New York Attorney General Seeks to Dissolve the NRA, Citing Fraud and Abuse

Following an 18-month investigation into the National Rifle Association (NRA), New York Attorney General Letitia James took action on Thursday to dissolve the organization, which she argued is “fraught with fraud and abuse.” In a press conference, James announced that she was filing a lawsuit against the NRA along with four individuals affiliated with the organization, including Wayne LaPierre, the chief executive. Others named in the lawsuit are Wilson Phillips, Joshua Powell, and John Frazer.

James and the lawsuit filed in the New York Supreme Court allege that the NRA and its leaders have, for years, “instituted a culture of self-dealing mismanagement,” thus abusing the organization’s non-profit status. James expressed concern that, as an organization notorious for its significant political influence, the NRA has gone “unchecked for decades while top executives funneled millions into their own pockets.”

Citing specific examples of such abuses of power, James said that the findings of her office’s investigation suggest that the organization’s leaders violated New York’s laws governing nonprofits by “diverting tens of millions of dollars from the group through excessive expenses and contracts that benefited relatives or close associates.” She alleged that funds from the organization were used to pay for luxuries including leaders’ trips, private jets, and dining expenses. It is estimated that LaPierre alone spent over $500,000 on vacations and other related luxuries. The lawsuit argues that in just three years, the organization likely lost $64 million due to mismanaged funds.

In response to James’ press conference and the lawsuit, the NRA issued a statement claiming that Thursday’s events reflected a “baseless premeditated attack on our organization and the Second Amendment freedoms it fights to defend.” The NRA has since filed a countersuit, in which it alleges that New York’s lawsuit infringes upon the organization’s right to free speech.

James’ announcement has returned the attention of the media and voters alike to issues of gun violence and gun rights in the United States with just three months until the November election. As such, since the announcement, the New York suit has received praise and criticism along party lines.

In a tweet, President Donald Trump criticized the New York lawsuit, suggesting that the suit was a political play by the “radical left.” Conversely, Kamala Harris, a contender for the Democratic nomination for Vice President, tweeted, “The NRA bought the president and promotes members of Congress that turn a blind eye to the gun violence epidemic. It takes leaders with courage to stand up to them.”

Later in the day, March for Our Lives – an organization headed by young activists who survived a 2018 school shooting Parkland, Florida – launched a digital and television ad intended to air in battleground states and target young voters. The ad calls on young people to continue playing an active role in the movement against gun violence.

According to NPR, “seeking to dissolve the NRA is the most aggressive sanction James could have sought” against the organization, which is based out of New York. James’ action was mimicked by the attorney general of Washington, D.C., who similarly filed a lawsuit against the NRA on Thursday.

 

Sources: NPR 8/6/2020; NBC News 8/6/2020; CNN Politics 8/6/2020; The Wall Street Journal 8/7/2020; Twitter 8/6/2020

New Study Reports 50% of Gen Z Men Think Feminism Has “Gone Too Far”

The UK-based advocacy group HOPE not hate recently released a July 2020 report detailing the attitudes and actions of 16 to 24 year-olds in the age of COVID-19. This study, titled Fear and Hope, studied over 2,000 Generation Z individuals to determine their attitudes about domestic and global politics. The study found that approximately 50 percent of Gen Z men feel that feminism has “gone too far.”

The study revealed that just 21 percent of young male respondents view feminism favorably. Conversely, nearly one in five young men maintain negative views about feminism, and just 39% of young men think that “it is a more dangerous time to be a woman than a man in Britain today.” A larger portion of respondents felt that feminism “makes it harder for men to succeed”.

The report draws attention to the ways in which many of these attitudes are particularly present in the group of individuals deemed “reactionary conservatives.” According to the study, 75% of reactionary conservatives feel that feminism is detrimental to men’s success. However, just 3% of those individuals deemed “leftist activists” feel the same way.

The study equated such attitudes with a larger far-right movement, concluding that “men’s rights and anti-feminism are increasingly become a slip road to the far right, appealing to young men feeling emasculated in an age of changing social norms.”  In considering the role ideology plays in shaping attitudes and public opinion, the study also indicated that those who hold misogynistic views may be more inclined to hold racist views as well.

According to VICE News, the findings of the HOPE not hate report prompted responses from individuals including Sam Smethers, the chief executive of Fawcett Society, a UK-based charity advocating for gender equality. Smethers told VICE that the findings of this study explain the “high levels of misogyny, abuse, casualised violence, and objectification women face every day.”

In response to the concerns raised by the findings in their study, HOPE not hate concluded the report with a list of suggestions and action items that might change public opinion and behavior. The organization proposed that the Department of Education “urgently make tackling sexism and sexual harassment in schools a policy priority.” It also encouraged schools, colleges, and universities to do more to “address sexism and misogyny” and to take a “zero-tolerance approach.” The report also called upon policy makers to recognize the intersection between misogyny and racism.

Sources: HOPE not hate; Fear and Hope July 2020; VICE World News 8/3/2020; Fawcett Society

New St. Louis Nonprofit Aims to Support Women on the Edge of Poverty

St. Louis, Missouri has long been known to face disheartening rates of poverty. In 2019, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that an estimated 24.2% of residents may be living in poverty. Mission: St. Louis, a Missouri-based organization, has reported that up to 40% of children in the city may be born into poverty. While the median income of households in the U.S. was about $74,600 in 2018, according to Pew Research Center, in St. Louis, the median household income in 2018 was $41,107.

Recognizing these trends, as well as the ways that they may disproportionately impact the livelihood and security of women in St. Louis, Leslie Gill and Ali Hogan created a new St. Louis-based nonprofit, Rung for Women, along with a $20 million campus to house the organization. Gill and Hogan expect that the resources and support services offered will assist those living on the edge of poverty in finding transformative professional opportunities. The organization’s full operations are expected to launch in or around January 2021.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Rung for Women has partnered with nine nonprofit organizations and plans to recruit approximately 100 participants to kick-off operations. Participation in Rung’s program for women will be free in an effort to “remove as many barriers as possible,” and the organization will offer services including free childcare, tutoring, and meals to incentivize participants to remain in the program.

