States citizen whose name was not released, was the only person wearing a seatbelt, the agency said. The California Highway Patrol took the man into custody, but it was not clear whether he had been charged. The identities of the passengers in the truck have not been released either.

“The investigation into the smuggling incident is ongoing,” the spokesman said in an email, “and the Border Patrol is fully cooperating with the CHP in their investigation of the collision.”

About an hour after the crash, the Border Patrol stopped another vehicle that officers believed had crossed over the border with the pickup truck, the agency said. The driver of that car was also arrested.

Continue Reading


Copyright © 2017 Breaking News Report