Republicans go down in NC

That loud sound you heard Tuesday night was Republicans in North Carolina gulping nervously as the election returns from across the state and across the country came in.

In virtually every race that mattered, the Republicans lost and in many cases lost resoundingly. National pundits were pontificating that Republican Ed Gillespie was pulling close to Democrat Ralph Northam in the governor’s race in Virginia thanks to Gillespie’s decision to run on issues right of Donald Trump’s playbook, crime, gangs, fear of immigrants, preservation of Confederate monuments, etc.

The voters apparently didn’t care much for it. Northam won handily — by almost 9 percent— and that wasn’t even the biggest story in Virginia’s election.

With a few recounts pending, Democrats appear to have completely erased the Republican 66-32 margin in the House of Delegates, making it the largest victory by Democrats in Virginia legislative races since 1899.

One of the winners was Danica Roem, a transgender woman who defeated a 13-term rabidly conservative House member who called himself Virginia’s homophobe and introduced HB2-like legislation targeting transgender Virginians.

Democrats swept all the statewide races in Virginia and elected an African-American lieutenant governor, just three months after a white supremacist demonstration in Charlottesville where a counter protester was killed and President Trump said afterward that there were some very fine people on both sides.

And it wasn’t just Virginia. Maine voters approved a ballot initiative to expand Medicaid over the objections of their Trump-like governor Paul LePage. New Jersey elected a Democratic governor too, which was not a surprise but remember it’s only been four years since Republican Gov. Chris Christie convincingly won re-election, pushing him onto the national stage and consideration as Trump’s running mate last fall.

Democrats also won a special election in state of Washington, taking control of the state Senate for the first time since 2012.

There is more but you get the idea. It was a big night for Democrats across the country.

And it was a big night for them in North Carolina. Progressive candidates swept the mayoral races in major cities, including in Charlotte, where Democrat Vi Lyles defeated Republican Kenny Smith by almost 20 points in a race that the North Carolina Republican Party invested in and that conservative pundits were forecasting to be close with some even saying Smith would win.

He didn’t come close.

The growing consensus about Tuesday night is that people were motivated to show up at their polls to vote against President Trump and the policies he is pursuing and the politicians who are aligned with him.

Exit polls in Virginia showed health care was the top issues on voters’ minds and they are not happy with the Republicans attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

People in North Carolina are not happy about it either and they have soured on Trump and the Republicans too, with Democrats holding a significant lead on the generic ballot in recent polls, even ones conducted by conservative groups.

Few people are predicting the kind of wave in North Carolina in 2018 that swept through Virginia Tuesday, but they were not predicting it in Virginia either.

Republicans in North Carolina won’t admit it, but they seem to sense that their days of almost unlimited power with their legislative supermajorities are almost over.

That’s evident in their last desperate moves to remake state government before they lose control with the most egregious example the proposal by Senate Rules Chair Bill Rabon to end the terms of all judges in 2018 and force every judge and justice to run for election every two years.

That’s enraged Democrats and Republicans alike and only adds to the motivation of voters demanding a change in Raleigh and Washington.

Those voters turned out in force Tuesday, in Virginia and Maine and Washington and in North Carolina from Fayetteville to Durham to Raleigh to Charlotte.

Democrats may still be arguing over what happened in 2016 but they seemed unified this week and they had lot of disenchanted Republicans joining their cause.

No wonder Republican leaders in North Carolina are nervous and desperate and flailing. Their only saving grace is that most of them were not on the ballot on Tuesday. But unless things change dramatically or they change their destructive course, their days may be numbered too.

Chris Fitzsimon is executive director of N.C. Policy Watch.

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Harmonious Monks mix music genres with activist lyrics

(From left to right) Trevor Zemtseff, John Mietus, Evan Monroe and Cooper Holzman make up the Harmonious Monks. Photo courtesy of Harmonious Monks.

Don’t try to pigeonhole the Harmonious Monks as the newest jazz-hop renaissance band, the next conscious rap group, or the fun-loving party rockers. In reality, they are all three.

In a musical era when the lines between genres and styles are blurrier than ever, you could say the group fits right in, even if its music doesn’t subscribe to the trap-heavy sound driving much of mainstream hip-hop.

Evan Monroe, a junior majoring in psychology, goes by the stage name of Martin in his solo work. The ability to switch between topics is a major part of his philosophy on music.

“It’s important to have social commentary and be able to speak on those things with nuanced opinions,” Monroe said. “But experiential anecdotes, things that people can relate to in the everyday life, are things that I really want to give color to.”

There are plenty of schemes artists devise to add color to their music, but the Harmonious Monks do it best with what comes most natural to them: their personalities. High-energy, lighthearted and quick-to-clown, the band doesn’t take itself too seriously and makes it easy for its audience to do the same.

In addition to Martin, the emcee, the band is comprised of bassist John Mietus, a junior majoring in  classical bass; pianist and producer Cooper Holzman, a junior majoring in popular music; and drummer Trevor Zemtseff, a junior majoring in jazz studies.

“Trevor would want you to know he’s from Chicago; but then we would tell you he’s not actually from Chicago, he’s from Evanston,” Mietus said, drawing laughs from the other two as Zemtseff was absent from the interview. “Without him, though, this band would be crippled, because his contributions to the band as a composer, assistant producer and drummer … there’s just no comparison.”

The Harmonious Monks’ origin story dates back to their first weeks as freshmen at USC. Mietus was approached on the street by a random man who asked him if he played jazz, and instantly booked him and his nonexistent combo to play a show in two days. Eager to pull through, Mietus recruited Holzman from his residence hall and Zemtseff from his music theory class, and convinced them to perform with him at the show.

“I didn’t really give them a choice,” Mietus said. “I basically just said, ‘you’re doing this with me,’ I wasn’t missing out.”

Martin’s entry into the group came shortly after, following a vicious 2 a.m. rap battle against Mietus that formed a mutual appreciation between the two.

“It was literally neck and neck,” Monroe said. “Before that I had slain cats, but this was actually a challenge. The whole audience decided it was a draw, so we just kept freestyling and did a cypher, and people were losing it.”

Two years after discovering that instant chemistry, the Harmonious Monks are gearing up for the release of its debut album, Influence, on Friday. The album is socially conscious, designed to recognize how real-life experiences and people’s influence over one another contributes to their world views.

“There’s jazz drums mixed like metal drums, the bass is real, there’s a lot of synthesizers as well … it’s kind of this crazy mess of stuff that’s hard to even describe,” Holzman said. “I think our next album is going to be a lot more modern-sounding, but this one was very experimental.”

Martin’s background in alternative hip-hop, combined with the instrumentation that comes naturally to the jazz musicians, opened up a vast array of new directions in which the band memberscould take their music. “The Theory,” a single from the album that was released in July, brings all those musical elements to the forefront, backing the song’s vivacious lyrics and their fierce delivery.

The visual for the song, a finalist at the Los Angeles Music Video Festival, synced with the messages in the song as well as its three-act format, ending with the various characters being pelted by raisins from the sky as a reference to Langston Hughes “Harlem” poem.

When asked about the reasoning behind incorporating the dried fruit, Monroe mentioned how the link between black poetry and black music can form a powerful juncture.

