The Political Evolution of the States, Mapped Part X

This is it, and thank heavens for I am done with this! I was getting tired of it.

Louisiana

Louisiana MC-Index

Louisiana starts in the 1930s as the state of Huey Long and is, as a state of the former Confederacy, uniformly Democratic. However, the Long era does not last forever and conservatives start rising in the state as well as conservatism growing among legislators. The great leap happens with the 1942 midterms, after which many Southern Democrats become significantly more conservative. However, there is a pushback in the 1950s to this conservatism, partly on account of Eisenhower’s agricultural policy. The 1960s sees a massive increase in conservatism, and conservatism reaches its height in the 20th century during the Nixon Administration. The Republican Party isn’t a significant force in the state yet, but in the 1980s they begin to rise but holding a Senate seat continues to evade them throughout the 20th century. Today, the state has become a solid Republican state but can still elect Democratic governors.

MC-Index for the Current Congress Thus Far: 78

New Hampshire

New Hampshire MC-Index

For a long time, New Hampshire was a Republican holdout in New England and it still remains the least Democratic, but its no longer the stronghold it once was. Back in the day, however, some pretty staunch conservatives could get elected to the Senate, such as Gordon J. Humphrey and Bob Smith. However, despite the high MC-Index scores in the 1990s, this was the decade that began the process of Democrats becoming competitive, which ultimately produced Congressional results in 2006. Today both Senate and House seats are held by Democrats. Republicans will likely be competitive in the 1st district this year but the Senate seat held by Jeanne Shaheen will be a tough one for Republicans to win, as she was a popular governor and now senator.

MC-Index for the Current Congress Thus Far: 5

New Jersey

New Jersey MC-Index

New Jersey was once much more Republican than now and even some of its Democrats were not party-liners: A. Harry Moore, the state’s Democrat in the Senate in 1935, voted against Social Security. However, the 1948 election produced Congressional victories in the House for the Democrats, including permanent ones in the 10th and 11th districts. The state’s Republicans proceeded to moderate their politics and the state became a bit of a home for liberal to moderate Republicans, the foremost of these being Senator Clifford Case, who became very liberal in his later career in the 1960s and 1970s. Ever since his last reelection in 1972, no Republican has been elected to the Senate by the people of New Jersey as the state’s Democratic registration swelled and Republicans became a milquetoast force. Chris Christie was the most encouraging phenomenon for Republicans in the 2010s, but his governorship ended with toilet bowl approval ratings after the “Bridgegate” scandal. Today Republicans hold only two House seats from the state, and although they may win some of the seats they lost back in the 2020 elections, Republicans are still far outpaced in voter registration and the heavily taxed and unionized nature of the state is bad for them.

MC-Index for the Current Congress Thus Far: 8

New York

New York MC-Index

New York is the state of FDR, and although Democrats became ascendant in the 1930s, upstate New York was for the most part unified in its Republicanism, a phenomenon you see a bit less of today. Upstate was quite solid up until the end of the 1950s and moderate to liberal Republicans could even get elected to the Senate. The state for a long time has had a Democratic advantage and the last time the state elected a Republican senator was in 1992, and the last time the state elected a Republican governor was in 2002. New York is yet another state that has high levels of unionization and taxes, bad factors for Republicans.

MC-Index for the Current Congress Thus Far: 16

South Carolina

South Carolina MC-Index

 

For the final state, it is the state of Strom Thurmond. Initially the elected officials of the state are for the most part New Dealers but conservatism, like in other places in the South, starts to rise towards the late 1930s and the 1940s. “Cotton Ed” Smith was a leading example of such a change, as he was at one point a progressive but turned against the New Deal after FDR tried to end his career in 1938. In 1948, the state voted for its favorite son candidate, Strom Thurmond, the Dixiecrat nominee, but the state didn’t start to remain above 50 in score until 1957. In 1964, the state voted for Goldwater and conservatism rose again, but the height of this in the 20th century, like with Louisiana, was during the Nixon Administration. The state has pretty much become the typical Southern state, although there has been promise for Democrats in the suburbs with the 1st district electing a Democrat in 2018, but this may only be temporary as the district had previously been held by the GOP since 1981.

MC-Index for the Current Congress Thus Far: 73

 

 

MC-Index for the 76th Congress (1939-1940)

I have from time to time written about my political ratings, known as the MC-Index (Mike’s Conservative Index) and I recently posted one for 2019. However, I decided for the first time to post one that was in the past…eighty years in the past. This one covers the Congress right after the Roosevelt backlash midterm of 1938, which was in response to the “Roosevelt Recession”, a downturn that occurred during the Great Depression. Also behind this midterm was some ill-advised measures pushed by FDR to expand his own power such as the “court packing plan” and an executive reorganization bill that detractors called the “dictator bill” for its expansion of Roosevelt’s authority.

Scores of the MC-Index are between 0-100, with this session counting forty ideologically telling votes for each legislative house.

Key for Scorecard:

+: Vote favors the conservative position. With an underline means didn’t vote, but was paired or expressed a view in favor.

-:  Vote is against the conservative position. With an underline means didn’t vote, but was paired or expressed a view against.

?: Didn’t cast a vote or have a known view.

Descriptions of Votes Scored for 76th Congress

76th Congress MC-Index Roll Calls

MC-Index Scorecard for 76th Congress

1939-40 MC-Index

 

The Political Evolution of the States, Mapped Part IX

This time, I am covering more of the South. Specifically, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.

