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Thursday, October 29, 2020

'We’ve got to stop the bleeding': Democrats sound alarm in Miami


MIAMI — Democrats are sounding the alarm about weak voter turnout rates in Florida’s biggest county, Miami-Dade, where a strong Republican showing is endangering Joe Biden’s chances in the nation’s biggest swing state.

No Democrat can win Florida without a huge turnout and big winning margins here to offset losses elsewhere in the state. But Democrats are turning out at lower rates than Republicans and at lower rates than at this point in 2016, when Hillary Clinton won by 29 percentage points here and still lost the state to Donald Trump.

One particular area of concern is the relative share of ballots cast by young voters of color and less-reliable Democratic voters. Part of the problem, according to interviews with a dozen Democratic elected officials and operatives, is the Biden campaign‘s decision to discourage field staff from knocking on doors during the pandemic and its subsequent delay in greenlighting — and funding — a return to door-to-door canvassing.

“We did not get the kind of funding for different vendors who would do that type of work until late in the campaign,” said Rep. Frederica Wilson, a party institution who represents Miami’s heavily Black congressional district.

Wilson said the good news is that Biden’s running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, is working with her on a turnout event for this weekend geared toward young Black men. But the veteran congresswoman said there are still skilled operatives in her district who excel at turnout work who have yet to get approved by the campaign, a puzzling delay for an operation that raised a record $363 million the month before.

“I screamed. Hollered. I called. I lobbied from the top to the bottom,” Wilson said of her efforts to get turnout operations started in the community, including sending written proposals to Biden’s campaign and having virtual Zoom meetings with his advisers.


In a sign of the state’s importance, Biden and Trump both campaigned in Florida on Thursday. Biden held an event in Broward County, which is located within the Miami-Fort Lauderdale media market, and then held a rally in Tampa, where Trump held his own event to boost early voting turnout.

Wilson and other Democrats aren’t panicking yet. They take comfort in the fact that huge swaths of Democratic voters cast absentee ballots by mail statewide, and that Biden narrowly leads in most Florida polls, including a Monmouth University likely voter survey released Thursday that put the former vice president up by 6 percentage points. That margin is far bigger than in Democratic internal polls.

Party officials also point out that Black churches are planning “Souls to the Polls” events Sunday that encourage voting after church. However, in the era of coronavirus, church services are virtual and organizing those events is more difficult than in the past election years.

The NAACP is helping Wilson produce a video for the virtual church services that talks about the dual threats of coronavirus and not voting.

“There is not the turnout here [Miami] in the black community that I’ve seen in the past. I can speculate about the reasons, but the fact is it remains concerning,” said state Sen. Oscar Braynon, a Black Miami Democrat who held a get-out-the-vote event Wednesday with rapper Fat Joe Wednesday.

To date, Republicans have turned out 59 percent of their voters in Miami-Dade and Democrats have turned out 53 percent, a 6-point margin. That’s twice the margin Republicans had at this point in 2016.

Among Hispanic voters, who make up nearly 70 percent of the county’s population, the deficit is even bigger — 9 points.

“Democrats have a big turnout issue in the Hispanic community in Miami-Dade,” said Florida-based Democratic data analyst Matt Isbell. “Hispanic Democrat turnout is only 48% while the Republican Hispanics are at 57%. This large of a gap doesn't exist in Broward or Orange. It is a Miami problem.”

Polling of Florida’s Hispanics has been all over the board. A Mason-Dixon poll conducted for Telemundo and released Thursday showed Biden leading Trump 48-43 percent among Florida Hispanics, a margin that could be disastrous for Democrats.



A Univision poll released one day earlier painted a different picture: It showed Biden faring much better among Florida Hispanic voters, leading Trump by 20 points, 57 to 37 percent.

Most polls show Cuban-Americans, who comprise about 74 percent of the registered Republicans in the county, have broken hard for Trump, although Biden might be clawing some of them back. Voters with roots in Puerto Rico and other places in Latin America support Biden by big margins.

While polling of Miami-Dade and Florida Hispanics has fluctuated wildly, Democrats long ago resigned themselves to the fact that Trump was making inroads with them and that Biden would not perform as well with them as Clinton, who won 65 percent of the state’s Hispanic vote in 2016, according to exit polls.

One positive trend, however, is the fact that Biden is doing better statewide than Clinton with seniors and white voters, who make up about two-thirds of likely voters.

Miami-Dade County was a bright spot for Democrats in 2016, when Clinton rolled up historic margins and raw votes in the county. But it wasn’t enough to help her carry the state because of Trump’s strong performance in many other counties, especially those with older white suburban and rural voters.

Miami-Dade is home to nearly 634,000 registered Democrats, or 41 percent of the county’s total. Republicans comprise 27 percent and independents 32 percent.

As of Thursday morning, 337,000 Democrats had already cast early and absentee ballots in Miami-Dade, nearly 80,000 more than the 253,000 Republicans. Independent voters, namely those with no party affiliation, have cast an additional 219,000. Polls indicate they’re leaning Biden, which Democrats point to as a potential saving grace if Republicans once again cast more votes overall in the election.

While the Miami-Dade numbers look robust at a glance, the turnout rate is too low for Democrats to feel comfortable as Republicans statewide have steadily eaten into the Democrats’ margins in the days after in-person early voting started Oct. 19.



The share of vote cast by Black voters in the county is a point lower today than at this point in 2016, while the overall Black vote statewide is only negligibly higher, according to the Democratic data firm TargetSmart.

Overall, statewide, 7.4 million of Florida’s 14.4 million active registered voters had already cast ballots by Thursday morning: 41 percent from Democrats, 38 percent from Republicans and 22 percent from independents. The Democrats’ lead in total ballots cast was a record 206,000 as of Thursday morning, but that’s down 57 percent from its all-time high last week.

In-person early voting ends Sunday, which is when Democrats are massing for a final push.

Though election officials count ballot returns by party, they don’t tabulate the votes until Election Day.

“I would rather be in our position than theirs,” said Joshua Geise, Florida director for America Votes, an independent organization coordinating with 50 groups on the ground to turn out voters for Biden.

Geise acknowledged some of the turnout issues in Miami-Dade and said his group ramped up in the past week and had 100,000 conversations at people’s doors in the county, a third of all the face-to-face interactions they had in the entire state. He said Democrats will make a huge push this weekend to halt the Republican gains in early voting.

“We’ve got to stop the bleeding,” Geise said.

One veteran Democratic organizer from South Florida expressed concern that winning Florida looks more difficult by the day as Republicans turn out in big numbers and the pace of Democratic momentum in casting early ballots slows. It’s a sign the party is exhausting its high propensity voters — and the hard-to-motivate voters are tough to turn out.

“Look, our people hate Trump and they like Biden. But not enough of them love Biden,” the organizer said. “It also doesn’t help that the campaign reacted so late here and they didn’t help us with voter registration when we needed to be doing it.”


