MoJo Author Feeds: James West | Mother Jones Mother Jones logo en This 19-Year-Old Never-Trumper Is the Future of the GOP—If It Can Keep Him <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>On the final night of the GOP convention in Cleveland, I found myself next to the largely white, largely over-50 crowd of delegates from West Virginia on the red carpet of Quicken Loans Arena. Throughout Donald Trump's 75-minute acceptance speech, they shouted in unison: "Build that wall," "Help is on the way," and "Lock her up!"</p> <p>Trump fans were enraptured by his <a href="" target="_blank">dystopian vision of a nation in "chaos," beset by enemies from without and from within</a>. "This is the legacy of Hillary Clinton: death, destruction, terrorism, and weakness," he said. Shoulder-to-shoulder with delegates on the floor, I was left with zero doubt Trump was expertly hitting his mark: The mood was electric and full of rage.</p> <p>But the most interesting experience of my week in Cleveland was an interview I did with a young member of the Texas delegation&mdash;someone who might have been placed, had things gone differently, to inherit a more diverse and forward-looking version of the Republican Party than the one seen by the nation on Thursday night. He's now an outlier.</p> <p>Houston-native Jorge Villarreal is transferring to Texas A&amp;M from community college next year to study agriculture economics and pursue a career in political consulting. The 19-year-old Mexican American is a Republican, and he's passionate about his politics. But he despairs about the future of his party, and the Trumpism&mdash;protectionism, nativism, racism&mdash;now cemented at the top of the ticket.</p> <p>In its 2013 election <a href="" target="_blank">"autopsy" report</a>, the Republican National Committee wrote that in order to win future elections, the party should urgently change how it engaged with Latinos if it hoped "to welcome in new members of our party":</p> <blockquote> <p>If we believe our policies are the best ones to improve the lives of the American people, all the American people, our candidates and office holders need to do a better job talking in normal, people-oriented terms and we need to go to communities where Republicans do not normally go to listen and make our case. We need to campaign among Hispanic, black, Asian and gay Americans and demonstrate that we care about them, too.</p> </blockquote> <p>But this post-Romney push by the party to appeal to a broader demographic of voters&mdash;rather than simply to <em>white</em> Americans&mdash;appears to have run aground in Trump's GOP. Polling indicates a <a href="" target="_blank">majority of young Republicans have an unfavorable opinion of the billionaire real estate developer</a>. Among the broader Hispanic community, Trump has an unfavorability rating of 77 percent, <a href="" target="_blank">according to a Gallup poll conducted in March</a>.</p> <p>I originally included portions of my video interview with Villarreal in <a href="" target="_blank">my story about how voters reacted to Sen. Ted Cruz's refusal to endorse Trump</a>. But I wanted to share the full interview, because it provides such a powerful counterpoint to what I saw in the convention hall on Thursday&mdash;and a possible future for the Republican Party.</p> <p>"[Trump's] racist comments makes me feel that I can't vote for him at all, because not only would I be making a bad decision morally for me, I would be further damaging the party in the long term," Villarreal told me. He recounted conversations with his parents, who he said had immigrated to the United States illegally before being granted amnesty during Ronald Reagan's presidency: "They say, 'Jorge, you need to fix your party. Trump's making it go haywire.'"</p> <p>Watch the full interview above.</p></body></html> Politics Video Donald Trump Elections Fri, 22 Jul 2016 22:34:17 +0000 James West 309916 at We Asked Republican Voters About Their Divided Party. Their Answers Were Amazing. <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>On the third night of the GOP convention in Cleveland, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas was drowned out by boos after refusing to endorse Donald Trump, his party's nominee for president.</p> <p>On Thursday morning, a defiant Cruz continued to ratchet up his war against Trump, declaring that <a href="" target="_blank">he would not grovel "like a servile puppy.</a>"</p> <p>Cruz's speech seemed to once again expose deep fractures inside the Republican Party, after the Never Trump movement failed earlier this week to change the party's rules to deny Trump the nomination. So I took to the streets to ask Republican voters on all sides of the divide&mdash;the pro-Trump types, the shrug-yeah-sure-Trump types, and the Never Trump types&mdash;about how the Republican Party can heal before November.