MoJo Blogs and Articles | Mother Jones Mother Jones logo en Clinton Announces Tim Kaine as Her Running Mate <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Hillary Clinton announced <a href="" target="_blank">Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia</a> as her running mate on Friday, making what's widely seen as a safe pick by choosing a man with deep political experience, but one who might not have much potential to generate new excitement for her campaign. She announced the decision in a text message to supporters, informing them, "I'm thrilled to tell you this first: I've chosen Sen. Tim Kaine as my running mate."</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><a href=""><img alt="Tim Kaine" class="image" src="/files/tim-kaine%20%281%29.jpg"></a> <div class="caption"><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Read about Tim Kaine's past as a civil rights attorney. </strong></a></div> </div> <p>Kaine backed Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary but was an early booster of Clinton's 2016 bid and has long been seen as a front-runner to be Clinton's vice presidential pick. While he doesn't have a loyal following among the Bernie Sanders crowd, as someone like Elizabeth Warren does, it's easy to see why Kaine appealed to Clinton. He has an extensive political r&eacute;sum&eacute;, as a former mayor of Richmond, lieutenant governor and governor of Virginia, and head of the the Democratic National Committee, and now as a senator from an important swing state.</p> <p>Kaine isn't a rhetorical bomb-thrower. He still carries the reserved Midwestern persona that he gained growing up in the Kansas City suburbs. A former civil rights attorney who won a major redlining verdict against Nationwide Insurance before he launched his political career, Kaine, much like Clinton, offers a quieter version of progressivism than Sanders or Warren, with an emphasis on finding compromise and achieving incremental progress. During his first few years in the Senate, Kaine has focused on foreign policy, seeking to impose limits on the president's powers to conduct war.</p> <p>Kaine's challenge will be to convince Sanders fans that he's on their side, and he didn't do himself any favors in the lead-up to his vice presidential rollout. Earlier this week, he <a href="" target="_blank">signed</a> onto a pair of letters, bipartisan but largely authored by Republicans, that asked federal regulators to ease regulations on community banks.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Read more about Kaine's full career here.</a></p></body></html> Politics 2016 Elections Hillary Clinton Sat, 23 Jul 2016 00:15:42 +0000 Patrick Caldwell 309781 at Virginia's Supreme Court Just Struck Down a Plan to Restore Voting Rights to 200,000 Felons <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Virginia's Supreme Court on Friday blocked Gov. Terry McAuliffe's attempt to restore voting rights to more than 200,000 felons. The 4-3 ruling, which could have a significant impact on the potential swing state in November, <a href="" target="_blank">comes</a> three months after the Democratic governor issued an executive order to enfranchise felons who had completed their sentences and parole or probation as of April 22.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">BREAKING: VA Sup Ct rules against <a href="">@GovernorVA</a>'s exec orders reenfranchising people who've completed their sentences; 200k+ disenfranchised</p> &mdash; Dale Ho (@dale_e_ho) <a href="">July 22, 2016</a></blockquote> <p>In May, Virginia Republicans sued the governor over the use of taxpayer money to make such an order, suggesting that the order would aid Democratic turnout in the general election. State Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Normen, Jr. said in a statement at the time that McAuliffe had "overstepped the bounds of his authority and the constitutional limits on executive powers." McAuliffe struck back, <a href="" target="_blank">stating</a> that the lawsuit would "preserve a policy of disenfranchisement that has been used intentionally to suppress the voices of qualified voices."</p> <p>The Virginia Supreme Court found that McAuliffe overstepped his clemency authority in granting 206,000 felons the right to vote through executive order and that it violated the state constitution.</p> <p>"Never before have any of the prior 71 Virginia governors issued a clemency order of any kind&mdash;including pardons, reprieves, commutations, and restoration orders&mdash;to a class of unnamed felons without regard for the nature of the crimes or any other individual circumstances relevant to the request," wrote Chief Justice Donald W. Lemons in the majority opinion.</p> <p>"To be sure, no governor of this commonwealth, until now, has even suggested that such a power exists," the justice wrote.