Things That Matter

Bernie Sanders Taps San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz As Co-Chair For Presidential Campaign

Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz of San Juan has agreed to be one of four national co-chairs of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) 2020 presidential campaign. The news comes just days after the 77-year-old senator announced that he was running for president again after a bitter defeat in the 2016 Democratic Primary. The support from Cruz is huge news in terms of name recognition as the Democratic field of candidates keeps growing.

With the backing of Sanders,Cruz brings diversity, a progressive agenda and a well-documented opposition of President Donald Trump.

Some forget that real power stems from people’s will to change. @BernieSanders understands that a movement for financial, social, racial & environmental justice starts from the bottom up. Honored to co-chair with @ninaturner @RoKhanna and Ben Cohen the political revolution. pic.twitter.com/opss7vnwes— Carmen Yulín Cruz (@CarmenYulinCruz) February 22, 2019

Cruz agrees with Sanders on various platform issues like education, LGBTQ+ rights and environmental issues. She hopes that teaming up with Sanders will also shed light on issues that have plagued Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria hit back in 2017.

Cruz publicly clashed with President Trump in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, criticizing the administrations lack of response to the disaster. An estimated 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico due to Hurricane Maria including the weeks after the storm hit.

“This is personal. The president came and threw paper towels at us,” Cruz said in an interview with NBC News. “He continues to disregard the pain of people from Puerto Rico.”

While Puerto Ricans on the island cannot vote in the general election, despite being legal U.S. citizens, they will be able to vote in the primaries. With the support of the San Juan Mayor, Sanders is sure to gain some support in Puerto Rico.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, another Democrat running for president, joined Sanders in co-sponsoring legislation to help with the Puerto Rico’s $73 billion debt that it still deals with today.

“When it comes to Puerto Rico, I am confident that Bernie will help us usher a new path towards the resolution of many of the issues facing Puerto Rico including, but not limited to, a new relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States ensuring that with every step we forge a path to guarantee that all voices are heard and the will of the people of Puerto Rico sets forth the agenda.” Cruz said in a statement.

Having Cruz in Sanders’ corner means a high-profile Latina will have a voice in his campaign.

She has been one of Trump’s fiercest critics. Now San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz is one of 4 natl campaign co-chairs for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. https://t.co/twu75av1v6— NBC Latino (@NBCLatino) February 22, 2019

One of the biggest criticisms of Sanders campaign in 2016 was his lack of support from voters in the Latino and Black communities. While he did receive support from younger Latino demographics in some states, Cruz’s support might play a big role when it comes to states like Nevada and Puerto Rico.

Cruz doesn’t expect to just be talking to primarily Latino groups for the campaign. She said there will not any “walls that keep us in our corner because that will be ineffective.”

Cruz joins what has already become an increasingly diverse group backing Sanders.

To defeat Trump we must build a team prepared to fight for economic, social, racial & environmental justice. That’s exactly what @ninaturner, @RoKhanna, @CarmenYulinCruz and @YoBenCohen have been doing their entire lives. I’m excited to announce them as campaign co-chairs.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) February 21, 2019

Joining Cruz as co-chairs of the Sanders campaign is Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner (D) and Ben Cohen, a co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. The appointment of Khanna and Turner are significant not only because of the progressive policies they bring but the diversity they present to Sanders campaign.

Sanders recently made headlines with his campaign manager pick. The Daily Beast reported that Sanders had hired Faiz Shakir, the national political director of the American Civil Liberties Union, for the head position. Shakir is likely to be the first Muslim American to head a major presidential campaign.

While the 2020 elections are still more than a year away, things are certainly gearing up on the Democratic side. At this time, there are 14 confirmed Democrats running for congress.

READ: Here’s Why You Need to Know Rep. Adriano Espaillat, The First Undocumented Immigrant in Congress

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

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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.

CNN Is The Big Loser Of Last Night’s Democratic Debate After All Hell Breaks Loose Between Bernie And Warren

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CNN Is The Big Loser Of Last Night’s Democratic Debate After All Hell Breaks Loose Between Bernie And Warren

CNN / YouTube

If you were watching the Democratic Debates live last night you may have noticed one trending hashtag #CNNisTrash. Many Twitter users felt that CNN flubbed the debate asking leading questions to each candidate, particularly progressives like Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren, and barely touching subjects like climate change, gun control, police brutality, and reproductive rights. 

