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Showing posts with label Vox - All. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vox - All. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

The incredibly bizarre Dean Browning and “Dan Purdy” Twitter drama, explained

A politician was accused of using a fake burner account for a gay Black Trump supporter. That’s when things got weird. 

Dean Browning, a former commissioner in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, confused Twitter users on Tuesday when he replied to his own tweet claiming to be a gay Black man who voted for Trump. In reality, Browning is a white man who describes himself as a “proud pro-life & pro-2A Christian conservative,” as his Twitter photo and bio clearly illustrate. None of this makes sense, but don’t worry, it will make even less sense soon.

Here is what happened: On November 8, Browning tweeted, “What Trump built in 4 years, Biden will destroy in 4 months” — a standard sentiment percolating on the MAGA internet right now. On Tuesday, November 10, when another user argued that, actually, it was Obama who built what Trump takes credit for, Browning came back with a retort.

“I’m a black gay guy and I can personally say that Obama did nothing for me, my life only changed a little bit and it was for the worse,” he wrote. “Everything is so much better under Trump though. I feel respected — which I never do when democrats are involved.”

To anyone who has spent enough time watching pro-Trump conservatives and #resistance liberals argue on the internet, it seemed extremely clear what had taken place. Browning was the owner of another Twitter account, one claiming to be a gay Black man who loved Trump, and he simply forgot to log in to it before posting the reply (this is often called “sock puppeting” online). Immediately, users began to flood into the discussion, calling out Browning’s accidental exposure of his fake burner account.

The situation seemed to remain a mystery to Browning, who left the tweet up for several hours. Later in the day, though, he said that it was actually all a misunderstanding. “Regarding the tweet that is going viral from my account — I was quoting a message that I received earlier this week from a follower,” he wrote. “Sorry if context was not clear. Trump received record minority votes & record LGBTQ votes. Many people won’t say it vocally, but do in private.”

Though Browning attempted to use the “silent majority” argument, most people didn’t buy it. Within the span of just a few minutes, Washington Post journalist Phillip Bump claimed to have found the smoking gun: the fake account in question. “You know who replies to Dean Browning a lot? ‘Dan Purdy,’ a gay black Trump supporter who joined Twitter in October,” wrote Bump, including screenshots of Purdy’s frequent replies to Browning.

@DanPurdy322 is an account with a cartoon of a Black man wearing a beanie as its avatar and a Trump 2020 logo as its header. As people on Twitter soon discovered, it also has a history of posting extremely racist and sexist remarks. Sample tweets include “Black ppl can’t count” and “black women will be the death of America,” among many others, in Purdy’s short time on the platform.

If Browning turns out to be the man behind the account, this is not a new phenomenon, particularly among conservatives. As far back as 2016, experts were identifying huge networks of pro-Trump bot accounts for people who didn’t actually exist. In October, Clemson University social media researcher Darren Linvill told the Washington Post that he’d identified more than two dozen Twitter accounts claiming to be Black Trump voters who’d gained hundreds of thousands of “likes” and retweets in the span of just a few days, sparking major doubts about their identities. Many used photos of Black men from news reports or stock images, including one in which the text “black man photo” was still watermarked on the image. White nationalists have also had a history of disguising as “antifa” online to sow fear toward leftists.

The Browning-Purdy plot thickened, however, when the account posted a video shortly thereafter of a Black man claiming to be Purdy himself. “I sent that message to Dean, Dean accidentally posted it somehow, that’s the end of the story,” he said. “No, he’s not a sock puppet. No, I’m not a bot.”

Many of the replies to the video asked questions like, “How much is he paying you?” and accusing him of being a hired actor. Internet sleuths like Jon Hendren (better known as @fart on Twitter) used Google to discover that “Dan Purdy” was also the name listed on a suspected account that had a history of several other aliases — including “Pat Riarchy” and “White Goodman.”

In yet another twist, people noticed similarities between the avatars — and faces — of the man in the video and William Holte, otherwise known as Byl Holte, otherwise known as the adopted son and nephew of music legend Patti LaBelle. Holte has indeed written several articles on Medium complaining about feminism and anti-racism in the media and proudly calls himself an “anti-feminist TV critic.”

However horrifying the tweets from “Dan Purdy” may be, the fiasco has offered, for some, a welcome distraction from the news. Much like the objectively hilarious Four Seasons Total Landscaping ordeal, the idea that a small-time Republican politician is posing as a gay Black man on Twitter — who may also be Patti LaBelle’s actual son — is too juicy to ignore. “Congratulations to Dean Browning, today’s main character,” tweeted Chris Geidner. “I really needed this … LMAO” added Yashar Ali.

Browning, meanwhile, continues to, as they say, “tweet through it,” while Purdy’s account has been suspended. Vox has reached out to Dan Purdy and Dean Browning (and Patti LaBelle) and will update with more info as it comes in.

from Vox - All

How the Navajo Nation helped push Democrats ahead in Arizona

Emerson Gorman, a Navajo elder, with his family in the Navajo Nation town of Steamboat in Arizona. There are roughly 67,000 eligible voters in the Navajo Nation. | Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images

Indigenous voters are often forgotten about. But they may have been key in turning swing states for Democrats.

Before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, grassroots organizers in the Navajo Nation were able to attend chapter meetings and perform door-to-door campaigns to encourage people to register to vote. But as the pandemic continued to overwhelm tribal communities, field organizers had to figure out other ways to reach out to Native American voters while limiting physical contact to prevent the spread of the virus. It was a challenge, considering many homes in Indian reservations do not have formal addresses and post offices tend to be miles away.

However, the pandemic didn’t stop organizations like the Rural Utah Project from doing the work. When the lockdown was lifted in May, field organizers in the Navajo Nation — whose territory stretches across New Mexico, Utah, and northern Arizona — returned to the ground and left flyers with voting information inside resealable plastic bags at people’s doors. The group had also partnered with Google to provide plus codes that serve as addresses based on longitudes and latitudes in parts of the Navajo Nation that can be hard to track and created hotlines to direct Indigenous voters to the right place, since voting precincts tend to be confusing. This robust voter outreach by grassroots advocates, many believe, impacted the results of the election in the state.

drive-thru voter registration Rural Utah Project
The Rural Utah Project organized drive-through voter registration events across the Navajo Nation ahead of the 2020 election.

Indigenous people make up nearly 6 percent of Arizona’s population, with eligible voters in the Navajo Nation reaching roughly 67,000. Although Indigenous populations are often overlooked by the Democratic Party and categorized as “something else” by the media, precinct-level data shows that 60 to 90 percent of Navajo Nation voters went for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. And though the presidential race has already been called for Biden, it looks highly likely he’ll win Arizona, too. He is currently ahead by 15,000 votes in the state — a fraction of the votes given to him by the Navajo.

In Wisconsin, another key battleground state, Indigenous voters also may have aided Biden’s narrow win. Native Americans make up about 1.2 percent of the state’s population, or 70,000 people. While the exact percentage of the Native vote Biden received is still uncertain, some key facts point to voter turnout in tribal lands. Menominee County, dubbed a bellwether for the state, overlaps with the Menominee Reservation and has an Indigenous population of nearly 90 percent. Biden won the county with 1,303 votes, compared to President Donald Trump’s 278 votes.

