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In the next 100 years, women may dominate US politics – CNN

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We are seeing Sen. Kamala Harris take the stage as a vice presidential candidate: the first Black woman, the first South Asian woman, on a major party ticket. But we are also asking: What will it take for a woman to become President of the United States? In 1917, members of the National Woman’s Party picketed the White House, carrying banners that included the question: “Mr. President, How Long Must Women Wait For Liberty?” In 2020, players in the Women’s National Basketball Association are competing in a bubble without fans but in front of the world wearing jerseys bearing the name of Breonna Taylor.
How far have we come since 1920? What did it mean to be an ally then, and what does it mean now? What are the most important political questions confronting women today who seek equity, who strive for justice, who want to step into their power?
CNN Opinion’s Jane Carr asked Swanee Hunt and A’shanti Gholar — two women leaders whose work has focused particularly on building communities, alliances and pipelines — to have a dialogue that addresses what they see as the biggest questions confronting America about women and power.
Swanee and A’shanti, take it away.
Swanee Hunt: Well, here we are, 100 years after the adoption of the 19th Amendment. And in the years since, the progress toward political parity has been, shall I say… slow. Take Congress. We thought it was a big deal in 1992 (the Year of the Woman), when the number of women in the Senate increased from two to six. Around that time a guy — another representative — asked my congresswoman, Pat Schroeder, “You have kids. What are you doing here?” “I have a brain as well as a uterus,” she said, “and I use them both.”
Swanee Hunt
Today, the Congress is about one-quarter women — mostly Democrats. But that’s only halfway to parity —and it’s just one indicator of how tiny our numbers have been. Of the 12,348 individuals who’ve served in Congress since it convened in 1789, almost 12,000 have been men. And most of the women are members currently in office.
And then, with 2016, it all changed. Whether they loved the vision or hated it, voters in Hillary Rodham Clinton’s groundbreaking run imagined her as commander in chief at her desk in the Oval Office. That image itself cracked open the glass ceiling. And when a flagrant misogynist landed in the White House instead, within weeks tens of thousands of women poured into politics.
A’shanti Gholar: It’s nothing short of revolutionary. It wasn’t until Hillary’s run and the travesty of Trump that women were galvanized en masse. My organization, which trains Democratic women to run for office at all levels, is celebrating our 15th anniversary. And after the 2016 election, the number of women coming to us for training exploded. That momentum hasn’t stopped. In 2018, our alums were instrumental in making both chambers of the Nevada Legislature and the Colorado House the first majority-woman state assemblies in the country.
State legislatures take on criminal justice reform and education, for example — and they’re the pipeline to higher office. The US Congress currently has five Emerge alums, including Lucy McBath, a gun violence activist whose son was murdered for playing loud music in his car. And there’s Congresswoman Deb Haaland, the first Indigenous woman to sit in the House Speaker’s chair, presiding over a debate. The 2018 election was a watershed for women’s political power in this country.
Swanee: I remember sitting on the edge of my sofa that night, watching the returns and, seeing the portraits of the winners flashing onto the screen. I was cheering. But then I was stunned as I realized that the commentators weren’t saying what was becoming clear: Women flipped the House! And now the candidate for vice president is not just a woman, but a Black and Indian woman who is heir apparent to a Biden presidency….
A’shanti: This is a game-changer. That Kamala Harris could be our first female vice president has profound meaning for those of us in communities of color. I’m hoping the selection of the formidable Senator means that a Biden-Harris administration will be diverse in every way. This shows how serious Vice President Biden will be in having women and Black, brown and indigenous people in important decision-making roles. And wait till we see those faces lined up behind President Biden’s desk. That image will go viral!
Just seeing Kamala Harris on stage during the DNC last week filled me and so many women and girls across the country with hope about what our nation can look like in the future. And her speech struck such an optimistic tone about our potential to be inclusive and to live up to our values.
Swanee: And if she becomes our first female president, it will be, in many ways, a righteous twist. I think about one of my heroes, Sojourner Truth, who had been enslaved. At a women’s convention, according to a witness, she walked to the front and onto the platform. He described her strong stature, and compelling gestures, as she delivered a spontaneous speech. “I could work as much and eat as much as a man — when I could get it — and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?”
With such iconic voices as hers, how can it be that the story of suffrage is laced with racism?
A’shanti: Well, when you take a step back, racism was and is a fundamental theme in this story. No Black women were invited to the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention, which is regarded by many as the catalyst of the women’s suffrage movement. The attendees were hundreds of White women, their White male supporters and one Black man, famous abolitionist Frederick Douglass. There are examples after examples of Black women being systematically excluded. One of the most dramatic is the massive march in 1913, the day before the inauguration of President Woodrow Wilson. A huge parade down Pennsylvania Avenue was planned.
Just two months earlier, a few miles away at (historically Black) Howard University, a group of young activists had formed a sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, with suffrage as their first cause. The Deltas planned to be part of the parade, but as you know, Swanee, word came that Black women weren’t welcome—mostly in deference to segregationist Southern women (and men) involved in the movement. Finally, after thousands of complaints were telegraphed to the makeshift headquarters, a compromise was reached: Black women, including the Deltas, were allowed in the parade.
In fact, they wore white dresses with suffrage sashes, like the organizers. But they were put in the place usually assigned to Black people — at the back. Thousands of women marched that day, and at least a half million — mostly men, many drunk — lined the avenue. Some spat on the Deltas, grabbed their clothes, hurled insults. Like so many Black demonstrators who would follow, including John Lewis in Selma, and now the many Americans taking to the streets, the Deltas marched on.
Swanee: I’m inspired now to see so many Black women in political leadership. I’m thinking of leaders like Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who stepped up and went toe-to-toe with Georgia’s failing governor over the common-sense issue of face masks. And I think of others who were considered for vice president. What a display of talent. We women sure do get it done.
And now we’re witnessing another dramatic rise. Two analysts at the Brookings Institution have noted the massive influx of women into the Democratic Party with a stunning statement: “It won’t be long before the political preferences of women voters determine the winners and losers in American politics.” Along with the seismic shift we saw in women running for office, there’s been a shift in women’s sentiments. The Brookings authors cited a 20-point preference among women for the Democratic versus Republican Party. And women are preferring Biden to Trump by as many as 30 astounding points.
A’shanti: And let’s remember how it’s Black women voters who are the backbone of the Democratic Party. But they don’t just vote. They take their families to the polls. They organize. And when an election depends on turnout, as it will this year, that extra push can get you over the line.
Swanee: This centennial celebration resurrects well-known names: Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Alice Paul and more. But there are women of color who have got to be lifted up as leaders of not only suffrage one hundred years ago but also the voting rights movement that continues even as we speak.
A’shanti: The determination of these pioneers is phenomenal. When the National American Woman Suffrage Association refused to include all women, they formed organizations like the National Association of Colored Women. The brave anti-lynching journalist Ida B. Wells helped found the Alpha Suffrage Club. They would go on to register thousands of Black women to vote.
“I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired” was the clarion truth told by Fannie Lou Hamer, who was extorted, harassed and shot at in the 1960s as she claimed the ballot for herself and her sisters. But it was worth it. In 1972, “unbought and unbossed’ Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm became the first Black woman to run for a major party’s presidential nomination. It spoke volumes when Kamala Harris spoke their names in her acceptance speech for the vice-presidential nomination.
There’s more work ahead. In the 2018 election for governor of Georgia, voter suppression was rampant. Stacey Abrams, House minority leader, narrowly lost and then went on to found Fair Fight. And so the work continues.
Swanee: That’s the bend in the long arc of the moral universe.
A’shanti: Exactly. I hope this occasion will be teachable moment. That it will force a dialogue about “inclusive democracy.” We’ll be looking back over the last 100 years, as we must. But what I’m really looking forward to is the next 100.

