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Don’t blame Hurricane Michael victims for voting for climate deniers

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When Hurricane Michael hit the Florida Panhandle and Southern Georgia last week, it devastated areas known for their poverty — and their conservative politics. And some media outlets didn’t hesitate to lean into the apparent irony.

A day after the calamity, while many were just beginning to process the scope of the damage, The Guardian ran a story originally titled “Victims of Hurricane Michael voted for climate deniers,” which some readers interpreted as victim-blaming. “Florida voters could put an end to this nonsense,” wrote the article’s author John Abraham. “Climate deniers are making these storms worse by stopping action on climate change. What the hell do we expect to happen when the deniers are writing the laws?”

The backlash to the article varied. Some people criticized the tone of the headline. Others, like Union of Concerned Scientists fellow Michael Lautner, had a different issue with the story — he saw the premise as patently flawed.

“It’s not that [those affected by Hurricane Michael] are voting for climate deniers,” Lautner told Grist. “It’s that they don’t really have much of a choice to vote in the first place.”

According to Latner, officials in both Florida and Georgia have used a vast arsenal of voter suppression methods to reduce voter turnout and distort civic representation. He says these techniques include heavy gerrymandering in low-income communities — the same places that are often most vulnerable to environmental woes.

Many of the Florida and Georgia residents who were most dramatically affected by Hurricane Michael live in low-income communities. Think Calhoun County in Georgia with a 33 percent poverty rate or Franklin County in Florida with a 23.5 percent poverty rate. (The states’ poverty rates stands at about 15 percent and 14 percent, respectively.)

Both Georgia and Florida have specific policies that could result in voter suppression. Florida has disenfranchised an estimated 1.5 million ex-felons — that’s ten percent of the state’s adult population, including one in five African Americans. And earlier this year, Florida Governor Rick Scott, a known climate denier, banned early voting at university campuses, which represent a younger, more liberal, diverse and climate-conscious electorate. A federal judge halted the policy, but three Florida universities announced they still would not allow early voting at their campus polls.

In Georgia, secretary of state and current Republican gubernatorial hopeful Brian Kemp froze 53,000 voter registration applications, nearly 70 percent of which belonged to African Americans, because of a mismatch with drivers license or social security information. Georgia has also reduced the number of polling places, closing eight percent of the state’s total since 2012. Three-quarters of the counties affected are communities of color. In Randolph County, an area that’s now reeling from wide-spread damage due to Hurricane Michael, local election officials attempted to close seven of nine polling places in an overwhelmingly black area, abandoning the plan only when faced with a statewide protest.

It’s unclear what, if any, effect these policies have on election outcomes. But in states like Georgia and Florida, where gubernatorial races are known to be razor-close, both voter suppression and Hurricane recovery could be significant factors.

“[In Florida and Georgia] you have a combination of factors… that are often times worse off in environmental disasters,” Lautner said. “And in communities that are already overburdened with socioeconomic distress and the like, these barriers make a difference.”

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Don’t blame Hurricane Michael victims for voting for climate deniers

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Floridians who missed voter registration deadline because of Hurricane Michael are out of luck

Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle Wednesday afternoon. The third strongest storm to ever hit the United States, it brought 155 mph winds, heavy rainfall, and towering storm surges. While Floridians in Michael’s path were searching for refuge from the storm’s imminent fury, thousands of would-be voters missed the state’s October 9 voter-registration deadline.

In response, a coalition of civil rights groups including the Advancement Project, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and the American Civil Liberties Union has filed an injunction in federal court against the state. Florida officials refused to further extend the registration deadline, despite issuing mass evacuations and closing down offices in preparation for Hurricane Michael. There have also been mounting complaints about “a mess” in the online registration system — with glitches that could have disenfranchised thousands of eligible voters. The lawsuit calls for the voter-registration deadline to be extended by at least one week statewide.

“Our lawsuit is about protecting the right to vote for people impacted by Hurricane Michael in a moment where state officials have been unresponsive and unwilling to do the right things,” Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, told Grist. “It is unreasonable to expect that anyone in Florida will have an opportunity to register and vote when you’re in the storm’s path.”

Considering Florida has a long-standing history of razor-close elections, as well as the high stakes of November’s upcoming election — where climate-related issues like toxic algae blooms and now Hurricane Michael are expected to take center stage — voters who were unable to register could have some political influence on the environmental burdens they and other Floridians face.

According to a new analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists out earlier this month, the same communities that suffer from the burden of socioeconomic distress and environmental segregation — such as exposure to air toxins — also often face restrictive electoral laws. Researchers made the connection by examining Congressional election turnout and compared the effect of both socioeconomic, environment, as well as institutional factors on turnout.

“These cumulative inequalities add up and make it very difficult for those who are most in need of protecting their interests in their community from actually having a voice in the political process,” said Michael Latner, lead author of the analysis and a Union of Concerned Scientists fellow.

Researchers found that the lowest voter turnout happens in vulnerable communities and communities of color. “You get this cumulative effect such that you’ve got environmental injustice inequalities — that is, the burdens of environmental pollution and degradation — more concentrated among people of color and economically burdened communities,” Latner told Grist.

The areas affected by Hurricane Michael are some of Florida’s poorest. Gulf County and Franklin County have some of the highest poverty rates in the state at 23.5 percent and 23.1 percent, respectively. (Florida’s overall poverty rate stands at 14 percent, per the U.S. Census.) Calhoun County, just inland of where the storm made landfall, has a poverty rate of 21 percent. It’s also the county with the lowest median household income in the state — less than $32,000 per year.

“People who are economically depressed, in many ways, have less of a voice,” said Donita Judge, senior attorney and co-director of the Power and Democracy Program at the Advancement Project, one of the groups that brought suit against the state. “When some communities catch a cold, poor communities catch pneumonia. It’s always worse for them to overcome.”

This is not an isolated instance. Back in 2016, civil rights groups also sued the state after its refusal to extend the voter registration deadline during Hurricane Matthew. “Everybody has had a lot of time to register,” said Florida Governor Rick Scott at the time. Scott is currently on the ballot for one of the state’s two seats in the Senate.

But Scott’s response ignores the fact that, historically, there are spikes in voter registration rates right as a deadline approaches. In 2016, after a court ordered an additional one-week extension of the statewide deadline to accommodate those affected by Matthew, more than 100,000 additional Floridians registered.