“If it hadn’t been for the tribal nations, Biden truly wouldn’t be in office,” said Tara Benally, field director for the Rural Utah Project, a nonprofit organization that advocates and performs outreach to underrepresented voters. “Just seeing the turnout, that’s something Biden should be aware of and needs to truly understand that he has to work with these Indigenous nations — because if Biden doesn’t come through for these Indigenous nations, what does that mean for him? Where does Trump come into play again?”

The Navajo Nation turned out for Democrats after being ignored by Republican leaders in the pandemic

2020, in particular, has been a challenging year for tribal communities. Indigenous people were hit disproportionately hard by the pandemic, which compounded the underlying health and environmental injustices they already face. By May, the Navajo Nation quickly recorded the highest number of Covid-19 cases per capita in the country, exceeding numbers in New York and New Jersey. Yet despite the devastating health emergency, Republican state officials did little to keep the virus from spreading. Not only did the Trump administration slash funding for Indigenous communities, but policies for mask mandates, business lockdowns, and translations for Covid-19 resources were lacking. And when the federal stimulus package rolled out nationwide, finances were slow to arrive in tribal nations.

“There’s been a lot of distrust with the government, especially with treaties and funding. Anytime we get a budget, they tend to get cut,” Benally said. “When nations do expect funding from the federal government, it’s very minimal and it doesn’t go very far.”

Native Americans continue to reckon with a longstanding history of neglect and mistreatment. These unjust legacies have impacted their access to health care services, education, water affordability, and other critical resources. So when Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, released a comprehensive plan for tribal nations in October, which highlights strengthening nation-to-nation relationships and addressing health disparities, Indigenous communities caught a slight glimpse of hope.

Jade Begay, a member of the Diné and Tesuque Pueblo tribes of New Mexico and the creative director of NDN Collective, an organization dedicated to building Indigenous power, says she was encouraged by the first two points in Biden’s plan, which reflect the current crises tribal nations are facing, including growing mistrust in the federal government as well as the pandemic that has strained health care services in Indigenous communities.

“But in years to come,” she added, “what would be great to see from elected officials and the Democratic Party, if they want to keep winning Indian Country, is investment to remove voter suppression barriers, to make voting more accessible to our communities, to invest in roads, and all of these things that just make traveling to cast a vote easier.”

As with most marginalized communities across the country, voter suppression and accessibility issues run rampant in tribal nations. For instance, unjust mail services make it difficult for Native Americans on tribal lands to vote. Scottsdale, Arizona, a city of roughly 184 square miles, has 12 post offices compared to 26 post offices in the entire Navajo Nation, which covers more than 27,000 square miles; the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community has zero.

In addition to Biden’s victory in Arizona, Begay said Indigenous communities played a pivotal role in helping Mark Kelly flip a Senate seat to Democrat. Kelly spent campaign dollars actively reaching out to the Navajo Nation, running ads in the Diné language to bridge communication barriers. “That kind of outreach is really important and it shows the level of care and thoughtfulness in language gaps,” she said.

This year’s election also broke records in representation: Three of the 18 Native American women who ran for office won congressional seats — Democrats Deb Haaland, a Laguna Pueblo member in New Mexico, and Sharice Davids, a Ho-Chunk Nation member in Kansas, were both reelected to a second term, while Republican Yvette Herrell, member of the Cherokee Nation in New Mexico, beat the Democratic incumbent — the highest number in a single election cycle. Native American women represent about 1.1 percent of the US population yet have historically been underrepresented in Congress. Both Begay and Benally underscored the significance of this shift, especially in light of the longstanding patriarchal structure in Indigenous communities.

“At this time, the representation is really going to elevate women’s voices, as a woman, as a mother, and as a parent,” said Benally. “For many decades, it has just been the male leadership; it’s always been one-sided. In Navajo, men turn to their women on what needs to happen, what happens on a day-to-day basis, because the women took care of the house, the kids, and all the men did was go out to gather and hunt. For so long, that hasn’t happened here with the federal government, and now that it’s happening, Indigenous women will really make change happen for the people.”

But even with Indigenous people overwhelmingly throwing their support to a Biden-Harris administration, organizers say the work is not done. From stopping the Keystone XL pipeline to protecting Indigenous women and girls as well as demilitarizing the US-Mexico border that crosses tribal land, Begay said there is still a spate of issues that Native Americans want to see a new administration held accountable for.

“With women in office, they know what it means to take care of a family around the clock,” she said. “To have that kind of person in leadership in these offices makes a lot of sense for how we’re dealing with a pandemic, how we deal with climate change, all of these things that influence the livelihoods of our families — how we access food, how we access our basic needs — and so having that kind of leadership in place is going to be really important.”

from Vox - All

Monday, November 9, 2020

Why so many people have started journaling during the pandemic

A person writing in a notebook. iStockphoto/Getty Images

From first-time diarists to lifelong notebook enthusiasts, people around the world are jotting down their thoughts in the pandemic.

Stuck indoors during lockdown, Miami resident Sullyng Ceballos missed the clarity that long walks gave her.

“Usually, whenever I’d feel stressed or had a lot of things on my mind, going outside would help drown the thoughts out,” says Ceballos, a 28-year-old attorney, who had begun working from home in early March. Miami had just reported its first Covid-19 cases, and Ceballos was in the high-risk category. Her employers encouraged her to take all precautions.

A couple of weeks into the After, with nowhere to go but the inside of her own head, Ceballos decided to process her emotions on the page instead. She started journaling for the first time. “It was the only way for me to really express myself,” she recalls. “I’m an attorney so I’ve legal pads all over the house. I just picked one up and started writing.”

About 9,000 miles away, in Bangalore, Janani Vaidya dug up a once-discarded diary.

“I was picking up more projects and getting busier, and a couple of months into the lockdown, my mental health was taking a pretty drastic hit,” says Vaidya, who felt overwhelmed and jittery, and exhausted by “waking up every morning feeling like I was drowning.”

Desperate to find an outlet, Vaidya began journaling in June. “Consistency is not my forte, so I didn’t tell myself that I would do it every day,” they wrote over email. “I just left the journal on my desk as a reminder, and it’s a thing I go back to almost every day. ... This is the longest that I have kept going back to it.”

Like Ceballos, Vaidya found that the process gave them a sense of calm and clarity, despite whatever fresh chaos was unfolding outside.

It’s a popular sentiment. Since cities worldwide began sheltering in place one after the other, there has been a rise in the number of people taking up journaling — trying it for the first time, or returning after years. The reasons have been many: boredom, an outlet for stress, the need for structure, or simply to document a very odd, very complicated moment in time. Every other Zoom workshop seems to focus on some version of “creative journaling.” Online groups dedicated to the hobby are being swarmed with posts from beginners.

“I think journaling is like going through a closet bursting with clothes. Before you can even begin cleaning it, you have to dump all the stuff on the floor and just look at it. That’s what you’re doing in the beginning,” says a reply to a newbie’s post in the journaling forum on Reddit. “So don’t worry about doing it right/wrong, your goal is to just look at your thoughts laid out, instead of it being cramped up in the head.”