Rung plans to recruit those who have faced setbacks resulting from different crises that may be products of poverty. The program will address these crises with the ultimate goal of helping participants find their footing in the professional world. Rung will pair participants with coaches who work closely to outline goals and practice skills like resume-building, interviewing for positions, and engaging in other professional development activities.

Moreover, to assist women in advancing to professional roles, Rung and its partner organizations will work to “connect members with high-level contacts.” Rung hopes to continue building a network of affiliated employers and educators. If Rung achieves its goal of bringing in new cohorts of participants throughout the year, it will be able to enhance the workforce in St. Louis and surrounding areas.

Rung’s design is research and evidence-based after its creators worked closely with the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University. As such, Gill and Hogan hope Rung’s design might serve as an inspiration to other organizations and non-profits nationwide.

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, 2019; Mission: St. Louis; Pew Research Center, 1/9/2020; St. Louis Post-Dispatch 7/31/20; Rung for Women

Historic Number of Black Women Running for Congress in 2020

Women in politics are breaking barriers and setting records left and right in 2020, amid unprecedented circumstances that have shaped national conversations and altered the ways that elections are administered and campaigns are run. Most recently, a piece in Reuters shared that a record number of Black women are set to run for Congress in 2020 based on data gathered by the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP).

Deadlines to file to run for office have now passed in all 50 states in the United States. As Reuters reported, nationwide, 122 Black women have filed to run for congressional seats. Of these 122 Black women, 60 are still in the running to be nominees.

According to CAWP, the number of Black women filing to run for congressional seats has risen continuously since 2012, at which time 48 Black women filed to run. Just two years ago, when women made history as candidates and victors in the 2018 midterm election, 80 Black women filed to run for the U.S. House. Of these 80 women, 41 nominees and 22 winners emerged.

As Reuters highlighted, current social, political, and economic circumstances have shed light on why the presence of Black women candidates and officeholders is so significant. The public health crisis that is gripping the nation has disproportionately impacted women, particularly women of color. Likewise, the George Floyd protests have prompted national discussions about systemic racism and oppression and have reinforced the importance of considering intersectionality in social justice movements. Consequently, the value of amplifying the voices of historically marginalized groups in politics cannot be overstated.

Many of the Black women who have emerged as 2020 candidates and nominees have emphasized the ways in which they seek to bring their unique perspectives and experiences to politics while also inspiring others to do the same. Pam Keith, who is running for Congress and is on the ballot in Florida’s August 18 Democratic primary said, “You don’t know what it looks like to have powerful Black women in Congress until you see powerful Black women in Congress.”

Although Black women have gained considerable ground as candidates and officeholders in the United States, it is worth noting that they continue to be underrepresented in the spaces where decisions are being made. Presently, just 48 of the 127 women or 37.8% serving in the 116th U.S. Congress are women of color. This pattern of underrepresentation persists at the state level as well.

In spite of the issue of underrepresentation, the record number of Black women seeking public office in 2020 signifies that these candidates are determined to change the landscape and composition of our government. Rather than depressing civic engagement, it appears that events in recent months and years have had the opposite effect and sparked greater participation.

Sources: Reuters 7/27/2020; Center for American Women and Politics 7/27/20; Higher Heights Leadership Fund, CAWP, Rutgers University 2019; Pam Keith for Congress

Democratic Women Take to the House Floor to Address a Culture of Hostile Sexism

After Representative Ted Yoho (R-FL) failed to apologize for a vulgar verbal attack on Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) earlier this week, claiming that he “cannot apologize for his passion,” Ocasio-Cortez and her female Democratic colleagues addressed the incident on Thursday. In their speeches, these representatives dissected the unmistakable patterns of dehumanization and sexism that women face, as well as specific examples of the ways in which such patterns are woven into the fabric that constitutes the culture of the United States Congress.

In her ten-minute speech, Ocasio-Cortez, who was berated and called a “f*cking b*tch” by Yoho, formally acknowledged the incident as well as Yoho’s remarks apparently excusing his behavior. In her speech, Ocasio-Cortez discussed that, while vulgar, Yoho’s manner of berating her was not unlike the ways that society treats women.

Exploring what troubled her most about the incident with Yoho, Ocasio-Cortez said, “This is not new and that is the problem… This issue is not about one incident. It is cultural.” She proceeded to explore what she called a culture of “accepting a violence and violent language against women, an entire structure of power that supports that.” Ocasio-Cortez said the persistence of such attitudes can be linked to having a leader who has “[admitted] to hurting women and [uses] this language against all of us.”

Her speech also considered the intersections of gender and race. Ocasio-Cortez mentioned President Trump’s comment that she and other members of the “squad” should “go back” to their home countries. Though Ocasio-Cortez and two other squad members were born in the United States and all four are citizens, and such a comment suggested that these women do not belong in spaces where decisions are made.

Congresswomen including Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ), and Barbara Lee (D-CA) also weighed in. Calling attention to intersectionality, Lee described the “lifetime of insults, racism, and sexism” she experienced, as well as the fact that “this did not stop after being elected to public office.” Sherrill, a more moderate member, called attention to Yoho’s so-called apology, saying, “Telling a woman, ‘I’m sorry you heard it that way’ is a cliché as old as time to belittle and dismiss women after attacking them.” Pressley used the moment to address the nation’s daughters, who she said “belong at every single table where decisions are being made.”

In a news conference later in the day, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) recalled her own experiences of sexism in politics and society. Discussing her experiences throughout the decades she has been in politics, Pelosi said that Republicans’ attitudes towards women in politics are “a manifestation of attitude in our society, really.”

Though Ocasio-Cortez’s speech, as well as those delivered by her colleagues, garnered far-reaching support, Republican leaders gave no indication that these speeches would shift their attitudes or prompt Yoho to properly apologize. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said, “When someone apologizes they should be forgiven.” When asked by reporters if the Republican Party has a “woman problem,” McCarthy denied the existence of such a problem and claimed that the party is “improving.”

Sources: Associated Press 7/22/20, 7/23/20; The New York Times 7/23/20; CSPAN 7/23/20; PBS News Hour 7/23/20; Vox 7/18/19; Time 7/23/20; The Hill 7/23/20

State Senator Nikema Williams Selected to Fill John Lewis’ Congressional Seat

With the passing of John Lewis (D-GA) last week, the United States lost a giant who devoted his life and career to civil rights, social justice, and causing – as he frequently put it – “good trouble.” At the same time, the nation lost a 17-term Democratic congressman who represented Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District since 1987. Lewis’ death left the Democratic Party of Georgia with the difficult decision of selecting a nominee to run against Republican Angela Stanton-King in an upcoming special election.