“Weaving traditional black poetry into an art form like this, that’s a very potent mix that black artists have always used to try to make social commentary,” Monroe said. “Connecting those two, especially in the third verse where all those things are coming to a climax, it’s supposed to represent a culmination of those dreams, and ideas, and just the pouring rain of feelings that comes with having a marginalized black experience in the United States.”

While the message certainly matters, the Harmonious Monks feels it takes more than simply imparting knowledge through the music for the band to be most effective. Their infectious characters allow them to speak on real issues while refraining from “preaching” to their listeners.

“The end goal of all this is to entertain people,” Monroe said. “You can share messages with people and still be entertaining, but what’s going to solidify that message is the feelings they get while you give it to them.”

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

You Do Uterus: Tuesday’s elections brought hope and identity to the forefront

Kylie Cheung | Daily Trojan

Prior to Tuesday evening, it’s difficult for me to recall the last time news from the American political arena brought me hope. Wednesday marked one year since Donald Trump was elected president in a devastating blow to not only Hillary Clinton — a woman who had dedicated her life to public service — but also, ultimately, to our nation’s most basic notions of human decency. Put simply, it has not been an easy year. For undocumented families made to live in fear of separation; for low-income women forced to brace themselves for new limits on their reproductive options; for LGBTQ people made uncertain of what Trump’s promised, new era of religious freedom would mean for their right to equal treatment — this first year of Trump’s term has felt like a lifetime.

But Tuesday was a day carved out of the rest of Trump’s presidency — it was special, not only a day of hope but also a much-needed reminder of the political power vested in this emotion. Former President Barack Obama ran and won on this particular sentiment — hope — in 2008 and 2012, and in Virginia, New Jersey, Washington and states and cities across the country, a diverse group of Democratic lawmakers brought it back to a fractured party, and more importantly, to a hurting nation.

And yet, hope was not the only thing Tuesday brought us — it also delivered a crucial reminder of what, exactly, “identity politics” is, and its increasing importance in the Trump era despite an influx of bipartisan hostility directed at it.

On top of governors-elect Ralph Northam of Virginia and Phil Murphy of New Jersey, Tuesday’s victors included Danica Roem, a former journalist who will become the first openly transgender member of the Virginia General Assembly come January; Andrea Jenkins, who will become Minneapolis’ first openly transgender woman of color elected to office; Vi Lyles, who will become Charlotte, N.C.’s first black female mayor; Joyce Craig, who will become the first female mayor of Manchester, N.H.; and more — so many more — inspiring and historic firsts. As news of their triumphs reverberates throughout social media, their identifiers on the basis of their marginalized identities will be spread along and celebrated, too, and it’s important to remember that we should not be silent about this.

Notably, earlier this year, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders chastised a young Latina candidate for having the audacity to speak about her experiences and their impact on her politics, saying of her, “It is not good enough for someone to say, ‘I’m a woman! Vote for me!’”

Sanders semed to imply that female, minority candidates try to gain advantage in America’s white, male-dominated political sphere by screaming their race or gender from the rooftops, that they offer nothing of substance beyond this, and that he, as a white male, gets to unilaterally say what makes a candidate “good enough.” Of course, this is not only offensive, but also plainly inaccurate — if Sanders is suggesting that being a marginalized identity makes winning elections easier, I’d love to hear him explain Congress’ 80 percent white, 80 percent male makeup to me.

But to the point, his words seemed to be part of a greater trend that, following the loss of the first female nominee of a major American political party, liberals ought to rally around non-identity related issues. Tuesday night — which saw the election of two trans women, a black woman and a first female mayor of her respective city — functioned as a reminder of why this would be a mistake.

Here are some unsettling realities that everyone should be aware of: Trans women are 4.3 times more likely than cisgender women to be murdered, 87 percent of trans people murdered from 2013 to 2015 were people of color and the homicide rate toward trans people in America has steadily been on the rise, according to the most recent available data from the Human Rights Campaign. Trans youth are more likely than any other group to wind up homeless, and of the 40 percent of trans adults who report having attempted to commit suicide, 92 percent of these attempts took place before they turned 25.

Art by Shideh Ghandeharizadeh | Daily Trojan

Myriad statistics reflect an overarching, national issue of racially biased policing and a mass incarceration crisis built on punishing people for the color of their skin. African American women are incarcerated at twice the rate of white women, and the majority of prisons subject pregnant women — who constitute roughly 4 percent of women who arrive in prisons — to inhumane conditions. Across the country and in the state of New Hampshire, which, as previously mentioned, just elected the first female mayor of Manchester, the debate about public funding for abortion — whether or not low-income women should have the same rights as their economically privileged counterparts — is picking up steam.

None of the aforementioned issues would be neatly solved with a $15 minimum wage, tuition-free college or universal health care. Many marginalized groups would disproportionately benefit from such policies, but the idea that their suffering would be eradicated with the implementation of these policies is laughably out of touch.  

The concept of “identity politics” has always emerged from the notion that issues that disproportionately affect women, people of color, the LGBTQ community and other historically marginalized groups are softer, less relevant. That “identity politics” entails issues that should be ignored because they are “divisive,” that implementing a few progressive economic policies would somehow make all of the problems related to identity evaporate into thin air.

The simple truth is that our identities affect the things we care about, the things we understand, the things we experience. Representation matters because it critically affects politics — and politics critically affects our everyday lives.

Tuesday’s Democratic victors will enact policies that benefit the people they represent. That’s important, but there’s no need to downplay the symbolic magnitude of their victories after a year of watching Trump empower bigots to score point after point.

In January, the month of Trump’s inauguration, The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote about Obama’s symbolic importance to the black community in a country built on the backs of slaves. His words remind us that when Roem — who was repeatedly addressed with male pronouns by her Republican rival — and Jenkins won their respective elections, they didn’t just win for themselves. They won for all of the trans and non-binary children who now live in a country where they know that they can grow up, run for office and win.

The promise of America has always been that anyone, regardless of any facet of their identity, can achieve anything that they are willing to work for. I would be lying if I said Nov. 8, 2016 didn’t feel like the death of a collective national dream — it certainly felt like the death of mine. And yet, here we are, one year later: hopeful.

Kylie Cheung is a sophomore majoring in journalism and political science. She is also the editorial director of the Daily Trojan. Her column,“You Do Uterus,” runs Thursdays.

Pennsylvania Corporate Whistleblower Center Now Urges an Employee of a Company That Is Overbilling any Federal Agency in Pennsylvania To Call About Possible Substantial Rewards

The Pennsylvania Corporate Whistleblower Center is especially interested in hearing from an employee with proof their Pennsylvania based employer is over billing the GSA or DOT on a contract ”

— Pennsylvania Corporate Whistleblower Center

WASHINGTON, DC, USA, November 9, 2017 / — The Pennsylvania Corporate Whistleblower Center says, “We are urging an employee of a company based in Pennsylvania that is providing any type of service to a federal agency to call us anytime at 866-714-6466 if their employer is involved in significant overbilling, fraud or if the company is out of compliance with their federal contract. As we would like to discuss the rewards for this type of information can be substantial.” http://Pennsylvania.CorporateWhistleblower.Com

The Pennsylvania Corporate Whistleblower Center is especially interested in hearing from an employee with proof their Pennsylvania based employer is overbilling the US federal government for the following types of services:

* A Pennsylvania based company providing transportation or logistics services to the US Department of Defense or any other federal agency.
* A Pennsylvania based company providing any type of food, fuel or security services to the US Department of Defense or any other federal agency.
* A Pennsylvania based road builder or construction company providing services to the Department of Transportation or any other federal agency.
* A Pennsylvania based company providing housing services to the Department of Defense, HUD or GSA.
* A company in Pennsylvania that is overbilling the US General Services Administration on a contract, or out of compliance with a GSA contract.
* A Pennsylvania based food distribution company that is overbilling the Department of Agriculture for school lunch programs, or any other type of food service.
* A Pennsylvania based environmental contractor that is overbilling the EPA for work being done at a Super Fund site anywhere in Pennsylvania.
Special note the business could be located anywhere in Pennsylvania including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Eire, Upper Darby, Reading, Scranton, or Bethlehem.

