Twenty-First Century Progressives


Twenty-First Century Progressives

The election of 2018 produced a momentous surge of progressive candidates elected to the House of Representative.  A blue wave changed the People’s House from being controlled by extreme conservatives to progressives.  The pendulum that represents the U.S. Electorate has 40% on the extreme right and 60% ranging from center to left of center.  The pendulum’s movement to the left demonstrates the desire to move forward into the 21st Century.

Though some try to portray progressives as extremists, Republican and Democratic legislators have responded to progressive populism under the leadership of presidents of both parties.  In her latest book Leadership In Turbulent Times, Doris Kearns Goodwin deals with   presidents of past centuries who reformed our institutions and moved the United States forward during crucial times. Goodwin describes the leadership style of four progressive presidents.

Abe Pensive
Transitional Leadership

In the nineteenth century, transitional leadership was demonstrated by Republican Abraham Lincoln early in his political career. According to Goodwin, he, “…had already developed a conception of leadership based upon shared understanding of his followers’ need for liberty, equality, and opportunity.”  President Lincoln responded to the abolitionist movement and gained the passage of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments to emancipate and extend civil rights to former slaves, taking steps forward to A MORE PERFECT UNION.

thumbnail-5Crisis Management

At the beginning of the twentieth century Republican President Theodore Roosevelt was sworn into office at the death of President William McKinley, a conservative Republican.  Roosevelt inherited several problems: panic in the Stock Market, rise of gigantic Trusts that stifled competition, political corruption, an increased gap between rich and poor, need to protect workers’ rights, the Great Strike of 1902, urbanization and the growth of urban slums.  Early twentieth century Progressive reformers protested against injustice and the dangers of unchecked capitalism.   President Roosevelt adopted Progressive principles. His Square Deal called for national regulation of corporate entities, financial institutions, and checks against the negative impact of extreme capitalism.

thumbnail-4Turnaround Leadership

Democratic President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was sworn into office in the midst of the Great Depression of 1933. Which was caused by policies of both parties that unfettered capitalism. Doris Goodwin states, “Conservatives failed to remedy the downward spiral of the economy.  American industry was paralyzed. Following three years of precipitous decline the vital organs of the financial system, the nations bank,s were shutting down.  The downfall impacted agrarian and industrial America.” At that point F.D.R followed in the footsteps of his cousin Theodore and took bold action. Franklin proposed a Progressive agenda of “RELIEF, RECOVERY, REFORM”, a New Deal to turnaround our Nation.  New Deal programs were enacted by a Democratic Congress: public projects, financial regulation, relief to farmers, the unemployed, elderly, etc.  Federal insurance programs were implemented, in the finance area (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) and in the social  area (Social Security and Unemployment insurance).  These programs are not based on entitlement, they are insurance provided by the Federal Government with the employer and employee also paying into the programs.  The ideology behind FDR’s programs was “demand economics”, the belief that capitalism needed consumers with buying power and workers that would contribute to the tax base, a bottom up regulated economy which combined social and capital programs.  Roosevelt’s New Deal set the model for progressive legislation through the twentieth century.

thumbnail-2Visionary Leadership

Visionary leadership of Lyndon B. Johnson was in the area of social justice, civil rights and social programs. Goodwin writes, “Everyone agreed that Lyndon Johnson was a master mechanic of the legislative process.  What became apparent from the first hour of his presidency, however, was that he meant to use these unparalleled skills in the service of a full-blown vision of the role government should play in the lives of the people”.  On his first evening as President after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Johnson asked three of his advisers, Jack Valenti, Cliff Carter and Bill Moyers, to watch television coverage.  “In the early morning hours, Valenti recalled, ‘the new president began to ruminate aloud about his plans, his objectives, the great goals he was bound to attain.  In his mind’s eye he could already envision a future in which all of Kennedy’s progressive legislation, then deadlocked in Congress had become law. ‘I’m going to get Kennedy’s tax cut out of the Senate Finance Committee, and we’re going to get this economy humming again. Then I’m going to pass Kennedy’s civil rights bill, which has been hung up too long in the Congress. And I’m going to pass it without changing a single comma or word.  After that we’ll pass legislation that allows everyone anywhere in the country to vote, with all the barriers down.  And that’s not all.  We’re going to get a law that says every boy and girl in this country, no matter how poor, or their skin, or region they come from, is going to get all the education they can take by loan scholarship or grant, right from the federal government.  And I aim to pass Harry Truman’s medical insurance bill, Medicare.’”  Most of his ‘Great Society” agenda came to fruition which created a giant leap forward for WE THE PEOPLE.

Solid South Democrats that had begun to splinter into the Dixiecrat Party would switch to the Republican Party. President Johnson, a Texas Democrat, realized that enacting President Kennedy’s proposed civil rights legislation would cede the South to Republican control.  President Johnson made a moral choice, not a political choice.  During the remainder of the twentieth century, there were centrists to the right or left with the ability to compromise and legislate. Toward the end of the twentieth century, into the twenty-first century conservatives under the banner of fiscal responsibility had a mission to undo Progressive reforms by asserting states-rights and privatizing government institutions.

Throughout the centuries the American people have benefited from progressive programs that Conservatives have consistently mislabeled as Socialism.


In the first twenty years of the Twenty-First Century, Republicans have failed to garner the popular vote in two of three Presidential elections. The Supreme Court, with a Republican majority, determined the 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore.  In 2008 and 2012 Barack Obama won the popular vote and electoral college.  The “perfect storm” of 2016 caused the election of Donald Trump who has never held the approval of the majority of Americans.

When President Obama took office he followed in the footstep of past progressive presidents and used all the leadership styles presented in Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book to deal with the severe Recession of 2008.  A progressive agenda was proposed by Obama and passed by Congress.  Obama’s accomplishments during his eight years in office are:

  • Rescued country from Great Recession and cut unemployment from 10% to 40%
  • Signed the Affordable Care which provided health care to 20 million uninsured.
  • Ended the War in Iraq which he had voted against as a Senator
  • Ordered the capture and killing of Osama Bin Laden
  • Signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
  • Supported LGBT campaign for marriage equality
  • Saved the U.S. Auto industry
  • Helped put the U.S. on track for energy independence by he year 2020
  • Signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Act to regulate the financial sector
  • Signed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Dreamers)
  • Reversed Bush-era torture policies
  • Began process of normalizing relations with Cuba
  • Increased Department of Veteran Affairs funding
  • Signed the Credit Card Accountability and Disclosure Act
  • Repealed the military “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy
  • Signed the Hate Crimes Prevention Act
  • Helped negotiate the landmark Iran Nuclear Deal
  • Signed the Lilly Ledbetter Act to combat pay discrimination against women
  • Nominated Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, making her the first Hispanic to serve on the Supreme Court
  • Supported veterans through a $78 billion tuition assistance GI bill
  • Won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 “for his extraordinary effort to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between people”

Attempts to block and reverse progressive reforms predated Trump’s presidency.  When extreme Conservatives had complete control of Congress prior to 2018, they opposed and attempted to reverse twentieth and twenty-first century progress when Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Leader Mitch McConnell ran roughshod over established legislative precedence.  Most egregious was Mitch McConnell’s refusal to hold a hearing and vote for President Obama’s Supreme Court appointee Merrick Garland.

Through the twentieth century progressive reforms  supported working people and provided security under a regulated economy which combined social programs and capitalism.  Civil Rights legislation and Supreme Court rulings made the United States a “More Perfect Union” under national programs. Through the  twentieth century, Conservatives labeled these reforms as Socialism.