Georgia law requires that the state Democratic Party’s executive committee select a nominee for a vacant seat like that of John Lewis. The 44-member committee, which includes politicians like Keisha Lance Bottoms and Stacey Abrams, narrowed this list to five individuals who had responded to a call for applications. On Monday, Nikema Williams, a state senator, was selected and is largely favored to win the special election.

Williams has served as a state senator representing Georgia’s 39th District since 2017 and has chaired the state’s Democratic Party since 2019. Her district, which includes Atlanta, overlapped with areas that were represented by Lewis when he served in Congress. Before serving as a state legislator, Williams held active roles in the National Domestic Workers Alliance, where she was a political director, as well as Planned Parenthood Southeast, where she was the vice president of public policy.

After being selected, Williams shared a tweet stating, “Nobody will ever fill the shoes of Congressman John Lewis. I will do everything in my power to honor his legacy and lift up his spirit.” Shortly afterward, prominent political figures as well as activists took to social media to praise the committee’s decision. Stacey Abrams, a former Georgia state legislator and candidate for the U.S. Senate, tweeted, “(Williams’) fight for the oppressed, the left-behind and the strivers will continue to serve Georgia well.” Likewise, Cecile Richards, the former president of Planned Parenthood, tweeted, “While no one can truly replace Congressman John Lewis, Nikema is a fighter who will carry on the tradition of fighting for social justice issues.”

According to NPR, other finalists considered for Lewis’ seat were Park Cannon, Andre Dickens, Robert Franklin, and James Woodall, all of whom play significant roles in Georgia’s political, educational, and advocacy-based institutions. Williams, who recused herself from the committee’s final vote due to the overlap between her roles as an applicant and the party’s chair, won with 37 out of a total of 44 votes.

Governor Brian Kemp (R-GA) will be responsible for ordering and setting a date for the special election that will occur between Williams and Stanton-King. The results of this election will determine whether the seat is held by a Democrat or Republican for the next two years. In 2018, Georgia’s fifth congressional district was one of a handful of districts nationwide where no Republican candidate ran; in 2016, Lewis defeated a Republican opponent with 84.4 percent of the vote. Williams is favored to win the special election, which Georgia’s Deputy Secretary of State is recommending be held on November 3, the date of the United States general election.

Sources: CNN Politics 7/18/20; The Washington Post 7/20/20; The New York Times 7/20/20; Twitter 7/20/20; NPR 7/20/20; Ballotpedia

GA Gov. Brian Kemp Sues Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms Over Mask Order

Faced with a surge in positive COVID-19 cases across the South and Midwest, on July 8, Keisha Lance Bottoms (D-GA), the mayor of Atlanta, issued an executive order requiring all individuals to wear masks in public areas and banning gatherings of over 10 people. In an effort to rebuke this measure, Governor Brian Kemp (R-GA) issued an order rescinding cities’ mask requirements, and on Thursday sued the Atlanta City Council and Bottoms.

In her executive order, Bottoms cited the guidance of public health officials as well as her administration’s commitment to “slowing the spread of COVID-19 infections in Atlanta.” Bottoms joins the leaders of various cities nationwide who have sought to implement measures to protect citizens, including healthcare and frontline workers.

As of this week, Georgia has faced more than 3,000 deaths due to COVID-19 and has reported more than 100,000 positive tests. According to a recent tweet, Bottoms and her family are among those who have tested positive. This fact, in conjunction with the surge in cases in Georgia and recent CDC guidance that the virus can be controlled in four to eight weeks if all Americans wear masks in public, motivated Bottoms’ order.

Citing his “chief executive powers,” Kemp’s lawsuit states that the governor has the authority to “suspend municipal orders that are contradictory to any state law.” The Governor specifically referenced Bottoms’ recent order, arguing that Bottoms does not have the “legal authority to modify, change, or ignore” a statewide executive order. Kemp’s administration also defended his actions by claiming such actions are meant to protect struggling business owners and employees.

Kemp’s lawsuit was met with immediate pushback from Bottoms, who refuted Kemp’s claims and argued that Atlanta’s mask policies “are enforceable and they stand.” In a statement, Bottoms said, “If being sued by the state is what it takes to save lives in Atlanta, then we will see them in court.” Bottoms also called upon Kemp and the state of Georgia to take action and adhere to public health experts’ guidance to control the spread of the virus.

Although the CDC is nonpartisan, mask mandates have become the subject of fierce partisan debates nationwide. With his executive order, Kemp joins a handful of Republican elected officials who have similarly resisted issuing requirements on the matter. Most recently, Governor Kevin Stitt (R-OK) publicly acknowledged his refusal to implement a mask mandate, despite becoming the first governor to test positive for COVID-19.

Georgia joins over 40 other states where cases have surged in recent weeks. On Thursday, the United States reported a record 77,000 new cases in one day. In spite of Kemp’s order, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr released a statement “urging citizens to wear masks.”

Sources: City of Atlanta 7/8/2020; NPR 7/16/2020; NBC News 7/17/2020; USA Today 7/17/2020; Twitter 7/16/2020; Reuters 7/14/2020; Superior Court of Fulton County 7/13/2020; CNN Politics 7/15/2020; AP News 7/16/2020

17 States Sue Trump Administration Over International Student Visa Rule

Amid rising unrest and uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trump administration issued a directive last week that would endanger the visas of international students whose colleges or universities plan on implementing remote coursework this fall. This directive has forced international students as well as higher education institutions to reconsider their fall plans.

This comes as President Trump and his administration have begun to threaten schools that are unwilling or unable to reopen in the fall. As of Monday, 17 states and the District of Columbia have taken legal action against the administration.

According to the Trump administrations’ directive, students on F-1 or M-1 visas enrolled in colleges or universities that opt to conduct courses online in the fall semester must leave the United States, transfer schools, or risk deportation and other consequences. This directive would rescind an ICE exemption issued in March that allowed international students to remain in the United States while engaged in remote learning.