According to the Pennsylvania Corporate Whistleblower Center, “If you possess proof your Pennsylvania based employer has overbilled the US Government and the amount of overbilling is at least a million dollars please call us anytime at 866-714-6466 and let’s discuss how the whistleblower reward program works. Why sit on a potentially winning lotto ticket without ever knowing what it might have been worth?” http://Pennsylvania.CorporateWhistleblower.Com

Simple rules for a whistleblower from the Pennsylvania Corporate Whistleblower Center: Do not go to the government first if you are a potential whistleblower with substantial proof of wrongdoing. The Pennsylvania Corporate Whistleblower Center says, “Major whistleblowers frequently go to the government thinking they will help. It’s a huge mistake. Do not go to the news media with your whistleblower information. Public revelation of a whistleblower’s information could destroy any prospect for a reward. Do not try to force a company/employer or individual to come clean about significant Medicare fraud, overbilling the federal government for services never rendered, multi-million-dollar state or federal tax evasion, or a Pennsylvania based company falsely claiming to be a minority owned business to get preferential treatment on federal or state projects. Come to us first, tell us what type of information you have, and if we think it’s sufficient, we will help you with a focus on you getting rewarded.”

Unlike any group in the US the Corporate Whistleblower Center can assist a potential whistleblower with packaging or building out their information to potentially increase the reward potential. They will also provide the whistleblower with access to some of the most skilled whistleblower attorneys in the nation. For more information a possible whistleblower with substantial proof of wrongdoing in Pennsylvania can contact the Whistleblower Center at 866-714-6466 or contact them via their website at http://Pennsylvania.CorporateWhistleBlower.Com.

Thomas Martin
Pennsylvania Corporate Whistleblower Center
email us here

Free Walk 4 Wellness incl Health Screenings, Fitness and Beauty Vendors, Food and Dance Classes

Anthem HealthKeepers, CareMore, Radio One, Richmond Free Press presents Beauty-N-Motion Walk4Wellness Focusing on Health Issues of African American Women and their families. Meet Radio One’s Miss Community Clovia and more and ask health Questions



RICHMOND, Va.Nov. 7, 2017PRLog — The Black BeautyShop Health Foundation Announces 2nd Annual Beauty-n-Motion Walk 4 Wellness Health and Beauty Expo Sunday, November 12th, 2017 at the Chesterfield Town Center Mall located at 11500 Midlothian Turnpike, Richmond, VA 23235

Now in its second year, Beauty-N-Motion Walk 4 Wellness has grown nationally reaching thousands of African American Women in the Cities of Los Angeles, California and Atlanta, Georgia.

The 2017 wellness fair and walk begins its 2017 Health and Fitness Tour in Richmond, Virginia and continues to Los Angeles, Ca. to include Food Demonstrations, Fitness Classes, Health Screenings, Massages and more.   The Walk 4 Wellness is a 1 mile or 3-mile (at your own pace) course and its opened to all ages.   The entire event is free to attend and to walk.  There are donation options where participants will receive t-shirts and giftbags as VIP’s.

Don’t want to to Walk then come out and Cheer Us On, enjoy the Expo!  Meet & Greet Radio One Personality Miss Community Clovia & Special Guest.  Special this year, for Sunday’s empowerment day is an opening performance by Gospel Artist M’Renee’s.

Beauty-n-Motion Walk 4 Wellness is produced by Black BeautyShop Health Foundation, a National grassroots organization that seeks to train and provide ongoing support to participating salons, their clients and surrounding neighborhoods.  The goal is to bridge the gap in health disparities within communities across the country concerning African American women and their families.

The mission is to work with community stakeholders to empower Women of Color to take an active role in their total health by understanding and being responsive to their immediate health care needs through education, screenings and promoting healthy living strategies in Black owned beauty shops.

“Women are the health CEO of the family,” said Margo LaDrew, Executive Director and Founder of the Black BeautyShop Health Foundation. “Given that black women visit the salon an average of 2.5 times a month, the beauty shop is an ideal place to educate women and equip them with practical tools for improving their family’s health.”

Beauty salons, health organizations, women, teens, men, businesses, nonprofits are invited to participate by creating a team to fun walk, joining a team, becoming a vendor, sponsoring the event or teams or donating items for gift bags or donate funds.

Beauty-n-Motion Walk 4 Wellness is sponsored by:  Anthem, CareMore, Radio One, Richmond Free Press , KRPR Media, and The Diva Foundation.
For more information about:

• The Black BeautyShop Health Foundation
• Beauty-n-Black Wellness Tour
• The Beauty-n-Motion Walk 4 Wellness
• Free Walk 4 Wellness Registration
• To make a donation
• To join a team please visit
• To Be A Vendor/Sponsor (…)

Founder Margo LaDrew, is an expert at the intersection of beauty and health for African American women. Her Sales & Marketing Company, Wade & Associates Group has represented major beauty brands such as Dark & Lovely, Johnson Products, Let’s Jam, Bronner Brothers and other leading hair care brands for black women and men. Additionally, Ms. LaDrew spent more than four years with the Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program. Under that organization’s banner, she assisted the founder in developing, launching and implementing all programs, coordinated the national tours and also produced the African American Men’s Health & Empowerment Summits. All told, Ms. LaDrew helped to deliver health screenings, resources and health education to more than 25,000 men in 26 cities before stepping down in June 2011.  She serves as on the National Board of the National Council of Negro Women and Optical Transitions Cultural Connections Diversity Board.

The Black BeautyShop Health Foundation is a 501c3 organization established to empower African American women with knowledge to choose healthier lifestyles. At the heart of the Foundation is an appreciation for Black women’s interest in beauty and for the unique role beauty shops play in Black culture – as trusted places where women exchange information and set cultural norms, including those related to health behaviors. The Foundation produces   a Beauty N Black Wellness Tour, Shopping 4 A Cause and will be publishing the Black BeautyShop Wellness Magazine ( ), an online health and beauty resource. Nationally, the Foundation has worked with the American Diabetes Association and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

For more information call 310.674.6700

OR visit (

Torrington poet Patricia Martin is guest reader at Armistice…

TORRINGTON — Torrington poet, author, and freelance writer Patricia Martin will be guest poet at a special event in Woodstock, NY, on Saturday, Nov. 11.

“Amina Baraka & The Red Microphone: Concert for Armistice Day and the Eve of the Russian Revolution Centenary” will be held at the Colony, 22 Rock City Road, Woodstock, N.Y.

