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What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

Know Anyone Who Thinks Racial Profiling Is Exaggerated? Watch This, And Tell Me When Your Jaw Drops.

This video clearly demonstrates how racist America is as a country and how far we have to go to become a country that is civilized and actually values equal justice. We must not rest until this goal is achieved. I do not want my great grandchildren to live in a country like we have today. I wish for them to live in a country where differences of race and culture are not ignored but valued as a part of what makes America great.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Proud Boys

“We’re in a Transition Phase”: Dr. Monica Gandhi on Vaccine Safety & Why You Still Need a Mask

Ed Markey Blames McConnell And Trump For 'Breaking' Supreme Court, Casti...

Prosecutor Glenn Kirschner issues GRIM news for Matt Gaetz (interview wi...

Nearly half of Republicans say they don’t want a Covid vaccine, a big public health challenge.

Nearly half of Republicans say they don’t want a Covid vaccine, a big public health challenge.

With Covid-19 vaccines now widely available, just over half of American adults have now received at least one shot, according to a Monmouth University pollreleased Wednesday.

But more than two in five Republicans said they would avoid getting vaccinated if possible, suggesting that President Biden has not succeeded in his effort to depoliticize the vaccines — and leaving open the question of whether the country will be able to achieve herd immunity without a stronger push from Republican leaders to bring their voters on board.

The results of the Monmouth poll lined up with those of a separate survey by Quinnipiac University, also released on Wednesday, that found 45 percent of Republicans saying they did not plan to get vaccinated.

Among Democrats, two-thirds have already received at least one vaccine dose, according to the Monmouth poll. Just over half that share of Republicans have done so (36 percent).

When it comes to confronting the pandemic, Americans generally give positive marks to the president and to their state’s governor; both were seen as handling the pandemic well by 62 percent of Americans, according to the Monmouth poll.

But Americans don’t have as much faith in one another: Just 43 percent said the general public had done a good job dealing with the outbreak. Democrats in particular were disappointed in their fellow citizens, with just one in three saying the public had handled it well.

With public health experts warning that there could be another surge in Covid-19 cases if the economy reopens too swiftly this spring, the Quinnipiac poll found that 85 percent of Democrats said they were worried about another outbreak. Just 32 percent of Republicans shared their concern.

And while hardly any Democrats — just 12 percent — said they would feel safe attending large events like professional sports games or concerts, two-thirds of Republicans said they would.“

How New Mexico Became the State With the Highest Rate of Full Vaccinations New Mexico, which has one of the highest poverty rates in the U.S., is a vaccination pacesetter thanks to decisive political decisions, homegrown technology and cooperation.

How New Mexico Became the State With the Highest Rate of Full Vaccinations

“New Mexico, which has one of the highest poverty rates in the U.S., is a vaccination pacesetter thanks to decisive political decisions, homegrown technology and cooperation.

 More than 57 percent of New Mexico’s adult population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. And nearly 38 percent of adults are fully vaccinated, a higher rate than in any other state.
Cate Dingley/Bloomberg

ALBUQUERQUE — Despite having one of the highest poverty rates in the country, New Mexico is surging past states with far more resources in the race to achieve herd immunity against the coronavirus.

After New Mexico put into motion one of the most efficient vaccine rollouts in the United States, more than 57 percent of its adult population has now received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. New Hampshire is the only state with a higher vaccination rate. Nearly 38 percent of New Mexico adults are fully vaccinated, more than any other state.

The feat is providing some relief in a state where Hispanic and Native American residents — groups that have been among the hardest hit by the coronavirus — together account for 60 percent of the population. Going into the pandemic with a dearth of financial resources compared with richer states, and vulnerabilities like having fewer hospital beds per capita than nearly every other state, the authorities in New Mexico saw the vaccine as their most powerful weapon to stave off an even more harrowing crisis.