Throughout Trump’s Presidency it has been difficult to differentiate governing from campaigning for the 2020 election.  His 2016 campaign goal was to divide and conquer by feeding into discontent and hatred, never attaining a majority.  He is using the same strategy as president, using the office of the presidency as a bully pulpit.

The House of Representative under Speaker Pelosi’s leadership has passed and will pass legislation that is log jammed in Mitch McConnell’s Senate. Among them are bills that are supported by the majority of Americans counteracting Russian interference in the 2020 election, immigration reform and gun control. One third of the Senate is up for reelection.  The probability is that red state Kentucky will reelect McConnell, but a Democratic majority would unseat him as Senate Leader and break the legislative dam.

The American majority has the power to bring about change.  Democrats and Independents need to unite in support of Democratic candidates for the Presidency, Senate and House of Representatives. A Quinnipiac poll taken July 25 to 28,2019 has 32% voting for Trump, 12% consider voting for Trump and 54% definitely not voting for Trump.  These statistics may indicate that Trump would easily be defeated, but they do not. Past elections demonstrate that our electoral system may not support the popular vote.  The “winner take all” provision of our electoral system gives the advantage to states rather than the nation as a whole.  There are more “red states” than “blue state” increasing the value of the vote in a swing-state.   That is the electoral system of the 2020 election.


With a large field of Democratic presidential candidates, progressives ranging from centrist to varying degrees to the left represent a Democratic Party that is inclusive and diverse.  Democratic candidates have different ideas on how to bring about reform. In contrast, the Republican Party has become the Party of Trump which follows him in lockstep.  Recent statistics have party affiliations as 27% Republican, 41% Independent and 29% Democratic.  The 2016 election demonstrated that our electoral system requires that the electorate make a binary choice.  Voting for a third party or not voting may result in negating the popular vote as it did in 2000 and 2016.  Trump’s defeat can only be brought about by a unified 60%, Democrats and Independents.

In the article published in USA Today, written by Nicholas Wu on May 1, 2019, it stated the pledge requested by the Indivisible grassroots movement of Democratic Presidential Candidates.

Progressive grassroots group Indivisible pledge for  Democratic Presidential Candidates

“We Are Indivisible Pledge…


  • respect other candidates
  • rally around the winner
  • put myself at the disposal of primary winners campaigning

Present polling of Democratic Presidential Candidates has the top five candidates as progressives ranging from center and to the left. Not one of the Democratic Candidates is an extremist to the left.  Progressives are not Communists. Democrats and Independents must rally around the Democratic nominee no matter where he or she stands on the Progressive spectrum.  Progressives have to support, work and vote for the Democratic Presidential nominee to defeat a Trump whose caustic governing and campaigning is endangering our Democracy. The progressive electorate must be indivisible.


Relevant to current events is the following message given by Toni Morrison in her Nobel Prize lecture in 1993,

                “oppressive language does more than express

                 Violence, it is violence …it is the language

                 that drinks blood, laps vulnerabilities, tucks

                 its fascist boots under crinolines of respectability

                 and patriotism as it moves relentlessly toward

                 the bottom line and the bottomed-out mind.”


                                    VOTE TO SAVE OUR AMERICAN SOUL


Links to previous blogs:

October 23, 2018
Franchise through 18th century to 21st century
October 8, 2018
Impact of  communication and transportation inventions on the press
July 27, 2018
June 21,2018
Franchise through 18th to 21st century
May 30, 2018
Impact of the Civil War
May 30, 2018
May 30, 2018

Voter Disenfranchisement


The “Soul of America” is revealed  in the Pledge of Allegiance, “one Nation under God,  indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”  The soul of America is under attack by an extreme right that seeks to divide rather than unify, obstructing justice for all.  Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries Progressives protested and brought  about social reforms through legislation, Executive Orders, Supreme Court Rulings and Amendments to the Constitution. Reforms came about in Civil Rights, Voting Rights, Women’s Rights, Worker’s Rights,  Transgender Rights.  Reforms provided a “safety net” through social programs that provide insurance for health care, unemployed, seniors, children,  people with disabilities and the regulation, not entitlements but insurance into “We the People paid the  premiums.  Reforms checked the unfettered financial practices that brought about depressions/recessions in 1909, 1920-1921, 1929 ,1973-75, the 1980’s, and 2008.

These national  unifying reforms are under assault in the Twentieth-first  century.   The power to redress the grievances of our citizens is found in the First Amendment right “to assemble and to petition the government” and We the  People are able to put into action in the right to vote.  Democracy is a  participatory form of government. Our civic duty is to be politically knowledgeable and active to protect democracy.

Activism comes in many forms: marching, petitioning representation, funding, joining a party organization, writing a blog  and most important:  Voting in All Elections!

Trumpism is undermining our judicial system’s  ability to provide  “justice for all” by limiting  investigative powers of the Mueller Probe and the FBI, plus maintaining that the President is above the law.  It delegitimizes the civic right to protest by categorizing participants as “angry mobs” while inciting chants  of “lock her  up”and body slamming. .

Twentieth Century reforms have empowered a diversified America that provided a plurality for  Democrats.  There have been five presidential elections in the 21st Century. Only one Republican has won the popular vote,  George W. Bush in his second term.  However, opposition to diversity and reform have flipped the Democratic Solid South to a Republican Solid and allowed Trumpism to co-opt the Republican Party.  All states have become more multi-ethnic and politically engaged, evident in the  election of Barack Obama.  For that reason, Trump has claimed the existence of rampant voter fraud to give Republican controlled states an excuse to enact laws that suppress the vote of minorities.

The Governor of each state controls voting laws.  The Justice Department adjudicates voting laws that differ from state to state. Some state laws end up being reviewed by the Supreme Court, in which  Brett Kavanaugh holds the swing vote.  There are attempts to  suppress the vote in Georgia, Missouri and North Dakota, all involving voter identification rules.  Voter ID requirements tend to disenfranchise minorities. Currently, Georgia Civil rights groups are suing the Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who is also running as a candidate for Governor. Kemp, as sitting Secretary of State.   He, has implemented the “exact match voting  law”.   In a tight race against Democrat Stacey Abrams, an African-American,  Kemp is using the “exact match voting law to disenfranchise African-Americans,  Latinos, Asian-Americans and women, contesting  53,000 ‘pending’  voter registrations  according to the Associated Press.  70% of the voters effected are African-American.  In North Dakota and Missouri, ID laws are being Challenged:

CNN October 14,2018 article,

   Native Americans run into huge voting hurdle in NORTH Dakota

“ This week, the Supreme Court declined to overturn North Dakota  controversial voter ID law,which requires residents to show identification with a current street address.  A P.O. Box does not qualify. (Brett Kavanaugh voted to decline.)

Native Americans tend to not use physical street addresses due to living on reservations an also over represented in the homeless  population, according to the Urban Institute.  It is no accident that voter ID restrictions are enacted by Republican controlled states that have two incumbent Democratic Senators. Native Americans voters were crucial in Heidi Heidkamp’s last election. Recent polls all show Missouri’s Senate race,Claire McCaskill vs. Josh Hawley, as a statistical tie.  Please refer to article on VOTING RIGHTS.

Participate Vote!!!




