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Van Hollen Beats Edwards in Democrat Senate Primary in Maryland

The establishment Democrats won out last night in Maryland, where old-line Democrat favorite defeated fiery upstart Donna Edwards in a bruising Primary Race with racial undertones. Not that Von Hollen isn’t a good guy, or a great candidate – it is just his willingness to cave to the Republican Reich with the other Yellowback Donkeys.

Van Hollen wins Maryland Democratic Senate primary

Rep. Chris Van Hollen has won the Democratic primary to replace retiring Sen. Barbara Mikulski in Maryland, defeating Rep. Donna Edwards tonight.

Van Hollen had 56 percent to 37 percent for Edwards with 14 percent of precincts reporting, when The Associated Press called the race. (See results here.)

Van Hollen had the support of Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid and many of Maryland’s prominent elected Democrats, but Edwards’ campaign won strong support from African-American voters and EMILY’s List, which spent millions of dollars on her behalf. Van Hollen’s own campaign significantly outraised Edwards, though.

Van Hollen is unlikely to face a serious general election challenge in deep-blue Maryland.

 

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2016 in Democrat Primary

 

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In Baltimore Ex-Felons Rock the Vote

Not sure there are enough ex-felons in the City of Baltimore to change the traditional political fault lines, but it at least is a beginning in restoring the rights to a group of folks who may be able to build the foundations of a new life after incarceration.

Tearing another piece of that New Jim Crow down so beloved by Republicans as a means to suppress voters of color.

In Baltimore, ex-felons cherish newfound right to vote

On the November night in 2008 when the nation elected its first black president, wild celebrations broke out in west Baltimore. But when Perry Hopkins jumped up from the steps of the Chinese takeout where he was sitting and tried to join the party, he was quickly put in his place.

“Somebody looked at me and said: You got a record, you can’t vote. You ain’t got nothing to do with this, you can’t claim this,” Hopkins recalled. “And it hurt.”

A wiry, intense 54-year-old, Hopkins has been barred from voting thanks to an extensive criminal history that he attributes to a past addiction problem. “I’ve done five years three times, and four years once, so I’ve got roughly 20 years on the installment plan,” he said. “I’m not proud of it, but it’s the truth.”

Of being disenfranchised, Hopkins said: “I felt like my hands were tied behind my back and I was being beaten.”

Now that feeling is gone. On Thursday, Hopkins cast his first votes ever in Maryland’s presidential and mayoral primaries. (He won’t say for whom he voted.) And as an organizer for Communities United, a local community group, he rounded up scores of his neighbors — many of them also former felons — and drove them in a van to the polls, too. “Hey, come vote!” Hopkins was shouting to anyone who would listen Thursday as he stood at a busy intersection, loading up another van with people.

In February, prodded by a grassroots campaign by Communities United and other voting rights and civil rights groups, Maryland restored voting rights to people with felony convictions as soon as they’re released from prison — re-enfranchising an estimated 40,000 predominantly African-American Marylanders. Previously, they’d had to wait until they had completed probation or parole. Democratic lawmakers overrode a veto by Maryland’s Republican governor to push the measure into law. Communities United says it’s registered about 1300 new voters since the law passed.

The move was perhaps the biggest victory yet for a nationwide movement to scrap or weaken felon disenfranchisement laws, which shut nearly 6 million Americans, disproportionately non-white, out of the political process.

Reginald Smith, who was in prison for 14 years after voting at an early voting site for the first time “in a long time.”

On Friday, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffeannounced an executive order that re-enfranchises more than 200,000 felons, a move that could boost Democrats in the crucial swing state this November. Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin last week signed a law that softens that state’s felon voting ban. And a ruling by the Iowa Supreme Court, expected imminently, could dramatically reduce the number of crimes that lead to disenfranchisement there.

In Maryland, opponents of the change argued that it makes sense to require former felons to complete their full sentence — meaning probation or parole — before getting their rights back. But several of the newly re-enfranchised who Hopkins ferried to the polls Thursday said emphatically that the right to vote was itself a powerful spur toward reintegrating back into society.

“Not being able to vote was hindering me from actually being considered as a full citizen, and it was hindering my whole rehabilitation process,” said Reginald Smith, moments after voting for the first time in decades. “Because I was still being punished for something that I already served time for.”

“Being able to vote, it just makes me feel that much more positive about myself,” said Robert Mackin, 54, shortly before he cast the first ballot of his life. (Who did Mackin plan to vote for? “I sure know it ain’t gonna be no Trump.”)…Read the Rest Here…

 

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Michelle Obama Shines Some Light on Hillary Clinton

It would appear that Hillary certainly has Michelle’s vote…

Michelle Obama: Hillary Clinton is an ‘impressive,’ ‘phenomenal woman’

Michelle Obama called Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton an “impressive” and a “phenomenal woman” on Wednesday in response to a 14-year-old’s question at a White House event, saying Clinton, like “many” of the other candidates, has devoted her life to public service.

“I think Hillary Clinton is a phenomenal woman, and I’ve gotten to know her, and I think she’s made some pretty major contributions over the course of her life,” the first lady said during an event with the children of executive office workers marking Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.

