The Grand Ole Party Just Cannot Resist Tampering With Democracy; If That’s What It Takes To Win

The Republican Party is at it again, when they really do not have to be and should not be, because they think that that is the only way that they can win. Although some of my readers are likely tired of hearing me say it I must say it again. Republicans have an awful lot of talented leaders with an awful lot of good ideas on how to run America and work to assure that it will prosper.

But this talent and all of these wonderful ideas are being squandered because there are no Republican statesmen that are willing to stand up for their party even in order to save it from demise. What a shame! Politicians have always played politics but there was a time when before things got to be completely ridiculous as a result of these political games other politicians in the Party would step forward and declare that enough was enough and put a stop to the antics.

It is becoming more and more apparent that this is not the case anymore. What is happening now in the Republican Party seems to be the new normal. There seems to be a win if you can, lose if you must but do whatever it takes to try to assure that you always win mentality. It is no secret that Republican Party run legislatures in many states around the country have set up roadblocks to obstruct as many people as possible from voting who normally vote for Democrats.

Based on the fact that there are not a lot of Republicans who have pushed back against what these states have done and are continuing to do speaks volumes about what matters most to these politicians; they would rather shore up their chances of being reelected than to stand up for what is the right thing to do. It is no leap whatsoever from what these states have already done to block voters from voting to what they are now doing in their efforts to rid their Party of Donald Trump as a 2016 presidential candidate.

What are they doing to try to stop Mr. Trump? Some state Republican Parties have decided that in order for a 2016 presidential candidate to be eligible to be on that state’s ballot, that candidate will be required to sign an oath to support the 2016 Party nominee. Why are they doing this to stop Mr. Trump? It is because they are afraid that he will kill all chances that they have of winning the White House in 2016.

Maybe this would not seem so bad if the Republican Party had not been tampering with democracy for the past six to eight years because they are afraid that, without doing so, they cannot effectively compete for the office of President of the United States. Again, the sad part about this whole Republican Party fiasco is that they did not – and still do not, have to resort to these kinds of tactics in order to win. They have plenty of capable politicians with good ideas that could be workable and good for the country if brought forward and given a chance to be implemented.

Republican politicians at local, state and federal levels are responsible for not giving these ideas a chance to be debated, possibly implemented and tested to see if they would be good for America and help our country to become a more perfect union.

I am genuinely concerned that there are not more meaningful solutions and innovative ideas that are being offered up by both political parties in an effort to solve the many problems that our country is faced with. And because these solutions and ideas are not being offered up, obviously there can be no debate happening around them. There is no doubt that our elected officials need to be working on potential solutions to our country’s problems rather than fooling around with political posturing and honing their political skills.

Americans are fed up with all of the political posturing and they are angry because this is what politicians have chosen to engage in rather than taking care of America’s business. They are expressing their anger via Mr. Trump. This is why he has the staunch following and support that he currently has; he is not a politician and he is not doing the regular politician stuff.

If the Republican Party really wants to rid itself of Donald Trump and have a chance of claiming the White House in 2016 then Republican elected officials at all levels of government had better wake up. They had better step up and start offering up the genuine good ideas that they have for making America better instead of dallying with all of this nonsense like trying to figure out how to best block the vote (or candidacy) of those who do not agree with them.

The fact that congress is doing virtually nothing to address the real problems that America is faced with should be of great concern to all Americans whether they are Democrats, Republicans or Independents. Those who deny that climate change is a real issue and that how we now live our lives in this country is a major contributor to it are dangerous to this and future generations; especially if they are elected officials who collectively have the power to prevent those who want to address the problem from doing so.

Once again, I encourage all eligible voters – no matter your Party affiliation, to do whatever it takes within the boundaries of the law to get beyond all roadblocks that are set up to prevent you from voting and get registered and vote. And always remember, your vote is the most important one of all…unless you don’t use it! Hopefully, this slogan will help to encourage you as you fight your way through all challenges that you might be faced with anytime that you must overcome obstructive and unfair laws that have been implemented to prevent you from exercising your right to vote.