Arkansas

Arkansas MC-Index

This state was one of the latecomers among the South to the Republicans and despite an increasing cultural conservatism they continued to elect Democrats like Senators Dale Bumpers and David Pryor, who were not terribly inclined to conservatism to say the least. The state’s preference for electing Democrats to federal office (save the presidency) persisted until 2010, and today it is one of the most conservative of the Southern states as it shed its longstanding affiliation with the Democrats.

MC-Index for the Current Congress Thus Far: 82

Florida

Florida MC-Index

Ah, Florida. Although one of the classic swing states, it wasn’t always this way. The Republicans didn’t manage to get a foothold on the Congressional level until the 1950s (the last time they had any presence was in the 1880s). The state grew increasingly conservative during World War II, but the Democrats have, unlike other Southern states, managed to maintain a significant presence given the abundance of urban areas. Trump barely won the state in 2016, but the 2018 election results should be somewhat encouraging for the GOP. Although they lost two House seats, they gained a Senate seat and continued to hold the governorship. The state’s under 50 MC-Index for this session can be attributed to the increasing liberalism of the state’s Democrats, while the state’s Republicans are a bit wider in ideological diversity.

MC-Index for the Current Congress Thus Far: 47

Georgia

Georgia MC-Index

Among Southern states, Georgia has one of the most solid Democratic histories. They didn’t vote for a Republican candidate for president until 1964, but their politics grew more conservative during the 1930s and 1940s. However, battles between the progressive and conservative wings of the party persisted, with many of Georgia’s elected officials taking a more middling route. However, the 1960s did much for conservatism in the state and portended the state’s solid turn to the GOP in the 1990s. Although Democrats have some bullish feelings about this state, its going to be hard to make this state another Virginia given that the D.C. suburbs have a lot more investment in the maintenance of a large federal government than do, say, the Atlanta suburbs.

MC-Index for the Current Congress Thus Far: 62

Oklahoma

Oklahoma MC-Index

Oklahoma was a little slow to firmly embrace conservatism as the 1950s were good for the state’s Democratic Party, which didn’t tend to be as conservative as that of other states in the region. However, the 1960s started a trend to conservatism that somewhat receded into a middling plateau in the 1980s and early 1990s, but the Republican Revolution of 1994 permanently placed this state solidly in the GOP column on a Congressional level. Although there was a shocking win in the Oklahoma City district for a Democrat in 2018, this was due to a deluge of ad funds from Michael Bloomberg and may not be able to be repeated in 2020.

MC-Index for the Current Congress Thus Far: 79

Tennessee

Tennessee MC-Index

Among the Southern states, the GOP never truly was locked out of Tennessee’s politics, as Eastern Tennessee historically went against the grain of the state, siding with the Union during the Civil War and supporting abolition of slavery. Thus, the state’s 1st (Johnson City) and 2nd districts (Knoxville) have been in the GOP column in times good and bad. Like with Oklahoma, progressivism was stronger in Tennessee’s Democrats than those of other states and held up until the 1960s, when Republicans started to expand beyond East Tennessee. Like with Oklahoma, the Republican Revolution proved a boon to the state’s Republicans, but there were some moderate-to-liberal Democrats who managed to hold on until 2010, when their districts looked so bad for them they chose to retire. Both of Tennessee’s Senate seats have been held by Republicans since 1995 and it doesn’t look like it will go another way any time soon. This state, like Missouri, is reflective of the urban-rural divide, with Democrats only holding the House seats based in Nashville and Memphis.

MC-Index for the Current Congress Thus Far: 73

 

 

Seattle’s Response to the Influenza Pandemic

The 39th Regiment marches down 2nd Ave. with their flu masks on, passing Cheasty’s Haberdashery, ca. October/November 1918.

As coronavirus spreads throughout the world, the United States has been taking increasingly strong measures to slow and one can hope, halt its spread. We haven’t had a time like this since the 1918 influenza pandemic, and one city that did quite well compared to others in its response was Seattle.

Although Seattle has recently proven one of the worst examples of responsible citizenry on the prevention of disease as its anti-vaccine movement is strong thanks partly to the permissive laws on vaccine exemptions that were on the books until 2019, in 1918 the city became a model in its handling of the deadliest flu pandemic in modern history. This was thanks to the efforts of Mayor Ole Hansen and the Commissioner of Health Dr. J.S. McBride as well as the cooperation of Seattle’s citizens. As influenza ravaged the east, Hansen and McBride knew that the city would not be so fortunate as to dodge it. On October 5th, they banned dances and public gatherings and closed theaters, churches, and schools. Stores could only be open between 10 AM and 3 PM to prevent crowding. There were also penalties for failing to wear a mask on public transportation and among the infected, a strict quarantine regime was implemented.

On November 12th, the restrictions were lifted as the pandemic was on the wane. Although the employment of masks with six layers of gauze in public didn’t prove helpful for preventing influenza and 1441 people still died in the city, its death rate was much less than that of similar sized cities: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, suffered 4500 deaths. Between 500,000 and 675,000 nationwide perished, the result being the average life expectancy in the U.S. falling by twelve years. 50 million worldwide died, a greater toll on life than World War I, at around 40 million, had been. Coronavirus is proving more difficult to contain as people can have it for up to two weeks (but the norm is five days) without suffering symptoms, thus some of the more extreme measures such as lockdowns for weeks being implemented in six Northern California counties, one of which I am a resident.