“It was super important for us to get it right because we are a more resource-challenged location,” said Dr. Meghan Brett, an epidemiologist at University of New Mexico Hospital.

Infectious-disease experts attribute New Mexico’s vaccine success to a combination of homegrown technological expertise, cooperation between state and local agencies and a focus by elected officials on combating the virus.

Since vaccines began rolling out in December, new cases of the coronavirus in New Mexico have plunged to fewer than 200 a day from nearly 2,000. Deaths have declined to fewer than five a day from an average of more than 35. In the state’s nursing homes and assisted-care facilities, the average number of deaths each day has fallen from 10 to fewer than one.

A vaccination site at the University of New Mexico’s campus in Gallup, N.M.
Cate Dingley/Bloomberg

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat and former state health secretary, set the tone of New Mexico’s pandemic response over the past year by adopting significant social distancing measures from the start of the crisis, despite fierce opposition from critics. Many of those restrictions, such as mask mandates, remain in place.

Opinion surveys have shown broad support for the governor’s actions. Protests against her policies have not been as contentious as those in other states, though they have grown into a recurring feature of New Mexico’s politics over the past year. It is common to drive past storefronts in parts of the state with signs that proclaim “No MLG.”

“She’s done a really good job at managing her optics, and that’s what politicians do these days,” said Matt Simonds, the founder of an Albuquerque distillery and brewery that went out of business after social distancing restrictions were introduced, costing 11 people their jobs. Mr. Simonds said he blamed Ms. Lujan Grisham and her administration for policies that have taken a toll on his well-being.

“I’ve gained 30 pounds in the last year because of stress eating, my blood pressure and cholesterol are nowhere where they should be and psychologically I’m not in a good place,” Mr. Simonds said.

Ms. Lujan Grisham has said that she had little choice but to move aggressively against the virus, citing vulnerabilities like New Mexico’s rapidly aging population, shortage of hospital beds and sky-high numbers of residents with underlying medical conditions, like chronic liver disease.

“New Mexico’s foundational health disparities compel us to think differently than some other states with regard to pandemic response,” Ms. Lujan Grisham said in a statement. “I fully believe New Mexico can be the first state to reach herd immunity and be the first to begin operating in the new post-pandemic ‘normal’ the right way, the safe way.”

Before vaccines began getting administered last year, Ms. Lujan Grisham mobilized the New Mexico National Guard and Civil Air Patrol, whose pandemic-related missions include operating a large vaccine distribution center in Albuquerque and staffing drive-through testing sites. From the start, the authorities have made both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines available in roughly equal proportions across the state, accounting for a large majority of doses administered so far.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, on the other hand, has accounted for about 3 percent of administered doses in the state. Recent reports about six cases of extremely rare blood clots led federal officials to advise pausing distribution of that vaccine, guidance a spokesman for the state health department said New Mexico would follow, which could slow some of the state’s efforts to increase its rate.

Pool photo by Eddie Moore

In devising its vaccine distribution plan many months ago, the health department also turned to Real Time Solutions, a small software company in Albuquerque. While other states adopted piecemeal registration approaches, resulting in chaotic rollouts, Real Time set up a centralized vaccine portal for all residents to sign up for shots.

Big challenges persist during a pandemic, including the threat of new variants and disparities in vaccine acceptance in some communities. According to the health department, Hispanics and African-Americans in New Mexico remain less likely to get the vaccine than Anglos, as non-Hispanic whites are known in the state.

What You Need to Know About the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Pause in the U.S.

But Native Americans in New Mexico, who have endured some of the most severe rural outbreaks during the pandemic, are getting the vaccine at close to the same rate as Anglos in the state. In some instances, tribal nations have done such a thorough job of vaccinating their own citizens that they have begun administering doses to people from neighboring communities, providing another boost to New Mexico’s overall vaccination rate.

