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Examining A Few 2020 Presidential Hopefuls

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After 2 years of muddling through the Trump Administration, Presidential hopefuls are confident they can break America out of the fog. As more contenders throw their hats into the ring, now is a good time to get to know your candidates and vet their qualifications.

Donald Trump

As we await the conclusion of the Mueller investigation, democrats, and an increasing amount of republicans, have expressed their fervent disapproval of the sitting Commander-In-Chief. Still, that has not stopped him from announcing his bid for re-election. Donald Trump believes he will claim certain victory, as there is only one elected president before him that has not received his party’s nomination. Regarding qualifications, Trump is sure his recent tax bill that inadvertently lowered expected refunds along with tax rates for 80% of Americans, according to the Tax Policy Center, will secure his second term. His life in-and-out of politics has been marred with controversy. Between a massive collusion scandal, a refusal to disclose his tax returns, and a glaring mistreatment of migrant children, Trump has more than proven he is incapable of the esteemed position. However, should the Mueller probe end successfully, Trump will see prison bars before he sees the Oval Office again.

Bernie Sanders

The self-proclaimed Democratic-Socialist has confirmed he is running for president in the 2020 elections. Famously admired among young voters, Bernie Sanders has a complicated relationship with the party he does not claim. Many blame Bernie Sanders for splitting the Democratic party during the 2016 elections. Running on a platform of progressive values, Bernie advocates for a livable minimum wage, Medicare for all, higher taxes for the rich, and aggressive measures to combat climate change. Registered as an Independent, it is unclear if Sanders will run within his 3rd party of if he will work to secure the Democratic Party’s nomination. Regarding scandal, Bernie was a target of a 2015 deal between the DNC and Hilary Clinton’s campaign as revealed by Former DNC interim Chairwoman Donna Brazile. The deal resulted in the DNC defaulting on the principle of supporting presidential candidates in equal fashion throughout the primaries. Ultimately this leak of information caused Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, then head of the DNC, to resign. The Vermont Senator also has a complicated voting record where his opinions on gun control waver and he was famously silent on issues regarding a wage gap and sexism during his 2016 campaign.

Kamala Harris

Announcing her run on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Harris is determined to make the jump from the Senate to the Oval Office. However, opinions vary on the former prosecuting attorney due to her record and relationship with the criminal justice system. Kamala is a Howard University alum that went on to study law at Hastings College. She advanced her career by becoming a fierce prosecuting attorney, securing the district attorney spot, and ultimately ascending to attorney general. Recently, Kamala made national waves while pressing Brett Kavanaugh during hearings ahead of his confirmation vote. Still, the fear of her enacting policies that would disproportionately affect marginalized communities lingers. Should she secure the democratic nomination, Harris would be the first African-American and Indian-American president as well as first female president.

Elizabeth Warren

Confident that she will help re-establish the middle class, Warren has announced her bid. The Massachusetts Senator has pledged to fight for structural change. Warren is an alum of both the University of Houston and Rutgers Law School. She is a progressive Democrat who champions for student loan reform. Having advocated for the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Warren is committed to fighting corporate capitalism. In 2018, Senator Elizabeth Warren made the mistake of releasing her DNA results in an effort to end insults made by President Trump who frequently called her Pocahontas. She previously exploited her Native American ancestry and listed herself as a minority professor at Harvard Law School.

This post will be followed with updates as individuals enter the race.

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Beto O’Rourke Admits Ancestors Owned Slaves, Talks Reparations

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Sunday, Beto O’ Rourke shared the discovery of he and his wife’s descendants from slave owners. Acknowledging their benefit from institutionalized chattel slavery, the Presidential hopeful owned his painful legacy while outlining several policies, which include reparations.

“We all need to know our own story as it relates to the national story, much as I am learning mine.”

Beto O’Rourke

In a post written for Medium, O’Rourke stated he was provided with documents showing his paternal and maternal great-great-great grandfather’s owned, slaves. Rose and Eliza, whose names were found listed in a property log, were enslaved by O’Rourke’s paternal ancestor, Andrew Cowan Jasper. But the discovery would uncover that not only did he descend from slave owners, but his wife also had as well. Discussing their personal connection to the legacy of slavery in the US, O’Rourke lamented what Rose, Eliza, and other enslaved Africans endured, were denied, and what repercussions their ancestors suffered.

“I benefit from a system that my ancestors built to favor themselves at the expense of others. That only increases the urgency I feel to help change this country so that it works for those who have been locked-out of or — locked-up in — this system.”

