The US Senate is up for grabs. Republicans hold 54 seats but 34 senate races could change that. If the Ds pick up five net (they will likely lose at least one, in Nevada), they regain the Senate.
I'd offer seven reasons to make sure Republicans lose the Senate.
- A Republican Senate blocked a hearing for Merrick Garland, one of the most obstructionist, obdurate acts of political dirty trickery in memory.
- The Rs have quashed all attempts to stop the mass shootings in the US, even including denying guns to terror suspects (who later went on to indeed commit acts of terror).
- A Democratic Senate would finally finish the long overdue job of ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (assuming a President Clinton would sign), the single easiest and verifiable way to stop nuclear proliferation.
- A Republican Senate will exacerbate foreign policy blunders that keep America plummeting in world opinion. Even when Obama and Clinton have been irresponsibly hawkish, the Rs bellow their condemnation for not being warlike enough.
- Russ Feingold was the only US Senator to vote against the USA Patriot Act, one of the most anti-personal liberty measures of the modern era. He is likely to retake his old seat from Tea Party Republican Ron Johnson.
- Kathleen McGinty, not a lefty firebrand (she's got a pro-business record, but in particular "green" business, such as wind energy), could squeak past Republican Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania, which will be a shift away from Toomey's endless opposition to clean energy and gun control.
- In North Carolina, Republican incumbent Richard Burr still holds a slight lead over challenger Deborah Ross. Burr has a dangerous history including a leading role in getting the US Senate to approve export of enriched uranium, an ingredient in nuclear weapons and a substance of great appeal to terrorists. He also voted against any tiny measures of gun control, even those that would deny guns to criminals.
In New Hampshire, Illinois, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Florida, and Ohio the races are relatively close (well, not quite so much currently in Wisconsin, where a resurgent Russ Feingold is 11 points up on Trump-loving Ron Johnson) and in every one the Republican incumbent held all the most problematic, retro positions possible.
Really, isn't it time for the US Senate to stop denying climate chaos, to start getting a clue about keeping guns out of the hands of terrorists, to quit opposing clean and renewable energy, and to play fair with our other branches? Only by replacing Republicans will that happen. 2016 is The Year to do it.
Commentary is by Dr. Tom H. Hastings, PeaceVoice director.