The Political Evolution of the States, Mapped Part VIII

Today I am covering battleground states, namely Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Indiana

Indiana MC-Index

Indiana, the home of Vice President Mike Pence, at one time was more likely to go Democratic than some of its neighbors but now the opposite is true. This was one of the states in which the backlash to FDR’s presidency was major and this was partly due to his foreign policy: in 1940 leading administration defender Sherman Minton lost reelection to the Senate in part because of his vote for the peacetime draft. The backlash period lasts from 1939 to 1959, with the Democrats only temporarily gaining ground in the 1948 election. However, the late 1950s brought about a rise in liberalism in the Midwest and the state became more competitive for Democrats. By 1963, both its senators were Democrats and this remained the state of affairs until the 1976 election. Democrats held a fair number of House seats until the Republican Revolution of 1994, and right now the state is pretty close to what it was in the 1950s as a Republican leaning state.

MC-Index for the Current Congress Thus Far: 68

Iowa

Iowa MC-Index

Iowa had a long history as a staunchly Republican state. It was a first since before the Civil War when Democrat Daniel Steck won election to the Senate in 1926, but the New Deal opened up opportunities for Democrats in the state, and from 1937 to 1943 even both their senators were Democrats. However, Iowa started reverting back to form with the 1938 midterms and from 1943 to 1957 no Democrat represented Iowa in the House. However, like with the rest of the Midwest, the late 1950s proved the start of better times for Democrats, and in Iowa’s case, they got even better in the 1970s. After the 1972 election, both the state’s senators were liberal Democrats. Although Republicans had a resurgence, Democratic strength in the state was sufficient for its voters to favor Michael Dukakis over George H.W. Bush in 1988. Today, despite Democrats winning two House seats in the 2018 election which depresses the average MC-Index for this Congress, the state seems to have a slight Republican lean given its election of a Republican governor, having two Republican senators, and recent polling that shows Trump doing quite well in the state.

MC-Index for the Current Congress Thus Far: 47

Michigan

Michigan MC-Index

Michigan, like Iowa, had a history as a staunchly Republican state. Even in the Great Depression, its voters elected Republican Senator Arthur Vandenberg, a known foe of the New Deal. The state was also one of the hotbeds of non-interventionism and voted for Willkie in 1940. However, with the growing power of auto unions in the state, it eventually shifted in a more Democratic direction by the late 1950s. Although the 2016 election in the state was quite a shocker and the Republicans have recruited a strong pick for the 2020 Senate race, this seems one of the most likely states to swing back to the Democratic column this year and their candidate for the Senate is currently an underdog. However, Michigan may surprise yet again.

MC-Index for the Current Congress Thus Far: 36

Ohio

Ohio MC-Index

Although Ohio doesn’t have as staunchly a Republican history in its past as some of the other states, many big Republican names came from the state, McKinley and Taft among them. Outside of the Great Depression, the low point of conservatism in the state was in the 1980s as strange as that seems. Both its senators from 1977 to 1995 were liberal Democrats in John Glenn and Howard Metzenbaum, with the latter being a bit more liberal than the former. Recent elections, however, have been looking good for Republicans. In 2016, Trump beat Clinton by eight points in the state and in 2018 not only did they not lose any House seats in a tough year, they held onto the governorship even though polls were not looking that good for them and their candidate for the Senate performed better than expected against incumbent Sherrod Brown. Ohio has traditionally been a bellwether state for presidential elections, but given recent elections it may really be slipping away from the Democrats.

MC-Index for the Current Congress Thus Far: 60

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania MC-Index

Pennsylvania is yet another state to have a doggedly Republican history and a significant part of this was the fact that Philadelphia was from the Civil War to 1951 dominated by a Republican political machine. This machine, however, began to show cracks during the Great Depression and it was a coup for Democrats when in 1934 they succeeded in electing Joseph Guffey to the Senate, the first time this had happened in sixty years. Democrats also were getting elected to Congress from the Philadelphia districts, with 1946 the last time Republicans won all of those districts. In 1951, Mayor Barney Samuel chose not to run for reelection and Democrat Joseph S. Clark ran on a reform platform. He won with 58% of the vote and Philadelphia has been under Democratic rule ever since. The Republican Party in the state also grew more moderate, and perhaps their selection of moderate to liberal candidates was why they could often win Senate elections despite the state’s increasingly Democratic presidential voting behavior (particularly notable is Humphrey winning the state in 1968) with candidates such as Hugh Scott, Richard Schweiker, Henry J. Heinz III, and Arlen Specter. The state has changed somewhat in this respect, as Republicans got tired of electing moderate to liberal politicians. The state was another one of the surprises of the 2016 election, although like Michigan, it is one of the more likely ones to move back into the Democratic column. The state currently has liberal Democrat Bob Casey and conservative Republican Pat Toomey in the Senate, so the state is very much divided.

MC-Index for the Current Congress Thus Far: 43

Mike’s Conservative Index, 2019

The time has come for an evaluation of last year in Congress.

The House

The House under San Francisco liberal Nancy Pelosi pushed through a mess of Democratic wish list items that had zero chance of surviving Senate Majority Leader Mitch “The Grim Reaper” McConnell, and conservatives should hope it stays that way so long as the Democrats have a majority in the House. The left may call this “obstruction”, but conservatives should take after the late President Coolidge in his view that it is better to stop bad bills than it is to pass good ones. Among the most notable of them are a $15 minimum wage, gun control legislation, net neutrality, an overly federal voting rights bill that aims to ban voter ID laws, and the Equality Act, which are all disastrous measures be they for employment rates and consumer prices, the strength of the Second Amendment, internet freedom, the integrity of federalism, and giving legal force to a purely subjective definition of gender. While it would not be a surprise if not all these measures would pass in their current forms under unified Democratic government, we’d best not take that risk. Some highlights of how extremely liberal the Democratic Party has become if their public statements have not made it clear enough:

  1. Only six Democrats voted against the $15 minimum wage. Until very recently a government-mandated “living wage” was a fringe idea only enacted in urban Democratic strongholds and to deleterious effect on employment and small business.
  2. No Democrats voted against the Equality Act, which legally protects the subjective definitions of male and female genders that LGBT activist organizations like GLAAD want.
  3. No Democrats voted against the Voting Rights Advancement Act, which as written could potentially invalidate state voter ID laws. Indeed, this is the hope of its primary sponsor, Terri Sewell (D-Ala.).

