There's no greater hot button issue in American politics today than that of abortion and a new wave of legislation in many Republican dominated states will all but guarantee the issue is going to play a pivotal role in the upcoming 2020 election season. It's an issue that has been rallying cry for many right-of-center politicians for decades, but many Republicans now believe the demise of nationwide legalized abortion is imminent and are passing laws in their state in the hopes that a newly solidified conservative majority on the Supreme Court will strike down Roe (technically Planned Parenthood v. Casey) once and for all.
I am well aware there are passionate and well-meaning advocates on both sides of this issue, but I'm hoping that we can save the religious/moral debate for another site and instead focus on the political side of the issue, specifically how these new laws in Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky, and Mississippi, with others soon to follow, will affect voter turnout in 2020.
It's generally accepted as fact that abortion is one of the most important, if not the most important, issue for many conservative voters. These "one issue voters" tend to vote in every local, state, and federal election and have been doing so for years. Their decades long quest to overturn Roe is, at least in many observers eyes, on the verge of coming to fruition. That is undoubtedly welcome news for many anti-abortion advocates, but I can't help but think that a ruling against Roe will galvanize pro-choice advocates in the lead up to the 2020 election, especially in the swing states that will decide the President.
We all learned Newton's Third Law in school: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. While his law covers motion, the same can be said about many other things in life. If anti-abortion advocates were to eventually succeed in striking down Roe then it only makes sense that pro-choice advocates will have a strong negative reaction. Whether that reaction will be strong enough to affect election results in 2020 is anyone's guess, but I have a feeling it will be.
I'm someone who questions Buttigieg's staying power and the skeptic in me tends to think the media is hyping him up just a little bit because he has a unique life story. I'd say the same thing for Beto O'Rourke. I understand that both men have a very loyal online following, but I can't help but question their viability on the national stage once the rubber hits the road.
The two people I'll be paying a lot of attention to for awhile are Senators Warren and Harris. I think they are both eating into Senator Sanders current support and I wouldn't be surprised in the least if they start chipping away even more of his support as time goes on. I also can't help but feel bad for Senator Booker who has been laying the groundwork for his run for years only to be largely ignored for now.
Biden is the obvious front runner and for now it's his race to lose, but we have a long, long way to go before the 2020 Democratic convention.
Even after the norm-busting election of 2016, I have a hard time believing that a largely unknown candidate will be able to break through and win the nomination. President Trump may have been a political outsider, but no one can say they'd never heard of him before.
I'm predicting that a solid chunk of the candidates will drop out either shortly before or very quickly after Iowa holds its caucus and four to six or so "major" candidates will remain. I also think Senators Warren and Harris have the potential to pick off a lot of tepid Bernie voters from 2016 who may have voted for him in that years primary largely out of protest against Senator Clinton and not necessarily because they supported him.
Biden is the clear and unquestioned front-runner, but we won't really know how strong his support actually is until a handful of caucuses and primaries are held. He obviously has the name recognition and money to go deep into the primary, but only time will tell if Democratic voters think he's the best candidate to take on President Trump in the general.
J.K.Logic Wrote: Will they happen on the same day? Also will they try and balance out the big names, like will Bernie and Biden be on the same stage or will they split them up to even out the draw?
The DNC has only laid out the rules for the first two debates and they seem to be as fair as they possibly can be. Each candidate that qualified will be randomly selected for a debate. Half will participate one night and the other half will participate the next evening.
I'm not really sure about the amount of time/number of questions each candidate will get. That's a really tricky one because the big names will expect to be called on more and the lesser known ones see it as their possibly only chance to get in front of a national audience.
I certainly don't envy the referees over at the DNC.
If you were one of the many left-of-center voters who longed for more options in 2016 then you certainly got what you wished for this time around. With over twenty declared major candidates, the Democratic Presidential primary field is the largest in history and there are signs that a number of other prominent politicians are considering throwing their hat in the ring too. That's great news for those in the party who want more choice, but it's not the best news for the lesser known candidates who are supremely qualified to be President, but aren't as well known as former Vice President Joe Biden or Senator Bernie Sanders.
Enter the DNC. They received their fair share of criticism over their handling of the 2016 Primary and have vowed to do better this time around. However, they probably weren't expecting a movie theater full of candidates throwing their hats in the ring. So, in an attempt to be as fair as possible, they have rolled out a set of rules for the twelve debates they will be holding.
