Breaking News Emails
Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
By Jane C. Timm
Call it the nice primary.
As the contest for the 2020 Democratic nomination heats up, the five senators in the race have taken turns dousing each other with praise while saving the zingers for President Donald Trump.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said she thinks it’s “amazing” that Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., is running against her — news Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., called “terrific.”
“There will be some sibling rivalry. But at the end of the day we’re family,” Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., said in an interview on “The View.”
“Great people,”Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., the most recent entrant into the already crowded primary field, told MSNBC Monday of her newly minted rivals.
So far, the congenial nature of the field stands in stark contrast to the viciousness of the 2016 Republican primary, which featured derisive nicknames, an insinuation about the size of the now-president’s genitalia, a meme mocking Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz’s wife, entire debate performances tailored to taking down another candidate and more. But that will change soon, political strategists predicted.
“The plane has just crashed in the Andes. For right now, everyone’s cooperating, but soon they are going to start thinking about who can be eaten first,” Rick Wilson, a Republican strategist who opposes President Donald Trump, said. “Politics is always cooperative right up until it’s absolutely not cooperative in any way and everyone seeks to destroy everyone else.”
Strategists told NBC News that with nearly a year to go until Iowa’s first in the nation caucus, it’s smart for Democrats to play nice for now. Voters are exhausted and still recovering from the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, they said, and with Trump tweeting attacks from the White House, Democrats will look stronger by holding their fire on each other.
“We just got done with one election where we did well. The smart folks don’t want to screw things up, we’ve got an enemy in Donald Trump, we’ve gotta stay focused on that,” Democratic strategist Jim Manley said.
Republican strategist and MSNBC analyst Susan Del Percio agreed.
“I don’t think that the primary voters want to see a blood bath right now,” she said. “There’s so much energy to defeat the sitting president, they have to be careful that they’re not willing to kill each other and be weaker as a result.”
“I can’t stress this enough — it is so early,” Del Percio added. “The Republican primary didn’t get god-awful until Donald Trump entered.”
Strategists said the punches amid 2020 Democrats would start to fly soon — in part because candidates will need to start differentiating themselves amid a crowded field and in part because voters want to be sure to choose someone who can take on Trump.
“One of the things voters are going to be looking at is somebody who is going to be a fighter, someone who is going to throw down with Trump. They’re going to look at somebody who is nimble on their feet, who can not only take a punch but land a punch,” Manley said.
Del Percio said she expects the gloves to come off in August, when the Senate recesses for five weeks and those candidates won’t all be at work together every day.
Wilson expects blows to come before the first Democratic debate in June.
“The minute one of these candidate emerges and Democratic primary voters say he or she — that’s the one who can really knock Trump down. That’s the minute the clock starts running for everybody else,” he said.
In Wilson’s opinion, it’s Booker — whose vegan diet Gillibrand revealed she knew all about in lighthearted video filmed for Marie Claire before the longtime friends officially announced their competing bids — who gets eaten first in his Andes Mountains scenario.
“You don’t lead a campaign in the era of Donald Trump talking about we want love,” WIlson said. “That’s not what the Democratic base wants right now. They want rivers of blood.”
Children of TPS holders fight for their parents’ protection in court
A group of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders and their U.S. citizen children spoke out in court in support of a ruling that blocked the Trump administration from ending their families’ protected immigration status.
At a hearing on Wednesday at the Ninth Circuit Court in Pasadena, California, the families asserted that the administration’s intent to end TPS for hundreds of thousands of immigrants is “fueled by racial animus.”
The lead plaintiff in Ramos vs. Nielsen is Crista Ramos, who is 15 and a high school student.
“I only learned about TPS when the president tried to end it for my mom,” she said in a statement. “But as a child of a TPS holder, I didn’t think twice about standing up to the president to defend my mom and our family.”
Ramos, who wants to be attorney someday, is worried that her mother, who is from El Salvador, will lose her legal immigration status if TPS protections are ended for Salvadorans, despite the dangerous conditions in the country. Her mother has been a TPS holder for 17 years and has lived in the U.S. for the last 26 years.
Pres. Donald Trump’s rhetoric surrounding immigration, including referring to certain places as “sh-thole” countries, claiming Haitians “all have AIDS” and calling Mexicans rapists, demonstrate that his administration is motivated by racial hostility, say the plaintiffs in Ramos v. Nielsen.
Since President Donald Trump took office in January 2017, his administration has announced they would end TPS designations for immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan. Congress established the TPS program as a form of humanitarian relief through the Immigration Act of 1990, giving immigrants from certain countries that went through war or natural disasters temporary legal status since it was too dangerous to return to their countries at that time.
The administration argues that conditions in some of the countries, such as the aftermath of an earthquake or civil war, have changed, so TPS is no longer necessary.
But previous administrations took a different view, extending TPS status when deadlines came due, allowing families to stay in the U.S. for decades and raise families. Besides, say advocates, conditions in many of these countries are still not safe.
The plaintiffs argue that “DHS’s TPS terminations were based on an arbitrary interpretation of the TPS statue, breaking with decades of prior practice without explanation,” according to the lawsuit.
Putting children in an “impossible” situation
More than 270,000 U.S. citizen children have at least one parent with TPS. Advocates argue that terminating TPS designations for such parents puts children in an “impossible” situation by forcing them to either leave their home country or live without their parents.
On Wednesday, as several families and attorneys were in court, hundreds marched and rallied in front of the courthouse.