The crassest part of the evening was the CNN moderator stoking the media-incited rivalry between allied progressives Sanders and Warren. The two appeared to have entered frenemy territory this week when it was revealed Sanders’ volunteers were using negative talking points about Warren while canvassing. Then four sources leaked to CNN that Sanders told Warren a woman couldn’t win the presidency in 2018. 

CNN asked both senators about the former incident, which many felt was an attempt to pit progressive candidates against each other and distract from real issues. 

Democratic debate so white.

With Senator Cory Booker dropping out of the race, Andrew Yang and Deval Patrick are the only non-white candidates in the running but they did not qualify for the debate.  While the primary started out with its most diverse set of candidates, only the whitest and wealthiest have been able to garner enough support to stick out the excruciatingly long election season.

Time and time again, experts have pointed out that the primary process too often favors wealthy white males over women and non-white candidates. 

Sanders and Warren refused to take CNN’s bait last night.

Moderator Abby Phillip first asked Sanders about the sexist comment. Sanders denied ever making it. Rather than attacking Warren, he pivoted to the fact that Hillary Clinton won the nomination (over him no less) and that she won the popular vote. 

“Well, as a matter of fact, I didn’t say it. And I don’t want to waste a whole lot of time on this, because this is what Donald Trump and maybe some of the media want. Anybody who knows me knows that it’s incomprehensible that I would think that a woman cannot be President of the United States,” Sanders said. 

Warren maintained her account of events without attacking Sanders.

“I disagreed,” she said. “Bernie is my friend, and I am not here to try to fight with Bernie. But, look, this question about whether or not a woman can be president has been raised, and it’s time for us to attack it head-on.” 

Warren made a salient point about women’s ability to win elections when they choose to run. 

“Look at the men on the stage – collectively they’ve lost 10 elections,” Warren said. “The only people on this stage who have won every single election that they’ve been in are the women. Amy and me.” 

She also noted that she and Senator Amy Klobuchar are the only candidates to beat republican incumbents in roughly 30 years.

#NeverWarren is the number one trend in the U.S.

Some Sanders supporters appear unable to take the lead from their candidate of choice. A behind the scenes moment where Warren and Sanders have a tense conversation has caused many followers to speculate about what was said. Some Sanders supporters say Warren refused to shake his hand.

Twitter has since been flooded with accusations that Warren lied about Sanders’ 2018 comment (with little evidence) and #NeverWarren is now trending. Sanders’ more reasonable followers have chalked things up to a misunderstanding between two friends.

Could all of this anti-Warren drama be due to Russian influence?

Either way, Warren is on the receiving end of a great deal of vitriol which many believe is a coordinated effort by Russian bots to stoke division since neither progressive can win the nomination without the support of the other. A Warren or Sanders presidency will mean bad news for Russia. 

CNN’s questions made them the big losers of the night.

There is much criticism of how political pundits cover elections like a horse race or a soap opera, looking for soundbites, drama, and conflict rather than covering policy and the real stakes for American people. Twitter users seemed to agree that CNN’s democratic debate was by far the worst yet. 

CNN did not address the conservative court-packing of federal judges who are often rated as not qualified for their lifetime appointments. 

CNN did not talk about the president’s unsettling behavior which many believe to be is Trump’s mental unraveling

Why is everyone so intent on not mentioning the obvious dangers that the current president and his administration pose to the country and the world?

Many question the entire debate process after it’s quite obvious the media doesn’t treat progressive politicians and policies in the same way it does long standing traditional ones.

But perhaps the biggest cause of ire was the constant questions about how Democrats will pay for basic entitlements like universal healthcare, childcare, and college with little interrogation about how the government always manages to allocate billions for endless wars and walls. 

Many felt that rather than using the debate as a tool to inform the American people, the moderators were instead reinforcing conservative talking points. 

The general reception of the debate was that the candidates kept their cool and were cordial to one another, despite CNN’s repeated attempts to court drama. 

The candidates won the debate by dodging leading questions and centering their policies and vision for America.