Battle For The Soul of America


Pulitzer Prize winning Presidential historian Jon Meacham, author of THE SOUL OF AMERICA: The Battle for Our Better Angels cites Abraham Lincoln in the title of his book.

In a New York Times Article on May 21, 2018, Sean Wentz’s presents a precis of Meacham’s book:

“Appalled by the ascendancy of Donald J. Trump, and shaken by the deadly white nationalist rallies in Charlottesville in 2017, Meacham returns to other moments in our history when fear and division seemed rampant. He wants to remind us that the current political turmoil is not unprecedented,  that as a nation we have survived times worse than this.  And initially this sounds a little too reassuring.  But Meacham quickly adds that America’s survival has never been automatic.  Covering the century that stretched from the abolition of slavery to civil-rights victories of the mid-1960s, he explains how the nation required activist liberal presidents – above all Theodore Roosevelt,  Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman and Lyndon B. Johnson – to replace fear with hope and then to reverse injustice and expand equality.  Our Better Angels, Meacham implies, resides in that part of the American soul that inspired the Square Deal, the New Deal and Great Society.”

Former Vice-President Joe Biden at a recent rally for Democratic state candidate repeated that theme when seriously warning that America was in a, “battle for its soul”.  The present Republican Party has marginalized moderates and Representatives who originally denounced Trumpism have succumbed to it. The Republican party is no longer the “Party of Lincoln”.

Opposition to Twentieth Century progress caused a shift in political alignment which began in 1948 with the formation of a States’ Rights Democratic Party (Dixiecrats), a third party determined to protect states’ rights and to legislate racial segregation.  Though the party was short-lived, the ideology lived on. Lyndon Johnson’s signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the most sweeping civil rights legislation since Reconstruction, flipped the Solid South to Republican.

The Republican Party remained under control of moderates, overcoming the extremism McCarthyism and Barry Goldwater until the Twenty-First century. In the first decade of the Twenty-First Century, an extreme segment of the Republican Party, the Tea Party, became most powerful.  This is evident in Presidential Candidate John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin over Joseph Lieberman, a moderate Democrat, for Vice-President, to balance the ticket against Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

In 2008 the United States elected President Barack Obama and Democrats were in control of Congress. From the onset Obama’s legitimacy as a citizen and his religious affiliation were challenged by the hard right Tea Party, which had caucused separately since 2010. This extreme right element of the Republican Party have opposed and obstructed Obama’s progressive programs (The 2016 – 2017 Trump takeover of the Republican Party is in this previous article.)

As of January of 2018, Gallup Poll figures for party affiliation were:
22% Republican
44% Independent
32% Democratic

Independents, the major segment of the electorate, can play an important role in the 2018 election and in all elections.  Electoral reforms are needed but at present we have two parties representing We the People.  Many people have become disenchanted with our electoral process but We the People must register and vote to protect the “checks and balances” of The Unites States Constitution.

Trump radicals have become experts at transference, the art of assigning personal attitudes to your opponent, labeling Progressives who are seeking positive change into their future as radicals.  Independents, Moderate Republicans and Democrats must form a voting bloc to defeat Trumpism and move forward into the 21st Century.

In an era of partisanship, words spoken by Dwight D. Eisenhower should be considered.

“If a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that is moral, then it is a not political party, it is merely a conspiracy to seize power.” March 6, 1956






Freedom of The Press

The first ten amendments to our constitution are known as our Bill of Rights. The First Amendment guarantees rights to freedoms of religion, speech, the press, peaceable assembly and petition.  In the 18th Century information was disseminated by the medium of printed press, books, newspapers, pamphlets, and magazines.  Technological advancements through the centuries have created media that includes film, radio, television, internet along with print information.

The right to a free press was soon tested when Americans were divided in their sentiment toward Revolutionary France.  President John Adams and Alexander Hamilton (Federalists) were in opposition to the pro-French faction led by Vice President Thomas Jefferson and James Madison (Democratic-Republicans). Newspapers became the battleground for influencing public opinion.

BACKGROUND Adams’ Federalist Congress enacted the Alien & Sedition Acts 1798. The first three acts dealt with immigrant, deportation, and voter suppression. The fourth  outlawed criticism of the president, which infringed upon a free press.  The courts did not rule on this legislation but popular opposition to these laws contributed to the demise of the Federalist Party.

The First Amendment provides us with a fourth branch of government, a Free Press, also known as the Fourth Estate, that investigates and reports on use and abuse of power. A tool of authoritarian rule is to delegitimize, attack and silence a free press.  The following review of Twentieth Century Presidencies demonstrates the importance of a free public discourse.

Twentieth Century Americans experienced major conflicts:

  • wars to protect democracy (World War I, World War II, Cold War, Korean War, Vienam War, Wars in the Middle East, terrorism domestic and global)
  • pure capitalism vs regulated economy and unions (Captains of Industry or Robber Barons vs. the fight of organized labor)
  • states legislation vs national legislation (civil rights, worker’s rights, etc.)

Media has been used by Presidents to communicate with “We The People”. Free media reported, investigated and analyzed the policies, actions and facts behind all of these conflicts.  Presidents of both political parties have had to deal with the criticism of a Free Press.

The Twentieth Century began with progressive men and women protesting against the abuses and negatives of pure capitalism.  Progressive “Muckrakers” wrote exposés in newspapers, magazines and books. The first President of the Twentieth Century, Theodore Roosevelt, embraced progressive ideology and created a progressive wing within the Republican Party.

Republican President Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909) Roosevelt’s Progressive Party promised a “Square Deal”. He called for government intervention to challenge the excesses of industrial capitalism, protect the environment, and protect rights of workers. His policies broke up monopolies and earned him the nickname “Trust Buster”. Roosevelt’s foreign policy was put forth in a letter written to Henry L Sprague, “speak softly and a big stick. You will go far”. He viewed “Big Stick Diplomacy” as necessary to protect the United States from European intervention in the Americas.

Republican President Taft (1909-1913) continued Roosevelt’s progressive policies, though he turned to more conservative policies toward the end of his term.

President Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921) Wilson ran on a progressive platform which asked for a “New Freedom”, and once elected went before Congress in support of progressive reforms.  Congress passed laws that regulated monopolies, lowered tariffs, introduced a personal income tax, and instituted the Federal Reserve System. Congress passed child labor laws that were negated by a Supreme Court ruling. He first opposed women’s suffrage, but reversed his position ultimately supporting and helping to pass the 19th Amendment.

Three Republican Presidents governed from 1921 -1933, the “Roaring Twenties.  Though Republicans held the Presidency, misuse of power occurred in both Parties, the difference between “Tweedledum and Tweedledee”

Warren G. Harding (1921-1923) favored pro-business policies and limited immigration. His administration was scandal ridden, with Teapot Dome, etc.

Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929) brought back stability and respectability to the Presidency.  He supported pro-business, laissez-faire policies that contributed to the Great Depression of 1929 that began in September of that year with the Stock Market Crash.

Herbert Hoover (1929-1933) was known as a great humanitarian but did not believe in government intervention to stop the downward spiral of the American economy, underestimating the severity of the crisis.

The next thirty-six years marked the dominance of the Democratic Party in which the Presidency was held by only one republican.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933-1945) Roosevelt was a Democratic progressive who followed in the steps of his cousin Theodore. He ran on a “New Deal” platform.  Once elected, he quickly implemented emergency measures to halt the collapse the banking industry. He proposed innovative recovery programs which were passed with the help of a Democratic Congress.  Roosevelt’s economy was based on Keynesian principles that government must regularly fuel the economy to encourage employment and create consumer buying power. He established anti-poverty measures and Unemployment Insurance,Social Security Insurance, and federal welfare programs.

