Categories
Latest News USA

Supreme Court – An Endangered Species

By

Neera Kuckreja Sohoni

 

On February 5, 1937, President Franklin Roosevelt announced his plan to expand the Supreme Court to 15 judges. He was saved the infamy of actually implementing the plan because some members of the Court switched their support to enable a slim majority opinion upholding the constitutionality of presidential authority and of the laws whose legality the court had questioned.

The Biden administration has sought to do the same with some House Representatives announcing the crafting of a bill which, if passed, will expand the Court to 13 justices from the conventional nine.

Coming 84 years later, Biden seems committed to live up to his worthy predecessor’s record. Their deliberate effort to expand the court in order to make it pliable and more amenable to the ruling party’s agenda makes both presidents’ actions highly suspect and demoralizing. The latter because it implies that both the Constitution, and the foundational principle of US democracy – i.e. separation of powers – are no longer sacrosanct. Worse, American democracy in its genetic and inherited form is discardable.

Roosevelt enjoyed such a massive public mandate that he felt the Court and its judges must either fall in line with his policies or have their judicial interpretation and overruling power diluted. His peeve arose from his experience. During the previous two years, the court had struck down several key pieces of his progressive New Deal legislation on grounds that the laws delegated an unconstitutional measure of authority to the executive branch and to the federal government.

Democrats coincidentally feel similarly peeved with the Republicans’ refusal to allow Senate’s consideration of Obama’s judicial nominee to the court towards the end of the Obama presidency. Republican Senators then wrongfully claimed the high moral ground asserting that the right to fill a court vacancy should accrue to the incoming rather than the out-going president. Republicans added insult to injury when they brazenly went ahead to do exactly that and connived to hustle Justice Amy Barrett’s nomination and addition to the court at the tail end of Trump’s presidency.

Heady with his landslide reelection in 1936, Roosevelt had smugly decided he could not brook any opposition from judiciary’s mandarins. He therefore proposed retirement at full pay for all members of the court over 70, further providing that if a justice refused to retire, an “assistant” with “full voting rights” was to be appointed – presumably one committed to rubberstamp Roosevelt’s initiatives. This brazen effort to ensure a liberal majority court partial to the Roosevelt agenda enraged politicians of opposing leanings including some Democrats, and left many sections of the public disenchanted, leading critics to condemn his ‘court packing’ plan.

Biden’s executive order announced on April 9, 2021 laid the ground for his similarly scheming venture.  The order sets up a Presidential Commission composed of not more than 36 members drawn from constitutional scholars, retired members of the Federal judiciary or familiar with it, tasked to examine the court’s functioning and recommend reforms. Seemingly benign, the Commission is the trojan horse to provide a rationale for the intended coup against the high court’s authority. With barely any diehard conservatives and non-Biden donors serving on it, the Commission’s findings are unlikely to be eclectic.  

Rather than await the findings of this suspect almost entirely Democrat and liberal leaning Commission, some progressive Democrats in the House decided to jump the gun. Seizing the day (April 15, 2021), standing on the footsteps of the Supreme Court building, they announced the intended introduction of their bill in the House asking for 13 justices. The choice of that location alone can be perceived as intimidation of the court. 

Neutralizing the court is one thing and vicious enough. Far more lethal is to neuter it. And Biden’s and Democrat’s plan to tamper with the court, especially without popular mandate, makes it autocratic and egregious. Whereas Roosevelt came in to his second term with a landslide victory, Biden is thinly supported with a barely noticeable majority in the House and a 50:50 Senate entirely dependent on the Vice-President’s assured casting vote. That reflects an equally divided nation. Yet Biden seems to act as though he is not merely riding the crest of a wave but has the entire ocean behind him.

The Democrats’ court packing game is being sequentially played on three fronts. First, Biden’s order unveils his intention to get an outside expert commission’s verdict on court expansion, knowing fully well that the composition of the commission guarantees the desired outcome, i.e., the court’s expansion. The Executive order is followed shortly by four Democrat Representatives publicly announcing the initiation by them of the court expansion bill, and laying bare Democrat grievances that necessitate an “unpacking” of the “Republican-packed” court. Disgusted with Trump and fearing the outcome of the conservative leaning court, they made sweeping unfounded allegations against the court, brazenly indicting the conservative justices currently serving on the court. That theatric announcement was quickly followed by Pelosi publicly asserting that she had no intention of bringing the bill to the floor for a vote, and would await the commission’s findings.

