Friday, February 24, 2017

Baltimore ActivistAlert - February 24 - March 3, 2017

44] Protest Trump and Pence – Feb. 24
45] What’s up with Taiwan-China & the U.S.? – Feb. 24
46] Peace vigil at White House – Feb. 24
47] WIB peace vigil – Feb. 24
48] Occupation Law at 60 -- Feb. 24
49] Protect water users – Feb. 24
50] Our Revolution events – Feb. 24
51] Black Lives Matter vigil -- Feb. 24
52] Ballroom Dancing Feb. 24
53] West Chester peace vigil – Feb. 25
55] Support immigrants -- Feb. 25
56] Rally in Gaithersburg – Feb. 25
57] Active Bystander Training – Feb. 25
58] Case for Reparations – Feb. 25
59] Film SHADOWS OF LIBERTY – Mar. 3
61] Support the Wheeler family who lost their time in a fire
62] Sign up with Washington Peace Center
63] Donate books, videos, DVDs and records
64] Do you need any book shelves?
65] Join the Global Zero campaign
66] Join the Peace Park Antinuclear Vigil
44] – Hosted by Prince George's County Young Democrats on Fri., Feb. 24 from 9 to 11 AM at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, 201 Waterfront St., Oxon Hill 20745, protest Trump and Mike Pence. They are making their first visit to Prince George's County to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference.  A new study released by the Economic Policy Institute shows how Donald Trump’s executive order and the Republican parties’ quest to repeal the Affordable Care Act which will directly impact Prince George's County. Data shows the number of Maryland residents without insurance will increase by 123%, an estimated 475,000 would lose their health insurance, and Maryland would lose $2.3 billion in federal health care dollars. Join PGCYD, CASA de Maryland, Prince George's NAACP, SEIU Local 500 and many other organizations will make their voices heard! Contact Director of Organizing and Resistance Jessica Semachko at (443) 980-9148 or

45] – Attend a panel discussion Taiwan-China-U.S. Relations: Managing the Triangle on Fri., Feb. 24 from 10 to 11:30 AM at the Stimson Center, 1211 Connecticut Ave. NW, 8th Floor, WDC 20036.RSVP at

46] – On Fri., Feb. 24 from noon to 1 PM, join the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker in a vigil urging the powers that be to abolish war and torture, to disarm all weapons, to end indefinite detention, to close Guantanamo, to establish justice for all and help create the Beloved Community! This vigil will take place at the White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Contract Art @ or at 202-360-6416. 

47] – On Fri., Feb. 24 from noon to 1 PM, join a Women in Black peace vigil. A vigil will take place in McKeldin Square at the corner of Light and Pratt Sts. Stay for as long as you can. Wear black. Dress for who knows what kind of weather. Bring your own poster or help with the "NO WAR IN MY NAME" banner.  When there are others to stand with, you don't need to carry the burden alone. Do this to be in solidarity with others....when everything around us says “Be afraid of the stranger.” Carpool and parking available. Just send an email that you need a ride [].  Peace signs will be available. 

48] – Occupation Law at 60: How it Failed to Regulate Israel’s Occupation but Enabled it to Take the Land without the People is the topic of discussion at The Palestine Center, 2425 Virginia Ave. NW, WDC, on Fri., Feb. 24 from 12:30 to 2 PM.  This lecture will explore how Israel deployed occupation law and Security Council Resolution 242 to fulfill its territorial ambitions in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Following the June 1967 War, it developed a legal argument that the Palestinian territories constituted a sovereign void and therefore could not be occupied as a matter of law. However, Israel did not want to annex the territories, as it did Jerusalem in July 1967, because it would have had to absorb the territories’ Palestinian population thereby disrupting its Jewish demographic majority. To get around this, it applied the humanitarian provisions of occupation law on an ad-hoc basis to incrementally take the land under the veneer of military exigencies even as it defiantly established permanent Israeli civilian settlements. Israel then used another legal argument to retroactively legitimate its takings. It emphasized the absence of a definitive article before the words “territories occupied” in the Resolution 242 to claim that while the UN Security Council mandated the exchange of Arab territories for peace with Israel’s Arab neighbors, it did not specify the exact scope of those territories leaving it to the discretion of the negotiating parties. Sixty years later, in 2017, viable negotiations remain elusive and Israel’s current government has proposed annexing sixty-two percent of the West Bank where it has entrenched its settlement enterprise.