Of course, Florida is not the only state facing allegations of voter suppression. Texas, which has some of the worst voter registration and voter participation rates, rejected 2,400 online voter registrations before the October 9 deadline. In Georgia, 53,000 voter registrations — of which nearly 70 percent belonged to African-Americans — are in limbo after the state’s Republican candidate for governor, who is also its current secretary of state, began overseeing an “exact match” registration verification process.

On Sunday, Florida’s Secretary of State Ken Detzner authorized election supervisors in select counties to accept paper registration applications whenever their offices reopen. But considering that prolonged recovery efforts follow soon after devastating hurricanes, civil rights groups feel this “limited, confusing, and inconsistent” solution was insufficient.

As human-induced climate change continues unchecked, disasters the likes of Michael are becoming the norm. “From Hurricane Katrina to Hurricane Michael, these past few years make clear that climate change is having an impact on our country,” Clarke of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law said. “Election officials should do a better job at having emergency plans in place that safeguard the rights of voters.”

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Floridians who missed voter registration deadline because of Hurricane Michael are out of luck

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Macron Campaign Hit With "Massive and Coordinated" Hacking Attack

Mother Jones

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A massive trove of documents purporting to contain thousands of emails and other files from the campaign of Emmanuel Macron—the French centrist candidate squaring off against right-wing nationalist Marine Le Pen—was posted on the internet Friday afternoon. The Macron campaign says that at least some of the documents are fake. The document dump came just over a day before voting is set to begin in the final round of the election and mere hours before candidates are legally required to stop campaigning.

At about 2:35 p.m. ET, a post appeared on the 4chan online message board announcing the leak. The documents appear to include emails, internal memos, and screenshots of purported banking records.

“In this pastebin are links to torrents of emails between Macron, his team and other officials, politicians as well as original documents and photos,” the anonymous 4chan poster wrote. “This was passed on to me today so now I am giving it to you, the people. The leak is massvie and released in the hopes that the human search engine here will be able to start sifting through the contents and figure out exactly what we have here.”

The Macron campaign issued a statement Friday night saying it was the victim of a “massive and coordinated” hacking attack. That campaign said the leak included some fake documents that were intended “to sow doubt and misinformation.”

The Macron camp compared the document dump to last year’s hacking of emails associated with Hillary Clinton. The US intelligence community has concluded that Russia was responsible for the Clinton hacks. “This operation is obviously a democratic destabilization as was seen in the United States during the last presidential campaign,” the Macron statement said.

The timing of the leak is particularly noteworthy. Under French law, candidates and their campaigns cannot speak to the media or do anything in public in the 24 hours before the start of Sunday’s election. The Macron campaign’s statement was issued three minutes before the deadline.

It’s unclear when the files originally appeared on the internet. The official Twitter account for WikiLeaks—the group that released the Clinton emails last year—tweeted a link to a page where the Macron data was hosted at 1:13 p.m. ET.

“Fully analyzing the hacked documents to verify that they are genuine will take some time, but from what I’ve seen so far, it looks very serious,” said Matt Tait, a former information security specialist for the GCHQ (the United Kingdom’s equivalent of the National Security Agency) and CEO of Capital Alpha Security.

In February, Macron said he had evidence his campaign had “suffered repeated and multiple attacks from hackers” and that “many come from Ukraine.” At the time, the Macron campaign blamed the Russian government for the attacks, a claim the Kremlin denied. The campaign suspected the attacks were coming their way because of Macron’s tough stance on Russia. Le Pen, on the other hand, has taken a much more favorable stance toward Russia.

Earlier on Friday, according to the New York Times, the Le Pen campaign claimed in a statement that its campaign website had been the victim of “regular and targeted” attacks, and that a hacker “close to extreme-left circles” had been arrested.

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Macron Campaign Hit With "Massive and Coordinated" Hacking Attack

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Jon Ossoff’s Race Is the First Real Battle Between Millennials and Trump

Mother Jones

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Jon Ossoff doesn’t like to talk about his age. His reticence is understandable. Since the media and liberal voters foisted the 30-year-old political neophyte from the Atlanta suburbs into the national spotlight, he’s been celebrated by Democrats as a wunderkind who might lead the resistance against Trump and simultaneously ridiculed by Republicans, who fear the same thing, as a “spoiled frat boy.” As the front-runner in the heated special election race to replace Tom Price, whom Trump elevated to be his secretary of health and human services, in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District—a seat not held by a Democrat since the 1970s—he has endured numerous attacks targeting his relative youth. One ad spliced authentic clips of Ossoff costumed as Han Solo from a college spoof video with stock footage of frat boys doing keg stands. “I don’t want to marginalize youth,” recently mused Bruce LeVell, 53, former head of Trump’s national diversity coalition and one of 11 Republican, five Democratic, and two independent candidates who will face off against Ossoff on April 18. “But I think that a wealth of life experiences can be a tremendous asset for a congressional seat.”

Speaking last week in Alpharetta, Georgia, at a mansion overlooking a lake, Ossoff had attracted so many supporters that the property’s owner nervously joked his deck might not be able to support the crowd. In the previous three hours, we’d visited four separate rallies where hordes of Democrats lined roads with signs reading “Vote Your Ossoff.” “I’m trying to make the case to voters across the political spectrum,” Ossoff told the assembly, “that someone who brings a younger perspective”—then he corrected himself—”a fresher perspective… can change the culture in Washington more effectively than someone who has run for office nine or ten times.”

With his campaign promise to “Make Trump Furious,” Ossoff is riding a wave of disaffection among all Democrats, but millennials are an especially important part of his coalition. Consistently polling in the mid-to-low-40s, Ossoff needs only a handful more percentage points to break the 50% threshold on April 18 and claim outright victory. If he fails to obtain a majority he’ll face a much tougher runoff vote on June 20 versus the second-place finisher, in support of whom a critical mass of Republican voters might unite. The Sixth District is deeply Republican, with a white, elderly, and affluent voter base, which may be hard to sway from their traditional voting habits. But the district includes 146,000 people aged 18 to 34—about 27% of all eligible voters in the district—and Ossoff is relying, in part, on these young voters to turn out in unprecedented numbers and nudge him to victory. The race is so close that one of the only ways for Ossoff to win, in other words, is for large numbers of millennials to do for him what they didn’t do for Hillary Clinton: vote.

“My generation has gotten complacent about our rights,” Alison Curnie, 31, said on the deck overlooking the lake, as she endorsed Ossoff to the cheering crowd. “We thought they would be there in perpetuity. But if anything good has come out of this last election, it’s that we’re no longer complacent.”

