March 13, 2020

Bernie or Bust: the Sanders fans who will never vote for Biden
Supporters distrust the Democratic party and are frustrated with an election system they say works against their candidate Ekene Okonkwo studies political science, advocates for gun control and reproductive rights, and is voting in a presidential election for the first time this year. But only if she can vote for Bernie Sanders.The 19-year-old, who studies political science and lives in the Bronx, said the Vermont senator is the only candidate she trusts to deal with the issues she cares most about – on climate change, for instance, she called former vice-president Joe Biden’s plan “unfeasible”. A vote for Biden, who is likely to be the Democratic nominee in November, would only give the party more reason to take her vote for granted, she said.“If we lose to Trump then hopefully within the next four years maybe an AOC or Rashida Tlaib would be able to run,” Okonkwo said, referring to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and another progressive politician who has gained popularity in the last two years. “Maybe there would be a better chance to save the planet.”Okonkwo is not alone in her unequivocal and uncompromising support for Sanders. She is part of a loosely connected but vocal group, sometimes uniting under hashtags like BernieorBust or NeverBiden who say they will not vote for Biden if he wins the nomination. While it’s nearly impossible to know how large the group is, hundreds of people have shared this sentiment, including progressive political candidates.It may be impossible to quantify their number, but not their influence. Those Democrats who will not yield to a moderate and vote for Biden if he wins the nomination are the same group who are sometimes blamed for Donald Trump’s victory in 2016 when disappointed Sanders fans sat out the general election.And the past few weeks have been hard to swallow for Sanders fans. After a strong early showing in Iowa, Nevada and New Hampshire his star faded on Super Tuesday. Supporters were left disappointed again this week when he lost to Biden in Michigan, where he edged out Hillary Clinton in 2016. This poor performance is partly due to an unexpectedly weak youth vote – despite Sanders’ vaunted ability to mobilise younger Americans.As the Sanders campaign reckons with the fallout, and former Democratic candidates rush to endorse Biden, the BernieorBust fans are grappling with a repeat of 2016. It’s hard to tell how their decision could affect the election, but in 2016, a similar group of people who boycotted Hillary Clinton on election day contributed to her loss in swing states like Florida, where more than 200,000 people voted for independent candidates such as Gary Johnson or Jill Stein.“If you distrust something, you are more likely to opt out of it,” said Rashawn Ray, a governance fellow at the Brookings Institution. And Sanders supporters don’t trust the Democratic party. “They think its political sabotage, and not allowing Bernie to have a fair shot. So what do people do? They opt out.”Martha Baez, a 54-year-old who works in finance, is one of those voters. She is registered as an independent and voted for Jill Stein in 2016. “There was failure in getting me out to the polls with the ‘lesser of two evils’ theory”, she said of the argument that whatever Clinton’s perceived flaws, she was better than Trump.This year, Baez is planning to vote for Sanders in the New York primary, and will not vote for Biden if he is the nominee in November. But she said her real issue was not with the specific candidate, but losing trust in the Democratic party. “I don’t think that I should put aside my values and vote out of fear,” she said. “The DNC needs an overhaul, it lacks values, real leaders that represent the people not its donors.”The impact on the supreme court or other policies, she said, was not her responsibility.“Why is that my problem?” she said. “Shouldn’t it have been considered before selecting the ‘chosen one’? Will they try and flip the script and make it my issue or fault?”Jessica Wright, an avid Sanders supporter in east Texas, tweeted that she was BernieorBust after his Super Tuesday defeat in her state. She said she was angry that other Democratic candidates had dropped out just before the big primary day to endorse Joe Biden, and wanted the “so-called Democratic establishment” to know they were letting down people like her.Wright, 37, works at a hospital and said she and her husband live paycheck to paycheck. She said Sanders’ policies would be the best for her family, including family members married to immigrants struggling to gain citizenship status in the US. But given that a Trump election could be worse, and herald new conservative court appointees and other harmful policies, she is still considering voting for Biden, or at the very least, voting down ballot in other, non-presidential races on election day.“For me not voting would be to send a message: what you’ve done is not OK,” Wright said. “I wish there was a way to vote for [Biden] and still send that message.”Stephen Ansolabehere, a Harvard government professor who studies political campaigns, said there is a similar “sour grapes” group during every election, even if it’s not a big enough group to swing the result. But he said what determines whether or not Sanders supporters will show up for Biden depends on how the latter treats them in the coming months.“When you lose [your candidate] it’s like a death in the family,” he said. “That’s the bitterness of the emotions. Biden knows that bitterness so he could be empathetic and bring those people back to the fold.” He gave the example of the 1988 Democratic primary, when frontrunner Michael Dukakis reached a compromise with his opponent Jesse Jackson by changing party rules to tie the delegate vote more closely to the popular vote, giving Jackson a partial victory.Ansolabehere also pointed out that Sanders’ progressive movement relies heavily on young people going to the polls. But even if they are politically engaged, this subset of voters consistently deals with more hurdles to register to vote because of restrictive voting policies around address changes and identification. In New Hampshire, for example, a Republican-backed law requires that many young voters have a driver’s license to vote.“It’s hard to organize a campaign around younger generations,” Ansolabehere said. “You only have 50% chance of being registered when you’re 18 years old.” And that could have played a role during Super Tuesday, when youth turnout (ages 18 to 29) was only an estimated 14% in Virginia, and 5% in Tennessee, according to a Tufts University exit poll.Ray also said “voter suppression is alive and well” and probably affected turnout for Sanders. But he said that the group that is more likely to determine the election is the 11% of white voters, mostly suburban and often women, who switched from Barack Obama in 2012 to Trump in the last election.For Sanders’ supporters, these obstacles only drive home the frustration around an election system that they say works against their candidate.Habiba Choudhary, a Sanders supporter who was canvassing in Michigan, saw the long polling station lines firsthand on Tuesday in Sanders-friendly communities like Dearborn and perceived this as a way to rig the election in favor of Biden. The New York-based 28-year-old, who identifies with the BernieorBust movement, said the senator’s message resonated with her family, Bangladeshi immigrants who share a one-bedroom apartment in Queens.Sanders seemed to be the only candidate whose policies could ease the plight of her father, a taxi driver dealing with healthcare issues, and her sister, who is straining to pay back student loans. “Enough is enough – we tried the neoliberalism and we’re sick and tired of it,” she said. “[Sanders] gave me and other people that voice.”Nevertheless, Choudhary said, she would follow Sanders’ lead when it came to voting in November. In 2016, the senator accepted defeat after the primary, and went on to endorse Hillary Clinton in the presidential election.“I know Bernie is super consistent,” she said. “His supporters are gonna come out for Biden.”
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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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