Your vote could be the one that decides which path that America will take. Will she take the path to mitigate the dangers that we are faced with by the warming of the earth to which we are major contributors or not? Will we fight to have equal justice under the law for all people or not? Will we address women’s rights issues in a reasonable way or will we simply allow it to be handled the same way that these same unreasonable politicians have chosen to handle voting rights and their problem with Donald Trump? Will America take the path of war, without any effort at diplomacy first; or – whenever possible, will she take the path of peace?

The problems that we are faced with in our democracy are not just a problem for people of color, women or immigrants to deal with; it is a problem for all Americans to deal with. Reverend Doctor William Barber of North Carolina was able to bring a large and diverse group of people together to address the aforementioned problems because he was able to convince them that each of those problems was not independent unto itself but they all come together to form the whole problem that we have in this democracy, which constitutes the lack of equal justice for all Americans.

We must come to realize and accept that America’s problems can be likened to the spokes in a wagon wheel. They are all like conduits that are connected to (feed into) the hub. Some spokes in a wheel can be ignored and become faulty – or even destroyed, without the wheel losing its ability to continue to function. But if spokes continue to be ignored when they become faulty or are completely lost then eventually the wheel will lose its ability to function. We must address these problems and fix them as Americans and not as individual political factions.

Decisions to questions like those mentioned previously and many other questions like them rest partially in our hands because the answers will be determined by those that we elect to represent us and how much serious thought they give to their responses to them. Let’s be sure that we do our part to put people into these positions whose first and foremost concern is to serve their country with honor. If we do that, then America will be able to meet and surmount any challenge.

Eulus Dennis

Senator Schumer As Minority Leader?

The closer that congress gets to the vote on the Iran nuclear deal the more that I find myself thinking about Senator Chuck Schumer and the power that he will hold as Senate Minority Leader. He seems to be the anointed one to succeed Senator Harry Reid; Senator Reid has even endorsed him. Not so fast. Unless there is some major political strategy (that has been discussed and agreed to between Senator Schumer and Senator Reid) going on here maybe senate Democrats should take a long, hard look at Senator Schumer before they decide whether they want to make him their official leader.

From my perspective (on the outside looking in), the Iran nuclear agreement is a big deal and for Senator Schumer to be among those Democratic Senators who will vote against it is also a big deal. Compared to the nuclear deal itself, of course, it is miniscule. But to compare it directly to the nuclear deal is not my intent. Instead, we can separate it out and move it over to the pile of congressional Democrats and Republicans who will be voting for or against the Iran nuclear deal. Then (in my humble opinion and from the outside looking in perspective) it is just as big a deal.

Not only is Senator Schumer voting against the deal but if he is calling other Senators and telling them why he is voting against the deal – although he says that he is not lobbying them to vote against it, in essence, he is. As important as this deal is and as intricate a part of the Obama Administration’s foreign policy as it is, the likely future Senate Minority Leader should not be working against the White House.

With the way that things are going, President Obama badly needs the help of every influential Democrat in congress to be working with him to assure that the Iran nuclear deal passes. He especially needs the likely future Senate Minority Leader to be in his corner. Harry Reid is there and so is House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. We all know that there have been plenty of rough roads that these two leaders have traveled with the President and that they have experienced many tough times when they disagreed with him but they have always come through in the clutch!

That is what a Democrat, whether they are the Majority Leader or Minority Leader, should do. Of course there will be times when ones principles demand that they stay the course whatever it might be. Let me be clear though, I am talking about one’s principles demanding that they stay the course and not one’s need to play politics, for whatever reason, making that demand.

Among those who are most likely to replace Senator Reid when he retires, Senator Schumer is probably the most experienced. Senator Reid obviously believes that Senator Schumer deserves the job or he would not have endorsed him. But the question is not whether or not he deserves the position; the real question is, based on the responsibilities of the Minority Leader and the strong and positive relationship that they must forge and maintain with the White House, is he equipped for it?

