Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images gop_convention_icon.jpg Morris Pearl, chair of the group Patriotic Millionaires , and John Pudner, executive director of Take Back Our Republic , took the stage on the “speaker’s platform” set up in Public Square, a few blocks from where the convention was being held at Quicken Loans Arena, and spoke about the need for reducing the influence of money in politics. Pearl was a managing director at BlackRock, one of the largest investment firms in the world, before turning full-time to campaign-finance reform work two years ago. Pudner spent decades as a Republican campaign strategist, having worked most recently on the campaign of Dave Brat who unseated then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, despite being outspent 26 to 1. Both Pearl and Pudner sat down with The American Prospect in Cleveland to discuss their shared effort to reform the U.S. campaign-finance system. This interview has been edited and condensed. T he Prospect : How are Republicans...
(Photo: Amanda Teuscher) Participants of the "Circle the City with Love" protest on a mile-long bridge in Cleveland, numbered in the thousands, spanning the entire mile-long bridge. gop_convention_icon.jpg E ven before the Republican National Convention came to town, and before a string of racially charged shootings in Baton Rouge and around the country, the majority-African American city of Cleveland was grappling with the issue of police violence against black men. The Cleveland Police Department is currently under a consent decree from the Justice Department, after a federal investigation found that its officers had a history of “unnecessary and excessive use of deadly force.” The investigation followed the November 2014 shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in a Cleveland park, among other incidents. Cleveland residents voice mixed feelings about whether widespread fears of convention violence are overblown, but the police department isn’t taking any chances. The city has...
The Obama administration faces mounting pressure from increasingly diverse quarters to halt the practice of controversial raids to deport undocumented immigrants.
The latest group to join the chorus of those demanding an end to the recent raids is a coalition of three-dozen lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender groups, which sent a letter Thursday to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. Johnson has said that “enforcement operations such as these will continue to occur as appropriate.” Two days of raids were carried out the first weekend of January and resulted so far in the detention of more than 120 people, most of them from Central America.
The negative impacts of the raids “are even more harrowing for LGBTQ immigrants that already report higher levels of violence and discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender identity,” stated the letter, which was signed by the Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, and Pride at Work, among others.
Earlier this week, nearly 150 House Democrats also sent a letter to the Obama administration, urging the president to stop the deportations and to “start working towards a solution that provides a practical and humane response to the mothers and children from Central America fleeing for their lives.”
The administration has defended the raids and deportations as necessary to deter an uptick in illegal border crossings in the months prior to the raids. Administration officials say the focus of the operations has been on immigrants who had “exhausted appropriate legal remedies” and have already been ordered to leave the country.
The dispute between Obama and members of his own party over immigration raids has also spilled over onto the presidential campaign trail. Senator Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley both condemned the raids last week, and Hillary Rodham Clinton chimed in on Monday, saying “the raids have sown fear and division in immigrant communities across the country.”
But the administration can at least count on support for its actions from the Republican candidates: After the plans for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids were leaked to the press late in December, Donald Trump tweeted, “Wow, because of the pressure put on by me, ICE TO LAUNCH LARGE SCALE DEPORTATION RAIDS. It’s about time!”
(Photo: Imaginechina/AP/Li zhongxian) Workers install solar panels in China. W orld leaders meeting in Paris this week and next face a monumental challenge: slashing global emissions by 40 percent by 2030, as recommended by the International Panel on Climate Change. In his new book, Greening the Global Economy , economist Robert Pollin contends that large-scale investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency will not only help countries meet those targets, but will stimulate the economy and boost employment around the world. The American Prospect spoke with Pollin about his research and about what needs to be done to stabilize the climate—for the planet, and for workers. This is an edited transcript of that conversation. Economist Robert Pollin, author of Greening the Global Economy . What led you to write this book and focus on green technology and environmental investment? The goal was to put down what I’ve been saying in these much more technical and lengthy studies into a...
University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe’s resignation Monday underscores how even in 2015, majority-white institutions remain potentially unsafe places for black students.
The events leading up to Wolfe’s resignation—the racist verbal assaults on campus, the swastika written in feces in a residential hall, and ultimately the administration’s inadequate response to students’ concerns—are all too familiar to longtime advocates of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
As Darrick Hamilton argues in the Fall issue of The American Prospect, tenacious campus discrimination demonstrates the ongoing and urgent need for HBCUs. Such institutions offer students an environment free both from institutional biases and overt hostility, Hamilton and his coauthors note. Yet HBCUs face the danger of extinction amid mounting financial strain.
“Despite the promise of integration, black students frequently report feelings of isolation and the burden of representing their race in alien spaces,” Hamilton writes. “Some spaces are not only alien, but explicitly hostile.”
In “Why Black Colleges and Universities Still Matter,” Hamilton and his co-authors describe recent incidents at other college campuses that, in the context of the recent Missouri scandal, have an eerily familiar ring. In December of last year, he notes, “members of the Clemson chapter of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity threw a gang-themed ‘Cripmas’ party. The university placed SAE on probation in April 2015 for two years.”
In March at the University of Oklahoma, the same fraternity made headlines after, as Hamilton describes it, “video surfaced of University of Oklahoma SAE chapter members singing, ‘There will never be a nigger at SAE. You can hang him from a tree, but he’ll never sign with me. There will never be a nigger at SAE.’ The chapter was immediately shut down, but the damage from this egregious case, which just happened to be caught on video, is done.”
Tensions at Missouri had been brewing for a while (for a timeline of the events, see here), but a catalyzing event was a September Facebook post from Missouri Students Association President Payton Head, written after passersby had called him the n-word.
It wasn’t the first time. A similar incident during Head’s sophomore year was what galvanized him to first seek student office.
“I realized I had a decision to make,” Head told the student news source The Maneater after the Facebook post went viral. “I could go back down South to the historically black college that was still offering me a scholarship, but then I realized, what would I be doing if I left?” he wrote. “This place is my home, but I want my home to be better.”
Only about 7 percent of Mizzou students are black. However, as Dave Zirin pointed out in The Nation, more than two-thirds of the school’s beloved football team, the center of a loyal sports culture and a huge cash cow, are black. It was those athletes who ultimately forced administrators to respond.
At historically black colleges and universities, discrimination takes a financial, if not a social toll. Loss of state support and declining revenues for public and private HBCUs are putting their existence at risk, Hamilton and his colleagues note. Private HBCUs received far less revenue per student than their traditionally white counterparts, and HBCUs rely more on government funding. Black students in turn rely more heavily on loans, many of them predatory or risky.
While the postwar GI Bill infused unprecedented amounts of money in higher education, blacks were still shut out of many historically white schools and had far more limited access to federal aid. The student group behind many of the protests at Missouri in the past few months is Concerned Student 1950, a reference to the first year the university admitted a black student. Sixty-five years later, disparities still exist.