Things That Matter

Could This Young Woman Of Color Be The Next AOC? This Progressive Political Group Hopes So

Inspired by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Mckayla Wilkes of Maryland has got her sights set on 2020, challenging House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer for his seat. In fact, Wilkes has been influenced so much by AOC’s run for Congress in 2018, she’s now secured backing from Brand New Congress – the same progressive group that supported Ocasion-Cortez’s campaign way back when.

That’s swell and all, but why do we care?

Instagram / @meetmckayla

There’s plenty of reasons to care about Wilkes and who she is: she’s a black, working-class, 29 year-old mother-of-two studying political science in Waldorf, Maryland. When you compare her to Steny Hoyer and his background – essentially an old, white man serving his 20th term in office – you can definitely imagine that Wilkes would be more familiar with the everyday struggles that most of us face, than Hoyer. “He’s not for people that are my family, my friends, my coworkers,” Wilkes said in an interview with Buzzfeed. “It shows in the policies that he sponsors and that he endorses, and it shows in the donors that he gets his contributions from.”

Wilkes has been extremely candid and open about her past and her struggles.

Twitter / @MeetMckayla

It’s easy to see that Wilkes is as genuine as it gets, as she’s also been upfront about her past. “I just don’t want any secrets … I want everything to be out there. It’s not like I’m the only person who goes through these things,” she said, having publicly spoke about her time in jail as a teen and young adult. Wilkes has admitted to going through a rough patch, and also spoke about the abortion she had when she was 19: “It’s not like it’s something easy to do,” she told BuzzFeed recently. “It’s not an easy decision to make. But I feel like women should have that right. … My body is not a political playground. There’s no room for [politicians] in the room with me and my doctor.”

Sure, she’s more representative of the population, but what does Wilkes stand for?

Instagram / @meetmckayla

In short, it seems as if Mckayla Wilkes is running on a platform that’s kinda similar to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Things like Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, affordable housing, overhauling the criminal justice system and even initiating impeachment proceedings against Trump are all on her to-do list, should she be elected. And yeah: none of these policies are gonna be easy to institute, especially as the Democrat’s current position doesn’t support impeachment. But, whoever said that running for office – and getting things done – would be easy?

She is committed to raising money for her campaign directly from her constituents.

Instagram / @meetmckayla

However, Wilkes is clearly driven by her morals, and isn’t afraid of a challenge. She’s also committed to staying away from PAC money and is seeking funding through other means. It’s meant that, since launching her campaign in June, she’s raised $70,000 from door knocking. To put it in perspective, Hoyer raised just $185 in the first quarter of 2019 from grassroots donations … and over $650,000 from other sources. What this means for Wilkes is that, having fundraised exclusively through donations from the community, her decisions and policies are tied directly to her constituents – and not other interests. More power to her, right?

It sounds like Wilkes is definitely for the people – but what is she up against?

Instagram / @leaderhoyer

Well, there is the obvious: Wilkes is running against an incumbent, and one who’s got plenty of funding and connections to boot. It’s not easy to run against someone who’s in that position. Especially when the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) made an announcement earlier this year that if an organization supports candidates challenging an incumbent House Democrat, the party would cut them off from business. It means that even simple things like securing advertisers becomes that much harder for someone in Wilkes’ position.

Wilke’s campaign will be a challenging one to win but she’s got her eyes on the prize.

Instagram / @meetmckayla

Chances are that Wilkes’ campaign will face more challenges than what Ocasio-Cortez saw, too. The population of Maryland’s 5th District is 60 percent white. However, New York’s 14th District, where AOC ran for her seat, is 18 percent white. Political pundits speculate that because 2020 is a presidential election year, it’s highly likely that younger and more diverse voters will show up to have their say – which in turn should help Wilkes.

Mckayla Wilkes is no fool, and she knows that she needs to lean into the fact that she not only represents a more diverse face in the race for Congress, but also a deeper, more tangible connection to the average Joe. “That’s … what sets me apart from Hoyer and also the majority of people in Congress,” Wilkes said to the media, “because I would not be able to sleep at night knowing that I’m denying my sister health care or that I’m denying my friend a place to live or that I’m denying my classmate a place to live. So, for me, it’s personal.”

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

AOC Calls Out the GOP for Their Silence on Trump’s Hairstyling Expenses: ‘They’re Spineless, Misogynistic Hypocrites’

Fierce

AOC Calls Out the GOP for Their Silence on Trump’s Hairstyling Expenses: ‘They’re Spineless, Misogynistic Hypocrites’

MARIO TAMA / GETTY IMAGES

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is, once again, speaking out against the sexism and double standards she faces every day as a female politician.

On Sunday, The New York Times published a bombshell report exposing President Donald Trump’s long-concealed tax records. Not only did the article report on the miniscule amount Trump paid in federal income taxes in 2016, it also revealed that Trump wrote off $70,000 worth of hairstyling expenses while he was on “The Apprentice”.

Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter to respond to the reports of Trump’s opulent spending (as well as the GOP’s silence) with her usual panache.