Last week, in response to this directive, California filed a suit against the federal government, and Harvard University and MIT filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Boston. On Monday, legal action was jointly filed by 17 states and the District of Columbia in an effort to block the administration’s directive. Now, more than 200 schools have also declared their support for such legal action.

Filed in Massachusetts’ U.S. District Court, the lawsuit refers to the White House directive as being a “cruel, abrupt, and unlawful action.” After discussing the advancements to public health and science enhanced by the vibrant community of international students enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities, the lawsuit calls attention to the various risks that in-person learning will inevitably pose to students, families, and faculty. It also acknowledges the fact that the directive was issued after many higher education institutions already made plans for the fall, forcing international students to risk deportation or their health.

 The lawsuit cites the fact that the states responsible for this lawsuit housed more than 373,300 international students last year, as well as the fact that these students contributed over $14 billion to the economy. It also acknowledges that because states are responsible for funding and supporting public higher education institutions, reevaluating plans for the fall semester to act in accordance with this directive would be costly and harmful to operations statewide.

Attorneys general involved in this recent legal action have issued statements responding to the administration’s unprecedented directive. Maura Healey, the Attorney General of Massachusetts, noted that the administration gave no explanation for what she called a “senseless rule,” and Gurbir Grewal, the Attorney General of New Jersey, suggested that the administration was attempting to use international students’ “tuition as leverage” to reopen institutions.

Sources: The New York Times 7/7/2020; Feminist Majority Foundation 7/9/2020; CNBC 7/13/2020; United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts 7/13/2020; NBC News 7/13/2020, 7/8/2020; Politico 7/13/2020

Trump Threatens to Cut Funding for Schools Unwilling or Unable to Reopen

As the United States faces a surge in reported COVID-19 cases, schools have recently been faced with the difficult decision of whether or not to reopen as the fall approaches. Given local, state, and federal guidelines, as well as those put in place by the CDC, returning to business as usual seems daunting, if not impossible, for schools. In spite of the dangers associated with welcoming students back to school this fall, President Trump and Betsy DeVos threatened to cut funding to schools that do not fully reopen.

On Tuesday, the White House hosted a roundtable discussion attended by educators and members of the Trump administration. During this discussion, Trump asserted that he planned to “put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools.” In a press briefing, Pence added that the administration would be “looking for ways to give states a strong incentive and encouragement to get kids back to school.”

Though faced with mounting criticism for such statements, on Wednesday, Trump and DeVos forcefully threatened states and school districts unwilling to fully reopen in the fall. In a tweet, Trump stated that his administration “may cut off funding” to institutions that do not reopen. DeVos also said that the Department of Education is “very seriously” considering cutting funding to schools that do not reopen and claimed that those unwilling to reopen may be “fear mongering and making excuses.” Both Trump and DeVos have praised Florida’s plan to fully reopen all public schools in the fall.

The CDC issued guidelines for reopening schools that predate the recent surge in confirmed COVID-19 cases. These guidelines suggest that the safest school settings would require entirely remote-learning; moderate risk school settings would require accommodations to reduce the density of students, stagger schedules, and combine remote and in-person instruction; and the most dangerous school settings would return to business as usual. Trump has criticized these guidelines as being “very tough and expensive.”

On Thursday morning, the CDC’s director, Robert Redfield, said the CDC does not plan to alter its guidelines for the reopening of schools. However, in light of Trump’s attacks, Redfield said the center would “provide additional reference documents to aid communities in trying to reopen K-12s.”

Though Trump has threatened funding to schools, such a threat may be hollow. A 2019 report from the Congressional Research Service found that in recent years, while the federal government was responsible for approximately eight percent of funding for public K-12 schools, state and local governments were responsible for approximately 47 and 44 percent of funding respectively. The distribution of federal funds for public education is generally directed towards disadvantaged students; thus, efforts and threats to cut federal funding will disproportionately affect such students. Moreover, while some estimates suggest that schools could require up to $200 billion to safely reopen, just $13.5 billion has been made available for schools through the CARES Act.

The president and his administration have faced strong pushback for their most recent threats. Although groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics have suggested that continued remote learning could have detrimental effects on children’s health and development, given recent spikes in reported cases of COVID-19, the health risk for educators, families, and students seems may outweigh the benefits of in-person learning. According to Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, “Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos demanding schools reopen but failing to produce a plan or the resources required is not doing what kids and educators need.”

Sources: The New York Times 7/8/2020, 6/30/2020; NPR 7/7/2020, 7/8/2020; Politico 7/8/2020; Twitter 7/8/2020; The Washington Post 7/8/2020; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 5/19/2020; CNN Politics 7/9/2020, 7/8/2020; Congressional Research Service 8/26/2019; CNBC 7/8/2020

Upcoming Elections May Jeopardize the Historic Number of GOP Women Senators

Since 2018, with the swearing-in of senators including Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Martha McSally (R-AZ), and Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), the greatest number of Republican women have been serving in the U.S. Senate in the party’s history. However, this historic victory for gender representation in the Republican Party may be in jeopardy come November.

A recent Politico report found that of the nine Republican women currently serving in the U.S. Senate, four will be in precarious positions in November when votes are cast in the general election. According to Politico, Martha McSally (R-AZ), Susan Collins (R-ME), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) all face competitive upcoming elections. If these incumbent women were to lose their elections, the Republican Party would lose a significant portion of the women in their caucus.

McSally, who was appointed to fill John McCain’s (R-AZ) Senate seat after his death, now faces Democratic opponent Mark Kelly. Recent polls have found that Kelly leads McSally by a 53 percent to 44 percent margin, according to CNBC. Beyond polling, Kelly has raised and spent significantly more money than McSally. According to OpenSecrets, whereas McSally has approximately $10,252,063 on hand, Kelly has $19,706,843. McSally also faces a challenging election because Arizona has recently transitioned from being a staunchly red state to a battleground state.

In Maine, Collins, who has held her Senate seat for 23 years, is trailing her Democratic opponent, Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon. According to a recent poll, Gideon currently leads Collins by a 46 percent to 42 percent margin. Despite her electoral successes in the past, Collins may be facing a challenging election due to public opinion surrounding her decision to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court in spite of allegations of sexual assault. Gideon also has a fundraising advantage over Collins; whereas Gideon has raised approximately $15.2 million, Collins has raised approximately $5.4 million.

