Let’s Talk about the Caravans…

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Vote NO on ALL Six North Carolina Constitutional Amendments

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Image: NC Policy Watch

The NC General Assembly’s chicanery should not be rewarded.

You can’t separate the six proposed constitutional amendments from how they were devised. The Republicans rushed these amendments through at the last minute, without debate, discussion, or even an implementing statute, which means they’ll get to decide later—in a lame-duck session—what these amendments really do, after you’ve already voted on them. The proper response to this chicanery: Vote no on all six.

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Women of Color Are Making History Ahead of Midterms

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Ayanna Pressley, the first woman of color elected to the Boston City Council, speaks at a 2013 event at Boston’s Reggie Lewis Center. (Ktr101/ Wikimedia Commons) (CC

It has been a banner year for women running in elections across the country in statehouse, gubernatorial and congressional races. But women of color, who have been so dramatically underrepresented in the halls of power for so long, are making particularly significant gains. What’s even more exciting is that many of them are going beyond standard identity politics and espousing strongly progressive positions. While the more important battles will come in November’s general elections, the primary races have already indicated that we are witnessing a game-changing moment in the nation’s political landscape.

Much has been written about the breakout star of the New York primary, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who stunned the nation in an overwhelming victory against top Democrat Joe Crowley in the Bronx and Queens for a House seat. The 28-year-old self-identified democratic socialist of Puerto Rican heritage, who is expected to handily beat her little-known Republican opponent in November, is slated to become the youngest woman ever to serve in Congress.

Two progressive Muslim women—Palestinian-American Rashida Tlaib in Michigan and Somali-American Ilhan Omar in Minnesota—recently won their respective Democratic Party primaries for seats in the House. Both women are running in strongly Democratic districts, with Tlaib poised to win the seat vacated by John Conyers and Omar appearing likely to replace Rep. Keith Ellison (who has stepped down to run for another office). Together, they would lead the way as the first Muslim women to ever serve in the U.S. Congress. Even more significantly, both women espouse core progressive demands such as “Medicare for all,” abolishing ICE, and a $15-an-hour minimum wage.

New Mexico’s Deb Haaland could also make history in November, if she beats her Republican opponent, Janice Arnold-Jones, by becoming the nation’s first Native American woman to serve in Congress. A new poll showed her with a small but significant lead against Arnold-Jones, who is a Trumpian Republican. Haaland is also progressive, especially on issues of women’s reproductive rights. She could be joined in Congress by Sharice Davids, another Native American woman, who won a Democratic primary in Kansas. If Davids wins her House race in November, she would break an additional record—becoming the first openly gay congresswoman from Kansas, as well as the first member of the indigenous LGBT community to hold federal office. If Davids and Haaland both win, they would be the first two Native American women to become members of Congress.

Black women are also making their voices heard in this year’s elections. Jahana Hayes just won Connecticut’s Democratic primary race for a House seat, backing Medicare for all, abortion rights and other progressive policies. If she wins in November, Hayes would become Connecticut’s first-ever black female congressional representative. Journalist and activist Shaun King celebrated that primary win, writing that Hayes would “likely become the only black leader serving in the U.S. House or Senate from all of New England. She would also become one of only a few black members of Congress serving a district where white people make up a majority of the voting population.” Another black woman, Ayanna Pressley, is challenging an incumbent white male House representative, Michael Capuano, in Massachusetts’ Sept. 4 primary.

Women are also running for governor in states across the nation. A record number, 11, have already won their primary races to become major-party nominees. Among them is Stacey Abrams, who’s running for governor of Georgia. If Abrams beats President Trump’s favored candidate, Republican nominee Brian Kemp, she would become the nation’s first black female governor—an all the more impressive feat in a Deep South state like Georgia. Her opponent, Kemp, is so virulently right-wing that a New York Times opinion writer labeled him an “Enemy of Democracy.” Meanwhile, Abrams is running on a leftist platform, having won support from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Even if some of these women don’t win their races against Republicans in November, they have already achieved much. Aimee Allison, president of the advocacy group Democracy in Color, told me in an interview that “women of color largely are Democrats, and they’re the most likely to face challenges by other Democrats in their own party. So as the most ‘primaried’ group of people, getting through the primary process is quite something.”

“These women did not get party support,” Allison said. “They didn’t get the typical validators, donors, people that are typically considered gate keepers. And yet, they’re being very, very successful.”

These progressive women of color embody in a tangible manner the worst fears of white supremacists like Trump, his supporters and advisers. They are the demographic opposite of the Republican base, which is dominated by white males.

A decade ago, when Barack Obama won the Democratic Party’s nomination for president, the backlash against people of color assuming higher political office ramped up, with Obama’s skin tone and ethnic background provoking an irrational hatred among extremist conservatives. Trump was part of that group with his unrelenting “birther” allegations claiming that Obama was born outside the U.S. Today, the Republican Party is seeing the natural outcome of its constant flirtation with racist policies, all the way from the Nazi-sympathizing Republican House nominee Steve West in Missouri to the white supremacist in the White House.