Steve Simeonidis, Miami-Dade's Democratic Party chair, contended the GOP is running out of voters and Democrats have far more — and they are just beginning to turn out. Considering how independents are breaking, he said, "we’re going to continue building on our lead down here and if we keep working, we will have more record Democratic turnout on Sunday and Tuesday."

Braynon, the Miami state senator, said that Biden isn’t doing as well as Clinton because the Clintons had a special “bond” with the region that was built over decades.

“You have to remind people Biden was Obama’s vice president and have to tell people he has policies similar to those supported by Hillary and Obama,” Braynon said. “It’s important to emphasize it’s the same type of platform.”

Beyond presidential race intrigue, Miami-Dade is home to five down-ballot races for Congress, state senate and county mayor. In each of those races, Republicans have fielded Cuban-American candidates.

State Sen. Annette Taddeo, a Miami Democrat, said she wasn’t too worried about Hispanic voters in the county because, she said, they’re notoriously late to cast ballots.

“We are Hispanics, we leave everything for ¡mañana!,” she said. “Also, if the 80 percent turnout in Miami-Dade being predicted by our supervisor of election comes through, that is great news for Democrats.”

But in Rep. Wilson’s congressional district, there’s still worry. She knows many have voted by mail and therefore aren’t at the polls. Still, she would like to see more voters showing up at the polls before in-person early voting ends Sunday night.

“I’ve been going to the different polling places,” she said, “and you know, I never dreamed that Black people would be reticent at this point in Mr. Trump's administration about voting.”



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VMI to remove Confederate statue following accusations of racism

The school initially refused to take down the monument of the slave owner who joined the Confederate Army

The Virginia Military Institute will remove a prominent statue of Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson amid an investigation into ongoing “structural racism” at the oldest state-run military college.

The administration initially refused to take down the statue of the slave owner who taught at VMI before joining the Confederate Army. But the Board of Visitors unanimously voted for its removal on Thursday, according to the Washington Post. Three of VMI’s 17 board members are Black.

The board’s decision follows a Change.org petition launched by graduate Kaleb Tucker, calling for the school to “acknowledge the racism and black prejudice that still occurs at VMI” and remove the statue of Jackson. 

Read More: Black contractor braves threats in removing Confederate statues in Richmond

“There has been story on top of story of racism and black prejudice within the walls of the institute. However VMI has not once acknowledged allegations nor has there been any just punishment to the doers of this racism and black prejudice,” Tucker wrote in the petition. 

When Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) caught word of allegations of racism against former and current Black cadets, which were made public in a Washington Post article, he ordered an independent investigation into “the clear and appalling culture of ongoing structural racism at the Virginia Military Institute.”

Retired Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III, VMI’s superintendent, defended the statue of Jackson in a July letter to the school community, calling Jackson a “military genius” and a “staunch Christian.” But Peay also noted that he wanted to “erase any hint of racism at VMI.”

Peay reportedly resigned a week after Gov. Northam announced the investigation.

Read More: Charlottesville tears down Confederate statue outside courthouse

The school allegedly fosters an atmosphere of cultural insensitivity, where the leaders celebrate the slaveholding South during the Civil War.

“I wake up every day wondering, ‘Why am I still here?’ ” said William Bunton, 20, a Black senior from Portsmouth, Va. 

It is unclear where the statue of Jackson will go but it may be transferred to the New Market Civil War battlefield.

The statue was erected in 1912 and up until a few years ago, students allegedly had to salute the statue when they passed it. Blacks make up about 8 percent of VMI’s 1,700 students, according to the report. 

“It’s time to move forward,” said board’s chairman, John “Bill” Boland. [The monument] was drawing a lot of fire and distracting from what our true mission is. The most important thing to me is to maintain our mission and our methods.”

The school reportedly received $19 million in state funds this past fiscal year.

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Philadelphia Police, Officials To Release Body Camera Footage of Walter Wallace Shooting

Philadelphia city officials and the police department said they will release the body camera footage and 911-tapes of the Walter Wallace Jr. shooting that occurred on Monday.

Wallace Jr. was shot and killed Monday night by two Philadelphia police officers during a confrontation after police responded to a report of a man carrying a weapon. According to Fox News, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw made the announcement Wednesday, saying the department will release the video “in the near future,” but plans on meeting with Wallace’s family first “to ensure they get an opportunity to view the materials first.”

Since Wallace was shot Monday, Philadelphia has endured three nights of turmoil as thousands have protested and rioted. Videos across social media showed looters running into a Walmart, breaking into a Chick-fil-A, and pulling items out of a Foot Locker. According to the New York Times, protesters also set fires to debris on the street and damaged Philadelphia police cruisers.

Fifty-three officers have been hurt and 172 people have been arrested Monday and Tuesday night combined.

When Outlaw and city officials release the footage, it will be the first time the Philadelphia Police Department has ever released body camera footage of a shooting, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

John McNesby, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #5, released a video on Twitter urging Outlaw and city officials to release the footage.

 

“We’re calling on the city leadership to release the facts of this case. It’s not hard,” McNesby said. “It’s cut and dry, release what you have. Support your officers, back your officers and let’s get a handle on this thing.”

Wallace’s father, Walter Wallace Sr., told CNN Tuesday his son was bipolar and in crisis at the time of the incident. Shaka Johnson, an attorney representing the Wallace family, said in a news conference Tuesday, relatives called the authorities three times including once when Wallace’s brother asked for an ambulance.

“Law enforcement was called because they wanted an ambulance to come here,” Johnson told reporters. “The police are who arrived first.”

Johnson added Wallace’s wife told the officers when they arrived Wallace was “manic, bipolar” and in crisis.

“Unfortunately, the officers were not equipped with the training or the proper equipment to deal with a person who was experiencing crisis in that moment,” Johnson told CNN. “You don’t deal with crisis with a firearm.”


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Philadelphia Police, Officials To Release Body Camera Footage of Walter Wallace Shooting

Philadelphia city officials and the police department said they will release the body camera footage and 911-tapes of the Walter Wallace Jr. shooting that occurred on Monday.

Wallace Jr. was shot and killed Monday night by two Philadelphia police officers during a confrontation after police responded to a report of a man carrying a weapon. According to Fox News, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw made the announcement Wednesday, saying the department will release the video “in the near future,” but plans on meeting with Wallace’s family first “to ensure they get an opportunity to view the materials first.”

Since Wallace was shot Monday, Philadelphia has endured three nights of turmoil as thousands have protested and rioted. Videos across social media showed looters running into a Walmart, breaking into a Chick-fil-A, and pulling items out of a Foot Locker. According to the New York Times, protesters also set fires to debris on the street and damaged Philadelphia police cruisers.

Fifty-three officers have been hurt and 172 people have been arrested Monday and Tuesday night combined.

When Outlaw and city officials release the footage, it will be the first time the Philadelphia Police Department has ever released body camera footage of a shooting, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

John McNesby, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #5, released a video on Twitter urging Outlaw and city officials to release the footage.

