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Election 2020

Trump Posthumously Pardons Susan B. Anthony

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On Tuesday, President Trump announced he was posthumously pardoning Susan B. Anthony, the leader of the women’s suffrage movement who was found guilty of voting illegally in the 1872 presidential election.

What We Know:

  • Trump’s official pardon is seen as an attempt to appeal to female voters as it came on the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote. The pardon comes during a particularly tumultuous time at the White House. Trump has continued to disparage mail-in voting as well as attempt to dismantle USPS funding ahead of the November Presidential election. The pardon announcement also appears to be a distraction from the Democratic National Convention which is also occurring this week.
  • Trump teased the posthumous pardon announcement as he traveled on Air Force One the day before, telling reporters he was going to erase the conviction of someone “very, very important”. Anthony was tried for illegally voting, a crime because women could not vote at the time. She protested her $100 fine and refused to pay, an act aimed at bringing attention to the suffrage movement. Trump questioned why no one before him pardoned her, asking reporters why it had taken so long. “She was guilty for voting,” Trump said on Tuesday, “and we’re going to be signing a full and complete pardon.”
  • Like most of the other pardons Trump has issued, this one also drew criticism from Democrats, including Kathy Hochul, the lieutenant governor of New York. On Twitter, Hochul demanded Trump rescind his pardon, saying that Anthony was proud of her arrest, never paying her fine to draw attention to the cause for women’s rights.

  • Others also critiqued Trump’s move, calling it a political move and nothing else as he has repeatedly been accused of sexual harassment or assault and has often made degrading comments about women. Trump is fighting a deep gender gap in his campaign against Democratic Presidental nominee Joe Biden. At the pardon announcement, Trump surrounded himself by female supporters and declared that “women dominate the United States,” later complaining that the coronavirus pandemic had darkened the economic picture for women.
  • Advisors to Trump hope this pardon will help gain Trump the support from a key group of female supporters, suburban women, whose support has eroded throughout his presidency. During the event, however, Trump turned his attention from honoring women’s right to vote to criticizing former first lady Michelle Obama’s pre-recorded speech at the DNC the night before. “She was over her head, and frankly she should have made the speech live, which she didn’t do,” Trump said. “I thought it was a very divisive speech, extremely divisive.” He then went on to say if President Barak Obama had never been elected, he would be “building buildings someplace” and “having a good time”.
  • Anthony has become an increasingly divisive figure in recent years as some have argued that she sidelined Black women in the suffrage movement as she embraced white supremacist ideas, virtually ignoring and at times excluding Black women who were also engaged in the battle for suffrage. Anthony’s biography shares that Anthony said she would “sooner cut off her right hand than ask the ballot for the black man and not for women”. Similarly, her figure has been adopted by anti-abortion forces like the conservative anti-abortion political group, Susan B. Anthony List, that raises money for anti-abortion political candidates.

Anthony is the 26th pardon during Trump’s presidency, and while he has previously granted clemency to people whom he personally knows like Roger J. Stone Jr., Anthony is the first whose work Trump has not spoken of during his campaign or his presidency.

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Election 2020

Georgia Sets New Early Voting Record for Senate Runoffs

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Early voting for the two Georgia Senate races began on December 14th. So far, the turnout has been unbelievable and record-breaking.

What We Know:

  • As of Dec. 18th, over 1.1 million ballots have been cast in early voting for this Senate runoff election. These twin U.S. Senate runoff elections, as Reuters calls it, will determine which party controls that chamber of Congress. Voting in the Senate runoffs, which are taking place because no candidate won 50% support on Nov. 3rd. State data published on Friday showed the number of accepted ballots was just below the level seen at the same point in early voting for November’s election.
  • According to MSN, roughly 168,000 Georgians went to the polls on Monday, the first day to vote early in-person in the state’s two critical Senate runoff elections, according to numbers provided by the Georgia secretary of state’s office. By comparison, some 128,000 voted on the first day of early voting for the November general election. Another 314,000 people cast absentee ballots on the first day of the early-voting period. The first-day early in-person turnout broke a record previously set in October when early in-person voting began for the 2020 general election.
  • The runoff’s Democratic challengers are Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff against Republican incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, respectively. Perdue won more votes than Ossoff in November, while Warnock won more than Loeffler in a 20-candidate field that also included Republican Congressman Doug Collins. Loeffler and Collins together drew nearly 46% of the vote, according to Reuters.
  • The party control of the Senate is at stake in this runoff election. Republicans currently hold a 50-48 seat edge in the upper chamber. If Democrats win in the Georgia runoffs, this will hand them an evenly divided chamber, in which Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would cast the tie-breaking vote. If both Democrats lose, President-elect Joe Biden will be forced to work with a divided Congress and may not be able to implement his agenda.

