Things That Matter

Apparently Bernie Sanders Told Elizabeth Warren That Women Can’t Win The Presidency And Here’s Why He’s Wrong

Identity politics have taken center stage in progressive politics once again. This time CNN is reporting that four sources say Bernie Sanders told Elizabeth Warren in a private meeting that a woman cannot win the presidency. Bernie directly spoke to CNN to refute the allegation. However, CNN claims their four sources are credible — two spoke to Warren directly after the meeting and the other two were “familiar” with the meeting. 

Warren and Sanders met in December 2018 to talk about the 2020 election. It was at this meeting that Warren revealed she would run. The two progressives have been allies for years, but with only one able to score the nomination supporters and pundits have attempted to pit them against each other. The two senators have largely resisted and have been supportive on the campaign trail.

CNN sources allege Sanders doesn’t think a woman candidate could earn the presidency.

According to CNN, the two future candidates discussed how they should remain civil to one another, the best strategy to unseat Donald Trump, and Warren told him she felt she would be a compelling candidate because she could build a coalition amongst female voters and could make convincing arguments about the economy. 

This is when Sanders allegedly told her a woman couldn’t win. Sanders has resisted identity politics and takes a broad approach to solving all inequalities which has been both a source of criticism and celebration. Warren tends to take things on an intersectional level.

For example, where Bernie believes Medicare For All will enrich black women who face disproportionately high maternal mortality rates, Warren supports Medicare For All but in addition to it, she lays out a plan to specifically correct the high mortality rates for black women by penalizing hospitals that fail black mothers

“One of the struggles that you’re going to be seeing in the Democratic Party is whether we go beyond identity politics,” Sanders said in 2016. 

His comments about doing away with identity politics have been a source of ire for those who need identity politics to obtain civil rights. 

“Sanders’s comments represent a flank of the Democratic party that partly blames Clinton’s loss on her strong embrace of race and gender issues, which could have turned off white male voters in particular,” according to Vox. “Meanwhile, the marginalized groups who overwhelmingly vote for Democrats fear being thrown under the bus, as they have many times before, so that the party can curry more favor with white Americans.”

Bernie denies claims that he doesn’t believe a woman president could win.

“It is ludicrous to believe that at the same meeting where Elizabeth Warren told me she was going to run for president, I would tell her that a woman couldn’t win,” Sanders said. “It’s sad that, three weeks before the Iowa caucus and a year after that private conversation, staff who weren’t in the room are lying about what happened. What I did say that night was that Donald Trump is a sexist, a racist and a liar who would weaponize whatever he could. Do I believe a woman can win in 2020? Of course! After all, Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by 3 million votes in 2016.”

Kristen Orthman, Warren’s communications director declined to comment. The CNN exposè comes in the wake of reports that Sanders’ campaign had started taking a more offensive approach regarding Warren despite previous efforts to be cordial. Politico reported that Sanders’ canvassers were given a script to undermine Warren. 

The script says that  “people who support her are highly-educated, more affluent people who are going to show up and vote Democratic no matter what” and that “she’s bringing no new bases into the Democratic Party.”

The script also featured attacks on Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg, the two other frontrunners.

Many agree sexism is an important factor in this presidential election.

“Bernie knows me, and has known me for a long time,” Warren said, expressing disappointment in the script. “He knows who I am, where I come from, what I have worked on and fought for, and the coalition and grassroots movement we’re trying to build.”

Warren is the only woman left in the race and has moved up and down first and third place for the bulk of campaign season. Sexism has been accepted as playing a significant factor in the 2016 and 2020 elections.

“The Barbara Lee Family Foundation research shows female candidates pay a higher price than men if they are seen as learning on the job. It’s likely not a coincidence, then, that Warren and other female candidates for president have detailed policy proposals on everything from student-loan debt forgiveness to affordable housing,” the Washington Post noted last May. “By contrast, Buttigieg and O’Rourke — two men with relatively thin résumés running for president — have been piecing together their platforms as they run.” 

