Opinion: Trump Policies on Voting and Criminal Justice Quietly Move Country Backward

While the Trump administration is in a state of perpetual turmoil, some of its promised policies are proceeding as planned. Support from a Republican Congress is softening with each cringe-worthy headline about slips, leaks and feuds; still, its members, mindful of the president’s loyal base, are proceeding with caution.

And when you step back from the chaos, don’t expect to see any progress on other issues — such as voting rights and criminal justice reform — that once promised a bit of bipartisan cooperation.

 

Still No N.C. Governor-Elect as Voting Charges Echo Trump’s Claims

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Nov. 8 was weeks ago, and yet the election’s aftermath continues. On the national stage and in the headlines, the winners, losers and those who barely made a dent are unhappy and are doing something about it, from recounts to tweets to repeating debunked conspiracy theories of hordes of illegal voters.

In North Carolina, folks are saying, “Welcome to the club!”

 

Jason Collins tells students to continue to push on social and LGBT issues

Jason Collins, the former NBA player who made history in 2013 as “the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport,” as he said in a Sports Illustrated cover story, has continued to speak out. “I try to have as many conversations as I can with people to change our society and have a positive impact on someone’s life,” he said.

At Johnson C. Smith University, a historically black university in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Tuesday, Collins’ main message to students was clear: “I remember listening to stories from my grandmother who grew up in the segregated South; she grew up in upstate Louisiana. Her telling me how hard it was for her to first vote … hearing those stories and the sacrifices of the people who have come before me, this is important because the people in power fought so hard for us not to have it, whether you’re a woman or a minority, they didn’t want us to have this. So that tells you right there how important it is to vote.”

Can Michelle Obama Sway North Carolina Voters?


CHARLOTTE, NC– Michelle Obama tore into Donald Trump while campaigning for Hillary Clinton in Charlotte Tuesday. The First Lady went after the Republican nominee for tweeting at 3 a.m. and for Trump’s microphone issues at the first Presidential debate. Our political contributor Mary C. Curtis joins us to weigh in on if Michelle Obama made a difference for Clinton in North Carolina.

Voting Restrictions Won’t ‘Make America Great Again’

Donald Trump plans to take his black voter “outreach” to a predominantly African-American audience with a visit to Detroit this weekend, perhaps to quell criticism that his recent speeches about African-Americans have been delivered primarily to whites. That was certainly true during his August stop in Charlotte, N.C., where he began tailoring his message to black voters, who have been roundly rejecting him at the polls.

“If African-Americans give Donald Trump a chance by giving me their vote,” he said, “the result will be amazing.” The Republican presidential candidate cast Democrats and their nominee Hillary Clinton as the true bigots, who “have taken African-American votes totally for granted.”

But Trump’s inclusive Charlotte takeaway — one that seemed geared to the diverse, more progressive “New South” city — has been undermined by a series of clumsy and insulting overtures, and by his and his party’s support for tactics that could remind many black voters of the old South.

To Celebrate Women’s Equality Day, Keep Fighting for Voting Rights

No matter what anyone thinks about the politics or policies of Hillary Clinton, no one can deny that the progress the country has made—in the form of more women elected to high office and more women behind the electoral scene—is rooted in the expansion of access to the vote.

But Women’s Equality Day is a good time to remind ourselves that the right to vote has always been contested in this country. This is just as true in 2016 as it was a century ago.

Obama visit adds heat to contentious and crucial North Carolina Senate race

About the only thing that’s certain about North Carolina’s crucial Senate race is that it’s close. Polls show a tight contest, with Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan and her Republican opponent Thom Tillis exchanging slim leads. It’s not even clear what the November midterm will be about.

Is it a nationalized election, with Hagan tied to a president with low approval numbers? Will Tillis, speaker of the North Carolina House, be weighed down with dissatisfaction over a sometimes dysfunctional state legislature? Will the economy be the ruling issue or will education, health care and the environment, major North Carolina concerns, rise in importance? What role will social issues — abortion and same-sex marriage — play in turning out the base in both parties?

If this past week was an indication, the answer is maybe – or perhaps, all of the above.

Remembering Freedom Summer

It was a summer that saw a national spotlight turned on injustice, as more than 1,000 out-of-state volunteers joined activists who had been doing the work on the ground in Mississippi with a goal of teaching and registering voters. Just 50 years ago, for a black citizen in many Southern states, going to the local county courthouse to register to exercise the fundamental right to vote meant risking your job, everything you owned, and your life. Many took that risk and paid the price.

From rodeo clowns to voting rights, understanding race and history

Have the folks who jeered the President Obama stand-in at that Missouri rodeo ever heard of Bill Pickett?

Pickett was an African American cowboy, inventor of the gutsy bulldogging technique, grabbing cattle by the horns and wrestling them to the ground. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries,

Pickett starred in rodeos and movies, traveled the West and in the 1970s was inducted into the National Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame. He’s depicted as a legend of the West on a U.S. stamp. Pickett was a founder of the same rodeo tradition that allowed the Missouri state fair crowd to whoop and holler, encouraging a bull to run down the “president” while an accomplice jiggled the broad lips on the mask of the clown dressed as Obama and an announcer teased violence that recalled the worst of the ways this country has treated its black citizens.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory gives protesters cookies – seriously

North Carolina GOP Gov. Pat McCrory hand carried chocolate-chip cookies to abortion bill protesters outside the Raleigh governor’s mansion in a let’s-make-up gesture. The surprised recipient said he told her, “‘These are for you. God bless you, God bless you, God bless you.’”  The cookies were returned, and it wasn’t because he forgot the milk. The note on the untouched plate read: “We want women’s health care, not cookies.”

The Tuesday scene, described by The News & Observer, was fallout from McCrory’s Monday night signing of legislation that, among other provisions, will make clinics adopt some of the regulations that apply to ambulatory surgery centers, and allow health-care providers to opt out of performing abortions if they object. Opponents say the new law will limit access to abortion by forcing clinics to close, while McCrory and the bill’s supporters say the health and safety of the state’s citizens, not politics, are what’s at stake.

McCrory’s sincerity is not the issue. After state health officials sanctioned an Asheville, N.C., clinic on Wednesday for “egregious violations … that revealed an imminent threat to the health and safety of patients,” it was either evidence of the need for greater vigilance or proof that current laws are working, depending on which side you support. But it certainly means the subject of clinic safety will and should remain center stage.

However, McCrory’s name on the bill was a cue for endless televised replays of his 2012 pledge during a gubernatorial debate that, if elected, he would not sign any further abortion restrictions into law. In recent Public Policy Polling, the abortion bill was supported by only 34 percent of voters, with 47 percent opposing it. By a similar 48 to 33 margin, voters preferred that McCrory veto the bill (and that number included 25 percent of Republicans).

The cookies treat for angry dissenters was a clumsy move (they chanted:  ”Hey Pat, that was rude. You wouldn’t give cookies to a dude.”) and also in keeping with some of the troubles that have plagued McCrory since he made the leap from Charlotte mayor to the most prominent political job in the state. Engaging protesters about the issue of clinic safety would have been a better move.

Though presiding over Republican super-majorities in the state House and Senate, he has seemed more follower than leader, swept along by a conservative wave of proposals that has signaled North Carolina’s change in political direction, at a loss when talking with many who must have voted for him.