During the two days I spent on the campaign trail, young people were an inescapable presence. Most staffers and volunteers I encountered were of the millennial generation, though there were plenty of older people as well. Ossoff’s supporters believe his youth is a positive quality, a way to bring a new mindset to Washington. As Matt Tompkins, 26, told me, “Ossoff is the first time we’ve had someone who represents our socially conscious values. Someone who’s 60 doesn’t have the worldview of being raised in modern reality with technology, the internet, diversity, and everything else.”

So far, millennials have been a dormant power in politics. As John Della Volpe, the Director of Polling at Harvard’s Institute of Politics, told me: “There are more millennials than any other generation on earth, but they don’t vote in the same proportion that other generations do. The main reason they don’t vote is they don’t see a tangible impact from it, so the degree to which Ossoff can convince them that this election matters is going to be key.”

And so while a flurry of punditry in recent days has interpreted Ossoff’s campaign as a predictor of whether or not anti-Trump sentiment will be enough to buoy Dems to congressional victories over the next two years, his race also raises another and perhaps more pressing question: Can this 30-year-old, and the anti-Trump resistance of which he’s been anointed figurehead and bellwether, re-energize young voters’ enthusiasm for democracy in general and Democrats in particular?

“Previously, I’d been a registered Republican, even Libertarian leaning,” Curnie told me on the deck. “I used to have the luxury of being a Republican because I didn’t think anyone was coming for my birth control and civil rights. But this election has made me realize we’ve got to stick up for our civil rights before we worry about tax brackets.”

Ossoff’s success owes a great deal to his becoming an internet phenomenon. When he launched his campaign in early January with an email telling voters to “Make Trump Furious,” it caught the attention of liberal bloggers anxiously following the third Congressional contest of the Trump era. Daily Kos, the left-leaning website, began promoting him. Donations poured in, with each fundraising success spurring more coverage. Today he has amassed more than $8.3 million in about three months, much of it from out-of-state voters—a record for a candidate who is not self-financed. His campaign says he has received nearly 200,000 separate donations from all over the nation, at an average size of $43.

Just as Ossoff has seized national attention in a particularly social media-savvy way, his life before the race shows how a generation of millennials may be preparing for politics. Raised in the suburb of Northlake, Ossoff always dreamt of becoming a politician. He planted yard placards with his parents in support of local Democrats as a boy. By 2003, his childhood friend Karl Langberg, 30, remembers that he was running a blog devoted to politics and debating online with older readers, who didn’t know they were arguing with a teenager behind the screen. At Paideia, a pricy private high school, he started an alternative publication to the school newspaper, which he named the Great Speckled Pi in homage to a liberal underground Atlanta newspaper of the sixties and seventies. By then, his friends knew he wanted to one day run for office. “There was an understanding among our group,” says Dustin Chambers, another childhood friend, “that he wanted to run someday and he was equipping himself to do so.”

Ossoff’s focus on government continued while studying at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, during which he also worked part-time for Representative Hank Johnson. Facebook went global when he was a freshmen, forever transforming politics by recording every embarrassing moment of one’s youth. “But,” Chambers said, “Jon immediately became aware of how that altered the political landscape. It made clear to him that he needed to be a squeaky-clean guy.” After graduating, he managed Johnson’s 2010 reelection campaign and then worked for him fulltime on the Hill, specializing in national security issues.

Ossoff’s work for Johnson has been the substance of the one attack that has dinged his reputation. He carefully claims: “I’ve got five years of experience as a national security staffer in the U.S. Congress. I held top secret security clearance.” All of which is true—though two of those years he was working part-time and he only held top-level clearance for five months at the end of his time on the Hill. “Technically, Ossoff walks a very careful line,” a Washington Post fact-checker wrote. “But the overall impression is misleading.”

In 2013, he earned a master’s degree at the London School of Economics, and then became CEO of Insight TWI, a VICE-like new media company, whose films have documented corruption among judges in Africa and the front-line battle against ISIS. As he traversed the globe with a camera, he still thought about seeking office, but assumed it would be far in the future.

On the night of November 8, he was filming a right-wing militia in rural Georgia as men sat around a campfire and watched the election results roll in on their cellphones. Distraught, he drove an hour-and-a-half to Manuel’s, a famous Atlanta watering hole for politicos, where he met his childhood friend Chambers and watched Trump claim victory. “I had never seen him so scared, so unsure,” Chambers, who is now a volunteer on Ossoff’s campaign, recalls. “He is one of those people who always has the answers. That night, I could see him calculating a lot of different disturbing outcomes for the next four years.”

The day after his appearance at the lake house, Ossoff sat onstage in the Dunwoody High School auditorium along with 17 other candidates—the full spectrum of American political opinion, from the Tea Party to moderate Republicans, including Karen Handel, his nearest competitor, with 15% of the vote in polls. The majority of voters were white-haired or bald, and paged through programs as each candidate spoke, making notes. But most millennials in attendance already had their minds made up: they wore Ossoff blue and loudly cheered him.

While he waited for his turn to speak, Ossoff kept his gaze fixed on each speechifying opponent, as a Republican tracker in jean shorts and hiking boots aimed a mini-cam at his face. A tracker has been video-taping Ossoff’s every move for about two months, sometimes shouting questions at him, trying to force a reaction that can be turned into an attack ad or negative news story.

When Ossoff took the microphone, he said, “I worked on Capitol Hill for five years, and I saw how things work and how they do not. I saw the partisanship, the gridlock, the pettiness, and the corruption. I think it’s time for fresh leadership in Washington.” Speaking, he kept his hands clasped in front of him, his fingers carefully interlaced, never flourishing his arms or stabbing a finger to emphasize a point. The rest of his speech sketched plans to grow the district’s burgeoning technology sector and to fight government corruption, though it presented few details and lacked the shots at Trump that initially fired up the base. If there’s one signature issue that Ossoff has promised to tackle in Congress, it’s bringing his investigative documentary chops to bear on Washington—but the specifics of what muck he’d rake are hazy.

Ultimately, this is probably part of his strategy. Acknowledging the Republican tilt of the district, Ossoff has kept his recent statements just a few inches left of the center and vague. He has appealed to progressive Berniecrats primarily by positioning himself against Trump, but without pushing their core platform positions like single-payer healthcare, free tuition, or steep taxes on the rich.

Ossoff also has to appeal to the nearly 317,000 minorities in the district, especially in DeKalb County, where many are concentrated. However, the worst early voting turnout has been in the heavily Democratic DeKalb County, though this may partially be due to the fact that it has the worst voting access in the district.

