Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Trump vs Clinton

After yesterday's Northeast states primaries, it is becoming more and more likely that the next President of the United States, will be either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.  For some, these choices are painful.  Both score high in negative impressions by the electorate, higher than most recent candidates for president, winners as well as losers. 

Trump is perceived by some as a bully of the highest order, chauvinistic and narcissistic, with an ability to identify the basest fears and prejudices of the voters and play upon those fears without apology or shame.

Clinton is the penultimate politician and opportunist, parlaying her marriage to an infamous albeit popular president into a lifetime of employment in the public sector. 

While this will be a momentous decision, effecting the course of the United States for the foreseeable future, it masks the importance of whom we elect to serve in Congress.

There is very little chance that the GOP majority in the House will change in the fall.  Worse, this majority includes a powerful minority of representatives that lean extremely right.  This minority will continue to hold this chamber hostage, blocking every compromise that might become law unless more Dems are elected and can join with the moderate GOP reps to work together to govern.  If we continue to allow this half of Congress to be populated by people whose only goal is to eliminate the federal protections in place that keep our air and water clean, and protect the rights of minorities and women, while allowing the continued misguided interpretation of the 2nd Amendment to swamp America with guns and the violence that follows, and failing to properly check employer abuse of workers through non living wages, and reduced benefits, America will continue to see a stalemate in  Washington.  This body has voted time and against income and marriage equality, to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and to limit the powers of the EPA and other environmental agencies to reign in those businesses who pollute our planet.  We need to send a message, just as clear as that which will elect the new president, that we expect the House to compromise when necessary to govern America, not merely say NO.

Just as essential, we need to take a hard look at the Senate, currently consisting of 54 GOP, 45 DEM and one Independent.  (No, not Bernie since he changed parties to run as the Democratic nominee).  Thirty four seats are to be determined in November, of which 24 are held by Republicans, a result of the 2010 midterm backlash against Obama's 2008 election.  Of these 34, depending on whose analysis you read, 20 of the seats are "secure", meaning little chance of a change of party.  This leaves 14 seats that might see a switch in party and twelve of those are currently held by the GOP.  Simple math says that a net gain of  4 seats (assuming the independent leans democratic as is usual) will result in a 50-50 split, and if Clinton wins, a Democratic controlled Senate since the
vice-president breaks ties.  A net gain of 5 seats means in won't matter who wins the White House, the Senate will lean left. 

Since many political pundits consider 5 seats a toss up (4 currently GOP), and two of the GOP  seats leaning left, a return to a Dem controlled Senate is not only possible but critical, especially if we remember that Trump is not accustomed to losing.  While I would expect that Clinton might have a chance to work with a GOP controlled Congress, especially if she wins by double digit percentage points, Trump's decisions as to which crazy proposals which emanate from a GOP dominated Congress he agrees to, makes me wince, not to mention his own wacky ideas in regards to Mexicans and Muslims which the right leaning immigration phobic members of the House will love to enact.

Trump vs Clinton.  Who would have thunk it.  Just remember, when you enter the voting booth in November, you are also voting for the body that is charged with enacting our laws, in addition to our next president.  Do your research so that the eventual winner will have the best people to work with, those most interested in governing America, and representing all Americans.     

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