President Roosevelt was an excellent communicator. Over his 12 years in office, the longest tenure of any American President, he used the emerging technology of radio to speak directly to the people of the entire nation by way of “fireside chats” to unite, calm and encourage America. The addresses reached a beleaguered nation in the depths of The Great Depression. In his inaugural address, he made the famous statement “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”  Roosevelt continued to use radio to stay in touch with America.

The United States was drawn into global affairs when Fascists led by Hitler and Mussolini came to power in most of Europe, threatening England. President Roosevelt supported England and entered into a Lend-Lease program to supply arms to Allied forces, but America officially remained neutral.

In 1937, CBS sent Robert E. Murrow and a team of reporters to provide coverage on the spread of Nazi Power in Europe. He provided on-the-scene reports of the constant bombing of London by Nazi forces, the blitzkrieg.  Still many Americans wanted to remain neutral and out of European wars.

On December 7, 1941 Imperial Japan attacked United States military forces on American territory on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  The following day President Roosevelt addressed a Joint Session of Congress that was broadcasted live to the nation. In his “Day in Infamy Speech” he asked Congress for a declaration of war.  One hour later, the Senate voted unanimously and the House of Representatives voted 388 to 1 in favor. Four days later Nazi Germany declared war against the United States.  Isolationism was no longer an option.

The United States quickly mobilized our economy and fighting forces. Men and women served in the military.  Women became a major component of home front defenses and manufacturing.  A united America followed news of the war through radio, newspapers and newsreels  movies at local theater.  Prewar journalists became war correspondents who were often embedded and placed their lives on the line.  Ernie Pyle, a Pulitzer Prize winning American journalist who worked as a roving correspondent, died reporting from Okinawa, Japan in 1945.  Media had a unifying effect as our eyes and ears to the world and at home.

Harry S. Truman (1945-1953) Truman took office upon the death of a newly reelected fourth term FDR, on April 12, 1945.  Only Eighty-two days into his Vice Presidency, Truman, who had not been briefed, inherited enormous challenges both in domestic and foreign affairs. Domestically, Truman protected and reinforced New Deal reforms, began the process of desegregation of the military, banned discrimination in the civil service, commissioned a federal report on civil rights and opened the topic of discrimination for the nation, as a whole.   He also made a wartime decision to use the atomic bomb to bring an end to the war in the Pacific, ending the second world war.

Post-World War II the United States became the leader of the Western World.  Truman’s Doctrine was to contain Soviet influence, rebuild Europe through the Marshall Plan and support the creation of NATO. At home he navigated the difficult transition from a wartime to a peacetime economy.  In 1946, he signed an executive order that desegregated the American Armed Services.  Truman was the first President to deliver a televised State of the Union Address and to regularly appear on the new medium of television.

Dwight D, Eisenhower (1953-1961) General Eisenhower commanded the victorious Allied forces in Europe. As a general, he had no partisan history. Both parties saw him as a desirable candidate.  As President he brought about a truce between North and South Korea, continued to support NATO, relied on the threat of atomic weapons to deter international conflicts, and used the CIA in covert operations in the intensifying Cold War with the USSR.  His domestic policies were centrist. He supported some federal programs, creating the U.S. federal interstate highway system, while still being a fiscal conservative.

Eisenhower sent federal forces to desegregate a Little Rock, Arkansas High School in 1957. Live television brought this clash between states-rights and the national government into  American living rooms.

John F. Kennedy (1961-1963)  John F. Kennedy’s campaign slogan was “ A time for greatness”.  Kennedy’s short term in office was inspirational to  the youth of our nation. He opened his televised inaugural address with “Let the word go forth from this time and  place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans”.  He closed his address with “ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country,” calling for service to others. Kennedy’s economic policies were moderate.  During his short term in office he established the Peace Corps to counter the The Ugly American  image exposed in the political novel written by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer in 1958. In 1961 he expanded the space program and committed to “landing a man on the moon by the end of the decade” to win the space race.

Kennedy authorized CIA covert plans formulated during Eisenhower’s term. The Bay of Pigs invasion by Cuban exiles was a terrible miscalculation.  However, in The Cuban Missile crisis diplomatic negotiations that lasted thirteen days avoided nuclear war.  The whole world that followed the news on television breathed a sigh of relief. Just four months before his assassination, and after over eight years of negotiations, he signed the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

President Kennedy’s appointed his brother, Robert Kennedy, as Attorney General.   Robert Kennedy had to deal with the Civil Rights Movement.  The movement was led by Martin Luther King, a proponent of nonviolence and civil disobedient means of protest.   Peaceful protests met with violence. The president authorized his Attorney General to use  federal forces to support desegregation.  Television coverage of the violence, beatings, and lynchings were powerful images that gained national support  for integration of the South.

President Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969)  Lyndon Johnson was a Representative and Majority Leader of the Senate prior to his becoming Kennedy’s Vice-President.  In the first year of  his Presidency, he used his legislative knowledge and relationship to obtain the passage of Kennedy’s sponsored Civil Rights Act (1964).  The political cost of signing the Civil Rights Act was the flipping of the of the Democratic Solid South to a Republican Solid South.  Bill Moyers cites LBJ’s opinion, “I think we just delivered the South the Republican Party for a long time to come”.

LBJ, as he preferred to be called, was elected in his own right by a mandate of 61%.  His goal was to Build a “Great Society”.  His massive legislative agenda was quickly passed by Congress,  It included social programs to fight poverty, supported education, arts and humanities, called for urban renewal, amended Social Security to provide Healthcare for the elderly (Medicare) and passed the Voting Rights Act Act (1968).

LBJ intensified Eisenhower and Kennedy’s anti-communist policies in Vietnam, which led to anti-war protests.  Media coverage of the war changed public opinion for many young Americans. The 1970’s  Republican Party included the Solid South, a strong coalition that gave Republicans control of the Presidency for twenty of the following years twenty-four years, broken by the post Watergate election of  Democratic Jimmy Carter.

President Richard M. Nixon (1969-1974) Though he had some accomplishments in foreign policy, The Vietnam War was becoming unpopular.  Nixon’s policy of “ peace with honor” extended a war that was not to be won.

Watergate defined his Presidency.  Nixon was impeached by a Republican held House of Representatives but resigned before he could be tried by  the Senate.  Washington Post journalists, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, won the Pulitzer Prize for their investigative reporting on this scandal.  Live television covered  the Watergate hearings.

Gerald R. Ford (1974-1977) President Gerald Ford first action was to pardon Nixon. He inherited an economy that was experiencing high inflation which led a severe recession.

President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981) Carter was a moderate Democrat.  He had to deal with many challenges – inflation, the energy crisis, the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, hostages being held by Iran and a failed rescue mission.  Jimmy Carter did bring stability and honesty to  the  Presidency but he lost his bid for reelection to the dynamic Republican, Ronald Reagan.

President Ronald Reagan (1981-1989)  Ronald Reagan brought the nation further to the right but was moderate relative to present extremism. In his inaugural address  he pledged to reduce government intrusion in economics and social orders. “Reaganomics” was a return to a trickle down economy which  gave huge tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations in the belief that increased profits would transfer to an increase in employment and wages.  He increased military spending and protected Social Security. Reagan’s Foreign Policy strongly opposed the spread of Communism calling the Soviet Union an “evil empire”. The Iran-Contra scandal occurred during Reagan’s second term. when Senior administration officials secretly facilitated the sale of arms to Iran, which was against an arms embargo enacted by a Democratic Congress.  Investigative journalism led to further investigations. Congressional hearings were held and some Reagan administrative officials were indicted.