 

“We’re calling on the city leadership to release the facts of this case. It’s not hard,” McNesby said. “It’s cut and dry, release what you have. Support your officers, back your officers and let’s get a handle on this thing.”

Wallace’s father, Walter Wallace Sr., told CNN Tuesday his son was bipolar and in crisis at the time of the incident. Shaka Johnson, an attorney representing the Wallace family, said in a news conference Tuesday, relatives called the authorities three times including once when Wallace’s brother asked for an ambulance.

“Law enforcement was called because they wanted an ambulance to come here,” Johnson told reporters. “The police are who arrived first.”

Johnson added Wallace’s wife told the officers when they arrived Wallace was “manic, bipolar” and in crisis.

“Unfortunately, the officers were not equipped with the training or the proper equipment to deal with a person who was experiencing crisis in that moment,” Johnson told CNN. “You don’t deal with crisis with a firearm.”


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Federal appeals court suggests late-arriving Minnesota ballots may be tossed


A panel of federal appellate judges ruled Thursday that ballots that arrive after polls close in Minnesota on Election Day must be segregated from ballots that arrive earlier, suggesting that future rulings could invalidate the late-arriving ballots.

In Minnesota, ballots are typically required to be returned to election officials by mail by the time polls close in order to count. But for the 2020 election, a consent decree agreed to by Secretary of State Steve Simon mandated that ballots postmarked on or before Election Day and received within seven days would count.

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals panel split 2-1 on its order that the late-arriving ballots be segregated, which would allow them to be removed from the final count if a court later threw them out. The judges ruled that the case was “likely to succeed on the merits.”

The case was originally brought by a pair of Electoral College electors for President Donald Trump in Minnesota, James Carson and Eric Lucero. Separately, the Trump campaign and Republican state legislative candidates petitioned the state Supreme Court to segregate ballots that arrive after the close of polls earlier in the week.

Trump’s campaign targeted Minnesota earlier in the cycle as a potential flip target after losing it by just 1.5 percentage points in 2016, but it appeared to fall off the battleground map in the fall. However, the state is seeing a late spurt of campaign action, with both Trump and Joe Biden holding events in Minnesota on Friday.

Judges Bobby Shepherd, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, and Trump appointee L. Steven Grasz formed the majority. Judge Jane Kelly, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama, dissented.

There’s an additional layer of complexity in the case beyond separating certain types of ballots: The court suggested only votes in the presidential contest may be tossed out if the consent decree is invalidated. The court’s order says the ballots should be separated “in a manner that would allow for their respective votes for presidential electors … to be removed from vote totals in the event a final order is entered by a court of competent jurisdiction determining such votes to be invalid or unlawfully counted.”


Simon’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Democrats in the state slammed the ruling and urged voters to submit their ballots in-person.

“This absurd and misguided opinion will toss out the rules that have been in place since before voting began in September,” Ken Martin, chairman of the Minnesota Democrat-Farmer-Labor Party, said in a statement. “I urge the people of Minnesota to return any outstanding mail-in ballots in-person as soon as possible. The reason the Republican Party is attacking your right to vote is because of the power of that vote to change our state and country.”

Shepherd and Grasz noted in their ruling that their decision could cause confusion among voters, with just days to go until Election Day.

“The consequences of this order are not lost on us. We acknowledge and understand the concerns over voter confusion, election administration issues, and public confidence in the election that animate the Purcell principle,” citing a doctrine that federal courts generally should not disrupt election rules close to Election Day.

“With that said, we conclude the challenges that will stem from this ruling are preferable to a postelection scenario where mail-in votes, received after the statutory deadline, are either intermingled with ballots received on time or invalidated without prior warning,” they continued.

It is the second case in as many days in which federal courts suggested that late-arriving ballots could still be tossed, even potentially after Election Day.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court declined to expedite a Republican challenge to an extended Pennsylvania deadline but left open the option of ruling on the case after Election Day.

In a statement accompanying the denial in Pennsylvania, Justice Samuel Alito noted in the Pennsylvania case that the secretary of the commonwealth issued guidance to local election officials earlier on Wednesday to segregate ballots received after the close of polls but before the Nov. 6 deadline, cracking the door for a potential post-election decision.

Alito’s statement suggested that he believes those ballots could still be tossed, even if a ruling comes after Election Day. “The Court’s denial of the motion to expedite is not a denial of a request for this Court to order that ballots received after election day be segregated so that if the State Supreme Court’s decision is ultimately overturned, a targeted remedy will be available,” he wrote.




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Gig companies break $200M barrier in California ballot fight


OAKLAND — California officially has its first $200 million ballot campaign, courtesy of the homegrown tech industry.

Proposition 22 always figured to be an enormously expensive fight. Five gig economy firms invested $110 million just at the outset of their effort to exempt themselves from a new state law that could force them to treat app-summoned workers as employees rather than contractors.

The campaign has lived up to those expectations. A late October $3.75 million outlay from DoorDash pushed proponents' fundraising total to roughly $203 million. Virtually all of that has come from five companies trying to preserve their contractor-reliant business models: Uber, Lyft, Postmates, Instacart and DoorDash.

The implications: The Prop 22 campaign has always been a financial mismatch. While organized labor wields significant sway in California politics, the union-driven opposition campaign has pulled in about $20 million. That used to be a decent sum in California ballot campaigns, but is merely one-tenth of what their opponents have committed.

Despite those lopsided numbers, which have helped the yes side saturate California's airwaves, polling suggests Prop 22 could fail. A Berkeley IGS poll this month found the measure short of a majority, claiming support from 46 percent of likely voters.

The bigger context: Before this, the fundraising record for a single side of an initiative campaign was the roughly $111 million kidney dialysis companies spent in 2018 to beat back Proposition 8. The tech industry was poised to shatter that from the start.



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Hip-hop museum and ‘All In’ director get together to get out the vote

The Universal Hip Hop Museum and Emmy winning filmmaker Lisa Cortes want to reach voters traditional outreach doesn’t with a panel tied in to the film ‘All In’

The Universal Hip Hop Museum and filmmaker Lisa Cortes want to bring some new voters to the table — those that the usual campaigns don’t — apathetic voters who think their vote doesn’t count, younger voters unsure how the process benefits them others that might not watch news 24-7 and are just struggling to get by.

Read More: How are Black Americans going to survive the 2020 election?

They are combining forces for the #AllInForVoting campaign and the #HipHopRocksThe Vote campaign to do a virtual panel tied into the film All In: The Fight for Democracy currently showing on Amazon Prime.

Cortes, a hip hop veteran who once worked with artists like LL Cool J and The Beastie Boys, is the Emmy-winning producer of the HBO documentary The Apollo. She is also the producer-director of 2019’s The Remix: Hip Hop X Fashion on Netflix and directed All In: The Fight for Democracy, a film about the history of voter suppression. The documentary highlights the many ways that voter suppression persists around the country despite the myriad laws on the books to keep Black, brown and poor voters from being disenfranchised.