She also spoke about the first family’s dogs, her “Let’s Move!” initiative to end childhood obesity, what she’ll miss most about the White House – as well as what she won’t miss so much.

Obama reiterated that she doesn’t plan to run for president in the future like the former first lady who is seeking the Democratic nomination.

“Hillary Clinton is an impressive woman and I will not do what she has done, I will not run for president,” Obama said, though she would like to continue to perform public service.

Neither the first lady nor the president has publicly endorsed a candidate.

 

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2016 in Democrat Primary

 

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Sanders Wins Big in Idaho, Washington, and Alaska

Bernie Sanders has won big in 3 of the 4 States voting in the Democratic Primary this weekend. He also may well take Hawaii, making it a sweep this week.

Bernie Sanders Wins Washington State and Alaska; Hawaii Democrats Are Also Voting

Senator Bernie Sanders handily defeated Hillary Clinton on Saturday in theWashington State and Alaska caucuses, infusing his underdog campaign with critical momentum and bolstering his argument that the race for the Democratic nomination is not a foregone conclusion.

Mr. Sanders found a welcome tableau in the largely white and liberal electorates of the Pacific Northwest, where just days after routing Mrs. Clinton in Idaho he repeated the feat in Washington. With a handful of precincts still reporting, he was leading Mrs. Clinton by more than 40 percentage points. He performed even better in Alaska, winning 82 percent of the vote.

Washington, with 101 delegates in play, was a vital state for Mr. Sanders, whose prospects of capturing the nomination dimmed after double-digit losses to Mrs. Clinton across the South and weak showings in delegate-rich Ohio, Florida and North Carolina this month.

At a rally in Madison, Wis., late Saturday afternoon, Mr. Sanders assured more than 8,000 supporters that his victories had cleared a viable path to the nomination. “We knew from Day 1 that politically we were going to have a hard time in the Deep South,” Mr. Sanders said. “But we knew things were going to improve when we headed west.”

oting the “huge” voter turnout — in Washington, Democratic Party officials estimated more than 200,000 people participated on Saturday, close to the record set in 2008 — he told the crowd, “We are making significant inroads into Secretary Clinton’s lead.”

The victories in Washington and Alaska, which awarded 16 delegates on Saturday, slightly narrow the gulf with Mrs. Clinton in the quest for the 2,382 delegates needed to clinch the Democratic nomination. As of Saturday evening, Mrs. Clinton had roughly 280 more so-called pledged delegates, who are awarded based on voting, and 440 more superdelegates — party leaders and elected officials — than Mr. Sanders.

 

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2016 in Democrat Primary

 

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Black Feminists and the Primary

Any automatic supposition about support of Hillary Clinton by black feminists…

Would be wrong.

Black Feminism heavily influenced the Black Panther movement, and by the end, the majority of membership in the Panthers were black women. Some historians credit women in the Panthers as being the creators of the hugely successful breakfast and lunch programs for children.

Democratic Primary Finds Black Feminists Conflicted

Ask a black feminist whether she prefers Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, and you very well might hear “Neither.”

“I long for Shirley Chisholm to be running, to be really honest,” said Renee Bracey Sherman, a reproductive justice activist in Washington, D.C.

Alas for Bracey Sherman, the congresswoman who in 1972 was the first major-party black candidateto run for president, and who promised a “bloodless revolution,” isn’t running. (Chisholm died over a decade ago.) But two candidates who vow to make history in their own ways are, and Bracey Sherman, like many black feminists MSNBC interviewed, is ambivalent.

“I’m definitely weighing my options,” she said. “A lot of my beliefs on economic policies fall in line with Bernie Sanders. However, he is not able to connect the way that gender and race intersect with economic inequality the way Hillary does.”

For weeks, Sanders and Clinton and their allies have tussled over who is the genuine progressive, whose policies are more feminist and who can make the most meaningful difference in black Americans’ lives. So far, as the primary has shifted from majority white states to more diverse ones, the feminist mantle and the black vote have been talked about as if they are separate silos.

“An emphasis on not only black women, but black feminists, is long overdue,” said Lori Adelman, co-executive director of Feministing. “So often, black women’s support is taken for granted.”

The candidates are both concertedly seeking the votes of black women, long a crucial base of the Democratic Party. Both have hired prominent black women, including feminist activists, to represent their campaigns, though Clinton’s inner circle has long been more diverse. Over the weekend, entrance polls showed Clinton winning black voters in Nevada, and polls of South Carolina, which votes Saturday, show Clinton enjoys a broad advantage among African-American voters there too. But in interviews, black feminists with influential perches in activism, journalism and academia critiqued both Democrats.

“I’m glad for any feminist who feels confident that their needs will be met by Hillary or Bernie’s presidency,” Shanelle Matthews, lead communications strategist for Black Lives Matter, wrote in an email. “As a black feminist, I’m not there yet. And frankly, I’d like to stop being lectured by white feminists who would boorishly call themselves my ally while also paternalistically scolding me for not bending toward their political ideologies.”