Also, many of the votes I counted were NOT final passage votes, as many of these fell under strictly party lines and I wanted to highlight some differences within the Republican and Democratic parties that would be missed with counting final votes.

The Squad

The Squad’s scores, particularly Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, may come off as a little high, and by that I mean double digits. While the four women like to posture as the most left-wing people in the House, they have on a few occasions taken positions that align with conservative Republican stances. For instance, three of them voted against the Export-Import Bank reauthorization and AOC opposed the December budget deals as well as the Democratic state and local tax deductions bill.

Impeachment

Legislators are marked for if they voted for or against the impeachment of President Donald Trump. While what he did was not “perfect” or right, it is insufficient for impeachment, especially for a president who stands as a bulwark against corrosive cultural leftism and the threat of socialism. We must also consider that other presidents have engaged in behaviors their critics derided as an “abuse of power”, yet stayed in office, including the previous one when he made recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board when the Senate was not in recess, as was ruled unanimously by the Supreme Court in NLRB v. Noel Canning (2014).

The Senate

The Senate is a mixed picture under Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). On one hand, he has performed yeoman work for conservative judicial nominations and this, more than anything else, will serve as the legacy of his leadership. Indeed, I count five critical judicial nomination votes for 2019 to acknowledge the Senate’s efforts under his leadership. On the other hand, McConnell has accepted increases in government spending and managing to get enough Republicans behind him for this endeavor, which is most unfortunate. Thus, many Republican senators fell short on conservatism this year on questions of spending. This sort of spending is precisely what we conservatives stand against when Democratic presidents are in office, and I think it not a radical idea that we apply the same standards to Republican presidents. While some may say to wait after the election, this is unfortunately merely a nice spin on “kicking the can down the road”.

“McConnell’s Eight”

Among the senators, there are eight Republicans who voted the same way as Majority Leader McConnell: Martha McSally of Arizona, John Boozman of Arkansas, Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts of Kansas, Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven of North Dakota, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and John Thune of South Dakota. With the exception of Cramer, all scored a 74%, with Cramer getting a 73% for missing a vote. With the exception of a nomination vote, all dissents from the conservative position were on spending questions.

Standouts Among the Freshmen Senators: Braun and Hawley

Although the most talked about freshman among the Senate Republicans is Josh Hawley of Missouri for his antagonism to social media providers and their liberal bias, both he and Mike Braun of Indiana deserve special recognition for their conservatism. Hawley scores an admirable 91% for 2019 and Braun gets a 100%, one of only three senators to do so for 2019. Both senators opposed the major budget deals of the year on fiscal grounds and good on them for doing so!

Controversies Among Conservatives

Some of the inclusions among the votes will be controversial among conservatives, including counting a “nay” vote as the correct position on the defense increase portion of the December budget deal, but given the state of the deficit and national debt as well as the good health of the economy, it is more important to resist further spending than to increase military spending. Also controversial is certainly counting “nay” votes for the Bost “Buy American” Amendment and the Brindisi Amendment for buying American for stainless steel for the Department of Defense as conservative. Forcing “Buy American” provisions on the government, although popular for the image of “economic patriotism”, increases costs to the government and thus costs to the taxpayer.

“The 100 Club”: The Legislators Who Stuck With Conservatism Through Thick and Thin

House

Palmer (R-Ala.)

Gosar (R-Ariz.)

Biggs (R-Ariz.)

Schweikert (R-Ariz.)

McClintock (R-Calif.)

Buck (R-Colo.)

Hice (R-Ga.)

Emmer (R-Minn.)

Smith (R-Mo.)

Bishop (R-N.C.)

Meadows (R-N.C.)

Jordan (R-Ohio)

Davidson (R-Ohio)

Hern (R-Okla.)

Duncan (R-S.C.)

Burchett (R-Tenn.)

Gohmert (R-Tex.)

Taylor (R-Tex.)

Wright (R-Tex.)

Roy (R-Tex.)

Cloud (R-Tex.)

Cline (R-Va.)

Senate

Braun (R-Ind.)

Cruz (R-Tex.)

Lee (R-Utah)

 

House Votes for 2019

1. Federal Pay Raise

Passage of the Connolly (D-Va.) bill granting federal employees a 2.6% pay raise after the Trump Administration had halted a 2.1% cost-of-living adjustment.

Passed 259-161: D 230-0; R 29-161, 1/30/19.

Roll 64, Nay

2. Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2019

Passage of the Clyburn (D-S.C.) bill expanding the period of background checks to ten days and under certain circumstances can be expanded ten more days.

Passed 228-198: D 225-7; R 3-191, 2/28/19.

Roll 103, Nay

3. “Shareholders United” Amendment

Adoption of the Raskin (D-Md.) “Shareholders United” Amendment, the meat of the For the People Act, which prevents the expenditure of corporate funds for campaign purposes unless the corporation had established a way of determining shareholder will.

Passed 219-215: D 219-17; R 0-198, 3/7/19.

Roll 109, Nay

4. Recommit Save the Internet Act

Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) motion to recommit the Save the Internet Act, which would restore net neutrality, inserting a Republican substitute in its place.

Defeated 204-216: D 13-216; R 191-0, 4/10/19.