A bunch of first-timers have posted on the subreddit, among the many digital communities dedicated to journaling, over the past few months: asking for advice, swapping stationery recommendations, and coming back to share updates on how it’s been working for them. Suggested prompts help on occasions when the days seem to have mashed together into one gray blob, a frequent experience during lockdown.

Some go all out with the washi tape and colored pens and Leuchtturms; others stick to good old-fashioned “streams of consciousness lite” in exercise notebooks. There are detailed descriptions of the day, habit trackers, and mood logs, and then there are entries like the one posted by a journaler struggling with depression:

5.21pm. I ate.

There are plenty of places online besides forums for journalers to swap ideas and learn from one another. Journaling workshops — paid and unpaid — via Zoom have flourished. Ceballos participates in twice-a-week sessions organized by an online community called Goddess Council, where members get journaling prompts — a helpful tool for beginners and the experienced alike.

As a result of this uptick, stationery companies have reported a bump in journal sales. “We’ve seen a significant bump in sales of journals and notebooks over the last 4-5 months,” says a representative from the California-based company “We’re up 37.5 percent [year-on-year] in the notebook/journal category.” New York-based Peter Pauper Press has seen increased sales in dot-matrix format journals, as well as oversize and book-bound journals, says the company’s sales director, Claudine Gandolfi. “Those are generally used by dedicated journalers, not someone looking for a notebook.”

Journaling isn’t just a fun hobby — it’s a mechanism that’s frequently incorporated in therapy. It can be an important tool to explore inner conflicts, rant in a safe way, or figure out a difficult decision, says clinical psychologist Andrea Medaris. “During pandemic, I think maybe the most useful thing about journaling is that it helps create a narrative, a sense that life continues and that it is moving forward, even in a time of stuckness. It’s very easy to feel that time has paused, so making something that shows the progression from yesterday to today to tomorrow can bring a sense of hope and momentum.”

At a time when many of us have been feeling powerless, the very act of bothering to write down your thoughts is a way of telling yourself that you matter, adds Medaris. It “tells yourself implicitly that those thoughts matter, that your voice matters. That is doubly important in a time where many of us feel like our voices are insignificant.”

The first entry in Xochitl Estrada’s diary is dated March 19, 2020 — the day the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was predicting high numbers of casualties from the coronavirus. A student research assistant living in Weslaco, Texas, Estrada was worried for the city’s large Latino population, which is socio-economically disadvantaged, she says, with limited access to medical resources. “I knew we would be in trouble. No one pays attention to this area of the United States. We are hit with hurricanes, and often do not make national news.”

The endless lines, empty shelves, and palpable sense of dread made Estrada realize early on that this was not going to be a simple epidemic. Wandering through the aisles among panicked shoppers, she recalled reading diary entries made during the Spanish flu, from her undergrad epidemiology classes.

“Those documentations are the reason we know so much about what occurred during that pandemic,” she says. It inspired her to start something similar of her own for future generations, “so that they may not forget this moment in history.”

Every night, Estrada pulls out her quad notebook from Walmart, turns on the lamp, and documents the day in detail before going to bed. She carefully notes the changes she has observed around her — the panic-buying, universities shutting down, workers still needing to head out every day, the uncertainty of everything.

As part of this drive to document the moment, journaling projects and collectives are popping up as well. “More and more anti maskers are pissing me off. It feels like they only care about themselves,” says a September 14 journal entry by Steph. “Why do they think it’s okay to protest but Black Lives Matter protesters are ‘thugs’ and ‘doing things the wrong way’? Why is it okay to protest wearing a mask meant to protect the public from a deadly illness but not okay to protest for the right to live?”

Steph’s entry is among those from the “Archiving Covid-19” class at Rutgers University in New Jersey, started by writer and professor Audrey Truschke. Each week, curated excerpts from journal entries by 13 students from diverse backgrounds are uploaded on the university website.

“It was a way to document history in real time. The pandemic is all around us, it’s so much a part of our collective experience,” says Truschke, a fifth-generation member of a family of dedicated journalers, who has also contributed entries to the Rutgers project. She has digitized a couple of her great-great-grandmother’s oldest diaries, spanning 1941-1945, and also uses them while teaching as an example of archival sources.

“Her diaries now live in a box in my grandmother’s closet. I don’t know why she started writing them, no one knows. Maybe someone gave her a diary? She has no explanation, just starts like, hello diary,” Truschke recalls.

Along with being a rich source of family history, the diaries have helped serve a higher purpose: proving everyone else in the house wrong. “It’s kind of fun — we definitely have had family arguments like, ‘Where were we at Thanksgiving of 1994?’ and everyone gets out their journals and you compare and then you figure it out.”

I found my way back to journaling myself in early July, a few months after lockdown had shuttered Mumbai.

My mental health had gone to shit. I had managed to recover from Covid-19 with minimal (as of now!) lasting damage, so I should have been positively writhing with joy. But it was a struggle to see much of a reason for optimism. Several of my plans for 2020 had not worked out, or been put in stressful limbo, due to the pandemic. I felt anxious and gloomy and unmotivated, and had no idea how to start getting life at least somewhat back on track.

One afternoon, after days of aimless doomscrolling and morose Mad Men marathons, I decided to attempt a bit of self-care by making a habit tracker in an old notebook — a tool I remembered from my first and only stab at bullet journaling circa 2018, otherwise known as the most productive two weeks of my life.

This time around, I liked having a tangible reminder of things I was doing to look out for myself — starting with absolutely nothing more intimidating than drinking (or attempting to drink) two liters of water daily, moisturizing, having 30 minutes of no-screen time. I slowly upped the ante: cooking more often, 10 squats a day, making it to at least the second paragraph of a book before thoroughly abandoning it for Netflix. Soon, I had begun adding notes on my day, writing about whatever was bugging me or made me want to curl up into a very small ball. Having the words on paper somehow made the big fears seem smaller. They seemed manageable.

I’m unsure if I would count as a “dedicated journaler” yet, though I have been plenty surprised to find myself writing every single day. Of course, one of the entries just says “ugh,” but there’s something very peaceful about taking 10 minutes just to hash out whatever thought-jumble is clanging around in my brain, and for once, not have to stare at a screen while doing so. The other day I even attempted a (very rubbish) doodle.

Todd Smith is way more skilled at the art. The Buffalo resident and retail employee takes joy in creating lovely watercolor spreads of changing seasons in his journal. “I had never kept any sort of personal agenda or journal before in my life. Anytime I tried, I was noncommittal and would lose interest,” he tells me on Facebook Messenger. “But I’ve always been a big fan of art and kept seeing all these beautiful spreads people had created themselves and I wanted to emulate them. I wanted the creative outlet.”

Having needed to work through the pandemic, Smith used his journal to chronicle his mental health and create a quiet space that let him focus “mostly on trying to function ‘normally’ each day.”

