Our biweekly lists lay out notable issues in the news and tell you what you can do about them.
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Hey Teen Resisters! Hope you are all staying healthy, safe & sane.
We're reeling a little bit in the wake of the election; after such a stressful buildup period and post-election day saga, we hope you've all taken a moment to breathe a sigh of relief (and celebrate — unprecedented youth voter turnout and historic LGBTQI+ firsts, to name just a couple of amazing things that happened!).
There's been a ton going on in the news, and, as always, we've broken down some of it below. Thank you all for bearing with us, whether you started using our resources in 2017 or yesterday. We are beyond proud of everything this community has accomplished, and we can't wait to keep the fight going in a new era — one where we can focus on pushing Democrats in power farther left, rather than just resisting far-right agendas. There is so much more to be done, and so much new momentum to do it.
Wishing everyone has a safe and restful Thanksgiving!!
Peace and power,
what went (And is Going) down
Another notable victory for the LGBTQI+ community was the election of Sarah McBride to the First State Senate District of Delaware; she will be the highest-ranking transgender elected official in the United States. She grew up in her district and has been involved in local, statewide, and national politics throughout her career, working for the Obama White House and Attorney General Beau Biden. Her platform supports the Affordable Care Act, reforming criminal justice, and expanding paid family and medical leave.
In Congress, Democrats Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones will become the first openly gay black men in Congress. Torres, who was born and raised in the Bronx, was the first openly gay elected official from the Bronx and the youngest elected official in New York City as a member of the New York City Council. He will represent Bronx’s 15th District in Congress. As a council member, Torres worked to close rent regulation loopholes, tackle the opioid epidemic, and end segregation and bullying in NYC schools. Mondaire Jones, who will represent New York’s 17th Congressional District (located in the Lower Hudson Valley) also claimed victory this election cycle. Like Torres, Jones was raised in his district and lived there most of his life. While attending Harvard Law School, Jones provided free representation for those unable to afford it in criminal proceedings. He continued this endeavor after graduation, receiving honors from the Legal Aid Society for his hundreds of hours of pro bono representation. His policies include support for Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, the right to abortion, the Equality Act, and immigration reform.
Georgia Senate Runoffs
Along with the presidency, the (currently majority-Republican) Senate was up for grabs in this year’s election. As of now, 48 Democrats and 50 Republicans have declared victory, meaning control of the Senate hinges on two run-off elections in Georgia — held because no candidate in either race got 50 percent of the vote (massive thanks to Stacey Abrams and everyone doing voter turnout work in Georgia!). The double run-off is rare, especially considering that the Warnock/Loeffler race was already a special election. If the Democrats win both seats, making the Senate breakdown 50-50, the tie-breaking vote would go to the Vice President (Kamala Harris), meaning Mitch McConnell would no longer be the Senate Majority Leader. Having a Democratic majority in the Senate would enable and/or massively speed up progressive legislative agendas
Loeffler, on the other hand, has a record of voting for Trump 100% of the time and is the wealthiest senator. In her year in office, she has made public her anti-abortion, border wall, and pro-gun views. In the November election, Warnock won 33% of the vote, while Loeffler got 26%. This is because many conservative voters (20%) wanted another Republican, Doug Collins, to get the seat. However, when forced to choose between Warnock and Loeffler, those other 765,378 people will probably vote for Loeffler. That’s where we come in! Warnock’s campaign is hosting virtual phonebanking every day until January 5th, 2021. You can sign up under “Call Georgia Voters” on the campaign’s website: https://warnockforgeorgia.com/upcoming-events/
Republican Refusals to Concede
It has been over two weeks since Election Day, and over ten days since major news networks officially declared Joe Biden the president-elect following Election Week. Yet Republicans across the country continue to have varying reactions to the results.
Let’s start with what Trump has done. Late on election night, Trump claimed victory, despite the fact that there were tens of millions of votes outstanding. As votes came in and it became clear that Biden was likely to get to 306 electoral college delegates, Trump insisted that the election was being stolen from him, tweeting that “they are finding Biden votes all over the place” — an especially ridiculous pronouncement given the vast importance that we knew early and mail-in voting would have in this election. Trump has continued to reiterate that the election was rigged, stolen, unfair, and much more, and had his team launch off a series of legally absurd, entirely unsuccessful lawsuits in efforts to flip the election's results in his favor.
Notably, in Michigan, an election canvassing board in Wayne County met on November 17 to certify the results of the election in the county. Wayne County, which includes Detroit, is largely Democratic and was a crucial piece of Biden’s win in Michigan. The board initially voted directly along party lines, 2-2, failing to certify the results. The two Republicans on the board, William Hartmann and Monica Palmer, were concerned about small and easily explainable discrepancies that would not have had an impact on the result of the election anyway, either in the county or the state. In fact, the mayor said that the discrepancies had to do with 357 out of the 250,000 votes cast in the city of Detroit. Hartmann and Palmer were supported by the Trump campaign, but hundreds of Michiganders joined the Zoom call of the election canvassing board and voiced their opinions. After this intense backlash, Hartmann and Palmer eventually gave in and voted to certify the results. This is but one example of the unordinary and extreme steps that some Republicans have been willing to take due to and to fuel their distrust of the results.
The actions of Republicans are likely to bring long-term harm to the belief in the legitimacy of elections in our country. There are many across the country who sincerely doubt that Joe Biden is the rightful winner of the election, because that is the message they are getting from their leaders, the people they trust. In fact, protests and marches have sprung up across the country, advocating for a refusal to accept the results of the election. Most notably, a “March for Trump” rally took place in Washington D.C. on November 14th.
Trump’s refusal to concede has also meant that Biden’s transition team has not been able to begin the presidential transition process. The General Services Administration has yet to accept the election’s results; Biden has been denied access to federal agencies, transition funds, office space and classified information, and is unable to begin a key aspect of transition — government background checks on national security appointees — which could put American national security at risk. In addition, Trump’s toddler-like refusal to accept his loss has (unsurprisingly) harmed Biden’s ability to be prepared to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. Only time will tell whether Republicans will finally consider which side of history they want to be on.
And, finally, in lieu of our puppy vid...
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