Health experts say somewhere between 70 to 90 percent of people in a society need to be vaccinated to arrive at herd immunity, a situation in which most of a population is immune to an infectious disease, providing indirect protection to those who are not immune. With less than 40 percent of its residents fully vaccinated, New Mexico still has a long road ahead to reach that point.

Cate Dingley/Bloomberg

As vaccinations continue — the state recently made anyone 16 and older eligible — epidemiologists in New Mexico are debating whether some form of herd immunity could be achieved in the state in the coming months, and what that could look like.

“It’s still quite early to know when herd immunity in the state could potentially happen,” said Sara del Valle, a mathematical epidemiologist at Los Alamos National Laboratory who is part of a team that meets weekly with the state health department.

Ms. del Valle, who said she was impressed by how public health officials took the team’s recommendations “very seriously,” nevertheless cited challenges ahead such as disparities in vaccine acceptance in parts of the state.

But, in comparing the fight against Covid-19 to the battle to eradicate smallpox, Ms. del Valle said “islands of herd immunity” in New Mexico could start emerging in places with exceptionally high vaccination rates, accompanied by “islands of outbreaks” in areas where the authorities could move swiftly to prevent the virus from spreading.

Some of the discrepancies reflect the state’s political and cultural fissures. Vaccination rates are much higher in some heavily Democratic parts of the state than in conservative bastions, like oil-rich southeast New Mexico, which leans Republican.

Tracie Collins, the state health secretary, said that the authorities were examining outreach efforts that go beyond people of color in an effort to reach communities such as white evangelicals, who are among the least likely demographic groups to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

“We have strategies underway right now to make sure we’re getting out to rural areas where we have pockets of folks who may not be racial minorities, but they’re skeptical about the vaccine,” Dr. Collins said. “We’re working on messaging around that.”

Monday, April 12, 2021

Long-Term Care: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Police killings of black people: the legacy of lynching writ large | COMMENTARY - Baltimore Sun

Police killings of black people: the legacy of lynching writ large | COMMENTARY

For The Baltimore Sun 

May 31, 2020  12:52 PM 

Demonstrators walk through Fells Point in protest of the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota.

Demonstrators walk through Fells Point in protest of the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota. (Kevin Richardson / Baltimore Sun)

"As if any further proof were needed, the recent killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd reveal the thinly veiled truth about how little black lives are valued in this country. That all three killings involved current or former law enforcement officers is revealing.

The license that is taken, the tolerance that is assumed by the perpetrators in these (and too many other) incidents is an inheritance. It is the legacy of lynching writ large: horrifying, traumatizing, breathtaking — and present.

One is tempted to think of these crimes as vestiges of the centuries-long campaign of racial terror that was waged against black Americans. But the term “vestige” implies something that is outdated, a relic, something from the past. These incidents remind us there is nothing outdated about racism. These murders are not outliers.

The Maryland Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission recently established this working definition for what constitutes a racial terror lynching: “the unlawful killing of an African American by white mob violence, often with the apparent complicity of state and local officials, intended to incite racial terror and subservience to white supremacy.”

Using that standard, the Floyd murder was not LIKE a lynching, it IS a lynching. Only in this case the “white mob” happened to be police officers. The very people entrusted with the responsibility of protecting his life, took his life — in broad daylight and in public. This is terror, and it screams to be recognized as such.

The pathetic spectacle of a white woman calling police to falsely report that she and her dog were being threatened by an African American man in Central Park is another side of the same racist coin. The woman’s overt threat to the man, “I’m going to call the cops and tell them that an African American man is threatening me” (emphasis mine), invokes a timeless trope used to incite the lynchings of hundreds, if not thousands, of black men in this country. It’s an example of what New York Times columnist Charles Blow called “white women weaponizing racial anxiety, using their white femininity to activate systems of white terror against black men.”

It is a phenomenon all too familiar in Maryland. In 1885, a white mob dragged a 15-year old boy from the old Baltimore County jail in Towson and lynched him to short-circuit a planned appeal to the Supreme Court. One member of the lynch mob explained to The Sun, “Every man was actuated by the thought that … he was protecting his own wife, sweetheart or children.”