I — and plenty of others — know exactly how he feels.

from Vox - All

How Joe Biden plans to use executive powers to fight climate change

President-elect Joe Biden speaks about climate change and the wildfires on the West Coast in Wilmington, Delaware, on September 14. | Drew Angerer/Getty Images

10 ways Biden plans to fight climate change, with or without Congress.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is the president-elect of the United States.

Now the work begins to make the handoff between governments, figure out who will fill key posts, and start making the to-do list.

It’s not clear yet however who will control the Senate. That may end up becoming the biggest obstacle for Biden’s administration, particularly his ambitious agenda to deal with climate change.

His proposal calls for an aggressive shift to clean energy, carbon neutrality by the middle of the century, and massive federal investment to drive these changes. Contrast that with President Donald Trump, who put forth no plan to deal with climate change and actively undermined existing policies to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

But Biden’s most ambitious ideas — particularly using $1.7 trillion in government money — requires Congress to go along, and it’s not clear he’ll have a willing majority. Even a narrow Democratic majority could be thwarted by the filibuster.

Biden is also likely to undo most if not all of Trump’s environmental rollbacks with his executive powers. Trump has repealed or weakened 125 environmental regulations, like protections for endangered species, environmental risk assessments for infrastructure, and has opened protected wilderness for fossil fuel development and logging.

Some of the most notable rollbacks are of rules seeking to cut greenhouse gases, like the Clean Power Plan, energy efficiency standards, and fuel economy regulations for cars and trucks. Many of these rollbacks are also tied down in ongoing lawsuits across state and federal courts that may take months to resolve.

 Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images
President Trump put forth no plan to deal with climate change and actively undermined existing policies to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

Just untangling this mess alone may end up keeping Biden’s hands full. “It’s not just flipping the dial and going from Trump back to Obama,” said Barry Rabe, a professor of public policy at the University of Michigan who studies environmental policy. “It could actually take much of an entire term in office to reverse that reversal.”

And without drastic action soon, greenhouse gases will continue to increase in the atmosphere, the planet will continue to heat up, and disasters worsened by climate change will extract an increasingly dear toll from the US economy.

There’s a lot a president can do from the White House without Capitol Hill, however. The questions are how quickly the head of government can get these things done and how much of them will last through another administration.

Biden has a strong list of executive actions to pursue on climate change

Even if Biden were to reverse Trump’s policies on climate change, that would only get the US back to where it was four years ago. At that point, US greenhouse gas emissions were flat and the country was not on track to meet its climate change goals under the Paris climate agreement.

To make up for lost time and to advance, the US needs more policies to limit greenhouse gases and facilitate the shift to clean energy.

However, as Vox’s David Roberts explained, it’s unlikely that Biden would be able to pass this agenda through Congress as part of a Green New Deal-type package. Congressional Republicans like Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell have already dropped hints that they plan to stymie a Biden’s agenda if he wins the White House.

That means a more piecemeal approach may be needed.

 Jon Cherry/Getty Images
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will likely led Senate Republicans in blocking President-elect Biden’s climate agenda.

“I think one big strategy that will be important for a Biden Administration without a Democratic Senate is to have a suite of climate policies rather than relying too heavily on any single policy — think of it as the ‘don’t place all your eggs in the same basket’ approach,” said Ann Carlson, a professor of environmental law at the University of California Los Angeles, in an email.

Some of these tactics could include stricter efficiency standards for appliances, more stringent fuel economy rules for vehicles, and appointing members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission who factor climate change into energy policy, according to Carlson.

The Biden campaign seems to have realized this as well. One of the climate policy survey questions Vox posed to the Biden campaign was about on how Biden plans to use the powers of the presidency to put points on the board.

Campaign press secretary Jamal Brown told us that Biden has come up with at least 10 executive actions to pursue off the bat:

  • Requiring aggressive methane pollution limits for new oil and gas operations.
  • Using the Federal government procurement system — which spends $500 billion every year — to drive towards 100 percent clean energy and zero-emissions vehicles.
  • Ensuring that all US government installations, buildings, and facilities are more efficient and climate-ready, harnessing the purchasing power and supply chains to drive innovation.
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation — the fastest growing source of US climate pollution — by preserving and implementing the existing Clean Air Act, and developing rigorous new fuel economy standards aimed at ensuring 100 percent of new sales for light- and medium-duty vehicles will be electrified and annual improvements for heavy duty vehicles.
  • Doubling down on the liquid fuels of the future, which make agriculture a key part of the solution to climate change. Advanced biofuels, made with materials like switchgrass and algae, can create jobs and new solutions to reduce emissions in planes, ocean-going vessels, and more.
  • Saving consumers money and reduce emissions through new, aggressive appliance- and building-efficiency standards.
  • Committing that every federal infrastructure investment should reduce climate pollution, and require any federal permitting decision to consider the effects of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.
  • Requiring public companies to disclose climate risks and the greenhouse gas emissions in their operations and supply chains.
  • Protecting biodiversity, slowing extinction rates and helping leverage natural climate solutions by conserving 30 percent of America’s lands and waters by 2030.
  • Protecting America’s natural treasures by permanently protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other areas impacted by President Trump’s attack on federal lands and waters, establishing national parks and monuments that reflect America’s natural heritage, banning new oil and gas permitting on public lands and waters, modifying royalties to account for climate costs, and establishing targeted programs to enhance reforestation and develop renewables on federal lands and waters with the goal of doubling offshore wind by 2030.

These actions are only a slice of how Biden plans to address climate change, and there may be more. There are also more contentious executive actions Biden could potentially take, like revoking authorization for the Keystone XL pipeline or denying oil and liquefied natural gas export licenses.

However, executive actions alone won’t be enough to bring the US on track to have a carbon neutral economy by 2050. The private sector — power companies, manufacturers, businesses — will also have to act, which may require a combination of incentives, regulations, and advances in technology.

And while climate change is a high priority for Biden, he will also be facing the Covid-19 pandemic and will be shaping the government’s response to the virus that is currently killing more than 1,000 Americans every day. Balancing the two crises of Covid-19 and climate change will be a formidable task.

Biden’s domestic climate agenda could end up stalled in the courts, but he can push for more action around the world

The idea behind executive actions is to use authorities under existing laws rather than passing new ones.

However, while executive orders don’t need approval from Congress, they can still be challenged by courts. For example, the Supreme Court in 2016 stepped in to stay the implementation of Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Trump later repealed the plan and replaced it with a much weaker regulation.

For Biden, the judicial landscape would be even less hospitable than it was for Obama. With a 6-3 Republican majority on the Supreme Court and more than 200 Republican federal judicial appointments over the last four years, lawsuits from states and industries that would be subject to any executive action could bog down any movement forward on climate change. But if these actions do survive legal challenges, they become far more durable policies.

One area where Biden does have a lot of room to maneuver on climate change is foreign policy. Biden has already pledged to rejoin the Paris climate agreement as soon as he enters office. From there, Biden wants to use the US’s weight as an economic and diplomatic player to push other countries to do more on climate change.

“He will lead a major diplomatic effort to get every major country to ramp up the ambition of their domestic climate targets, including convening a climate world summit to directly engage the leaders of the major carbon-emitting nations of the world to persuade them to join the United States in making more ambitious national pledges, above and beyond the commitments they have already made,” Brown told Vox.

