Welcome to a Tuesday edition of Progressives Everywhere!
The big headlines out of Washington involve a religious doctor who believes having that sex with demons give women cysts and alien DNA is used in many medical treatments, an attorney general who may be a demon with alien DNA, and Democratic leaders being terrible negotiators yet again.
I was going to leave it at that, but then this tweet happened and I just have to share it:
OK, now that we got that out of the way, let’s look at the news everywhere else!
Elections (and Future Elections) and Voting Rights
It was clear from reports throughout Georgia during its catastrophic primary election day last month that it was the Black community that suffered the most from the dysfunction. Now, the numbers released by the Secretary of State’s office confirm that once again, Black voters were disenfranchised at a higher rate:
Black voters bore the brunt of long lines and late closings in overcrowded, understaffed and poorly equipped polling places. Only 61% of majority Black precincts closed on time compared with 80% of mostly white precincts, the AJC’s analysis found.
Majority Black polling places with significant turnout — more than 400 voters — closed an average of 49 minutes later than smaller precincts, according to the AJC’s analysis. By comparison, similar locations with mostly white voters closed just four minutes later.
Because absentee ballots will be more limited in the general election, election officials expect in-person turnout to be three times higher in November than it was during the primary. Training poll workers on the crappy new voting machines — and getting those machines to precincts in time — will be essential.
Then again, absentee ballots may not be quite as limited in Georgia this fall now that Cobb County will likely send out applications to every registered voter in the jurisdiction. Cobb is the third biggest county in the state and encompasses much of the Atlanta suburbs, which have been trending blue and making Georgia a swing state.
In North Carolina, where there is no-excuse absentee voting, applications are through the roof — and just like in Florida, President Trump’s long rampaging campaign against vote-by-mail is causing some real problems:
The North Carolina Republican Party sent out a flyer to potential voters with two blank request forms for an absentee by mail ballot—an effort a spokesperson for the party said was to educate potential voters who their data analysts identified are likely to vote by mail.
Included on the mailer was an image of a Tweet from President Donald Trump about absentee by mail voting, and instructions on how to fill out and return the request form to be sent an absentee ballot. Some who received the flyer said this confused them, because they understood the President to be against the mechanism of absentee voting, given certain public statements.
And again, just as is happening in Florida, where Democrats have already built a huge advantage in vote-by-mail registration, the party is dominating absentee requests in North Carolina. This thread offers a lot of different metrics, but I’ll highlight this:
I feel like I sound like a broken record, but it bears repeating yet again that just because someone submits an absentee ballot, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be counted. In my home district, NY-12, news broke today that a whopping 12,000 absentee ballots were thrown out by the Board of Elections — a full quarter of the ballots sent in for the congressional primary.
With the top two candidates in the primary, long-time Rep. Carolyn Maloney and young challenger Suraj Patel, separated by just 4%, the thrown out ballots could make all the difference, especially because absentee ballots have overwhelmingly favored the younger candidate.
COVID-19 and Related Drama
Staying in New York, we’re seeing some of the most beloved small businesses in the city succumbing to the COVID-19 depression and closing for good. Some of these places have been around for decades and decades and are institutions that felt as permanently fixed on the map as the Empire State Building.
In Texas, meanwhile, psychopath indicted Attorney General Ken Paxton is doing everything he can to force children and teachers into viral petri dishes next month:
Local health officials do not have the authority to shut down all schools in their vicinity while COVID-19 cases rise, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in nonbinding guidance Tuesday that contradicts what the Texas Education Agency has told school officials.
Shortly after Paxton's announcement, the Texas Education Agency updated its guidance to say it will not fund school districts that keep classrooms closed because of a local health mandate, citing the attorney general's letter. Districts can receive state funding if they obtain TEA's permission to stay closed, as allowed for up to eight weeks with some restrictions.
The change represents an about-face for the agency, which previously said it would fund districts that remained closed under a mandate. It will impact schools in at least 16 local authorities, many in the most populous counties, that have issued school closure mandates in the past month.
As we get closer and closer to these reopenings, teachers are beginning to weigh in more forcefully against project of mass reckless endangerment that Republican lawmakers are seemingly bent on pursuing. Today, the American Federation of Teachers, the nation’s largest teacher’s union, announced that it would authorize a strike if deemed necessary.
At least departments of health in Arizona are being rational about not sending people into school.
Meanwhile, in Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp has withdrawn his request for an emergency injunction against city and counties’ mask mandates, but his lawsuit is still in progress.
Labor and Workers’ Rights
Yesterday, before the Republicans released the pathetic stimulus plan that is already cracking their caucus, I tweeted this:
Today, Bloomberg released a study that the GOP talking point I was deconstructing is a pile of trash, anyway — people don’t avoid going back to work for a limited time boost to unemployment benefits.
What is going unsaid is that if the people who ran the federal government actually cared about humanity, they would give people such large benefits that they would stay home from work for a time, since that’s the only way to really beat the virus with any expediency.
I don’t know if it’ll do much to stop the GOP rampage before election day, but this was at least fun to watch:
Protestors are now being abducted off the street by plainclothes NYPD officers. We’ve spend so many years being told that the US is such shining beacon of democracy and goodness that even as the most obvious signs of fascism sweep across the country and the sort of injustices that would draw UN peacekeepers happen here and barely register as trending topics on Twitter, we seem to be in denial about what’s really happening. Sadly, an objective press will never fully call it out — it has to be done in innuendo.
I truly love sports but honestly, they shouldn’t be playing in the United States right now. This isn’t going to end well.