Based on the position that he has taken on the Iran nuclear deal there are some who think that he might not be equipped for it. Even the White House hinted that he might not be when, according to The New York Times, White House press secretary, Josh Earnest said “I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if there are individual members of the Senate Democratic caucus that will consider the voting record of those who say they would like to lead the caucus.”

Senator Schumer is a well-respected Senator who is looking forward to replacing Senator Reid when he retires. He likely will replace him. But he certainly did not do himself any favors by coming out against the Iran nuclear deal. This raises questions, and rightfully so, about whether or not he is equipped to do the job. Be careful, Senator Schumer; don’t become so overconfident that it evolves into cockiness or you might find yourself like me; on the outside looking in.

Eulus Dennis

Politicians’ Dilemma

Anymore, politicians are so involved in playing politics that they seem to have become blind, deaf and mute. They seem to have become completely blind and deaf but they are only selectively mute; they still talk plenty. They still practice demagoguery and pontificate on all things political and otherwise but they seldom have a principled conversation with American voters. They do not even talk to one another but talk passed or through each other in their endless campaign to get reelected.

It is for all of these reasons and more that they do not really see Donald Trump. Instead, they see a buffoon who they feel is too stupid to even know that by running for president he is only embarrassing himself, the Republican Party and the country. They are too busy basking in the sunshine of their own resumes and their ‘oh, look at me and how great I am’ mentality to realize that they are like the frog in a cool pot of water that is being slowly turned up. By the time that it realizes that it is going to boil to death, it is too late because it no longer has the strength to hop out of the water.

I think that Mr. Trump might be immune to insults. I think maybe that he is just sitting back and watching these politicians, evaluating their reactions to his moves, calculating their next move and then out maneuvering them. Then, I think that after he considers what the public reaction will be and runs a risk analysis – even if it is just a mental one (it would not surprise me if it is much more than just mental), he makes his next move. I think that he is loving this stuff. Can’t you just see that patented Trump smile?

Our politicians are in a quandary whether they realize it or not. As a result, Donald Trump is a real threat; and not to just Republicans. It is starting to look like he could stand a real chance of becoming the Republican nominee to become President of the United States of America. That is a scary thought. I’m afraid to even put into words that he might even stand a snowball’s chance in h – – – of becoming the President of… That is just entirely to frightening to articulate!

All of the top political pundits said that he would not last as long as the blink of an eye in the whole scheme of the presidential election process; but he has. Then when he made his infamous comment about Mexicans they again said that he would not last; but he has. And later when he followed up his comment about Mexicans by bashing Senator John McCain and his war record they said he would not last for sure; but he has. And finally, when he attacked Fox News’ Megyn Kelly and all of the other Republican presidential candidates piled on and criticized him for it they thought, really for sure he is gone this time; but he is still in the race.

Not only is he still in the race but he is still at the top of the polls. He is capitalizing on all of the frustration and anger of the American voters at Washington politician for ignoring us for so long while cozying up to big money and other special interest groups. Yet even with all that is going on around them these politicians remain so hell-bent on playing by the political rules that they have become so accustomed to that they are unable to recognize the potential disaster that looms for both Parties; Donald Trump has the potential to actually become…

Perhaps he would not be any worse than any of them but the same as them only in a different way. Whereas they would continue to play politics and ignore us, continue to cater to big money and other special interest groups; Mr. Trump would likely listen to us – and if he did not like what we were saying, belittle us and call us a bunch of losers then do whatever he wanted to do anyway, the results would be the same. We would still be ignored and our collective voice as voters would remain without meaning until we implement effective election reform and make sure that we exercise our right to vote. Then when we vote, we could make them hear our voice instead of just those voices of big money and special interest groups.