In order to qualify for the debate a candidate must "either have at least 1 percent support in three qualifying polls, or provide evidence of at least 65,000 individual donations from a minimum of 200 different donors in at least 20 states." The latter rule has some of the lesser known candidates getting creative by calling on their supporters throughout the country to donate as little as $1 to their campaign. Since the DNC's rules don't state how much money those 65,000 individual donors have to give, they could theoretically get on the debate stage with a lot of very little donations.
I can't help but feel kind of sad for many of the candidates who would be big names in any other election cycle. The field consists of Senators, Governors, and Congresspeople, but many of them are drowned out by the better known names. Only time will tell if any of the lesser known candidates will be able to break through to the public and be taken more seriously.
To be honest, we've actually shown that the government can run major social programs quite well. Medicare and Social Security are—wait for it—socialist programs administered by the Federal government. Both programs are wildly popular among the vast majority of senior citizens benefiting from them, which is somewhat ironic considering they are the same group of people who tend to rail against socialism the most.
I could have used this leeway a few years ago, but fortunately I estimated my taxes fairly accurately this year and don't have to worry about any penalties. Hopefully they will just keep this rule around for the time being just in case I don't estimate accurately in the future!
April means a lot of different things to different people, but one thing no one can avoid is the April 15th deadline to file your Federal income taxes with the Internal Revenue Service. If you haven't submitted a request for an extension to file your taxes then the must be submitted before midnight on April 15th.
There are a variety of ways you can file your taxes, but the most simple way to get started would be to go to IRS.gov and begin the process there. If your yearly income is $66,000 or less per year then you are eligible to file your taxes for free using an IRS approved third-party site. If you or your family earn more than $66,000 per year then you may have to pay for the services of a third-party website or brick and mortar company.
If you don't think you will be able to file your taxes by midnight on April 15th then you must submit a request for an extension to file your taxes. Most filers can request a 6-month extension to file their taxes, but it is important to know that your will be charged fees and interest on any money you owe to the government that isn't paid in full before the April 15 deadline.
Either way you look at it, April 15th is an important deadline. On that day you either must file your federal income taxes or you must submit your request for an extension by that date in order to avoid any late fees or penalties.
Tax Day is right around the corner and I am happy to say that my wife and I set a record this year by filing our taxes in mid-March. However, filing them early only shifted the stress of filing our taxes from April to March.
Why in the world do we make it so difficult (and expensive!) to file our taxes properly in this country? My wife hails from Ireland where, like nearly every other industrialized westernized society, they have a streamlined tax system that doesn't cause their citizens to have panic attacks or develop stomach ulcers. We can make it that simple in the United States, but don't. Why is that?
Unfortunately, the answer is quite simple - the tax code discourages (and will soon criminalize) the Federal government from developing free tax-filing software that Americans could use to file their income taxes. This is because for profit tax filing companies have spent a lot of money lobbying both parties in Congress to stay out of the tax filing "business" and to let them take care of things.
Currently, you can file your Federal taxes for free on any number of for profit tax filing sites if you earn less than $66,000 a year, but only 3% of Americans actually take advantage of that option because they are inundated with additional "features" to confuse them into paying for tax filing services when they don't really need it. If the IRS were able to develop their own tax filing system then individuals who earn $66,000 or less would be able to file their taxes easily and without being tricked into paying for anything.
The sad truth is that we are going in the opposite direction and that unfortunately means that filing your taxes will continue to be stressful (and expensive) for the foreseeable future.
Medicare is one of, if the the most, important federal programs our government manages, but it's omission of dental coverage is potentially having the adverse effect of making the program more expensive to administer. It may appear counterintuitive to suggest that the government could actually save money by expanding benefits, but it's not as crazy as it sounds.
Poor dental health can lead to a whole host of general medical problems that you may not have otherwise had if you received regular dental care. A growing body of researchers have begun to conclude that inflammation in your mouth is linked to a greater risk of a myriad of health problems, including heart attacks, dementia, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. All of those conditions are covered by Medicare, but also happen to be exponentially more expensive to treat than general dentistry procedures.
It's true that it would not be cheap to enact this new benefit, but it's also true that we're already spending tens of billions of dollars a year on reactionary medicine that may have been prevented if a senior had dental coverage provided for.