• Mark Makela/Reuters

    Voting Bloc

    How to Really Empower Black Voters

    Fifty years after the Freedom Summer, black voters are more powerful than ever. It’s time for both parties to realize this, and start competing for their support in earnest.

    For the first time in our history, according to the Census Bureau, blacks are now voting at a higher rate than whites. Roughly two out of three eligible blacks voted in the 2012 election, which is a greater percentage than the number of non-Hispanic whites who turned out to the polls. And while the presence of President Barack Obama on the ballot for re-election almost certainly drove up turnout, blacks are still the only ethnic group to show a significant increase in voting from 2008 to 2012.

    Nowhere is this trend more noteworthy than in the South where, as Nate Cohn recently argued in The New York Times, black voters may decide who controls the Senate next year. “If Democrats win the South and hold the Senate,” he wrote, “they will do so because of Southern black voters.”

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  • The Daily Beast

    Evolving

    Hillary’s Gay-Marriage Limbo

    She’d leave the decision to states, though many activists—and a growing number of Americans—view it as a constitutional right. Can she keep everyone on board for 2016?

    In the midst of a relatively rocky return to the public stage, it may have been the roughest moment. Hillary Clinton, on NPR, struggling to explain to Terry Gross on Fresh Air how she went from a “No” to a “Yes” on the question of same-sex marriage.

    “No, I don’t think you are trying to clarify,” Clinton snapped at one point. “I think you are trying to say that I used to be opposed and now I am in favor and I did it for political reasons.”

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  • Getty

    Trouble Ahead

    The New Battle Over Reproductive Rights

    Why the pro-choice movement can’t get bogged down in a fight over laws to protect newborns.

    The reproductive rights debate has taken a startling turn over the past few years. Somehow abortion stopped being the preeminent issue, and was instead replaced by heated debates over birth control, insurance and a craft store called Hobby Lobby. But now the debate is preparing to enter a new phase, spurred by controversial new laws regulating what women can do while pregnant, and the impending legal battles could end up determining whether the pro-choice movement maintains any momentum or credibility in upcoming election cycles.

    Days ago, a woman named Mallory Loyola was arrested and charged under a new Tennessee law that criminalizes drug use by pregnant women that’s harmed their newborns. According to text of the bill, the law allows “a woman may be prosecuted for assault for the illegal use of a narcotic drug while pregnant, if her child is born addicted to or harmed by the narcotic drug.”

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  • Diego Bervejillo/Getty

    The Front Lines

    We Always Need a Civil Rights Movement

    The civil rights movement is not some dusty antique—it’s alive and well today, and we need it as much as ever.

    When we hear the phrase “civil rights movement,” our minds automatically click into history mode and visualize those grainy and often searing black-and-white images from Birmingham and Selma. But that same energy and spirit—and urgency—are alive and well today, and as necessary as ever. 

    On Friday, July 11, 2014, a group of a hundred or so young and racially diverse leaders from across the United States sat in the Civil Rights Room of the Nashville Public Library and watched scenes from the legendary documentary film Eyes on the Prize. They focused on the portions that had local interest: Student leaders in Nashville in 1960 had been staging sit-ins to protest segregated lunch counters while tensions in the city steadily rose. On the morning of April 19, 1960, the home of a prominent black lawyer was bombed. 

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  • Underwater Dreams Film

    Mandatory Viewing

    Outsmart M.I.T.—and Get Deported

    In ‘Underwater Dreams,’ undocumented Mexican teens beat MIT in a robotics contest but gradually have their lives destroyed by cruel laws.

    The subtext of the tough talk about the tens of thousands of child refugees flowing up from Central America is that like Mexicans they will be a drag on the American economy—wards of the state who suck taxpayers dry.

    Governments at all levels will face short-term costs, of course, but the economic fear of immigrants has never been warranted. Beyond the humanitarian imperative lies a stark historical truth: From Alexander Hamilton to Andy Grove to Elon Musk, new arrivals and their children—toughened by circumstance and self-selected for pluck—have give the United States the energy and drive that has made us great. 

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  • Christine Baker/Landov

    SEX CRIMES

    Is the Campus Rape Crisis Overblown?

    The finding that one in five women are sexually assaulted in college may not be accurate.

    The finding that one in five women are sexually assaulted in college is as widely known as it is startling. Countless media reports repeat and recycle the alarming statistic, and it headlined the initial report introduced by Vice President Biden from the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Campus Assault.

    But how trustworthy is that figure of one in five? An earlier poll found it was more like 1 in 40, but should it matter whether the real number is closer to the high or low end of the scale?

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  • Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    Pushing Back

    Hillary’s Outside Enforcers

    She’s ostensibly not in campaign mode, but a staff of 20 at the outside group Correct the Record is busily working to defend the former secretary of state against right-wing attacks.

    On a recent sweltering Wednesday in Washington, D.C., when most of the town had cleared out for the upcoming Fourth of July weekend, Adrienne Elrod was at a desk piled high with books—among them both of Hillary Clinton’s memoirs and the 2008 campaign pot-boiler Game Change—emailing with a reporter from BuzzFeed about a small item running later that evening.

    Elrod is the communications director for Correct the Record, a 6-month-old outfit founded by David Brock, the one-time conservative dirty trickster who in the 1990s turned over a new leaf and started Media Matters, which keeps a watchful eye on the latest talk radio or Fox News outrage. The new group was created to, well, correct the record, particularly the right-wing attacks on Hillary Clinton as she mulls a 2016 presidential run.