So the fuse that the Central Park dog walker threatened to light is short but centuries old. The reservoir of hysteria the dog walker drew from, “an African American man is threatening me” could have led to far more tragic consequences. The accused man was guilty only of birding while black.

It’s hard not to see some irony in the Central Park episode. In 1989, real estate developer Donald Trump embellished his reputation by taking out full-page ads in New York newspapers calling for the death penalty to be imposed in the case of the so-called Central Park Five. Never mind that the teenagers hadn’t yet even been tried.

Even after DNA evidence totally exonerated the young men and their convictions were vacated, the now President Donald Trump refused to accept their innocence or apologize. Is it surprising then, that in 2017, the first year of the Trump presidency, hate crimes in the U.S. increased by 17% compared to the previous year (as reported by the FBI Universal Crime report)? Perhaps more telling is a 2019 analysis by The Washington Post that revealed that counties where Trump held rallies in 2016 saw hate crimes increase by 226% in the following year.

The flagrant disregard for black lives is a tragic, but undeniable, symptom of the pervasive racism that poisons our institutions, weakens our community and demeans civility itself. Is this not terror? Before you answer, try to imagine what our black children must be thinking when they go to bed tonight.

We take as an article of faith that “truth and reconciliation are sequential”; that is, we need to acknowledge the truth before racial reconciliation is even possible. The mission of the Maryland Lynching Memorial Project is to encourage Marylanders to acknowledge the truth about the history of racial terror in our state. At the same time, we must also acknowledge the truth that racial terror is not just historical.

Will Schwarz ( is president of the Maryland Lynching Memorial Project."

Police killings of black people: the legacy of lynching writ large | COMMENTARY - Baltimore Sun

Clyburn slams Lindsey Graham's reparations comment

Protesters Clash With Police After Minnesota Officer Shoots Black Man

Protesters Clash With Police After Minnesota Officer Shoots Black Man

“A man died after an officer shot him during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, near where Derek Chauvin is on trial in the death of George Floyd.

Streams of smoke filled the air and loud bangs could be heard as the police in Brooklyn Center, Minn., tried to disperse crowds near the Police Department on Sunday night.
Liam James Doyle for The New York Times

BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. — A 20-year-old Black man died after a police officer shot him during a traffic stop in a Minneapolis suburb on Sunday, sending hundreds of people into the streets where they clashed with police officers into Monday morning.

The protests in Brooklyn Center came hours before the 11th day of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who has been charged with murdering George Floyd, was set to begin in a courtroom less than 10 miles away.

Outside of the Brooklyn Center Police Department on Sunday night, smoke billowed into the air as a line of police officers fired rubber bullets and chemical agents at protesters, some of whom lobbed rocks, bags of garbage and water bottles at the police. Brooklyn Center’s mayor ordered a curfew until 6 a.m., and the local school superintendent said the district would move to remote learning on Monday “out of an abundance of caution.”

A woman who said she was the victim’s mother identified him as Daunte Wright, 20.

The shooting injected more frustration and anxiety into the Twin Cities region, where Mr. Floyd’s death and the destructive protests that followed are fresh on residents’ minds as they await a verdict in the Chauvin trial.

Medics aiding a demonstrator hit by a rubber bullet.
Liam James Doyle for The New York Times

Chief Tim Gannon of the Brooklyn Center Police Department said an officer had shot the man on Sunday afternoon after pulling his car over for a traffic violation and discovering that the driver had a warrant out for his arrest. As the police tried to detain the man, he stepped back into his car, at which point an officer shot him, Chief Gannon said.

The man’s car then traveled for several blocks and struck another vehicle, after which the police and medical workers pronounced him dead. Chief Gannon did not give any information on the officer who fired or say how severe the crash had been, though the passengers in the other car were not injured. The chief said he believed that officers’ body cameras had been turned on during the shooting.