Noura Erakat is a human rights attorney, activist, and an Assistant Professor at George Mason University. She is a Co-Founding Editor of Jadaliyya, an ezine on the Middle East, an Editorial Committee member of the Journal of Palestine Studies, as well as a Co-Founding Board Member of the DC Palestinian Film and Arts Festival. RSPV

49] – Water Service – Water Affordability Program/(HB 918 focuses on whether consumers can pay for water service. Households at lower income levels must devote a greater percentage of their income to utilities than households at higher income levels. HB 918 creates programs that would be available to some Maryland property owners and ensures that water bills for residential customers living near the poverty level have an affordable water rate. There is a hearing on Fri., Feb.  24 at 1 PM in the Environment and Transportation Committee. Contact Delegate Mary Washington at 410-841-3476 or

50] – All across the country, people are speaking out not only to keep the Affordable Care Act, but to expand it. At a time when millions of Americans do not have health care, we should be working to expand coverage and move towards a Medicare for All system, not throw millions off of the health insurance they currently have. The Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act would be devastating - 30 million Americans thrown off health insurance, with many more denied care for pre-existing conditions and unable to afford their premiums and prescription drugs. In the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, we must understand that health care is a right, not a privilege. RSVP at

On Fri., Feb. 24 at 2 PM, the Frederick Co. Dems will meet at the Frederick Food Bank, 14 East All Saints St., Frederick 21701. 

On Fri., Feb 24 at 7 PM, the Baltimore Resistance Monthly Meeting will take place at Red Emma's, 30 W. North Ave., Baltimore 21210.

Will you join a rally to defend health care as a right in your community? Come to a Healthcare Action on Sat., Feb 25 at noon in the Rayburn House Office Building, 50 Independence Ave. SW, WDC 20515.  RSVP at All across the country, people are speaking out not only to keep the Affordable Care Act, but to expand it. At a time when millions of Americans do not have health care, we should be working to expand coverage and move towards a Medicare for All system, not throw millions off of the health insurance they currently have. The Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act would be devastating - 30 million Americans thrown off health insurance, with many more denied care for pre-existing conditions and unable to afford their premiums and prescription drugs. In the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, we must understand that health care is a right, not a privilege.

 On Sat., Feb 25 at 2 PM, join a Maryland Health Professional & Patient Protest. At Gov. Hogan's office, Lawyers Mall, Bladen St., Annapolis 21401. RSVP at All across the country, people are speaking out not only to keep the Affordable Care Act, but to expand it. At a time when millions of Americans do not have health care, we should be working to expand coverage and move towards a Medicare for All system, not throw millions off of the health insurance they currently have. The Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act would be devastating - 30 million Americans thrown off health insurance, with many more denied care for pre-existing conditions and unable to afford their premiums and prescription drugs. In the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, we must understand that health care is a right, not a privilege.

On Sat., Feb. 25 at 3 PM, Stand with Refugees and Immigrants, Build Bridges Not Walls at the White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., WDC 20500. 

51] – There is usually a silent vigil on Fridays, from 5 to 6 PM, sponsored by Homewood Friends Meeting, outside the Homewood Friends Meetinghouse, 3107 N. Charles St.  The next scheduled vigil is on Feb. 24. Black Lives Matter.

52] – There is an opportunity to participate in ballroom dancing, usually every Friday of the month, in the JHU ROTC Bldg. at  8 PM.  Turn south on San Martin Dr. from the intersection of Univ. Parkway and 39th St.  Drive on campus by taking the third left turn. The next dance will be Feb. 24. Call Dave Greene at 410-599-3725.

