Things That Matter

Beto O’Rourke Dropped Out Of The Presidential Race But Julián Castro Is Holding On

As the primary race draws closer, the restrictions on who is allowed on the debate stage are getting tougher. Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro had announced mid-October that if his campaign didn’t raise $800,000 by Halloween his campaign would be over. While fellow Texan Beto O’Rourke announced the end of his campaign on Oct. 31, Castro’s campaign successfully pushed to raise enough money to keep his campaign going. In fact, he announced that they raised over $1 million for the month of October, well above the campaign goal.

“We’re not going anywhere,” campaign manager Maya Rupert told Politico. “Julián will keep being a voice for the voiceless, and a champion for the Americans who have been left behind. We will keep lifting up important issues others choose to ignore, and demonstrating by example why Secretary Castro is the best candidate to take on Donald Trump.”

Castro implored his supporters to keep his campaign going.

Credit: @MauraBarrettNBC / Twitter

In an email sent out to supporters, Castro put it bluntly: “If I can’t raise $800,000 in the next 10 days—I will have no choice but to end my race for President. The truth is, for our campaign, these debates have offered our only guaranteed opportunity to share my vision with the American people. If I can’t make the next debate stage, we cannot sustain a campaign that can make it to Iowa in February.”

Beyond logistics, Castro acknowledged the integrity of the campaign donors. “I started this campaign on a shoestring budget in the neighborhood I grew up in. I didn’t grow up a frontrunner. I didn’t have personal wealth to pump into this race,” he wrote in the email. “And we’ve built this campaign without a cent from super PACS or billionaires.” 

The Mexican-American politician now needs to poll higher than 3 percent in four national polls to qualify for the next debate.

Credit: juliancastrotx / Instagram

With the funds needed to campaign in battleground states, Castro is better poised to meet that DNC qualification. He has the 165,000 donors required to qualify but is still polling in low single-digit numbers. According to FEC filings, Castro’s campaign only had about $672,000 on hand at the end of September. Money goes far in elections, but it isn’t the deciding factor for campaign longevity. Beto O’Rourke had $3.3 million on hand by the end of September, a significantly higher amount than Castro, and Beto conceded.

Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders remains the Democratic candidate with the highest sum of cash on hand, at a whopping $33.7 million by the end of September. Both Sanders and Castro refuse to accept donations from super PACS or billionaires. Trump, however, had a reported $83 million on hand by the end of September.

Even, AOC asked her supporters to make a contribution, though she’s endorsed Bernie Sanders for president.

Credit: @AOC / Twitter

On Nov. 1, Castro shared the good news from the backseat of a vehicle, saying, “I am so happy to announce today that, because of grassroots contributions from all over the country, we hit our $800,000 goal for the month of October.” Even better, he said, “We raised just over $1 million.” Castro effused gratitude as he spoke to the individual donors that make his campaign possible, “I just want to express my appreciation and say thank you to each and every one of you…Whatever you gave, I appreciate it. Thank you for believing in a campaign that is focused on lifting up the most vulnerable folks in our country and making sure that all of us can prosper in the years to come.”

The night before the deadline, Castro’s team hosted a call-a-thon to raise the remaining estimated $200k.

Credit: @juliancastro / Twitter

Of course, Castro’s campaign has a long way to go. He made sure to tell his supporters, “I also want you to know that this campaign, not only is it going to keep on going, but it continues to need your support. Spread the word. Talk to your friends, your family, your coworkers. We’re going to make a strong push to try and get onto the debate stage and go on. Take care.”

Halloween wasn’t so scary for Castro’s campaign after all.

Credit: juliancastrotx / Instagram

“THANK YOU!” Castro tweeted Friday. “With the help of tens of thousands of donors across the country, we reached our $800k fundraising goal—and crossed the $1M mark for the month of October. We’re going to keep pushing to make the debates and raise issues others won’t address. Thank you for your support.”

In response, one supporter tweeted, “You are very welcome! Keep fighting for racial justice in public policy hermano! We stand with you and your vision for humane and dignified treatment for our communities 🦋.”

READ: Julián Castro Is Rolling Out A $10 Trillion Plan To Fight Climate Change

Andrew Yang Didn’t Make The Last Democratic Debate, So Why Is He Trending So Hard?

