Updates to the Midterms:
week, he pardoned the first African American heavyweight champion,
Jack Johnson (1908-1915), who was unjustly incarcerated for an
alleged affair with a white woman, Belle Schreiber, in 1909 or 1910.
A bipartisan group of elected officials--Sen. John McCain (R-AZ),
Rep. Peter King (R-NY), and Sens. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Harry Reid
(D-NV) and the U.S. House of Representatives had urged Presidents
George W. Bush and Barack Obama to grant it since 2004, but Trump’s
primary motivation was that Obama did not do so as noted in my May
3, 2018 column.
dispatched his lawyer for the Russian collusion investigation, Emmet
Flood, to attend a meeting he ordered Deputy U.S. Attorney General
Rod Rosenstein, who is in charge of the process, and FBI Director
Christopher Wray to hold to share internal documents on Special
Counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry which would provide Trump
with an advantage for his defense.
school teachers are waking up every day angry, impatient, and
increasingly militant. They are challenging politicians, many in
parties they have historically supported, to address their concerns
about class size, pensions, benefits, and school funding. They are
teaching under the most adverse working conditions and literally
putting their lives on the line to protect their students as public
schools are increasingly the targets of random shootings from
Jonesboro, Arkansas in 1998 to Parkland, Florida and Santa Fe, Texas
in 2018 where teachers sacrificed their own lives to save the lives
of students in their charge.
is also instructive to note that two substitute teachers, Cynthia
of three and grandmother of eight children”
and Glenda Ann Perkins, “known
as Grandma Perkins to her students”
were killed by the Santa Fe shooter. Substitute teachers are the
the forgotten force of the education world.”
Often working at slightly above the minimum wage with no or minimal
benefits, they are frequently single heads of households, taking care
of ill spouses and relatives, or simply trying to survive in a
rapidly transforming economy. Yet they did not hesitate to take a
bullet for their students.
bravery, selflessness, and commitment, along with that of their
school colleagues, have energized students to advocate against
violence and for restrictions on the easy access to guns and the
well-being of their teachers. Democrats are presented with a unique
opportunity to piggyback this movement of teachers and millennials as
we approach the 2018 midterms if they are willing to embrace their
issues rather than trying to force these groups to accept their
predetermined agenda. Teachers and millennials can be the linchpins
in Democrats’ success or failure in the battles for House,
Senate, and state legislative control.
the Democrats also have much work to do in maintaining the high-level
support and turnout of minorities and women for its candidates,
especially black women. African American females and women, in
general, were the keys to recent Democratic victories in Alabama, New
Jersey, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Moreover, they will be essential to
a victory for Stacey Abrams, the first black female to secure a
Democratic gubernatorial nomination in Georgia (or in any other state
or political party). However, her success has highlighted tensions
Perez, Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), endorsed
incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) in the primary over the
progressive Democratic candidate Cynthia Nixon, a celebrity actress,
after stating that the official DNC position was not to show
preference in a Democratic primary. Earlier, he had refused to
endorse Stacy Abrams in the Georgia primary although she had a solid
lead in the polls. Perez has angered many female Democratic
candidates by his inconsistent political practices which could dampen
turnout in key races. While black and other females will likely vote
in large numbers in Georgia, Texas, and other states where women are
on the ballot, votes could be depressed for their male counterparts.
of the 43 African American Democratic female candidates currently
running for U.S. House seats, the Democratic Congressional Campaign
Committee (DCC) is only providing substantial support to one. This
does not bode well for the Democratic Party.
Democrats remain unable to craft a comprehensive midterm message and
strategy to pull all elements of their voting bloc together. Many
still naively believe that they must expend more energy and resources
to attract Trump voters - proving to be an exercise in futility.
Rather, Democrats would be wise to promote policies of fairness and
equity that appeal to a majority of all voters as is demonstrated by
the Red State teachers’ strikes which have been led primarily
by Trump voters. This disconnect in Democratic political tactics
could well cost them critical seats at the national and state levels.
Finally, the Democrats
lack of assertive outreach to Hispanics and Asians, who also
constitute key components of their base, on immigration concerns
could also result in lower voter turnout. While the polls indicate
that a blue wave of Democratic victories is forthcoming, it must be
remembered that similar polls as late as October 2016 assured a
November 2016 Hillary Clinton victory over Donald Trump. Hopefully,
Democrats will avoid going down that rabbit hole again.