It’s in regard to Ossoff’s fuzzy policies that this race circles back to larger questions about the fight against Trump. Can a classic liberal, whose positions seem more in line with the pre-Trump-era Democratic party establishment, spark millennials to vote in significant numbers? If Ossoff ducks leading youthful progressives, is anti-Trump fervor and the implicit promise of shared life-experience going to be enough for them to identity with him?

It’s a question the party is wrestling with on a national scale. Many liberals are angered that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee didn’t invest in the race for the seat vacated when Trump picked Mike Pompeo to become Director of the CIA, believing they didn’t have a shot to win in the deeply red Wichita, Kansas, district—only to find that the Republican candidate barely triumphed. Ossoff’s surprise front-runner status is a testament to the power of the anti-Trump movement, but the flaws in his coalition also speak to fractures in the larger Democratic party alliance that may sabotage his chances of electoral success.

Ossoff’s reticence to deeply engage with policy questions, and his statuesque self-control on the campaign trail, has led some observers to criticize him as stiff and lacking depth, including a recent New York magazine profiler. When I asked Ossoff for his response to the article, he said: “I’m trying to win a congressional race, not give spellbinding magazine interviews.”

But many of his millennial fans interpret his self-possession differently: as the result of growing up in an era when every stray bit of speech can end up broadcast across the world. “He knows that he’s being recorded every second,” Alexandra Brosovich, 24, whom I met at a rally, later told me on the phone. “Someone who grew up in the 1960s before cellphone videos and social media just doesn’t understand how careful you’ve got to be when everything’s recorded. He made an instant connection with me and my friends.”

Political reporters often want to call the same back-slapping, Big Mac-chomping extroversion authenticity. But maybe at heart Ossoff is simply an even-tempered, conscientious, and deliberate man. He’s the kind of guy who used the word “duplicative” in casual conversation, and at rallies tried to substitute ten-dollar words for ones like “folks.” According to his childhood friend Chambers, Ossoff even studied Barack Obama as a public persona to emulate. Ossoff summed up his own character to me by saying, “I think, for me, it’s important never to get too high and never to get too low. I just try to remain in a grounded, balanced place.”

One day, we visited a baseball field just a few minutes walk from the redbrick house where Ossoff grew up (which still had a fallen Clinton-Kaine yard sign lying by its driveway).

As Ossoff and I slung a grass-stained baseball back and forth, even after he shucked his suit jacket, his speech remained precise. When I asked about his strongest memory of that field, he answered: “Just playing catch with my dad, man, in the crisp autumn air, just as the leaves are starting to turn, when you can taste the first bite of winter, coming down here for that last time before it gets too dark, before it gets too cold.”

Those close to Ossoff acknowledge he is meticulous, but also point out that his exactingness is subordinate to his adventurousness—whether running for Congress or producing documentaries about a female battalion in Iraq. Ossoff has had a pilot license since he was a teenager. Today, in rare interludes of free time, he will gather a small group of friends before dawn, rent a Cessna, and then fly them to remote airstrips in the Appalachian Mountains, where they will hike all day before returning to Atlanta by dusk. “I love the challenge of mountains,” he told me, “the accomplishment of the summit, the vantage point, and the solitude.”

Photo by Doug Bock Clark

Despite Ossoff’s discipline, spend enough time with him and you’ll find his intensity palpable. The unspooling way he pitched the baseball at me looked effortless—he didn’t even break a sweat despite his button-up and tie—but as he pounded my palm with pinpoint accuracy, my hand numbed. Walking off the field, I asked, “What’s the event that made you who you are today?”

He looked around at the backstop and the basketball courts of the nearby elementary school. Twenty-four seconds slid by. He was new enough to this that he didn’t have an answer immediately at hand.

Then he said, with a bit of a snarl curling his voice for the first time, “I remember kids getting bullied on the playground. It really pissed me off. And right now, there are a lot of people being bullied in this country.”

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Jon Ossoff’s Race Is the First Real Battle Between Millennials and Trump

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This Industry Just Found Out What It’s Like to Do Business in Trump’s America

Mother Jones

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American farms overflow with certain foods: Our almond, corn, soybean, cotton, and wheat farms, and hog, chicken, and beef feedlots all churn out more than we can eat, wear, or burn in our cars as biofuel. That’s why industrial-scale US agriculture needs robust and growing export markets. During the campaign, Donald Trump courted support from these agribusiness interests, assembling a 60-plus-person advisory panel of farm-state politicians and industry flacks, and thundering from the stump against the “radical regulation” of farms.

But on the question of trade, Trump strayed far from his flock of agribiz supporters, lashing out against the very deals that Big Ag has been pushing for a generation and trash-talking China, a prized destination for our farm goods. In the first days of his presidency, Trump has already shown he meant business. He formally removed the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive deal hotly supported by Big Ag that would link the United States with 11 nations on both sides of the Pacific Ocean. And he vowed to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Mexico and Canada, two of the biggest foreign buyers of our farmed goods.

He has also initiated a fight with Mexico over his beloved border wall—one that threatened to bloom into a full trade war on Thursday afternoon when White House spokesman Sean Spicer dangled the idea of collecting funds to pay for the barrier by imposing a 20 percent tax on all imports. Spicer’s statements were widely misreported: He never mentioned a tax specifically targeting Mexico, and he quickly walked back the idea anyway.

But if we did get sucked into a US-Mexico trade war, the consequences would be massive on both sides of the border. The United States imports nearly a third of the fruit and vegetables we consume, and Mexico accounts for 44 percent of that foreign-grown cornucopia, much more than any other country. It’s by far our biggest supplier of avocados, sending us more than 90 percent of the Hass varietals we consume, and it also delivers loads of tomatoes and peppers—meaning that in the event of a trade war, your guacamole could become very dear, indeed.

For Mexico, the stakes are even higher. As Greg Grandin, a professor of history at New York University, recently noted, NAFTA “destroyed the Mexican farming industry, transforming what is left of it into the production of specialty crops to meet the all-season US demand for strawberries, broccoli, and tomatoes.” Mexico now relies heavily on imports of US wheat, corn, and soybeans. A major disruption in supply could trigger price spikes in these commodities, leading higher prices for staples like tortillas and meat in a country already being roiled by protests over rising gas prices.

Amid the tumult, US agricultural players are freaking out, and for good reason. The countries that Trump most directly targeted in his trade tirades during the campaign, Mexico and China, are two of the three biggest export markets for farmed products. The third biggest market is Canada—the country that joins the United States and Mexico in NAFTA. According to Joseph Glauber, who served as chief economist at the US Department of Agriculture under most of Obama’s presidency, US agriculture exports to China, Mexico, and Canada averaged $63 billion annually between 2013 and 2015—accounting for 44 percent of total US exports.