The event is produced by John Pietaro, a writer and multi-instrumentalist who serves as The Red Microphone’s director and percussionist. Pietaro organized the event in honor of Armistice Day, the traditional commemoration of war’s end, which this year falls on the eve of the Russian Revolution’s centenary.

Celebrated poet/activist of the Black Arts Movement, Amina Baraka headlines the concert, which will combine poetry, prose, and free jazz. Baraka has travelled the world, collaborating with her husband, the poet/playwright Amiri Baraka (a.k.a.LeRoi Jones). Following his death, Baraka has become increasingly active as a performance poet, spreading messages of equality and liberty.

The Red Microphone features acclaimed musicians Pietaro, tenor saxophonist and flutist Ras Moshe Burnett, alto saxophonist and pianist Rocco John Iacovone, and bass player Laurie Towers, who partnered with Pietaro in The Flames of Discontent.

Martin will be reading two poems that she wrote specifically for the event, accompanied by improvisational music performed by The Red Microphone. “Skin on Poppies” speaks to civil and human rights, and “Ink and Blood” is an epic that weaves excerpts from letters soldiers wrote from the front lines to their families and loved ones back home in wars spanning from the Civil War to Vietnam. In performing “Ink and Blood,” Martin and Baraka will trade off stanzas, giving the piece two distinct voices.

“I am excited to be performing at the Colony with revolutionary poet/vocalist Amina Baraka and The Red Microphone, an ensemble of individuals who are leaders in their own right in the New York City scene,” Martin said, in a written statement. “I moved to Torrington less than two years ago from New York’s Hudson Valley, and have performed at the Colony during other events John has produced. It’s a wonderful, historic space and a great venue.

“Having this opportunity inspired me to create two new pieces. ‘Skin on Poppies’ touches on the dignity and rights of all people, as we are all connected as human beings. And by using the actual words of soldiers during war time—without any editorializing—I think ‘Ink and Blood’ makes a somewhat shocking, powerful, and profound poetic plea for peace.”

Journey Blue Heaven — one of Woodstock’s most beloved musicians — opens the evening with a set of original songs as well as adaptations of other musicians’ works.

Doors open at 7 p.m., and the event starts at 8 p.m. General admission is $10.

Martin is an author, poet, performer/actor, and freelance writer/communications professional. A native of Darien, CT, she relocated to Torrington from Woodstock/West Saugerties in New York’s Hudson Valley. In March 2017 she launched “SpeakEasy,” a monthly poetry/spoken word event in Torrington. Martin has been featured at numerous venues, including The Museum of the Imagination, The Howland Cultural Center, The Dissident Arts Festival, The Woodstock Fringe, The Byrdcliff, Theatre, and The National Beat Poetry Festival’s “Kerouac Café,” among others. She’s been heard on The Woodstock RoundTable/WDST and Women of Note/WKZE, is a monthly guest on “She’s Raising the Bar” radio show, and has been published in Chronogram, The County and Abroad, Art Times, Chatham Magazine, WaterWrites, and other periodicals. A member of the Author’s Guild, Martin is the author of one humor book, five nonfiction books, a spoken word & music CD with composer/producer Gus Mancini.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Documentary On Malcolm X’s European Trip

Bethune shown with Howard Hughes in Tanzania.

At the 24th New York African Film Festival, Lebert “Sandy” Bethune, Jamaican filmmaker, poet, author and scholar, will spotlight Pan African expats’ during the turbulent 1960s through his acclaimed milestone documentary Malcolm X: Struggle for Freedom, filmed during Malcolm’s X’s trip to Europe shortly before his assassination and Jojolo, a portrait of a young Haitian fashion model and actress living in cosmopolitan Paris.
Both films will be seen at Lincoln Center’s Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 144 West 65th Street. Malcolm X: Struggle for Freedom will be screened on Sunday May 7 at 4:15pm with Bethune holding a Q&A discussion immediately after. Jojolo will be shown at 6:15 pm with a Q&A period following the film.

In Bethune’s 1964 film Malcolm X: Struggle for Freedom, Malcolm X is seen at a time when his views were evolving following worldwide travel. It features interviews filmed during Malcolm X’s trip to Europe and Africa and is interspersed with scenes of African rebellion. Months after filming, Malcolm X would be assassinated in the United States.

“The film Malcolm X: Struggle for Freedom first started as an informal interview at the Paris  home of the late French cartoonist, Bob Sine, an original founder of Charlie Hebdo magazine,” Bethune recalled. “Photographer John Taylor and I had been introduced to Brother Malcolm, at author Chester Himes’ apartment, after a public meeting in Paris on November 23, 1964. Malcolm had just returned from Africa where he had given a lecture to a group of African students.”

“Malcolm provided Carlos Moore, John Taylor, two other African-American students and I with the sit-down private interview we requested. The uniqueness of the film is that it took place in an informal, relaxed setting–with a comfortable Malcolm, attended by a small group of five young African Americans, and the security and hospitality of Sine, a former French Resistance Partisan,” he said. “The interview was recorded with a hand held 16mm camera. Malcolm’s only request in return for the interview was for us to take him around to some of the cafes and places in Paris where he might meet with African-American, artists, students and musicians. We thus became his guide, his de facto security team and informally the earliest unit of the Organization of Afro American Unity in Europe.”

The film covers a wide array of topics including the role of women in the Civil Rights struggle, the significance of China’s newly acquired Nuclear Bomb and the importance of the unity of Africa for the Black human rights struggle in the Diaspora. Weeks later, Bethune would attend Malcolm X’s historic “Union Debate on Human Rights” at Oxford University in England.

“That Brother Malcolm was assassinated only months later, rendered our interview with him, an unique retrospective in a modern pictorial medium, which now comprises the heart of Malcolm X: Struggle for Freedom,” Bethune explained.
“In the film Jojolo, I wanted to portray a facet of Black female identity, seen through the eyes of a young Haitian woman working in Paris in 1966, as a Dior fashion model and actress,” explained Bethune.

In Paris during the early 1960s, Bethune was a significant presence in the younger Black expatriate intellectual circle. His friendships included James Baldwin, William Gardner- Smith, drummer Art Taylor, Dexter Gordon, Richard Wright’s widow, Helen,and their daughter, Julia. His poetry and fiction were first published by Presence Africaine. And he interacted with Francophone writers such as Aimee Cesaire, Leon Damas, Alioune Diop, all seminal advocates of “Negritude” — a Pan Africanist stance for anti-colonial, anti-racist literature. For both his films Bethune attracted moral and material assistance from the legendary Dutch filmmaker Joris Ivens and encouragement from Senegalese filmmaker Sembene Ousman.

One of his most treasured memories is Bethune’s friendship and mentorship with Langston Hughes, which spanned Paris, New York and Tanzania. Hughes even penned a poem in dedication to him.

Bethune’s literary work as a writer has been featured in groundbreaking Black Arts Movement literature. He has written short stories that were included in Langston Hughes’ anthology The Best Short Stories by Negro Writers; poetry in Black Fire, edited by Larry Neal and Amiri Baraka; and an essay on Malcolm X in Europe in John Henrik Clarke’s Malcolm X: The Man and His Times.