</p> <p>The court&rsquo;s decision made Virginia "an outlier in the struggle for civil and human rights," McAuliffe <a href="" target="_blank">said in a statement</a> Friday. He criticized Republicans&rsquo; lawsuit.</p> <p>"I cannot accept that this overtly political action could succeed in suppressing the voices of many thousands of men and women who had rejoiced with their families earlier this year when their rights were restored,&rdquo; he said, adding that he would "expeditiously sign" orders to restore voting rights to 13,000 felons. It was immediately unclear if the court's order would affect McAullife's plans to grant rights for those people.</p> <p>You can read the judges' opinions below:</p> <div class="DV-container" id="DV-viewer-2997620-Howell-v-McAuliffe-Virginia-Supreme-Court-Opinion">&nbsp;</div></body></html> Politics 2016 Elections Crime and Justice Race and Ethnicity Fri, 22 Jul 2016 23:34:58 +0000 Edwin Rios 309926 at 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 California Just Required Registration for Untraceable Guns—Like the One I Made <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Today, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed <a href="" target="_blank">Assembly Bill 857</a> into law, requiring Californians who build their own firearms to apply for a state-issued serial number. Previously, guns assembled from parts kits officially flew under the radar. No background checks were required, and no serial number had to be stamped into the finished firearm, making them effectively untraceable.&nbsp;</p> <p>In 2013, I attended a "<a href="" target="_blank">gun build party</a>" in southern California, in which I and a dozen others built AK-47s and other Kalashnikov variants from parts kits. My AK, according to the host of the build party, was an Egyptian "Maadi." Its parts had traveled to the United States by way of Croatia, which most likely received the weapon some time during the Yugoslav wars. He told me that often parts kits come from former conflict zones, and that sometimes the wooden stocks have tally marks notched in them. From my <em>Mother Jones</em> story about the gun build party:</p> <blockquote> <p>Although US customs laws ban importing the weapons, parts kits&mdash;which include most original components of a Kalashnikov variant&mdash;<a href="" target="_blank">are legal</a>. So is reassembling them, as long as no more than 10 foreign-made components are used and they are mounted on a new receiver, the box-shaped central frame that holds the gun's key mechanics. There are no fussy irritations like, say, passing a background check to buy a kit. And because we're assembling the guns for our own "personal use," whatever that may entail, we're not required to stamp in serial numbers. These rifles are totally untraceable, and even under California's stringent <a href="" target="_blank">assault weapons ban</a>, that's perfectly within the law.</p> </blockquote> <p>Now that's no longer the case in California. Homemade weapons have long been a pastime for gun enthusiasts, but some law enforcement agencies have become concerned as they've started showing up more frequently <a href="" target="_blank">at crime scenes</a>.</p> <p>As the <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Los Angeles Times</em></a> reports, today's bill is part of a more sweeping package of gun safety proposals that California Democrats recently pushed through, including a ban on semiautomatic assault rifles with detachable magazines and requiring background checks for ammunition purchases. Brown <a href="" target="_blank">signed</a> several of these bills earlier this month, which has been met with <a href="" target="_blank">an effort to overturn </a>them.</p></body></html> Politics Guns Fri, 22 Jul 2016 20:22:30 +0000 Bryan Schatz 309911 at An Indiana Court Just Said Women Can't Be Jailed for Ending Their Own Pregnancies <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>The Indiana Court of Appeals on Friday <a href="" target="_blank">overturned</a> the feticide conviction of a woman found guilty in the death of her child after she bought abortion-inducing drugs off the internet. Purvi Patel was sentenced to 20 years behind bars in 2015 after an Indiana trial court convicted her of two felonies: feticide and "neglect of a dependent."</p> <p>Patel, in her mid-30s, was managing her family's restaurant in rural Indiana when she got pregnant. After doing research online, Patel ordered mifepristone and misoprostol (the same drugs typically prescribed for a medical abortion by a clinic) from a Hong Kong pharmacy for $72. In July 2013, Patel texted a friend, "Just lost the baby."</p> <p>But when she started experiencing severe bleeding, Patel went to the emergency room. There, her doctors called the police, who found the baby, which they estimated weighed a little over a pound, in a dumpster near Patel's work. One of the ER physicians, who was also a <a href="" target="_blank">member</a> of a pro-life medical organization, left the hospital to join police in the search.