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As Puerto Rico Votes To Become The 51st State, Here’s What Happens Next

Things That Matter

As Puerto Rico Votes To Become The 51st State, Here’s What Happens Next

Ricardo ARDUENGO / Getty Images

The relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico has long been contentious, ever since the Spanish-American War in 1898. Since then, the Caribbean island has been in a strange limbo position between a ‘U.S. Territory’ and unofficially as the world’s oldest colony.

Although they’re U.S. citizens in name and passport, Puerto Rican’s who live in Puerto Rico cannot vote for president, don’t have voting representation in Congress, and have been saddled with a fiscal oversight board (PROMESA) in order to repay its debts—forcing austerity on residents suffering a 23% unemployment rate and a much higher rate of poverty than the incorporated states.

But this week, on Election Day, Puerto Ricans voted—for the sixth time since 1967—on whether they prefer the ongoing territorial status, or to become a U.S. state and the results are in: it’s pro-statehood.

Last week, Puerto Ricans voted to support U.S. statehood.

As Puerto Ricans voted on Tuesday for their local leaders, there was another decision they had to make: Whether or not the island territory should be admitted as the newest U.S. state. Although it’s a non-binding referendum and not expected to change Puerto Rico’s status anytime soon, it was still seen as a barometer of Puerto Ricans’ appetite for statehood.

So far, with most of the votes counted, residents narrowly favored statehood with 52% of the vote while about 47% of voters were against it, according to the election commission’s website.

Although the U.S. mainland still sees Puerto Rico as a commonwealth, many Puerto Ricans, including the island’s Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González, a Republican, say the island is constantly treated as a colony.

“Sometimes it’s a little bit ironic that the beacon of democracy in the world, which is the United States, is fighting for equality and fighting for democracy and yet you get it in your own backyard — the oldest colony, with more than 120 years without allowing Puerto Rican’s to vote for president, to vote in Congress or to even have federal laws apply equally to American citizens on the island,” said González, who was reelected as commissioner last Tuesday.

But what’s next? There are many obstacles standing in the way.

Even though President-Elect Joe Biden is a backer of statehood, as are top Democrats in the House and Senate and some Florida Republicans, it’s unclear how much of a priority Puerto Rico would be if Democrats take control of both the White House and Congress. The drive is complicated by a separate but often-paired push for statehood for the District of Columbia.

“It is unlikely that the question of Puerto Rico as a state will be taken up by the Congress,” says political scientist and researcher Carlos Vargas Ramos, in an interview with ABC News.

Aside from being a nonbinding referendum, Ramos said voter turnout in this referendum could still be an issue for Congress. As of September 2020, there were around 2.3 million eligible voters on the island, according to the election commission’s website. From those eligible voters, nearly 1.2 million people answered the statehood plebiscite.

“It’s gonna be difficult for advocates of statehood to argue that this is a clear mandate to push for statehood, particularly when you have a Congress that is reluctant to take up the question,” added Vargas Ramos.

Puerto Rican statehood would create consequences far beyond the island.

Credit: Alejandro Granadillo / Getty Images

Although the referendum only dealt with Puerto Rico’s future, it could have ramifications far beyond the territory. Puerto Rican statehood would mean Americans on the island could vote in presidential elections, have quick access to federal aid in crises and gain full representation in Congress.

“Puerto Ricans get treated in many ways like second-class citizens,” U.S. Rep. Darren Soto (D-Fla.), who has introduced his own bill setting forth a process of admission for the island, said in an interview with ABC News.

In Congress, statehood for Puerto Rico would result in two new senators and four representatives to the House. If the District of Columbia gains statehood at the same time, that would mean another two senators and one additional House member.

The decision could even have implications for travelers to the island.

Right now, about 95 percent of visitors to Puerto Rico come from the U.S., but many in the tourism industry would like to see more international visitors from Latin America, Europe, and Asia. Currently, citizens of the whole of nearby Latin America and the Caribbean require a visa to enter the U.S., and thus Puerto Rico.