Lebert ”Sandy” Bethune, was born in Kingston, Jamaica, has taught at SUNY, and at  the University of The West Indies .He has studied at the University of Paris and holds a B.S. from NYU and a Masters in Anthropology & Education from Columbia University. He resides in New York City with his wife April, and their daughter Simone. He is currently preparing a new collection of his poetry for publication later this year.

For more information on 24th New York African Film Festival, contact

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Our Revolution Candidates Win Local Offices Nationwide

Our Revolution candidates make history, creating a new generation of progressive champions

WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S.A. , November 8, 2017 / — Our Revolution candidates claimed victories at every level of government in Tuesday’s elections. From school board to the state legislatures, and statewide ballot initiatives, Our Revolution made history. Andrea Jenkins became the first out transgender woman elected to Minneapolis, Minnesota City Council, Elizabeth Guzman became one of the first Latinas to be elected to Virginia’s General Assembly, and Maine voters passed the first statewide Medicaid expansion. In total Our Revolution won 21 seats and one ballot initiative, with more results yet to be finalized.

“Last night’s victories show the strength of our progressive movement, even in the face of a presidential administration that wants to take us backward. We are incredibly proud of all of our candidates and local groups that worked so hard to support them,” said Our Revolution President Nina Turner. “Our Revolution’s candidates won in every part of America–blue and red, rural and urban. What we saw last night is a preview of what is to come and what is possible when local groups stick to progressive values, identify progressive champions, and advocate for an America that works for all. Our Revolution is building a bench of diverse progressive champions at all levels of government who can change their communities and grow the progressive movement.”

Our Revolution backed victories:

Jennifer Carroll Foy, Virginia House of Delegates, District 2
Elizabeth Guzman, Virginia House of Delegates, District 31
Lee Carter, Virginia House of Delegates, District 50
Larry Krasner, Philadelphia District Attorney
Andrea Jenkins, Minneapolis, Minn. City Council, Ward 8
Carlos Menchaca, New York City Council, District 38
Matt McLaughlin, Somerville, Mass. Ward 1
J.T. Scott, Somerville, Mass. Ward 2 Alderman
Ben Ewen Campen, Somerville, Mass. Ward 3 Alderman
Jesse Clingan, Somerville, Mass. Ward 4 Alderman
Will Mbah, Somerville, Mass. Alderman At-Large
Jasmin Santana, Cleveland, Ohio City Council, Ward 14
Tamaya Dennard, Cincinnati, Ohio City Council At-Large
Tristan Radar, Lakewood, Ohio City Council At-Large
Gina Morgenstein, Wallingford, Connecticut Town Council
Ted Terry, Clarkston, Georgia Mayor
Brian Nowak, Cheektowaga, New York Town Council
Anita Prizio, Allegheny, Penn. County Council, District 3
Mik Pappas, Allegheny County, Penn. Magistrate, District 31
Anna Payne, Middletown, Penn. Township Auditor
Noelia Corozo, San Mateo/Foster City, California School Board
Mainers for Healthcare (ballot initiative expanding Medicaid access)

A full list of all of our 2017 election results can be found here:

Our Revolution supports progressive champions at every level of government. By supporting candidates backed by people, not corporations, we are aiming to transform American politics to make our political and economic systems responsive to the needs of working families. With this election, we are one step closer to accomplishing that goal.

In the November 7, 2017 General Election Our Revolution endorsed:

59 candidates in eighteen states including,
26 women candidates
11 African and African-American candidates
7 Latinx candidates
4 Asian American/Pacific Islander candidates
4 openly LGBTQ candidates
2 ballot initiatives
Mainers for Health Care
Ohio Drug Price Relief Act

Diane May
Our Revolution
(317) 292-2922
email us here

Jennifer Rubin: 15 takeaways from the Virginia election

The Virginia election will send analysts and candidates scurrying to fine tune their messages and expectations for 2018. Let’s look at 15 of them:

1. Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe was able to hand over the governorship to a fellow Democrat, governor-elect Ralph Northam. McAuliffe’s approval rating in exit polls was 14 points higher than President Donald Trump’s. McAuliffe surely will be considering a 2020 presidential run. As a major fundraiser he will suck up a lot of support and money from other potential moderate candidates. It’s far from clear Democrats would want as their presidential nominee the pol most closely associated with Hillary Clinton.

2. Democrats can do well in middle-class and affluent suburbs. They can do really well running against Trump. Northam won by huge margins in Loudon (20 points), Fairfax (more than 35 percent) and Arlington (78 to 20 percent) counties. These professional and college-educated voters, rather than non-college educated white working class voters, may be the key to Democrats winning back the House majority in 2018.

3. The huge turnout and sweep, including a raft of delegate wins (as many as 16, with recounts surely to come), bodes extremely well for Democrats in House seats, especially the Virginia 10th District, currently held by Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock.

4. The victory up and down the ballot suggests we will see more retirements after the two (Rep. Ted Poe of Texas and Rep. Frank LoBiondo of New Jersey) announced Tuesday before the polls closed.

5. Voting against Trump (who had only a 40 percent approval according to exit polls) and his agenda became a whole lot easier for endangered Republican incumbents. That will have consequences on everything from their votes on taxes to the budget to DACA. It was a very good election night for Medicaid. Maine overwhelmingly passed a referendum to expand Medicaid. The Democrats, with wins in all statewide races and possibly a tie in the House of Delegates, may finally expand Medicaid in Virginia.

6. Northam’s win was in large part due to college educated white women (57-42 percent) and married women (56-43) as well as millennials (67-32 percent). These groups may be key to dislodging Republicans a year from now if the anti-Trump sentiment remains high.

7. We might stop calling Virginia a swing or purple state. Northam will be the fourth Democrat in the past five Virginia governors. Both U.S. senators are Democrats. Hillary Clinton notched the third consecutive presidential win for Democrats. Maybe it’s just a blue state, plain and simple — at least when Democrats turn out their voters.

8. Northam ran ahead of Clinton, who won the state by 4 points. It’s one more indication that Clinton was simply not able to generate the kind of enthusiasm Democrats now need to defeat Trumpists.

9. Northam was boring, but normal and well-qualified. There will be a lot of boring, normal and well-qualified Democrats who think their ship has come in. They can run as anti-Trumpists and against know-nothingism.

10. Keep an eye on lieutenant governor-elect Justin Fairfax, the first African-American elected to a statewide office in the commonwealth since 1989. Dynamic and smart, he beat far-right Republican Jill Vogel.

11. President Barack Obama is still valuable to Democrats in a way Trump certainly cannot be for Republicans. Obama came into the state, giving Northam a boost late in the race. He cannot be helpful everywhere, but in key races he could help flip some seats in 2018.

12. Virginia is not a crime-ridden, economic disaster as Trump claimed. The state’s unemployment rate (3.7 percent) and low crime (third lowest rate of violent crime in the country) are evidence of good governance, which turns out to be a pretty effective way to keep power.

13. Tax cuts are a dud. Gillespie ran strongly on a 10 percent tax cut in a state in which health care was by far the top issue. In those blue D.C. suburbs and exurbs voters want responsible government and good services more than a small cut in already-low state taxes. National Republicans should take note.

14. Tom Perriello, who lost the Democratic primary to Northam, earned a ton of goodwill in his party. Instead of moping, he worked extremely hard for Northam, helping to turn out a big liberal vote (28 percent of the electorate).