For soybeans and pork, two of the most valuable US products, the reliance is particularly stark. The United States is the world’s largest soybean producer, and our farms export nearly half of the crop. The biggest recipients are China and Mexico, which together account for nearly 70 percent of US soybean exports, buying a total of about $16.6 billion worth of the product. They also make up two of the top three destinations for US pork.

In an apparent attempt to ease agribiz concerns about China, Trump back in December appointed Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, who has been promoting his states’ soybeans, corn, and pork to China for decades, as ambassador to that country. But Mexico and the TPP countries—which include Canada and major US pork and beef buyers Japan and South Korea—remain in his cross-hairs.

The American Farm Bureau Federation, which promotes the interests of corporate agribusiness, expressed dismay over Trump’s rejection of the TPP, mourning it as a “positive agreement that would add $4.4 billion annually to the struggling agriculture economy” and requesting that Trump commit toensuring we do not lose the ground gained—whether in the Asia-Pacific, North America, Europe or other parts of the world.” Around 130 companies and trade groups, representing virtually the entire US ag industry, signed a letter to Trump on January 23, informing the new president that “NAFTA has been a windfall for US farmers, ranchers, and food processors,” and that food and agriculture exports to Canada and Mexico have more than quadrupled since the deal’s signing in 1994.

Of course, these groups cannot claim to have been surprised by Trump’s trade moves—he made his stance on the issue crystal clear during his campaign. His rural proxies emphasized Trump’s anti-regulatory zeal and his vow to end the inheritance tax, a big deal to the American Farm Bureau but not so consequential to most farmers (the USDA estimates it affects less than 1 percent of farms). On trade, they delivered a trust-us message.

In July, when I spoke to Charles Herbster, the multi-level marketing and cattle magnate who chaired Trump’s Agricultural and Rural Advisory Committee, he gave me the campaign’s spiel. Before vowing Trump would end over-regulation and the reduce the inheritance tax, Herbster tried to square the circle on trade:

Herbster told me that he’s been getting calls from farmers “concerned about issues of trade.” Herbster said he reassures them that Trump “is not against trade in any way”—it’s “just that he wants trade to be fair,” and that means renegotiating trade deals. Herbster acknowledged that “trade for agriculture in the Midwest has probably been pretty good for the past few years,” but that it “hasn’t been good for small manufacturers in middle America and the coasts.” Trump, he suggested, would make trade great again for everyone.

Another prominent Trump rural proxy during the campaign, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, took a similar line, declaring in August that Trump’s trade stance could actually benefit US farmers because “above all, Trump wants to be known as the president that cuts the good deals…He’s a deal maker, that’s his whole mantra.”

In place of big, multi-national pacts like NAFTA and TPP, Trump has vowed to make multiple bi-lateral trade deals with individuals countries. “Believe me, we’re going to have a lot of trade deals,” Trump told a gathering of Republican legislators Thursday, Reuters reports. “If that particular country doesn’t treat us fairly, we send them a 30-day termination, notice of termination.”

Ben Lilliston of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy says Trump may simply not understand that negotiating trade deals is a long and difficult process. “They want the bi-lateral deals, because it allows them to bully other countries more easily,” he said. “But they seem to have a very limited understanding of the complications of negotiating deals—it’s an extremely time-consuming process.”

Of course, the big agribusiness interests don’t just prize trade deals because they expand markets for pork and (soy)beans. Deals like NAFTA and the TPP, Lilliston added, also “allow agribusinesses to set up wherever they want.” For example, US-based pork behemoth Smithfield—now, ironically, owned by a Chinese conglomerate—didn’t just use NAFTA as a lever to expand pork exports to Mexico; it dramatically expanded its hog-rearing operations in Mexico in the wake of the deal’s onset in 1994, sometimes over the protests of people who live near the hog operations.

US agriculture policy encourages farms to produce as much as possible, even in times of low prices. And since domestic demand rises only at the rate of population growth, these farmers rely on foreign markets to maintain profit growth, points out the former USDA economist Glauber. “Those facts explain why US agricultural interests have been such strong supporters of free trade agreements in the past,” he wrote.

Trump managed to win big in the corn and soybean counties of the Midwest, in areas largely reliant on exports. But if he repeals their beloved trade deals without replacing them, these well-heeled supporters might ultimately give up on Trump.

Source article – 

This Industry Just Found Out What It’s Like to Do Business in Trump’s America

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19 Billion Reasons Why Rick Perry Can’t Wait to Give Your Money to Energy Companies

Mother Jones

This story originally appeared on ProPublica.

Donald Trump’s selection of Rick Perry to lead the Department of Energy has prompted many Democrats to question Perry’s qualifications for the position. While he governed a state rich in fossil fuels and wind energy, Perry has far less experience than President Barack Obama’s two energy secretaries, both physicists, in the department’s primary work, such as tending the nuclear-weapons stockpile, handling nuclear waste and carrying out advanced scientific research. That’s not to mention, of course, that Perry four years ago called for doing away with the entire department.

However, there’s one realm in which Perry will have plenty of preparation: doling out taxpayer money in the form of government grants to the energy industry.

What often gets lost in all the talk of the Texas job boom under Perry is how much economic development strategy was driven by direct subsidies to employers who promised to relocate to the state or create jobs there. Of course, many states have for years engaged in the game of luring companies with tax incentives. But by the count of a 2012 New York Times investigation, Texas under Perry vaulted to the top, giving out $19 billion in incentives per year, more than any other state.

Perry’s economic development largesse came in many forms, but among the most high-profile were two big pots of money that he created while in office. In 2003, he founded the Texas Enterprise Fund, which he pitched as a way to help him close the deal in bidding wars for large employers thinking of moving to the state. Over the course of Perry’s tenure, which ended in early 2015, the fund gave out more than $500 million. In 2005, Perry created the Emerging Technology Fund, which was intended for startups. It gave out $400 million before being shuttered last year by his Republican successor, Greg Abbott.