53] – Each Saturday, 11 AM – 1 PM, Chester County Peace Movement holds a peace vigil in West Chester in front of the Chester County Courthouse, High & Market Sts. Go to Email

54] –  The annual Oblate Sisters of Providence Dinner is happening on Sat., Feb. 25 from 11 AM to 3 PM at St. Frances Academy Community Center, 501 E. Chase St. Baltimore. The OSP Annual Chicken Dinner will be Saturday February 25 from 11am - 3pm at the SFA Community Center. Tickets are still $10. Call 410.536.5687 or 410.539.1903.

55] –  Bmore Together Unites for the Maryland Immigrant Rights Coalition on Sat., Feb. 25 at 11 AM and Sun., Feb. 26 at 1 PM at Points South Latin Kitchen, 1640 Thames St., Baltimore 21231. This is a fundraising event benefiting the Maryland Immigrant Rights Coalition. Tickets are $50, and this includes drink and a fully stocked brunch buffet.  This is an opportunity to be a part of an incredible social justice community uniting for an important cause. All proceeds of the event will benefit MIRC, an organization that maximizes resources in order to increase both availability AND quality of low cost legal representation for immigrants. Gather your friends and come enjoy an afternoon in support of a great cause...leave knowing we can all #bmoretogether! See

56] – Donald Trump and his Republican friends thought it was going to be easy. They would get to Washington and ram through their agenda, taking health care away from 30 million Americans, privatizing Medicare, and defunding Planned Parenthood while giving huge tax cuts to their millionaire and billionaire friends. Their plans have begun to unravel, but only because of the tremendous levels of grassroots actions we've witnessed -- town halls overflowing with constituents, rallies across the country, and of course the unprecedented outpouring of activism during the Women's March.  Come to a rally on Sat., Feb. 25 from 2 to 4 PM in Bohrer Park, 506 S. Frederick Rd, aka 355 by 355, far from the parking lot, Gaithersburg 20877. Call 301-337-6554. RSVP at

57] – Active Bystander Training will happen at 2111 Florida Ave. NW, WDC, on Sat., Feb. 25 from 2 to 5 PM.  Ever witnessed someone being harassed and wondered, "What can I do?" This training, hosted by the Friends Meeting of Washington, will teach you specific, concrete, nonviolent steps to take to protect the targeted person and stop the abuse. RSPV at

58] – On Sat., Feb. 25 at 6:30 PM at Red Emma's Bookstore Coffeehouse, 30 W. North Ave., Baltimore 21201, hear arguments in favor of reparations. In life and in death, slaves were commodities, their monetary value assigned based on their age, gender, health, and the demands of the market. “The Price for Their Pound of Flesh” is the first book to explore the economic value of enslaved people through every phase of their lives—including preconception, infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, the senior years, and death—in the early American domestic slave trade. So, “Should America Pay?” Hear a discussion with Dr. Daina Ramey Berry and Dr. Ray Winbush. Dr. Berry, author “The Price for Their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from Womb to Grave, in the Building of a Nation,” is Associate Professor of History and African and African Diaspora Studies, and the Oliver H. Radkey Regents Fellow in History, at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Berry is an award-winning historian and Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians. Dr. Winbush is Director of the Institute for Urban Research at Morgan State University and editor of “Should America Pay?: Slavery and the Raging Debate on Reparations” an in-depth volume of essays—containing voices of support for reparative measures as well as counterarguments—examining the controversial subject of the remittance of reparations to African Americans for slavery and related oppression.

