Things That Matter

Many People On Twitter Are Angry At CNN For How They Managed Last Night’s Debate And The Candidates Agree

Wednesday’s Democratic debate was definitely more heated than some of the previous editions. Within minutes, several candidates were already lading attacks against those considered to be the front runners in the race, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

Harris took attacks for her “middle of the road” health care plan while Biden took shots from all sides on all sorts of issues from his record on crime, immigration, and abortion rights.

Here are some of the highlights from last nights blockbuster debate:

Many are saying that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris we’re the main event last night.

And if you watch most news coverage, you’d probably think the same. Each of them came under fire for previous performances and policies.

Thanks to a now-viral attack against Joe Biden on the part of Kamala Harris, when the two took the stage together, Mr. Biden shook her hand and joked, “Go easy on me, kid.” But she didn’t. And neither did anyone else. But despite that, Joe Biden came out performing much better in this debate than he did in the first.

Pretty much every candidate on last night’s stage came for Biden’s record. Julián Castro, the former housing secretary, on deportations; Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey on criminal justice; and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York on gender issues.

In his closing statement, he seemed to confuse a text message for a URL. “Go to Joe 30330

But Sen. Gillibrand also had her moment.

She landed one of the debate’s most memorable lines. “The first thing that I’m going to do when I’m president,” she said, “is I’m going to Clorox the Oval Office.” Twitter reported it was one of the top three most talked about moments of the night — and the only one not involving a dispute between two candidates. 

Fresh off a widely celebrated performance at the first debate, Julian Castro had a lot of pressure to keep the momentum.

And it appears that he was successful. Last night marked he second night the former San Antonio mayor has stood out — in a good way. He probably had the line of the night, hitting back on Biden with this hammer: “It looks like one of us has learned the lessons of the past and one of us hasn’t.” Castro was forceful and effective on immigration.

The challenge for Castro now is to qualify for the September and October debates, which could be a heavy lift given his polling thus far. If Castro can make these next two debates, he could really make noise in the race.

For Biden, much of the night was spent defending his record and the record of President Obama – and Biden didn’t seem too into it.

As A former Vice President, Biden is finding himself in the firing line of pretty much every other candidate for his policies and for the decisions of the previous administration.

And as the eldest candidate in the race, Biden has a long track record to critique – which his opponents are very skilled at doing.

And he wasn’t the only one who wanted to refocus the debate on Trump. Sen. Harris also wanted to pivot the conversation towards defeating Trump.

Sen. Kamala Harris seems eager to get to discussing Trump and how she can help not only defeat him in next year’s election, but also undo the damage he’s done on the country. However, not everyone is prepared to turn the conversation there.

Many at last night’s debate wanted to focus squarely on Harris’ record as California’s lead prosecutor, a position the senator has come under attack for in the past.

Perhaps in one of the most memorable moments last night, Tulsi Gabbard (HI) truly came for Harris. She said “I’m concerned about this record of senator Harris. She put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana.” She went on to say that Harris owed those arrested an apology.

It appeared that even Donald Trump Jr. had some thoughts on the debate.

And Comedy Central came back with the ultimate burn.

Many were upset that Puerto Rico didn’t come up even once during the debate.

Several people on Twitter were upset that in such a wide-ranging debate, not once did the topic of Puerto Rico come up for discussion. The island’s governor was just ousted in a popular uprising of massive protests after being implicated in several scandals. The island is still dealing with the aftermath of the 2017 hurricane season in which thousands died. And Puerto Rico is still in a strange legal relationship with the US in which it’s not a state but is subject to US laws and pays taxes without many of the benefits of statehood.

Many will be watching to see what happens in September’s debates as the debate season continues.

So far, only seven of the current 20+ candidates have qualified for the next round of primary debates. We could be looking at a much smaller stage the next time we see them.

After Andrew Yang’s Wife Comes Out With Her #MeToo Story, Eyes Are On Him

Things That Matter

After Andrew Yang’s Wife Comes Out With Her #MeToo Story, Eyes Are On Him

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.