Katie Wright, the woman who said she was Mr. Wright’s mother, told reporters that her son had been driving a car that his family had just given him two weeks ago and that he had called her as he was being pulled over.

“He said they pulled him over because he had air fresheners hanging from his rearview mirror,” she said. Ms. Wright added that her son had been driving with his girlfriend when he was shot. The police said a woman in the car had been hurt in the crash but that her injuries were not life-threatening.

John Harrington, the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, said the unrest that followed Mr. Wright’s death had spread to a mall in Brooklyn Center and that people had broken into about 20 businesses there. By about midnight, most of the protesters had fled from around the police department, once National Guard troops and Minnesota State Patrol officers arrived to back up the police officers who stood around the building with riot gear and batons.

Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat, wrote on Twitter that he was praying for Mr. Wright’s family “as our state mourns another life of a Black man taken by law enforcement.”

Chief Gannon said he had asked the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the agency that led the inquiry into Mr. Floyd’s death, to investigate the shooting.

The shooting comes after two weeks of testimony in the trial of Mr. Chauvin, who is white, that has laid bare the pain that the death of Mr. Floyd, a Black man, caused in Minneapolis. Jurors have heard from people who witnessed Mr. Floyd’s arrest, medical experts who described his death and police officials — including the Minneapolis police chief — who condemned Mr. Chauvin’s actions. And the graphic video of Mr. Chauvin kneeling on Mr. Floyd for more than nine minutes has been played repeatedly. Witness testimony is expected to resume at about 9:15 a.m. on Monday.

Many businesses in Minneapolis have kept boards over their windows since shortly after Mr. Floyd’s death on May 25, when protests rocked the city for days and scores of businesses were burned. And Black residents in and around Minneapolis remain on edge over policing, said Wynfred Russell, a City Council member in Brooklyn Park, another suburb where some businesses were broken into on Sunday after the shooting.

“You do have a lot of raw nerves here,” he said.

Ms. Wright, the victim’s mother, said that when her son had called her during the traffic stop, she had urged him to give his phone to a police officer so she could give the insurance information.

“Then I heard the police officer come to the window and say, ‘Put the phone down and get out of the car,’” she said.

She said she her son had dropped the phone or put it down, after which she heard “scuffling” and an officer telling Mr. Wright not to run. Then, she said, someone hung up the phone. When she called back, her son’s girlfriend answered and told her that he had been shot.

Joshua Rashaad McFadden for The New York Times

At an earlier protest and vigil near the scene of Mr. Wright’s death, his mother had urged the protesters to be peaceful.

“We want justice for Daunte,” she said. “We don’t want it to be about all this violence.”

But hours later, outside of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, protesters chanted and threw things at police officers, inching closer to the building until they were pushed back when police officers fired projectiles that burst with a loud bang and gas that burned their throats and eyes. The gas reached several apartment buildings across the street where families said they were shaken by the conflict that erupted in their front yards.

“We had to shut the doors because it was all in my house,” Tasha Nethercutt, a woman who lives in one of the apartments, said of the gas fired by the police. She said there were four children in her apartment during the unrest, including a two-year-old.

Kimberly Lovett, who until recently had been a property manager for the four apartment buildings near the police station, said she had driven to the area to check on her former tenants and to show her frustration with the police.

“There are kids in all of these buildings,” she said, pointing toward apartment balconies, some of which had children’s toys scattered on them. “What we’re fed up with is the police steady killing young Black men.”

Liam James Doyle for The New York Times

Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs reported from Brooklyn Center, Minn., and Azi Paybarah from New York. Matt Furber contributed reporting from Brooklyn Center, and Neil Vigdor from Greenwich, Conn.“

Democratic Values Are Still Under Attack — Even Without Trump In The White House

Democratic Values Are Still Under Attack — Even Without Trump In The White House

, at

Protest against House Bill 531 in Atlanta
Protesters gather outside of the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta to protest HB 531, which would place tougher restrictions on voting in Georgia.