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Andrew Yang Didn’t Make The Last Democratic Debate, So Why Is He Trending So Hard?

andrewyang2020 / Instagram

With the recent withdrawal of Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Julián Castro from the Democratic race, only one candidate of color remains: Asian-American entrepreneur Andrew Yang. The 2020 field made history as the most diverse to ever occupy a Democratic primary, and with Yang as the last POC standing, an undeniably homogenous (read: white) top tier looms on the horizon.

But it doesn’t have to! Yang is gaining some serious traction among young voters, raising more than $10 million of grassroots funding in the third quarter alone. And although he did not qualify for this month’s debate in Des Moines, Iowa, Yang dominated the trending section on Twitter as the event unfolded.

According to data from analytics firm Sprout Social, two of the top three trending hashtags were Yang-related: 12,221 tweets landed #YangGang in the No. 3 spot, while 24,244 tweets put #AmericaNeedsYang at No.1. ABC also reported Yang as the fourth most-tweeted-about candidate that night. And while it may seem a bit trite, this is a big deal—Andrew Yang wasn’t even present at the debate, yet he was so central to the conversation that his numbers superseded those of the candidates who actually made it to the stage.

And tbh, for someone who began as a truly fringe candidate—with no political experience to his name—Yang’s rising popularity is particularly noteworthy.

Credit: Gretchen Ertl / Reuters

While he still lags a few places behind forerunners Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders, Yang is finally starting to garner more attention among constituencies and in the media (according to the GDELT Project’s Television News Archive, Yang only received 2,065 media mentions in all of 2019, as compared to an average of 43,331 for Biden, Warren, and Sanders). To be sure, a lot would have to happen for Yang to break into the top four, but that potential is definitely growing as he gains more exposure across the country.

In conjunction with his broadening reach, it turns out that Yang’s policies appeal to a wide variety of voters, proving the #YangGang to be especially diverse. In a poll from Morning Consult—which surveyed more than 13,000 likely Democratic voters—Yang emerged with the largest share of supporters under the age of 45, most of whom are male and many of whom are Asian-American. While he hasn’t garnered as much attention from conservatives and Trump supporters as competitor Tulsi Gabbard, several voters from these groups gravitate toward Yang because he, like Trump, is a successful businessman—not a politician—and they believe that his lack of political experience might actually be beneficial to making innovative and necessary changes. Plus, he’s caught the attention of an ever-growing list of celebrities, with endorsements from comedian Dave Chappelle, billionaire Elon Musk,  actress Teri Hatcher and the indefinable Donald Glover, who’s been hired as a creative consultant for the Yang campaign.

But maybe you still don’t know much about Andrew Yang. You might be wondering: What is the hype about? Why is Yang so appealing to los jovenes? What is so radical about his platform, and why should I pay attention?

Of course, the answers to these questions are lengthy and nuanced, so we’ll try to highlight some of the most essential details here.

Yang’s background as a tech entrepreneur underscores his emphasis on the rapid development of automation in the workforce. He posits that automation threatens certain jobs as well as overall economic stability, and in response to his forecast of impending job displacement, he has proposed what he calls the “Freedom Dividend”: a universal basic income of $1000/per month to every US adult.

Credit: Getty Images

As the son of two Taiwanese immigrants, Yang supports DACA and wants to repeal Section 1325—the section of immigration law that makes illegally crossing the border a criminal offense. He has said that immigrants are often scapegoated for “stealing jobs,” but we should “blame machines” for that.

Credit: Yang Family

He affirms the undeniable influence of the internet, and is the only candidate to emphasize the importance of legislation that deals with data protection rights—asserting that users should have property rights to their data.

Credit: Joseph Cress / Iowa City Press-Citizen

Yang’s awareness of internet culture may be the reason he is resonating with so many young people. A master of memes and merch, Yang is taking advantage of all the media platforms he can, savvily navigating the digital world to extend his reach across the nation.

Credit: CBS Los Angeles

Of course, Andrew Yang’s campaign is much more extensive than what is listed above. As the Democratic race continues, this political outsider will continue to stand out from the rest—and not just because he’s the last candidate of color in the running. With a slogan like #HumanityFirst, it makes sense that people from all camps and demographics are flocking to Yang’s rallies to hear what he has to say about our country’s long list of issues.