</p> <p>Cruz "was trying to reach those people who say 'Never Trump,'" said Emily Redditt, an alternate delegate from Texas, as she defended her senator. "I can understand his reluctance to endorse."</p> <p>Joking that some Democrats would find a way to forgive President Barack Obama for anything, even if he shot their wife, kids, and dog, Redditt went on to say, "It's as if Trump did go into Ted Cruz's house and shoot his wife." She added, however, that she would reluctantly vote for Trump in November.</p> <p>Ariel White, a Trump supporter, was pessimistic about party unity and upset about Cruz's speech. "It's a hope and a prayer that we get the Republican Party back together," she said. "For Trump, and for America."</p></body></html> Politics Video Donald Trump Elections Thu, 21 Jul 2016 20:43:54 +0000 James West 309751 at We Asked Trump Voters, "How Should Hillary Clinton Be Punished?" Their Answers Were Amazing. <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><iframe width="630" height="354" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> <p>On the second night of the Republican convention, Gov. Chris Christie <a href="" target="_blank">assailed Hillary Clinton</a> in a speech that resembled a mock trial for a long list of her supposed misdeeds, including Benghazi and her handling of emails at the State Department. During prime time at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Christie presented his "bill of indictment" to a raucous crowd that enthusiastically chanted "guilty!" and broke into chants of "Lock her up!"</p> <p>"We're going to present the facts to you, as a jury of her peers, both in this hall and in living rooms around our nation," Christie said. "We didn&rsquo;t disqualify Hillary Clinton to be president of the United States. The facts of her life and career disqualify her."</p> <p>The next morning, it seemed, the ante was raised, when<a href="" target="_blank"> news broke</a> that Al Baldasaro, a prominent Trump supporter who advises the campaign on veterans' issues, had said on a radio show that Clinton deserves to "be put in the firing line and shot for treason." Baldasaro spoke at numerous Trump rallies during the primary campaign, and Trump once <a href=";" target="_blank">praised</a> him as "my favorite vet." (Trump's onetime butler recently <a href="" target="_blank">called for killing</a> President Barack Obama.)</p> <p>I wanted to find out how deep the sentiment to jail Hillary&mdash;or do worse&mdash;ran among die-hard Trump supporters gathering at events outside the convention hall. So I took to the streets to produce the video above.</p> <p>For some, execution was on the table. "She's extremely corrupt, she's extremely dangerous," said Rhonda Welsch, a 55-year-old food and beverage worker at a Hawaii resort. "I think that's what she deserves: the death penalty."</p> <p>This is the third video in our series about Trump voters in Cleveland. Check out the video where I asked Trump voters, <a href="" target="_blank">"When did America stop being great?"</a> and the video recording their reactions to <a href="" target="_blank">Melania Trump's plagiarism scandal</a>.</p></body></html> Politics Wed, 20 Jul 2016 17:40:02 +0000 James West 309581 at We Asked Trump Voters About Melania's Plagiarism Scandal. Their Answers Were Amazing. <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>Melania Trump spoke to the Republican National Convention Monday night, extolling her husband's virtues and telling the nation about how her parents taught her the importance of hard work and keeping your word. But Trump did something else with her speech: She, or her speechwriter, <a href="" target="_blank">may have lifted whole chunks</a> out of Michelle Obama's speech from the 2008 Democratic National Convention.</p> <p>We set out Tuesday morning to ask Trump supporters what they thought about Melania Trump's speech, the alleged plagiarism, and how it will (or won't) affect their support for Trump.</p> <p>"Unfortunately, Michelle Obama does not have an exclusive ownership to the way she was raised," said Jennifer Beckon, a Republican National Convention delegate from Texas. "I think lots of us can say we had those exact same moments with our parents."</p> <p>"I like to quote famous quotes myself," said Keith Kokal, a 60-year-old business owner and Trump supporter. "Maybe that's what happened to her."</p> <p>CNN put together a video showing the similarities between the two speeches:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p></body></html> Politics 2016 Elections Donald Trump Republican National Convention Tue, 19 Jul 2016 19:06:11 +0000 James West and AJ Vicens 309441 at This Photo of Ohio Cops Posing with Black Lives Matter Protesters in Cleveland Is Awesome <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>In the blazing sun of Cleveland Public Square, under the 125-foot-tall Civil War Soldiers' and&nbsp;Sailors' monument,&nbsp;an awesome thing just happened&mdash;something that defies&nbsp;some peoples' expectations of what would take place at the Republican National Convention.