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Joe Biden opposes making government work for the American people

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The author of this blog post is not an attorney and does not claim to be an attorney.

In an interview by The New York Times, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden publicly opposed replacing the Electoral College with national popular vote presidential elections, expanding the size of the U.S. Supreme Court, setting term limits for U.S. Supreme Court Justices, and abolishing the U.S. Senate’s filibuster rule:

An important history lesson here involves Biden’s first run for federal elected office, the 1972 U.S. Senate election in Delaware. Biden defeated Republican incumbent J. Caleb Boggs a little more than two years after the Bayh-Cellar Amendment was debated in Congress. Had Congress sent the Bayh-Cellar Amendment to the states, and had it been ratified by 38 states, it would have abolished the electoral college and replaced it with a national popular vote presidential election. I am unsure as to whether Boggs had supported or opposed the amendment, as I’ve not been able to find information on any of the Senate roll call votes related to the Bayh-Celler Amendment. Keep in mind that, unlike today, Delaware was a bellwether state in presidential elections for much of the latter half of the 20th century. Nowadays, Delaware is, given increased political polarization and the expected partisan leans of each state, one of the least important states in presidential general elections under the current Electoral College system, as Delaware only has three electoral votes and is usually a Democratic stronghold nowadays.

With that history lesson aside, let’s talk about Biden’s opposition to making government work for the American people.

By saying only one word, Biden announced his opposition to fair presidential elections, term limits for federal judges, ideological fairness on the Supreme Court, and allowing the U.S. Senate to be an actual legislative body that is capable of passing legislation with majority support. Biden’s stated reason for opposing making government work for the American people is that it would create more problems than it would solve, which is absolutely false.

Also, Biden’s claim that constitutional amendments would be required to achieve all four goals is partially incorrect. The total number of Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court can, and has, been determined by passing an Act of Congress setting the size of the Supreme Court at a certain number of Justices, and this number can be raised or lowered by an Act of Congress. The Senate’s filibuster rule is not mentioned in the Constitution at all; the Senate can, if it wants to, change its own rules to abolish the filibuster and require only simple majority passage of any measure before it except for measures where the Constitution explicitly requires a different standard to pass a measure before the Senate. While abolishing the Electoral College as an institution would require a federal constitutional amendment, if enough states were to ratify the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC), the Electoral College would be effectively converted into a body responsible for ratifying the ticket that received a plurality of the national popular vote as President and Vice President. However, the constitutionality of the NPVIC would likely be subject to legal challenges if enough states joined the compact for it to go into effect. Term limits for federal judges at any level of the federal judiciary would clearly require a federal constitutional amendment.

Furthermore, if Biden thinks he can get political support for any kind of political agenda from Mitch McConnell, he’s absolutely delusional. McConnell will find any reason to oppose the political agenda of any Democratic president, no matter how much Democrats co-opt the Republican Party’s agenda. Seeing Biden hilariously try to seek Republican support for his agenda is quite depressing, since Biden was Vice President of the United States when Republicans obstructed Barack Obama’s agenda at virtually every opportunity, including refusing to hold confirmation hearings for Supreme Court appointee Merrick Garland and shutting down the federal government.

Unlike Biden, Elizabeth Warren has promised to make the 2020 presidential election, in which she could be elected President, the last presidential election under the Electoral College system, and that is why I support Warren’s presidential bid.

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Did Donald Trump just start a major war against Iran?

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is a blog post about a breaking news event. Any information and analysis in this blog post is based on information of the author’s knowledge at the time of the blog post being published.

In response to a recent attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, the United States launched a strike in Iraq that killed Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. The Quds Force is Iran’s primary vehicle for carrying out their military and intelligence operations outside of Iranian territory; as a result, Soleimani was one of the most powerful people associated with the Iranian regime.

If the United States is not already at war against Iran, it likely will be in the very near future, and this would be a logistical nightmare for the United States and/or any other country, in no small part due to Iran’s geography, which has long been an obstacle for Iran and its predecessor states, as well as, conversely, any entity that has tried to invade Iran:

It is not immediately clear how this will impact Donald Trump’s re-election chances here in the U.S., although the recent events in the Middle East will likely have massive political ramifications not just in the United States, but in many other countries as well.

In a scenario that is more politically favorable to Trump, Trump would get a sizable rally around the flag effect, similar to the affect on U.S. public opinion that politically benefited George W. Bush after the 9/11 attacks. Remember that defeating a sitting U.S. president while he is up for re-election during a major war has historically been extremely difficult, and, in many cases, virtually impossible. One thing that would likely benefit Trump politically is if a large coalition of nations is assembled for a large-scale war effort against Iran.

In a scenario that is less politically favorable to Trump, few nations would decide to formally support a U.S. war effort against Iran and/or significant domestic political opposition to a U.S. war effort against Iran forms. There is already some evidence of domestic political opposition to a U.S. war effort against Iran trying to form, with U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) issuing this statement via Twitter voicing concerns about potential consequences of the strike against Soleimani. It is not immediately clear how traditional U.S. allies like the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Canada will react, nor is it immediately clear how nations like Russia and China will react, to a looming war in Iran.

One advantage that Trump has, from a political standpoint, is that it is easier for Trump to, despite serious concerns about the strike’s legality, portray the strike against Soleimani as justified than, for example, George W. Bush’s attempts to justify his war against the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq. The strike against Soleimani was in response to an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad perpetrated by groups aligned with the Iranian regime, whereas it was harder for GWB to portray the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq as a threat to U.S. national security before the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

However, Trump probably has more political disadvantages than political advantages going into a war against Iran. First, due to Iran’s geography, invading Iran would likely result in another U.S. military quagmire. Second, the U.S. is a more war-weary nation nowadays than it was in the early 2000’s. Third, the Vietnam War, the post-9/11 War in Afghanistan, and the 2003 Iraq War serve as cautionary tales of military quagmires that are relatively fresh on the minds of many Americans. Fourth, Trump is seen as a far more unstable leader than most previous U.S. presidents. Fifth, Trump is facing a pending impeachment trial over trying to use the U.S. foreign policy apparatus for his personal political benefit, and many Americans will view Trump’s actions in the Middle East as an attempt to distract from his political corruption. Sixth, Trump’s actions are expected to have ramifications threatening U.S. national security, as retired U.S. Army Captain Jason Kander pointed out on Twitter.

I am a loyal American and always will be, but I have grave concerns about a war against Iran under Donald Trump. While Soleimani was a bad guy and a half, the strike that killed Soleimani may have just gotten the United States into a situation that jeopardizes our nation’s national security in a huge way.