In the meantime, Donald Trump marches on. According to an article in the Associated Press by Ken Thomas and Catherine Lucey, Mr. Trump showed up at the Iowa State Fair in his helicopter while Hillary Clinton was being followed by a large crowd seeking to “get a photograph, a handshake or a quick hello.” While they were following her, Mr. Trump’s helicopter circled overhead. According to the article one man shouted, “There’s Trump!” His helicopter landed and he offered free rides to children before taking questions from reporters and working the crowd, the article said. Quite the showman, huh?

If Washington politicians do not wake up, shape up and straighten up and fly right, who knows, there just might be a big ‘T’ on the White House after the 2016 elections: scary thought, isn’t it?

Eulus Dennis

Senator Schumer Sides With Congressional Republicans On Iran Deal

New York Democrat Charles Schumer, the Democrat who is in line to replace Harry Reid as U.S. Senate Minority Leader, announced recently that he would vote against the Iran nuclear deal. He also said that he would be encouraging other congressional Democrats to do so as well.

In the meantime President Obama has stated repeatedly that the Republicans strong opposition to the Iran deal is based on politics and not on merit. Knowing what I know about how the Republicans have opposed the president on almost everything that he has supported, including many proposals that they also supported until he put his support behind them, I agree with President Obama’s assessment. Republican leaders have long made it clear as to what their main goal is concerning President Obama.

Not only did they want to make him a one-term president but it appears that since that did not work, they are still determined to ruin – if not completely destroy his legacy. Having said that, I want to return to my thoughts about Senator Schumer and his decision to vote against the Iran nuclear deal.

I have consistently stated that we need to have political leaders in place who will not constantly pander to voters but who will use all of the information available to them to make decisions that are in our best interest and in the overall best interest of America. As informed American voters we know that many times they are privy to information, which we are not privy to. When they make decisions that are more controversial than usual that some of us disagree with we expect them to explain why they decided as they did.

Sometimes their explanations will assuage our anger and sometimes they will not. We will use that information, as we should, come the next election cycle to decide whether or not we should still place our confidence in them to represent us in elected office. Because we live in a democracy, the majority of the electorate – not having been in any way obstructed or prevented from voting, should determine whether that person will be returned to office or if they will be replaced by someone else.

Senator Schumer stated that he reviewed this deal thoroughly before he arrived at his decision to vote against it. I am not aware of any meaningful blemishes on his record that indicate that he has not served with integrity and honor so there is no reason to believe that that is not the case now and that there is some hidden motive involved.

Where I have a problem with Senator Schumer is that he not only announced that he would vote against the Iran nuclear deal but he would encourage other congressional Democrats to vote against it as well. This might be okay if he were not all but the heir apparent to be the Senate Minority Leader when Senator Harry Reid retires.

I would not agree with what he did even if this was not the case. But this is one of those times like I mentioned previously in this article where he may need to explain to his constituents why he made the decision that he made. They will then be able to decide if they are satisfied with his rational. He will likely also need to explain his decision to the rest of America if he wants to help assure, to the greatest extent possible, that he will replace Senator Reid when he retires.

He needs to do this because his fellow senators will be the ones to decide if he will indeed replace Senator Reid as Minority Leader and many of their constituents have signed a petition that questions whether Senator Schumer is ‘fit’ to hold that position. No matter how these senators personally feel about Senator Schumer, they are still politicians and they will likely do what politicians do.

I applaud Senator Schumer for his willingness to stand up and do what he believes to be right. Now, however, he must accept the consequences of his decision and that includes what ultimately could prove to be a tougher road that leads to him becoming the Senate Minority Leader. I just happen to be among those who disagree with him on the Iran deal. And I hope that if he does become Minority Leader he won’t prove to be an easy target for shrewd Republican leaders like Senator Mitch McConnell.

Ah, I’m probably wasting my time thinking about stuff like that. It is more likely that should Senator Schumer become Minority Leader, he can ‘get a drink with Senator McConnell’ and they will be able to work all things – current and future, out equitably. However, in light of the current relationship that Senator Schumer has with the White House I am not positive that he will be the next Senate Minority Leader. Instead, it seems that with all of the praise that he is receiving from congressional Republicans right now, he might stand a better chance of becoming the next Republican Senate Majority Leader.