One can bet Pelosi will retract soon enough and go with the flow. Biden or Pelosi unfortunately follow a similar approach of claiming to do one thing but doing the opposite. Hence the skepticism they rightly spawn equally among independent observers, opponents, and supporters.

It is worth pondering why are democrats in such a hurry to pack the court and broadly, to seal all doors to democracy? From crafting, tabling or egregiously passing generous immigration and electoral bills that make voting open to all and sundry and not exclusively to citizens, or throw open doors to hordes of illegal immigrants – luring them to immigrate in return for bounties of free accommodation, healthcare, subsistence assistance, and unemployment compensation – democrats at state and federal levels are ensuring a gullible, grateful and guaranteed voter base not only in the immediate but also in the distant futures.

With thousands of immigrant children and youth and millions of adults welcomed by Biden to live, work and access public services freely without verification or law-abiding requirements, which immigrant for the rest of this century will dare to not vote for Democrats?  And why would their children and grandchildren ever choose to deviate and leave the democrat tent?

We would be fools not to expect that well before the next mid-term elections, Democrats will have ensured that both, the mass of voters as well as the Supreme Court are in their pocket.

.

Ms. Sohoni is a freelance writer and published author.

Read More
Categories
Latest News US Election Special

Trump stands for America, prosperity and freedom

Exclusive to The SATimes

By Christopher Hyland

Deputy Political Director for Ethnic Constituencies – 1992 Clinton for President Campaign

 

President Trump leads America to social, international and economic achievement exemplified by: Federal prison reform resulting in thousands being released from Biden supported draconian Clinton era laws; Middle East and Kosovo/Serb Peace; and the highest levels of employment, pre Covid-19, in decades. By stark contrast a destructive, leftist Democrat Party attempts, by the use of urban terrorism, false propaganda and intimidation, to reorientate the American people to alien Marxist Leninist, state knows best, state controls all, fear what you say, fear your neighbor government, the very same type of radical government which enslaved much of Europe until recently, and still does so in Venezuela and, most notably, in Communist China where state/crony capitalism, which has enveloped Joe Biden and his family, rules with a brutal hand. Only President Trump challenges this “odious apparatus”.

 

Democrat Party leaders have given their tacit approval, encouraged and support to months of terrorism in our cities where mostly small and minority businesses have been destroyed-up to 2 billion dollars worth-lives and livelihoods lost. They threaten national security, all while injuring our image abroad.

 

Justified protest over the egregious death of Mr. George Floyd and the unfortunate deaths of others, now and historically, has been commandeered by ideological extremists whose only goal, as CNN’s Don Lemon expressed it well, is to “blow up the entire system”, starting with the U. S. Constitution. They seek to destroy the very laws that should be protecting Mr. Floyd and all of us.

 

Democrats, in one way or another, are seriously hell bent on undermining our hard won 1st (freedom of speech), 2nd (right to bear arms), 4th(right to grand jury), 5th (right against unnecessary search), and 6th (no religious requirement to hold a job) Amendment rights. Lest we forget, they also want to stack the Supreme Court (Justice Ginsburg explicitly against), add further states, and do away with the Electoral College. They support defunding the police in order to undo American society by fostering anarchy. They seek, and succeed in having citizens removed from their jobs for opposing them. These tactics are straight out of radical ideologue Saul Alinsky’s 13 “rules for radicals”, 5 of his 13 points lifted directly from Nazi Socialist propagandist Joseph Goebbels. So intimidated are moderate, patriotic Democratic leaders that not a single voice of serious protest against this anarchy has been raised. Rigidly in line, Democratic Party leadership supports this soulless Marxist movement. They choose to fight injustice by espousing more injustice, when it is best to fight for the Constitution and the realization of greater equity for all citizens under it.

