Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Last Call For Black Lives Still Matter, Con't

As Virginia Democrats are on the verge of passing new state legislation in a special session to reform police departments across the commonwealth, the state Senate's most powerful Black Democrat is suddenly facing felony charges for her role in allegedly damaging a Confederate statue during a June protest.

A Virginia state senator has been charged with damaging a Confederate monument in Portsmouth during protests that also led to a demonstrator being critically injured when a statue was torn down, authorities said Monday. 
Sen. Louise Lucas faces charges of conspiracy to commit a felony and injury to a monument in excess of $1,000, Portsmouth Police Chief Angela Greene said during a news conference. The protest occurred in June. 
Lucas is a longtime Democratic legislator and a key power broker in the state Senate, joining the chamber in 1992. The charges were filed the same week Virginia lawmakers are taking up dozens of criminal justice reforms during a special legislative session.
The reaction from some of her fellow Democrats was swift. 
“It’s deeply troubling that on the verge of Virginia passing long-overdue police reform, the first Black woman to serve as our Senate Pro Tempore is suddenly facing highly unusual charges,” Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, tweeted on Monday evening. 
The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia called for the charges against Lucas and several others to be dropped. The ACLU said the charges constitute a stark overreach by police because they were not approved by the local prosecutor's office. 
Lucas did not respond to an email and phone call seeking comment. Her attorney, Don Scott, told WAVY-TV that Lucas will “vigorously” fight the case and be vindicated. 
Lucas is being charged at a time when many memorials to the Confederacy are being taken down, whether by demonstrators opposed to racial injustice or by authorities seeking to dismantle them through official channels. The monuments have long been viewed by many as symbols of white supremacy. But they've drawn increasing attention following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in Minneapolis police custody. 
The monument in Portsmouth consists of a large obelisk and statues of four Confederate military personnel. During protests that drew hundreds of people in June, heads were ripped off some of the statues while one was pulled down, critically injuring a demonstrator.

Greene, the Portsmouth police chief, said that “several individuals conspired and organized to destroy the monument as well as summon hundreds of people to join in felonious acts.” 
Greene said those acts “not only resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to the monument, but also permanent injury to an individual.” 
Greene did not detail exactly what Lucas or several other people are accused of doing did to merit the charges that have been filed against them. 
Other people facing charges include members of the local NAACP chapter, a local school board member and members of the public defenders office, the police chief said.

This is straight up retaliation, like something out of a Klan Jim Crow playbook. Then again, Jim Crow never really ended in America, did it? It certainly didn't end in Virginia.

And of course, state Senate Republicans are calling for Lucas to turn herself in and face charges, and to suspend the special session.

Black Lives Still Matter.

Convention Connection, Day 1

Michelle Obama's keynote speech last night at the Democratic National Convention was impressive, and sorely reminds of of what we missed about her and her husband, in a night of great speeches making the case as to why Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are the way forward.

But the best part of the speech was the end.

Joe Biden wants all of our kids to go to a good school, see a doctor when they’re sick, live on a healthy planet. And he’s got plans to make all of that happen. Joe Biden wants all of our kids, no matter what they look like, to be able to walk out the door without worrying about being harassed or arrested or killed. He wants all of our kids to be able to go to a movie or a math class without being afraid of getting shot. He wants all our kids to grow up with leaders who won’t just serve themselves and their wealthy peers but will provide a safety net for people facing hard times.

And if we want a chance to pursue any of these goals, any of these most basic requirements for a functioning society, we have to vote for Joe Biden in numbers that cannot be ignored. Because right now, folks who know they cannot win fair and square at the ballot box are doing everything they can to stop us from voting. They’re closing down polling places in minority neighborhoods. They’re purging voter rolls. They’re sending people out to intimidate voters, and they’re lying about the security of our ballots. These tactics are not new.

But this is not the time to withhold our votes in protest or play games with candidates who have no chance of winning. We have got to vote like we did in 2008 and 2012.
We’ve got to show up with the same level of passion and hope for Joe Biden. We’ve got to vote early, in person if we can. We’ve got to request our mail-in ballots right now, tonight, and send them back immediately and follow-up to make sure they’re received. And then, make sure our friends and families do the same.

We have got to grab our comfortable shoes, put on our masks, pack a brown bag dinner and maybe breakfast too, because we’ve got to be willing to stand in line all night if we have to.

Look, we have already sacrificed so much this year. So many of you are already going that extra mile. Even when you’re exhausted, you’re mustering up unimaginable courage to put on those scrubs and give our loved ones a fighting chance. Even when you’re anxious, you’re delivering those packages, stocking those shelves, and doing all that essential work so that all of us can keep moving forward.

Even when it all feels so overwhelming, working parents are somehow piecing it all together without child care. Teachers are getting creative so that our kids can still learn and grow. Our young people are desperately fighting to pursue their dreams.

And when the horrors of systemic racism shook our country and our consciences, millions of Americans of every age, every background rose up to march for each other, crying out for justice and progress.

This is who we still are: compassionate, resilient, decent people whose fortunes are bound up with one another. And it is well past time for our leaders to once again reflect our truth.

So, it is up to us to add our voices and our votes to the course of history, echoing heroes like John Lewis who said, “When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something.” That is the truest form of empathy: not just feeling, but doing; not just for ourselves or our kids, but for everyone, for all our kids.

And if we want to keep the possibility of progress alive in our time, if we want to be able to look our children in the eye after this election, we have got to reassert our place in American history. And we have got to do everything we can to elect my friend, Joe Biden, as the next president of the United States.

Thank you all. God bless.

This was good stuff, folks.  I'm glad to see it.