President George H.W. Bush (1989-1993)  President George H.W. Bush was more moderate than Reagan.  He stressed traditional American values to achieve a “kinder gentler nation”.  He ordered military actions in Panama and Persian Gulf. The Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and a revolution dissolved the Soviet Union in 1991.

President William J. Clinton (1993-2001)  Though a Democrat in ideology, Clinton incorporated some Republican policies such as NAFTA, free trade and deregulated banking.  He raised taxes on higher income tax payers and cut defense spending.  He oversaw a strong economy.  He was not successful in his goal of healthcare reform but under his leadership Congress enacted many progressive reforms.

His foreign policy was shaped by the collapse of the Soviet Union, which made the United States the only superpower. The Clinton Doctrine was the belief that it was necessary for  the United States to intervene to provide global security and stability through unilateral action or in conjunction with the UN and NATO.  President  Clinton experienced failures in Somalia, Haiti and Rwanda but he successfully led NATO and American forces to settle the  Bosnian conflict in Europe.

President Clinton was impeached by the House of Representative but acquitted by the Senate on charges of lying under oath  when he testified to a grand jury on the Monica Lewinski case. Post Watergate investigatory and opinion journalism vigorously executed the power of a free media in covering the Clinton Administration.

It is important to be realistic about the Twentieth century; the United States has experienced difficult periods.  We the People of the United States elected Presidents that were progressives or conservatives.  Using the movement of a pendulum as model  for political movement, US has changed directions in the past to avoid extremes. In an appearance on BBC NEWS, Chief Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the US, “is not experiencing the best of times – but the pendulum will swing back.”  The force that moves the pendulum is a free press, the Fourth estate. Justice Ginsburg also stated “I read the Washington Post and the New York Times every day.  I think that reporters are trying to tell the public the way things are – That story (Watergate) might never ]have come out if we didn’t have the free press that we do.”

Twenty-First Century citizens of the United  Sates must join a free press and VOTE to reject  reactionary policies and rhetoric that are trying to tear down our democratic institutions and Twentieth Century progress.

“Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost”,   –  President Thomas Jefferson

 “The Government power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government. The press was protected so that it could expose the secrets of government and inform the people.  Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.”  –  Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black

“Freedom of the press is not just important to democracy, it is democracy”  –  Newscaster Walter Cronkite

“A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.”  –  President John F. Kennedy




The Lifetime Importance of the 2018 November Mid Term Elections



All elections have consequences. We the people need to execute the right to vote and seriously consider the ideology and qualifications of candidates that will govern our nation and represent us globally. A political party is formed to elect representatives that will support its ideology.  A party platform is a position paper on multiple issues the party sees as relevant and timely.  But once elected or appointed, an official swears allegiance to the constitution, not loyalty to a particular political party that does not represent a majority of the people.

Most Americans are independent thinkers and voters. According to 2016 statistics 42% of Americans are Independent, 29% Democratic, and 24% Republican.  When an American enters the voting booth for state and national elections, the choice of electable candidates is usually from only two major parties.

Party ideology deals with many issues.  Each party has extreme to moderate wings.


values state initiated legislation rather than federal –  individual rights –
capitalistic – against government regulations – lower taxes for wealthy and corporations – pro business –  trickle down economy, less taxation for business which provides capital to invest in an economy that provides employment–  privatization of existing government programs – against national minimum wage – for individual responsibility
for private market based private insurers – against the Affordable Care Act
currently extreme -no amnesty for undocumented immigrants – view immigration as a threat – presently policies supporting deportation of undocumented residents – against sanctuary cities
voucher system for private schools K through 12 –  support charter schools
anti-abortion –against stem cell research -against Roe v Wade – against Planned Parenthood
oppose same sex marriage – oppose national laws that protect LGBT rights
traditionally in opposition to Unions – opposed to business regulations
pro state-right to legislate gun control laws – interpret Second Amendment as it applied in the 18th Century
stress economic benefits of fossil fuels and nuclear energy rather than alternative fuels and protection of the environment
interpret closely to original intent – strict constructionist
in flux – many of today’s policies do not coincide with traditional Republican policies

national law that applies to all states
regulated economy combines socialism and capitalism – higher taxes on wealthy and corporations –  lower taxes and deductions for middle income and lower income – regulations of business as necessary – for Federal programs to stoke the economy and help small business –  lower taxes for the middle class and the poor and deductions plus social programs for health care, elderly, children, disabled and unemployed  – for national minimum wage –  programs that funnel capital to middle and lower income consumers of goods and services that grow economy – “bottom up economy” – social responsibility
government provider – single provider like Medicare and Medicaid; support The Affordable Care Act which is a compromise on combined government and private sector providers, modeled after a health plan originally proposed and implemented by Republican Mitt Romney as governor of Massachusetts
support strong border security – respect the constitutional right to seek asylum – provide a pathway to resident law abiding undocumented immigrants – support immigration reform along with many moderate Republicans – for humane border protection
support public schools – propose extending public education to colleges and technical schools
pro-choice – for stem cell research – support Roe v Wade and Planned Parenthood – support social programs for women who make pro-life choices
support Supreme Court Ruling on same sex marriages – support national laws that protect LBGT rights
support enacting national gun control legislation – interprets the Second Amendment according to what is “ necessary and proper” in the 21st Century
protection of the environment – belief in climate change – economic value in alternate sources of energy
interpret according to what is “necessary and proper” in the 20th Century
globalism – support United Nations, Post-World War II alliances such as NATO and SEATO – responsible world leaders of western world

A centrist government is the result of compromise, which incorporates a capitalistic free market and government intervention, (regulated economy). Both Bush Presidents were moderates on immigration. The second President Bush was not elected by popular vote, but by a win in the electoral college.  In contract to Trump, President Bush campaigned on the promise that he would be a, “UNITER, NOT A DIVIDER,” and followed through on that promise.  A few days after 9/11, President Bush gave his “Islam is peace speech” in which he stated, “America must take into account that millions of Muslims make an incredibly valuable contribution to our country. Muslims are doctors, lawyers, law professors, members of the military, entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, moms and dads and they need to be treated with respect. In our anger and emotion, our fellow Americans must be treated with respect.…  Those who feel like they can intimidate our fellow citizens to take out their anger don’t represent the best of America, they represent the worst of humankind, and they should be ashamed of that kind of behavior.” Many extremists did not agree with this position.

At the end of President Bush’s second term there was a severe global recession. Particular to the United States, there were issues that contributed to the “Great Depression of 2008”

  • unregulated practices of financial institutions such as subprime mortgages
  • bundling of mortgages which hid defaults
  • lack of regulation in the banking system
  • unregulated private sector health care (increased cost of health care, denial of coverage by private insurance companies due to preexisting conditions)

By November 2008 over 400,000 people were unemployed: uninsured banks were at risk. From January 26th to September 29th the U.S. stock market experienced a drop of close to 3000 points. The United States was in crisis mode. The reaction of some Conservative Republicans was the formation an extreme Republican wing, The Tea Party.  Though the crises had been caused by deregulation, Tea Party enthusiasts wanted more deregulation and reasserted states-rights that opposed national solutions to the extent that the topic of secession was introduced by some.