“We made All In: The Fight For Democracy to look at who gets to participate in our democracy, and who is pushed aside,” Cortes told theGrio. “How can we all fight back? Voting is the cog that makes the machinery of democracy work — and if the machinery breaks for some, it will eventually break for all.

She adds: “Many of the problems we have seen over the past several elections are rooted in an issue that has plagued our country from its founding. From our nation’s beginning, laws were designed to suppress certain segments of the population. Voter suppression is a nonpartisan human rights issue, which if solved, would amplify the voices of the disenfranchised and strengthen our democratic
republic. 

As Stacey Abrams says, “Voter turnout is the best remedy to voter suppression.”

Stacey Abrams voting All In doc thegrio.com
(Credit: Amazon Prime)

Abrams details her fight to win the gubernatorial race in 2018 in Georgia and how it was tainted by voter suppression tactics that helped ultimate victor Brian Kemp into the governor’s mansion in a hotly contested election. Former Attorney General Eric Holder and journalist Ari Berman, among others, talk about how voter suppression continues to play a role in elections at the local, state, and federal levels.

The Universal Hip Hop Museum is still building their home in the Bronx, New York, where hip-hop emerged in the 70s and until then they continue to build bridges with the community. They are hosting this event with Cortes and panelists Rocky Bucano, executive director and president of the Universal Hip Hop Museum, Angela Lang, executive director of BLOC, community organizer Rosa Clemente,
journalist and hip-hop activist, Kevin Powell, famed New York writer, activist, and founder of the Young Lords, Felipe Luciano, Chuck D of Public Enemy and Dayton, Ohio born rapper Yellopain who released the song “My Vote Don’t Count” earlier this year.

Read More: Five reasons to watch ‘City So Real’ the docuseries exploring Chicago politics

The panel takes place on Friday, Oct. 30 starting at 6 p.m. You can view the panel HERE. Afterward, All In: The Fight for Democracy will be available for free from Oct. 30 through to Sunday, Nov. 1 on Amazon Prime’s YouTube channel.


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Chadwick Boseman’s Brother Announces He Is In Remission From Cancer

For the Boseman family, still reeling from the death of actor Chadwick, good news is a welcome thing as his older brother Kevin, a dancer and choreographer, has recently announced that he is celebrating two years of being in remission from cancer according to theGrio.

On October 14, Kevin shared in an Instagram story that he was celebrating a second anniversary of being cancer-free. Earlier this year, on August 28, Kevin’s younger brother, the Black Panther‘s star, passed away. Chadwick was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016 and battled with it for four years as it progressed to stage IV. ⁣He died in his home, with his wife and family by his side.

Boseman had revealed that he was originally diagnosed with cancer back in 2018 and had to undergo four rounds of chemotherapy. He stated that he initially shared the diagnosis with only a select few people because of “boundaries.”

“I wanted to share because while it’s been a year of profound loss and tragedy for so many of us, this is good news. Something to smile about. Something to shout about,” Boseman said in the Instagram story he posted.

“I hope you’re smiling and shouting with me,” he added. “Cancer is something most of us have no control over. We can only control our responses to it, which includes being proactive about our healthcare both physically and mental.

“Tomorrow is not promised and early detection saves lives. Health is wealth. True wealth.”

Chadwick Boseman’s widow, Taylor Simone Ledward, had filed a petition for probate in Los Angeles. The actor, who was 43 when he lost his battle to colon cancer, died “intestate”—meaning he died without having a will.

Ledward, who quietly got married to Boseman amid his secret cancer battle, requested to be made an administrator of his estate. According to the documents that were filed, the estimated value of the assets subject to probate in Boseman’s estate is approximately $938,500. She is asking the court to name her administrator of the estate with “limited authority.”



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RuPaul Devastated to Learn Cory Booker Is a Cousin One Year Too Late to Cash In

As drag queen, musician, sometime candy-peddler, author, international game show host, fracking enthusiast, and general money-making polymath RuPaul Charles once famously explained in musical verse: “Unless they’re paying your bills, pay them bitches no mind.” But what of a bitch who could have paid one’s bills a…

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Jobless Americans face debt crunch without more federal aid as bills come due


A new phase of the economic crisis is looming for the winner of Tuesday’s presidential election: potentially massive defaults by jobless Americans on consumer loans as the chances for more federal relief this year diminish.

Both President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden have called for robust new rescue packages for an economy still suffering from the pandemic, but Congress's inability to agree on key issues such as the size of unemployment benefits has kept the talks at an impasse for months. Now, millions of Americans are running out of money and will face hard choices between food purchases and payments on rent, credit cards and student loans.

Generous unemployment benefits and stimulus checks given out earlier this year helped many people weather the early months of the crisis — with some even managing to increase their savings. But that support has faded and some of it will run dry by the end of the year. JPMorgan Chase Institute found that in August alone, typical unemployed families spent two-thirds of the additional rainy day funds that they’d built up over the previous four months.

“I fear jobless workers are going to have to make tough choices,” said Fiona Greig, director of consumer research at the institute.

The “Lost Wages Assistance” aid program that Trump ordered after the expiration of more generous federal benefits — including a $600-a-week boost in jobless payments that ended on July 31 — helped bolster some families in September. But by early this month, much of that small pot of money had already been depleted. As a result, the largest U.S. banks warned investors this month that they expect credit card delinquencies to start mounting early next year.

And with coronavirus cases spiking in places like the Midwest, pressure could increase on already struggling small businesses, pushing jobless numbers back up. In a Census Bureau survey this month, roughly a third of small businesses reported only having enough cash to get them through a month or less.


The Labor Department said Thursday that more than 22 million people were claiming benefits in all federal programs as of the week ending Oct. 10.

Other government data released at the same time showed that the economy in the third quarter regained roughly 60 percent of the economic activity it lost, as many businesses have reopened. But Greig said without additional government support, the results could still be severe for many families, particularly if there is not more improvement in the job market.

“The GDP growth recovery looks much better than the job market numbers” because people are buying goods, but there’s still a severe drought in using many services, which is where most people are employed, said Greig, whose think tank has access to proprietary data from Chase Bank.

The burdens of the pandemic are falling disproportionately on lower-income workers; people making less than $27,000 have seen a nearly 20 percent drop in employment since January, while the job market is almost fully recovered among workers making more than $60,000, according to private-sector data compiled by Opportunity Insights.

Some relief measures are still in place; there’s a nationwide ban on evictions until the end of the year, and many borrowers have had the chance to put off credit card, student loan and mortgage payments. Roughly 7 percent of households with mortgages and 41 percent with student loans were skipping or making reduced payments as of the beginning of October, according to Goldman Sachs researchers.

But those debts are still piling up in the background, which could leave consumers with a crushing burden once those protections expire without something to keep them afloat.

“There will be a massive balloon payment on what people are supposed to pay,” said Megan Greene, an economist at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. “Lots of people won’t be able to afford that.”