 

The Democrats have been following Alinsky’s directive to “organize hell”, tearing our society apart, while Trump builds and improves. Their support for the defund the police movement and denying citizens the right to arms is classic Marxist, the central state assuming control for all. These moves, and others, serve to undo confidence in existing national, local and personal security. Kerensky, who led Russia just before Lenin, told me that it only takes a few hundred ideologues to strike fear in a country and destabilize it. Rosemary Springer, whose father was tried and convicted at Nuremberg, told me, in long conversations, that Hitler destabilized by fear and by totally undoing the local police forces, and Martin Luther King told me to “Look evil in the eye and give it no succor”.

 

Marxism, founded by avowed racist Karl Marx, is disdainful of almost everything Americans hold dear, the most important of which is our, ever improving Democracy and our beloved U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. That Democratic leaders, among them Senators Chuck Schumer, Kamala Harris, Diane Feinstein, and Joe Biden, Congresspersons Pelosi, Nadler, Schiff, Engle, Waters and others either collude — or give their tacit approval by their silence — with avid Marxists and other extremists and their numerous efforts to undermine government is shocking. It is pure evil that must be given no succor. The Democratic Party Left has lost control, lost balance, lost their way.

 

Countless Americans, or their forebears, fled the same radical leftists who are now plaguing our country and increasingly controlling the Democratic Party. Others fled national socialist Nazis and tyrannical monarchies. Those who arrived in America as indentured servants and slaves, however dreadful the persecution and difficulty of the journey, became increasingly part of the American promise of equity for all, the narrative ever holding better promise of fruition.

 

Americans do not seek oppressive ideologies to rule us, having historically fled them, risen against them to attain freedom, reaching America, from within or without, for the sweet promise of democracy. Marxist intimidation, or any semblance of it, as seen in the bullying and frightening moves against citizens of opposing opinion serves the nefarious political and business interests of Chinese state/crony capitalism whose principal goal is to destabilize America.

 

The Democratic Party and Biden have lost their way in pursuing and advocating for the “odious apparatus” of state/crony capitalism. In total contrast, President Trump leads America affirming economic stability, freedom, and democracy.

Read More
Categories
Latest News USA

Hope Biden will end country cap for H-1B visas: Democrat Indian American lawmakers

Washington, DCIndian-origin lawmakers during a recent virtual summit expressed hope that a Biden administration would remove the country cap on legal permanent residency in the United States.

A Green Card, officially known as a Permanent Resident Card, is a document issued to the immigrants in the US that allows a non-US citizen to live and work permanently in America.

Indian IT and medical professionals, most of whom are highly skilled and come to the US mainly on the H-1B work visas, are the worst sufferers of the current immigration system which imposes a seven per cent per country quota on allotment of the coveted Green Card for permanent legal residency.

Professionals from India with H-1B visas are facing a delay of decades to get their Green Card.

One of the original co-sponsors of the Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act, Democratic Congressman from Illinois Raja Krishnamoorthi said that removing the per country cap from employment-based Green Cards would remove the Green Card backlog for Indian IT professionals, who are being brought here often to fill the shortages in the IT industry.

“I’m hopeful that under a Joe Biden administration, we’re finally going to be able to get this legislation through the Senate, and then signed into law and of course, as part of a comprehensive immigration reform package as a whole,” Krishnamoorthi said during a virtual panel discussion with three other Indian-origin lawmakers — Dr Ami Bera, Pramila Jayapal and Ro Khanna — at the day-long IMPACT Summit.

The discussion was moderated by former US Ambassador to India Rich Verma.

Congresswoman Jayapal, who is vice chairman of the House Immigration subcommittee, said that they have been working on a number of immigration-related issues including making sure that the spouses of H-1B workers are able to work in the US.

It includes addressing undocumented workers, a number of whom are Indians. Referring to a recent report, she said that 6.5 per cent of Indian-Americans are living below poverty lines.

Probably for the first time, the four Indian-origin lawmakers, popular as Samosa Caucus, were having a virtual panel where congressman Khanna said that he really believes that the Indian-American community can “be decisive” in swing states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Read More
Categories
Latest News USA

2020 is special for Indian Americans in US politics

By Yashwant Raj

Donald Trump recently said he has “more Indians” than Kamala Harris, the Indian-descent Democratic nominee for vice-president. His campaign released a video of him with Narendra Modi at the “Howdy Modi” and “Namaste Trump” events, cheered by stadiums packed with Indians (and those of Indian descent).