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How Faith Shapes My Politics – The New York Times

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Over the past few decades, whenever a Republican president puts up an important judicial nominee — especially a Catholic one — we go through the same routine. Some Democrat accuses the nominee of imposing her religious views on the law.

“The dogma lives loudly within you,” Senator Dianne Feinstein notoriously told Amy Coney Barrett in a 2017 confirmation hearing. Then Republicans accuse Democrats of being religious bigots. Then the nominee testifies that her personal opinions or religious faith will have absolutely no bearing on her legal judgments.

This unconvincing routine gets us no closer to understanding two important questions: How does faith influence a person’s political views? How should we look at religiously devout people in public life?

To the extent that I have answers to these questions it’s through my own unusual experience. I came to faith in middle age after I’d been in public life for a while. I would say that coming to faith changed everything and yet didn’t alter my political opinions all that much. That’s because assenting to a religion is not like choosing to be a Republican or a Democrat. It happens on a different level of consciousness.

When I was a kid, I was raised, like most people in our culture, on certain stories: Moses leading the Israelites out of oppression, little David slaying Goliath, Ruth swearing loyalty to Naomi.

During my decades as an atheist, I thought the stories were false but the values they implied were true. These values — welcome the stranger, humility against pride — became the moral framework I applied to think through my opinions, to support various causes. Like a lot of atheists, I found the theology of Reinhold Niebuhr very helpful.

About seven years ago I realized that my secular understanding was not adequate to the amplitude of life as I experienced it. There were extremes of joy and pain, spiritual fullness and spiritual emptiness that were outside the normal material explanations of things.