According to the article Tea Party Movement written by Michael Ray,, “the tea party movement focused its ire at the federal government and extolled the virtues of free market principles. Within weeks, Tea Party chapters began to appear around the United States, using social media sites such as Facebook to coordinate protest events. They were spurred on by Fox News. The generally libertarian character of the movement drew disaffected Republicans to the Tea Party banner, and its anti-government tone resonated with paramilitary militia movements.”

The two main candidates in the 2008 presidential campaign were Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain. A victorious President Obama inherited a country in crisis. In addition to the financial collapse, many extreme conservatives challenged the legitimacy of his election by denying that he was a natural born citizen, the “Birther” movement. The era also saw an increase in Post 9/11 Islamophobia, anti-immigration sentiment, and racism.

President Obama held a Democratic majority in both houses and with the help of moderate Republicans enacted legislation that put the economy on an upswing i.e. Dodd – Frank, the economic stimulus package, etc. However, changes in economic policy did not have an immediate impact on the economy. The impact of Obama economics culminated in the fully employed economy of 2017.  Though at almost full employment, employed workers at all levels are still experiencing wage stagnation and underemployment and loss of benefits, economic issues which are not being addressed.

Expectations of a quick solution led to dissatisfaction with President Obama and a Democratic Congress rather than the Bush Administration and Republicans. In the 2014 mid-term elections, disaffected Democrats and Independents chose to stay home, resulting in Democrats losing both houses of Congress. Democrats lost 50 seats in the House of Representatives. Tea Party Republicans created a very conservative wing that used obstructionism to challenge or undo moderate, bipartisan reforms on health care and immigration.

The 2016 Presidential Campaign started with a large field of Republican candidates, moderates and conservatives. Donald Trump could have been voted most unlikely to succeed. Though the least politically qualified, he based his campaign on controversial claims and negative attacks, which gave him free media exposure.  According to an article featured in the Atlantic magazine written by Molly Ball, “The Unsung Architect of Trumpism” was Kellyanne Conway, whose theory was the basis for Trump’s winning campaign.  Prior to 2016 campaign, Conway and Steve Bannon plotted to upend the Republican establishment. Conway’s analysis of the 2012 election went counter to the strategy recommended at Republican National Conference, which was called to analyze the loss of the Presidential Election.  Establishment Republicans’ recommendation was that the Republican Party had to be more inclusive to increase the popular vote. Conway based her political campaign theory on exclusive tactics that devalued the popular vote and fed on anti-establishment (“drain the swamp”) and anti-immigrant (“build the wall”) ideas to capture swing states and the electoral college. “And Conway’s ideas were the key to a major shift in the way Trump addressed immigration, which became his signature issue.”  Trump’s extremist, outrageous, negative, fear of the other, “alternative facts” campaign strategy defeated all the Republican “Never Trump” establishment candidates, moderates and conservatives.

The Democratic Party supported Hillary Clinton’s candidacy as a moderate who supported the party platform.  Clinton was challenged by an Independent liberal, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.  Sanders’ ideology was to the left of the progressive Democratic platform. Party rules are aimed at nominating the most electable candidate that supports party ideology and are not necessarily democratic. Hillary won the nomination, but the Democratic party’s use of “super delegates” became contentious at the Democratic Convention.  As a result, angry Sanders liberals voted for a third-party candidate in the general election and the division strengthened the possibility of electing an exclusive extremist, Donald Trump.

Donald Trump’s Presidential Campaign plan remained the same as in his primary run. His rhetoric continued to be anti-immigrant and anti-establishment. In addition, many American workers were not as yet feeling the impact Obama’s economic policies and could not accept the fact that 21st Century economics would no longer provide employment for some traditional industries. Trump tapped into the fears and dissatisfaction of  voters in key swing-states with reactionary, nationalistic tactics.

Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but not the Electoral College.  She was defeated by a “perfect political storm”, not a single element but a composite of actions and events. In contrast to Donald Trump, she entered the final stage of her campaign with a long political history.  Early in her husband’s administration she went against the traditional role of First Lady, when Bill Clinton appointed her to head an ad hoc committee on health care reform. She later ran for political office herself was elected Senator from New York and later appointed Secretary of State for President Obama’s two term presidency. During her political career she became a piñata for the Republican Party, especially the very conservative.  Other campaign issues were former President Bill Clinton’s actions past and present, Russia’s hacking our electoral system and Democratic campaign servers, and a disenchanted working class experiencing wage stagnation.

Most establishment Republicans chose to overlook Trump’s debasing attacks and inequities and became Trump supporters.  Republican voters looked forward to filling an open Supreme Court appointment that was hijacked from President Obama by Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, and the ability to enact establishment ideology.  Most Republicans fell in line once Trump won the Presidency.

One and half years after Donald Trump’s election it is apparent that the Republican Party has been hijacked by Trumpism. His strategy of breaking norms and precedents, plus creating head spinning chaos, has confused, exhausted and destabilized democracy nationally and globally.  President Trump’s policies are not based on democratic ideology but on keeping the exclusive political base by which he won the election.  Both President Bush and Donald Trump were elected by the Electoral College, and not the popular vote, yet he is in campaign mode, creating more division to maintain a political base that is polling under 40%.

Democracy is in danger nationally by failing to maintain the checks and balances of the U.S Constitution and globally by the undoing the Post-World War II World Order . World War II was fought for the survival of international Democracy. Many brave men and women died in a war against fascist Germany and Italy, Imperial Japan, and other dictatorships. Currently, American democracy is imperiled by legislators that are placing Party before country. The Constitution provides a framework for posterity to add the details of governing within the three coequal branches that operate under a system of checks and balances. Many of the governing mechanisms have been established by precedent, and not by law. Some precedents are for partisan control, especially in the legislative branch. The Supreme Court was meant to be an impartial and independent branch of government, above partisanship. Current Senate Leader Mitch McConnell set a partisan precedent at the end of Obama’s second term. He withheld Senate confirmation of Obama’s moderate nominee Merrick Garland, until a new President was elected. Republicans claimed there was not enough time to go through the process, yet presently Republicans are rushing to confirm an extremely conservative Trump nominee before an important mid-term election. We are facing a Constitutional Crisis and should certainly not rush a Supreme Court confirmation.


Republicans control the three branches of government. Constitutional checks and balances are being obliterated. The extreme right has taken control of the RNC.  Absence of moderates who can rise above partisanship has weakened our democracy.  Many moderate Republicans are not running for reelection in 2018. The Republican National Committee is backing Trump Republicans for the House and Senate in the coming mid-terms. Republican incumbents are torn between gaining party support and We the People. We the People have the power to elect a legislature that will assert independence and use its constitutional power of oversight.


Trumpism is in the process of implementing Conway/Bannon exclusive, anti-establishment, and anti-global policies, that are dividing the country and our alliance systems. If Republicans do not check the power of Trumpism, they can not call themselves the party of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Ronald Reagan. The failure to stand in defense of We The People of the nation and the world may bring about the demise of the Republican Party.


Our 2018 elections are of the utmost Importance!

Republicans, Democrats, Independents

VOTE to defeat right wing extremism.


Voting Rights


Even at its inception, the U.S Constitution required amendment to address concerns about the absence of a list of personal rights. States would likely withhold ratification if rights were not guaranteed. Ten Amendments were included, known as our Bill of Rights. The Constitution remained flawed. It still denied rights to slaves and women. More perfect is an oxymoron. If something is perfect, it cannot be improved. The Constitution was imperfect and was, and is, in need of improvement.