The Biden-Harris campaign was already on it, building on Harris’ part-Indian heritage to further consolidate its hold on the Indian-American community that has traditionally voted Democratic, through outreaches headlined by top campaign officials. It also rolled out a two-pronged agenda for a Biden administration — one part dedicated to relations with India and the other to the welfare of Indian-Americans. It was an unparalleled effort, and exhaustive in scope.

Indian-Americans haven’t felt so politically coddled — empowered, you can also say — before. “We have arrived, says some. Others call it the “coming of age.”

It’s been a long journey, from the Luce-Celler Act of 1946 that allowed Indians to become naturalized Americans, clearing their way for politics. In 1956, Dalip Singh Saund, a California farmer-judge-politician, who helped organize that effort, was elected to the US House of Representatives, becoming the first Indian-American elected to the US congress. There are five now, including Harris, collectively called, by some, the “Samosa Caucus”. Indian-Americans have also won an increasing number of state-level positions, including two governorships.

Year 2020 is more special. The community believes it can make a difference. Both the Trump and Biden campaigns agree.

With an estimated 1.8 million eligible voters, Indian-Americans form a tinier than tiny part of the US electorate. But they look heftier because of their weighted equity in battleground — also called swing — states won or lost by slim margins in close contests. Just three of them swung it for Trump in 2016 — Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin; by 0.2, 0.7 and 0.8 percentage points respectively.

Democrats are eyeing the 1.3 million Indian-Americans that live in eight states that they believe are in play this time: Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — the above three — and Arizona, Texas, Florida, North Carolina and Georgia. The Trump campaign is looking at Indian-Americans in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Florida.

Indian-Americans have historically favored Democrats. But only 50% of the registered voters among them identified as Democrat, in a survey of Asian-American voters in the run-up to the 2018 mid-term elections; 18% identified themselves as Republicans; and the rest 32% were “non-identifiers”. But two-third of them — 66% — disapproved of Trump’s performance as president and 28% approved.

Does Trump have “more Indians”, as he has claimed, than Senator Harris? Only a poll can determine that. But the newly empowered community is clearly enjoying the attention it is getting, with the promise of plenty more in 2024, when, as is being excitedly speculated, it might be Harris versus Nikki Haley.

Read More
Categories
Articles Latest News USA

How will Biden’s plan on climate crisis impact India?

By Bharati Chaturvedi

Joe Biden has reworked his climate crisis plan, under pressure from younger activists and workers in the United States, to make it ambitious and more result-oriented. He acknowledges that the economy and environment are interconnected.

According to the Washington Post, Biden’s new plan calls “for the elimination of carbon pollution from the electric sector by 2035, for the US to rejoin the international Paris climate accord and spend $2 trillion over four years to boost renewables and create incentives for more energy-efficient cars, homes and commercial buildings”.

But, for India — and other developing countries — the question is about what America will do about its historic emissions. The climate crisis is largely because of the emissions from the wealthy nations over the years. Small Island Nations are extraordinarily vulnerable-some might even disappear. There’s also India-severely impacted, as freak climate events here have shown.

Ideally, nations historically guilty of inflicting this on us and others should finance our efforts to adapt to and mitigate climate change — this is germane to the Equal but Differentiated Responsibilities. But Biden’s plans focus on the US.

This is not fine for a country that calls itself a global leader. One hopes that Biden will detail this, although it is likely to be unpopular with Americans in the current economic scenario. A Presidential candidate is already a global face.

Their plan must reflect how they intend to empower India and other countries to combat the crisis.

 (The writer is the Founder and Director of the Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group)

Read More
Categories
Articles International Latest News USA

MEENA’S MASKS ADVISE ON WHO TO VOTE FOR

by Melvin Durai

Bring everyone in the neighborhood together to support one candidate through masks?
It was true that finding agreement was hard  even to get everyone to agree on which day to have a yard sale — and even harder on political issues. But Meena was determined to prove her husband wrong. A short story.