15. There is a price to be paid for race-baiting and xenophobia. If there was a single motivator to get Democrats out to vote (or to turn Republicans away from Gillespie) it was Gillespie’s infamous ad demonizing Hispanics and whipping up hysteria about sanctuary cities. Perhaps Republicans in Congress will remember this when deciding how to vote on a DACA fix.

Jennifer Rubin.

America, a year later

America, a year later – STATE – CNN Politics<!– –>

America, a year later

The divided era of politics didn’t start with Trump’s victory. But it has gotten worse under his presidency.


November 2017

One Election Night a year ago didn’t get us to this place.

Long before Donald Trump upset Hillary Clinton for the presidency last year, the nation was facing steadily rising social and political tensions rooted in diverging reactions to the relentless economic, demographic and cultural changes reshaping American life. But the bruising 2016 race between Trump and Clinton widened these divisions to a new extreme. In the starkly contrasting pattern of support each candidate inspired, the election functioned something like a bolt of lighting on a starless night: It illuminated, with sudden starkness, a political landscape deeply fractured along lines of race, generation, class and geography.

One tumultuous year later, and one year before the 2018 midterm election, those fissures look only more imposing.

Far from seeking to bridge these divides, Trump, as both candidate and president, has repeatedly demonstrated he believes it benefits him to widen them. Trump’s willingness, even eagerness, to push at the most volatile fault lines in American life, from race to religion to gender, has created an explosive new reality. The underlying changes remaking America are so disruptive that this would be a tense period no matter who held the highest positions of political leadership. But confronting those changes with a President whose bottomless appetite for both cultural confrontation and personal feuds adds layers of volatility.

“Trump is something of an arsonist: He seems to take delight in burning down rather than building up.”

“What is qualitatively different about Trump than anybody else who came before him is he’s willing, and seems to delight, in lighting the tinder and creating a conflagration, whereas others tried at least now and then to dampen the tinder and to keep the conflagration from happening,” says Peter Wehner, the director of strategic initiatives in the George W. Bush White House. “No one did it perfectly and of course, within a certain range, politicians will get into fights that are to their advantage. What’s really different is Trump is something of an arsonist: He seems to take delight in burning down rather than building up.”

The intensity of emotion Trump has inspired, among supporters and opponents alike, has unleashed destabilizing pressures in both parties and opened a gulf between the places where he is revered and reviled. Trump has riveted many voters in the parts of America, primarily outside of the largest cities, that feel most eclipsed by growing racial and religious diversity and the evolution toward a more globalized and post-industrial economy that relies less on fossil fuels. But he has outraged, even terrified, many voters in the mostly urbanized parts of America that welcome all of those trends.

Each side appears increasingly uncomprehending of the other – and increasingly dubious that it’s possible, or even desirable, to bridge their differences. It is into this pool of combustible tensions that Trump, on issues from whether National Football League players should kneel for the national anthem to whether the Charlottesville protests contained “very fine people” on each side, is routinely dropping matches. “The combination of these underlying factors and Trump’s emotional and psychological state,” says Wehner, “is pretty explosive.” The explosions Trump detonates almost daily have thrust Washington into perpetual turmoil — and promise the same for the 2018 midterm elections that will offer voters their first broad chance to render a verdict on his tumultuous presidency.

The fuel Trump plays with has been gathering for some time.

At the core of America’s modern political divide is a convergence of propulsive changes in demography, culture and the economy. “There’s a lot of things hitting the country at once,” says Robert P. Jones, president of the non-partisan Public Religion Research Institute.

Demographically, the nation is living through the most profound transformation since the Melting Pot era at the turn of the 20th century. Almost 40% of the total population is now non-white, roughly double the share in 1980. Among the young, the change is even more accelerated. Kids of color represent about half of all Americans 10 and younger, and since 2014, they have constituted a majority of all K-12 public school students nationwide. William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution, has calculated that from 2000 to 2014, not only did whites decline as a share of the under 18 population in 46 of the 50 states – but so did the absolute number of white kids. “The 2020 census is going to show that the under 18 population is majority minority, same as the under 10 population now is, and that there is an absolute decline of white youth in the US,” Frey predicts flatly.

A majority of public school students in the United States are now nonwhite

The percentage of white public school students has shrunk from 61% at the turn of the century, and is projected to fall to just 45% in the next decade.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Department of Education

Closely related to the nation’s growing diversity is the increasing prominence of immigrants. People born abroad now constitute about 14% of all Americans. That’s the highest total since the years around World War I and nearly triple the 5% level in 1965, when Congress replaced the restrictive laws from the 1920s that had severely limited immigration for four decades. Mark Hugo Lopez, director of Hispanic research at the Pew Research Institute, projects that under current law, first-generation immigrants will exceed 15% of the population by some time around 2025, breaking the previous record high reached in 1890.

The Share of 1st or 2nd generation immigrants in the United States

More than a quarter of Americans are 1st or 2nd generation immigrants, the highest levels in the United States since 1940.

Source: Pew Research Center, Edmonston and Passel, US Census

More racial diversity has contributed to another tectonic shift: Increasing religious pluralism. For almost all of American history, people who identified as both white and Christian represented a majority of the American population. Through the 1960s, about eight in 10 Americans identified as white Christians. That number had declined to only slightly less than seven-in-10 by the time of Ronald Reagan’s reelection in 1984 and still stood at nearly two-in-three when Bill Clinton won his second term in 1996.

But the steady increase in the non-white population, and a steady decline in the share of Americans who identify with any Christian faith, pushed white Christians below half of the population for the first time around 2012, according to surveys of religious preference by Pew and others. That erosion has continued unabated since: an extensive PRRI poll recently found that white Christians had fallen to just 43% of the population. Non-white Christians account for just over one-fifth of the population while Americans unaffiliated with any religious faith now represent nearly one-in-four.

White Christians no longer make up majority of American people

The share of white Christians has fallen to just four in 10 over the last decade, with dramatic drops across evangelical protestants, mainline protestants and Catholics.

Source: Pew Research Center, PRRI, General Social Survey

Partly because of these shifts in religious allegiance, the nation has experienced a rapid change in cultural mores. Fifteen years ago, same sex marriage was not legal in any state and faced opposition in polls from a significant majority of Americans; now it is legal everywhere, with support from a significant majority. Mixed race marriages have grown more common. Debates over the rights of transgender people have opened a new frontier in the cultural conversation.

And even as these demographic and cultural shifts have rolled through American life, the economy has undergone an equally wrenching restructuring. In 1965, the core blue-collar industries of manufacturing, construction and mining (including energy production) accounted for over one of every three American jobs. Now that number is less than one-in-seven and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects it will fall below one-in-eight in by 2024. Job growth today is driven much more by post-industrial occupations, like health care, education, business services and tourism. Blue-collar jobs accounted for just three of the 30 professions that the BLS recently projected would grow the fastest through 2026. Growth is also concentrating more into large metropolitan areas that are racing into the information economy and integrating into the globalized market for products, people and ideas.

Over roughly the past two decades, attitudes toward these enormous changes have become the fundamental dividing line in American politics. In both presidential and congressional races, Republicans rely on what I’ve called a “coalition of restoration” that revolves around older, blue-collar, and evangelical Christian whites, mostly outside of urban areas, who feel most uneasy about these changes. Democrats mobilize a competing “coalition of transformation” centered on minority, millennial and college-educated white voters (especially women), who are mostly clustered in major metropolitan areas and the most comfortable with the changes.