While the US is the largest historical emitter of greenhouse gases and currently ranks second in emissions behind China, it only comprises 15 percent of humanity’s current emissions output. That means addressing climate change would require nudging other countries to curb their own emissions and shift to clean energy.

There are also other international agreements on issues that touch on climate, like the Montreal Protocol that places limits on hydrofluorocarbons, a class of potent, heat trapping gases.

The US can also leverage its power as a major economy to sway the rules of trade, using agreements to hold trading partners accountable for their contribution to climate change.

But here too the Covid-19 pandemic looms large. International cooperation will be needed to limit the spread of the disease between countries, and a major international climate meeting has already been postponed due to the pandemic. Many countries are also facing their own economic crises and may push climate change concerns to the back burner.

The good news: Americans are more motivated to tackle climate change than ever

Biden has leaned heavily on his experience as Vice President during his campaign, but it’s clear that 2021 will not be like 2009. While there will be an ongoing economic crisis and some demand for an economic stimulus, Congress may be an even bigger obstacle now than it was then.

On the other hand, when Biden is sworn in, he will be taking the reins of a country that is much more motivated to tackle climate change than his previous turn in government. Addressing climate change continues to rank as a high priority according to polls across the US. Since Trump pulled out of the Paris accord, a coalition of states, cities, and companies have stepped to enact their own goals to limit greenhouse gases. They’ve also been in the trenches challenging Trump’s rollbacks and building a legal framework for state and local action on climate change.

“For four years, we’ve fought tooth and nail against the Trump Administration’s efforts to dismantle critical protections [for the environment] and reverse hard-fought progress,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra in a statement about the US withdrawing from the Paris accord this week.

 Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Climate Power 2020
Climate activists project flames and commentary on the side of the Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C., on October 21.

Meanwhile, some of the big industry blocs that have resisted policies around climate change have begun to fracture. Earlier this year, five automakers — Volvo, Ford, Honda, BMW and Volkswagen — reached a deal with the State of California to impose tougher emissions limits on themselves, defying the Trump administration’s efforts to relax those rules.

Some appliance manufacturers have pushed back against Trump’s efforts to relax efficiency standards for appliances like dishwashers. Major power utilities are also betting big on clean energy. For example, Arizona Public Service, the largest power utility in Arizona, committed to produce all of its electricity from carbon-free sources by 2050, despite the fact that the state does not have a mandate to do so. Even major oil companies are starting to grapple with how they will cope in a world where carbon dioxide emissions must be constrained.

These divides could provide an opportunity for Biden to create coalitions that want action on climate change and from there, nudge the holdouts to do more. But such alliances are fragile and it will take finesse to keep such a group from falling apart. “I think Biden can assume that he would have some industry support to work with,” Rabe said. “This would require really careful political work to hold that supportive coalition together.”

from Vox - All

Sunday, November 8, 2020

2020 House election live results

Amanda Northrop/Vox

Democrats have kept the House, but some races have yet to be called. Follow the vote count here.

Update, November 8, 8:50 pm: Democrats have held on to their majority, with races yet to be called that will determine the exact balance of power.

While Democrats aimed to retake the White House and the Senate on Election Day, they are also defending their US House majority in 435 congressional elections across the country.

But the vote count, as in several other races, is coming in slowly — and it could be days or weeks before we know the House’s exact makeup. Democrats appear to have maintained control of the chamber, but with a slimmer majority.

Democrats won the House in the 2018 midterm elections, netting more than 40 seats to regain a sliver of power after two years of complete Republican control. Their new majority set about passing a largely symbolic agenda meant to demonstrate how they would govern if they retook the presidency and the Senate (with voting rights bills and legislation to lower health care costs at the top of the list) while trying to stave off fights among party members (Medicare-for-all never got a House vote, but committee hearings were held).

The history books will most remember the Democratic House majority of the 116th Congress for impeaching President Donald Trump in December 2019, over his apparent attempts to use the power of his office to solicit politically damaging information about Joe Biden before the latter won the Democratic presidential nomination.

But now, Democrats are trying to hold on to their House majority with the hopes of winning a House-Senate-president trifecta — and getting a real chance to implement their agenda. Election forecasters considered Democrats to be heavy favorites to retain control and perhaps even gain seats. But as votes come in, Democrats appear headed toward a reduced House majority, and a Senate majority looks increasingly unlikely.

Here’s how Vox (and other media outlets) will be making calls throughout the night and following days. Vox is carrying live results, powered by our friends at Decision Desk. You can also follow live results for the presidential election here and Senate races here.

Three key states to watch in the 2020 US House elections

There are competitive House races across the country on Tuesday, from first-term Democrats trying to win reelection in Oklahoma and Utah with Trump on the ballot to vulnerable Republicans in Arkansas and Oklahoma hoping the president can help carry them to victory.

California and New York have a lot of House seats, and therefore a good number of close races. On the other end of that spectrum, Don Young, Alaska’s only at-large representative since 1973, is facing maybe his most serious reelection challenge to date.

But a handful of presidential swing states will also play an outsized role in the make-up of the House. Here is a sampling of some of the races we’re watching.

Texas: The Cook Political Report put seven House seats in Texas in their most competitive categories (Lean Democrat, toss-up, or Lean Republican). Democrats hoped to have a good shot to pick up at least a couple seats. One race in the 24th District is still close, but they are few other signs of a blue wave in the state.

North Carolina: A state court ruled last year that the Republican state legislature had unconstitutionally gerrymandered North Carolina’s congressional districts and ordered new, fairer maps to be drawn. That put five of the state’s 13 districts in play, according to Cook. Two of them were vacated by Republican incumbents after the districts were redrawn and are now considered likely Democratic pickups. But Democrats needed a substantial wave to gain more ground, and potential pick-ups in North Carolina’s Eighth, Ninth, and 11th Districts were ultimately called for Republicans.

Iowa: Three of Iowa’s four House races were expected to be competitive on election night, according to Cook, thanks to the state’s independent redistricting commission that aims to prevent partisan gerrymandering. Two have been called, but the Iowa Second District seat is still a tight race as votes come in.

Correction, 6:30 pm ET: This post has been updated to accurately reflect poll closing times in Alaska and Hawaii.

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House Democrats will keep their majority for two more years

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer speak with members of Congress after honoring the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on September 25, 2020, at the Capitol building in Washington, DC. | Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images

Democrats will keep the House. But Republicans had a better showing than expected.

House Democrats did not have the election they expected.

Decision Desk HQ projected Democrats will keep their majority in the House after calling races for Democratic Reps. Abigail Spanberger in Virginia and Tom O’Halleran in Arizona, officially bringing their count to 219 seats. Many more races have yet to be called.

Democrats faced unexpectedly stiff competition from Republican candidates in multiple districts. Rather than expanding their majority as many Democrats — and nonpartisan forecasters — expected, the Democratic margin in the House appears to be shrinking after they first flipped the chamber in 2018.

The story of the night for House Republicans was the success of Republican women candidates. Republicans flipped back six seats as of Wednesday morning, with Democrats only flipping two open seats in North Carolina. More races have yet to be called.