Roll 166, Yea

5. Engel Amendment, Climate Change Now Act

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) amendment to the Climate Change Now Act, requiring the president’s climate change plan to take into consideration regions, populations, industries, and constituencies effected by climate change.

Passed 259-166: D 230-0; R 29-166, 5/2/19.

Roll 182, Nay

6. Equality Act

Passage of the Cicilline (D-R.I.) bill, the principle impact being to add sexual orientation and gender identity to protected classes under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Passed 236-173: D 228-0; R 8-173, 5/17/19.

Roll 217, Nay

7. Banks Amendment, 14% Cut

Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) proposed an amendment cutting by 14% all non-defense and discretionary spending in appropriations bills, which would bring total spending below the Budget Control Act.

Defeated 132-302: D 1-236; R 131-66, 6/19/19.

Roll 365, Yea

8. Hice Amendment, 23.6% Cut

Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.) proposed an amendment cutting by 23.6% across the board spending so as to match the President’s budget request.

Defeated 128-304: D 1-233; R 127-71, 6/20/19.

Roll 388, Yea

9. Bost Amendment, “Buy American” for Infrastructure Projects

Rep. Mike Bost (R-Ill.) amendment, strengthening President Trump’s executive order for “Buy American” preferences in infrastructure projects.

Passed 373-51: D 227-2; R 146-49, 6/21/19.

Roll 396, Nay

10. Brindisi Amendment, Stainless Steel American Made for DoD

Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-N.Y.) amendment, requiring that stainless steel flatware procured by the Department of Defense be made in the USA. This specifically benefits a constituent business, Sherrill Manufacturing, the only remaining stainless steel flatware manufacturer in the United States.

Passed 243-187: D 219-13; R 24-173; I 0-1, 7/11/19.

Roll 441, Nay

11. Torres Amendment, Munitions List Amendment

Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) amendment, overturning a Trump Administration measure transferring oversight of firearms and ammunition exports from the State Department to the less strict Department of Commerce.

Passed 225-205: D 221-11; R 4-193; I 0-1, 7/11/19.

Roll 442, Nay

12. Amash Amendment, Eliminate Indefinite Detention Under AUMF Authority

Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.) amendment, eliminating indefinite detention for any person detained under Authorization for the Use of Military Force authority.

Defeated 187-236: D 182-50; R 4-186; I 1-0, 7/12/19.

Roll 460, Nay

13. Raise the Wage Act

Passage of the Scott (D-Va.) bill raising the federal minimum wage to $15/hr by 2025.

Passed 231-199: D 228-6; R 3-192; I 0-1, 7/18/19.

Roll 496, Nay

14. Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019

Passage of the bill increasing discretionary spending limits on both defense and domestic categories and suspending the debt limit.

Passed 284-149: D 219-16; R 65-132; I 0-1, 7/25/19.

Roll 511, Nay

15. Corporate Transparency Act of 2019

Passage of the Maloney (Carolyn) (D-N.Y.) bill requiring new and small businesses and LLCs to disclose the identities of their owners to the federal government and creating a federal database of business owners. This would increase the regulatory burden for people trying to open a business.

Passed 249-173: D 224-5; R 25-167; I 0-1, 10/22/19.

Roll 577, Nay

16. Tie Ex-Im Bank Aid to Opioid Enforcement Cooperation

Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio) amendment to the United States Export Finance Agency Act, prohibiting Ex-Im Bank assistance to nations unless they certify cooperation with the U.S. on opioid trafficking prevention.

Defeated 210-214: D 16-213; R 194-0; I 0-1, 11/15/19.

Roll 620, Yea

17. United States Export Finance Agency Act of 2019

Passage of the Waters (D-Calif.) bill reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank for ten years and increasing its lending authority from $135 billion to $175 billion. The Trump Administration opposed the bill.

Passed 235-184: D 222-4; R 13-179; I 0-1, 11/15/19.

Roll 624, Nay

18. Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2019

Passage of the Sewell (D-Ala.) bill that would not only reverse the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder (2013) but would also expand enforcement to certain practices that are alleged to disproportionately impact minority voters, which would include voter ID laws, tighter voting registration requirements, and poll closures.

Passed 228-187: D 227-0; R 1-186; I 0-1, 12/6/19.

Roll 654, Nay

19. Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2019

Passage of the Lofgren (D-Calif.) bill that provides amnesty to illegal immigrants who have worked at least part-time in agriculture over a minimum period of two years by granting them a new “Certified Agricultural Worker” visa that would require them to work four or eight additional years in agriculture depending on whether they had worked ten years illegally before they could get a green card.

Passed 260-165: D 226-3; R 34-161; I 0-1, 12/11/19.

Roll 674, Nay

20. December Spending Deal, Domestic Increase

Passage of the first part of the year end spending deal intended to avert a shutdown. This particular measure would increase domestic spending by $632 billion and includes many tacked on provisions, including a raise in the minimum age for tobacco purchases to 21 and the permanent repeal of three healthcare taxes that were part of Obamacare. $632 billion is a hefty price tag in a year in which the deficit rose by 26% and hit a seven-year high.

Passed 297-120: D 218-7; R 79-112; I 0-1, 12/17/19.

Roll 689, Nay

21. December Spending Deal, Defense Increase

Passage of the second part of the year end spending deal intended to avert a shutdown. This particular measure would increase defense spending by $738 billion, includes funds for the space force, and permits the president to shift funds for a border wall.  Although the space force and the border wall shifting portions are fine, $738 billion is a hefty price tag in a year in which the deficit rose by 26% and hit a seven-year high.

Passed 280-138: D 150-75; R 130-62; I 0-1, 12/17/19.

Roll 690, Nay

22. Agree to Article I, Trump Impeachment

Adoption of Article I of the Trump impeachment resolution, the “abuse of power” article.