With sensitivity and depth, Dr. Berry resurrects the voices of the enslaved and provides a rare window into enslaved peoples’ experiences and thoughts, revealing how they recalled and responded to being appraised, bartered, and sold throughout the course of their lives. Dr. Winbush will complement our understanding of this foundation of exploitation extant in the building of this nation with a look at the work that has already been done, and is being done, to further the case for reparations. Call 443-602-7585.  RSVP at

59] -- The Hiroshima-Nagasaki Commemoration Committee and Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility are continuing the FILM & SOCIAL CONSCIOUSNESS DVD SERIES.  The DVDs will be shown at Homewood Friends Meetinghouse, 3107 N. Charles St., Baltimore 21218, usually on the First Friday.  After the 5 PM Black Lives Matter vigil, there will be a potluck dinner. At 7:15 PM, from January through March, a DVD will be shown with a discussion to follow.  There is no charge, and refreshments will be available.  This series is named DOCUMENTARIES TO BOLSTER OUR RESOLVE IN THE TIME OF DONALD TRUMP.

On Mar. 3 see SHADOWS OF LIBERTY [United Kingdom, 2012], directed by Jean-Philippe Tremblay, which examines the impact of corporate media and concentration of media ownership on journalism and the news. It is based on the book “The Media Monopoly” by Ben Bagdikian. The film’s title is borrowed from a Thomas Paine quote: "When men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon." The film portrays mainstream media, as controlled by fewer and larger conglomerates that exercise extraordinary political, social and economic power. Enjoy interviews with Amy Goodman, Julian Assange, Chris Hedges, Daniel Ellsberg and others.  Call 410-323-1607 or email mobuszewski [at] for further information.   

60] – There is still room available from time to time at the CODEPINK activist house in DC. Perhaps you want to join the Women’s March on March 8, International Women’s Day? Or for the Scientists March on April 22 or the Climate March on April 29? Contact Paki,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          61] – Activists Joyce and Tim Wheeler now live in Sequim, Washington, but their son, Morgan and his family have lived in the Wheeler’s Baltimore home, 816 Beaumont Avenue for some time.  Tragically, at 3 AM on February 4, the home was burned beyond recognition.  Morgan was able to get his family out, but the house and its contents are totally destroyed.  Morgan's daughter, Erin, has created a Go Fund Me page which you can access below.  Anything you are able to contribute to support Morgan and his family would be greatly appreciated. Go to


Text Box:

62] -- The Washington Peace Center has a progressive calendar & activist alert! Consider signing up to receive its weekly email:

63] -- If you would like to get rid of books, videos, DVDs or records, contact Max at 410-323-1607 or mobuszewski at

64] -- Can you use any book shelves? Contact Max at 410-366-1637 or mobuszewski at

65] -- Join an extraordinary global campaign for the elimination of nuclear weapons: A growing group of leaders around the world is calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons and a majority of the global public agrees.  This is an historic window of opportunity.  With momentum already building in favor of Zero, a major show of support from people around the world could tip the balance. When it comes to nuclear weapons, one is one too many.

66] – A Peace Park Antinuclear Vigil takes place every day in Lafayette Park, 1601 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 24 hours a day, since June 3, 1981. Go to; call 202-682-4282.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

“One is called to live nonviolently, even if the change one works for seems impossible. It may or may not be possible to turn the US around through nonviolent revolution. But one thing favors such an attempt: the total inability of violence to change anything for the better" - Daniel Berrigan


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Email Dump Reveals EPA Chief Pruitt's Cozy Ties With Fossil Fuels Industry

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Email Dump Reveals EPA Chief Pruitt's Cozy Ties With Fossil Fuels Industry

"You are so amazingly helpful!!! Thank you so much!!!" Scott Pruitt's former chief of staff wrote to a fracking company VP in 2013
Despite calls for his confirmation vote to be delayed until the withheld emails could be reviewed, Scott Pruitt was approved and sworn in as EPA administrator last week. (Photo: Reuters)

    Thousands of pages of emails between newly confirmed EPA administrator Scott Pruitt and fossil fuel companies during his time as Oklahoma attorney general—released per court order on Tuesday night—confirm "a close and friendly relationship" between the man now charged with protecting the U.S. environment and entities seeking to hamper those efforts.