“Last year Republicans blasted a firehose of hatred + vitriol my way because I treated myself to a $250 cut & lowlights on my birthday,” she wrote. “Where’s the criticism of their idol spending $70k on hairstyling? Oh, it’s nowhere because they’re spineless, misogynistic hypocrites? Got it.”

As a refresher, AOC was publicly dragged in 2019 when conservative outlets reported that the democratic-socialist congresswoman bought a “$300 haircut” in from a “pricey salon” in Washington, D.C.

Conservative outlets tried to paint Ocasio-Cortez’s $250 haircut as proof that she didn’t actually believe in her political ideals that involve protecting the poor.

“There is nothing wrong with spending money to make yourself look better, especially as a personality who depends upon visual mediums for her power,” said Richard Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government to conservative publication The Washington Times. “But it is a bad look to spend hundreds of dollars to get your hair done to make a video decrying income inequality.”

There was a public backlash to those who criticized AOC’s spending habits, though. “This would obvs never be a story about a man,” wrote one Twitter-user before adding: “If her hair was raggedy, that would be the lead story instead.”

It should be noted that Ocasio-Cortez did not use taxpayer money to fund her haircut. There is also no evidence that she wrote off the haircut as a business expense.

The misogyny AOC is referring to comes from the fact that conservative pundits were quick to call her (a female politician) vain when she paid for what they considered a “pricey” haircut while refusing to condemn Trump for spending much more money on his appearance.

These criticisms of her spending habits comes from deeply engrained sexist beliefs that all women care about is their looks. But Republicans seems to harp both on Ocasio-Cortez’s looks and spending habits more than her male colleagues’.

For example, Vice President Mike Pence didn’t get much push-back for spending $600,000 of taxpayer money to fund a limo trip to visit Trump’s golf course in Ireland.

But double-standards weren’t the only thing AOC called out via Twitter. She also blasted Trump for paying such a small amount in taxes when hardworking Americans are paying their fair share.

“In 2016 & ‘17, I paid thousands of dollars a year in taxes as a bartender,” she wrote. “Trump paid $750.”

“He contributed less to funding our communities than waitresses & undocumented immigrants,” she continued. “Donald Trump has never cared for our country more than he cares for himself. A walking scam.”

On his side, President Trump has never shied away at his ability to avoid paying taxes. When Hillary Clinton brought up his habit of not paying taxes in their 2016 debate, he shamelessly replied: “That makes me smart.”

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Lawmakers Call For Investigation Into Disinformation Campaign Aimed At Florida’s Latino Voters

Things That Matter

Lawmakers Call For Investigation Into Disinformation Campaign Aimed At Florida’s Latino Voters

H2Woah! / Flickr

A disturbing disinformation campaign is taking place in Florida and it is targeting the Cuban-American community. The racist insert in The Miami Herald recently brought a spotlight to the wide reaching disinformation campaign made to convince Cuban-Americans to stay loyal to the Republican Party.

Politicians are growing concerned about the increasingly aggressive disinformation campaign in southern Florida.

From Whatsapp clips to Facebook groups, there has been an aggressive and seemingly success disinformation campaign aimed at Cuban and Cuban-Americans in southern Florida. QAnon and conspiracies are mainstays in Spanish-language YouTube channels and other social media sites. The ads claim things as extreme as President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were secretly selling uranium to Russia.

The campaign to mislead Latino voters in one of the larget swing states is causing alarm.

“People see the videos and the disinformation so many times that it gets to them. They feel they can’t trust the media, and that’s the most worrisome part,” Democratic strategist Evelyn Pérez-Vedía told NBC News. “Now they call Spanish-language media fake news.”

Politicians are calling for an investigation into the disinformation campaign to end it.

Representatives Joaquin Castro and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell are calling on the FBI to launch a formal investigation. The disinformation is aiming to move Latino voters to President Trump. A recent influx of Puerto Ricans who fled natural disasters has put the Republican hold on the Florida Latino vote in jeopardy.

Rep. Murcasel-Powell is sounding the alarm that the disinformation situation in Florida is akin to the Russian influence of the past.

“As we rapidly approach election day, Latino circles in South Florida have witnessed a surge in posts containing false or misleading information on social media…While disinformation on social media is, itself, problematic, even more concerning is the fact that disinformation originating on social media is now shaping and pervading more traditional media outlets in South Florida,” reads a letter from Reps. Castro and Mucarsel-Powell “As the FBI works to secure our elections, we urge you to keep the Latino community in mind and consider efforts of foreign actors to spread disinformation and sow doubt in our election systems among Latinos, especially in South Florida.”

It’s a reminder that it is important to be critical of what you see in social media.

It is always very important to double check your sources and do your research. Don’t just believe everything you see on social media, even if it is something that your friends and family are sharing and talking about. It is also important to keep those you love accountable and let them know when they are sharing things that just aren’t true.

READ: Florida Republican Representative Shows Off Cuban Man He Claims Is His Stepson

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com