Disbursements from both funds were controlled by Perry, the lieutenant governor and the speaker of the House. The technology fund had a 17-member advisory board, all appointed by Perry. With such scant oversight, it did not take long for political favoritism and cronyism to creep into the programs. In 2010, the Texas Observer reported that 20 of the 55 Enterprise Fund grant recipients up to that point had contributed directly to Perry’s campaign or the Republican Governor’s Association, of which he became chairman in 2010. Also in 2010, the the Dallas Morning News reported that some $16 million from the Emerging Technology Fund had gone to firms backed by major donors to Perry. For instance, after Joe Sanderson received a $500,000 Enterprise Fund grant to build a poultry plant in Waco in 2006, he gave Perry $25,000. And the Emerging Technology Fund gave $4.75 million to two firms backed by James Leininger, a hospital bed manufacturer and school voucher proponent who had helped arrange a last-minute $1.1 million loan to Perry in his successful 1998 run for lieutenant governor and contributed $239,000 to his campaigns over the ensuing decade.

In theory, companies receiving Enterprise Fund grants were accountable for their job creation pledges and had to make refunds when they fell short. In practice, the numbers proved hard to quantify and few companies had to make refunds. The watchdog group Texans for Public Justice determined that by the end of 2010, companies had created barely more than a third of the jobs promised, even with Perry’s administration having lowered the standard for counting jobs. And in 2014, the state auditor found that $222 million had been given out to companies that hadn’t even formally applied for funds or made concrete promises for job creation. “The final word on the funds is that they were first and foremost political, to allow Perry to stand in front of a podium and say that he was bringing jobs back to Texas,” said Craig McDonald, the director of Texans for Public Justice. “From the very start those funds lacked transparency and accountability.”

This being Texas, it was not surprising that many of the leading beneficiaries of the taxpayer funds were in the energy industry. Citgo got $5 million from the Enterprise Fund when it moved to the state from Tulsa in 2004, even though it made clear that it had strategic reasons to move there regardless of the incentive. Chevron got $12 million in 2013 after agreeing to build a 50-story office tower in downtown Houston—a building that three years later remained unbuilt.

Most revealing of the problems associated with the Perry model of taxpayer-funded economic development, though, may have been a $30 million grant in 2004 to a lesser-known outfit called the Texas Energy Center. The center was created in 2003 to be a public-private consortium for research and innovation in so-called clean-coal technology, deep-sea drilling, and other areas. Not coincidentally, it was located in the suburban Houston district of Rep. Tom DeLay, the powerful House Republican, who, it was envisioned, would steer billions in federal funding to the center, with the help of Washington lobbyists hired by the Perry administration, including DeLay’s former chief of staff, Drew Maloney.

But the federal windfall didn’t come through, and the Enterprise Fund grant was cut to $3.6 million, which was to be used as incentives for energy firms in the area. Perry made the award official with a 2004 visit to the Sugar Land office of the Greater Fort Bend Economic Development Council, one of the consortium’s members, housed inside the glass tower of the Fluor Corporation. In 2013, when I visited Sugar Land for an article on Perry’s economic development approach, his administration still listed the Texas Energy Center as a going concern that had nearly reached its target of 1,500 jobs and resulted in $20 million in capital investment.

There was just one problem: There was no Texas Energy Center to be found. Here, from the 2013 article in the New Republic, is what I discovered:

The address listed on its tax forms is the address of the Fort Bend Economic Development Council, inside the Fluor tower. I arrived there late one Friday morning and asked for the Texas Energy Center. The secretary said: “Oh, it’s not here. It’s across the street. But there’s nothing there now. Jeff handles it here.” Jeff Wiley, the council’s president, would be out playing golf the rest of the day, she said. I went to the building across the street and asked for directions from an aide in the office of DeLay’s successor, which happened to be in the same building. She had not heard of the Texas Energy Center. But then I found its former haunt, a small vacant office space upstairs with a sign on an interior wall—the only mark of the center’s brief existence.

Later, I got Wiley on the phone. There has never been any $20 million investment, he said. The center survives only on paper, sustained by Wiley, who, for a cut of the $3.6 million, has filed the center’s tax forms and kept a tally of the jobs that have been “created” by the state’s money at local energy companies. I asked him how this worked—how, for instance, was the Texas Energy Center responsible for the 600 jobs attributed to EMS Pipeline Services, a company spun off from the rubble of Enron? Wiley said he would have to check the paperwork to see what had been reported to the state. He called back and said that the man who helped launch EMS had been one of the few people originally on staff at the Texas Energy Center, which Wiley said justified claiming the 600 jobs for the barely existing center.

In at least one instance, this charade went too far: In 2006, a Sugar Land city official protested to Wiley that, while it was one thing to quietly claim the job totals from a Bechtel venture in town, it was not “appropriate or honest” to assert in a press release that the Texas Energy Center had played a role. “There is a clear difference between qualifying jobs to meet the Energy Center’s contractual requirement with the state and actively seeking to create a perception of it as an active, successful, going concern,” wrote the official, according to Fort Bend Now, a local news website. In this case, reality prevailed, and Wiley declined to count the Bechtel jobs.

Today, the $20 million in capital investment from the Texas Energy Center has vanished from the state’s official accounting of Enterprise Fund impact, but the 1,500 jobs remain, part of the nearly 70,000 jobs that the state claims the fund has generated.

Drew Maloney, the former DeLay chief of staff who lobbied for federal funds for the Texas Energy Center, is now the vice president of government and external affairs at the energy giant Hess Corporation.

And Perry is on the verge of being put in charge of vastly larger sums of taxpayer dollars to disburse across the energy industry. (Requests for comment from the Trump transition team went unanswered, as did a request to Jeff Miller, an unofficial Perry spokesman who now works for Ryan, a Dallas-based tax consultancy that helps clients, including ExxonMobil, get tax incentives from Texas and other states.) The Department of Energy has a budget of around $30 billion, oversees a $4.5 billion loan guarantee program for energy companies, and distributes more than $5 billion in discretionary funds for clean-energy research and development. (The loan guarantee program was the source of the $535 million loan that solar-panel maker Solyndra defaulted on in 2011, but it has had plenty of successes as well.) Many of the department’s programs have well-established standards for disbursement, but as secretary, Perry would have a say over at least some of the flow of dollars.

Trump himself, in announcing his nomination of Perry, said he hoped Perry would bring his Texas strategies on energy and economic development to Washington. “As the governor of Texas, Rick Perry created a business climate that produced millions of new jobs and lower energy prices in his state,” Trump said, “and he will bring that same approach to our entire country as secretary of energy.”

Original post:

19 Billion Reasons Why Rick Perry Can’t Wait to Give Your Money to Energy Companies

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North Carolina Statehouse in Chaos as Republicans Act to Maintain Grip on Power

Mother Jones

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The North Carolina statehouse descended into chaos on Friday as Republican legislators scrambled to pass measures to limit the power of the incoming Democratic governor and protesters were removed from the chambers and arrested.

