While the U.S. Supreme Court grapples with the question of ending partisan gerrymandering of House seats, little attention is paid to the truly undemocratic Senate where each state, regardless of population, has two senators, the result of the Connecticut Compromise between the large states which wanted equal representation in Congress based on population, and the smaller states that worried about losing autonomy to the larger states. The undemocratic nature of the Senate offended many of the framers but it was necessary in order to obtain ratification of the Constituion by the states. It was a compromise of political expediency that has long since outlived its purpose.
America has developed from a rural agrarian society in 1787 to an urban population overwhelmingly concentrated in large metropolitan cities. This has resulted in the United States now being a non-majoritarian democracy, in which small rural states weild a disproportionate share of political power over the majority living in more populous states.
E.J. Dionne Jr., Norman J. Ornstein and Thomas E. Mann,the authors of “One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet-Deported,” explain this dynamic in an op-ed today, Why the majority keeps losing on guns:
Why does our political system make it impossible even to consider solutions to gun violence? After the massacre in Las Vegas that has so far taken nearly 60 lives and left more than 500 injured, the first reaction of the many politicians who carry water for the gun lobby was to declare it “premature” to discuss measures to keep guns out of the wrong hands.
The “premature” word echoed from President Trump’s White House on down, and those who used it were really saying that Congress would never enact even modest efforts to prevent mass shootings. This is damning evidence of the stranglehold that far-right lobbies have on today’s Republicans, who extol law and order except when maintaining it requires confronting the National Rifle Association.
But something else is at work here. As we argue in our book, “One Nation After Trump,” the United States is now a non-majoritarian democracy. If that sounds like a contradiction in terms, that’s because it is. Claims that our republic is democratic are undermined by a system that vastly overrepresents the interests of rural areas and small states. This leaves the large share of Americans in metropolitan areas with limited influence over national policy. Nowhere is the imbalance more dramatic or destructive than on the issue of gun control.
Evil GOP bastard Mitch McConnell has scheduled a vote on Tuesday in his last ditch strategy to repeal Obamacare:
Talking is no longer working. It’s time to vote.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is taking the rare step of forcing his members to take a tough vote on an Obamacare repeal bill, H.R. 1628 (115), that is on track to fail, making them own their votes.
Senior Senate Republicans believe the high-profile vote expected Tuesday — followed by conservative backlash over the GOP’s failure to fulfill its seven-year campaign pledge — might provoke enough heat from the base to bring senators back to the negotiating table.
It seems like a long shot. But McConnell may be playing the long game — making his members walk the plank not as an act of desperation but as part of a strategy that just might work. He’s used it before to get what he wants.
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If the strategy doesn’t bring senators back to the table, the vote could demarcate a decisive end to at least the public Obamacare repeal debate for some time. That would allow the Senate, which has already spent two months trying to dismantle and replace the health law, to move on and notch some legislative wins [or not]. Many are more than ready to turn to other priorities, like tax reform.
Still, holding a doomed vote is unusual for McConnell, who typically goes to great lengths to protect his members from politically difficult votes.
“Everybody has to be held personally accountable,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who has been furiously whipping the repeal effort. “Everybody is a good enough politician that if they’ve got a reason to justify their vote, they’ll be able to sell that.”
The vote Tuesday will be to start debate on Obamacare repeal. But it is unclear as of now which bill would serve as the actual policy — an extremely unusual move. McConnell said earlier this week the Senate would vote on a repeat of a 2015 bill that repealed much of the health care law. Since then, senators have floated the idea of voting on multiple options, including repeal, the Senate’s repeal-and-replace measure or a combination of these and other policies.
That would be moot if the Senate doesn’t even vote to start debate.
Posted in AZBlueMeanie, Congress, Corruption, Economics, GOP War On..., Healthcare, Legislation, Party Politics, President, Scandals, Taxes
Tagged ahcccs, health insurance, Medicaid, Obamacare, U.S. Senate
The breaking news last night is that Senator John McCain’s surgery last week to remove a blood cot in his brain came back with a biopsy result that he has brain cancer. Sen. John McCain has brain tumor, doctors say:
U. S. Senator John McCain
Sen. John McCain revealed Wednesday that he has a primary brain tumor. The cancer was discovered during cranial surgery last week to remove a blood clot above his left eye.
In a statement from Mayo Clinic, McCain’s doctors described the tumor as a glioblastoma.
The American Brain Tumor Association describes glioblastoma tumors as typically malignant and difficult to treat because they contain many types of cells.
“It’s a very aggressive tumor,” said Dr. Joseph Zabramski, a neurosurgeon at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix not involved in McCain’s treatment. “In general, it is a tumor that has relentless force. You can slow it down but not stop it.”