Early voting will take place up until December 31st, and election day will be held on January 5th. Georgians still have a few more days to get out and cast their in-person votes. In addition, absentee ballots may still be mailed in before December 31st. To view your sample ballot, find your polling place, or verify that you’re properly registered to vote, log in to the Secretary of State’s My Voter Page.

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Election 2020

WSJ Columnist Writes Misogynistic Op-Ed About Dr. Jill Biden

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The Wall Street Journal was widely criticized over the weekend for publishing a column by Joseph Epstein where he wrote “misogynistic views,” suggesting soon-to-be first lady Jill Biden should stop using her doctorate title.

What We Know:

  • Epstein begins the article by writing, “Madame First Lady–Mrs. Biden–Jill–kiddo: a bit of advice on what may seem like a small but I think is a not unimportant matter. Any chance you might drop the ‘Dr.’ before your name? ‘Dr. Jill Biden’ sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic.”
  • Jill Biden has spent most of her life educating and holds multiple degrees, including a doctoral degree from the University of Delaware. Her “Dr.” title is noted in all of her public profiles and usually what she is referred to in the media. In the article, Epstein regarded this as “fraudulent, even comic.”
  • In attempts to discredit and undermine the numerous achievements Dr. Biden has received, Epstein writes to the WSJ to argue that the prestige of post-graduate titles has been diminished by lack of academic rigor.

“Such degrees were once given exclusively to scholars, statesmen, artists, and scientists. Then rich men entered the lists, usually hoping that they would donate money to the schools that had granted them their honorary degrees … Famous television journalists, who passed themselves off as intelligent, followed. Entertainers, who didn’t bother feigning intelligence, were next,” he wrote.

  • In response to the column, Jill Biden tweeted, “Together, we will build a world where the accomplishments of our daughters will be celebrated, rather than diminished.” Her response is among several across social media from icons such as Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Meghan McCain, the daughter of late Republican senator John McCain and a commentator on the morning talk show “The View.”
  • Paul A. Gigot, the top editor for The Journal’s opinion section for nearly two decades, deemed the media’s response to the column as a political strategy, stating, “There’s nothing like playing the race or gender card to stifle criticism,” as he accused Democrats of coordinated the mass of responses following the publication.
  • This is not the first wave of criticism received by the WSJ over their op-eds. According to The Washington Post, members of The Journal’s newsroom have sent letters criticizing Journal columns at least three times this year.

In just one month, nearly 300 employees sent a letter to The Journal’s publisher, Almar Latour, identifying a “lack of fact-checking and transparency” on the opinion desk.

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Crime

Black Lives Matter Signs Burned at D.C. Churches; Police Investigate as Possible Hate Crimes

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Courtesy of The New York Times

An investigation has begun into the burning of Black lives Matter signs at historic Black churches in Washington, D.C., during a pro-Trump rally this weekend.

What We Know:

  • The incident will be investigated as a hate crime, and the police are looking for information on the events that occurred on Saturday. The burning of signs occurred at Asbury United Methodist Church, founded in 1836, and Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, where Frederick Douglass’ funeral was held in 1895.
  • The protest is in reaction to the Supreme court tossing a Texas lawsuit and pushing for the changing election results n five swing states, Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Nevada.
  • Mayor Muriel Bowser tweeted on Sunday, “This weekend, we saw forces of hate seeking to use destruction and intimidation to tear us apart… We will not let that happen, and continue to stand together strong and United to Love.”
  • According to NBC News, Asbury’s senior pastor, the Reverend Lanther Mills, stated the pro-Trump supporters removed a Black Lives Matter and literally burned it in the street. Mills compares the incident to that of the burning of crosses during the days of Jim Crow.

“We are as people of faith. As horrible and disturbing as this is for us now, it doesn’t compare with the challenges and fears the men and women who started Ashbury faced 184 years ago faced,” stated Mills.

  • “So we will move forward, undaunted in our assurance that Black Lives Matter, and we are obligated to continue to shout that truth. We are assured that our church is surrounded by God’s grace and mercy,” he added.

During the protest in Olympia, Washington, 4 people were stabbed, and one person was shot in the clash between Trump supporters and counterprotesters.

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