We Must Win the Senate!

Six months from today we will be learning the results of the 2018 midterm elections. This is one of the most important elections in my lifetime. The future of the Republic hangs in the balance.

Why we must win a majority in the Senate.

The Senate has three powers that the House does not have:
1. To confirm or not the President’s appointments to the judicial and executive branch,
2. To ratify or not treaties and
3. To convict or not on impeachment, conviction requiring a 2/3rds majority.
In addition, the Senate can block measures coming from the House of representatives.

Trump is currently appointing scores of young, far right, incompetent white males (rarely women) to the federal judiciary at the district and appellate levels, including the Supreme Court. These are lifetime appointments. Judges can only be removed by impeachment and conviction. He is also appointing singularly unqualified, corrupt individuals to executive positions. The only way to stop this is for Democrats to win a majority in the Senate.

Party does matter.

There are votes in the Senate which are always along party lines, even if there are party members who often vote with the opposition. The first such vote determines which party’s leader is the Senate majority leader. The Senate majority leader names the chairs of Senate committees and a majority of each committee’s membership. The Senate majority leader also determines what will come to the floor for debate and vote. In the past four years we have seen in the past four years what this means when Mitch McConnell has been the majority leader. He blocked confirmation of Judge Garland to the Supreme Court, giving us Gorsuch instead. He has blocked scores of Obama’s lower court appointments, which are now being filled with inappropriate appointments by Trump.

Arithmetic matters.

There are 100 Senators, a majority being 51. If both parties have 50 Senators, Vice President Pence, a right-wing, evangelical Republican, casts the deciding vote to break the tie. Currently there are 51 Republicans, 47 Democrats and 2 Independents who caucus with the Democrats.

On November 6, 2018 – less than six months from today, we will elect 34 Senators. 24 of those seats are currently held by Democrats, 2 by Independents and 8 by Republicans. To win a majority Democrats must hold all 24 seats held by Democrats, the two seats held by Independents and flip 2 or more seats currently held by Republicans. For every one of the 26 seats held by Democrats or Independents that the Republicans flip, Democrats must flip a Republican seat. That is a big challenge, as several of those Democratic Senators are from states that Trump carried in 2016.

Moral of this situation.
Democrats must focus on the 2018 midterm election. We do not have the luxury of speculation on the 2020 elections or rehashing the 2016 election. We do not enjoy the luxury of ideological purity. We do not enjoy the luxury of internecine bickering and division. UNITED WE STAND; DIVIDED WE FALL. And the Republic stands or falls with us.

Copyright © 2018 Kenneth Peck