Senate Battleground: Make Bernie The Big Boss of The Lawmakers
A few weeks ago I wrote two articles about the Congressional seats up for grabs come November and who to vote for, stump for, Facederbate for, rant for, contribute to. Now we’re on to the Senate battleground rundown.
There are 34 seats up for re-election. Of those, 24 are Republican and to take control the Democrats only need to pick up 5 seats. Conveniently enough, there are 8 battlegrounds and 5 of those are held by first-term Republicans.
What would a Democratic Senate mean? Well, among other great benefits to the future of progressivism and on top of dealing the final death blow to retrogressivist knee-jerk conservatism, this could mean a Senate with Bernie Sanders as Speaker. What better way for him to make sure Hillary keeps her promises to his Berners than from the 2nd-most-powerful position in American politics? After their joint announcement on colleges the other day, you best know he’ll be keeping his talons in her.
So what are those battlegrounds?
SENATE BATTLEGROUND 1: FLORIDA
Marco Rubio flip-flopped on everything he once held dear and still is arguably most responsible for Trump’s ascendancy to the top of the GOP, especially if we accept GOP doctrine wherin a man’s failure is his own fault, owing only to a lack of strength and discipline. Let’s get that guy out of there, put him in a corner with the dunce cap to think about what he did wrong.
The Democratic candidate is PATRICK MURPHY (the Libertarian candidate is Paul Stanton but let’s be honest, the Libertarians are just Republicans who smoke pot and have a greater love of big business). Patrick Murphy is leaving his Congress seat for this great battle. While Murphy is considered more of a moderate, he was willing to leave the party line for things like voting against the TPA, for stronger screening of Iraqi and Syrian refugees and for domestic monitoring. On the other hand, he voted against abortion restrictions and for or against economic bills basically in line with the Democrats. He also declined to accept his salary during the government shutdown.
SENATE BATTLEGROUND 2: ILLINOIS
Republican Mark Kirk is the incumbent in a state known to go left during presidential election years. The Democratic challenger is a beast, too.
TAMMY DUCKWORTH has been endorsed by no fewer than EMILY’s List (calling her a champion of Illinois’ middle class), Sen. Dick Durbin, Hillary Clinton, the Illinois AFL-CIO and the Illinois SEIU. While she was born in Thailand, her father served in WWII, she had some ancestors in the American Revolution, and as such she joined ROTC. She chose to fly choppers in combat and was hit by a RPG in Iraq; she survived after having both her legs amputated. Of course she’s dedicated to our veterans and our disabled; of course she’s dedicated to the middle class and of course she’s gritty as shit. She served under Gov. Rod Blagojevich and in 2009 was nominated to the Assistant Secretary of Public and Intergovernmental affairs for the VA. She resigned in 2011 to become the first disabled woman to be named to the US Congress. She also gave her money back in accordance with other government workers furloughed in 2013.
Kirk may be a military man with a distinguished history on the battlefield, as early as 2005 he wanted to stop Muslims from coming to America. On the other hand, he is a good enough centrist that it would be better if we could trade him for somebody like Ted “I Go Back On My One Noble Statement” Cruz but on the other hand should we get a Democratic majority in Congress and Hillary in the White House, the pressure to be a party-line Elephant will be unbreable in the Senate.
SENATE BATTLEGROUND 3: INDIANA
Incumbent Republican Todd Young had expected his re-election to be a breeze before his competition dropped out of the race to allow well-liked former-Senator-and-Governor EVAN BAYH to ride in with his bazooka of a resume.
Bayh originally left Congress because he couldn’t stand the bipartisan bickering and the Washington establishment’s emphasis on political posturing over actually getting results. Todd Young came to the Senate a few years ago and wants to end Obamacare, gut the EPA, gut corporate regulations and Medicare/Medicaid/Welfare. He also want to end abortion because he care about life but at the samne time wants to fight for the 2nd Amendment (because that’s in jeopardy?) because he believes… in… death?
Bayh wants to fight for entitlement programs while also supporting helping small and family farms (not the Big Ag that the GOP’s programs benefit) etc… He won’t be pushing the party leftward but compared to uber-Con Young he’s Bernie II.
SENATE BATTLEGROUND 4: NEVADA
Nevada needs to be on the lips of every American liberal, one of those Western states undergoing an identity crisis pitting its past against its present. Most city-dwellers know Nevada as the home to Las Vegas and Reno, part of Lake Tahoe, home to expansive public lands and a hippie/debaucherist’s paradise. Its liberal movement was epitomized by its longtime senator, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. When Reid announced his retirement he opened a vacuum in a state with a futre that could be helped by liberalism but whose past, based in extraction and rural enterprise, is best represented by the Bundy Gang.
