Late Night Open Thread: He’s A Trendsetter, Dude!…

Trump will be citing this as a positive no later than Wednesday, because isn’t all publicity good publicity?

A Reuters poll released today contains a trove of interesting data on race. Trump has long sought to use racial tension to gain political leverage, but this summer he has become especially explicit about exploiting and exaggerating racial divisions, with a series of racist attacks on four Democratic congresswomen, and then on their colleague Elijah Cummings, as a strategy ahead of the 2020 election.

But the Reuters poll casts doubt on that strategy: “The Reuters analysis also found that Americans were less likely to express feelings of racial anxiety this year, and they were more likely to empathize with African Americans. This was also true for white Americans and whites without a college degree, who largely backed Trump in 2016.”

Among the details, the number of whites who say “America must protect and preserve its White European heritage” has sunk nine points since last August. The percentages of whites, and white Republicans, who strongly agree that “white people are currently under attack in this country” have each dropped by roughly 25 points from the same time two years ago.
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The 1619 Project

The New York Times magazine this week is completely The 1619 Project,

The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.

It’s long and will take some time to read and digest. But it’s something we need to do. We have never, as a country, come to terms with slavery and how interwoven it is in our history. There have been moments when we almost woke up – the Civil War and then, 100 years later, the Civil Rights Movement – but we have quickly buried what understanding we had gained. We’ve got to do better this time.

And yes, it’s possible that the New York Times can do a brilliant job on this and still screw up on its political reporting.

A copy of the entire magazine here, outside the paywall. The Pulitzer Center also has study materials and curricula for teachers.

Open thread!








Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Excellent Choice, Ms. Abrams!

Per the Washington Post:

Abrams, speaking at the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades in Las Vegas, announced a 20-state voter protection initiative, using her experience challenging voting laws during her gubernatorial campaign last year in Georgia, which included widespread irregularities.

“We’re going to have a fair fight in 2020 because my mission is to make certain that no one has to go through in 2020 what we went through in 2018,” Abrams said…

The effort, expected to cost between $4 million and $5 million, will target 20 states, most of them battlegrounds in the Midwest and Southeast, and three states with gubernatorial elections this year: Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi…

In past election cycles, campaigns and state parties tended to wait until the start of general election campaigning to put together voter protection programs, which were often dismantled after elections. But with ongoing efforts by Republican state lawmakers to pass more restrictive voting laws, Groh-Wargo said, it was important that Democrats start working now to be ready to help voters navigate potential hurdles. Similarly, some states, such as Michigan and Nevada, have recently passed laws to expand access to voting, and party leaders and activists in those states need to make sure voters can take advantage of the changes…

The majority of the program will be run by Fair Fight PAC. Depending on the campaign finance laws of individual states, Fair Fight will make direct cash donations or will help groups raise money to hire staff, set up voter hotlines and develop public information campaigns…

Read the whole thing — it’s really uplifting!


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At This Point, Michelle Goldberg Is the Only Reason to Read the NY Times Op-Ed Page

She’s a national treasure:

Trump Is a White Nationalist Who Inspires Terrorism – Don’t pretend his teleprompter speech changes anything.

Surrendering to political necessity, Trump gave a brief speech on Monday decrying white supremacist terror: “In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy.” He read these words robotically from a teleprompter, much as he did after the racist riot in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017, when, under pressure, he said, “Racism is evil — and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs.”

Back then, it took about a day for the awkward mask of minimal decency to drop; soon, he was ranting about the “very fine people” among the neo-Nazis. Nevertheless, on Monday some insisted on pretending that Trump’s words marked a turning point. “He really did set a different tone than he did in the past when it comes to condemning this hate,” said Weijia Jiang, White House correspondent for CBS News.

If history is any guide, it won’t be long before the president returns to tweeting racist invective and encouraging jingoist hatreds at his rallies. In the meantime, everyone should be clear that what Trump said on Monday wasn’t nearly enough. He has stoked right-wing violence and his administration has actively opposed efforts to fight it. Further, he’s escalating his incitement of racial grievance as he runs for re-election, as shown by his attacks on the four congresswomen of color known as the squad, as well as the African-American congressman Elijah Cummings. One desultory speech does not erase Trump’s politics of arson, or the complicity of the Republicans who continue to enable it.

Just the facts. Not prettying it up in both sides bullshit to appease the fascists.








Friday Morning Open Thread: Lining Up the Votes

My junior senator and my personal rep have joined the choir:

Clark actually took over Markey’s old job when he switched from the House to the Senate. You’d think calling for impeachment would be a relatively low-risk stance here in the People’s Republic Commonwealth, but both of them are big worriers about cybersecurity, and I’ve gotten the impression they’re suspicious Trump would further encourage Putin’s IRA to interfere with our elections down to the local levels if he feels threatened. If that’s their viewpoint, better to protect the state-level firewalls and drag out the discussions until closer to November 2020.

Counter-argument about Mueller’s ‘ineffective’ appearance from former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti, for Politico“Actually, Robert Mueller Was Awesome”:

In the long view, the verdict of history depends most of all on Mueller being seen as nonpartisan, measured and above the fray—an operator whose work is unimpeachable and can be relied on (now, or after Trump’s term, or years from now) as a bulletproof statement of fact. So all the little details of the case that members were trying to ferret out pale in comparison to his ability to maintain that status and be seen as a reliable agent of impartiality. During the hearing, that was clearly his goal. In doing that, he succeeded, and history can thank him for it…

His monotonal yes and no answers might not have made for the most dramatic viewing, but they weren’t without effect. In five minutes, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff walked Mueller through the most damning details of Volume 1 of his report. Mueller’s answers were short—“that did occur,” “accurate,” “that is correct”—but what he affirmed was that Russia engaged in a systematic effort to help Trump win in 2016, that Trump and his campaign welcomed Russian aid, and that Trump lied to the American people about his business dealings in Russia.

When Mueller wanted to say more, he did. He described in detail the threat posed by the Russian attack on our electoral process, testifying that “they’re doing it as we sit here, and they expect to do it during the next campaign.” He warned that “many more countries are developing the capability to replicate what the Russians had done.” When Mueller had the rare opportunity to testify about matters that were not partisan—matters that should concern all Americans—he testified freely and strongly.

At times, Mueller faced harsh questioning from Republicans who lashed him and his team as biased or worse. His calm demeanor was another sign of his professionalism. It would have been easy for Mueller to fight back—he has in previous appearances, after all—but that would have pulled him into the fray. It was not weakness but rather quiet strength that caused Mueller to do nothing more than calmly reply, “I take your question,” in response to GOP Congressman Louie Gohmert’s hyperbolic charge that he “perpetuated injustice.”…

… Mueller got to say what he wanted to say, which is that there is “substantial” evidence to support counts of obstruction, without being forced to say that he concluded Trump obstructed justice. Despite hours of questioning by dozens of members of Congress, Mueller was never backed into a corner or forced to explain the most important legal decision he made.

Even if some think Mueller has lost a step since he last appeared before Congress six years ago, he still looked a step or two ahead of most of his questioners on Wednesday. Most importantly, he appeared above the fray, cautious, and fair in the face of bitter partisan rancor. That is what we should expect from prosecutors, and it is the legacy that Mueller leaves behind.

But it’s not really about Robert Mueller…