The median survival rate for the most common type of glioblastoma is 14.6 months, according to the association. About 30 percent of patients live two years with glioblastomas.
The 80-year-old McCain, R-Ariz., is reviewing treatment options with his family. Those could include a combination of chemotherapy and radiation, according to the Mayo statement.
The Zombie Trumpcare bill, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) which narrowly passed the House this month, would increase the projected number of people without health insurance by 14 million next year, would reach 19 million by 2020, and 23 million in 2026, according to a new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report (.pdf) released on Wednesday.
The CBO issued two reports on earlier versions of the House bill in March. Both said that the legislation would increase the number of uninsured by 14 million next year and by 24 million within a decade, compared with the current law.
The New York Times reports, G.O.P. Health Bill Would Leave 23 Million More Uninsured in a Decade, C.B.O. Says:
The AHCA would reduce the federal deficit by $119 billion over a decade, less than the $150 billion in savings projected in late March for an earlier version of the bill [Trumpcare 2.0]. And in states that seek waivers from rules mandating essential health coverage, the new law could make insurance economically out of reach for some sick consumers.
CBO projects premiums would increase by an average of about 20 percent in 2018 and 5 percent in 2019. “Starting in 2020, however, average premiums would depend in part on any waivers granted to states and on how those waivers were implemented and in part on what share of the funding available from the Patient and Stte Stability Fund was applied to premium rediction.”
“People living in states modifying the essential health benefits (EHBs) who used services or benefits no longer included in the EHBs woud experience substantial increases in out-of-pocket spending on health care or would choose to forgo the services.”
Source: The three numbers you need to understand the CBO report on Republicans’ health-care bill.
“Premiums would vary significantly according to health status and the types of benefits provided, and less healthy people would face extremely high premiums,” the budget office concluded.
Posted in AZBlueMeanie, Budgets, Congress, Corruption, Economics, Ethics, GOP War On..., Healthcare, Legislation, Party Politics, Scandals, Taxes
Tagged Congressional Budget Office, health insurance, Obamacare, Tyranny, U.S. Senate
Deedra Abboud, a Phoenix attorney and community activist, on Monday announced that she will seek the 2018 Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. The Arizona Republic reports, Democrat Deedra Abboud announces U.S. Senate bid:
Abboud, 45, formally launched her candidacy at a brief event with supporters at the Japanese Friendship Garden in downtown Phoenix.
“The journey that I have decided to take on today is not just for the people who look like me or sound like me, but for all Arizonans,” Abboud told onlookers. “Because we cannot continue to go backwards on this path that weakens our children’s education, strips health care from people who need it the most, locking up and breaking up families, and, once again, empowering big banks that caused the worst housing crisis in Arizona.
“I am with the growing majority of Arizonans who know that anger and resistance can only take us so far,” she added. “We need to unite to move our families forward. We need to unite to move Arizona forward. We need to unite to move America forward.”
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Abboud has been registered to vote as an independent, but a campaign spokesman said she re-registered as a Democrat Monday in advance of filing official candidacy papers.
The septuagenarian Ninja Turtle, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), is paving the way for the Senate showdown over Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination to come to a head on Thursday. McConnell tees up Thursday Supreme Court showdown:
The Republican leader filed cloture on President Trump’s pick Tuesday evening, setting up an initial vote for Thursday.
McConnell urged Democrats earlier Tuesday to back down from their filibuster threat, saying they could still “do the right thing.”
“History will be watching,” he said from the Senate floor. “And the future of the Senate will hang on their choice.”
Wow. This is exactly the same thing as the serial killer who blames the cops for his murders, “stop me before I kill again!”
This is the man who engaged in total obstruction against President Obama, abusing the Senate filibuster rules. McConnell unleashed nearly 500 filibusters and spent years preventing Republicans from working with Democrats, regardless of the substance of a given issue, in pursuit of his goal of denying President Obama a second term. When four seats opened up on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, McConnell said that the court was too large and the seats should not be filled. He convinced his GOP caucus to filibuster any and all nominees to serve on the nation’s second most important court, in perpetuity and without any regard for the qualifications of individual candidates. He did the same with other vacancies in the federal courts, creating a judicial crisis in backlogged cases. Within hours after Justice Antonin Scalia died, McConnell announced that no nominee from President Obama would receive consideration in the Senate, let alone a confirmation hearing and vote. Mitch McConnell is the villain here.
Posted in Arizona Congressional Delegation, AZBlueMeanie, Congress, Constitution, Corruption, Courts, Ethics, GOP War On..., McCain, Party Politics, President, Scandals
Tagged Filibuster, U.S. Senate