It was Mukund’s idea.

“Why are you just sitting around?” he said to his
wife one morning during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Why don’t you do something? It is good to keep
busy. That is what they say.”

“Who says that?” Meena responded. “Is it the people
who are unable to relax? If they want to be busy,
let them be busy. But I like to relax. Is that
okay, Mook?”

As if to emphasize the point, she propped her legs
on the coffee table, grabbed the remote and turned
on Netflix. “Time for some Nadiya Hussain,” she said.

Mook sighed. “Not her again. You have watched her cook
so many dishes, but I haven’t seen you cook even one
of them.”

“Yes, it’s true,” she said. “And you have watched so
many football games, but I haven’t seen you run after
a ball even once.”

Mook smirked, pushed himself off the couch and limped
to the kitchen to refill his coffee mug. He had pulled
a muscle during his daily exercise routine: searching
the front yard for the newspaper. The delivery person
seemed to throw it to a different spot every day.

As the coffee machine heated up, he picked up the
Lafayette Journal & Courier from the dining table,
unrolled it and scanned the headlines. He returned to
the living room, placed the paper on Meena’s lap with
the “Life” section facing her and pointed to an article
at the top. “How to Sew a Quick and Easy Cloth Face
Mask,” the headline said.

“I already know how to sew a face mask,” Meena said.
“It is not hard at all. I’ve seen many patterns online.”

“Then why aren’t you doing it? Why is the sewing machine
gathering dust?”

“It’s not gathering dust. I have a cover for it.”

“But it’s just sitting there, occupying space in our
basement. When was the last time you put it to good
use?”

“I made those flannel pajamas for you, remember?”

“Oh yes, during the Reagan Administration.”

“Stop it! We didn’t even know each other then.”

“Why don’t you use it again and make some masks?”

“But everyone is making masks.”

Well, it wasn’t literally true that everyone was
making masks, but on almost every street in the
neighborhood, someone seemed to be making masks and
placing them on a table outside for sale. At the end
of Hillcrest Road, several houses down from their
two-story home, a middle-aged lady was selling masks
with sports logos on them, mostly Boilermakers, Colts
and Cubs. Mrs. Freeman on the next street was selling
striped, checked and polka-dotted masks. A senior
citizen on Ravinia Road, which ran all the way through
their Hills & Dales neighborhood, was selling masks
with blue-and-purple flowers on them, promoting them
with a sign that said: “Share Irises, not viruses.”

“You need to come up with a unique mask,” Mook said.
“Maybe you could put something scary on the mask, so
people will keep their distance.”

“A picture of Donald Trump?”

“No, no, that would not work. So many people like him
in this state.”

“So the masks would sell well, wouldn’t they? I could
write ‘Trump-Pence 2020’ on them, sell thousands of
them and we could retire to Florida.”

Mook knew she was just joking. Why would anyone want
to retire to Florida? Mook would rather stay in Indiana,
where the winters could be quite cold, but greatly
minimized the chances of running into an alligator or
snake.

“What about Biden? You could sell masks to his
supporters, too.”

“He has not yet chosen a running mate. But he says it
will definitely be a woman.”

“You could put ‘Biden-Woman 2020’ on the masks and sell
many of them, too.”

Meena smiled. “Maybe I shouldn’t get so political. We’re
all in this together. Coronavirus does not distinguish
between Republicans and Democrats.”

“Yes, that’s true. Imagine if it just wiped out all
the …”

Meena didn’t let him finish. “You shouldn’t even joke
about things like that. Life would be so boring if we
didn’t have people to argue with.”

If all her friends had the same beliefs, their Facebook
discussion group would not have so many comments. She had
friends who were Republicans and friends who were
Democrats, as well as friends who acted like Democrats
one day and Republicans another day. Mary, one of her
closest friends, was a Republican who had voted for Obama
in 2008, then for Romney in 2012, and was now trying to
erase from her memory whom she had voted for in 2016. She
deemed it the second-worst mistake of her life, but only
because her marriage to her first husband lasted more
than four years.