Sadly, as Allison implied, the Democratic Party isn’t living up to expectations either. It resists fully embracing the progressive women of color running this November, even as it has long relied on nonwhite voters to faithfully and uncritically back the party. Subsequently, candidates like Ocasio-Cortez and others have found new ways to win elections, relying on clearly defined progressive policy positions and working hard to increase voter turnout through grassroots efforts. Allison put it this way: “They’re creating a new path to being at the table, winning their primaries, and ultimately having a good shot of getting into office in November.”

“Something’s happening that’s coming up from underground,” concluded Allison about the groundswell of support for female candidates of color. “For generations, women of color have been part of expanding democracy, fighting for civil and human rights.” Indeed, since the nation’s founding, women of color have had the least political representation—with 90 percent of elected positions at all levels of government being white and mostly male. The importance of incumbency—holding office makes you more likely to win re-election and stay in office—keeps that political power concentrated in the same hands year after year.

But in a few decades, women of color will outnumber white women in America, and Allison is hopeful that the recent wave of primary successes is just the beginning. “Running for office is the latest iteration of insisting that we have the representation, people power, and a social, economic and racial justice agenda that can transform our country,” she said.

By Sonali Kolhatkar/truthdig

Posted by The NON-Conformist

NC Constitutional Amendments

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Editoral Cartoon by Draughon/WRAL.com

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Donald Trump’s feud with Charles Koch widens as GOP chair joins fray

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The Republican National Committee is diving into President Trump’s battle with Charles Koch, warning GOP donors to stay away from the billionaire.

It’s official: With less than 100 days to go before the November midterms, the war within the Republican party just got a lot bigger.

The Republican National Committee is diving into President Donald Trump’s battle with Charles Koch, warning GOP donors to stay away from the conservative billionaire.

“Some groups who claim to support conservatives forgo their commitment when they decide their business interests are more important than those of the country or Party,” RNC chair Ronna Romney McDaniel wrote in a Thursday afternoon email to contributors. “This is unacceptable.”

The letter also made a point to underscore that the GOP is the president’s party, in a potential warning shot to other conservatives who might be considering publicly distancing themselves from Trump during the midterms

The implied threat to GOP candidates – the RNC “is the only entity which can be trusted with the data” needed to win, Romney wrote – follows a week-long exchange of critical comments between Trump and Koch officials.

Posted by Libergirl

SOTU….What to watch tonight: Trump’s adjectives, Melania, boycotts

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The state of the union is …

Great again? Or not quite?

A year into his presidency, President Donald Trump stands before the nation Tuesday night to account for his promise to “make America great again” amid talk of a rising threat of nuclear war and special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Trump’s 2016 campaign.

For both parties, the speech operates like the pop of a starting gun for the midterm elections, when Republicans will defend their majorities in the House and Senate.

A look at what to watch:

HOW SUPERLATIVE?

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday previewed the speech by describing the state of the union as “incredible.”

But will the hyperbole-loving president tone down his bombastic speaking style a bit? The White House is setting expectations as close to “yes” as possible — but only for as long as the speech itself lasts. Expect the president to cast the tax overhaul he signed in December and the strong economy as Trump initiatives that help all Americans. Thematically, Trump is expected to speak of having built the foundation for a safer and stronger nation.

But can Trump stay on message — and off Twitter — after the reviews come in?

More from AP via WRAL

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Ted Cruz warns of “Watergate-style blowout” in 2018

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Wealthy conservative donors and influential Republican lawmakers say they increasingly fear a historic backlash at the ballot box next year if the GOP effort to pass a sweeping rewrite of the nation’s tax laws falls short in the coming months.

Image: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Lincoln Center

At a two-day midtown Manhattan summit of the billionaire industrialist Koch brothers’ powerful donor network, GOP patrons, senators and strategists spoke in cataclysmic terms about the price they expect to pay in the midterm elections if their tax reform effort does not win passage.

They voiced concerns a demoralized Republican base would stay home, financiers would stop writing campaign donation checks to incumbents and the congressional majorities the party has built in the House and Senate could evaporate overnight.

To head that off, the same Republicans said they are waging an intense, multi-front effort in and outside of Congress and the White House to shepherd the endeavor to the finish line.

Koch network officials said they have invested more than $10 million this year in advocating for the GOP tax plan.

Art Pope, a major conservative donor from North Carolina, put it this way: “When you have lack of success, that may depress voter turnout for Republicans, that may depress donations for Republicans and conservatives.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) warned that Republicans could face a “Watergate-level blowout” in the midterm elections if they don’t make major legislative strides on taxes and health care, invoking the political scandal that brought down Richard Nixon’s presidency and set back the GOP considerably in subsequent elections.

“If tax reform crashes and burns, if [on] Obamacare, nothing happens, we could face a bloodbath,” said Cruz, who spoke in a moderated discussion.

More from Apple news via WaPo

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