Led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrats were widely expected to retain control of the lower chamber of Congress after they gained the advantage in the 2018 midterms. Pelosi and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chair Cheri Bustos (D-IL) were projecting confidence going into the night, yet Bustos herself wound up in a much closer battle for reelection.

Democrats controlling at least one chamber is still an important result. With Joe Biden formally becoming President-elect, Democrats will control the House of Representatives and the White House, but the party’s chances to take back the Senate come down to two uncertain runoffs in Georgia.

House Democrats saw early losses in Florida, where first-term Democratic Reps. Donna Shalala and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell lost to Republicans after Democrats underperformed with Cuban American voters in Miami-Dade County.

In Oklahoma’s Fifth Congressional District, Democratic Rep. Kendra Horn lost to Republican challenger Stephanie Bice. In New Mexico’s Second Congressional District, vulnerable incumbent Rep. Xochitl Torres Small lost to Republican Yvette Herrell. And in South Carolina’s First Congressional District, Democratic Rep. Joe Cunningham lost to Republican Nancy Mace.

And even though Democrats invested big in Texas, hoping to replicate early success in 2018, they didn’t manage to unseat a single Texas Republican member of the House in 2020. Democrats hung on to the two Texas seats they flipped in 2018, but failed to pick up any additional seats.

House Democrats’ bright spots of the night mirrored presidential trends. Democrats flipped Georgia’s Seventh Congressional District from red to blue, mirroring a trend at the presidential level of Biden appearing to perform better than expected in Georgia.

Why Democrats struggled more than expected in some House races

It’s too early to say exactly what went wrong for House Democrats, who broadly hoped to comfortably expand their majority. District-level internal party polling had shown Republicans with the potential to lose even more seats in 2020.

Many Republican strategists had resigned themselves to the possibility that their House ranks could decrease. Instead, Republicans were the ones making gains — albeit modest enough ones to stay the minority party in the House.

Cook Political Report’s House editor Dave Wasserman had some early thoughts on Wednesday: Just like Biden, Democratic congressional candidates suffered losses among Hispanic voters in key races. Democrats had bad nights particularly in Florida and Texas; they lost a couple of incumbents in Florida and didn’t defeat a single Republican incumbent in Texas, despite making a massive investment in the state to target 10 districts.

Republicans also learned from their losses in 2018 and recruited top-tier women candidates, who were on a winning streak.

“After last night, Republicans are on track to more than double their current count of 13 women,” Wasserman wrote.

The one bright spot for Democrats is that first-term women candidates, particularly those from national security backgrounds, largely held their own in competitive races. After sounding the alarm for months that the political environment was closer than the polls showed, Michigan Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D) won her race on Wednesday; races for Reps. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ), and Elaine Luria (D-VA) haven’t been called by Decision Desk yet.

These outcomes all elude a clean narrative. It’s difficult to say early on how much is based on strategic error, and how much is owed to the bizarre nature of this election year — amid a pandemic that significantly hampered Democrats’ ability to do basic campaigning tasks like door-knocking.

“Prior to Tuesday, most Republican strategists were privately resigned to the prospect of a double-digit loss of seats,” Wasserman wrote. “At this writing, Republicans may be on track to pick up between five and ten seats in the House, ironically about where our expectations started this cycle — but certainly not where they ended.”

Progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who easily fended off her own well-funded challenger, said that many embattled House Democrats failed to invest enough in digital advertising.

Two years after sweeping races across the country, the party now has to figure out what went wrong for their congressional candidates in 2020.

House Democrats may well have to contend with a Republican Senate

House Democrats have spent the past two years passing bills at a rapid clip, on everything from sweeping anti-corruption reforms to lowering the cost of prescription drugs to a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill. But the vast majority of these bills were dead on arrival in the US Senate. It seems likely this ambitious agenda could continue to be on ice, unless Democrats flip two Georgia Senate runoff races that will be decided in January.

One of the few bipartisan pieces of legislation Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, and President Trump were able to agree on was the $2.2 trillion CARES Act at the beginning of the pandemic; a second stimulus package has been held up by partisan bickering. McConnell recently signaled willingness to pass another stimulus package before the end of the year. He called it a “top priority” for the Senate’s lame-duck session but was vague on concrete details.

Even on infrastructure — one of the few places where there seemed to be bipartisan agreement — getting a bill through could be elusive. Should Democrats flip the Senate, Pelosi has provided them a road map.

But it’s too early to say if they will get to use it.

from Vox - All

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Dave Chappelle’s SNL monologue was shrewd and political — but more chill than expected

Chappelle’s SNL monologue included a KKK joke, an AIDS joke, and a lit cigarette.

Faced with the daunting task of delivering Saturday Night Live’s post-election opening monologue, Dave Chappelle opted for a tone atypical of his brand of comedy: muted rather than scathing.

Chappelle appeared following a lackluster but earnest cold open, which parodied the victory speech that President-elect Joe Biden gave earlier Saturday evening. The majority of mainstream media outlets finally declared Biden the winner of the 2020 presidential election on Saturday afternoon after five days of seemingly endless vote-counting.

While many at-home viewers seemed to be anticipating a night of searing political comedy aimed at this exhausting election week, Chappelle’s monologue veered away from the biting tone you might expect from the incisive, no-holds-barred comic.

Wearing a great suit and apparently smoking a cigarette onstage — in his defense, this was the kind of week where a performer of Chappelle’s stature could probably get away with smoking on an NBC soundstage in front of a studio audience — Chappelle’s set kept with his ongoing themes of calling out racist double standards in the US.

Chappelle started out the monologue by talking about his great-grandfather, a slave Chappelle has brought up before, most notably in his sober commentary on the death of George Floyd earlier in 2020. But rather than using his great-grandfather’s story to begin a commentary on the many racial and social issues of America today, Chappelle veered into the unexpected, pivoting to a self-deprecating joke about his current Netflix and HBO specials that set the tone for the rest of the set — and arguably for the rest of the show, which seemed determined to skew toward the calm, even apolitical end of the spectrum.

He was quick to remind viewers, however, that ousting Trump doesn’t mean the country is magically safer, despite liberals’ undoubted feelings of relief. “You ask what life was like before Covid,” he noted. “A mass shooting every week. Anyone remember that? Thank god for Covid.”

Chapelle also got in a few digs at the white working-class Trump voter — “I don’t know why poor white people don’t like wearing masks. What is the problem? Wear masks at the Klan rally, wear it at the Walmart too.” — as well as Trump himself, pointing out that the president took a helicopter to Walter-Reed hospital when he contracted Covid-19 even though it was just a few blocks away.

He also argued that Trump’s selfishness was indicative of larger problems with the way white Americans view times of crisis.

“Don’t even want to wear your mask because it’s oppressive, wearing a mask? I been wearing all these years,” he said. “You’re not ready for this. You don’t know how to survive yourselves. In fact, we’re the only ones that know how to survive this. Whites come, hurry, quick, come get your [n-word] lessons. You need us. You need our eyes to save you from yourselves.”

