January 02, 2020
In obsessively pursuing white, middle-class midwestern voters, Democratic leaders are setting their party up for disaster Let’s start the new year with a reality check. Remember that dad, uncle or neighbor, who told you over Christmas how much he dislikes Trump’s rude language and that he might vote for the Democrats, if only they nominate a “moderate” candidate and not a “socialist”?Well, he is going to vote for Trump.This election year will be (again) filled with columns and op-eds from NeverTrump Republicans giving (unsolicited) advice to the Democratic party. They will argue that the Democratic party can win the presidential elections, but only if they nominate a “moderate” Democrat, who can win over the many Republicans they know that are appalled by Trump. But you can forget about these Max Boots, Jennifer Rubins, and (particularly) Bret Stephenses. These pet conservatives of the liberal media represent no relevant electoral base.You can also ignore the reports from “non-partisan” thinktanks – like the Niskanen Center – which show that many Republicans are much more “centrist” than Trump and his Republican party. Polarization in the US is not about party policy but about party identification. In particular it is about negative party identification – and most of these “centrist” Republicans despise or distrust the Democratic party, irrespective of whether it is led by Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders.Moreover, as long as the US economy is doing well – however shallow the foundations of that prosperity – these people are going to go with Trump, who has provided them with lower taxes and a booming stock market.By focusing so much resource and strategy on pursuing the “Midwestern voter” (ie, centrist, middle-class whites), Democratic leaders are setting their party up for potentially disastrous failure. Trump is no longer the risky outsider he was in 2016. He is a known quantity; he may not be especially liked, but for many voters he has delivered where it matters: the pocketbook.Democrats are not going to win over enough “moderate Republicans” to defeat Trump. Nor will suburban white mothers do the trick. The only way to win in 2020 is by mobilizing (potential) new voters and (recent) non-voters. Fortunately, there are more than enough of them. Almost half of Americans do not vote.However, new voters and non-voters are disproportionately non-white and non-suburban. Many of them are not even registered, or – thanks to Republican purges of voting rolls – no longer registered. This is particularly relevant to African Americans, who – contrary to popular perception – actually have rather high voter turnout, higher than other minorities, but are disproportionately affected by voter suppression (including incarceration).Despite the efforts of some organizations, most notably Stacey Abrams’ new group Fair Fight, Democrats devote most of their time to reaching already registered voters, rather than registering new voters. Imagine how much the millions of dollars of Mike Bloomberg and Tom Steyer could have achieved had they spent that money on registering new voters rather than vanity campaigns.For the Republicans, the 2020 strategy is simple and straightforward: discourage or even disenfranchise minority voters, and mobilize white voters. Both campaigns are well underway and so far very successful. The Democrats seem to take minority voters for granted, yet again, despite low turnout in the 2016 elections. While there is a lot of talk about immigration and racism, the campaign is getting whiter and whiter.Hispanics openly lament the neglect they experience from almost all Democratic candidates. Given their growing numbers – Hispanics are on track to become the largest group of non-white voters in 2020, and not just in traditionally Democratic states – ignoring them early in the campaign, just because early primary states are so white, is extremely short-sighted.Perhaps Democrats assume that Hispanics will automatically support any Democrat over Trump, because of his inhumane immigration policies and racist remarks about Mexican immigrants. But, while many Hispanics are concerned about their place in (Trump’s) America, they are not single-issue voters.In fact, if you remove immigration as an issue, many Hispanics fit socio-culturally and socio-economically as well with Republicans as with Democrats. In fact, in the 2018 midterm elections, the gap was closing rapidly in some key (potential swing) states. Unsurprisingly, given the conservatism of the Cuban-American community, the gap was smallest in Florida – there, just 54% of Hispanics voted for the Democratic candidates for Senate and Governor. In the governor’s races in Arizona and Texas, however, the percentages were the same.The 2020 elections will not be about changing minds about who to vote for but about whether to vote. The damage done to voter registration in the South alone, following the gutting of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, could swing elections. The Democratic electorate the Republicans will “allow” to vote in November will not be enough to defeat Trump; Democrats must protect and expand their base before it’s too late.
Centrist Democrats need a 2020 reality check before its too late
* Cas Mudde is a Guardian US columnist and the Stanley Wade Shelton UGAF professor in the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia. His latest book is The Far Right Today
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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