I was gripped by the conviction that the people I encountered were not skin bags of DNA, but had souls; had essences with no size or shape, but that gave them infinite value and dignity. The conviction that people have souls led to the possibility that there was some spirit who breathed souls into them.

What finally did the trick was glimpses of infinite goodness. Secular religions are really good at identifying some evils, like oppression, and building a moral system against them. Divine religions are primarily oriented to an image of pure goodness, pure loving kindness, holiness. In periodic glimpses of radical goodness — in other people, in sensations of the transcendent — I felt, as Wendell Berry put it, “knowledge crawl over my skin.” The biblical stories from Genesis all the way through Luke and John became living presences in my life.

These realizations transformed my spiritual life: awareness of God’s love, participation in grace, awareness that each person is made in God’s image. Faith offered an image of a way of being, an ultimate allegiance.

But when it came to forming opinions or writing columns, I was still in the same business. Sure, my style of thinking changed a bit. I spent more time listening, trying to discern how I was being called. I began to think with my heart as much as my head. (That could just be male middle age.) But my basic moral values — derived from the biblical metaphysic — were already in place and didn’t change that much now that the biblical stories had come alive.

My point is there is no neat relationship between the spiritual consciousness and the moral and prudential consciousnesses. When it comes to thinking and acting in the public square, we believers and nonbelievers are all in the same boat — trying to apply our moral frameworks to present realities. Faith itself doesn’t make you wiser or better.

When it comes to judges, I don’t believe any operate without a moral framework, like perfect legal automatons. I don’t believe faith alone points any of them to concrete answers. Look at how judges from the same faith come out all over the map on all issues. Look at how, deep down, the anti-abortion Catholics you know are driven by intellectual and moral conviction, not by mindless submission to Rome.

And to be honest about it, our worldly connections are usually more influential than our faith commitments when it comes to our political and professional decisions. If you want to know how Amy Coney Barrett is going to rule, pay more attention to the Federalist Society than to People of Praise, her Christian community.

In a society that is growing radically more secular every day, I’d say we have more to fear from political dogmatism than religious dogmatism. We have more to fear from those who let their politics determine their faith practices and who turn their religious communities into political armies. We have more to fear from people who look to politics as a substitute for faith.

And we have most to fear from the possibility that the biblical metaphysic, which has been a coherent value system for believers and nonbelievers for centuries, will fade from our culture, the stories will go untold, and young people will grow up in a society without any coherent moral ecology at all.

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And here’s our email: letters@nytimes.com.

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End 'Wild West' for political ads, campaigners say – BBC News

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A surge in online political advertising spending during last year’s general election shows the need for greater transparency, campaigners say.

The Electoral Reform Society (ERS) estimated the three main UK-wide parties spent more than twice as much on online adverts as on 2017’s poll.

A lack of regulation was creating a “Wild West” in need of stronger oversight, it added.

The government called its efforts to reform advertising “world-leading”.

Last month, minsters published plans for a “digital imprint” on social media ads, promising “the same transparency” for voters as for election leaflets and posters.

The ERS welcomed these, but said they were “unlikely to be sufficient”.

In a report, the campaign group said providing more information to voters about political adverts online represented an “urgent challenge for democracy”.

It argued claims over their accuracy were becoming “increasingly prominent” online, where it was easier for pop-up campaigners, as well as established political parties, to influence debate.

The ERS added there had been “several high-profile examples of dishonest or misleading claims” across the political spectrum during the 2019 campaign.

It pointed out existing accuracy rules on commercial adverts did not extend to political campaigning, while donations laws provided only a “minimal” snapshot of how much parties spent online.

What did the report find?

  • The study, compiled by academics Katharine Dommett and Sam Power, estimated party spending using the transparency archives of social media firms
  • It found the Conservatives, Labour and Lib Dems combined spent around £6m campaigning on Facebook and just under £3m on Google
  • The analysis suggested the Conservatives spent comparatively more on Google, backing claims it sought to reach voters through YouTube
  • The researchers said 64 non-party groups had registered as official political campaigners for the election, with 46 registering after the poll was announced
  • They calculated a total of 88 non-party campaign groups placed 13,197 adverts on Facebook, at a combined cost of £2.7m

The report made recommendations requiring political campaigners to provide more detailed spending invoices more quickly after elections to the Electoral Commission, the UK’s elections watchdog.

It also urged parties to work with regulators and the advertising industry to develop a code of practice for political adverts.

The Electoral Commission says it does not have the power or resources to monitor the truthfulness of political advertising.

But it has previously echoed calls for greater transparency, adding in its review of the 2019 election that rules needed to be updated.

Constitution Minister Chloe Smith said: “People want to engage with politics online. That’s where campaigners connect with voters, so naturally political parties across the board are increasing their digital campaigning activity.