<strong> </strong>About a week later, Patel was arrested and charged with feticide and neglect.</p> <p>During her trial, attorneys for Indiana argued that Patel was at least 25 weeks into her pregnancy and that her fetus was not only viable but also took at least one breath before dying. They also argued that the state's feticide law, <a href="" target="_blank">passed</a> in 2009 to protect pregnant women from acts of violence, could be used to criminalize pregnant women, not just third-parties. In 2015, after two years behind bars, Patel was convicted of both charges.</p> <p>Patel's attorneys, along with abortion rights advocates, vowed to overturn what they called a wrongful and contradictory conviction.</p> <p>"Even assuming Indiana's feticide law could somehow become an abortion criminalization law, many people were initially baffled by how Patel could be charged with two seemingly contradictory charges: feticide for ending a pregnancy and also child neglect for giving birth to a baby and then failing to care for it," <a href="" target="_blank">wrote</a> Lynn Paltrow, the founder and executive director of the National Advocates for Pregnant Women, which provided legal support to Patel's case.</p> <p>In its ruling on Friday, the Appeals Court noted the contradiction, calling the outcome "absurd," but found that the state's feticide statute doesn't require a dead fetus, despite the common definition of the word. Instead, the law just requires that a person terminates the pregnancy.</p> <p>But the court did overturn the feticide conviction, ruling that the statute wasn't meant to be applied to pregnant women themselves. The court also ruled that Patel's class A felony charge should be bumped down to a class D felony. The case will go to a trial court for resentencing.</p> <p>Jill E. Adams, a lawyer and the chief strategist for the University of California-Berkeley Law School's new Self-Induced Abortion Legal Team, which also gave legal support to Patel, told <em>Mother Jones</em> that Patel does not plan to challenge the new felony charge.</p> <p>"The SIA Legal Team is pleased the court recognized that feticide laws are intended to protect, not prosecute, pregnant women," she wrote in an email. "Women don't need to be stigmatized and sentenced; instead, they need safe, affordable access to provider-directed and self-directed health care."</p></body></html> Politics Crime and Justice Reproductive Rights Fri, 22 Jul 2016 20:03:06 +0000 Nina Liss-Schultz 309876 at 4 Things That Trump Got Wrong <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><em>This <a href="" target="_blank">story</a> was originally published by </em>Grist and <em>is reproduced here as part of the <a href="" target="_blank">Climate Desk</a> collaboration.</em></p> <p>Donald Trump's big speech at the Republican convention&nbsp;on Thursday didn't contain a single reference to the environment or climate change. It was vague on policy overall, focusing heavily on the primary themes of this year's Republican National Convention: bashing Hillary Clinton's character and <a href="">fear-mongering over crime</a> and national security, with a heavy dose of Islamophobia and xenophobia.</p> <p>There was, however, one section that dealt hazily with energy policy. Unfortunately, it was filled with falsehoods. Let's go through the four key assertions one at a time:</p> <p><strong>"Excessive regulation is costing our country as much as $2 trillion a year, and we will end it."</strong></p> <p>The apparent source for this figure is the National Association of Manufacturers, a conservative business lobbying organization that is fiercely opposed to regulations. <a href="">The group's </a><a href="">$2 trillion </a><a href="">estimate</a> calculates only the cost of regulatory compliance and not the cost savings that result from government&nbsp;rules. So the fact that environmental and workplace safety regulations prevent health-care expenses and missed work days, for example, is simply ignored in this calculation. When you do account for the benefits of regulations, they often end up <a href="">saving far more money</a> than they cost. Experts <a href="">debunked</a> NAM's report; the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service <a href="">cited</a> the Office of Management and Budget in calling the kind of methodology used "inherently flawed." No unbiased, empirical cost-benefit analysis would come up with anything close to the number Trump cites.</p> <p><strong>"We are going to lift the restrictions on the production of American energy. This will produce more than $20 trillion in job-creating economic activity over the next four decades."</strong></p> <p>The source for this $20 trillion figure is the Institute for Energy Research, an organization funded by the Koch brothers. As The New York Times has <a href="">previously noted</a>, "economic reality" contradicts this projection. Additional fossil fuel production has diminishing returns because increased&nbsp;supply means lower prices. So, according to experts the Times interviewed, the number is wildly exaggerated.