bookmark_borderResurrected Political Blog

Announcement: I’ve resurrected my political blog and re-branded it as “Data-Driven Politics.” It has a new URL:
Please give it a look! My most recent entry is a blog post analyzing the effectiveness of mask wearing at reducing the spread of COVID-19.

bookmark_borderParty Before Country? Which Republican Senators Still Support Trump

In a normal election, you’d think that a video of a Presidential candidate talking about sexual assault would fatal for the candidate’s campaign. But this election cycle has been anything but normal. So, with Trump’s campaign in crisis, I thought it would be interesting to maintain a roll call of which Republican Senators have said enough is enough and will no longer support Trump. I intend to update this table as new information becomes available.
Most of the information in the initial version of this post came from The Atlantic.

State Name Up for Re-Election? Endorses Trump? Plans to Vote for Trump? Calls for Trump to Step Down?
Alabama Richard Shelby 2016
Alabama Jeff Sessions 2020 NAY NAY YEA
Alaska Lisa Murkowski 2016 NAY NAY  YEA
Alaska Dan Sullivan 2020 NAY NAY YEA
Arizona John McCain 2016 NAY NAY
Arizona Jeff Flake 2018 NAY NAY YEA
Arkansas John Boozman 2016 YEA YEA NAY
Arkansas Tom Cotton 2020 YEA YEA
Colorado Cory Gardner 2020 NAY NAY  YEA
Florida Marco Rubio 2016 YEA YEA
Georgia Johnny Isakson 2016 YEA Undecided / Unknown
Georgia David Perdue 2020 YEA
Idaho Mike Crapo 2016 NAY NAY YEA
Idaho Jim Risch 2020 Unknown Unknown Unknown 
Illinois Mark Kirk 2016 NAY NAY YEA
Indiana Dan Coats 2016 YEA YEA
Iowa Chuck Grassley 2016  Unknown Unknown  Unknown 
Iowa Joni Ernst 2020 YEA Unknown Unknown
Kansas Pat Roberts 2020 NAY
Kansas Jerry Moran 2016 NAY
Kentucky Mitch McConnell 2020 YEA NAY
Kentucky Rand Paul 2016 YEA NAY
Louisiana David Vitter 2016 NAY
Louisiana Bill Cassidy 2020 NAY
Maine Susan Collins 2020 NAY NAY
Mississippi Thad Cochran 2020 YEA
Mississippi Roger Wicker 2018 YEA YEA
Missouri Roy Blunt 2016 YEA
Montana Steve Daines 2020
Nebraska Deb Fischer 2018 NAY NAY YEA
Nebraska Ben Sasse 2020 NAY NAY YEA
Nevada Dean Heller 2018 NAY NAY YEA
New Hampshire Kelly Ayotte 2016 NAY NAY
North Carolina Richard Burr 2016 Undecided Undecided Undecided
North Carolina Thom Tillis 2020 NAY
North Dakota John Hoeven 2016 NAY
Ohio Rob Portman 2016 YEA YEA NAY
Oklahoma Jim Inhofe 2020 YEA YEA NAY
Oklahoma James Lankford 2016 NAY
Pennsylvania Pat Toomey 2016 NAY Undecided NAY
South Carolina Lindsey Graham 2020 NAY NAY
South Carolina Tim Scott 2016 YEA
South Dakota John Thune 2016  NAY NAY  YEA
South Dakota Mike Rounds 2020 NAY
Tennessee Lamar Alexander 2020 YEA
Tennessee Bob Corker 2018 YEA NAY
Texas John Cornyn 2020  YEA YEA NAY
Texas Ted Cruz 2018  YEA YEA NAY
Utah Orrin Hatch 2018 YEA YEA NAY
Utah Mike Lee 2016 NAY NAY YEA
West Virginia Shelley Moore Capito 2020 NAY NAY YEA
Wisconsin Ron Johnson 2016 YEA YEA NAY
Wyoming Mike Enzi 2020
Wyoming John Barrasso 2018

Update Sat 8-Oct-16 8:23PM PDT: Added many values (too many to list here) to many of the blank cells; added links from many of the table’s cells to news websites supporting the values in individual cells.
Update Sat 8-Oct-16 4:09PM PDT: Added column listing when each Republican Senator is up for re-election.
Update Sat 8-Oct-16 4:48PM PDT: Added columns listing whether each Senator endorses Trump and whether each Senator has called for Trump to step down. Also added many links to sources supporting the information in this table.

bookmark_borderOff-Topic: Must Watch Video: #Trump Attacks the Khan Family: A Closer Look

From “Late Night with Seth Meyers”