</p> <p>Two Ohio cops accepted an invitation to briefly join a group Black Lives Matter protesters&mdash;mainly from New York City&mdash;in front of a big black-and-white "Cleveland" sign. They stood and posed for photos. The protesters laughed, then raised their fists. The cops smiled, and the scene ended with mutual camaraderie.</p> <p>The moment occurred amid escalating tensions between law enforcement and protesters nationwide. Earlier this month, two black men, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, were killed by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Falcon Heights, Minnesota&mdash;the latest in a series of controversial police shootings.</p> <p>On Sunday, three police officers were shot and killed and three others were injured during a gun attack in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, an&nbsp;incident that occurred just 10 days after an ambush of Dallas police killed five officers and injured nine people.</p> <p>"Sometimes these photos can look a bit cheesy," I told one of the Cleveland protesters, Elhadj Bah, a 29-year-old political consultant from New York. "Why did you do that? What's the point?"</p> <p>"The key is to work together with everybody, law enforcement and all of that stuff. It's not creating division or hatred," Bah&nbsp;said. "Maybe we can all work together?"</p> <p>"It changes their perception," Bah added.</p> <p>I couldn't chase down the cops in the photo in time to get their reactions (or their names.) They were quickly lost to the milling crowds of Trumpians, protesters, musicians, and reporters. If you can identify them, let me know.</p></body></html> Politics Crime and Justice Guns Mother Jones Mon, 18 Jul 2016 23:49:26 +0000 James West 309366 at We Asked Trump Voters, "When Did America Stop Being Great?" Their Answers Were Amazing. <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><iframe width="630" height="354" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> <p>Smiling voters unfolded chairs or stretched&nbsp;on the grassy slope overlooking the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland Monday. They were there to participate in <a href="" target="_blank">the first big pro-Trump rally of the GOP convention</a> and to listen to speakers such as far-right luminary&nbsp;Roger Stone and conspiracy shock jock&nbsp;Alex Jones.</p> <p>Trump's famous slogan is obviously "Make America Great Again," but I wanted to know from his most die-hard fans: Exactly when did America&nbsp;<em>stop</em> being great? The video above paints a picture of voters who feel like the very idea of "America" as they know it is slipping away&mdash;voters who worry that their values and freedoms are under attack from politicians and the press.&nbsp;"The mainstream media wants to tell us that somehow we're racist or we're discriminatory or we're misogynist," said Rhona Welsch, a 55-year-old food and beverage worker at a Hawaii resort. "It's just not true."</p></body></html> Politics Video Donald Trump Elections Mon, 18 Jul 2016 20:05:04 +0000 James West 309331 at At Least 3 Police Officers Shot and Killed in Baton Rouge <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><em><strong>Update, July 17, 5:42 p.m. ET:</strong> The deceased suspect has been identified as 29-year-old Gavin Eugene Long&nbsp;of Kansas City, and he attacked the police on his birthday, </em><a href="" target="_blank">CBS News</a> <em>reports. </em></p> <p><em><strong>Update, July 17, 4:49 p.m. ET:</strong> Baton Rouge law enforcement officials announced at a press conference Sunday afternoon that there is no longer an "active shooter" situation, and that the deceased suspect was likely the only shooter, according to </em><a href="" target="_blank">NBC News</a><em>. Police initially suspected that there were at least two other shooters at large. </em></p> <p><em><span class="message_body"><strong>Update, July 17, 3:49 p.m. ET:</strong> Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards condemned the shootings. "This is an unspeakable and unjustifiable attack on all of us at a time when we need unity and healing," he said. </span></em></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="">#lagov</a> on the shooting of law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge today: <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Gov John Bel Edwards (@LouisianaGov) <a href="">July 17, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p><em><span class="message_body"><strong>Update, July 17, 12:39 p.m. ET:</strong> The city's mayor and the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's office have confirmed that three police officers are dead and three others were wounded in the attack. The sheriff's office reports that at least one suspect is dead, but two others may still be at large.