They show that Pruitt—who sued the EPA more than a dozen times as attorney general—"closely coordinated with major oil and gas producers, electric utilities, and political groups with ties to the libertarian billionaire brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch to roll back environmental regulations," according to the New York Times.

The Times continued:

The companies provided him draft letters to send to federal regulators in an attempt to block federal regulations intended to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas wells, ozone air pollution, and chemicals used in fracking, the email correspondence shows.

They held secret meetings to discuss more comprehensive ways to combat the Obama administration's environmental agenda, and the companies and organizations they funded repeatedly praised Mr. Pruitt and his staff for the assistance he provided in their campaign.

    Furthermore, reporter Steve Horn wrote for DeSmog Blog, "[t]he emails also shed new light on the relationship between Pruitt and the sphere of advocacy outfits and legal groups funded by Koch Industries' billionaires Charles and David Koch."

    One 2013 note from Matt Ball, an executive at the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity, to Pruitt and an Oklahoma congressman read in part: "Thank you to your respective bosses and all they are doing to push back against President [Barack] Obama's EPA and its axis with liberal environmental groups to increase energy costs for Oklahomans and American families across the states. You both work for true champions of freedom and liberty!"

The Koch brothers worked hard to get Pruitt confirmed.

All in all, "the newly released emails reveal a close and friendly relationship between Scott Pruitt's office and the fossil fuel industry, with frequent meetings, calls, dinners, and other events," said CMD director of research Nick Surgey.

CMD highlighted the following instances in a press statement:
·         The oil and gas lobby group American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) coordinated opposition in 2013 to both the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Program and ozone limits with Pruitt's office. While AFPM was making its own case against the RFS with the American Petroleum Institute, it provided Pruitt with a template language for an Oklahoma petition, noting "this argument is more credible coming from a State." Later that year, Pruitt did file opposition to both the RFS and ozone limits.
·         In a groundbreaking New York Times Pulitzer winning series in 2014, Eric Lipton exposed the close relationship between Devon Energy and Scott Pruitt, and highlighted examples where Devon Energy drafted letters that were sent by Pruitt under his own name. These new emails reveal more of the same close relationship with Devon Energy. In one email, Devon Energy helped draft language that was later sent by Pruitt to the EPA about the limiting of methane from oil and gas fracking.
·         In 2013, Devon Energy organized a meeting between Scott Pruitt, Leonard Leo of the Federalist Society, and coal industry lawyer Paul Seby to plan the creation of a "clearinghouse" that would "assist AGs in addressing federalism issues." Melissa Houston, then Pruitt's chief of staff, emailed Devon Energy saying "this will be an amazing resource for the AGs and for industry."
"You are so amazingly helpful!!! Thank you so much!!!" Houston wrote in a 2013 email to Devon Energy's vice president for public affairs.
Groups and Democratic senators had called for Pruitt's confirmation vote to be delayed until the emails could be reviewed, but the GOP-led Senate pushed ahead anyway. On Wednesday, CMD general counsel Arn Pearson said the belated release of the documents was orchestrated so their contents would "evade public scrutiny."

   "There is no valid legal justification for the emails we received last night not being released prior to Pruitt's confirmation vote other than to evade public scrutiny," Pearson said. "There are hundreds of emails between the AG's office, Devon Energy, and other polluters that senators should have been permitted to review prior to their vote to assess Pruitt's ties to the fossil fuel industry."

   More emails are coming next week, as Judge Aletia Haynes Timmons ordered the Oklahoma AG's office to turn over an undetermined number of documents responsive to CMD's five additional open records requests outstanding between November 2015 and August 2016 by Monday.