I thought the GOP had always tried to position itself as THE party for veterans. In light of Trump’s bizarre and shameful attacks on Captain Khan (and his grieving parents), I have to believe that long-time GOP loyalists are experiencing massive cognitive dissonance, as they deal with conflicting desires to honor our nation’s veterans and to support their party’s Presidential nominee. In fact, wasn’t it the GOP who coined the concept of the “values voter”? How can a “values voter” support a candidate who repeatedly makes statements in direct conflict with the values of the voter’s own party?
Imagine if the roles were somehow reversed and Hillary Clinton had attacked the grieving family of a man who was killed in combat. I think any honest person would admit that Republicans would be loudly and unanimously declaring that Clinton was unworthy of being the Commander-in-Chief. How then can they support Trump? I applaud Republicans like Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for their honesty in condemning Trump’s attacks on the Khans. But, again, how can they continue to support Trump? What would Trump have to do for them to stop supporting Trump?
To avoid any misunderstandings, none of this in any way justifies (or is intended to justify) Hillary’s shortcomings. It may be the case that neither of the two major parties have nominated a candidate worthy of becoming the next POTUS. I believe that American voters have two very bad choices in this election; maybe this election will finally trigger a much-needed and much-overdue national conversation about our antiquated and flawed process for selecting Presidents. For example, I believe that if we had Instant Runoff Voting (or some other single-winner voting system), the Republicans would have nominated a much better candidate than Trump; meanwhile, Americans in general would have felt safer voting for third-party candidates if they didn’t like either the Democratic or Republican nominees.
I’d love to read your thoughts; please leave a comment below.

bookmark_borderOff-Topic: A U.S. Constitutional Amendment Wish List

All the presidential primary debates, primaries, and causes got me thinking about the U.S. Electoral College, which in turn got me thinking about changes I’d like to see made to the Constitution.
1. Eliminate Lifetime Supreme Court Appointments. See, for example, here. Instead, have Supreme Court justices get, say, 20-year terms after which they are ineligible to ever serve on the SC again.
2. Repeal Citizens United Supreme Court Decision.
3. Single Subject Rule.
4. Prohibit states from consistently getting unfair advantage in every presidential election. I am well aware of the historical circumstances that led to the status quo and I have nothing against the great people of Iowa and New Hampshire, but they shouldn’t get to have a special role in affecting presidential elections. It’s unfair to the other 48 states. Solutions:  (a) Require that presidential primaries/caucuses occur in all states on the same day; or (b) setup a rotation on which states get to go first. I don’t have a preference; either option would be fine with me.
5. National Popular Vote. Let’s abolish the stupid, antiquated Electoral College. Since passing constitutional amendments is so difficult, it’s fortunate that there is a clever, constitutional way to abolish the electoral college without an amendment.
6. Continuity of Government. In a post 9/11 world, this seems like a no-brainer to me. See the discussion here.
7. Balanced Budget Amendment.
8. Line-Item Veto.
9. Empower Congress to remove a sitting, non-criminal, but incompetent president through a 2/3 vote of no confidence. I owe this idea to this outstanding book.
10. Declaration of War. I’m very familiar with the War Powers Resolution. I am also familiar with what we’ve done in practice for the last 50 years. What is baffling to me is how people who are strict originalists about the Constitution seem to forget their originalism when it comes to Article I, Section 8’s rule that only Congress has the power to declare war. If that’s true, then what was the constitutional basis for most of our military actions in the last 50 years, including but not limited to Iraq and Afghanistan? The irony is that if we wanted to amend the constitution to require that Congress actually declare war, we’d end up writing an amendment which says what Article I, Section 8 already says. That should tell you something about the unconstitutionality of our actions.
11. Abolish the “natural-born citizen” requirement for the PresidencyIf a majority of the electoral college (or a majority of Americans if we ever get NPV) want to elect someone who wasn’t a “natural-born citizen” (whatever that means), then it seems pretty stupid in the year 2016 to arbitrarily block it based on the location of one’s birthplace.
(Aside: according to this article, Ted Cruz is ineligible to be President. I love the delicious irony! He can run as an originalist only by rejecting originalism regarding his eligibility!  For the record, I don’t know if Ted Cruz is eligible to run for President or not, but, if not, he should be.)
12. Ban Gerrymandering of Congressional Districts. Voters get to choose their politicians in general, but every decade the politicians get to choose their voters. This makes no sense.
13. Implement Instant Run-Off Voting for Federal Elections.
14. Eliminate Birthplace Citizenship. The United States of American is one of the few countries on Earth which automatically grants citizenship to anyone born here, regardless of the citizenship status of their parents or how long they have maintained residency. This makes no sense. I expect to take a lot of criticism from readers of this blog for this position, but I’m okay with that. Remember the two rules. (1) Jeff is always right. (2) If you disagree, remember rule #1. 😉
15. Somehow fix the stupidity of Wyoming and California each getting the same number of votes in the Senate.
16. Create a new method to allow proposed amendments to the constitution by popular (“grass roots”) effort.
17. Somehow make it easier for the citizens of a state to decide to split their state into two or more states if they desire. Most Americans are probably familiar with the various attempts to split California into two, three, or even six states. But they may not be aware of the numerous other attempts to split other states. For example, rural (and conservative) eastern Washington state would like to split off from urban (and liberal) western Washington state. I’m told a similar sentiment exists in Oregon and for the same reasons. There’s even an entire book which talks about all the failed attempts to split states. In my opinion, if the residents of a state want to split into two or more states, we should somehow make it easier to do that. I’m not sure what that would mean in practice, however.
Finally, this isn’t a proposed constitutional amendment (because it’s not applicable), but I’d like to see Puerto Rico become a state if they want it. (It appears they do want it, although this is disputed.)