“It’s been surprising to me how long consumers have been able to hold on,” she added. “We’re tempting fate by waiting until next year to re-up some of the stimulus measures.”

Thanks to government aid, aggregate personal income is still up from before the coronavirus crisis, even though wages and salaries are still below pre-pandemic levels, according to economic data released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Personal income decreased $540.6 billion in the third quarter, after rising $1.45 trillion in the second quarter, a drop the agency attributed to a decrease in pandemic-related relief programs.

Part of the danger is that complete information isn’t available, so some areas may be suffering more than we know.

“A lot of the work I do focuses on rural communities, and there’s just not a lot of good data there,” said Gbenga Ajilore, senior economist at the Center for American Progress. “There are canaries in the coal mine, but … we don’t see the areas that are getting hurt because we don’t measure those areas.”

Researchers at Columbia University found that the monthly poverty rate increased to 16.7 percent in September from 15 percent in February, with about 8 million people falling into poverty since May.

Life has gotten harder for the poorest Americans. “We find that at the peak of the crisis (April 2020), the CARES Act successfully blunted a rise in poverty; however, it was not able to stop an increase in deep poverty, defined as resources less than half the poverty line,” that report said.


Maurice Jones heads up the Local Initiatives Support Corp., one of the largest community development financial institutions in the country, and said this has been the biggest year ever for the nonprofit — both in terms of donations and in relief they’re paying out.

“We have something called financial opportunity centers, and the focus of them historically has been on getting people prepared to compete successfully for living wage jobs — thinking more long term, if you will,” he said. “We have had to really adjust and focus on immediate relief. People are literally having to choose between paying rent and buying groceries.”

Jones said his firm gave out $225 million in grants or forgivable loans between March and the end of September. “We’ve never had a six-month period like that in our history with that kind of deployment of those kinds of dollars,” he said.

He said it could be “a decade’s work” to get poor people back to where they were before the pandemic.

Also, many people don’t have ready access to aid from institutions like Jones's, which focus on underserved markets, and banks have been tightening lending standards as the financial picture darkens for many borrowers. That means low-income Americans will turn to high-cost payday loans and check cashers to pay their bills, which can mean getting caught in a cycle of debt.

“These are not folks who are in a position to absorb loans at this stage of the game,” Jones said. “We’re not talking about a small chunk of the population. We’re talking tens of millions of people.”

“We gotta get this election behind us and get back to the federal government’s next chapter in helping folks weather the storm.”



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Biden camp slams Facebook as thousands of ads remain blocked in final week


Thousands of ads from Joe Biden’s campaign have been blocked by Facebook as part of the social media giant’s pre-election blackout on new political ads, which the Biden camp said erroneously swept up ads that had already been approved to run.

The ads have been down since Tuesday, Biden’s campaign said on Thursday evening, costing the Democratic presidential candidate a half-million dollars in projected donations and altering the advertising plan right before the election.

Facebook instituted a self-imposed ban on new political ads Monday night in an effort to limit the potential spread of misinformation around the election, but the policy generated new criticism this week for a “technical glitch” that removed ads already running from Facebook’s system, hitting campaigns in both parties and cutting off certain messages to voters at the most inopportune time.

Biden’s digital director Rob Flaherty blasted Facebook for providing “no clarity on the widespread issues that are plaguing all of our ad campaigns since the onset of their new ad restrictions,” he said in a statement shared first with POLITICO. Flaherty demanded that Facebook “take steps today to clearly rectify and explain the depth of this fiasco.”

In a Thursday evening blog post, Facebook wrote that "even though the majority of political and issue ads have been unaffected, since the restriction took effect, we have identified a number of unanticipated issues affecting campaigns of both political parties. Some were technical problems. Others were because advertisers did not understand the instructions we provided about when and how to make changes to ad targeting. We have implemented changes to fix these issues, and most political ads are now running without any problems."

"We understand that time is of the essence at this stage of the campaign season," the post from Facebook continued, adding: " Our teams are 100-percent dedicated to resolving any problems that may come up as quickly as possible."

Megan Clasen, senior paid media adviser for Biden, tweeted Thursday that ads touting Biden’s pledge not to raise taxes on people making under $400,000 are among the ones that got pulled on "certain key targeting tracks" on Facebook.

“We find ourselves five days out from Election Day unable to trust that our ads will run properly, or if our opponents are being given an unfair, partisan advantage,” Flaherty continued. “It is abundantly clear that Facebook was wholly unprepared to handle this election despite having four years to prepare.”

The Biden campaign also said their ability to adjust ad budgets and spending for some Facebook ads — a feature that Facebook said would still be allowed during this period — were still frozen as well.


President Donald Trump’s campaign confirmed Wednesday that some of their pre-approved ads were also pulled from the platform. The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to questions about whether they were still dealing with the issue Thursday evening.

While digital consultants told POLITICO that Facebook had acknowledged the “technical glitch” plaguing some of their ads earlier this week, many added they were left in the dark as to what caused the problems. The problem was widespread, impacting both Democratic and Republican campaigns up and down the ballot.

The controversy has stoked new fears among many political operatives about just when Facebook would cut off their ban, which includes a total blackout on political ads old and new after Election Day. Any long-term ban would be a hugely consequential decision that would reshape campaign fundraising and voter outreach. But Facebook, in a statement, said that its political ad ban was temporary.

Priorities USA Action, one of the biggest Democratic super PACs, also saw nearly 600 pre-approved ads removed from the site for more than two days, ad programs totaling in the six-figure range that particularly impacted North Carolina and Arizona. As of Thursday afternoon, those ads have been restored.

“The last two days demonstrate a refusal to act responsibly without public pressure,” Priorities USA Chairman Guy Cecil said in a statement Thursday afternoon. “While we are one of the largest spenders on digital ads in either party, it should not take a public campaign and endless calls to get Facebook to act. This is much harder for the many smaller organizations that are working to combat misinformation and voter suppression that do not have the connections and resources of a large group like ours.”




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Florida man injured after paying for ‘full contact’ with leopard is now suing its owner

The man paid $150 to play with the exotic animal

A Florida man is severely injured and taking legal action after paying to play with a black leopard.

When Dwight Turner paid Michael Poggi $150 on Aug. 31st to play with, take pictures of and rub the belly of a leopard he had no idea he would come away from the encounter bruised and bloody, according to Local 10 News.

Read More: Trump, Biden appeal to Florida voters to turn out in person

Poggi, who owns the leopard advertised on his Facebook page that folks could rent time with the animal for a “full-contact experience.” Turner took Poggi up on his offer and went to the Earnest Boulevard home in Davie, Florida to play with the fully-grown animal but when he entered the makeshift backyard cage where the animal was, it mauled him.

Now Turner, 50, has to undergo multiple surgeries after his time at the home Poggi calls an “animal sanctuary for rare and endangered animals,” per the source. They say the injuries were so severe his scalp was, “hanging from his head and his right ear was torn in half.” Turner had to spend a week in the hospital due to his injuries.