North Carolina Republicans are seeking to entrench their political power after Democrat Roy Cooper defeated Republican incumbent Pat McCrory in the governor’s race last month. The GOP-dominated state Legislature passed a measure Friday that was quickly signed by McCrory and will effectively give Republicans permanent control of the State Board of Elections during major election years. The Legislature is also considering bills that would drastically reduce the number of political appointees the governor can make and give the state Senate veto power over the governor’s Cabinet picks.

Protesters descended on the statehouse to call on lawmakers to respect the will of the voters. More than a dozen of them have been arrested and kicked out of both the House and Senate chambers during Friday’s special session. General Assembly Police Chief Martin Brock, speaking outside the chambers, said the protests are disrupting lawmakers, and he’ll arrest anyone “leading songs, chants, or cheers.” Even so, protesters continue to speak out and to burst into chants such as “All political power comes from the people!” and “Whose house? Our house!”

Tensions were just as high inside the chamber, where procedural disagreements between Democrats and Republicans led to a shouting match between legislators. Several legislators also complained that the protesters outside prevented them from hearing their colleagues’ remarks. But the noise did not stop the legislators from passing Senate Bill 4, the bill to overhaul the State Board of Elections and reduce the influence of the governor’s party. Democratic legislators have argued that the bill is overly broad and that the special session does not allow enough time to discuss it.

Democratic members of the House continued to debate the purpose of the special session and the lack of notice given to Democrats before it began. “I think we are doing great harm to our body when we don’t give members equal access,” one legislator said. Throughout the session, Democrats have argued that the session is a blatant attempt to curb the powers of the governor-elect. On Thursday, Cooper threatened to sue the Legislature over any new laws he deems unconstitutional.

On a call with reporters, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), a leading candidate for Democratic National Committee chair, said that North Carolina Republicans were “undermining the democratic prerogatives of the people of North Carolina” and that the bills passed during the special session “would lead to unprecedented partisan gridlock” in the state. North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes released a statement calling the protesters a “small mob” that violated “the rights of over nine million citizens.”

The News and Observer has a livestream of the commotion in the statehouse:

Update 4:45 p.m.: The state House and Senate passed the bill stripping the governor of power over his own Cabinet and subjecting these appointments to state Senate confirmation. McCrory has yet to sign the bill.

This story has been updated to reflect McCrory’s signing of Senate Bill 4 and the comments from Ellison and Hayes.

Excerpt from – 

North Carolina Statehouse in Chaos as Republicans Act to Maintain Grip on Power

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Donald Trump Is Puzzled About All This Russia Hacking Stuff

Mother Jones

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Donald Trump has a question:

Hmmm. That’s a chin scratcher for sure. Why didn’t anyone bring this up before the election? Like, say, in the first debate:

Or the second debate:

Or the third debate:

Or from 17 agencies of the US intelligence community:

Or from the mainstream media, like, say, the New York Times:

U.S. Says Russia Directed Hacks to Influence Elections

The Obama administration on Friday formally accused the Russian government of stealing and disclosing emails from the Democratic National Committee and a range of other institutions and prominent individuals….In a statement from the director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., and the Department of Homeland Security, the government said the leaked emails that have appeared on a variety of websites “are intended to interfere with the U.S. election process.”

Yep. It’s a real chin scratcher. How is it that no one brought this up before the election?

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Donald Trump Is Puzzled About All This Russia Hacking Stuff

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A Quarter of Trump’s Campaign Cash Came From Millionaires. Here’s What They Want in Return.

Mother Jones

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As he’s packed his proposed Cabinet with wealthy white men, President-elect Donald Trump has been criticized for assembling an administration that doesn’t look like America, much less the “forgotten men and women” on whose behalf he claimed to have campaigned. But perhaps it’s not too surprising that a Trump White House will represent the people who really bankroll American politics.

“Whose Voice, Whose Choice?”, a new report published today by the progressive think tank Demos, provides a remarkably detailed examination of who funds our elections and how this small, elite “donor class” exerts outsized influence on presidential and congressional politics. “Though history will consider 2016 one of America’s most extraordinary elections, one thing remained unchanged: presidential donors were white, male and wealthy,” the report’s authors write.

The report’s revealing findings is based on a unique methodology. It’s virtually impossible to identify the demographic details, much less the ideological preferences, of large groups of donors using the campaign finance data collected by the Federal Elections Commission. To complete their analysis, the report’s authors—Sean McElwee, a policy analyst at Demos, and Brian Schaffner and Jesse Rhodes, both political scientists from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst—cross referenced FEC data with surveys conducted by the Cooperative Congressional Election Studies and personal records compiled by Catalist, a data vendor.

Even if you already thought our campaign finance system is broken, their results are striking. In the 2016 federal election cycle, the researchers found that 91 percent of donors were white and less than half were women. White men, who make up 35 percent of the adult population, comprised 48 percent of donors. And despite making up just 3 percent of the adult population, millionaires comprised 17 percent of donors.

Both Hillary Clinton and Trump’s campaigns relied on these relatively small, unrepresentative groups of donors. While nearly two-thirds of Trump’s donors were white men, Clinton’s were slightly more diverse. Twelve percent of her donors were people of color, compared with five percent for Trump. More than half of Clinton’s donors were white women, yet they raised less than half of her total donations.

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Clinton and Trump’s donors were also far wealthier, on average, than most Americans. According to Demos, one-third of the money raised by the 2016 presidential campaigns came from donors with a net worth between $300,000 and $1 million. One-quarter of of Clinton’s donors were millionaires; all together, they made 42 percent of her total donations. Trump enjoyed less support from his superwealthy peers: Millionaires made up 17 percent of his donors and gave 27 percent of his total donations. However, Trump received more big gifts: 42 percent of his total donations came from donors giving $5,000 or more, versus 29 percent for Clinton.

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Clinton and Trump’s donors are indicative of a larger trend. The people who give the most to campaigns—and who have the most influence on candidates—are not representative of America at large. For example, Demos found that while people with a net worth of $1 million make up a small chunk of the population, they make up nearly one quarter of all Democratic and Republican donors. Millionaires made up 41 percent of the donors giving $5,000 or more to Republican presidential campaigns in 2012.

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The skewed demographics of campaign donors also extends to race and gender. While they comprise less than one-third of the adult population, white men made up 45 percent of federal campaign donors between 2008 and 2014. All together, they gave 57 percent of all campaign donations. In contrast, women and people of color are noticeably underrepresented in the donor pool.