But if Chappelle dug his heels in on his typically trenchant humor, he delivered it with a style that felt atypically disengaged, which might explain why many of his jokes met with an ambivalent studio audience. “Trump getting coronavirus was like when Freddie Mercury got AIDS,” he joked at one point. “Nobody was like, how did he get it?” True. But nobody laughed, either. Chappelle also chastised the audience for being too woke, a theme he’s harped on repeatedly, and ended his monologue by suggesting that one of the other “lessons” that SNL’s presumably left-leaning audience needs to learn is one of forgiveness and reconciliation — certainly not an idea to which many people are receptive in the wake of a polarizing election.

Despite the inherent tension in that message, Chappelle made it sound almost like neighborly advice, well worn, rather than an admonishment. “I know how that feels. I promise you, I know how that feels,” he said.

“Everyone knows how that feels. But here’s the difference between me and you. You guys hate each other for it. And I don’t hate anybody. I just hate that feeling. That’s what I fight through. That’s what I suggest you fight through. You got to find a way to live your life. Got to find a way to forgive each other. Got to find a way to find joy in your existence in spite of that feeling.”

Perhaps not the message everyone wanted to hear at the end of this election week — and not necessarily the burn that many SNL viewers wanted. But, perhaps, it was the one we needed.

from Vox - All

SNL’s cold open took some parting shots at Donald Trump

Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump on SNL, November 8, 2020 NBC

After four years of Trump spoofs, the show tackled Biden’s victory without much inspiration.

Saturday Night Live’s cold opens have not been great this season, but on November 7 — the day a number of news outlets finally declared that Joe Biden had defeated Donald Trump and won the presidential election — a mediocre opening sketch was at least a bit understandable. After all, vote-counting fatigue set in for everyone at least three days earlier, and the real-life victory speeches it referenced had only happened hours before.

The episode started late in most markets, thanks to a long-running football game, but when it finally began, Wolf Blitzer (played by Beck Bennett) and John King (Alex Moffat) announced that “Election Week in America” was coming to a close. They called the race for Biden (Jim Carrey), who strode onto stage with what has become Carrey’s signature Biden move: finger guns.

Biden had appeared to give his first public address as president-elect. “Whether you’re from a liberal state like California or a conservative state like Oklahoma, or a cracked-out, hot mess like Florida, I will be your president!” he said. Kamala Harris (Maya Rudolph) followed, wearing a white suit and white blouse with a pussy bow that echoed Harris’s real-life victory speech ensemble from earlier in the evening. Periodically stopping for applause, she said, “Like Joe, I am humbled and honored to be the first female, the first Black, the first Indian-American, and the first biracial vice president. And if any of that terrifies you, well, I don’t give a funt.”

But of course, few Trump-era SNL cold opens are complete without the appearance of a clearly-over-it Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump. This time he ostensibly showed up to give a “concession” speech — but after declaring victory, he stepped over to a piano. In an echo of SNL’s somber post-2016 election cold open in which Kate McKinnon, playing Hillary Clinton, sang Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” from a grand piano, Baldwin sang a slow version of the Village People’s “Macho Man.”

Was it Baldwin-as-Trump’s last appearance on the show? That’s about as likely as Trump disappearing from public consciousness. SNL’s handling of the Trump administration has been alternately baffling and annoying, and whether it’s equipped for what comes next is far from clear. But if the cold open felt limp, it also signalled the end of an era that SNL seems happy to stop spoofing. Biden and Harris’s Ace Ventura-echoing parting taunt of Trump — “Loser!” — felt like it came from deep within the show’s psyche. And most of the SNL audience seemed just fine with that.

from Vox - All

Joe Biden in victory speech: “Let this grim era of demonization in America begin to end”

President-elect Joe Biden address the country from Wilmington, Delaware. | Andrew Harnik/AFP via Getty Images

The president-elect’s acceptance speech was a call to unite America.

President-elect Joe Biden used his acceptance speech as the 2020 election winner to unite a divided nation and rally the country to solve problems at home and abroad.

“I will govern as an American president,” Biden said to the crowd assembled in Wilmington, Delaware. “I will work as hard for those who didn’t vote for me as those who did. Let this grim era of demonization in America begin to end here and now.”

He continued: “This is the United States of America. There has never been anything we have not been able to do when we have done it together.”

The address stood in stark contrast to the general message of President Donald Trump, who uses most of his speeches to try to drive a wedge between his base and the rest of the country while finding opportunities to congratulate himself.

 Andrew HarnikAFP via Getty Images
President-elect Joe Biden (right) and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 7.

Biden’s victory speech made sure to thank his supporters, campaign staff, and family for his win, and to laud his running mate, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, the first woman elected to the vice presidency.

“Don’t tell me it is not possible in the United States. It’s long overdue,” Biden said of Harris’s historic first. “And we are reminded tonight of those who fought so hard for so many years to make this happen. Once again, America has bent the arc of the moral universe more toward justice.”

Finally, Biden appealed to all Americans to help make his presidency a success.

It remains a big question whether Biden can deliver on his promise to unite the divided states of America. For the moment, though, it seems his intention is genuine.

Read a rush transcript of Biden’s victory speech below.

Folks, the people of this nation have spoken. They have delivered us a clear victory. A convincing victory. A victory for we, the people.

We won with the most votes ever cast on a presidential ticket in the history of the nation: 74 million. Well, I must admit it surprised me. Tonight, we are seeing all over this nation, all cities and all parts of the country, indeed across the world, an outpouring of joy, of hope, renewed faith in tomorrow to bring a better day.

And I’m humbled by the trust and confidence you have placed in me. I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide, but unify. Who doesn’t see red states and blue states, only sees the United States.

I work with all my heart with the confidence of the whole people to win the confidence of all of you.

And for that is what I believe America is about. It is about people. And that is what our administration will be all about. I sought this office to restore the soul of America, to rebuild the backbone of this nation, the middle class, and to make America respected around the world again. And to unite us here at home.

It is the honor of my lifetime that so many millions of Americans have voted for that vision. Now the work of making that vision is real.

Folks, as I said many times before, I’m Jill’s husband. And I would not be here without her love and tireless support. And my son Hunter and my daughter and all our grandchildren and their spouses and all our family. They are my heart. Jill is a military mom, an educator. She dedicated her life to education. Teaching is not just what she does, it’s who she is.

For American educators, it is a great day for y’all. You’re going to have one of your own in the White House. And Jill is going to make a great First Lady. I am so proud of her.

I will have the honor — you just heard from Kamala Harris, who will make history as the first woman, the first black woman, the first woman from South Asian descent, the first immigrant ever elected to this country.

Don’t tell me it is not possible in the United States. It’s long overdue. And we are reminded tonight of those who fought so hard for so many years to make this happen. Once again, America has bent the arc of the moral universe more toward justice. Kamala, Doug, like it or not, you’re family. You have become an honorary Biden. There is no way out.

For all of you who volunteered and worked the polls in this pandemic, local elected officials, you deserve a special thanks from the entire nation. And to my campaign team and all the volunteers and all who gave so much of themselves to make this moment possible, I owe you everything — I owe you everything.