People are tweeting about the document dump under the hashtag #pruittemails:

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Obama Pollster Dishes on the Failures that Led to President Trump

Published on Alternet (

Obama Pollster Dishes on the Failures that Led to President Trump

By Chauncey DeVega [1] / Salon [2]
February 20, 2017

The Democratic Party is continuing its postmortem after Hillary Clinton’s unexpected defeat. Many challenges and puzzles will need to be resolved. Demographic trends suggested that Clinton should have easily defeated Donald Trump. She won the popular vote by a margin of close to 3 million. But the geographic dispersal of those votes, in combination with the Electoral College, have put Trump in the White House.
Some have suggested that Democrats should abandon “identity politics” and focus exclusively on winning back white working-class voters [3]. While Barack Obama won two terms — and left office as one of the country’s most popular presidents in recent memory — he also faced a backlash by white voters and increasing levels of racism that Trump used to win the 2016 election.
In many ways, the Democratic Party is fighting a war for its soul and future, even while struggling to oppose Trump and the Republican Party’s efforts to reverse 80 years of American progress since Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal.
Salon recently spoke with Cornell Belcher [4], one of the leading pollsters for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008 and 2012, to answer these questions. Belcher also served as pollster for the Democratic National Committee under former chair Howard Dean. He is the author of a new book, “A Black Man in the White House: Barack Obama and the Triggering of America’s Racial-Aversion Crisis,” and a frequent commentator on MSNBC, CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post and other media outlets.
My conversation with Belcher has been edited for length and clarity. A longer version of this conversation can also be heard on my podcast [5], which is available on Salon’s “featured audio” [6] page.

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day who’s a science fiction writer. He told me he could not have written a story with a plot similar to what happened with the election of Donald Trump and gotten it published.

  No. It would be absurd. None of this would be possible without the backlash to the election of Barack Obama. Ten years ago, 15 years ago, Donald Trump could not have won a Republican primary; he could not have won the nomination. Donald Trump is just a reincarnation of George Wallace. But all of a sudden the demographic changes that are happening in this world brings the wolf to the door.

We have the data and polling information. How did people get this all wrong?

Well, I think the narrative was wrong. The public polling actually was in fact more accurate this year than it was in 2012. They were a lot closer to what the race was this year than they were in 2012 when I was on the Obama campaign looking at the public polling. Very few of the public pollsters actually had Obama at 51 percent there at the end.
The narrative was, we want to believe this was a two-person race. Hillary always had a big advantage there. But she also generally had an advantage in the four-person race [including Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein]. But understand, in the four-person race Hillary Clinton was never nationally over 47 percent. She was always in fact around 48 or 47, and in the end that’s where she landed. When you look at this race as a four-person race and then see college-educated white voters in fact breaking back to the party that they tend to vote for, the national polling actually completely nailed where this race was.

Was Trump’s victory just a “black swan effect,” where he won because of the Electoral College and the distribution of Republican voters? Moreover, looking at the data this “white working-class anxiety” thesis is largely incorrect. Trump won among all groups of white voters, but the news media is obsessed with that narrative and couldn’t let it go.

Well, they’re still not letting it go. Democrats haven’t won white voters since [Lyndon] Johnson signed civil rights legislation and realigned the parties.

Where did Hillary Clinton go wrong? This electorate was actually a browner electorate in 2016 than the electorate that we had in 2012. That should have boded well for her. I got into it a couple of times in the convention with some of my colleagues who would argue that she doesn’t have to hold the Obama coalition as tight because she is certainly going to do better among white women. In the end, she didn’t do better among white women.

Race trumps gender, even with a serial misogynist who is a confessed abuser of women.

Race trumps gender in this country.

There’s a really interesting data point that I kept going back to — and I’m sure you have been meditating on it as well. In 2008 there is this “post-racial” narrative about Barack Obama’s election. But if you look at the data, you see that racial animus actually cost Obama between 5 and 8 percent of the vote.