“Their constitutional rights are being violated and families have been living in fear,” Martha Arevalo, executive director of Central American Resource Center (CARCEN), a nonprofit immigrant advocacy organization, told NBC News. “Ending TPS will become the newest form of U.S. family separations; it is cruel and immoral.”
The majority of the case’s plaintiffs have lived in the U.S. for decades and have built a life, paid taxes and helped build up their communities, advocates argue.
To be eligible for TPS, individuals must meet stringent requirements, including continued residence in the United States, lack of disqualifying criminal history and submission of extensive documentation, an application and fees.
Advocates acknowledge that it is, as its name suggests, a temporary solution and that other, more permanent pathways of legal immigration must be enacted.
“TPS is not a permanent solution. The people who have it live in temporary status for a very long time,” Arevalo said. “They live in limbo.”
She suggests that the permanent solution lies with legislation, citing The American Dream and Promise Act, which provides provisions for Dreamers and those with TPS status to gain citizenship. The bill passed in the House of Representatives in June, but has not yet passed in the Senate.
“We’re fighting to stay together so that I can continue to provide for my children and see them achieve their dreams,” said Donaldo Posadas, a TPS holder from Honduras, in a statement.
Sarah Wollaston joins Liberal Democrats – Ex-Tory joins Jo Swinson in bid to block Brexit
With proposed rule, Trump administration would allow more businesses to discriminate
The Trump administration on Wednesday unveiled a proposed rule that would greatly expand the religious exemption that allows religious entities to ignore anti-discrimination laws by broadening the definition to include federal contractors that declare themselves to be religious.
The Department of Labor said the rule is proposed in order to provide “the broadest protection of religious exercise” for companies that compete for federal contracts.
LGBTQ advocates decried the proposed rule and said that it would permit companies to decline to hire lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people, in addition to individuals who do not practice their religion.
“This proposal is part and parcel of an ongoing and coordinated attack by this Administration on LGBTQ people aimed at rolling back our rights under the false guise of religion. It’s really nothing more than a permission slip to discriminate,” said Zeke Stokes, Chief Programs Officer for GLAAD, the LGBTQ advocacy group.
“Given the conservative religious affiliations of many large institutional employers that seek federal contracts, we know the most vulnerable workers will be LGBTQ people, as well as Muslims, Jews and other religious minorities,” said Jennifer C. Pizer, Lambda Legal’s director of law and policy. “For more than half a century, the federal purse has been a transformative driver of equal workplace opportunity in this country. And once again, appallingly, this administration is betraying our nation’s core commitment to liberty and justice for all – in service of an extreme, discriminatory religious agenda.”
The ACLU noted in a statement that “Nearly one-quarter of the employees in the U.S. work for an employer that has a contract with the federal government.”
The proposal says it is intended to “clarify the scope and applications of the religious exemption contained in section 204(c) of Executive Order 11246,” which banned federal contractors from discriminating in employment decisions on the basis of “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin” when it was signed by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965.
The proposal argues that a variety of Supreme Court decisions, like Hobby Lobby, have expanded the legal understanding of which companies count as religious. That religious exemption as written in 1965 was designed to ensure that churches could decline to hire people outside their faith, and religious schools could choose to hire members of their own faith, for example, without running afoul of the ban on private employment discrimination.
“Although these decisions are not specific to the federal government’s regulation of contractors, they have reminded the federal government of its duty to protect religious exercise— and not to impede it,” the proposal says.
The proposal claims that religious companies “previously provided feedback to OFCCP that they were reluctant to participate as federal contractors because of uncertainty regarding the scope of the religious exemption.”
The proposal is expansively written and makes clear that that “religious exemption covers not just churches but employers that are organized for a religious purpose, hold themselves out to the public as carrying out a religious purpose, and engage in exercise of religion consistent with, and in furtherance of, a religious purpose,” and also makes clear that “employers can condition employment on acceptance of or adherence to religious tenets without sanction by the federal government, provided that they do not discriminate based on other protected bases.”
And, crucially, the proposed rule relies on an array of legal opinions to construct a new, national legal test of whether a company is “religious.” The company need not be primarily religion-oriented. It need only to declare itself to be, for instance, religious “in response to inquiries from a member of the public or a government entity.”
Companies that refuse to hire LGBTQ people, or women, or any other protected class may do so if they say their religion prohibits them from hiring those who disagree with their faith. The proposal makes clear that it’s expanding the right of religious companies to not just “prefer” to hire those who share their religious beliefs, but “to condition employment on acceptance of or adherence to religious tenets as understood by the employing contractor.” If a construction company says it only hires Christians, this rule would allow that company to compete for a federal contract to renovate a government building, for instance.
The proposed rule will undergo a 30 day public comment period. Concerned citizens can submit their views at www.regulations.gov, by sending a fax to (202) 693-1304, or by sending a letter to Harvey D. Fort, Acting Director, Division of Policy and Program Development, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, Room C-3325, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210.
World1 week ago
Cloudflare cuts service for online forum 8chan after El Paso shooting
World1 week ago
How bonds with negative yields work and why this is so bad
Politics1 week ago
‘Green shirt guy’ goes viral over reaction to ‘sanctuary city’ heckler
World2 days ago
China central bank close to releasing digital currency: PBOC official
Politics1 week ago
EXPRESS.CO.UK POLL: When should a general election next take place? VOTE NOW
World1 week ago
Rapid growth of India’s Chennai threatened by water shortages
Politics1 week ago
Joaquin Castro defends tweets naming San Antonio Trump donors
Politics1 week ago
No Deal Brexit: THIS is how badly the EU will be affected by No Deal