All those who supported us, I am proud of the campaign we built and ran. I am proud of the coalition we put together: Democrats, Republicans, independents, progressives, moderates, conservative, young, old, rural, suburban, gay, straight, transgender, Native American.

I mean it: Especially in those moments when the campaign was at its slowest, the African American community stood up again for me. You all had my back, and I will have yours.

I said at the outset I wanted to represent this campaign, to make it look like America. We have done that. For all those of you who voted for President Trump, I understand the disappointment tonight. I lost a couple times myself. Now, let’s give each other a chance.

It is time to put away the harsh rhetoric, lower the temperature, see each other again, listen to each other again, and to make progress, we have to stop treating our opponents as an enemy. They are not our enemies: They are Americans — they are Americans.

The Bible tells us to everything there is a season, a time to build, a time to reap and a time to sow and a time to heal. This is the time to heal in America.

Now this campaign is over, what is the will of the people? What is our mandate?

I believe it is this — America has called upon us to marshal the forces of decency, the forces of fairness, to marshal the forces of science and forces of hope in the great battles of our time. The battle to control the virus. The battle to build prosperity. The battle to secure your family’s health care. The battle to achieve racial justice and root out systemic racism in this country. And the battle to save our planet by getting climate under control.

The battle to restore decency, defend democracy, and give everyone in this country a fair shot. That is all they are asking for, a fair shot.

Folks, our work begins with getting Covid under control. We cannot repair the economy or relish life’s most precious moments hugging our grandchildren, birthdays, graduations, all the moments that matter most to us, until we get it under control.

On Monday, I will name a group of leading scientists and experts as transition advisers to help take the Biden-Harris plan and convert it into an action blueprint that will restore it on January 20, 2021. That plan will be constructed out of compassion, empathy, and concern. I will spare no effort, none, or any commitment to turn around this pandemic.

Folks, I am a proud Democrat. But I will govern as an American president. I will work as hard for those who didn’t vote for me as those who did. Let this grim era of demonization in America begin to end here and now. Refusal of Democrats and Republicans to cooperate with one another is not some mysterious force beyond our control; it is a decision, a choice we make.

If we decide not to cooperate, we can decide to cooperate. I believe this is part of the mandate given to us from the American people. They want us to cooperate in their interests. That is the choice I will make. I will call on Congress — Democrats and Republicans alike — to make that choice with me.

The American story is about a — about slow, yet widening the opportunities in America. Too many dreams have been deferred for too — deferred for too long. No matter their race, faith, identity, or disability.

Folks, America has always been shaped by inflection points, by moments in time where we made our decisions about who we are and what we want to be. Lincoln in 1860 coming to save the union. FDR in 1932 promising a beleaguered country a new deal. JFK in 1960 pledging a new frontier. And 12 years ago, when Barack Obama made history, he told us “Yes, we can.”

Folks, we stand at an inflection point. We have the opportunity to beat despair, to build prosperity and purpose. We can do it. I long talked about the battle for the soul of America. We must restore the soul of America. Our nation is shaped by the constant battle between our better angels and our darkest impulses. It’s time for our better angels to prevail.

Tonight, the whole world is watching America. And I believe at our best, America is a beacon for the globe. We will lead not only by the example of our power, but by the power of our example.

I have always believed, and many heard me — heard me say we can define America in one word: Possibility. That in America everyone should be given an opportunity to go as far as their dream and God-given ability will take them. You see, I believe in the possibility of this country.

We are always looking ahead, ahead to an America that is freer and more just, that treats jobs with dignity and respect, an America that cures diseases like cancer and Alzheimers, an America that never leaves anyone behind. Ahead to an America that never gives up, never gives in.

This is a great nation. It has always been a bad bet to bet against America. This is the United States of America. There has never been anything we have not been able to do when we have done it together.

Folks, in the last stages of the campaign, I began thinking about a hymn that means a lot to me and my family that captures the faith that sustains me and which I believe sustains America. And I hope it can provide comfort and solemn to the Americans who lost a loved one to this terrible virus this year. Our hearts go out to each and every one of you.

Hopefully this hymn gives you solemn. It goes like this: And he will raise you up on eagle’s wings, and make you a sign like the sun and hold you in the palm of his hand.

Together on eagle’s wings we embark on the work God called upon us to do with full hearts and steady hands, with faith in America and in each other, with love of country, a thirst for justice. Let it be the nation that we know we can be, a nation united, a nation strengthened, a nation healed.

The United States of America, ladies and gentlemen, there has never been anything we have tried and not been able to do. Remember, as our grandpop said when we walked out of our home, he said “Joe, keep the faith.” Our grandmother when she was alive said, “No, spread the faith.”

May God bless America, and may God protect our troops.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

from Vox - All

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris sent a strong message with her all-white suit

Harris spreads her arms as if hugging the crowd before her in a well tailored white suit, white silk pussy bow blouse, and black face mask. Behind her is a row of US flags, and she is illuminated by blue spotlights. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris arrives to speak in Wilmington, Delaware. | Andrew Harnik/AP

Harris wore all white for her victory speech, honoring suffragists.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris began her acceptance speech with a strong statement: a white suit.

It was a striking message, sent before she said a word — the color was the one worn by suffragists as they fought for the right to vote.

Salutes to those women have been popularized by Democratic women in recent years — at this year’s State of the Union address, many lawmakers wore white in honor of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.

Many women lawmakers wore white during the 2017 and 2019 State of the Union speeches as well.

As Vox’s Anna North has explained, the suffragist movement was not an inclusive one; Harris herself likely would have been excluded from the famous Seneca Falls Convention of 1848 that helped pave the path to the vote for women. While it was founded on the work on nonwhite women, North notes, “in the drive to get states to ratify the 19th Amendment, white advocates wanted the support of Southern white women — and their husbands and fathers — and were willing to sacrifice Black Americans’ voting rights in order to get it.”

Those white suffragists made that sacrifice, and were ultimately successful in gaining the vote for themselves. Legally protected enfranchisement for Black women didn’t come until decades later — but to secure it, women of color created their own groups. And in those groups, they were able to, North writes, “work simultaneously against sexism and racism — pushing for federal anti-lynching legislation, for example.”

In many ways, Harris is the embodiment of the dreams and hard work of many of these women, white and nonwhite — not just because she is a woman, or a woman of color, but because she was able to take the stage thanks to the work of so many women, including modern women activists who have given their time and effort to register and motivate voters.

And while experts are still studying the electorate to understand who voted for whom, early exit polls suggest that women — particularly women of color — helped power Biden and Harris’s victory, whereas it appears Trump won among men.

Harris honored those women in her speech, thanking “all the women who have worked to secure and protect the right to vote for over a century.”

“One hundred years ago was the 19th Amendment,” Harris said. “Fifty-five years ago was the Voting Rights Act. And now in 2020, with a new generation of women in our country who cast their ballots and continue to fight for their fundamental right to vote and be heard.”

It was thanks to those women, Harris said, that the United States can now begin “to see what can be unburdened by what has been.” It was for them she wore white — and maybe even why she paired her suit with a pussy-bow blouse — to honor those who sacrificed and suffered to make her present possible.

from Vox - All

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