Mary’s voting history didn’t make any sense to Meena.
But then again, it didn’t make any sense to her that
Mary had nine cats. Meena preferred dogs — she had a
beagle named Cody — and though she would never tell Mary
this, she would be reluctant to vote for anyone who had
nine cats. Even stranger than having nine cats were the
names Mary had chosen for them: Felicity, Serenity,
Charity, Clarity, Dignity, Purity, Affinity, Fidelity
and Sanity.

Everyone in the neighborhood knew Dignity, for the
orange-and-brown cat had gone missing for two weeks the
previous summer and Mary had plastered every pole in
the neighborhood with fliers that said, “Reward Offered
for Anyone Who Returns My Dignity.”

“Maybe I should have a unified message on my masks,”
Meena said. “‘We’re in this together’ or something like
that.”

“Nobody will buy it. Well, some people might, but it
won’t sell well. People like to support particular
candidates, not sit on the fence.”

“Then maybe I could bring everyone in the neighborhood
together to support one candidate.”

Mook chuckled. “Everyone supporting one candidate? That
will never happen. We can’t even get everyone in this
neighborhood to agree on which day to have a yard sale.”

It was true that finding agreement was hard — and even
harder on political issues — but Meena was determined
to prove him wrong. That afternoon, just after 5 p.m.,
she picked up Mary and drove to Michaels, where they
bought enough cloth and elastic to make 50 face masks.
They spent the entire evening making masks. Mary
measured and cut the fabric and elastic, while Meena
operated the old sewing machine. They used a fabric
marker to write messages on every mask. Mook came down
the stairs to look at the masks, but Meena shooed
him away, telling him to order pizza for everyone.

The next morning, she and Mary set up a table in the
front yard and, within three hours, sold 44 masks for
$5 each. They kept masks for themselves and their
husbands, and Meena kept two more for her teen-aged
children.

“I knew I could get everyone to support one candidate,”
she said, handing Mook his mask. “I just knew it.”

“You were right,” he said with a smile, putting
the mask over his nose and mouth.

Meena and Mary had made the masks using cloth printed
with pictures of an orange cat. On one side of the mask,
they had inscribed the message:  “Vote for Dignity.” On
the other side, they had written, “Dignity-Sanity 2020.”

thesatime | The Southasian times


Melvin Durai is an Indiana-based writer and humorist who was
born in India and raised in Zambia. He has also published a novel titled ‘Bala Takes The Plunge’

Read More
Categories
Latest News USA

Biden to accept presidential nomination at scaled-back convention

Washington: Former Vice President Joe Biden will accept the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination in person at a nearly all-virtual convention in Milwaukee this August, the Democratic National Committee (DNCC) said on Wednesday.

Biden’s campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said the former Vice President would “proudly accept” the party’s nomination at the scaled-back convention, The Hill news website said.

The DNCC also said a “process is being developed” to ensure all delegates can cast their votes on matters, including the presidential nomination, remotely during the convention.

“Everything is on the line this November, which is why we must find creative and forward-looking ways to organize, mobilize, and unite our party around our shared values at the convention so that we can launch Joe Biden to victory this fall,” The Hill news report quoted Joe Solmonese, CEO of the Democratic National Convention, as saying.

The DNCC had initially planned the nominating convention in July in Milwaukee but it was postponed due to COVID-19 to give planners more time to determine the best structure for the event.

The move is in complete contrast to the Republican National Committee convention to be held in Jacksonville, Florida, where attendees will undergo temperature checks and follow social distancing norms. President Donald Trump will accept the party’s nomination in person.

Wisconsin, a battleground state, was won by Trump in 2016 and now Democrats are seeking to reclaim it in November.

Earlier this month Biden, 77, clinched the Democratic nomination after former rivals including Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren dropped out and endorsed him.

Read More
Categories
Latest News New York

New York set for primary polls on June 23

New York: One of the traditionally Democratic US states, New York is set to hold its primary polls on Tuesday.

Most of the party’s candidates who win their respective races in these primaries will be guaranteed a victory in the November presidential election over their Republican rivals.