No, I disagree. Even going back before the election in 2008, racial attitudes were having a profound effect on voting. The difference was that while there was a negative racial effect, there was also a positive racial effect. The positive racial effect was pushing just as hard as the negative racial effect. But you had, at this point, more people on the positive racial effect side because of how diverse the electorate was. If Barack Obama does not “over-index” among black and brown people, he is John Kerry.

Demographics are destiny. What happens to a centrist Democrat quite frankly who can’t hold that Obama coalition? Donald Trump is a president who did not win a plurality of the public. In fact, one of my reports was leaked to the New York Times, saying that millennials were rejecting the binary choice of the lesser of two evils.
When you look at the exit data, you have 8 or 9 percent of younger African-Americans voting third-party. You have 6 or 7 percent of younger Latinos voting third-party. Hillary is almost off Barack Obama’s winning margins by the same percentage of our young people voting third party. So that’s how [Trump] squeaked in.
Again, Trump didn’t expand the Republican tent. He didn’t bring in all these millions upon millions of new Republican voters. This was about Democrats losing, more so than Trump remaking the electorate and winning in some sort of profound and new way. It should not have been a winning percentage, right?

How big a variable was voter suppression in terms of Donald Trump’s victory? Underestimated? Overestimated?

  When you look at places like North Carolina — and, let’s be clear, this is not my language, this is the courts’ language — what the Republican legislation was trying to do was in fact stop black people from voting. When you have state legislative bodies working actively to get in the way of black people voting, it’s going to impact it. Not only in North Carolina; go and look at Wisconsin. There’s a lot of folks in Wisconsin saying that just with the number of people who got disenfranchised from the new voting laws there who tried to vote, Hillary Clinton [would have won] Wisconsin. What these Republican legislative bodies are doing is to disenfranchise people. Two points here, three points there — it absolutely makes a difference in these battleground states.

In terms of thinking about this white working-class obsession that has possessed too many Democrats, how do you reach those voters? Is it just a fool’s errand?

  This is the most ridiculous thing ever. There are not millions upon millions of Trump-Obama voters. This is a story that is in search of factual evidence.

They’re reasoning backwards.

  Right. When you look at why Trump won, it wasn’t because Trump over-indexed. It was because we under-indexed. When you look at battleground state after battleground state, Hillary was off Obama’s margins by five or six points and Trump was, at best, one or two points up in Michigan or Wisconsin or Florida. Again, it wasn’t like he was four, five points better than Mitt Romney. It was that she was five or six points below what Barack Obama did.

So if you are just thinking of cold business calculations, you have two marketplaces where you’re going to spend most of your resources. You have a shrinking and increasingly resistant marketplace and you have an expanding, growing, less resistant market place. Which is the best business decision?

Right. The growing market. The willing consumer.

Yes, we have to compete for every vote. But don’t tell me that we have to spend more of our time and resources chasing blue-collar white voters. Because when you look at who you gave the advertising dollars to and where your television was on broadcast television, that was in fact trying to move white voters, particularly white blue-collar voters.
We are not going to win more blue-collar white voters as long as they feel as though they are losing their country and the Republican Party is the group that’s going to help them.
When presidential candidate Donald Trump says, ” You know we are going to take back our country. Yes, we absolutely are going to take back our country, believe that,” he is having a racial conversation. Our response to that conversation can’t be, “We are going to raise your minimum wage.”

Why do you think that the Democrats are so bad in terms of their storytelling?

Progressives have a blind spot when it comes to race. They do. Conservatives and Republicans don’t have a blind spot when it comes to race. They understand the power of race and they use it. It is mind-boggling to me how tough it is for progressives to have a conversation about race without them wanting to make it a conversation about class and economics.

What do you think are some of the other incorrect lessons being learned right now by Democrats? Is it just the identity politics being framed as a canard, some type of anchor on the leg of Democratic candidates? Is it something else?