</span></em></p> <p>At least three police officers were shot and killed and at least four other officers were injured during a gun attack in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Sunday morning, according to CNN. The incident occurred just 10 days after an ambush of Dallas police killed five officers and injured nine people.</p> <p>While no official link has been established, Sunday's attack comes amid ongoing protests in the city and around the country after the death of <a href="" target="_blank">Alton Sterling</a>, a black man who was shot and killed by police outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge. Thousands attended <a href="" target="_blank">Sterling's funeral on Friday</a>.</p> <p>Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden <a href="" target="_blank">told MSNBC soon after the attack</a> that the police officers had been responding to reports of gunfire when they were ambushed by at least one gunman. A Louisiana State Police spokesman told the network that the gunman was shot during the incident. The gunman's condition remains unclear.</p> <p><em>We will update this post as new details become available.</em></p></body></html> Politics Crime and Justice Guns Sun, 17 Jul 2016 15:44:10 +0000 James West and Kanyakrit Vongkiatkajorn 309216 at Watch Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick Call Black Lives Matter Protesters "Hypocrites" After Dallas Shooting <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><center><script type="text/javascript" width="630px" height="354px" src=";w=466&amp;h=263"></script><noscript>Watch the latest video at <a href=""></a></noscript></center> <p>Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick directly blamed Black Lives Matter protesters for putting the lives of police officers in danger&mdash;actions he said contributed to Thursday night's attack in Dallas that killed five officers.</p> <p>"Too many in the general public who aren't criminals but have a big mouth are creating situations like we saw last night," an emotional Patrick said <a href="" target="_blank">during an interview with Fox News on Friday</a>. He later added, "All those protesters last night, they ran the other way expecting the men and women in blue to turn around and protect them&mdash;what hypocrites!"</p> <p>"I do blame people on social media with their hatred toward police," he said. While pointing out that last night's Dallas protest was peaceful, Patrick said, "I do blame former Black Lives Matter protests."</p> <p>Patrick's comments follow a starkly different public statement calling for unity that he issued overnight:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">My statement on the <a href="">#Dallas</a> shootings. <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Dan Patrick (@DanPatrick) <a href="">July 8, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Patrick's comments come at a time of <a href="" target="_blank">heated rhetoric in the wake of the Dallas attack</a>. Prominent critics of the Black Lives Matter movement have gone so far as to declare the country is at "war."</p></body></html> Politics Video Crime and Justice Guns Fri, 08 Jul 2016 18:32:39 +0000 James West 308606 at 5 Police Officers Dead and 7 Others Injured Near Black Lives Matter Protest in Dallas <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><em><strong>Update, July 8, 8:43 a.m. ET:&nbsp; </strong></em>Dallas Police Chief David Brown confirmed a suspect is dead after the police sent in a robot with a bomb that detonated and killed him. Brown said the suspect had made statements expressing anger with Black Lives Matter and police shootings.</p> <p>"He said he was upset about the recent police shootings, upset at white people, he wanted to kill people, especially white officers," Brown said in a press conference with Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. "The suspect stated that he was not affiliated with any groups, and he stated that he did this alone."</p> <p>"We do not feel much support most days," Brown continued. "Lets not make today most days."</p> <p><em><strong>Update, July 7, 2:56 a.m. ET: </strong></em>A fifth officer <a href="" target="_blank">has died</a>.</p> <p><em><strong>Update, July 7, 1:46 a.m. ET:</strong></em> The Dallas Police Department said officers were negotiating with a suspect who was posted in a garage and who had exchanged gunfire with authorities. The police have taken other suspects into custody. Police Chief David Brown emphasized "we don't have a complete comfort level that we have all the suspects."