More explicitly than any other recent Republican nominee, Trump ran as a candidate of restoration. His backward-facing promise to “make America great again” soldered a powerful connection with all those who feel eclipsed by these changes. With her competing message of “stronger together,” Clinton arguably sought even more than Obama did to portray herself as the champion of the transforming urbanized America.

Trump paved a path to an electoral college victory by consolidating his core groups of older, blue-collar, and evangelical whites just slightly more than Clinton consolidated her core groups of minorities, millennials, and well-educated white women. But the brutal competition left the two sides representing coalitions that diverged far more, both geographically and demographically, than the parties did in earlier generations.

The religious divide between the parties offers one powerful example. In the new PRRI study, about three-fourths of Republicans still identify as white Christians, comparable to the nation overall in 1984. In stark contrast, only about three-in-10 Democrats now identify as white Christians. Nearly as many Democrats are unaffiliated with any religion, and just over one-third are non-white Christians. Those two groups, though, each represent only about one-in-every-nine Republicans.

The divide extended to less obvious distinctions. Trump won 26 of the 30 states where the foreign born represent the smallest share of the population. Clinton won 16 of the 20 states where they represent the highest share.

Trump won 13 of the 16 states that produce the most natural gas, 11 of the 15 that produce the most coal, and 16 of the 20 that produce the most oil. In a cumulative measure of reliance of manufacturing and resource extraction, Trump won 27 of the 32 states, almost entirely across the nation’s interior, with the highest per capita levels of the carbon dioxide emissions linked to global climate change. Clinton won 15 of the 18 states with the lowest per capita carbon emissions – most of them largely post-industrial states along the two coasts.

In all these ways and more, the two parties now glare at each other across the divide of what America has been, and what it is becoming.

“It looks like one party that is holding on to a 1950s America’s demographics and increasingly looks like a white Christian party that is going to be perpetually tempted toward nationalist parties around that identity. And then we have a Democratic Party that is following these (demographic and economic changes, and might, on the other hand, be tempted to double down on (pursuing) everyone but white Christians.”

“It looks like one party that is holding on to a 1950s America’s demographics and increasingly looks like a white Christian party that is going to be perpetually tempted toward nationalist parties around that identity,” says Jones, author of the 2016 book The End of White Christian America. “And then we have a Democratic Party that is following these (demographic and economic) changes, and might, on the other hand, be tempted to double down on (pursuing) everyone but white Christians. In a country with a two party system that is a pretty volatile mix: Race, religion and identity overlaid with partisanship.”

Just how volatile that mix can be has been explosively evident since Trump took office. Trump’s presidency has offered a precarious balancing of the unprecedented and the conventional. In style, he has been unlike any previous president, precipitating an unending succession of feuds with a rotating cast of foils and antagonists; regularly delivering false accusations that are easily disproven; and attacking the legitimacy of any institution, from the media to the courts, that he believes can resist him. Parts of his agenda have been equally unconventional, as he’s embraced policies on both immigration and trade far more insular than the GOP has endorsed before.

And yet in other ways, he has proven a much more conventional Republican than he signaled during the campaign. He’s pushed elements of the traditional evangelical social agenda on limiting access to contraception in health care or rolling back protections for transgender soldiers more enthusiastically than almost anyone expected. And after a campaign where he promised to defend government programs that could benefit his older and blue-collar white base, he’s emphatically endorsed the traditional modern Republican goals of cutting taxes, spending and regulation.

“Despite all the attacks on Republican establishment and particular Republican leaders, for the most part he’s really allowed congressional Republicans to define his agenda, especially the details of his agenda.”

“Despite all the attacks on Republican establishment and particular Republican leaders, for the most part he’s really allowed congressional Republicans to define his agenda, especially the details of his agenda,” notes Emory University political scientist Alan Abramowitz.

Indeed, amid all the daily tumult, an informal division of responsibility within the GOP appears to be emerging. The Republican-controlled Congress and executive branch departments, like the Environmental Protection Agency, are systematically advancing the traditional GOP goals of cutting taxes, spending and regulation and funding the Pentagon. Meanwhile, Trump is provoking a procession of twitter-fueled confrontations primarily around cultural issues, many of them (from Charlottesville to the NFL to immigration) with a sharp racial edge. “This is something he is comfortable doing and it has become ritualized,” says Alan Wolfe, a retired political scientist at Boston College who has extensively studied America’s divisions. “It’s like a play and everybody knows the plot.”

The policy agenda “is not something he cares very deeply about and he’s not active in it,” adds Wehner, now a senior fellow at the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center. “There’s no energy behind it. Most of his energy seems to be directed on cultural divisions, on racial divisions and on creating a more fractious and fractured society.”

Though the strains are evident, this informal division of responsibility appears to be preventing a full-scale break between Trump and congressional Republicans, despite his frequent sniping at them. It’s less clear the GOP electoral coalition can withstand the strain.

Many Trump supporters remain convinced that he is doing exactly what they sent him to Washington to do. But compared to his vote in the 2016 election, Trump has lost support in office from both sides of his coalition: His approval rating today in surveys is consistently lower than his share of the vote last November among both blue-collar and older whites (especially women) and white-collar whites.

Yet Trump’s difficulties with upscale whites look like a greater long-term risk to him and the GOP. The danger that well-educated whites, who usually tilt Republican, will recoil from Trump’s definition of the party has been symbolized by the procession of business leaders who abandoned White House advisory councils after his widely criticized response to Charlottesville, and the unprecedented criticism he has absorbed from the three previous GOP presidential nominees (Mitt Romney, John McCain and George W. Bush), each of whom has accused him of promoting racial divisions at home and/or undermining America’s historic international role.

“I think the white working class vote is more loyal to him…and pulling off of him is harder even if the job approval drops,” says veteran Democratic pollster Stanley B. Greenberg. “Whereas the college educated voters, absent Hillary (Clinton) on the ballot, have a lot of room to cast an anti-Trump vote.”

The biggest question looming over the 2018 midterms is how these complex currents of opinion about Trump will affect the contest. In many respects, 2018 is shaping up as a classic collision between an irresistible force and an immovable object.

The irresistible force is the widespread discontent over Trump’s first year. Throughout American history, the president’s party has almost always lost House and Senate seats in the election two years after he first takes office. Indeed, the last three times a president entered a mid-term election with unified control of Congress — Bill Clinton in 1994, George W. Bush in 2006 and Barack Obama in 2010 — voters have revoked it.

Several other signals point to 2018 risk for Republicans. One is a potential intensity gap. Though Trump inspires passionate support, the share of Americans who say they strongly disapprove of his performance is consistently much larger than the share who strongly approve. And Democrats now consistently hold an average lead of about eight percentage points when voters are asked the “generic” question of which party they intend to support in the 2018 elections.