</p> <p><strong>"My opponent, on the other hand, wants to put the great miners and steelworkers of our country out of work&mdash;that will never happen when I am president." </strong></p> <p>Hillary Clinton's <a href="">admission</a> that coal workers will be put out of work in the years ahead was not a statement of what she wants; it was a statement of reality. The coal industry is shedding jobs because of mechanization, tapped-out mountains, and increasing competition from natural gas and renewables. President Obama's Clean Power Plan would prevent backsliding toward more coal use but <a href="">not seriously worsen</a> the industry's <a href="">already grim prospects</a>. So Trump can't actually reverse coal's decline just by rolling back regulations. In any case, Clinton, unlike Trump, <a href="">has a plan</a> to put laid-off workers from this dying industry back to work in growing sectors&mdash;including, but not limited to, wind and solar energy production.</p> <p><strong>"With these new economic policies, trillions of dollars will start flowing into our country. This new wealth will improve the quality of life for all Americans&mdash;we will build the roads, highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, and the railways of tomorrow. This, in turn, will create millions more jobs." </strong></p> <p>Trump is right that infrastructure investment would be good for the economy. Too bad his party's own platform <a href="">explicitly rejects</a> spending on railways and many other kinds of infrastructure. And, in reality, Trump's <a href="">insane budget plan</a> would leave no money for such projects.</p></body></html> Environment 2016 Elections Climate Change Climate Desk Donald Trump Economy Energy Top Stories Infrastructure Fri, 22 Jul 2016 19:39:52 +0000 Ben Adler 309906 at These WNBA Players Were Fined for Shirts Supporting Black Lives Matter—and They're Not Going to Take It <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>In the locker room Thursday afternoon, following a home-court loss to the Indiana Fever, players from New York Liberty refused to answer questions about basketball. Same with the Fever.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">LIVE on <a href="">#Periscope</a> <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Excelle Sports (@ExcelleSports) <a href="">July 21, 2016</a></blockquote> <p>That morning, the Women's National Basketball Association <a href="" target="_blank">fined</a> the New York Liberty, Phoenix Mercury, and Indiana Fever $5,000 apiece, and their players $500 each. Their transgression? During warmups in recent games, they've donned black t-shirts in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement. (For one game, the <a href="" target="_blank">Liberty's shirts</a> included hashtags for #blacklivesmatter and #Dallas5&mdash;recognizing the five police officers slain in Dallas.) Earlier this week, the league sent out a memo reminding players of its attire policy, and noting that players could not alter their uniforms in any way.</p> <p>"We are proud of WNBA players' engagement and passionate advocacy for non-violent solutions to difficult social issues," league president Lisa Borders <a href="" target="_blank">told</a> the Associated Press on Wednesday, "but expect them to comply with the league's uniform guidelines."</p> <p>The WNBA's decision to fine the women <a href="" target="_blank">was met with criticism</a>, especially given that NBA players led by New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony and other superstars have been calling for renewed social activism among pro athletes. After the 2014 death of Eric Garner, who <a href="" target="_blank">died</a> after a police officer put him in a choke hold in Staten Island, New York, superstars Lebron James, Derrick Rose, and Kyrie Irving, and members of the Brooklyn Nets, <a href="" target="_blank">wore</a> "I Can't Breathe" shirts during warmups&mdash;no one got a fine. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver <a href="" target="_blank">supported</a> the players while noting that he preferred they "abide by our on-court attire rules." (Just yesterday the NBA, in an unprecedented act of social activism by a pro sports league, punished North Carolina for its controversial workplace discrimination and transgender bathroom law by moving<a href="" target="_blank"> its lucrative All-Star game</a> away from Charlotte.)</p> <p>After the shooting at the Orlando gay nightclub that killed 49 people, the WNBA distributed T-shirts bearing a rainbow heart with the words #OrlandoUnited on them for a night. The Minnesota Lynx <a href="" target="_blank">wore shirts</a> with the words "Change starts with us, justice and accountability" for one game&mdash;prompting four off-duty police officers working the game to walk out. (The women did not receive a fine in that case.)