Turner’s attorney says the waiver he signed to play with the leopard was invalid because even though the animal legally belonged to Poggi he was not licensed to provide those services.

Poggi knew he should have not been offering the experience and was cited for holding wildlife in an unsafe condition and was also charged with “allowing full contact with an extremely dangerous animal.”

Poggi also has a YouTube page that features him playing with exotic animals and advertising monkeys for sale.

On the description page it says:

Read More: Florida teen sentenced to 25 years for crimes including fatally shooting K-9 dog

“This channel is dedicated to the care, feeding, breeding and sale of exotic animals found throughout the world that are no longer wanted, injured or giving sanctuary (sic) in South Florida.”

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Lil Wayne reveals ‘great’ meeting with Trump, praises his Platinum Plan

The hip-hop star shares photo with the president and applauds his record on criminal justice reform.

Lil Wayne is the latest rapper to signal support for President Donald Trump, revealing that he met with the Republican presidential incumbent just days before the 2020 general election on Nov. 3.

In a tweet on Thursday night, the New Orleans hip-hop star shared a photo of he and Trump standing side by side as they smile with their thumbs up.

“Just had a great meeting with @realdonaldtrump @potus,” wrote Wayne, real name Dwayne Carter Jr. He continued, “…besides what he’s done so far with criminal reform, the platinum plan is going to give the community real ownership.”

“He listened to what we had to say today and assured he will and can get it done.”

Read More: Ice Cube explains why he blew off Zoom call with Kamala Harris: ‘I want to get things done’

Trump’s Platinum Plan, his campaign’s offering of policy plans for Black Americans if he is reelected, made headlines in recent weeks after the campaign revealed another fellow hip-hop giant, Ice Cube, had played a role in its execution.

Many were incensed over Ice Cube’s involvement, so much so that the rapper turned Hollywood actor and producer was compelled to publicly denounce Trump, tweeting “I will never support a motha***** like Donald Trump EVER!!!”

Still, Cube — who penned a “Contract for Black America” back in August — defended his working with the Trump campaign as a nonpartisan effort to get things done for Black America, claiming both Democrats and Republicans contacted him and he made the decision to speak with the Trump administration, which he said ultimately altered the plan.

Ice Cube thegrio.com
Ice Cube speaks onstage. (Credit: Getty Images)

Ice Cube also claimed that Democrats told him to wait until after the election to make demands on behalf of the Black community. Biden surrogate Rep. Cedric Richmond, however, denied that ever happened. Richmond added that Biden’s plan for Black Americans was more comprehensive.

Read More: Rep. Cedric Richmond denies Ice Cube was told to hold off demands until after election: ‘That did not happen’

“It’s not as comprehensive as our plan. And so that’s what we told him, and the offer to stay engaged was not, ‘we’ll talk to you after the election.’ It went like this: ‘Here’s my cell number, anything else you want to talk about on this plan or anything you think, you know, we need to talk about further, just pick up the phone and call,” Richmond said.

Lil Wayne makes at least the third hip-hop star to curry favor with Trump — Kanye West also infamously showed his support for the president, going as far as to done Trump’s red MAGA hat. 50 Cent also told his followers to vote for Trump in a tweet complaining about Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden‘s tax plan.

50 Cent later backtracked saying “F**k Donald Trump,” and according to ex-girlfriend Chelsea Handler, the Queens rapper wasn’t serious about his previous support for the president.

Read More: Chelsea Handler offers to pay ex-boyfriend 50 Cent’s taxes if he drops Trump support

(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for EA Sports Bowl at Bud Light Super Bowl Music Fest )

Lil Wayne’s support for Trump is likely to cause outrage, as most Black Americans are solidly against Trump, who has a long history of racism. This wouldn’t be the first time, however, that Wayne has ruffled feathers for his political comments.

In 2016, he said he didn’t “feel connected” to the Black Lives Matter movement and went as far as to say that there’s “no such thing as racism.” The rapper used an example of a white cop saving his life at 12 as proof of his claim.

“I don’t know what racism is,” he said.

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Men charged with intimidating Black voters ordered to call back victims, admit messages were false

Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman were charged in more than one state for allegedly trying to deter Black voters

Two men are in big trouble for allegedly trying to suppress the Black vote.

Jacob Wohl, 22, and Jack Burkman, 54, were ordered on Wednesday to call back all the recipients of their robocalls whom they spread misinformation to by 5 p.m. on Thursday or they will be in contempt of court. The men are out of jail on a bond of $100,000 according to Metro Times.

They came together to allegedly spread false information to folks in places like Detroit and Ohio to stop them from voting.

Read More: Shaq explains why he never voted before: ‘I didn’t have time’

Jacob Wohl Jack Burkhman black voters thegrio.com
Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman were arraigned in 36th District Court. (credit: screenshot/36th District Court)

“Mail-in voting sounds great, but did you know that if you vote by mail, your personal information will be part of a public database that will be used by police departments to track down old warrants and be used by credit card companies to collect outstanding debts? The CDC is even pushing to use records for mail-in voting to track people for mandatory vaccines. Don’t be finessed into giving your private information to the man, stay safe and beware of vote by mail,” the call said.

They made about 12,000 calls that were false and illegal in Detroit and U.S. District Court Judge Victor Marrero called it “electoral terror.” 

In the order he wrote, “The means Defendants use to intimidate voters, though born of fear and similarly powered by hate, are not guns, torches, burning crosses, and other dire methods perpetrated under the cover of white hoods,” said Marrero. “Rather, Defendants carry out electoral terror using telephones, computers, and modern technology adapted to serve the same deleterious ends.”

Read More: Lizzo stumps for Biden and Harris in digital ad targeting Michigan’s young voters

They were arraigned at the 36th District Court on October 8 and charged with conspiracy to commit an election law violation, intimidating voters, and using a computer to commit the crime of conspiracy and election law.

The Attorney General of Michigan Dana Nessel says the men were clearly trying to deter voters. In a statement, Nessel said, “Voting is a cornerstone of our democracy and all voters should be able to cast their ballot without confusion or fear.”

The pair were also charged in Ohio on Tuesday for supposedly making similar calls in Cleveland and East Cleveland. In addition to that the The National Coalition on Black Civil Participation sued both men under the  Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 claiming they made calls to over 85,000 people in Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

Marrero ordered the alleged liars to call back victims and say the following:

“At the direction of a United States district court, this call is intended to inform you that a federal court has found that the message you previously received regarding mail-in voting from Project 1599, a political organization founded by Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl, contained false information that has had the effect of intimidating voters, and thus interfering with the upcoming presidential election, in violation of federal voting-rights laws.”

Burkman’s attorney, Scott Grabel told the judge, “The charges are an absolute atrocity” and that “It did not deter voters.”

Assistant Attorney General Richard Cunningham barked back and said, “We have a very strong case.”