The National Popular Vote May Be The Fastest Way To Get Rid Of The Electoral College

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The National Popular Vote May Be The Fastest Way To Get Rid Of The Electoral College

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We may not be able to get rid of the electoral college without a constitutional amendment but a new proposal known as the National Popular Vote (NPV) is picking up a lot of steam. 

The United States is supposed to be a democracy where voters choose their leaders. In the past two decades, the will of the people has been subverted by the will of the electoral college. Imagine how the country might be different had Al Gore, an environmentalist, who won the popular vote against George W. Bush, who started the disastrous Iraq war, was elected instead? Imagine if Hillary Clinton, who hasn’t been accused of sexual assault two dozen times, and beat Donald Trump by 3 million votes had secured her seat in the oval? 

15 states and the District of Columbia have already adopted NPV.

“As signatories, each jurisdiction pledges to select Electoral College members who support the presidential candidate who won the most votes nationally, regardless of which candidate won the most votes in that particular jurisdiction,” according to the Atlantic

NPV is an interstate compact that requires a certain level of commitment from neighboring states. The pact will go into effect when participating states total 270 electoral college votes (the required number for the president-elect). The 16 regions that have made the commitment are already at 196 electoral college votes. 

NPV is also making waves in state politics on a lower level. It appear state officials are paving a way to pass the pact.

“The National Popular Vote bill has now passed a total of 40 state legislative chambers in 24 states. It has also passed at least one legislative chamber in 8 states possessing 75 electoral votes (AR, AZ, ME, MI, MN, NC, NV, OK).  It has been unanimously approved at the committee level in 2 states possessing 27 more electoral votes (GA, MO),” according to NationalPopularVote.com.

The plan would not totally eradicate the electoral college but it would mean that state leaders have made a commitment to effectively ignore it. Voters often express conflicting attitudes about candidates: they really love one candidate, but question if they can win the electoral college. Proponents of NPV would argue such compromises have no place in a democracy and NPV can help eliminate the conflict altogether. 

NPV could solve two major issues with the electoral college.

There are two major longstanding issues with the electoral college. The first is that our system is based on the premise of “one voter, one vote.” However, the system is skewed in favor of voters in a few small states. Electoral votes are determined by the number of representatives in Congress which is determined by the state population. 

The Washington Post notes that while small states receive a minimum of three electoral votes, larger states have limits on how many electoral votes they can receive. 

” Wyoming, with 586,107 residents — gets three electoral college votes… Consider that California, the most populous state, has 39,144,818 residents and 55 electoral college votes,” according to the paper. “That means that in the electoral college, each individual Wyoming vote weighs 3.6 times more than an individual Californian’s vote.” 

The second issue is the “winner take all” effect, where no matter how small a margin of victory a candidate has, they take all the electoral votes. This means our election outcomes are determined by a few swing states. While some argue that a popular vote will hurt the Republican party, such detractors might ask why Republicans are unable to curry enough favor to win over most American voters. 

The electoral college also disenfranchises about 4 million voters who live on territories.

“Roughly 4 million Americans live in the United States’ five permanently populated overseas territories — and they have no voice in selecting a president. That includes Puerto Rico, the United States’ most populous overseas territory, whose population is larger than that of 21 states and the District of Columbia,” according to the Washington Post. 

While residents of the territories can participate in primaries (Marco Rubio won the Puerto Rican GOP primary by a landslide in 2016, for example), they have no electoral votes with the exception of Washington, D.C. 

“More and more, the United States is likely to elect presidents who haven’t won the popular vote — awarding the presidency to a party that has no popular mandate. The compromises behind the U.S. election system are failing at their goals,” Katy Collin wrote for the Washington Post

One of the original intentions of the electoral college may have been to give smaller states a voice, but it has essentially assured that smaller states are the only voices that matter when it comes to picking our most important leader.