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The effect of these trends, the Demos report argues, has profound effects on our national political priorities. Because women, people of color, and the working class are underrepresented as donors, politicians are more likely to ignore their preferences. Meanwhile, the most influential donors are more supportive of conservative policies that are not embraced by the population as a whole (and vice versa).

This “opinion gap” between donors and non-donors has distorted economic, social, and environmental policy. It’s also compounded by Republican donors’ tendency to be more conservative than Republican voters in general. For example, as McElwee has written in Mother Jones, Republican voters are far less skeptical about taking action to fight climate change than the big donors who have the ear of GOP lawmakers.

The Demos report examines the ideological gulf between donors and non-donors on several issues where Trump and Republican lawmakers have promised swift action, including cutting taxes and federal spending, implementing Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan, and deregulating Wall Street. The discrepancy can also be seen in survey data about support for Obamacare when it was introduced in 2010: Across every demographic group, non-donors were more likely to support health-care reform than donors. Here, too, you can see how the opinions of white, male, and wealthy donors were out of step with those of a broader slice of Americans.

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Presumably, as Trump and congressional Republicans push the total repeal of Obamacare in spite of many of its provisions’ popularity, this gap between donors’ preferences and the public’s will persist.

The authors of the Demos report conclude that their analyses “sharply underscore how the big-money system is skewing our democracy in favor of a small, homogeneous minority, whose interests diverge substantially from the preferences and needs of ordinary Americans.” Their report presents plenty of new evidence that the current system of campaign finance caters to the few under the guise of “free speech” while effectively silencing the many. There’s much more data and analysis in the full report: Read it here.

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A Quarter of Trump’s Campaign Cash Came From Millionaires. Here’s What They Want in Return.

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Here’s a Map of All the Problems at the Polls So Far

Mother Jones

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For months now, voting rights advocates have expressed concern over possible voter suppression at the polls on Election Day. This is the first presidential election since the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder, the 2013 ruling that gutted the sections of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that had given the Justice Department the power to monitor election law in areas with histories of voting discrimination. Following the 2013 decision, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg warned that without these VRA protections, discrimination at the polls, particularly against minorities, was likely to increase. “Just as buildings in California have a greater need to be earthquake­ proofed, she wrote in her dissent,places where there is greater racial polarization in voting have a greater need for prophylactic measures to prevent purposeful race discrimination.”

Inside the Knock-Down, Drag-Out Fight to Turn North Carolina Blue

In recent months, concerns over potential voter suppression have proved to be prescient. A report published last week by The Leadership Conference Education Fund found that counties once covered by the VRA’s Section 5—one of the rules diluted by the Supreme Court—have closed at least 868 polling places in advance of the 2016 election. In addition, 14 states will be operating under new voting restrictions this election, including voter ID requirements, while the Justice Department’s capacity to monitor the implementation of those laws is weakened. Another consequence of the Shelby County decision was the DOJ announcement in July that the department had to slash the number of election monitors it would send to the polls, from more than 780 observers in 23 states in 2012 to just a handful of observers in five states. On Monday, the department announced that instead it would deploy more than 500 election monitors to 67 jurisdictions in 28 states.

Donald Trump has often asserted that the election will be “rigged” against him. On his website, he has encouraged his supporters to sign up to be a “Trump election observer” and monitor polling stations for what he says will be voter fraud. In response, state Democratic parties have filed voter intimidation lawsuits against the Trump campaign in six statesArizona, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Ohio, Michigan, and New Jersey. So far, the Ohio case is the only one where a federal judge issued a restraining order against the Trump campaign compelling them not to intimidate or harass voters at the polls, and that did not last long: This week, a panel of judges from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the Ohio judge’s restraining order, and on Monday the Supreme Court upheld that decision.

But allegations of voter intimidation, improper voter ID practices, long lines, and even guns at the polls have been rolling in since the start of early voting across the country—in some states it begins as early as late September. We have collected some reports of problems and will continue to update this post until the last polls close on Election Day. Click on each state below to see a list of the reports we’ve gathered so far. (And if you experience or witness issues at the polls, send us a tweet or an email.)

Click Any State for Details

Source: News reports, advocacy organizations.

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if you’re feeling fancy, you can apply a fade in and out here instead
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and search for FANCY FADE below to make a similar change there
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var state = statesi;
var class_to_add = ”;
if (!state’class’)
class_to_add = ‘ blank’;

class_to_add = ‘ clickable ‘ + state’class’;

var state_svg = map_svg.find(‘.’ + state.abbr);
var old_class = state_svg.attr(‘class’);
if (typeof old_class !== ‘string’)
//an ancient version of jquery
state_svg.get(0).getAttribute(‘class’) + class_to_add
var new_class = old_class + class_to_add;
state_svg.attr(‘class’, new_class);

var place_state_specific_data = function(states)
for (var i = 0; i < states.length; i++)
var state = statesi;
var state_svg = map_svg.find(‘.’ + state.abbr);
state_svg.attr(‘data-state-specific-headline’, state’headline’ );
state_svg.attr(‘data-state-specific-body’, state’body’ );

//this is what happens when you click on a state
state_svg.bind(‘click’, function(event)
//first update the state_specific
var headline = jQuery(event.target).attr(‘data-state-specific-headline’);
var body = jQuery(event.target).attr(‘data-state-specific-body’);
if you’re feeling fancy, you can apply a fade in and out here instead
replace the line above with


and search for FANCY FADE above to make a similar change there
If you do this you’ll need to copy our fade-in fade-out css or make your own

//give class selected
var state = jQuery(event.target);
previous_class = state.attr(‘class’);
if (typeof previous_class !== ‘string’)
state.get(0).getAttribute(‘class’) + ‘ selected’
new_class = previous_class + ‘ selected’;
state.attr(‘class’, new_class);


var tabletop_options =
key: options.key,
//proxy: ‘https://s3.amazonaws.com/mj-tabletop-proxy’,
prettyColumnNames: false,
callback: function(data)
if (options.initial_state)
map_svg.find(‘.’ + options.initial_state).click();

simpleSheet: true
if (options.proxy)
tabletop_options.proxy = options.proxy;


container: ‘state_specific_area’,
// initial_state: ‘SD’,
//proxy: proxy here,
key: ‘https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=1ZGqRQveUdJ_AU_5-Ty2LW1ePh79A6YmAGjTbrD-JFoU&output=html’,

Read this article: 

Here’s a Map of All the Problems at the Polls So Far

Posted in GE, LG, ONA, PUR, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Here’s a Map of All the Problems at the Polls So Far