Eulus Dennis

2016 Republican Field First Debate

I watched the Fox News folks moderate the first debate of the Republican field of presidential candidates for president in the 2016 election. I must admit that I did not watch the candidates who were relegated to the non-primetime spot although I had intended to watch them. Unfortunately, I had to run to Walmart and pick up a few things that I knew my wife would soon be pressing me to pick up and when I returned, I had to take my get-in-shape-and-stay-in-shape walk. When I got back home from my walk, the pre-primetime debate that Fox had relegated those who did not make the top 10 to had just ended. But I did watch the primetime big 10 as they went at it.

Actually, and this is probably just me because I do not normally watch Fox to get my news – let alone my political information, I found the debate decorum to be kind of weird. First of all, the seriousness of the atmosphere and moderators seemed more like that of entertainers than that of serious journalist who were probing candidates to help American voters determine which of them might make the best candidate to be the next President of the United States of America. Second, the longer that I watched the more that this debate seemed like some sort of a strange vetting process or cat-and-mouse game to somehow tame Donald Trump and bring him under the Republican Party’s control. And third, I felt that just below the surface of the debate there was a sub-plot – somewhat similar to what the entertainment world might call a catfight, between Megyn Kelly and Mr. Trump (I am not sure that the entertainment world allows for a guy to be a participant in a catfight but if they do, this is what seemed to be occurring between Ms. Kelly and Mr. Trump). It was entertaining.

The problem for me as a political junkie is that I was not looking for entertainment but for some real political facts from each of these candidates about how they view moving America forward in a very dangerous environment. An environment where we are not only bombarded by domestic problems but where our foreign policy is extremely important because of the possibility of a nuclear Iran and ISIS and their expanding ability to use the Internet to bring their deadly war to America.

Then after the debate while I was surfing the various cable news channels to hear what various commentators and pundits were saying about it, I flipped to Megyn Kelly’s show and found Charles Krauthammer telling Ms. Kelly what a great job she and her coworkers had done in how they handled the debate. He talked about how sharp, precise and focused their questions were and how they had managed the time and kept the candidates from speaking beyond their allotted amount of time. In essence, he said that they were perfect. Well now I know that there was at least one person who felt differently and just the opposite of me.

The bottom line is that a lot of American voters likely watched these debates and began to form an opinion on who they think would either be the best nominee for the Republican Party and hopefully the next President of the United States of America or, if you are a Democrat, who will be the likely Republican nominee and likely be the most formidable candidate to face the Democratic nominee and how to best go about defeating that person.

I will continue to follow the Republican primary debates but, personally, I hope that the remainder of those that are hosted by Fox will be more substantive. I hope that they will be focused more on the issues that are currently in the forefront in America. For instance, in the debate that I watched there was only one question on policing and no questions about the Voting Rights Act in particular or Civil Rights – other than the NSA’s questionable information gathering, in general. For the record, the question about policing was a softball question and the moderator did not press for any additional detail from the respondent.

Should you compare my opinion of the debate to those of Mr. Krauthammer you will obviously find that we are on completely different ends of the spectrum when it comes to the debate and the value of its content. Despite our difference of opinion, it is apparent that both of us watched the debate. I have said before and will continue to emphasize that all Americans, especially those of voting age, should follow politics and familiarize themselves with the voting record of our politicians so that we will be informed voters. It matters not whether we are Democrat, Republican or Independent or whether or not – in the case of this 2016 presidential election, we agree on who should be our next president.

What matters is that we exercise our right to vote. Although I constantly fret about how people of color are being treated by those who would deny us the right to vote, whether it is out of fear or for some other reason, I know that I must be willing to listen to the voice of those people. If we are not willing to listen, there can be no discourse. And if there is no discourse, we cannot expose the true reasons for our differences of opinion, mitigate them, and resolve our problems; kind of like me and Charles Krauthammer. What’s wrong with that guy? We need to talk.