Though Abigail Adams asked John Adams to, “remember the women,” before the Constitutional convention, it did not happen.  According to the Constitution, slaves were counted as two-thirds of a person. They were property – a work force with no rights under law until the 13th amendment. The Constitution did provide the means for improvement – amendments, legislation, our justice system, right of assembly, peaceful protest, the right to elect our representatives – these have been used, and should be used, to expand rights.

Men and women organized in protest against slavery. Abolitionists established an “Underground Railroad”, use of a free press, literature, petition to congress, meetings and boycotts. Sadly, when territories applied for statehood, conflicting views on extending slavery to new states were the catalyst to violence – “Bleeding Kansas”, John Brown’s Raid, and ultimately, Civil War.

During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln persuaded Congress to pass two amendments -the 13th abolished slavery and 14th granted citizenship to former enslaved persons. Postwar Southern states were brought back into the Union under Republican military rule. Eventually, former Confederates regained their civil rights. Former enslaved citizens had the Constitutional rights to freedom and citizenship, but not the right to vote, until 1870 when the 15th Amendment was passed. It gave the power to legislate, but not enforce. Many states passed laws that suppressed the black vote, such as Black Codes, property qualifications, and poll taxes. The vote was also suppressed by extra legal terrorist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan.

Women, who had played a major role in the Abolitionist movement, realized they had to organize to gain voting rights. Susan B. Anthony, Lucretia Mott,  Cady Stanton, and other women and men convened a Congress in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848.  Using the Declaration of Independence as their model, they issued the Declaration of Sentiments in which they demanded equal rights and the right to vote. A series of other Congresses followed, held in other states. America’s women’s rights movement was on its way.

On February 12, 1913 a small group of women left New York and headed for Washington to hold a protest march. They reached the capitol on March 3, 1913, the day before Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration. Thousands of Suffragettes marched for the right to vote. Four years later in 1917, on the eve of President Wilson’s second inauguration, one thousand women marched around the White House, in terrible weather, demanding the right to vote, “The Grand Picket”. Some protesters were jailed and assaulted, but the movement persisted. Calling themselves the ‘Silent Sentinels’, a rotating cluster of women stood at White House gates for months. They carried signs intended to challenge and embarrass President Wilson (American Experience, PBS). Harsh treatment of Suffragettes started to change public opinion. Gradually, President Wilson changed his own opinion. In 1918, Wilson’s address to the Senate supported women’s suffrage. An attempted ratification of the 19th Amendment failed to pass by two votes. But women who had played an important role as nurses in World War I gained Recognition of their service that finally swayed votes to gain passage of the 19th amendment on August 18, 1920. Women had gained the right to vote, but not yet equal rights.

Article I – Section 4 of the Constitution gave broad authority over elections. In the late 18th century, states granted the right to vote to property owning, taxpaying, white males. A farm based economy enfranchised most white males, but not tenant farmers and poor white men.  An industrial economy disenfranchised workers, who mostly lived in tenement or factory owned housing. In 1856, North Carolina was the last state to abolish property qualifications. Five states kept voter tax paying qualifications: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and North Carolina. Industrialists who had recruited immigrants to work in factories, build cities, and infrastructure resisted giving the right to vote to new citizens who did not own property. Though some new citizens would have voted for Republicans, the Irish, who did not have a language barrier and were politically knowledgeable, were a threat to Republican control. The right to assemble in protest was utilized to bring about voting reform. mostly peaceful, but some violent. Thomas Wilson Dorr, an Irish Harvard graduate, led middle class residents in an attempt to extend non-propertied voting rights in Rhode Island (Dorr Rebellion 1841 – 1842).

Another voter suppression tactic was a poll tax, which attached a financial burden to voting. The 24th Amendment, ratified on January 23, 1964, maintained the right to vote, “shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.”

Gerrymandering, utilized by both parties, is the manipulation of the boundaries of an electoral constituency so as to favor one party or class. Introduced by Democratic Governor of Massachusetts Gerry Eldridge in 1812, the practice does not deny the right to vote, but overvalues the vote of the favored party and undervalues the other party. Redistricting is based on a census taken every ten years and controlled by the party in power. One party can gain the ability to manipulate the shape of a district to include a voting majority for their party and split up voters of the opposition. This reduces competition, creates “safe seats”, and guarantees re-election of incumbents. “A state’s legislature controlled by one party today can… easily enable, say forty percent of a state’s citizens.” (Huffington Post). That means that sixty percent of voters are disabled. Gerrymandering has become more of a danger today because technology facilitates the gathering of voter data. Gerrymandering is a threat to our electoral system and our democracy.

According to Vox the following are 7 methods used by states to make it more difficult to vote:



The 2018 election is very important. Past generations struggled to gain the right to vote. The struggle is still on. Present generations have to treasure and exercise their democratic right to vote. Defeat the campaign to suppress the vote.


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A More Perfect Union


“WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES, IN ORDER TO form a more perfect Union,”; the beginning of the preamble contains duality. We the people of the United States refers to the population as creator while “in order to form a more perfect Union” expresses a unity of states.

In the 19th century the United States experienced many changes. Freed from England, the Northeast was industrializing and economically competing with England while building its manufacturing base. The Louisiana Purchase created new territories which were being populated by the migration of Americans and immigrants. Newly formed territories became states, upsetting the balance of power and opening the question of whether slavery would be extended to new states.  New technology (railroads, wireless, photography) was improving communication and mobility.  With an agrarian economy based on a plantation system manned by the free labor of slaves, the South traded mostly with France and England, exporting raw materials and importing manufactured goods. The three areas of the United States were becoming increasingly different (Sectionalism).

The beginning of the 19th century saw a break up of existing political parties. There was a split between Northern and Southern Democrats. In 1854 a new party was formed, the Republican Party, which was mostly a Northern Party with ideology in direct opposition to that of the South. Congressional dialogue and actions became very contentious. The two hot issues of the day were high protective tariff that sheltered the infant industries of the North and increased the cost of imported goods, and the extension of slavery into newly formed states. A constitutional crisis occurred when Southern States maintained the right of nullification and then secession.

The election of 1860 had four presidential candidates:  Republican, Abraham Lincoln; Southern Democrat, John C. Breckenridge; Northern Democrat, Stephen A. Douglas; and Constitutional Union, John Bell. Abraham Lincoln was elected President on a platform that was not abolitionist, but was explicitly opposed to the spread of slavery into new American territories. South Carolina seceded from the United States, followed by other southern states.  The separatist states formed a new country. Calling themselves the Confederate States of America, they wrote a new Constitution and elected a new President, Jefferson Davis.  The South no longer had representatives in the U.S. Congress.  West Point Generals of the South formed the Confederate Army.

Lincoln did not recognize the new country.  Fort Sumter, a Union fort, was in South Carolina, Confederate territory. Lincoln sent Union troops to resupply the fort.   Upon the arrival of Federal troops, rebel forces started attacking Union forces. Civil War had begun.

The death total of the Civil War was 620,000 due to the inability to compromise. The Center Did Not Hold…


All Elections Are Important


Analysis of the Constitution

Article I

The imagery used to represent the power structure of our government is a triangle.  Congress introduces and enacts law; the Executive proposes and executes law; and lastly the Federal Judiciary and lower courts interpret and determine the legality of law.  The structure and powers given to the three branches provide “checks and balances” to maintain separation of power and avoid autocratic take over. The Founding Fathers chose a bicameral legislature, rather than a unicameral, as a compromise.