“This government is already making political campaigning more transparent for voters, with new, world-leading measures that will require campaign content promoted online to explicitly show who is behind it.”

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Democrats also play politics with Supreme Court seats – CNN

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Charlie Dent
Like her dear friend Justice Antonin Scalia, Ginsburg died in the final year of a president’s term, and this vacancy will ignite yet another epic Supreme Court battle . During the prolonged debate and discussion over the nomination of Merrick Garland in 2016, I believed that then-President Barack Obama had the right to make the nomination in a presidential election year and that the Senate should have initiated the confirmation process.
Similarly, under the Constitution, President Donald Trump is well within his rights to make a nomination, and the Senate GOP is within theirs to move forward with the confirmation process now. However, Republicans are justifiably being criticized for hypocrisy. In many instances you can simply use the words of Republican Senators from four years ago against them now. Yes, this is a power play and it is all very cynical.
Nevertheless, if the shoe were on the other foot, with Democrats controlling both the Presidency and Senate under the same circumstances, they most assuredly would attempt fill a Supreme Court vacancy without hesitation and in record time. No one should be surprised the GOP will do everything within their power to fill this vacancy before the end of the year.
Democrats are predictably making hyperbolic and exaggerated statements about the impact of this Supreme Court fight, from overturning Roe v. Wade to stripping Americans of certain civil rights. We’ve heard all of this with past GOP Supreme Court nominations; it’s part of the Democratic playbook.
Obviously much of this rhetoric is aimed to motivate the Democratic base in the hopes of making electoral change. In this battle, the Democrats most persuasive attack will be on health care and the plight of people with pre-existing conditions should the Affordable Care Act be struck down, which was nearly overturned by the Supreme Court a few years ago with Justice Ginsburg as part of a majority in opposition.
To be clear, the tactic of weaponizing the politics of the Supreme Court is not new nor is it reserved to only one party. Republicans have for decades employed a fairly comprehensive strategy for building and maintaining the current conservative balance of the Court. One needs no further evidence then their reliance on outside groups like The Federalist Society to vet ideologically appropriate potential nominees.
Meanwhile, the Democrats have employed the politics of the personal destruction to tear down Republican nominees — starting with the rejection of Judge Robert Bork in 1987, to hardball tactics used against Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh, respectively. The left attacked Bork mercilessly and declared him too extreme to be confirmed; they even turned Bork’s name into a verb. His nomination was defeated in the Democrat controlled Senate 58-42. President Reagan then nominated Anthony Kennedy who was confirmed unanimously.
It should be noted many Democrats and their allies said at the time that Kennedy would overturn Roe v. Wade. The same was said about virtually every other Republican Presidential Supreme Court nominee including swing votes Sandra Day O’Connor and John Roberts, as well as the liberal David Souter.
No, Republicans most assuredly do not have a monopoly on hypocrisy and cynicism. Nor have Democrats shied away from a bare knuckle, back alley fight when it comes to past Supreme Court nominations.
Although within their right to move forward, Senate Republicans would be wise to let the voice of the American people be heard in this confirmation process. Hastily moving forward under an artificial political deadline, in this case the election, may severely damage the credibility of the nomination process.
Politically, President Trump may benefit from this Supreme Court fight. Rather than discussing Trump’s botched Covid-19 response, absurd comments or his glaring unfitness to hold office, the narrative is about something both the GOP base and soft Trump voters care deeply and passionately — in 2016 exit polls, 56% of Trump voters said appointments were “the most important factor” in their vote.
Notwithstanding his inconsistent and contradictory statements on considering Supreme Court nominees in a presidential election year,
Sen. Lindsey Graham, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and who is locked in a tight reelection fight, likely benefits from this fight, too, in deep red South Carolina. Of course, Democrats will be further angered and energized by this fight as well to the detriment of swing state Republicans like Sens. Susan Collins, Cory Gardner and perhaps a few others in competitive elections.
Meanwhile, Democrats would be wise not to overreact with hyperbole and personal accusations, or extreme proposals like court packing, DC statehood, and impeachment. Instead, they should focus on putting pressure on Republican Senators and working to defeat President Trump at the ballot box.
Unless Democrats can find four GOP Senators to oppose Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, they will lose this battle. If they’re smart, they will use this potential defeat to mobilize their base and turn out their voters for the upcoming and future elections. In fact, Democratic prospects of winning the White House remain very favorable, and flipping several seats in the Senate is well within their reach.
Republicans appear poised to pick up another Supreme Court seat, but the fight is just beginning. If the vote on the nominee occurs before the election, what will the impact be on the presidential race, and swing state Republican senators? If a confirmation vote were to occur in the lame duck session, and Democrats were to turn the tables in the election by winning the Presidency and the Senate, will defeated Republican Senators vote to confirm the nominee under those circumstances? We’ll know soon enough.

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