Incumbent Ernst will face Theresa Greenfield in what is expected to be a very tight race. A June poll showed that Greenfield led Ernst by a 46 percent to 43 percent margin. Ernst’s approval rating in Iowa has dropped significantly in the past year; however, she performs well with the Republican base in the state. Although President Trump won Iowa by nine points in 2016, Democrats had several victories in the state in 2018.

Loeffler was appointed to fill a retiring incumbent’s Senate seat in Georgia earlier in 2020 and is now competing against both Republican and Democratic opponents. Doug Collins, a Republican Congressman, is challenging Loeffler for the Senate seat and leads Loeffler by two points. Loeffler also faces a Democratic opponent, Raphael Warnock, who edges out Loeffler by three points, according to recent polls.

Members of the Republican Party have acknowledged the state of gender representation within the party. Recently, Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) called gender representation “a weak spot” for the GOP, but also made note of recent historic gains for Republican women. However, the incumbent president’s recent polling has threatened many Republican-held Senate seats that are up for reelection in November and may erase these gains.

Sources: CNN Politics 11/28/2018; CNBC 1/8/2020, 7/1/2020; Center for American Women and Politics; Politico 7/7/2020; OpenSecrets; NPR 5/5/2020; The Hill 7/6/2020, 6/29/2020; Des Moines Register 6/13/2020

Recent Gallup Poll Suggests Support for Immigration Has Risen Significantly Among Americans

A recent Gallup Poll found that a larger margin of Americans are supportive of increased immigration to the United States than are unsupportive. Gallup has observed the trend in public opinion towards immigration since 1965, but its 2020 poll is the first time that more Americans prefer increased immigration than decreased immigration, and marks the highest support for increased immigration in the poll’s history.

Conducted between May 28 and June 4, the Gallup Poll found that at the present moment, 34 percent of Americans feel that immigration to the United States should be increased. A year ago, just 27 percent felt similarly, reflecting a seven-point increase in favorability. The poll also found that 28 percent feel that immigration should be decreased, and 36 percent are content with the current level of immigration to the United States.

According to Gallup, the poll “predated” several recent decisions directly pertaining to immigration. Most recently, on June 22 President Trump issued an order halting H-1B visas for individuals seeking employment and for students in work-study programs. Several days prior to Trump’s order, the Supreme Court ruled to block the Trump administration’s attempt to dismantle DACA.

Historically speaking, trends in public opinion towards immigration have been shaped by a variety of factors, including individuals’ partisan affiliation and generational identity, among others. Gallup observed such trends reflecting political party in their 2020 poll; for example, while 50 percent of those identifying as Democrats preferred an increase immigration, just 13 percent of those identifying as Republicans responded similarly.

Pew Research Center has also conducted research and polling to gauge public opinion among generational cohorts. In 2018, Pew found that the largest number of individuals belonging to younger generations were of the opinion that immigration strengthens the country. According to Pew, whereas 79 percent of Millennials agreed that immigration strengthens America, just 66 percent of Generation X and 56 percent of Baby Boomers agreed.

In 2016, President Trump ran a campaign that was antagonistic towards immigrants and immigration. According to Gallup, just two years ago, a majority of Americans found that immigration was “the most important problem facing the country.” As shifting opinions regarding immigration meet a moment where national conversations increasingly focus on issues including public health and racial tensions in the United States, it remains to be seen whether changing public opinion towards immigration in the United States will have a pronounced effect on the results of the approaching 2020 election.

 

Media Resources: Gallup 7/1/2020; Pew Research Center 3/1/2018; New York Times 6/22/2020; The Washington Post 6/18/2020

Over 150 Major Advertisers Boycott Facebook During Stop Hate for Profit Campaign

On June 17th, a coalition of advocacy groups including the Anti-Defamation League and NAACP launched their newest campaign, Stop Hate for Profit, in an effort to respond to Facebook’s failure to handle the spread of disinformation and hate speech. Since announcing Stop Hate for Profit, the campaign has garnered significant momentum, with over 150 major marketers planning to pull their ads from the platform until demands are met. Among those demands that have been outlined by key players in the campaign are increased accountability, decency, and support from Facebook.

Social media giants, including Facebook, are known to make a majority of their profits from the ads that run on these platforms. According to The Wall Street Journal, Facebook has the “second-largest share of the U.S. digital ad market” and approximately 99% of Facebook’s $70 billion is the product of advertising.

In spite of the power these platforms yield, however, Facebook has been notable in its failure to condemn the endemic dissemination of hate speech and lies. Under the leadership of Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook has resisted calls to fact-check political speech by figures including President Trump and has not been generous in what it deems hate speech. This has had particularly far-reaching impacts amid current events like the George Floyd protests, the coronavirus pandemic, and the 2020 election in the United States.

In detailing their grievances with the company’s manner of handling disinformation and hate speech, Stop Hate for Profit’s initial call to action listed Facebook’s tolerance for posts that incited violence against peaceful protesters in recent protests against police brutality; Facebook’s labeling of sources like Breitbart News and The Daily Caller as reliable and trusted sources; and Facebook’s failure to acknowledge voter suppression efforts.

Since launching the Stop Hate for Profit campaign in mid-June, many of the highest-profile advertisers on Facebook have agreed to join the boycott. As of Monday, companies including Microsoft, Best Buy, Verizon, Coca-Cola, and Unilever, among many others, had announced their intention to suspend advertising.

Many participating companies have released statements explaining their decision to join the boycott. A spokesperson for Coca-Cola said the company will take time to determine “what more we should expect of our social media partners to rid the platforms of hate, violence, and inappropriate content.” Verizon similarly issued a statement expressing its expectation that boycott efforts would lead Facebook to “create an acceptable solution.”

Stop Hate for Profit stated that their purpose in encouraging major marketers to temporarily suspend advertising on Facebook is to “force Mark Zuckerberg to address the effect that Facebook has had on our society.” The campaign also acknowledged that while serious action would likely take longer than a month to address and implement, they intended to “provide clear steps that Facebook could take immediately that would result in real progress.”