Eulus Dennis

Chief Justice John Roberts’ Voting Rights Decision

When U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts made his decision in June 2013 to declare Section 4 (b) of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional it was either a gut wrenching decision or a time for him to celebrate having finally achieved a goal that he had been chasing ever since he graduated from Harvard. By siding with those who were in favor of declaring Section 4 (b) unconstitutional, in a 5-4 decision – quite reminiscent of the Bush v. Gore decision in 2000 that made Bush 43 President of the United States of America; he rendered the Voting Rights Act virtually powerless.

Was his decision to all but destroy this piece of legislation that the U.S. Department of Justice “considered to be the most effective piece of civil rights legislation ever enacted in the country” a gut wrenching decision? Was it something that kept him awake at night as he contemplated the devastating impact that it would have on all of those who would be hurt by it if his decision was wrong or was it something that was more closely related to what Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg suggested this Voting Rights decision was in her dissent statement?

According to the New York Times, in her dissent statement Justice Ginsberg, in referring to a case in Alabama that disparaged black people said; “These conversations occurred not in the 1870s or even the 1960s – they took place in 2010. ” ‘Hubris’ is a fit word for today’s demolition of the [Voting Rights Act] V.R.A.” No one really knows whether it was a gut wrenching decision or a time of celebration for Chief Justice Roberts except Chief Justice Roberts. Why don’t you read A Dream Undone then decide for yourself which of the two you think that it was?

Even if ultimately it turns out that his decision is more closely associated with the statement that Justice Ginsberg made in her dissent statement than it does to having been a gut wrenching decision, that does not make Chief Justice Roberts a terrible person. It simply means that politics and politicians impact upon all of us including U.S. Supreme Court Justices.

Sometimes I find myself thinking, wow, wouldn’t it be great to get the appointment of U.S. Supreme Court Justices out of the hands of presidents who always seek to put Justices into place who will support them and their decisions rather than seeking out judges who will simply interpret the law and apply it based on those interpretations? Then I think, but what would we replace that system with? Would it work? If it did work, would it prove to be better or worse? And then when I can’t come up with a better system, I settle down and accept the status quo.

Besides, if I decided that we should just dump the system anyway for something much better while not having any real idea of how to create that ‘something much better’, it would make me like all of those Republican lawmakers who want to repeal Obamacare. Sorry, Republicans, I just could not resist the ‘gotcha’ opportunity. But sometimes when I think about politics and politicians I can’t help but to wonder why we as voters allowed things to deteriorate to this point. I know how it happened; we failed to fulfill our civic responsibilities, which includes voting. But why did we become so complacent that we allowed it to happen? Why did we ignore the fact that many of those that we elected were progressively becoming more corrupt?

Although I have tried many times to resolve within myself why I repeatedly find myself lamenting the fact that there are actually elected officials who claim to love America and our way of life and yet work to prevent American citizens from voting simply based on politics and to enhance their prospect of keeping their job, I still have not arrived at a definitive answer. I know that these officials are politicians – and I know how politicians operate yet something inside of me keeps insisting that this cannot actually be the case even though I am witnessing it with my own eyes. I keep struggling to accept the fact that anyone who loves our country and have sworn to protect it would work to prevent American citizens from voting simply based on politics and to enhance their prospect of keeping their job.

Perhaps there are many others who are struggling with problems similar to mine when it comes to politics; they just cannot bring themselves to believe that these politicians whom many of us hold in such high esteem would ever let us down. The bottom line is that we can avoid putting our Supreme Court Justices in the position of having to make these 5-4 decisions by electing people to office whose primary concern is to serve our country with honor. And if the occasion should arise when a decision like the Voting Rights Act decision or any other decision is made that is questionable and requires congress to work together to get it right, they will be able to work together in a healthy bipartisan environment and do so.


Eulus Dennis