As The Impeachment Trial Heats Up, Trump’s Defenders Start To Crack Under Pressure

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As The Impeachment Trial Heats Up, Trump’s Defenders Start To Crack Under Pressure

@themoteige / Twitter

On Dec. 18, just before Christmas, a gift arrived at the House of Congress, two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. After what seemed like an eternity of “will Trump ever be impeached?” the moment some Americans have been calling for finally came to fruition. Yet, the moment of justice against Trump was quickly fogged when Republicans began to attempt to derail the proceedings. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made it perfectly clear that articles of impeachment presented from the House chamber to the Senate chamber would be dismissed because no Republican would ever vote to impeach Trump. Then something magical happened. People started talking.

Almost a month after the House voted to impeach President Donald Trump, Rep. Nancy Pelosi finally sent the articles of impeachment to the Senate floor on Jan. 15 to begin the impeachment trial.

Credit: @speakerPelosi / Twitter

It took a while for Rep. Pelosi to get those articles of impeachment to the Senate, but many believed she had a strategic plan. After all, Sen. Mitch McConnell said he wouldn’t allow any witnesses or hear any new evidence. So, Rep. Pelosi must have had a plan, right? 

“In an impeachment trial, every Senator takes an oath to ‘do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws.’ Every Senator now faces a choice: to be loyal to the President or the Constitution,” Pelosi said in the letter, according to NPR. Rep. Pelosi also said she didn’t expect a fair trial. She proceeded, anyway. 

Democrats also announced they would have impeachment managers. Speaker of the House Pelosi named seven diverse lawmakers, including one Latina. 

Credit: @AlexNBCNews / Twitter

The seven lawmakers were picked because they have a legal background or expertise and also have served in Congress for decades. 

What’s remarkable about this diverse group of impeachment managers is that, as the New York Times notes, when President Bill Clinton had his impeachment trial in 1999, the impeachment managers back then were 13 white men. This time around, Trump is getting Rep. Adam B. Schiff, House Intelligence Committee chairman and lead manager, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, chair of the House Committee on House Administration, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, Rep. Val Demings, member of the Intelligence and Judiciary committees, Rep. Jason Crow, member of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Sylvia Garcia, member of the House Judiciary Committee. 

On the same day that the trial got underway — and the managers were sworn in, along with Chief Justice John Roberts, who will preside over the trial  — new revelations against Trump and others came roaring out of the TV.

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If you’ve been keeping up with the impeachment process, you should know that Trump’s being impeached for asking Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden’s son for corruption. That’s what all of this is about, Trump asking for personal favors to get dirt against a politician who is seeking to run for office. Trump has said many times that request was not a favor. Now, at least one person involved in the Ukraine exchange of information is throwing Trump and many others under the bus. If you need a full refresher of the entire mess, click here

Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump’s lawyer Rudi Giuliani, told multiple journalists that Trump’s request to get dirt on Biden was known by all.

Credit: @cnnbrk / Twitter

“Because of my Ukrainian background and my contacts there, I became like Rudy’s assistant, his investigator,” he told the New Yorker. “I don’t do anything on my own. I don’t lobby people. I go get information. I set up a meeting. I make sure that the call went right. I make sure the translation is done right.”

“President Trump knew exactly what was going on,” he told Rachel Maddow, “He was aware of all my movements … I wouldn’t do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani or the president.”

Even people who once said they never met Parnas, including Rep. Devin Nunes, finally admitted to having known Parnas.

Credit: @jennyrachelpal / Twitter

Just last month, Rep. Nunes said he wasn’t sure who Parnas was and added that he would never speak to random people. However, like many people connected to the scandal, Nunes has now admitted that he has talked to Parnas. Rep. Nunes went on Fox News to say that he did look back at his records and realize he had talked with him. 

“I didn’t remember the name. But I did remember going back, looking at where I was at the time. Because you know you can do that now,” he said, according to CNN. “You actually know where you physically are. Checked it with my records, and it was very clear. I remember that call, which was very odd, random. Talking about random things. And I said, ‘Great, you know, just talk to my staff’ and boom, boom, boom. Which is normal, standard operating procedure.”

Seems like the impeachment trial is just heating up and more information is casting doubt on Trump and his most ardent defenders.

READ: Kellyanne Conway Is Convinced That Americans Think the Impeachment Process is a Sham