</p> <p>Here's what some of the fined players had to say about the whole affair:</p> <p><strong>Liberty guard Tanisha Wright: </strong>"We really feel like there's still an issue still in America, and we want to be able to use our platforms. We want to be able to use our voices. We don&rsquo;t want to let anybody silence us in what we want to talk about...It&rsquo;s unfortunate that the WNBA has fined us and not supported its players."</p> <p><strong>Liberty forward Tina Charles: </strong>(Charles <a href="">wore</a> her usual warmup shirt inside out while accepting the "Player of the Month" award prior to the game.) "I was just thinking, with what happened today in North Miami to the African-American male who was down just trying to help an autistic person out, when I heard about that news, I just couldn't be silent. You know, just knowing my status, knowing the player I am representing this organization, if anybody was going to wear it, it had to be me. So for me, it's just all about me continuing to raise awareness. I have no problem wearing this shirt inside out for the rest of the season until we're able to have the WNBA support."</p> <p><strong>Liberty guard Swin Cash:</strong> "We really would appreciate that people stop making our support of Black Lives Matter, an issue that is so critical in our society right now, as us not supporting the police officers. There's a lot of women in this room right now, and in the WNBA, that have family members who are in law enforcement, family who are in the military...The fact of the matter is, there is an issue at hand is, and as much as we can grieve and feel sorry for those families who are losing those police officers, we also have the right and the ability to also have our voice be heard about an issue that goes back even further than the deaths that have been happening lately. And so I think people need to understand that it's not mutually exclusive. You also can support both things, but at the same time, this issue is important to us."</p> <p><strong>Tanisha Wright:</strong> "More than 70 percent of this league is made up of African-American women, so that affects us directly. We need [the league] to be just as supportive of this issue as they were with any other issue: Breast cancer awareness, they support that. Pride, they support that. Go Green initiative, they support. So we want them to stand with us and support this as well."</p> <p><strong>Indiana Fever's <a href="" target="_blank">Briann January</a>: </strong>"Race is tough, it's very tough, but when you go about it the right way and attack that issue with information and statistics and support for those people, there is not a fight here. We're not here to put up a fight. We're here to support a certain group. We're asking for change. Every race deserves the right to be treated with respect and not be treated based on the color of their skin."</p> <p><strong>Tanisha Wright:</strong> "We feel like America has a problem with the police brutality that's going on with black lives...And we want to just use our voices and use our platform to advocate for that. Just because someone says black lives matter, doesn't mean that other lives don't matter...What we say is black lives matter, <em>too</em>. Period."</p></body></html> Media Crime and Justice Sports Top Stories Fri, 22 Jul 2016 19:28:56 +0000 Edwin Rios 309866 at Friday Cat Blogging - 22 July 2016 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Somebody pointed out last week that we haven't seen Hopper for a while. Is that true? Maybe! So here she is, in all her green-eyed glory.</p> <p>Have a nice weekend, everyone. We deserve one after four days of the Republican convention.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hopper_2016_07_22.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 15px 0px 5px 35px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 22 Jul 2016 19:00:10 +0000 Kevin Drum 309901 at Former KKK Leader David Duke Announces He's Running for Senate <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Last night, former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke was ecstatic over GOP nominee Donald Trump's convention speech; this morning he announced his plans to capitalize on what he sees as a ripe political moment and run for Louisiana's open US Senate seat.</p> <p>Duke didn't draw a direct line between Trump and himself, but he could barely contain his excitement over Trump just hours before his official announcement:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Great Trump Speech, America First! Stop Wars! Defeat the Corrupt elites! Protect our Borders!, Fair Trade! Couldn't have said it better!