These early advantages in public opinion may prove ephemeral, but they have produced tangible benefits for Democrats. Troubles for a new president almost always encourages more retirements from House members in his party, and Republicans have faced a trickle of high-profile retirements (such as Charlie Dent, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Dave Reichert and Dave Trott) that insiders fear could become a flood later this year. As is often the case when a president from the other party stumbles, Democrats have also found it easier than usual to recruit strong candidates. That’s been the case not only in the 23 GOP-held congressional districts that voted for Clinton last fall, but also in a number of places that Trump carried. And the antipathy to Trump has helped several Democratic challengers unexpectedly outpace their Republican opponents in early fund-raising.

With all of these gales blowing, even some leading Republican thinkers are bracing for a blustery mid-term. One is Tom Davis, the former Republican congressman from Northern Virginia and chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, who is one of the party’s shrewdest (and most encyclopedic) strategists.

“I felt the day after the 2016 election that now that the Republicans controlled everything they were going to have a tough midterm. I still continue to feel that and I see nothing to change that.”

“I felt the day after the 2016 election that now that the Republicans controlled everything they were going to have a tough midterm,” says Davis, who is now the director of federal government affairs for Deloitte. “I still continue to feel that and I see nothing to change that. If you look at some of these state House seats (around the country) that flipped (from Republican to Democrat) in special elections this year, you are seeing what you would expect — that Democrats are juiced and Republicans are dispirited. And that’s a bad formula going into a midterm.”

Yet all of these seemingly irresistible forces threatening the GOP face an immovable object: The structural advantages Republicans enjoy in the battle for control of Congress, particularly in mid-term elections like 2018.

These start with the electoral map. Analysts across the ideological spectrum agree that Democrats need to win more than half of the total votes in House races to win a majority in the chamber. That’s partly because Democratic voters are overly concentrated in major urban centers, but mostly because Republican control of state governments after the 2010 census allowed them to gerrymander districts that favor them. Some analysts believe Democrats need to win the House popular vote by as much as eight points (roughly their current lead in the generic ballot test) to capture a majority, though others, like Abramowitz, put the number slightly lower. Whoever is right, that imbalance means that to recapture the House, Democrats will likely need to win at least some seats where Trump is more popular-potentially much more popular-than he is nationally.

Democrats face a similar structural disadvantage in the Senate because the Constitution’s allocation of two senators for every state magnifies the impact of less populated, predominantly white and culturally conservative rural states that firmly favor the GOP. This year, the imbalance is especially pronounced. Democrats are defending ten Senate seats in states that voted for Trump in 2016, mostly across the industrial and agricultural heartland, while Republicans are defending seats in only two states where Clinton ran well: Nevada (which she won) and Arizona (which she narrowly lost).

Republicans today are most optimistic about their prospects against Democratic Sens. Claire McCaskill in Missouri, Joe Donnelly in Indiana and Bill Nelson in Florida (if GOP Governor Rick Scott runs). But Democrats could also face competitive races in Wisconsin, Ohio, North Dakota, Montana, Michigan, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, all heavily blue-collar states that Trump carried. Meanwhile, beyond Arizona and Nevada, the only state that now seemingly provides Democrats any chance to win the third seat they would need to recapture a Senate majority is Tennessee, if former Democratic Governor Phil Bredesen joins the race to replace retiring Republican Bob Corker. And even that would be a steep climb given the state’s underlying partisan direction.

Beyond the map, the usual composition of the midterm electorate also hurts Democrats. The party’s modern alliance of minorities, millennials, and college-educated whites is a boom and bust coalition because the first two groups are less likely to vote in the midterms than presidential elections.

Greenberg recently sounded an alarm that, despite Trump’s unpopularity, Democratic-leaning voters appear no more inclined to vote in 2018 than those who lean toward the GOP. Given Trump’s strong connection with his base, Democratic strategist Jesse Ferguson says the party must plan for the possibility the GOP will not suffer the turnout slump that usually afflicts the president’s party in mid-term campaigns.

“If 2006 was energized Democrats and depressed Republicans and 2010 was energized Republicans and depressed Democrats, I’m pretty convinced 2018 will have energized Democrats, but I’m not convinced yet that it will have depressed Republicans,” Ferguson said. “So we may be in for energized vs. energized and I don’t know what that creates.”

This complex ledger of factors has divided election prognosticators. Those who take the micro approach — analyzing races district-by-district, candidate-by-candidate — are generally skeptical Democrats can win the 24 Republican seats they need to recapture the House. Democrats, for instance, are focusing intently on seven Republican held House seats in California that voted for Clinton over Trump last year. But Darry Sragow, publisher of the non-partisan California Target Book, points out that in five of those seven seats, Democrats other than Clinton have won no other races, such as state legislative contests, since the districts were drawn in 2012. “They are not easy pickings,” says Sragow, a former Democratic strategist. “Based on the historic performance of those districts, they are not likely to win most of them.” In all, the respected Charlie Cook Political Report still identifies 228 seats as either safe, likely or leaning toward the GOP.

On the other side are those who focus on the macro factors in elections. They note that wave elections often sweep out incumbents who objectively had no business losing — and they see signs that Trump’s unpopularity could be generating such a wave against Republicans. “It feels to me you may well have the potential for that kind of reaction against Trump,” says Greenberg, the Democratic pollster.

Those plotting the party’s official strategy at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee are more cautious: They say swing voters still see Trump as such a singular and unconventional figure that it’s not clear they will punish House Republicans even if they have soured on the President. For that reason, Democratic candidates, in their early sparring, are mostly focusing more on linking their Republican rivals to the unpopular GOP congressional leaders than to Trump.

And yet whether Democrats buy ads tying Republican House members to Trump or not, and whether those Republicans embrace Trump or keep their distance, history suggests that attitudes toward him will cast a huge, potentially decisive, shadow over next year’s congressional election. According to media exit polls, at least 82% of voters who say they approve of the President’s performance have voted for his party’s House candidates in every midterm election since 1994 (except in 1998, when 77% did.) Over that same period, at least 82% of voters who disapproved of his performance have voted for the other party. Politicians can run from a president of their own party — but they can’t really hide any longer.

That dynamic underscores what may be the safest prediction for 2018. Whether or not Democrats win the 24 seats they need to recapture the House, or, less likely, find the three they need to retake the Senate, the election seems probable to further the parties’ demographic and geographic separation.

In the House, the Democrats’ best prospects are the 23 GOP members in districts that Clinton carried over Trump; about three-fourths of those seats are crowded with the kind of college-educated professionals uneasy about the president. Even in a bad overall environment, Republicans in turn could post some further gains in the 12 Democratic-held House seats that Trump carried — most of them largely blue-collar districts outside of urban areas. Similarly, the Senate results could continue the Republican advance in predominantly white, blue-collar and older Rustbelt states (like Missouri and Indiana) while marking further Democratic progress in diversifying and younger Sunbelt states including Nevada and Arizona.

In that way, the 2018 election could further the partition of America into distinct spheres of influence. And that would only intensify the polarization swirling around a tumultuous president whose actions — and the counter-reactions they provoke — harden that separation every day.

“These things reinforce each other,” says Wolfe. “Trump’s actions will cause more protests from African-Americans and minorities, which will then fuel Trump. It is a hard, negative vicious cycle to break. I think we are going to long for the old culture war, because you could find some kind of compromises there. Everybody said you could never resolve abortion. But we in fact did. I don’t see how you reach a compromise about this level of anger and resentment.”

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to accurately reflect the percentage of white Christians in the United States.

Illustration by Lucie Birant

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