Sources: Anti-Defamation League 6/17/2020; New York Times 6/29/2020; Forbes 6/29/2020; The Wall Street Journal 6/29/2020; CNN Business 6/29/2020

House Democrats Urge ICE to Release Detainees Amid Spike in COVID-19 Cases

On Monday, Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX) and Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) called upon ICE to release detainees and improve conditions ICE detention centers as COVID-19 cases continue to increase. Since early 2020, the pandemic has taken the lives of nearly 120,000 Americans. States like Texas and Arizona house approximately 40 immigration detention centers, and are experiencing a surge in reported cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations.

After visiting detention centers in Texas, Garcia and Castro spoke with reporters to detail the conditions they observed. Castro, who likened the centers to “petri dishes,” asserted that ICE “barely lifts a finger to make sure that these folks are safe.” Garcia similarly questioned ICE’s commitment to taking the precautions needed to avoid a severe health crisis within its centers. Garcia told reporters that while detainees have been able to make use of the masks they were provided with two weeks ago, the crowded conditions in which they live have not been conducive to proper social distancing.

Other spaces that require individuals to live in close quarters, including prisons and nursing homes, have been the subject of scrutiny as the pandemic has ravaged the United States. Many of these spaces – particularly nursing homes – have been required to develop systems that increase the capacity to test large numbers of staff members and individuals. However, this has not been the case in immigration detention centers.

ICE was ordered by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in April to release minors. This decision came after leaked images and stories revealed the centers’ failure to properly contain cases, handle testing, and disseminate information to detainees about virus prevention. However, cases have continuously risen in detention centers, and particularly in those located in the southwestern region.

An NBC News report found that by late May, cases had risen sharply in detention centers nationwide, including those located near Haskell and Pearsall, Texas. Frio County, in which Pearsall is located, reported that 90% of its documented COVID-19 cases were diagnosed in immigrants held in detention centers.

Castro made note of the fact that the White House has not issued guidance that requires ICE to properly test staff members and detainees for COVID-19. Moreover, Castro told reporters that just one detention center possesses a testing machine and, as a result, shares this machine with other centers.

ICE has not acknowledged the troubling findings regarding its testing capacity or conditions in detention centers. It also has not addressed calls to release migrants to reduce potential outbreaks. As of Monday, ICE reasserted the fact that it tests individuals on a “case-by-case basis,” and claimed that “the agency’s top priority is to provide the health, welfare, and safety of the residents and detainees in custody.”

Sources: Texas Tribune 6/22/2020; Center for Disease Control and Prevention 6/22/2020; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 5/21/2020; CNBC 6/22/2020; New York Times 4/2/2020; NBC News 5/31/2020

Quaker Oats to Retire 130-Year-Old Aunt Jemima Brand Name and Image

Following nearly a month of protests against police brutality and renewed discussions about the United States’ centuries-long history of discrimination towards Black Americans, Quaker Oats announced on Wednesday that it would retire the name and image associated with its Aunt Jemima syrup and pancake mix. Quaker Oats released a statement calling attention to the racial stereotypes invoked by the Aunt Jemima logo and the brand’s marketing strategies, and vowed to rebrand these products by the fall of 2020.

The Aunt Jemima brand debuted in 1889, and its logo, Aunt Jemima, serves as what critics including Riché Richardson have referred to as an “outgrowth of Old South plantation nostalgia and romance grounded in an idea about the mammy.” The brand’s name was inspired by the minstrel song “Old Aunt Jemima,” which was performed by white actors who wore blackface and ridiculed Black Americans. According to Richardson, the term “mammy” refers to a “a devoted and submissive servant who eagerly nurtured the children of her white master.”

Although the Aunt Jemima brand name emerged in the nineteenth century, according to Quaker Oats, the image associated with the brand first appeared in the 1920s, when Nancy Green and other Black women were depicted on products’ packaging and in ads. Largely viewed as a “symbol of slavery,” the Aunt Jemima image was altered multiple times during the twentieth century. Some of these redesigns included adding pearl earrings and a lace collar to the brand’s logo.

Earlier in the week, the singer Kirby released a video on TikTok that was widely spread on social media. The video was titled “How to Make A Non Racist Breakfast,” and featured Kirby criticizing the Aunt Jemima brand before dumping its pancake mix down the drain. This is not the first time the brand received criticism. In 2014, surviving relatives of Anna Harrington, a Black woman featured on the Aunt Jemima packaging in the early twentieth century, sued Quaker Oats for Harrington’s royalties. The case was dismissed. In 2015, Cornell University professor Riché Richardson wrote an opinion piece for The New York Times, wherein she expressed that images and commercial linked to Southern racism like Aunt Jemima should meet the same criticism that Confederate flags do.

Quaker Oats released a statement on Wednesday acknowledging that the origins of the brand’s imagery “are based on a racial stereotype” and pledging to “work to make progress toward racial equality.” Beyond retiring its brand’s name and logo, Quaker Oats pledged to donate five million dollars to support the Black community over the next five years.

Sources: NBC News 6/17/20; CNN Business 6/17/20; New York Times 6/17/20, 6/24/15; Rolling Stone 6/17/20; Huffington Post 6/17/20

#ShareTheMicNow Campaign Amplifies Black Women’s Voices on Social Media

On Tuesday, the #ShareTheMicNow campaign garnered national attention as it spread across social media platforms. The social media campaign was organized by Black women including Bozoma Saint John, Luvvie Ajayi Jones, Glennon Doyle, and Stacey Bendet in light of recent protests against police brutality that disproportionately targets Black Americans. According to the organizers, the aim of #ShareTheMicNow was to “magnify Black women’s lives and stories.”

The outcome of the social media campaign was that 46 Black women—including activists, entrepreneurs, authors, and celebrities—spent the day taking over the social media accounts belonging to 46 prominent White women. The organizers of #ShareTheMicNow estimated that these social media takeovers reached an audience of approximately 300 million on Instagram.

Black women like Tarana Burke, Brittney Cooper, Alexis McGill Johnson, and Zerlina Maxwell, among others, were given platforms to speak about the issues that frequently go unnoticed and undiscussed by major media outlets and celebrities. Recent events have proven again that many of these issues disproportionately affect Black communities and Black women.