Beto O’Rourke

You cannot navigate life in the America of today without first acknowledging its racist foundations. From the moment the first nineteen enslaved Africans arrived in Jamestown, Virginia in 1619, the institution of slavery threaded them through a needle of cruelty and stitched them into the fabric of American society. Generations of Africans were denied their freedom, civil rights, and ability to amass wealth through a practice that forced them to push their White counterparts ahead. This advantage, hesitantly understood by O’Rourke, benefits him, his spouse, and his children while continuing to suppress the growth of Black families to this day. Still, Beto admits the wrongs of his ancestors while contemplating how he, as President, could enact policies to tip the scales.

“I will do everything I can”

Touching on the wealth disparity, Beto discussed the imbalanced incarceration rate and infant mortality rates between Black and White Americans. Seeing the nation as two Americas to be bridged, O’Rourke wants to rectify the economic, educational, criminal justice, and even technological biases that pervade our nation. Detailing his plan, Beto began with educational changes, providing $23 billion immediately to address underfunding in minority-majority public schools. With attention to economic biases, he plans to ensure equal pay and dispense capital to minority and women-owned businesses. With criminal justice being at the forefront of the conversation for many candidates and prospective voters, O’Rourke moves to end the drug war and expunging arrest records for nonviolent drug crimes. However, his stance on reparations, while he does support it, rests on Americans understanding of the country’s history before pursuing cash payouts.

The overall reception of Beto O’Rourke’s admission has been positive as he is being lauded for confronting his problematic legacy head-on. However, he is still being accused of performative activism. Detractors are labeling his recent discovery as a pandering attempt to garner votes from Black constituents.

Do you think this is a step in the right direction for Beto? Would you like to see this sort of genealogical research become a requirement for Presidential candidates?

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Federal Watchdog Agency Claims Kellyanne Conway Violated Hatch Act

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It has been recommended that Kellyanne Conway be removed from federal office for a violation of the Hatch Act. Defined as engaging in political activity in the course of one’s work, Conway’s continuous tv appearances and social media presence have gotten her called out by a federal watchdog organization.

The Office of Special Counsel made the recommendation that Kellyanne Conway be immediately removed from her position as the senior-most advisor to Donald Trump Thursday. In a lengthy report provided to Trump, the investigation described Conway as a repeat offender, violating the Hatch Act on numerous occasions. Through disparaging remarks to Democratic presidential candidates, to speaking in her official capacity in television appearance and on social media, Conway has crossed several boundaries. The implications that her actions violate the Hatch Act have been deemed “unprecedented.”

Special Counsel Henry Kerner noted that his suggestion to fire Conway was unheard of. However, the basis for his decision rests on the example set by Conway’s behavior. Discussing the recommendation in an interview, Kerner said, “In interview after interview, she uses her official capacity to disparage announced candidates, which is not allowed. What kind of example does that send to the federal workforce? If you’re high enough up in the White House, you break the law, but if you’re a postal carrier or a regular federal worker, you lose your job?” While many have called for Conway’s termination of employment since she assumed the role as his advisor in 2017, the decision rests solely upon Donald Trump.

In predictable fashion, the White House is refusing to accept the Special Counsel’s recommendation. Instead, they have issued a letter calling for the federal watchdog agency to withdraw the suggestion of Conway’s removal. However, the Office of Special Counsel immediately declined. They are choosing not to overlook Conway’s unethical behavior but cannot force the President to take action in their favor.

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Taraji Saving Black Lives

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UPI

Taraji P. Henson has been a leader in our community by shedding light on the reality of mental health for black youth. On June 7th, 2019, Henson testified on Capitol Hill during the Congressional Black Caucus Taskforce forum on suicide among black youth. Specifically, Henson brought the room into deep thought when she reflected on her own experiences.

Henson’s father Boris Lawrence Henson passed away in 2006. Prior to that, Henson’s son’s father was murdered in Washington D.C. Now, these two traumatic events have affected her but it has also fostered a wealth of issues for her son. As a result, things get worse when young people are not able to vocalize their hurt and pain.

In her statement, Henson stated, “We’ve been taught to pray our problems away.” Henson is making it known that in the African-American community we do not discuss mental health. Instead, we let our emotions build up. If the problem is not addressed it will always be there. There will be strings attached if one doesn’t confront what is holding them back from prospering in life.

Lastly, a few years ago, Henson launched the Boris Lawrence Henson foundation with a goal to eliminate any stigmas associated with mental health. Mental health should be normalized and it should be taught in schools just like Henson stated in her statement.

I recommend everyone to watch her statement.

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