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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Trump says Miles Taylor should be prosecuted, fired for ‘Anonymous’ op-ed

‘It turned out to be a low-level staffer, a sleazebag, who has never worked in the White House.’

Miles Taylor, former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official, has identified himself as the “anonymous” writer behind a New York Times op-ed that was highly critical of President Donald Trump.

An earlier report on theGRIO noted that the identity of Anonymous had been hidden until Taylor, an outspoken Trump critic, tweeted Wednesday that he wrote the 2018 op-ed in The New York Times and a subsequent book.

Trump responded by calling Taylor a “low-level staffer” and a “sleazebag” who should be “prosecuted” for penning the op-ed. 

Read More: Ex-DHS aide Miles Taylor says he’s ‘Anonymous’ who claimed to be ‘resistance’ in Trump administration

“It turned out to be a low-level staffer, a sleazebag, who has never worked in the White House,” Trump said at a rally in Goodyear, Ariz. TheHill reports. 

“Anonymous was a nobody, a disgruntled employee who was quickly removed from his job a long time ago for, they tell me, incompetence,” Trump said.

“I have no idea who he is,” he added.

“He worked with the — listen to this — the fake news New York Times, and he is an employee of Google, he works for Google,” Trump continued. “The whole thing was just one more giant hoax from the Washington swamp and a corrupt special interest group. I’ll tell you what. This guy, in my opinion, he should be prosecuted.”

Read More: Trump campaign website hacked to say Americans ‘have no choice’ in election

Taylor previously denied being anonymous in an interview last year with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.  

“There was an op-ed, there was a book, by someone calling themselves ‘Anonymous.’ Are you aware of who that is?,” Cooper asked Taylor, per TheHill.

“I’m not,” Taylor replied. “That was a parlor game that happened in Washington, D.C., of a lot of folks trying to think of who that might be. I’ve got my own thoughts about who that might be —”

“You’re not ‘Anonymous?’ ” said Cooper.

“I wear a mask for two things Anderson: Halloween and pandemics. So no,” Taylor replied.

Taylor left the Trump administration last year and currently works as a contributor for CNN.

“I witnessed Trump’s inability to do his job over the course of two-and-a-half years. Everyone saw it, though most were hesitant to speak up for fear of reprisals,” Taylor wrote Wednesday.

“So when I left the Administration I wrote A Warning, a character study of the current Commander in Chief and a caution to voters that it wasn’t as bad as it looked inside the Trump Administration — it was worse,” he added.

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Opinion | The Anonymous Unmasking Reveals a Secret About Washington Dirt


Washington seems to be a little pissed off that Anonymous—the character who wrote the 2018 New York Times op-ed about the so-called “resistance” inside President Donald Trump’s administration—turns out to be less the high-ranking confidential source ladling out secrets to the press at midnight in a Rosslyn parking structure and more a low-level munchkin. As promised, Anonymous unmasked himself just before the election, revealing himself as Miles Taylor, who held the title of deputy chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security at the time the op-ed was published.

Oh, the press corps loved the Anonymous story plenty when it broke, unleashing the bloodhounds and assigning forensic linguistics examination on his op-ed and then his 2019 book, A Warning, to sleuth out the author’s identity. The press spun its Rolodexes searching for the “senior administration official,” as the New York Times called him, who had described the president as an inept manager and a menace to the nation. Might he be Ambassador Jon Huntsman or John Bolton? Former Pentagon aide Guy Snodgrass or Secretary of State Mike Pompeo? Or even Vice President Mike Pence? Not since Deep Throat or the search for the Primary Colors author has Washington had so much fun playing whodunit. So what a bringdown it was for all to learn that the guy was a 33-year-old relative nobody.



Some critics of Taylor seek to disqualify his whistleblowing because so much awfulness played out at DHS during his tenure—why was he whistleblowing the president but not DHS? But the biggest gripe seems to be about where he fits in the hierarchy of power. Across Twitter and elsewhere people are furious with Taylor for puffing himself up to be something bigger than he is. Still others were ticked off at the New York Times for inflating his standing when his position and his physical demeanor appeared to be much more junior. “I would not describe him as a senior administration official,” former Clinton administration press secretary Joe Lockhart told the Washington Post.

The quibbling over whether Taylor deserved the rank that he and the New York Times pinned to his chest revealed Washington’s long-running obsession with status. It matters to these people if their business cards are embossed, if they have the office closest to that of the boss, if their title is commensurate with what they perceive to be their power. While the question of whether Taylor was a senior administration official or a junior one might matter in the daily games of status-battle, it doesn’t really matter if the question being asked is, “How good was the information that Anonymous brought to the Times and his book?” Rereading Anonymous’ op-ed and the reviews of his book (sorry, I never got around to actually reading him in hardcover), it seems to me that he gave us a good, early glimpse of how barmy and haywire the president was behind the scenes. Later, as Trump was allowed to be Trump in public, he came to better resemble the portrait Anonymous drew of him. I say, score one for Anonymous.

Anonymous’ dramatic self-reveal should also puncture the popular myth propelled by the movies that Washington is a city where everything you read in the newspapers turns on what a handful of power brokers ladle out to the top journalists in town. While the power brokers never have a hard time injecting their dope into the press, sometimes it’s the junior person who gets stories rolling by lending their accurate operational insights to somebody prepared to vet them. Whatever the merits of Taylor’s tell-alls and his elaborate self-defense, published today explaining why he filed his original protests anonymously, he reminds us that, in addition to being run by a few giants, Washington is also a town in which munchkins consistently punch above their weight.

******

In the early days of Anonymous, I became persuaded that he might be Huntsman. Punch below your weight with correspondence to Shafer.Politico@gmail.com. My email alerts are too well-known to claim anonymity. My Twitter feed once had a sandwich with Bob Woodward. My RSS feed has no sources.



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Trump stokes suburban fears after Philadelphia shooting


PHILADELPHIA — Donald Trump is making a last-ditch effort to rattle the suburbs.

In the wake of civil unrest sparked by a fatal police shooting here Monday, the president returned to fear-mongering about big-city chaos and violence, leaning hard on law-and-order rhetoric in the hopes of winning back the suburban voters who have deserted him.

Less than 24 hours after law enforcement officials fatally shot Walter Wallace Jr., a 27-year-old Black man who was carrying a knife and reportedly suffered from mental illness, the president’s campaign responded by announcing it was airing a national TV ad. The spot falsely accused Joe Biden of “refusing to strongly condemn violence” across the country after similar incidents.

By Wednesday, Trump, who is trailing Biden by 4 to 5 percentage points in Pennsylvania, cast the blame squarely on Democratic Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney: “It's a terrible thing, what I'm witnessing is terrible, and frankly that the mayor or whoever it is that's allowing people to riot and loot and not stop them is also just a horrible thing. I saw the event, everybody did — it was on television, it was a terrible event, I guess that's being looked at very strongly.”

“You can't let that go on. Again — a Democrat-run state, a Democrat-run city, Philadelphia,” he said, adding that Biden "doesn't want to condemn them.”