Adopted 230-197: D 229-2; R 0-195; I 1-0, 12/18/19.

Roll 695, Nay

23. Restoring Tax Fairness for States and Localities Act

Passage of the Suozzi (D-N.Y.) bill lifting the $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions for two years, double the SALT deduction limit for married couples, and raising the top income tax rate from 37 to 39.6%.

Passed 218-206: D 212-16; R 6-189, I 0-1, 12/19/19.

Roll 700, Nay

Senate Votes for 2019

  1. No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion, End Debate

End debate on the Wicker (R-Miss.) bill approving a permanent ban on federal funding of abortion.

Defeated 48-47: R 46-2; D 2-43; I 0-2, 1/17/19.

Roll 7, Yea

  1. End Debate on Democratic Govt. Funding Bill, No Border Wall

Motion to end debate on the House bill to continue funding the government without provisions for a border wall.

Defeated 52-44: R 6-44; D 44-0, I 2-0, 1/24/19.

Roll 10, Nay

  1. Middle East Security Bill

Passage of the Rubio (R-Fla.) bill, a comprehensive measure that among other measures extends military aid to Israel and Jordan and permits state and local governments to divest assets from entities employing boycotts, divestments, or sanctions to influence Israel’s policies.

Passed 77-23: R 52-1; D 24-21: I 1-1, 2/5/19.

Roll 16, Yea

  1. End Debate on Abortion Survivors Protection Bill

Motion to end debate on the Sasse (R-Neb.) bill providing for penalties for failure to provide medical care to survivors of abortion.

Defeated 53-44: R 50-0; D 3-42; I 0-2, 2/25/19.

Roll 27, Yea

  1. Andrew Wheeler Nomination, Director of EPA

Confirmation of Andrew Wheeler as Director of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Confirmed 52-47: R 52-1; D 0-44; I 0-2, 2/28/19.

Roll 33, Yea

  1. Neomi J. Rao Nomination, District of Columbia Circuit Court

Confirmation of Neomi J. Rao to the District of Columbia Circuit Court. Rao had attracted controversy for her college writings on race, sexual assault, and feminism and for academic articles on Lawrence v. Texas and United States v. Windsor.

Confirmed 53-46: R 53-0; D 0-44; I 0-2, 3/13/19.

Roll 44, Yea

  1. Kimberly A. Reed Nomination, Director of Export-Import Bank

Confirmation of Kimberly A. Reed as Director of the Export-Import Bank.

Confirmed 79-17: R 36-16; D 42-0; I 1-1, 5/8/19.

Roll 100, Nay

  1. Wendy Vitter Nomination, Judicial Eastern District of Louisiana

Confirmation of Wendy Vitter, who is pro-life, to the Judicial Eastern District of Louisiana.

Passed 52-45: R 52-1; D 0-42; I 0-2, 5/16/19.

Roll 114, Yea

  1. Adopt Democratic Border Bill

Motion to adopt the House border legislation which failed to include DoD funding, failed to include costs for ICE, restored hundreds of millions in aid for El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, and included new health standards for individuals in custody.

Defeated 37-55: R 0-52; D 36-3; I 1-0, 6/26/19.

Roll 182, Nay

  1. Lee Amendment, Cap 9/11 Victims Fund at CBO Estimate

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) amendment, capping 9/11 Victims Fund at the Congressional Budget Office estimate of $10.2 billion.

Rejected 32-66: R 32-19; D 0-45; I 0-2, 7/23/19.

Roll 222, Yea

  1. Kelly Craft Nomination, Ambassador to UN

Confirmation of Ambassador to Canada Kelly Craft as Ambassador to the UN. Craft has pledged to be tough on the UN’s bias against Israel.

Confirmed 56-34: R 51-0; D 5-33; I 0-1, 7/31/19.

Roll 259, Yea

  1. Bipartisan Budget Act

Passage of the bill increasing discretionary spending limits on both defense and domestic categories and suspending the debt limit.

Passed 67-28: R 29-23; D 37-5; I 1-0, 8/1/19.

Roll 262, Nay

  1. Democratic Family Leave Package

Adopt the Schatz (D-Haw.) motion to instruct lawmakers to include the Federal Employees Paid Leave Act for federal workers in the defense spending bill, granting them 12 weeks of paid time off for infant care, ill family member, or an issue of health.

Defeated 47-48: R 4-48; D 42-0; I 1-0, 9/25/19.

Roll 305, Nay

  1. Adopt Republican Family Leave Package in Lieu of Democratic Measure

Adopt the Ernst (R-Iowa) motion to instruct lawmakers to “consider potential commonsense solutions regarding family and medical leave, including voluntary compensatory time programs and incentives through the tax code”, including a measure permitting new parents to use their Social Security funds to pay for time off.

Passed 55-39: R 51-0; D 3-39; I 1-0, 9/25/19.

Roll 307, Yea

  1. Eugene Scalia Nomination, Secretary of Labor

Confirmation of Eugene Scalia, son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin J. Scalia, as Secretary of Labor.

Confirmed 53-44: R 53-0; D 0-43; I 0-1, 9/26/19.

Roll 313, Yea

  1. Repeal Trump Rules on Clean Power

Passage of the Cardin (D-Md.) Resolution, disapproving of President Trump’s Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule, which repealed the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP). The Trump rule permits states to use “candidate technologies” to establish standards for carbon dioxide emissions and other gases released from coal power plants.

Defeated 41-53: R 1-50; D 39-3; I 1-0, 10/17/19.

Roll 324, Nay

  1. 2% Cut to Continuing Appropriations

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) proposed a 2% cut to continuing appropriations.