Dustin Chambers / REUTERS

“During the Trump presidency, many worried about the administration’s violation of long-standing norms. And former President Trump certainly did break with a number of enduring traditions, to the extent that his utter disregard for his office almost ceased to shock.

But here at FiveThirtyEight, we have argued that Trump’s flouting of norms didn’t matter nearly as much as the underlying democratic values his administration threatened — from disrespecting the vital role that opposition can play in a democracy to trying to use the military and police for political gain. And, of course, there was the fact that Trump pretty much refused to peacefully concede the election. (He technically did concede, but not until after a violent mob of his supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol.)

Trump’s presidency highlighted the power that the office, by attacking (or neglecting) democratic values, has to damage democracy. But just because Trump is out of office doesn’t mean some values aren’t still under threat. Yes, President Biden does seem more inclined to follow both the formal and informal rules of the presidency, but a powerful executive branch remains a concern. So here is a look at some of the key democratic values that are still under attack. Some reflect the lingering effects of Trumpism; others are rooted in systemic problems that began well before the Trump years.

Growing economic inequality challenges who has a voice in politics

The United States has high levels of income inequality compared with other wealthy industrialized nations, and this inequality has been growing over time. This trend raises the question of how economic inequality affects our politics — specifically, core democratic values like representation and participation in the political process. 

This is a weighty topic, and there are areas where scholars don’t agree. For example, experts are split on whether political decisions reflect the preferencesof high-income Americans more than others. But overall, there is some consensus among experts that economic disparities pose a threat to core democratic values like equality for all and political participation. And some studies even find that economic inequality makes some citizens less likely to engage in politics, including turning out to vote. 

In their new book “The Economic Other,” political scientists Meghan Condon and Amber Wichowsky (a colleague of mine at Marquette University) find that when people compare themselves to those who have greater wealth, they report feeling less confident in their ability to make demands of government — even though those comparisons often make them more likely to want government action. This illustrates how high levels of inequality can dampen political engagement and participation.

As with so many things in American politics, economic disparities are also tied up in racial ones. For example, Brookings Institution researcher Vanessa Williamson noted in her examination of the racial wealth gap in the U.S. that the median white household has a net worth 10 times that of the median Black household. The significant gaps we see often reflect many years of policy decisions that have prevented equal opportunity for all.

Of course, the problem that economic inequality poses for American democracy predates the Trump administration. And despite the criticism the administration’s 2017 tax bill drew for its focus on the richest Americans, reports are actually somewhat mixed on whether economic inequality got worse (or better) during the first three years of the Trump administration. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, made that debate moot, both underscoring America’s longstanding inequities while also making them worse.

Economic inequality is a long-term and systemic problem. It was also an important issue in the 2020 nomination contest and election, and Biden has pledged to tackle it. What are his prospects for success? On the one hand, the administration’s COVID-19 relief bill is expected to bring temporary relief for low-income Americans, and the economy is largely predicted to rebound this year. The Biden administration is also talking about taxing America’s richest citizens and companies to fund government projects. On the other hand, though, Democrats were unable to agree on a proposal to raise the minimum wage. How to address income inequality has long been a source of division for the party, so finding solutions to the deeper and more systemic problems like racial disparitiesor low wages in some sectors is likely to prove politically challenging.  

Distrust in institutions is high; there’s also a question of which institutions to trust

Declining levels of trust in American political institutions is another long-term concern in American politics, and it’s one that certainly got a lot of attention under Trump

It’s no secret that institutions like Congress generally receive low ratings from the public. It’s not clear, though, that overall levels of trust in government declined while Trump was in office — they were already pretty low

While the topic is complicated, there’s a general sense among experts that our democracy is in a perilous position when people don’t trust governing institutions — or each other. As political scientists Marc Hetherington and Thomas Rudolph explained in their 2015 book, “Why Washington Won’t Work,” trust is necessary for building coalitions to support government policy. 