Democrats — both nationally and locally — are well aware of the high stakes of responding to the civil unrest in the biggest city in one of the most important swing states. Throughout the last few months, Biden has maintained the same response to police shootings and civil unrest regardless of where it happens: He has decried the killings and upheld protesters’ right to speak out peacefully, while also condemning any looting or violence that follows.

His approach has been no different this week. The day after Wallace’s death, Biden issued a statement with his running mate Kamala Harris that read, “Our hearts are broken for the family of Walter Wallace Jr., and for all those suffering the emotional weight of learning about another Black life in America lost. We cannot accept that in this country a mental health crisis ends in death.”



While on the campaign trail Wednesday, he added, “What I say is that there is no excuse whatsoever for the looting and the violence. None whatsoever. I think to be able to protest is totally legitimate.”

In the wake of the shooting in Philadelphia, Biden’s team consulted with local elected officials, including state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, who is close to the campaign.

“I know Congressman [Cedric] Richmond is reaching out to people on the ground to hear directly from them about what they need and to talk about some of the things that the V.P. wants to do” to reform policing, Kenyatta said, referring to Biden’s campaign co-chair. “When there are moments of trauma, I think the first thing you need to do is listen. And I think that is what they've been seeking to do.”

Trump’s campaign and state Republicans plainly believe looting following protests against police brutality — and Biden’s response to it — works in their favor. Earlier this year, Matthew Wolfe, GOP ward leader in Philadelphia, he said, “Every time a looter smashes a window on Chestnut Street, Trump picks up some votes.”

So far, though, Trump’s hardline approach and months-long attempts to frighten suburban voters have fallen flat. National polls have found that voters trust Biden more to handle public safety and race relations. And a majority of Americans think Trump has encouraged white supremacists, according to a survey by the Public Religion Research Institute.


A recent Monmouth poll in Pennsylvania also showed that Biden is narrowly more trusted here than Trump to manage law and order. Women, people of color and white college-educated voters are especially likely to put their faith in Biden on the issue.

“There are a couple reasons why the message isn’t resonating so much. Part of it I think is just a fundamental misunderstanding: It’s an outdated view of urban-suburban relationships in Philadelphia,” said J.J. Balaban, a Democratic strategist in Pennsylvania. “Trump is making something that would have been a very powerful appeal in the late 1980s, but just has much less of an appeal right now.”

Madeleine Dean, a Democratic congresswoman representing neighboring Montgomery County, said her suburban constituents don’t view police shootings the way Trump does.

“My suburban voters, my constituents don’t see it that way,” she told POLITICO. “They see it as a problem of a Black man should not be gunned down by police, whether it is in the city or the suburbs. And then they also see that the blame game is inappropriate.”

Most Democratic elected officials in Philadelphia have sought to avoid responding directly to Trump’s incendiary remarks about them, treating them as if they’re bait.

“I don’t comment on Donald Trump’s stuff,” Kenney said Wednesday. “We have enough to do in the city. We have enough issues that we have to tackle and he brings no positive help to any situation.”


Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration likewise sidestepped the question when asked to respond to the Trump administration’s remarks it might send federal law enforcement to the city. Wolf later mobilized the Pennsylvania National Guard following the request of the city government.

One exception is Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, who in a scorching statement accused the Trump administration of throwing "gasoline on a long-burning fire in order to provoke further unrest and violence ahead of an election he is terrified to lose.”

Wolf’s decision to request the Pennsylvania National Guard has led to some disagreement among state Democrats. Isaiah Thomas, a Philadelphia city councilman, questioned whether it is necessary.

“I just think we have to be careful with the message we’re sending to people,” he said. “I think it’s important to recognize that when you look at some of the negative activity and the unrest that happened, there’s often a distinct difference between people who are outside at civil protests and people who are looting and destroying property.”

But Thomas said he is not concerned that the National Guard will affect voters’ ability to cast a ballot or go to satellite election offices: “I don’t think anything is going to deter the citizens of Philadelphia who plan to exercise their right to vote.”



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Iyanla Vanzant says upcoming ‘Fix My Life’ season will be her last

The inspirational speaker opened up about the upcoming season of her self-help show on OWN

Iyanla Vanzant announced new details on the upcoming season of Fix My Life including that the long-running series is near the end.

Read More: Iyanla Vanzant on why the Black people don’t want to address our issues: ‘For us, it’s cultural’

“This is my last season. This is my legacy season, I’m out. We out. 2020,” she announced during a virtual press conference. The series is filming its final season. For Iyanla the new season brings new challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“This season we deal with the massive breakdowns that have occurred in families and relationships as a result of the pandemic, [and] as a result of the shutdown. We’re dealing with some very compelling issues,” she said.

The seventh season, set to debut on OWN on Saturday, Oct. 31 will feature reality star Shay Johnson as Vanzant attempts to help her and her family through longstanding issues. Comedian Luenell is also a guest this season. The award-winning spiritual life coach made efforts to break down and then build up the relationship between the stand-up star and her mother.

Iyanla Vanzant www.theGrio.com
Iyanla Vanzant on ‘Fix My Life’ (OWN)

Vanzant said that she is honored to share the stories of each individual guest who choose to open up and tell her their truth.

“I salute and honor each and every guest that comes forward to tell their story out loud. Imagine, most people sleep with people they don’t tell the truth to,” Vanzant said, laughing. “These people are coming to me, a stranger in front of a national audience to tell the deepest darkest most intimate issues of their life and they had to have a swab stuck up their nose to be able to do it.”

Season seven kicks off with a 2-hour premiere with Johnson and her family. Vanzant shared a preview of the episode when the reality star is faced with telling a hard truth. Her family joined her on Fix My Life in an attempt to get healing.

The six-time New York Times best-selling author said most guests are excited to undergo her process but often end up learning the problem is different than what they previously believed.

“They often come thinking the problem is one thing when it’s something else. When we begin to explore the real core and root of the problem, they’re rather shocked and horrified, and sometimes resistant and always afraid,” she said. “They know that it’s going to take time. They know that they are responsible for their own healing. They’re not coming to me, to really fix anything. They’re coming to me to get guidance, support, and information.”

Her approach to delicate situations is outlined in her on-screen practices as well as her books. Vanzant shared her process is simply based on her observation of truth and divine doctrine.

“I do the same thing in my on the show that I’ve done in my books, which is telling the truth, based on spiritual principles and universal law and provide people with the skills, the tools, the information. We have very clear intention for Iyanla Fix My Life to entertain, to inspire, [and] to help people recognize what they do and how they do it that keeps them from getting what they want,” she said.

Read More: Will Packer encourages couples to watch new series ‘Put A Ring On It’ together

“The only thing that I do on the show is act out things that I’ve been writing about and teaching for 38 years…Where’s my Nobel Peace Prize?” she laughed.

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'We’ve got to stop the bleeding': Democrats sound alarm in Miami

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