The House of Representative gives direct representation to the people of a state by districts.  A Representative is supposed to be responsive to local issues and is the most direct representation in our government. Section 2 states “The House of Representative shall be composed of Members chosen every second year by the People”. Therefore, the whole House runs for re-election, making the House immediately answerable to the electorate. The powers given to the House are taxation (power of the purse) and power to impeach (the House is to act as a grand jury in voting on probable cause in impeachment proceedings).

Section 3 establishes that each state should have two Senators. The term for a Senator is six years, therefore one-third of the Senate runs for re-election every two years. Originally, this position was not elected by the voters, but appointed by a state governor or legislature. Senators represent their state’s interest as a whole, rather than by district.

Section 7 describes how each house may pass a different bill but a compromise bill has to be passed by each house and be sent to the President for passage. Section 8 contains Congress’ enumerated powers and ends with a very important “elastic clause” or “necessary and proper clause”, which gives Congress the right to pass laws on issues that are not directly addressed in the Constitution. This clause has allowed Congress to enact laws for the United States from the 18th century to the 21st century.

Congress’ approval ratings have been poor in the 21st century.  The fault does not lie in the Constitution but in failure of Congress to compromise. We have had obstructionism, stalemate, and tribalism rather than progressives from both parties that bring about reform.  At present Congress is reactionary, looking back rather than forward. Recent polls indicate that the United States is a centrist country.  We The People have to get out the vote for 21st Century progress.

Article II, Section 1 bestows the power to carry out the laws enacted by Congress, executive power, to a President for a term of four years.  The presidential election process they established was a compromise between popular vote and states rights. The Authors of our Constitution distrusted pure democracy for fear of mob rule, and small states did not want to weaken the impact of their vote in selecting the executive of a central government. The Electoral College is made up of delegates from each state.  These electors elect the President.  A “winner take all” requirement allocates all the delegates to the winner of each state. We have seen in recent elections that this process devalues the popular vote, We the People.

Article II, establishes the power to impeach. Impeachment begins in the House of Representatives, which acts as Grand Jury. If at least two-third of the House votes that there is probable cause then the process moves to the Senate for trial under the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Senators act as Jury.

Article III established the Federal Court System. The Supreme Court and lower courts are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. We the People do not vote for Federal Judges, but we do vote for the President that appoints and the Senate that approves.

The Delegates to the Constitutional Convention fought for Independence from a king. To prevent rule by an autocrat, power was divided among three branches of government, “Separation of Power” through “Checks and Balances”. Separation of Powers is threatened by a current climate that places party loyalty above maintaining constitutional norms. Examples are: Prior to 2016 election, Majority Leader of the Senate withholding a hearing for a Presidential nominee to the Supreme Court; the executive branch is attacking our justice and law enforcement systems: the Attorney General is violating human rights; the Speaker of the House refusing to bring a compromise bill sponsored by a Republican and Democrat to a vote without approval from the Executive (the Executive branch proposes, not pre-approves).

All elections are important.  We the people need to fully participate in choosing candidates, beginning by voting in primaries and then voting every two years for a district Representative and one-third of the Senate. We have to elect people who will enact laws that create a more perfect union in a global 21st century.


From Many, One


After gaining their independence from England, a committee of colonial representatives convened in Philadelphia to write rule of law for the newly formed country. Thirteen diverse colonies had unified to fight a common enemy. The writers had to create a document that unified but would be acceptable to thirteen different states. For that reason, The Constitution of the United States is known as a document of compromises. To legislate and execute its laws common ground had to be found.

Authors of the Constitution intended that it would not be a static document. They avoided specifics and included “tools” (amendment process, elastic clause, precedents, interpretation) to make it a ‘living document’, capable of adapting to change.

Political Parties are not mentioned in the Constitution.  In his first term President George Washington appointed a Cabinet, a team of assistants and advisers, setting a precedent. The first Cabinet positions were Secretary of State (Thomas Jefferson), Secretary of Treasury (Alexander Hamilton), and Secretary of War (General Edmund Randolph).  Jefferson’s political ideology differed from that of Hamilton and Adams, which caused division.  In his Farewell Address to Congress, George Washington warned against forming political parties.

A political party is like a club formed in support of ideology.  Each club establishes its own rules.  Its purpose is to select and gain the election of candidates that will represent party ideology.  The rules do not have to be democratic. Political parties are divisive, so our country is best served when there is moderate representation from both sides. A pendulum has been used to demonstrate the historic tendency of our electorate to swing back and forth between liberalism and conservatism. When the movement stays in the center there is common ground.  When a party, or both parties, choose to elect only extremists we have tribalism and gridlock.




An Alert and Knowledgeable Citizenry


Thomas Jefferson warned that “An educated citizenry is vital to our survival as a free people” in the 18th century.  President Washington called for an “alert and knowledgeable citizenry” in his Farewell Address.  Necessary for Democracy to succeed in the 21st Century is an educated and participating citizenry. These ideas are most important in the 21st century. The “Information Age” presents us with the challenge of discerning the truth among many sources of information.

Although the educational level of the United States citizenry has increased, its knowledge of liberal arts has not.  Liberal Arts is the study of humanities which includes political science, history and ethics. American education experienced an important shift in its curriculum in the 20th century.  The Soviet Union launched Sputnik, an unmanned space craft, and soon after launched a manned capsule.  The Soviet Union was winning the space race. Shocked, in response the United States improved its science curriculum all the way from kindergarten to institutions of higher learning. This increased class-time spent on studying sciences and decreased time spent on civics, history and ethics. Students in higher education needed to declare their major early in their program.  Concentrating in sciences gave them fewer options for humanities.

I am a retired history teacher who has lived through two-thirds of the 20th century and 17 years of the 21st. Toward the end of my teaching career critical thinking and analysis was stressed in teaching history.  With this in mind, I could not help but be inspired by the recent activism of the Parkland students and the millions of young people who marched all over the world for issues in which they believe.  Whether a person shares their beliefs or not we have to appreciate their understanding of their Democratic right to assemble and protest in a peaceful manner. Kudos to their teachers who have taught them well. These young people have used the communication tools of their generation in an attempt to bring about change.

In the 18th century Jefferson and Hamilton, the political leaders of our original two party system, used pamphlets and newspaper articles to get their ideas in front of other people.  Communication equals transportation and today we have cell phones and the internet to carry information instead of horses.  The Parkland students’ protest went global.  Along with marching they are registering new voters.

My desire to participate and educate is still strong.  I also a hunger to be relevant in the 21st century.  Knowledge is power.   Education is a lifelong process.  Concerns about the present political climate motivated us to participate by writing a series of blogs that analyze our political system as it is operated under THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES.

The “Center Will Hold” is our name.   The idiom “the truth is in the middle” is based on Aristotle’s philosophy “the golden middle way is the desirable middle between two”.  Facts are the basis of truth.  Opinion is personal interpretation of facts.  Alternative reality is a misnomer. There is just reality.  Future articles will present political and historical facts followed by analysis and opinion.

Authors:   An octogenarian born at the height of The Great Depression.
Education: BA in History and lifelong experience.

A Generation X niece who votes.
Education: BA in Political Science and a bit of experience.

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