</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Update: <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Dallas Police Depart (@DallasPD) <a href="">July 8, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p>A shooter opened fire near the end of a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas Thursday night, killing four police officers and injuring seven other officers, according to the Dallas Police Department. Three of those injured are in a critical condition, and two are in surgery. One of the deceased was an officer with Dallas Area Rapid Transit, the city's transport agency; three others were Dallas Police Department officers.</p> <p>According to the police, the snipers took positions above the crowd, which gathered to mark the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. Chaotic live footage from the downtown scene shows police and SWAT teams in a tense police operation.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Update: <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Dallas Police Depart (@DallasPD) <a href="">July 8, 2016</a></blockquote> <p>Police in tactical gear carrying riot shields descended after at least 20 shots boomed loudly in quick succession, audio that was captured by eyewitness video and posted to Twitter.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-video" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">BREAKING: Moment shots ring out and two officers are shot during protests in downtown <a href="">#Dallas</a> - <a href="">@FOX4</a> <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Conflict News (@Conflicts) <a href="">July 8, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p>This week, Castile and Sterling, both black men, died in police shootings. Castile was shot during a traffic stop in a Minneapolis suburb Wednesday night, while Sterling was shot during an altercation with the police outside a convenience store in Baton Rogue, Louisiana, on Tuesday.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">According to the <em>Dallas Morning News</em></a>, hundreds attended a peaceful rally Thursday afternoon. Protesters were heading home when they first heard the gunfire.</p> <p>Stacey Brown, 30 and Bianca Avery, 34, were standing near Dealey Plaza, according to the newspaper.</p> <p>"This was peaceful. This was peaceful," Brown told the <em>Morning News</em>. "We were headed back to our cars to go home. But we turned that corner [at Main Street] and all hell broke loose."</p> <p>"I heard a shot and all of a sudden people are running&hellip;children everywhere, everything," Avery said.</p> <p>Earlier on Thursday, before the Dallas shootings, President Barack Obama <a href="" target="_blank">released a statement</a> saying "all Americans should be deeply troubled" by the recent gun violence.</p> <p>"We've seen such tragedies far too many times," the president wrote in a Facebook post. The shootings are not isolated incidents, Obama said, but "are symptomatic of the broader challenges within our criminal justice system, the racial disparities that appear across the system, year after year, and the resulting lack of trust that exists between law enforcement and too many of the communities they serve."</p> <p><em>This breaking news story will be updated as we learn more details.</em></p></body></html> Politics Crime and Justice Guns Top Stories Fri, 08 Jul 2016 02:45:52 +0000 Jahna Berry, AJ Vicens, and James West 308526 at Watch: Former Guards and a Prisoner Recall Life in a Private Prison <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>In December 2014, <em>Mother Jones </em>senior reporter Shane Bauer started a job as a corrections officer at a Louisiana prison run by the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the country's second-largest private prison company. Read Bauer's gripping firsthand account of his four months as a prison guard <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>. His investigation is also the subject of a <a href="" target="_blank">six-part video series</a>.</p> <p>Below are three extended interviews that go deeper into the lives of two former guards and a former prisoner who Bauer met at Winn Correctional Center. In the first video, Jennifer Calahan talks about the challenges she faced and sacrifices she made when she worked long hours as a prison guard:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src=";showinfo=0" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Life in prison was a matter of survival, explains "Corner Store," a recently released Winn inmate. (He asked that his nickname be changed.) He sits by the Mississippi River and recalls the violence and sexual assaults he witnessed behind bars.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src=";showinfo=0" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Dave Bacle, who was Bauer's work partner at Winn, explains why guards felt unequipped to confront dangerous incidents inside the prison:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src=";showinfo=0" width="630"></iframe></p></body></html> Politics Video Investigations Prisons Top Stories Fri, 01 Jul 2016 10:00:12 +0000 James West 308076 at