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (widely known as AOC), state assembly member Catalina Cruz and state Senator Jessica Ramos are just three of the female politicians in the young progressive generation that burst onto the scene in the 2018 mid-term elections, unseating – as in Ocasio-Cortez’s case – former heavyweights within the Democratic Party’s apparatus on the national level.

But in addition, this year there are other aspirants to office such as Jamaal Bowman, who is facing off against veteran Eliot Engel with the support of Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who have also launched themselves into the political arena to challenge the party’s traditional candidates.

What the state is seeing is a change of leadership in New York City’s legislative delegation, a change that began in 2016 when Dominican Adriano Espaillat defeated long-time Congressman Charles Rangel.

He was followed two years later by Ocasio-Cortez’s win over Joe Crowley, who at that time was one of the most powerful Democrats in Congress, City University of New York political scientist John Gutierrez told Efe news, adding that he believes that this trend will continue this year.

The weakness of the Republican Party in New York state, the scanty number of registered conservative voters and the overwhelming majority of Democrats on the voting roles – with their dominance in the state’s two legislative chambers – make the winner of the Democratic primaries the favorite to take the general and local election, especially in New York City, with the exception of certain parts of Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island.

In New York state there are 6.5 million registered Democratic voters and just 2.8 million Republicans, a difference between the voting blocs that is even more overwhelming in the Big Apple, where there are 3.6 million registered Democratic voters and just 530,000 Republicans.

Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz and Ramos, along with other candidates like Julia Salazar and Alexandria Biaggi, are running in the primaries to try and shore up their support and clout on the political scene given that during their brief time in office so far – just two years since they came into office with the last elections – their names may not yet be very well-known among their constituents.

Lawmaker Catalina Cruz, who is running for re-election for the first time in Queens, is aware of the risks facing new candidates, but she said that’s not her situation, telling Efe news that she’s worked “very hard” and hasn’t been “sitting around waiting” for people to get to know her.

Ocasio-Cortez has become one of the symbols of the new Democratic and progressive generation who is seeking to carve out a niche within the party ranks and change its agenda on the national level, strengthening its insistence on dealing with issues such as universal health care and education for all and brandishing the Green New Deal as one of their key objectives, the ecological reorientation of the US economy to put an end to environmentally harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

Her political stances in Washington, where she has allied herself with other progressives such as Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan – the four of them known as “The Squad” – have sometimes brought criticism from within her own party, along with the ongoing broadsides from Republican lawmakers and pundits, who call them radicals and communists.

Ocasio-Cortez – who is of Puerto Rican heritage – will face off on Tuesday against three challengers from her own party, among whom the best-known face is former television host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, who has blamed the lawmaker for radicalizing and polarizing the political arena and not defending the interests of her constituents, who live in residential neighborhoods in The Bronx and Queens.

Another of the keys to these primary races will be voting by mail, which is being implemented for the first time in New York state, as well as voter participation, the level of which will conceivably be affected by the pandemic and by the new voting system that also includes early voting at some polling places set up to allow for it.

Voting by mail has been seriously called into question by Republican lawmakers and by President Donald Trump, who have stated – albeit without evidence – that it opens the door to election fraud. (IANS)

Read More
Categories
Latest News USA

House to vote on historic D.C. statehood bill next week

Washington: The House is poised to pass a D.C. statehood bill next week — the first time in U.S. history either chamber will approve legislation granting the District full representation and voting rights in Congress.

In announcing the historic vote Tuesday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer cheered the move as a victory for black residents in particular, as the nation undergoes a racial justice reckoning following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police on May 25.

“This is not just an issue of local governance and fairness, it is a major civil rights issue as well,” Hoyer said. “This was an appropriate time to bring a bill forward to show respect for the citizens of the District of Columbia of whatever color, but also to show respect to a city that has a very large African American population.”

The District has long been predominantly black, although the demographics have shifted significantly in recent years due to rapid gentrification and white residents moving into the city.

The House will vote on the legislation June 26, and pass it. But it is expected to go nowhere in the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has expressed staunch opposition to D.C. statehood and even compared it to “full bore socialism” in an interview last year.

President Donald Trump has also dismissed the idea, saying Republicans would be “very, very stupid” to grant D.C. statehood because of the District’s overwhelmingly Democratic leanings.

 

Read More