Defeated 24-67: R 24-25; D 0-41; I 0-1, 10/28/19.

Roll 335, Yea

  1. Disapproving Presidential Rule on Obamacare Waivers

Passage of the Warner (D-Va.) Resolution, disapproving of the Trump Administration’s rule permitting states to waive certain requirements of the Affordable Care Act, the effect being for the states that they could offer subsidies to low-cost plans.

Defeated 43-52: R 1-52; D 41-0; I 1-0, 10/30/19.

Roll 337, Nay

  1. Steven J. Menashi Nomination, Second Circuit Court

Confirmation of Steven J. Menashi to the Second Circuit Court. Menashi is a supporter of Trump’s immigration policies and a member of the Federalist Society.

Confirmed 55-45: R 51-1; D 0-39; I 0-1, 11/14/19.

Roll 356, Yea

  1. Robert J. Luck Nomination, Eleventh Circuit Court

Confirmation of Florida Supreme Court Justice Robert J. Luck to the Eleventh Circuit Court. Luck is a member of the Federalist Society.

Confirmed 64-31: R 53-0; D 11-30; I 0-1, 11/19/19.

Roll 358, Yea

  1. Lawrence VanDyke Nomination, Ninth Circuit Court

Confirmation of Lawrence VanDyke to the Ninth Circuit Court. VanDyke was subjected to a full-blown political campaign against him that alleged bigotry against LGBT individuals and a rating of “not qualified” by the ABA for alleged personal character flaws and not his legal work.

Confirmed 51-44: R 51-1; D 0-42; I 0-1, 12/11/19.

Roll 391, Yea

  1. December Spending Deal, Domestic Increase

Passage of the first part of the year end spending deal intended to avert a shutdown. This particular measure would increase domestic spending by $632 billion and includes many tacked on provisions, including a raise in the minimum age for tobacco purchases to 21 and the permanent repeal of three healthcare taxes that were part of Obamacare. $632 billion is a hefty price tag in a year in which the deficit rose by 26% and hit a seven-year high.

Passed 71-23: R 31-21; D 39-2; I 1-0, 12/19/19.

Roll 415, Nay

  1. December Spending Deal, Defense Increase

Passage of the second part of the year end spending deal intended to avert a shutdown. This particular measure would increase defense spending by $738 billion, includes funds for the space force, and permits the president to shift funds for a border wall.  Although the space force and the border wall shifting portions are fine, $738 billion is a hefty price tag in a year in which the deficit rose by 26% and hit a seven-year high.

Passed 81-11: R 46-4; D 34-7; I 1-0, 12/19/19.

Roll 428, Nay

For the Breakdown of the Votes:

2019-20 Congress(1)

The Political Evolution of the States, Mapped Part VII

Today I am rounding out the west with the states of Nevada and New Mexico as well as covering Illinois, Alaska, and Hawaii.

Alaska

Alaska MC-Index

 

Since Alaska was only admitted in 1959, its political timeline is shorter, and it was originally more willing to elect liberal Democrats than it is now. Its first delegation was entirely Democratic, with its senators being Bob Bartlett and Ernest Gruening, who had been the foremost advocates for statehood. However, as the 1960s shattered the American postwar consensus it also shattered the Democratic dominance in Alaska and in 1966 the voters elected their first Republican to Congress in Howard Pollock. After the death of Bartlett in 1968, Republican Ted Stevens was elected to the Senate, where he would serve until 2009. He became an institution in the state, particularly through his ability to deliver pork barrel projects only rivaled in the chamber by Robert Byrd (D-W.V.). The conservatism of the state was rising, and in 1973 the voters elected to the state’s only district Republican Don Young after the untimely death of incumbent Democrat Nick Begich when his airplane disappeared. Young currently serves as the Dean of the House, and himself developed a strong reputation for pork projects. The state’s alliance with the Republican Party (although a bit less so on conservatism) has been strong since 1980, when the state’s other Senate seat flipped Republican.

MC-Index for Current Congress Thus Far: 70

Hawaii

Hawaii MC-Index

 

Strangely enough, Republicans were more willing to admit Hawaii than they were Alaska and part of this was due to the state being inclined to the Republicans when it was a territory, but by its admission in 1959 this was weakening. Although in 1960 Richard Nixon almost won the state, it has since been quite a liberal state, with its voters picking the Democratic candidate in the 1968, 1980, and 1988 elections, in which the voters nationwide favored conservatives. Although the voters at the start of statehood elected a moderate Republican (Hiram Fong) as one of its senators, by 1977 the entire delegation was Democratic with only a brief interruption in said dominance by moderate Republican Pat Saiki of the 1st district. There seems to be no road in the foreseeable future for the GOP or conservatism for that matter to get a lasting foothold in the state.

MC-Index for Current Congress Thus Far: 1

Illinois

Illinois MC-Index

Ah, Illinois: the Land of Lincoln, although in his time it could be more accurately regarded as the “Land of Douglas”, as in Democrat Stephen A. Douglas. However, after the Civil War, the state developed a strong relationship with the Republican Party and its candidates often prevailed on the state and national level, and they were often able to do well even in Chicago. However, the New Deal began to change the state with the rising power of the Democratic Party in Chicago. Although the state turned against FDR’s policies during the 1940s as it was the home of many non-interventionists as well as the staunchly conservative Chicago Tribune under Colonel Robert McCormick, this wouldn’t last and the Democratic Party would only grow in the long run. The preeminent Illinoisan in the 20th Century was Republican Everett Dirksen, who made his greatest mark as senator through the power he was able to wield as Minority Leader. He was instrumental in passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 but was also concerned about the growing influence of the now staunchly Democratic Chicago under the regime of Mayor Richard Daley. Particularly, he unsuccessfully tried to stop any judicial efforts to require that state legislative reapportionment be based on population only as he believed the politics of Chicago would overwhelm downstate, as indeed they have. Although Illinois had a brief Republican bounce during the Obama Administration, it is the most solidly Democratic of the Midwest states and is not even on the radar for Republicans in the 2020 presidential election.