As such, Republican Joe Heck will be squaring off against Democrat CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO to fill in the void. Joe Heck is a Congressman looking to make the power move across the hall to the Senate. His history of championing such things as the Defense of Marriage Act (definining marriage as between 1 man and 1 woman) and fighting such things as EPA regulations shows what he’s done. He plans to bump up military spending and overturn Obamacare, fight to take public lands back from the US Government to then turn them into fossil fuel mines and of course he’s a crusader for the NRA Amendment.
Masto has been endorsed by Harry Reid and her positions are about as stark a contrast to Heck’s as they can be: she supports families and the middle class (both of which Heck didn’t even think were important to mention; and his only talk on health care was a rejection of the ACA while Masto came up[ with a specific plan for women’s health). She wants to keep public lands public while exploring solar, wind and other non-fossil-fuel-based energies. And she wants a path to citizenship. This is a HUGE race and deserves national attention.
SENATE BATTLEGROUND 5: NEW HAMPSHIRE
This is one of those strange states whose alignment with liberal values such as equality, limits on destruction of the natural world and respect for families is only matched by conservative values such as limiting government and loving guns. Their senate incumbent is republican Kelly Ayotte. And she faces a big challenge from governor MAGGIE HASSAN.
Of course Ayotte voted against fixing gun check loopholes and against such tree-hugging bills as the Energy Modernization Act while co-sponsoring bills like the “Conscience Protection Act” that allows healthcare providers to not cover abortions. Hassan, meanwhile, has a track record of fighting to help the poor (and plans to keep building on their successful Medicaid expansion), champions LGBTQ rights, and is pushing for improvements to our crumbling infrastructure as well as to preserve our lands and support renewable energies.
And Hassan has made sure to mention New Hampshire’s bipartisan success. Kelly Ayotte, meanwhile, has said she’s going to vote for Trump despite her reluctance to endorse him because of his abysmal showing in her state.
SENATE BATTLEGROUND 6: NORTH CAROLINA
Republican incumbent Richard Burr will be facing a libertarian named Sean Haugh and Democrat DEBORAH ROSS for his NC seat.
Richard Burr has taken such brave stances as voting nay on a bill that would prevent arms from going to people on the terrorist list while voting yay on the Same Sex Marriage Resolution which would prevent individual states from giving benefits to people in a marriage between anybody except a man and a woman. Which is to be expected in a state whose governor became the face of anti-transgender bigotry by preventing people from using gender-identity bathrooms on the grounds that he wants his imaginary child predators required to molest children of their own gender.
Of course the fact that The Boss canceled his NC show and that other high-profile events are being pulled, costing the state tons of money and hurting the citizens, has rendered such atavistic stances unpopular. Enter Deborah Ross. Ross is supporting clean energy and investments in education, affordable health care and cut special interests out of economic decisions. But the biggest wedge is of course being driven by her desire to repeal HB2 citing its devastating effects on things such as the struggling Wilmington film industry and companies such as PayPal pulling their new HQ. A vote for Ross is a vote against bigotry and for entering the 21st century.
SENATE BATTLEGROUND 7: PENNSYLVANIA
Pat Toomey has been Pennsylvania’s Republican incumbent since 2011. And Dem KATIE MCGINTY will be taking him on.
Who is Pat Toomey? A man who is doubling down on our current system of law enforcement and he wants to adopt austerity. He sponsored the bill to keep religiously affiliated companies from not being able discriminate based on gender or sexual orientation. Voted to keep Gitmo open and to allow detainment of US citizens and plenty of other tough rightwing deals such as trying to destroy Planned Parenthood.
Katie McGinty wants gun safety, is standing up for women’s and LGBT rights, for affordable healthcare and making education a right, not a privilege.
McGinty is the hero of the middle class and all those who will be hurt by the white straight male policies of the GOP.
SENATE BATTLEGROUND 8: WISCONSIN
It makes sense that this list will end here. Wisconsin is a strange place, with a liberal contingent and yet a Republican governor who has done everything to fight unions, the poor and health care reform.
So Ron Johnson, republican incumbent, will be challenged by RUSS FEINGOLD. Feingold is about making college affordable, about closing special interest loopholes, about women’s rights, and, hell, in his previous time in the senate (from 1993-2011) Feingold was a liberal progressive champion. He was also the only senator to vote against the Patriot Act.
For a state that so authoritatively voted for Bernie but then let a knee-jerk retrogressivist judge be named to their Supreme court, this is a chance for redemption. This is a chance to turn the Senate left and then push for Bernie to be named to the top of the top, the head of the per capita most powerful collection of men and women in the world.
So get out those signs, get in those phone banks, reach out to any friends you have in these 8 states and let the retrogressivists know that America is heading forward, not rolling back.