Black feminist critics of Clinton cite in particular past support of her husband’s policies on criminal justice and welfare reform, which exacted a disproportionate toll on African-Americans. They recoil at how in 1996, Clinton referred to “super predators” who needed to be brought “to heel,” which many saw as dehumanizing language that targeted black children in particular. “If Hillary wants to court black women, she should start by apologizing for all the ways she has hurt our families and us,” said Matthews.

University of Pennsylvania professor Salamishah Tillet, who described herself as undecided but leaning Sanders, said, “It’s hard for me to champion a Clinton prosperity narrative as proof of electability of another candidate when I feel like it decimated the black community and criminalized black men.”

Still, Tillet said, she thinks Clinton has been far more adept than Sanders in using an approach pioneered by black feminists. “I’m increasingly becoming impressed with how Clinton is invoking an intersectional framework,” she said, referring to the term coined by law professor Kimberlé Crenshaw to invoke how overlapping identities shape marginalization.

Clinton even came out and used the word in her speech in Harlem last week, quite possibly a first. “We face a complex set of economic, social and political challenges,” Clinton said. “They are intersectional, they are reinforcing and we’ve got to take them all on.”

And the candidate’s recent refrain that she is not a single-issue candidate, implicitly an attack on Sanders’ relentless focus on economics, seems to evoke a much quoted line from the black lesbian poet Audre Lorde: “There is no thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.”…Read The Rest Here

 

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2016 in Black History, Democrat Primary

 

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Cenk Uygur Hammers Keli Goff of The Daily Beast Article on Black Folks Voting

Cenk goes off on Daily Beast columnist Keli Goff! And he is right. There is no reason to believe that voting for Sanders is against black folks interests. Or for that matter that Hillary Clinton will tackle the tough issues of race and racism in America if elected to be President.

BTx3 is not ready to go with or endorse either side at this point.

The only major satisfaction I see in electing Hillary is, after 8 years of a black President, shoving that sharpened stake up the nether parts of conservatives further by (probably) 8 years of a woman being President. And I have no doubt she is ruthless enough to deal with the conservaturd set, unlike Obama. However I have doubts whether any progress made under her leadership would be more than cosmetic in terms of the black community, in large part because of folks like the CBC supporting her.

What Bernie would do though is to attack the structural supports of racism in America – through reforming elements of the financial system. Providing black families the ability to gain wealth and pass it on is key to reforming the culture enabling racism and discrimination in this country. So when he says “bust up the big banks” – the impact of that is a lot broader than most folks understand. And Bernie has walked the walk supporting Civil Rights – for a long long time. Whether he is strong enought o dirve that legislation though is up to conjecture.

 

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2016 in Democrat Primary

 

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Congressional Black Caucus Endorses HIllary

No big surprise here. Whichever candidate Clyburn supports will likely win South Carolina. He has remained neutral so far. What this likely means is that Hillary will get a boost in South Carolina, although with Sanders inroads into the millennial generation, it certainly does not mean a slam dunk for Hillary. One of the things unknown at this point is how large the groundswell is against the Old Skool Politics of getting nothing done in the black community. I

Hillary attending what the CBC does best – throwing expensive parties for themselves.

Congressional Black Caucus backs Hillary Clinton

The Congressional Black Caucus’ political action committee endorsed Hillary Clinton Thursday, just as the Democratic presidential candidate is set to battle with rival Bernie Sanders at a PBS-hosted debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The CBC PAC formally announced its support of Clinton at a news conference near the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C.

“We must have a president who is knowledgeable on both domestic and foreign policy,” CBC chair Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-North Carolina, said Thursday. “Black lives are being lost on the streets of America because of police misconduct and gang violence…and so we must have a president that understands the racial divide.”

“After considering the entire field, there is no question in our mind and in our minds that one single candidate — one — possesses the patience, experience and temperament,” Butterfield continued, naming Clinton.

CBC members will hit the trail for the candidate in states where African Americans could swing the outcome of the primary, focusing particularly on South Carolina, where Democrats will gather to vote on Feb. 27.

One South Carolina member of the CBC, Rep. James Clyburn, has decided to remain neutral, despite the caucus’ choice to endorse.

But Clyburn, the third-ranking Democrat in the House and a giant in South Carolina politics, recently told MSNBC in an interview that he may change his mind.

“We’ll be meeting with family and friends this weekend when I get down to South Carolina and I’ll make some decision after that,” Clyburn said Thursday. “I won’t be making any endorsements today or this week.” Clyburn remained neutral in 2008, as well.

Last month, the CBC chairman Butterfield announced his endorsement for Clinton.

Butterfield penned an editorial for African American news outlet The Grio in January saying it “was not a hard decision” to back the former secretary of state.

“The black community matters, and black votes matter, which is why I publicly and proudly support Hillary Clinton for president,” Butterfield wrote. “From fixing the criminal justice system and reforming the voting process to creating jobs and promoting a diverse workplace, Clinton’s ambitions match our own.”

Clinton has courted minority voters throughout her campaign, which has led to her popularity in states with large African American and Latino populations.

That support has not helped Clinton in the nation’s first nominating contests, since Iowa and New Hampshire have little racial diversity.

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2016 in Democrat Primary

 

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