By Bettina Ramon, Communications Manager, People For the American Way
Just two weeks ago, many of us celebrated the new year — and the end of an especially devastating one — with a renewed sense of optimism that perhaps the worst of the Trump presidency was behind us.
That hope came to a screeching halt on January 6 when a violent, insurrectionist mob stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6.
Many forces at work perpetuated and exacerbated the disturbing events that unfolded that day, and immediate and decisive efforts to hold Trump legally accountable have already begun:
By Ashley Vanorny, Cedar Rapids City Councilmember, District 5
As a lifelong resident of Cedar Rapids who is studying for her degree in health care administration from Des Moines University while also serving on the City Council, I know what health care protections mean to Iowans. It’s why I believe health care is a right and not a privilege.
When I heard that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had passed away, I was devastated. …
By Elliot Mincberg, Senior Fellow, People For the American Way
Recent reports that the Trump administration is planning a “sweeping effort” to “repeal or suspend” federal rules affecting business on issues such as workplace safety, health care, and the environment, all in the name of economic recovery from the current pandemic, should come as no surprise.
These efforts to shred the social safety net, which began under FDR’s New Deal, have become part and parcel of Trump’s presidency. Well before the pandemic, Trump was already pursuing that goal through a combination of regressive policies and far-right judicial nominations. …
By Michael B. Keegan, President, People For the American Way
Voting rights, which should be sacred in a democratic society, took another devastating hit on April 6, with the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative and right-wing justices denying thousands of Wisconsin voters the ability to cast a ballot, and forcing millions of others to decide whether to brave massive lines and risk their lives in order to be counted.
This is, as voting rights advocate Sherrilyn Ifill said, unconscionable. But, sadly, it is not surprising. Because the Republican Party that the modern right-wing political movement has molded in its own image has a long history of viewing voting rights not as sacred but as dangerous to their political survival. …
By Rev. Timothy McDonald, Atlanta-based pastor and co-chair of People For the American Way’s African American Ministers in Action program
You know the old saying, “The devil’s in the details,” right? Well, in the case of that big coronavirus legislation that just moved through Congress, the devil’s dressed up like a Trump-supporting megachurch preacher looking to stick his hand in Uncle Sam’s pocket.
I am shocked, I tell you, shocked, that the same right-wing evangelicals who treat small-government ideology as a biblical mandate, the same guys who preach that it’s not the government’s job to help the poor, who argue that Jesus would want people to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, who even warned that too much help for suffering workers would make them lazy — those same conservative evangelicals lobbied the White House for a chance to fill their offering plates with tax dollars. …
By Lizet Ocampo, Political Director; Latinos Vote! Director, People For the American Way
As the presidential primary season barrels toward Super Tuesday, Bernie Sanders’s strong showing among Latino voters — a major factor in his Nevada caucus win — remains a surprise to some. This is true even though reporters have noted that it is logical that Sanders’s core message about economic justice would resonate with many traditionally marginalized communities, including the Latino community.
But analysts have also noted another phenomenon: the high priority that the Sanders campaign placed on direct outreach to Latino voters — including meeting voters where they are in creative ways. The New York Times notes that when early voting began in Nevada, “the Sanders campaign sent a neon truck blasting local Spanish radio out onto the Las Vegas streets, urging people to show up at dozens of early caucus sites. …
By Elliot Mincberg, People For the American Way
On November 6, President Trump celebrated the confirmation of his federal judicial nominees as a “milestone” during a press event at the White House.
Since he took office, Trump has appointed 43 ultra-conservative judges to lifetime positions on our federal appellate courts. But this is not a milestone to celebrate, and Americans should be alarmed rather than exuberant. In just over two years, Trump’s appeals court judges have severely harmed the rights and jeopardized the health and safety of millions of us.
Their extreme positions are too much even for many of George W. Bush’s and Ronald Reagan’s conservative judges. Rather than celebrating, we should do everything we can to stop additional Trump judges from being confirmed and to hold accountable Trump and the senators who voted to confirm the current narrow-minded elitist crop. …
By Khizr Khan
In a few days on Nov. 5, we voters in Virginia will go to the polls in statewide legislative elections whose results will be widely read as foreshadowing for the presidential race in 2020. The ramifications of this election at this time are many, but one of them is certainly this: the GOP is using Virginia as a laboratory to test messages and tactics for 2020, and what they learn there will be replicated on a national scale very soon. …
The voters of Montgomery, Alabama have an opportunity to create history, and chart a new future, by electing Probate Judge Steven Reed as the first African American mayor in the city’s 200-year history. Reed is one of two candidates in an October 8 runoff election, and he is running hard to overcome a tendency for turnout to drop in runoff elections, which has been a challenge for progressive and black candidates in the south.
Reed’s campaign could be historic, but he is rightly focused more on the future than on the past. He has built a broad coalition around his pledge to work for a city that provides opportunity to everyone, including those who have been left behind, looked over, and left out. …
By Bettina Ramon, Communications Manager, People For the American Way
Before he opened fire at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas on August 3 and killed 22 people in a hate-fueled massacre, the gunman posted a screed online that reportedly stated his motive: “This is an attack in response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”
In response, thousands of Americans shared their devastation and outrage over the shooting, which many said marked a new low in the Trump era. And while it’s true that Trump deserves ire for his anti-Latino rhetoric and incitements of violence, this attack — and the gunman’s fear over the “Hispanic invasion” — isn’t just about Trump’s racism or his cruel anti-immigrant policies. …