All About Politics: Trump, Swing States, a Democratic Senate in 2017

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Among other states, Virginia and Utah are in play for 2016.
Among other states, Virginia and Utah are in play for 2016.

Here is one last delicious leftover from the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

Michael Barone, longtime D.C. resident, truly an expert on American politics, sees me on the floor in Philadelphia and greets me with these words: “Statehood never. If you don’t like it, move to Maryland or Virginia.” Comment delivered with a pronounced snarl on face, followed by a brisk walk away. Obviously having a bad day or a bad year or a bad life. Used to respect and admire him. No longer. Nasty and so unnecessary. As John Riggins said famously to Supreme Court Justic Sandra Day O’Connor, “Lighten up.”

Now, back to today’s real world.

Trump: Totally off the wall. His latest remarks: “Although the Second Amendment people. Maybe there is. I don’t know.” Referring to Hillary Clinton picking Federal judges and what course citizens could take if displeased. Was he suggesting violence against Clinton? Who knows? His command of the English language is so poor and contorted that mostly everything he says is open to various interpretation. Half of the time, I don’t think he knows what he is trying to say.

GOP is nowhere to be found: What is definitely happening is that well-known prominent Republicans are not only denouncing him and his views but lending their names to pro-Hillary groups. That really hurts and sways GOP lifers, who otherwise would hold their nose and vote for Trump.

Here are some swing states to watch.

Virginia seems to be trending toward Clinton. The pick of Kaine surely helped her. Watch Loudoun and Prince William Counties on election night (Nov. 8). They are bellwethers not only for the state but for the country.

Doug Wilder, 85-year-old former Virginia governor, supports Rep. Bobby Scott for U.S. Senate — if Dems win and Gov. Terry McAuliffe gets to pick successor. But don’t rule out Rep. Don Beyer, former lieutenant governor, who lost to Jim Gilmore and then was Ambassador to Switzerland. Beyer would be a great choice for northern Virginia. It’s too bad that Mark Warner is also from the region; that hurts Beyer’s chances. He is a very attractive pol in every regard. Smart and honorable.

Rep. Gerry Connolly, affable, experienced and dedicated to public service, would be great as well, but he too lives in northern Virginia. Wilder has ruled himself out. But I’m not so sure he wouldn’t like to be coaxed back in. He would be a “caretaker,” but I would love to see him opining on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

North Carolina: Dems definitely think they have a shot there. Obama barely won it in 2008, but lost it in 2012. They had their convention in Charlotte in 2012, but it didn’t help. Watch the Senate race. Republican Richard Burr might be in trouble.

Arizona and Georgia and, believe it or not, Utah: Bill Clinton won Arizona in 1996. That’s the last time Dems won the state. Definitely in play this time. Large Hispanic population and growing. In Arizona, Sen. John McCain is fighting for his political life.

Georgia: Clinton won in 1992, but the Dems haven’t won since. Large African American population. If Trump starts spending time there, that means trouble for him. It should be reliably Republican.

Utah: Trump lost state by 50 points in primary. Has been the most GOP state in presidential elections. In 2004, George W. Bush got 75 percent of the vote against John Kerry. Perot even did better than Kerry and finished second that year. But this year, Utahns (local usage) so detest Trump that the state unbelievably is in play. Some polls show Clinton tied there.

As I said before, watch closely where the candidate goes. If the Republican is spending time in these above-mentioned states, that means he is in big trouble.

Paul Ryan: The House Speaker won a big victory. I believe Trump’s early non-endorsement will hurt him in the Badger state. Incumbent GOP Senator Ron Johnson will lose to Russ Feingold. This is a rematch. (Kirk will lose in Illinois.) Dems need just four seats to take over the Senate, if Clinton wins. Will talk more about other states later. But right now: See a Democratic Senate in 2017.

Back to D.C.: The sentencing of Jeff Thompson was supposed to be this Friday. Now postponed. Prosecution asking only for six-months home detention and 1,200 hours of community service. Outrageous! Judge Kollar-Kotelly could lock him up for two years. Let’s see what she does.

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