MC-Index for Current Congress Thus Far: 20

Nevada

Nevada MC-Index

Nevada has a history of swinging as a state from Democrat to Republican. In 1932, the voters sent packing both the state’s sole Congressman and its previously popular Republican Senator Tasker Oddie. Although from 1933 to 1947, its entire delegation was Democratic, there was a distinct floor on liberalism thanks to Senator Pat McCarran, the most influential Nevada politician in the 20th Century who reveled in his independence much to the consternation of Presidents Roosevelt and Truman. His independence was even responsible for securing mediocre Republican Senator George Malone a second term in 1952. During the 1960s, the state underwent a shift to the right but since the Reagan Administration it has become quite competitive with Republicans and Democrats meeting with success in different places: Senator Harry Reid became quite prominent and would end up leading the Senate’s Democrats for twelve years, while Republicans would govern the state from 1999 to 2019. Currently, however, the state is on a Democratic kick, with conservatism at seemingly its weakest point with the governor, both senators, and all but the 2nd district’s representative to Congress being Democrats.

MC-Index for Current Congress Thus Far: 17

New Mexico

New Mexico MC-Index

New Mexico, like Nevada, was for a time dominated by the Democrats and seems to be back in that same situation except even more Democratic. For New Mexico, from 1935 to 1962 all of its federal elected officials were Democrats. Republican Governor Edwin L. “Big Ed” Mechem tried to stay in office after losing reelection in 1962 by appointing himself to the Senate after Democrat Dennis Chavez died, but the state’s voters weren’t ready for a conservative Republican to represent them in the Senate and his vote against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 didn’t help. However, with the end of the 1960s came a growing conservatism in the state and from 1969 to 1983 both of the state’s representatives were to the right and in 1972 the voters elected to the Senate Pete Domenici, a moderate conservative, who would serve until 2009. The state hit peak conservatism from 1977 to 1983, when both senators were Republicans. Republicans did reasonably well there until the end of the Bush Administration, when the state went entirely Democratic in its delegation and Obama won the state by 15 points. Although the state had a Republican governor from 2011 to 2019, they haven’t been able to translate much success to the national level lately and now we’re back to having a full Democratic delegation.

MC-Index for Current Congress Thus Far: 6

 

 

Anti-Lynching Legislation, the Change from 1922 to 2020

On February 26, 2020, Congress passed Bobby Rush’s (D-Ill.) bill making lynching a federal crime named the Emmett Till Antilynching Act, named after a 14-year old black lynching victim in Mississippi who had been accused of suggestively whistling to the wife of one of the white perpetrators. Although violence exercised on a racial basis was made illegal federally as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, lynching is specifically added.

As a political science nerd, I took great interest in the outcome of the vote, 410-4. The vote was 222-0 on the Democratic side and 188-3 on the Republican side. four dissenters were Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), Justin Amash (I-Mich.), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), and Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.). Yoho, Amash, and Massie thought the measure federal overreach and Gohmert thought the penalties ought to be harsher. While much was made over their opposition on Twitter with some more enraged that there wasn’t unanimity than pleased with the fact that the bill got passed on such impressive margins. After all, it is a tremendous improvement over the previous times the House voted on said legislation:

Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill

Face portrait of clean-shaven man in a suit in a black-and-white photo.

Leonidas C. Dyer, whose anti-lynching bill got the first vote in Congress.

January 26, 1922

Vote: 230-120

Republican: 221-17

Democrat: 8-103

Socialist: 1-0

There are some important contexts to note in the time this bill was passed in the House. America was facing an uptick in white-on-black violence including lynchings and the horrific Tulsa Race Massacre in 1921, the worst single incident of racial violence in American history. Congressman Leonidas C. Dyer (R-Mo.) introduced this legislation but faced great resistance from the Democrats, which, especially in this session of Congress, were dominated by the South. The bill, as would happen the next two times it passed the House, died through a Southern filibuster in the Senate.

Gavagan-Wagner-Van Nuys Anti-Lynching Bill

April 15, 1937

Vote: 277-120

Republican: 75-3

Democrat: 189-117

Progressive: 8-0

Farmer-Labor: 5-0

Capitalizing on new black support, the Democratic Party, the members in the North, that is, mostly voted for anti-lynching legislation while Republicans stuck to their traditional position. Rep. Joseph Gavagan (D-N.Y.) and Sens. Robert Wagner (D-N.Y.) and Frederick Van Nuys (D-Ind.) were the sponsors.

Gavagan-Fish Anti-Lynching Bill

January 10, 1940

Vote: 252-131

Republican: 140-8

Democrat: 109-123

Progressive: 2-0

American Labor Party: 1-0

A lot of Northern Democrats lost reelection in 1938 and thus the majority of Democrats swing back to opposition while the Republican Party, again, remains business as usual. Reps. Joseph Gavagan (D-N.Y.) and Hamilton Fish (R-N.Y.) were the sponsors.

These votes reveal a few things to me:

  1. The Democratic Party’s transition from 1922 to 2020 on race issues has been nothing short of astonishing.
  2. The Republican Party had no great shift on the subject and improved from the last vote.
  3. The inclusion of blacks into the Democratic Party fold was what began the change of the Democratic Party on the issue of race in the 1930s.