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By Harry Hurley Op-Ed Contributor

THE MOST IMPORTANT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CYCLE IN our lifetime has arrived. That alone would make the year most interesting. After a two-term President, the nation almost always returns to a candidate of the other political party. But, almost nothing is predictable in America anymore. Also, the Republicans will have to defend many more seats in the United States Senate, giving the Democrats a realistic chance to re-take the majority. The Republican advantage in the House of Representatives is too large (247 seats to 188) for the Democrats to overcome it in one election cycle. Our Founding Founders were so brilliant and visionary. Every two years they wanted the People’s House to have to stand before the entire nation and audition for another term. More turnover would be the result when warranted. They intentionally set-up the Senate as a more deliberative body, one with less turnover. Many don’t even know there are three “classes” in the United States Senate. Every two years, one-third are up for re-election. This year it is Class 3 (34 out of the 100 seats). The winners of this class will serve from January 3, 2017 until January 3, 2023. Republicans won a net gain of 6 seats when this class last ran for election 6 years ago. This year, Democrats have 10 seats to defend. Republicans have a whopping 24 seats at risk. Republicans currently hold a 54 to 46 advantage in the Senate. There will also be a number of state governorships and two territorial governorships up for grabs this year, including: Delaware, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia. The United States Territories of Puerto Rico and American Samoa will also hold elections for Governor. There is only one retiring Republican incumbent Governor, versus six Democratic Governors. There are currently 32 Republican Governors and 17 Democrats, along with three independents in America. You would think this would mean it’s a virtual slam dunk for the next Republican nominee to become the 45th President of The United States. However, the Electoral College significantly advantages the Democratic nominee, because of

the solid Democrat states, with the large number of electoral votes they represent. Over the past 30 years, the country has evolved dramatically, and, not for the better. We’ve tragically become divided into what the media regularly refers to as “Blue States and Red States.” There never use to be such a thing. We were all simply Americans. It is a heart-breaking and intentional process of dividing Americans by race, ethnicity, wealth, age, political party labels, and sexual orientation. You name it. It’s created such a polarized America. On November 8, 2016, many significant decisions will have to be made by the American people at all levels of government. The consequences of this year’s election will shape our nation for many years to come. Who will be the next President? Will Hillary Clinton be indicted for the mounting criminal legal exposure regarding her home brew email server and her reckless handling of sensitive, classified, and top-secret information? Will Donald Trump be the Republican nominee for President? Can New Jersey Governor Chris Christie mount one last stand in New Hampshire and resurrect his campaign? If Hillary goes down, is there a path for Vice President Joe Biden to get into the race? The Democratic Party has requirements in order to get onto the Primary Election ballot. Biden has missed all of the required deadlines. However, delegates are only bound to their chosen candidate for the first convention ballot vote. So, a brokered convention on the Democratic side is not out of the realm of possibility. Absent Hillary Clinton, it is inconceivable to me that the Democrats would allow Vermont United States Senator Bernie Sanders — an unapologetic Socialist — to be their Party’s Nominee for President of The United States. Sanders is so outside of mainstream America, he would have a devastating affect for Democrats all the way down the ballot. Hypothetically, Sanders would be the weakest Democratic Nominee since Walter Mondale in 1984. President Ronald Reagan defeated Mondale in a 49-1 state rout. Reagan won 525 electoral votes to just 13 for Mondale. Mondale only carried his home state of Minnesota and The District of Columbia. Reagan had enormous electoral coattails in both the elections of 1980 and 1984, helping to deliver

numerous candidates down the election ballot at the national, state, county and local levels. In “wave” elections, the candidate at the topof-the-ticket can either deliver a massive victory, or, be devastating to those who run in the same ballot column. The Republican Party mood has not been this anti-establishment since 1940, when they nominated Wendell Willkie as their nominee for President. It didn’t turn out well for the Republicans, as President Franklin D. Roosevelt demolished Willkie by an electoral vote margin of 449 to 82. Roosevelt carried 38 states to just 10 for Willkie. The election of 1940 was cast in the shadow of World War II in Europe, as America was exiting from The Great Depression. The election of 2016 will be cast in the shadow of another significant War; the war on terrorism, the war against ISIS in particular. When our nation is on a war footing, the candidate who is perceived to be stronger on military issues typically prevails on Election Day. This is even more probable when there is an open seat for President. All 435 seats in The House of Representatives are up for grabs. In this very odd political mood which has overtaken our country, don’t be surprised if many usually-safe institutional incumbents find themselves in jeopardy this year. Some will face Primary battles. Others will face stiff challenges in the General Election. In New Jersey, there are 12 Congressional Districts. It is presently evenly divided 6-6 between Republicans and Democrats. At this time, each appears safe, however, that will not be the case around the country, where you can expect a significant number of upsets. The nation is in a very foul mood. The economy has only grown at the rate of 2% GDP for the past 8 years. Even during the Great Depression, America grew beyond 3% during several years. More than 94 million Americans who should be working are presently not able to/ or don’t want to secure employment. When things get to this point, even safe incumbents have many sleepless nights. It still remains to be decided, but, another very big issue may be on the November 8th General Election ballot. If the New Jersey Legislature can get out of its own way, a ballot question, which (if passed statewide) will njlifestyleonline.com

LIFESTYLE | Winter 2016

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NJ Lifestyle Magazine Winter 2016  
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