</p> &mdash; David Duke (@DrDavidDuke) <a href="">July 22, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Then, this morning, Duke posted a video to his website <a href="" target="_blank">announcing</a> his candidacy for Senate as a Republican, and describing himself as the "first American politician in modern times to promote the policy of America First," a clear nod to Trump's repeated use of the phrase throughout his campaign. Duke clearly saw Trump's ascendancy as his moment to break into the mainstream, gloating on Twitter during Trump's speech last night about the expanding "<a href="" target="_blank">Overton window"</a>&mdash;the range of ideas the public is willing to discuss and accept in the mainstream.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Will I qualify for Federal Office tomorrow? You will know in the morning if I will move the "overton window."</p> &mdash; David Duke (@DrDavidDuke) <a href="">July 22, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Last fall, Duke publicly endorsed Trump, who was slow to disavow the white supremacist's approval. Trump <a href="" target="_blank">later claimed it was a misunderstanding</a>, but his campaign has <a href="" target="_blank">attracted</a> a series of white nationalist and openly racist supporters.</p> <p>Duke, a felon who was convicted of tax fraud, served in the Louisiana Legislature for one term between 1989 and 1992. He later ran for the White House in a long shot bid in 1992 and has continued to periodically run for various state and federal offices, though he has never won.</p></body></html> Politics 2016 Elections Donald Trump Fri, 22 Jul 2016 17:29:48 +0000 Russ Choma 309881 at Should We Allow Nonprofits to Endorse Candidates? <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>I work for a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, so I'm keenly aware that I'm not allowed to endorse candidates. That means y'all will just have to guess who I'm voting for in November. I apologize for having to keep you in such suspense.</p> <p>Until recently, though, I had no idea <em>why</em> non-profits weren't allowed to endorse candidates. Then I began hearing about the "Johnson Amendment" from Donald Trump. Obviously someone put a bug in his ear, and he's been repeating it <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_lbj_senate.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">like a mantra for weeks now. <a href="" target="_blank">So what's this all about?</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The &ldquo;Johnson Amendment,&rdquo; as the 1954 law is often called, <strong>is a U.S. tax code rule preventing tax-exempt organizations, such as churches and educational institutions, from endorsing political candidates</strong>. At the time, then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson was running for re-election, and he and other members of Congress pushed the amendment to stop support for their political opponents&rsquo; campaigns, George Washington University law professor Robert Tuttle has explained. Many have also argued the amendment served to stop black churches from organizing to support the civil rights movement.</p> <p>&ldquo;All section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office,&rdquo; the IRS explains of the rule on its website. &ldquo;Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>There you go. So why has Trump suddenly decided this is a threat to democracy? You can probably guess: because conservative churches want to endorse Republican candidates and give them lots of money without losing their tax-exempt status. Jerry Falwell Jr. explains:</p> <blockquote> <p>In recent years, religious liberty group the Alliance Defending Freedom has advocated for its repeal, arguing that the law is unconstitutional and lets the IRS &ldquo;tell pastors what they can and cannot preach,&rdquo; and &ldquo;aims to censor your sermon.&rdquo;...&ldquo;This is something that could make a difference with Christian voters in the fall,&rdquo; Falwell says. <strong>&ldquo;It is almost as important for Christians as the appointment of Supreme Court justices.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>My first thought about this is that it would provide yet another avenue for big money in politics. I can imagine rich donors setting up, say, the Church of the Divine Supply Siders and then funneling millions of dollars in dark money through it. Fun!</p> <p>On the other hand, in a world of Super PACs and <em>Citizens United</em>, why bother? They can already do this easily enough, just as churches can set up "action committees" that are legally separate and can endorse away.</p> <p>I'd genuinely like to hear more about this. Within whatever framework of campaign finance law we happen to have, is there any special reason that nonprofits shouldn't be able to endorse, organize, and spend money on behalf of a candidate? I have to admit that no really good reason comes to mind. Am I missing something?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 22 Jul 2016 17:09:46 +0000 Kevin Drum 309891 at