Graham Cracked-up

Over at Cook Political Report, Jessica Taylor moves Sen. Lindsey Graham's race from Likely Republican to Lean Republican as Democratic challenger and former state party chair Jamie Harrison is closing the gap in South Carolina.

Ever since he launched his underdog bid against veteran GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, former South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison has needed a lot of things to go right to be genuinely competitive in a place as heavily Republican as the Palmetto State.

One of those was proving he could match the three-term incumbent from a fundraising standpoint. Harrison has now outraised Graham for two consecutive quarters. He has pulled nearly even with Graham for amount raised throughout the cycle, with $30.9 million brought in by Graham and $29 million total raised by Harrison through the end of June.

The second was a more favorable electoral climate that could help the Democratic challenger boost African-American turnout and woo white, college educated suburban voters to his side; now, the uncertainty and anger amidst the COVID pandemic — including a surge last month in South Carolina — has done just that
. Racial injustice protests that swept the nation in early June also give Harrison, who is Black, further motivation for turning out African-American voters in the state. Were Harrison to upset Graham, South Carolina — the first state to secede from the Union in 1860 — would become the first state in history to have two Black senators serving at the same time, joining Republican Sen. Tim Scott.

Polling shows that possibility is no longer a long-shot, though the race fundamentals still give Graham an advantage. A Quinnipiac University poll conducted from July 30-August 3 showed the race tied at 44 percent a piece. Graham’s job approval was also narrowly underwater (47 percent disapproving and 43 percent approving), and he was losing independents by 10 points to Harrison. The Democratic nominee is also winning women by 5 points, but that slim advantage seems to be driven by Black women, since Graham is still winning white women by 26 points. Republicans also argue that the poll undersampled GOP voters and said their own polling shows a more sizable lead for Graham.

Two Democratic surveys last month also suggested the race was tightening, and private Democratic pollings shows the same thing. An internal survey from Cornell Belcher at brilliant corners Research & Strategies (conducted July 13-19) for Harrison’s campaign showed Graham with a 43 to 41 percent lead in a four-way race (including a Libertarian and a Constitution Party candidate), and also noted that Harrison was leading by 19 points among college-educated women and 7 points among suburban voters. An Anzalone Liszt Grove survey (conducted July 5-20) for the Lindsey Must Go super PAC showed Graham with a 49%-45% edge, underscoring still why it is much easier for a Republican than a Democrat to come close to 50% in the state. However, Democrats hope that with third-party choices on the ballot, that threshold will drop, but Republicans say they aren’t worried about such a scenario.

Presidential polling shows a much closer race than President Trump’s 14 point win over Hillary Clinton four years ago. Those same Senate surveys show Trump’s lead is now between just 5 and 7 points, but if the presidential race nationally tightens that margin could widen for Trump, making things more difficult for Harrison. Still, it was South Carolina that gave Joe Biden a decisive primary victory back in February that put him on a glide path to the nomination, and Biden does well with Black voters and is a plausible alternative for moderates as well. Plus, Democrats hope that Biden’s selection of California Sen. Kamala Harris, the first Black woman ever on a presidential ticket, as his running mate will further excite the African-American base, especially Black women that Harrison very much needs to turn out.

Several sources in the state point to one crucial decision by the Harrison campaign that has made him more competitive than Democrats in South Carolina usually are — going up early on TV with positive, biographical ads that were left unanswered by Graham for almost two months, with Harrison beginning ads in early April while Graham went on air in late May. Now, Graham’s latest TV ads tie Harrison to national Democrat and highlight praise he’s had for Hillary Clinton and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Harrison’s latest ad contrasts Graham’s travel expenses with the senator saying he would reauthorize COVID unemployment benefits “over our dead bodies,” a remark Democrats highlight as particularly tone-deaf as coronavirus deaths near 170,000 nationwide, including 2,260 in South Carolina as of Sunday.

And even some Republicans in the state are somewhat skeptical that Graham’s efforts to cast Harrison as a far-left candidate will work. One admitted that Harrison is running “a centrist Democratic campaign focused on dinner table issues that has captured a lot of disaffected moderates” and working to capitalize on demographic realignments in the state.

The unsaid difference is that Harrison rising to the station of state party head means he knows how to politic in the Palmetto State. He has run a disciplined, smart campaign, from opening with his biographical ads in the spring to going after Lindsey Graham with his greatest weakness, Previous Footage Of Lindsey Graham Saying The Exact Opposite Of His Current Position.

Compare that to Amy McGrath, who just has the opposite footage of herself problem and has already taken a new campaign manager as of this week.

Amy McGrath, the Democrat challenging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, is replacing her campaign manager with a little more than 80 days before Election Day.

In a statement, McGrath’s campaign announced that Dan Kanninen will take over for Mark Nickolas as campaign manager. Kanninen, who recently joined the campaign, served as states director on former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign.

Kanninen ran the North Carolina operation for Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016, and also oversaw some state operations during former President Barack Obama’s White House runs in 2008 and 2012, according to his bio. Kanninen is currently CEO of his own consulting firm.

“There is no more destructive force in Washington than Mitch McConnell—he is the architect of the dysfunction that is hurting Kentuckians,” Kanninen said in a statement. “Amy has served her country for more than 20 years, and she will continue to fight for Kentucky as senator. I’m honored to be a part of that fight.”

Nickolas will stay on with the campaign as a senior adviser overseeing paid media.

At least McGrath realized what she's doing is not working. Harrison on the other hand has a plan and is executing it.

If only the two were switched and Harrison was running here...

I'll take Lindsey getting the L though.


Related Posts with Thumbnails