Today, there are clear partisan differences on the topic, with Republicans reporting far more distrust of other branches of government and other institutions, like the media and colleges and universities, with some even linking this distrust to growing support for anti-democratic movements and ideas.

But the last few years in American politics aren’t just about institutional distrust. They were also about what institutions are worthy of trust. For instance, high-profile instances of police brutality have made many Americans question whether institutions of criminal justice, like the police, should be trusted. Progressive activists have also questioned the legitimacy of current immigration enforcement, with calls to “abolish” U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, challenging the policy-makers who established these institutions. As such, there is also a more fundamental question underlying questions of institutional distrust — that is, which institutions are deserving of support and trust in the first place. 

It’s easy to focus on the politics of distrust — hardcore Republicans and left-leaning activists are often mistrustful of institutions, but institutional distrust also extends beyond ideology. Younger Americans, low-income Americans and those who aren’t white also have lower levels of personal trust, according to the Pew Research Center. Other academic research also suggests that poor and nonwhite Americans are more likely to have negative experiences with the government, such as policing and carceral contact (probation, parole, and jail or prison), paying fines, or punitive processes to obtain social services. 

In other words, it’s not just that Americans distrust institutions, or that this trust has become polarized. There are also worthwhile questions about whether these institutions broadly reflect core democratic values like equality and human dignity.

Voting and election administration are increasingly politicized

With Georgia’s new voting law and the passage of Democrats’ sweeping voting reform bill in the House of Representatives, voting rights have been at the center of both parties’ national agenda. On the one hand, this isn’t a new debate. Americans have long argued over whether rules like requiring photo identification at the polls are discriminatory or would depress voter turnout. 

But given how intense the debate around expanding access to mail ballots and absentee voting was leading up to the 2020 presidential election, the conversation around who gets to vote and how elections are conducted has become far more political — especially considering the role Trump played in baselessly dismissing these methods as fraudulent and sowing doubt about the integrity of the election results. (It’s something that’s had real repercussions, too: Six in 10 Republicans still say the election “was stolen” from Trump “due to widespread voter fraud,” according to a recent Reuters poll.)

It’s no coincidence then that the states where we’ve seen the biggest pushes for legislation restricting voting are also the ones that were the most closely contested in 2020, as FiveThirtyEight found in a recent analysis of over 300 bills considered in state legislatures this year. Many of these laws, if passed, would likely also disproportionately affect poorer voters and voters of color

But it’s not just changes to the voting process at stake; there are also changes in how elections are administered, which risk making them more nakedly partisan affairs. Take the provision in the Georgia law that allows the state elections board to remove local election officials. Given that these state officials are appointed by the Republican-controlled state legislature, there is a risk that there could be more partisan input in the certification of election results — something that Trump actively sought in his efforts to overturn the election result in Georgia

The fight over voting laws reflects some of the same problems outlined earlier — inequality along racial and economic lines, the widening ideological gulf between the two parties, and a set of governing institutions that lack public trust and perhaps are not always worthy of public trust — but it also underscores how one of our most fundamental democratic values, the right to vote, is now in jeopardy, especially given that one party is increasingly pushing anti-democratic measures.

Threats to democratic values — and failure to live up to democratic ideals — have a long history in America. And in many ways, these systemic challengesdefy the influence of any one leader or administration. But there is evidence that Trumpism and its challenges to democratic values are lingering in the political system. We see this in the persistence of rhetoric that delegitimizes the opposition and voices racist views, and in the decline of bipartisan cooperationin the face of deeper governing divides.  

Presidents can’t single-handedly address the problems with our democracy. But they can work to set the political tone and empower forces that safeguard, rather than undermine, democratic values.“