Johnson, who took over Senator Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) Instagram account, discussed the “over policing of black bodies” in workplaces, schools, public institutions, and the healthcare system. Meanwhile, Cooper took over author Elizabeth Gilbert’s account and called attention to the importance of considering intersectionality in conversations about feminism. Cooper wrote, “White women and Black women don’t experience womanhood the same.”

In their mission statement, the organizers of #ShareTheMicNow said, “When the world listens to women, it listens to white women.” Historically, social movements, including the women’s movement, and other social and professional spaces have been criticized for not fostering intersectionality and instead treating women as monolithic. As certain spaces have begun to amplify white women’s voices, in many cases, Black women’s voices have been muted and ignored.

Given the ways in which issues of systemic racism uniquely impact Black communities, including healthcare and police brutality, organizations and individuals have faced added pressure to foster diversity and inclusivity. In drawing attention to intersectionality, the #SharetheMicNow campaign reasserted that achieving justice requires adequately addressing the ways in which Black women remain marginalized because of both their race and gender.

Sources: The Hollywood Reporter 6/9/20; Today 6/10/20; Elle 6/9/20; Los Angeles Times 6/10/20

Utah’s “I Voted” Stickers Honor Women’s Suffrage

The state of Utah will be celebrating its historic commitment to women’s suffrage as well as the centennial of the 19th Amendment by distributing unique “I Voted” stickers during 2020 primary and general elections. Because 2020 marks 150 years since Utah’s equal suffrage law as well as 100 years since Congress ratified the 19th Amendment, Utah’s Office of Elections has partnered with the Utah-based nonprofit Better Days 2020 to produce and distribute these creative stickers.

 

Choosing designs from an assortment of submissions made by local artists, Better Days 2020 and the Office of Elections plan to distribute four different types of “I Voted” stickers that include phrases and images referencing women’s suffrage, as well as significant dates related to women’s suffrage. Neylan McBaine, who heads Better Days 2020, expressed confidence that issuing such symbolic stickers will “remind us of the sacrifice (our foremothers) made so women could have a voice in the way we are governed.”

 

Before the passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment by the United States Congress, Utah was one of a few states leading the nation in efforts to grant women the right to vote. In 1870, the state granted its female residents the right to vote through the passage of the Woman Suffrage Bill. Within days of this bill passing the state’s legislature and being signed by the governor of Utah, women in Utah became the first to cast votes.

 

All women in Utah were disenfranchised from 1871 until 1887 after the efforts of anti-polygamist lobbyists succeeded. However, with the growing presence of statewide organizing efforts and Utah being granted statehood, women were re-enfranchised. In 1920, the 19th Amendment was ratified, extending women’s suffrage nationally. In spite of this historic amendment, many women remained disenfranchised because of their race and citizenship.

 

Although the coronavirus pandemic has compromised states’ abilities to hold in-person elections this summer and fall, Utah’s Office of Elections plans to offer its unique “I Voted Stickers” to those who vote by mail or opt to vote at drive-through locations in the state’s June primary election and in the general election in November.

 

Sources: Utah Women’s History; ABC4 6/10/20; Better Days 2020; The Salt Lake Tribune 6/10/20

First Openly Transgender Official Wins City Council Seat in West Virginia

Tuesday was Election Day in West Virginia and Rosemary Ketchum, a community organizer and activist, was among those elected to office. Ketchum will represent Wheeling, West Virginia’s Third Ward in the Wheeling City Council and has made history by becoming West Virginia’s first openly transgender elected official.

Ketchum announced her candidacy for Wheeling City Council last July, and was endorsed by the LGBTQ Victory Fund, a political action committee that seeks to enhance the representation of LGBTQ+ individuals in American politics. A resident of Wheeling, Ketchum graduated from Wheeling Jesuit University as a first generation college student in 2019. Since graduating, Ketchum has been a community organizer and works for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, serving as the associate director of the organization’s Wheeling, West Virginia branch. Ketchum also works with the Wheeling Human Rights Commission and serves on the board of directors for the ACLU of West Virginia.

When Ketchum announced her candidacy, she vowed to address issues that uniquely affect Wheeling, including homelessness and addiction, if elected. Recognizing the city’s potential as well as the issues that may inhibit progress, as a candidate, Ketchum expressed her commitment to working alongside community members to achieve positive change.

Ketchum is an openly transgender woman and will be the first openly transgender person elected to public office in West Virginia. Among elected officials in the state, just four identify as being LGBTQ+. Moreover, according to the LGBTQ Victory Fund, there are currently just 26 other openly transgender elected officials nationwide.

As a candidate, Ketchum acknowledged the historic nature of her run and potential victory, but suggested that while her gender identity is one trait that shapes her perspective and priorities, it is not the only strength she will bring to West Virginia politics. In 2019, Ketchum told reporters, “I feel excited to represent inclusivity — but I’m not making my campaign about my gender identity or anything like that.”

Others, including Annise Parker, the president of the LGBTQ Victory Fund, have also spoken about the symbolic significance of Ketchum’s candidacy and victory. Parker said, “Trans people are severely underrepresented in elected office … so Rosemary’s victory will resonate well beyond her state. We know Rosemary’s race will inspire other trans people … to consider a run for office in their communities.”

Ketchum defeated three other candidates, including Peggy Niebergall, Jerome Henry, and Erik Maple, and will begin her term on the Wheeling City Council on July 1, 2020.

Sources: The Intelligencer 6/9/20, 7/13/19, 6/10/20; Huffington Post 6/10/20; LGBTQ Victory Fund 6/10/20; Ketchum for Council

Historic Wins for Women of Color Down the Ballot

On Tuesday, nine states and the District of Columbia held primary elections. These elections resulted in historic gains for women, particularly for women of color. In spite of current circumstances, including the COVID-19 pandemic and nationwide protests, voter turnout was impressive and women candidates of color prevailed in primaries for Congress, state legislatures, and local government. Although these candidates will face competitive elections in November, the success of diverse candidates suggests that widespread unrest has enhanced civic engagement and political participation.