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  • The Daily Beast

    NEW BALLGAME

    Millennials Hate Boomer Partisans

    The future is up for grabs, but neither party has an agenda that can truly excite young voters.

    Millennials are far less partisan than older voters, and their concerns are not being given a voice by either party. And while it’s true that the GOP’s future is about as healthy as cancer, there’s similarly no reason to think we’re entering an era of Democratic ascendancy.

    If that sounds surprising, it’s probably because it seemed that the one loud-and-clear message to come out of the 2012 presidential race was that the kids still loved Barack Obama and the Democratic Party for which he stands. In a contest between two equally unashamed wearers of mom jeans, Millennial voters between the ages of 18 and 29 picked Obama over everybody’s least-favorite uncle, Mitt Romney, by a whopping 60 percent to 36 percent.

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  • Kevork Djansezian/Getty

    OUTRAGEOUS

    40% of Colleges Don’t Investigate Rape

    A stunning new Senate report shows nearly half of schools haven’t looked at a single case of rape and 20 percent don’t investigate all the incidents they report to the feds.

    More than 40 percent of U.S colleges and universities have not conducted a single sexual assault investigation in the past five years, according to a new survey released by Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) Wednesday.

    “That is hard to believe, and obviously very problematic,” McCaskill said. These schools, she continued, were either “in denial or incompetent” with regard to sexual assault on campuses.

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  • Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

    Jackass

    Border Bigots Are Beating Obama

    Yes, Rick Perry is awful for not shaking his hand, but the president needs a Pope Francis-like moment with the border kids to signal America is more than racists.

    Let’s get Rick Perry’s jackass-ery out of the way quickly: Refusing to shake hands in public with the president of the United States is just an idiot thing to do. Perry is trying to claim the faux moral high ground here by arguing that he held out for a more substantive meeting and got it, but come on. It’s not as if that meeting wouldn’t have happened if the governor had shown up on the runway. What exactly does Obama get out of a public handshake with a hard-right, not that bright, confusingly optometrized Texas Republican?

    This might be a paragraph you can wave in my face on January 21, 2017, and God knows I’ve written a number of them, but: Rick Perry ain’t never gonna be president. We’ve been watching him on the national stage for a while now. Forget the third thing he forgot. The problem is that his instincts are wrong, his timing is bad, his hand is heavy. Accusing the White House of orchestrating a “coordinated effort” to help the movement of tens of thousands of children? That’s just Tea Party nonsense. He’s a guitarist who never knows what notes not to play. Now, guitarists like that have fans, sometimes millions of them. But they don’t ascend the plinth of greatness. He just has “governor but nothing more” written on his face.

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  • Larry Busacca/PW/Getty

    Fox and Fierce

    Getting to Know the ‘Beyoncé Voter’

    Yes, Fox News. When we’re not doing rails of ground-up contraceptives and waiting for the federal government to text, here’s what this nation of All the Single Ladies is really up to.

    Fox News, which always has its thumb so squarely on the pulse of what The Youngs are up to, figured out why the Hobby Lobby ruling has caused such a flap. No, not because it’s deeply unsettling that a corporation can impose a religious, unscientific belief on its employees. It’s because there are lonely ladies whose bitter singleness has calcified and become malignant.

    “I call them the Beyoncé voters, the single ladies. Obama won the single ladies by 76 percent last time, and they made up about a quarter of the electorate. You know, they depend on government because they’re not depending on their husbands,” said contributor and noted Lady Expert Jesse Watters. “They need things like contraception, health care, and they love to talk about equal pay.”

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  • Chip Somodevilla/Getty

    Bold Stroke

    Hill’s Golden Ticket: Paid Family Leave

    Forget about liberals—by pushing the issue in a 2016 presidential campaign, Clinton can galvanize women and show everyone she has guts.

    “Hillary and the liberals” seems to be this week’s Clintonland topic. The New Republic’s Noam Scheiber has a big piece out describing “how Hillary won over the skeptical left.” His evidence is solid enough. He quotes party activists and a few insiders as saying, in essence, that she simply has worn down their resistance over time (he oddly doesn’t address what I think is the main thing—they want to win).

    I think the proposition is still debatable, or at least still in formation. She has a campaign team to name, assuming she runs, and a whole raft of positions yet to take. And at some point or another, she’s bound to do something that will alienate or annoy her party’s liberal wing. It’s just the logic of the situation—a Democratic woman, even one so well known, will have to take some positions to show she’s “tough” and willing to “stand up to the base” (I’m not endorsing this phenomenon, just describing it). And she will do that.

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  • Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    Crazy Town

    Sex, Lies, and Craft Supplies

    Conservatives are making five arguments hailing the decision. They’re all factually wrong, which leads them to the sixth: women are sluts.

    It’s understandable that conservatives are gloating. In one fell swoop, the Supreme Court has constrained government power, expanded corporate rights, and protected religious tyranny. That individual rights were also destroyed doesn’t seem to bother conservatives very much, as the rights in question mainly concern women who have sex for reasons other than procreation. As Erin Gloria Ryan put it in her brilliant satirical response to the ruling, “Corporations are people, my friend. Women? Not so much.”

    But rather than quietly crawling back to their smoke-filled rooms and peyote-perfumed pews to celebrate, conservatives have remained on the attack, spreading overt misinformation about the ruling and its implications and smearing women’s health advocates who dare to argue. Here, for your reference, is a discussion based loosely on “questions” from my Twitter feed and those of other women writing about this case over the last few days.

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