Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Last Call For Battling Back In Bevinstan

There was some good news in Kentucky last night, with Gov. Matt Bevin scheduling special elections to replace four general assembly seats, two Republicans and two Democrats.  With House SPeaker Greg Stumbo and the Democrats having a 2-seat lead in the General Assembly, Bevin was hoping to force a 50-50 tie and throw the Assembly into chaos.

Instead, Democrats won three of the four seats.

The House will have 53 Democrats and 47 Republicans through the fall elections. It is the final state legislative chamber in the South to remain in Democratic control, and it is the last bastion of Democratic Party power in Kentucky, which otherwise has been trending Republican in state and federal elections.

Democrats won elections in Western Kentucky’s 8th District (Jeffrey R. Taylor of Hopkinsville), Central Kentucky’s 62nd District (Chuck Tackett of Georgetown) and northeastern Kentucky’s 98th District (Lew Nicholls of Greenup). The sole Republican won race in Central Kentucky’s 54th District (Daniel B. Elliott of Danville).

Two of the House seats were held previously by Republicans who won election to statewide office in November. The two others were held by Democrats who resigned to accept state posts from Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican.

Tackett, a farmer, won the night’s most exciting race by picking up a seat for the Democrats that had been held by Republican Ryan Quarles, who was elected state agriculture commissioner last November. A Republican group, the Kentucky Opportunity Coalition, ran radio and television ads attacking Tackett as “a government insider” because he once served on Scott County Fiscal Court.

“I stayed myself,” Tackett said Tuesday night after he was declared the winner. “I did not try to be somebody I was not. And I stayed positive. I don’t see any point in going negative.”

Tackett said he was not ready to take a position on the state budget, where Bevin wants deep cuts to higher education and other services to find money for the ailing state pension systems. But Tackett’s time on the campaign trail introduced him to Central Kentuckians who need help, including “one young lady with $28,000 in college debt,” he said.

Taylor, the only black candidate in Tuesday’s elections, won with support from Democratic President Barack Obama, who made automated calls to voters in the district on Taylor’s behalf.

Now this makes me very, very proud.  Hopkinsville is out west near Interstate 24 and the Tennessee border with Clarksville.  President Obama helped a black candidate there win in my state.  I cannot tell you what that means to me up here in NOBAMA country.

For now, the last bastion in Bevinstan holds.

Read more here:

Like A Kansas Tornado, Con't

Time to check in with Kansas again and GOP Gov. Sam Brownback, currently still involved with attempting to fully convert the state into a Laboratory of Democracy(tm) complete with actual lab accidents.  We've previously noted that the one thing keeping the state from completely collapsing has been the Kansas Supreme Court, ruling that the state's draconian austerity measures violate parts of the state's constitution when it comes to providing for the state's common good, crazy socialist things like "schools" and "roads" and whatnot.

You'd think Kansas Republicans would at least be willing to play along.

You'd be wrong.

Republican lawmakers in Kansas, weary of conflicts with a judiciary that has been pushing for more school spending, are beginning to act on a measure to expand the legal grounds for impeaching judges
The move is part of an intensified effort in red states to reshape courts still dominated by moderate judges from earlier administrations. 
A committee in the GOP-controlled Senate plans to vote Tuesday on a bill that would make "attempting to usurp the power" of the Legislature or the executive branch grounds for impeachment.

Impeachment has "been a little-used tool" to challenge judges who strike down new legislation, said Republican Sen. Dennis Pyle, a sponsor of the measure. "Maybe it needs to be oiled up a little bit or sharpened a little bit." 
The proposal has considerable support in a Legislature in which Republicans outnumber Democrats more than 3 to 1. Nearly half the Senate's members have signed on as sponsors. It's unclear whether its novelty could complicate passage. 
The serious consideration of the measure, though, signals the exceedingly bitter political climate in the state.

You don't say.  Here's the real issue:

Four of Kansas' seven Supreme Court justices were appointed by Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who served from 2003 to 2009, and two by her predecessor, Bill Graves, a moderate Republican. Only one was appointed by Brownback. 
Replacing the justices through elections is difficult in Kansas because they don't run in contested races. Instead, they face a "retention election" every six years, remaining in office unless more than 50 percent of voters vote against them. No justice has ever been voted out. 
Conservative groups are expected to mount a major effort to vote out four of the Supreme Court justices on the ballot this fall. But critical lawmakers also hope to make impeachment a tool. 
Currently, the state constitution allows impeachment only for treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors. No public official has been impeached since 1934.

Time to eliminate the state's Democratic appointees on the Supreme Court, and Democrats in the state, period.  They have to go, one way or another, in order to pave the way for the single-party Republican utopia that awaits America.

Won't that be fun?

Berned Up From Battle Creek To Bay City

Bernie Sanders edged out Hillary Clinton last night in Michigan, and yet again all the polls and conventional wisdom and pundits were absolutely wrong about the race. So how did Bernie win a race he was 20 points behind in?  The exit polls show the way.

Here's the big one:  The youth vote (21%) outnumbered the senior vote (20%) for the first time in a Dem primary, and Bernie also won the Gen X vote.  The college kids showed up big time for Sanders.

The second big factor is that Bernie did a lot better among non-white voters than he has been here, especially among Michigan's Arab-American communities in cities like Dearborn and Hamtramck.  He also got 30% of the black vote. while winning the white vote by 16 points.

Finally the third factor:

Michigan's open primary paid off for Sanders, as more than a quarter of the vote came from independents, and Bernie won that group nearly 3-to-1.  A closed primary would have been a far better result for Hillary Clinton.

So what does this mean going forward?  Sanders did what he needed to in Michigan, gaining nine delegates on Clinton there.  But considering Clinton completely obliterated Sanders in Mississippi by more than 60 points, he lost all those and then some.  Despite Sanders getting a badly needed and impressive win last night, Clinton ended up increasing her total delegate lead by 16, and Sanders simply cannot win at this point unless every state is like Michigan, and he wins those states by bigger margins than two percent.

Sanders won this battle, certainly.  He's still losing the war, and lost ground last night.  Clinton can afford to lose proportional states and split the remaining states.  Sanders needs a chain of blowouts, especially in big states like Ohio, Florida and Illinois next Tuesday.

He's not going to get them.


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