And thanks to the pandemic the island has suffered huge losses in tourism dollars. Thelack of control that Puerto Rico has over its own travel regulations means that the industry will have to wait quite a while to make up for that loss, while the U.S. at large continues to be an undesirable destination for international travelers.

The matter is complicated by the Jones Act of 1920, which requires that all goods come to Puerto Rico through the U.S. If this were finally overturned, it would allow direct trade with other nations and decrease the prices of food and other items sold on the island. Right now, travelers looking to the Caribbean can go to the Dominican Republic much more affordably.

Despite the ongoing uncertainty, one thing is clear: things need to change.

The relationship between the U.S. and its Puerto Rican territory has long been one of violence; independence movements and even the flag have been made illegal in the past by the U.S. This reality is often hidden from travelers, but should be acknowledged and respected.

But where the island goes from here is not a cut-and-dry question, as deep ties have developed over the more than 100 years of colonialism that would require years of change, whether sovereignty were won or statehood were decided upon. 

That moment might be coming: Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez is now trying to push the Puerto Rican Self-Determination Act of 2020, which would form a status convention made up of Puerto Rican voters who would be tasked with deciding upon a long-term solution. In the meantime, travelers should remember that sun, sand, and rum don’t tell the whole story—and that the future of the archipelago should be determined by Puerto Ricans.

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Rosario Dawson Was Apparently ‘More Excited’ to Vote for Marijuana Legalization Than to Re-Elect Her Boyfriend, Senator Cory Booker

Entertainment

Rosario Dawson Was Apparently ‘More Excited’ to Vote for Marijuana Legalization Than to Re-Elect Her Boyfriend, Senator Cory Booker

Photo: Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

It seems like Rosario Dawson is an enthusiastic marijuana user, according to her boyfriend, Senator Cory Booker.

As we have reported, legalized recreational drugs made huge strides this election year, with 15 states passing laws to legalize marijuana and Oregon voting to decriminalize all drugs. One of the states that voted to legalize marijuana was Senator Cory Booker’s home state of New Jersey.

While Booker made an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live to discuss both his reelection and the state of the 2020 presidential race, Kimmel wanted to talk about something much more important: weed.

Kimmel introduced Booker as a senator from a state that legalized marijuana “just in the nick of time” and Booker was quick to laugh and play along. “Rosario was a little concerned that pot might have done better than me in the last election,” he said in response to Kimmel’s ribbing.

Kimmel then asked the question that all of us wanted to know: will Booker be indulging in some of the green flower to celebrate marijuana’s big win? At that point, Booker turned the camera to a surprise guest: a grinning Rosario Dawson.

Booker jokingly said: “I don’t know what she was more excited to do: vote for me as a new New Jersey resident, or vote for marijuana.”

Rosario Dawson took the joke in stride, saying that she was happy that she “got to vote for my man and I got to vote for marijuana” in the state of New Jersey.

Photo: rosariodawson/Instagram

While Booker’s joke was funny, it appears that it has no basis in reality–Dawson seems to be overjoyed that her boo won back his seat. In fact, she was so happy that she posted a touching tribute to Booker on her Instagram page.

In fact, Dawson was so happy about Booker’s re-election that she posted a touching tribute to her boyfriend on Instagram explaining how “proud” and “grateful” she was of him.

“So proud of and grateful for you my love,” she wrote in her caption under an adorable black-and-white photo of the two of them. “I got to vote for you here in New Jersey and am so glad that you overwhelmingly and rightfully won your seat again. To know your leadership will continue to guide us with love, brilliance, patience, grace and effectiveness is the kind of representation and hope we need.”

Booker, as well, has also previously been effusive in his praise for Dawson. Last October, he was quoted as calling his girlfriend “an extraordinary person who has changed my life” and adding that he was “the happiest I’ve ever been in my personal life.”

Who knows? Maybe they’ll celebrate his win and the new law together.

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