 In New Mexico, voter turnout increased by 14 percent compared to the state’s 2016 primary. In a race for the state’s third Congressional district, Teresa Leger Fernandez won her primary and is expected to win in November as well. Fernandez’s win would result in the state having an all-female house delegation in 2021, comprised entirely of Hispanic and Native American women. If Fernandez wins in November and incumbent women retain their seats, New Mexico will send the greatest number of women and women of color to the United States Congress in January.

Iowa also made history on Tuesday. According to the Center for American Women and Politics, Tuesday’s primary determined that the majority of congressional nominees in Iowa will be women. In two of the four races for the House of Representatives and in the race for the United States Senate, all candidates will be women in November. The presence of so many women candidates is particularly significant given the fact that Iowa elected its first woman to the Senate in 2014 and its first women to the House of Representatives in 2018. Voter turnout in Iowa increased by 35 percent compared to the 2016 primary.

In Indiana, Christina Hale became her congressional district’s Democratic nominee, and if successful, will be the state’s first Latina congresswoman. Meanwhile, Paulette Jordan, a Native American woman, won a Democratic primary for the United States Senate in Idaho; if successful, Jordan will be the first Native American statewide elected official since 1980. In Ferguson, Missouri, Ella Jones became the city’s first female and first African American mayor.

With the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affecting communities of color and women, and with ongoing discussions about the effects of police brutality on black women and girls, calls for the enhanced political representation of marginalized communities have grown in recent days. The results of Tuesday’s primary elections suggest that the coming November election has the potential to elect more diverse legislatures at all levels of government. Moreover, these results suggest that the momentum surrounding women candidates seen in 2018 will persist in 2020.

 

Sources: New York Times 6/2/20, 6/3/20; Center for American Women and Politics, 6/3/20; PBS New Hour, 6/3/20; Vox, 6/3/20; Time, 6/3/20, 6/4/20; Society for Women’s Health Research, 4/30/20

First Female African American Mayor Elected in Ferguson

On Tuesday night, Ella Jones, 65, was elected to serve as Ferguson, Missouri’s next mayor. A former city councilwoman, Jones will become the first African American and first female mayor in the city’s history. Jones received 54 percent of the vote, and her opponent, councilwoman Heather Robinett, lost by 138 votes. Jones will succeed James Knowles III as the city’s mayor.

In 2014, Ferguson received widespread attention when Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year old, was shot and killed by a white police officer. Brown’s murder was accompanied by a series of protests in Ferguson. These protests put a spotlight on the Black Lives Matter movement and raised conversations about systematic racism and oppression in America.

Jones has been a resident of Ferguson for 40 years. According to the City of Ferguson, in her capacity as a councilwoman, Jones has represented issue-areas including human rights, traffic, landmarks, senior citizens, and parks. Beyond serving as an elected official, Jones also founded the nonprofit organization Community Forward and Ferguson’s annual UNITY Weekend. Both are endeavors meant to support community development and provide services to families.

During her mayoral campaign, Jones prioritized issues including public safety, youth engagement, neighborhood stabilization, and community engagement. Particularly since the murder of Michael Brown, Jones has expressed criticism regarding the city’s law enforcement. In her campaign, Jones prioritized sustaining efforts to reform the police.

As she becomes the city’s first black female mayor, Jones has acknowledged the historic implications of her presence and victory as a candidate. On Tuesday night, Jones told reporters that her victory “means I’ve got work to do, because when you’re an African-American woman, they require more of you than they require of my counterpart.” When Jones unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 2017, she also acknowledged the ways in which her race and gender presented challenges and shaped voters’ perceptions of her candidacy.

As the nation faces the COVID-19 pandemic as well as protests about police brutality against Black Americans, black female mayors of major American cities are receiving widespread recognition for their leadership. Jones’ victory coincides with national conversations about these events and leadership during times of crisis.

Sources: New York Times 6/3/20, 8/10/15; NPR, 6/3/20; City of Ferguson; Ella Jones for Mayor, 2019; Elle, 6/3/20; L.A. Times, 6/2/20

Action on DACA Will Shape the Immigration Status of Essential Workers

Approximately 62,000 beneficiaries of the Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program are healthcare workers constituting the frontlines of the United States’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The immigration status of these frontline workers, including thousands of women, will be in jeopardy when the Supreme Court reaches a decision regarding the Trump administration’s 2017 decision to end the program.

The DACA program was implemented under the Obama administration with the intention of offering protection from deportation to immigrants brought to the United States as minors. This program also provided individuals with the authorization to work lawfully in the United States. In 2017, the Trump administration announced its decision to terminate the DACA program, which was challenged by judges in states like New York and California. Although the program is not taking new applicants, past beneficiaries of DACA are currently able to apply to receive benefits for an additional two years.

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments about the rescission of the DACA program in November 2019 and is expected to reach its decision about the future of the program in June 2020. This decision will coincide with the COVID-19 pandemic, which has now infected nearly two million Americans and killed over 100,000. The Supreme Court’s decision is expected to have serious implications, as nearly 62,000 DACA recipients constitute America’s frontline healthcare workers and the nation faces a shortage of healthcare workers.

According to a 2020 study by New American Economy, 16.5 percent of all healthcare workers in the United States are immigrants. Additionally, while 62,000 DACA-eligible individuals are essential healthcare workers, an estimated 480,000 are essential non-healthcare workers; together, this amounts to over 500,000 total essential workers.

Women comprise a majority of healthcare workers in the United States, as well as a significant portion of the immigrants who are healthcare workers. The Center for Economic and Policy Research found that in 2020, 76.8 percent of healthcare professionals are women. Moreover, New American Economy found that in the age of COVID-19, approximately one in eight registered nurses are immigrant women, one in five are personal care aides, and one in five are home health aides.

Unless the United States Congress takes legislative action in a timely manner, immigrants authorized to lawfully work in the United States, including thousands of women, will lose such protection and may be deported if the Supreme Court sides with the Trump administration. As the nation continues to witness thousands of illnesses and deaths daily, the loss of essential healthcare workers is likely to be detrimental to efforts to reopen the economy and respond adequately to the crisis.

Media Resources: The Hill 5/29/20; National Immigration Law Center 5/13/20; Washington Post 11/12/19; American Immigrational Council 9/3/19; New York Times 6/1/20; New American Economy 5/14/20, 5/28/20; Center for Economic and Policy Research 4/20

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