We’ve got to confront the unconscious “soft bigotry” that we also have among progressives. This conversation over the last couple of weeks has been startling to me because it’s almost like we have amnesia. Instead, we want to pretend as though it’s the 1980s again and we have to compete for a shrinking and more resistant electorate. You’ve got to shake up things, even within the progressive community and the Democratic Party, because what you are talking about is really empowering a new generation of people who don’t look like the past generations of progressives.

I was out the other evening and happened to listen in on a conversation with three young African-Americans who had to be in their early 20s and were talking about the election. The young brother to the left of me was saying, “Well, Hillary and Trump are the same thing. They are the same poison.” Then he said, “If anything, I like Trump more. Trump is honest. At least I know he is going to screw me over, whereas Hillary and the Clintons have been lying for years and I’m not going to vote for either of them.” Where do you think the failure in messaging is?

There was a disconnect, particularly among the younger voters who did in fact reject Hillary. When you look at the younger people who voted third-party, it’s not an issue correlation; it is an emotional correlation between them and their third-party voting. They were not feeling Hillary Clinton.

I did focus groups two weeks out from the election in Charlotte, North Carolina, with a group of young brothers and sisters who had voted for Barack Obama twice. Remember what was happening in Charlotte around that time, a lot of upheaval about what was going on with the police and the need for justice reform. Talking to those young folks, what is the No. 1 issue? The No. 1 issue, of course, is criminal justice reform. I showed them a platform for criminal justice reform. They responded that this is exactly what we need; this is exactly what we’ve been demanding. Who put this out? Is it this Black Lives Matter? No. This is Hillary Clinton’s platform. They had no idea.

They did know about the “super-predator” comments from the 1990s, though. 

They are not connecting into our traditional mainstream vehicles for moving communication. When Donald Trump, the day after the election, says, “I was more powerful on social media than Hillary Clinton was with those millions upon millions of dollars of television advertising,” he was right.

When you look at the studies after elections, you look at battleground states; Donald Trump was dominating social media in the battleground states at the close of the election, absolutely dominating them. It is absurd for Democrats to be spending 70 or 80 percent of their resources on television. Again, it’s not the 1980s or even the 1990s anymore. This amnesia that’s going on among some of the Democratic Party is going to spark an absolute disaster.

What lessons are Republicans going to learn from Donald Trump’s victory? Are they going to say run away from this or triple and quadruple down on his strategy?

It is tough for them, because now they can’t fight Trump and what he did. They have to go along with it. So they are doubling down on it and trying to go along with it. You can see the Republican brand growing more and more negative in the minds of voters — particularly those voters who are younger and will be the majority electorate in a decade or so.

Another possible lesson: They can also run toward it and continue to shrink the electorate and rely on voter demobilization and suppression.

   You can. It gets Republicans caught in this game and I think we also lose our democracy, because you have to try and disenfranchise more and more voters and shrink the electorate in order to be successful. This is how we lose democracy. When we are shrinking and giving less voice, then we can’t compete and win the future.
Our racial aversion is how our democracy ends because we can’t solve this. One of the things that W. E. B. DuBois said was, “The problem of the 20th century is the problem of the color line.” That is as true today as it was when he said it, and we still have not confronted or tried to solve for it.

What do you want readers to take away from your new book, “A Black Man in the White House”?

  I try to tell a story of how race has impacted politics. Of course it is data-driven, because I’ve been doing polling around racial-aversion issues over the course of this presidency, the Barack Obama presidency, and showing how that aversion and Donald Trump created a perfect storm. The point I’m trying to make in the new book is that it’s not about pointing a finger at that white blue-collar worker in middle America who has really seen his or her world change and is anxious about the future. It’s about us having a conversation about one America, and how we come together and compete as one America, and stop playing these racial games where we pit working-class whites against working-class blacks to the benefit of only the wealthy like Donald Trump and his Cabinet.

 Chauncey DeVega is a politics staff writer for Salon. His essays can also be found at [7]. He also hosts a weekly podcast, The Chauncey DeVega Show [8]. Chauncey can be followed on Twitter [9] and Facebook [10].


Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs