Posts tagged with "Portland"

Trump Administration plots crackdown by Feds in Democrat-managed cities nationwide

July 22, 2020

The crackdown by federal law enforcement in some American cities is about to ramp up and go national, according to interviews by The Daily Beast with “knowledgeable Trump Administration sources.”

The move is President Donald Trump’s latest effort to use Customs and Border Protection officials, as well as the Department of Homeland Security—an agency created after 9/11 to protect the country from terrorism—to intimidate and remove protesters, without the approval of local or state authorities.

What’s more, both The Daily Beast and Fox News noted, Portland and Kansas City were just the beginning.

Among the list of cities— “all run by liberal Democrats”—in which the president said on July 20 he intends to “quell protests” are New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Oakland, and Detroit.

As previewed by White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows over the weekend and President Donald Trump on July 20, the Administration intends to send federal law enforcement into Democrat-run cities—whether those cities want federal police help or not. Multiple sources expected Chicago, a flashpoint of white anxiety, to be a focus, as the Chicago Tribune first reported.

Indeed, it is rumored a force of 150 DHS agents will be deployed to Chicago this coming weekend.

In Portland, Customs and Border Protection agents, kitted out in military-style camouflage uniforms and obscured insignia, detained unarmed and largely peaceful protesters in unmarked vans and used pepper spray, tear gas, and batons against them. Oregon’s governor, both of its U.S. senators, and Portland’s mayor have denounced the federal deployment as an unwanted escalation. Its attorney general has sued DHS and the U.S. Marshals Service.

“What is happening in Portland—armed occupation by federal agents—is totally unacceptable,” Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) told The Daily Beast. “Donald Trump’s unconstitutional test run in Portland cannot be the precursor to a nationwide invasion of cities across the country. Republicans and officials at DOJ and DHS need to think long and hard about whether they want to be party to this gross abuse of power.”

Wyden and his fellow Oregonian in the Senate, Democrat Jeff Merkley, on Monday introduced an amendment to the annual defense authorization to disallow the federal law-enforcement deployment. Their amendment, supported by Oregon Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Suzanne Bonamici, restricts federal efforts at crowd control to the “immediate vicinity” of federal property unless requested by local authorities and bans the use of unmarked vehicles or obscured insignia.

According to The Daily Beast, “Trump’s full-on embrace of this type of election-year posturing came after a brief period earlier this summer when the president flirted with emphasizing supposed police reform and related criminal-justice matters, in his increasingly uphill fight against presumptive 2020 Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Naturally, Trump quickly grew bored with playing the role of reformer.”

These days, his campaign is sounding a different tune. “Many presidents have used the military to stop riots, so this is nothing new and in accordance with the law,” said longtime New Hampshire State Representative Al Baldasaro, the New Hampshire co-chair of Trump 2020. “Our police have taken a beating, and they don’t deserve this. I fully support what President Trump is doing,” he continued, adding that Trump should quickly send “federal help” to other cities such as “Chicago [and] Detroit.”

In Chicago, where police reactions to Black Lives Matter protests have been violent, a Fraternal Order of Police president requested Trump’s assistance. That move drew strong rebuke from local elected officials. Mayor Lori Lightfoot, often the subject of ire from the protesters, has said she doesn’t want outside federal law enforcement assistance.

“We don’t need federal agents without any insignia taking people off the streets and holding them, I think, unlawfully. That’s not what we need,” Lightfoot said Monday. 

Research contact: @thedailybeast

Maine chooses ranked-choice voting

June 18, 2018

“Mainers” (or as they call themselves, Maineiacs) passed a referendum on June 12, by a margin of 54.3% TO 45.7%  to keep the state’s ranked-choice voting system in place—overriding the legislature’s attempt to block the ballot initiative, Mic reported.

What exactly is a ranked-choice system? The program enables voters statewide to rank their preferences for candidates—from first to last—on the ballot. Using that practice, If there’s no majority vote (of at least 50%) for a candidate, then the last-place candidate is eliminated and votes reallocated. The process then is repeated until there is a majority winner.

Indeed, Ranked-choice voting gained popularity in Maine because of the electorate’s penchant for voting for such Independent candidates as Bernie Sanders. Often, Independent candidates can splinter the vote between the three (or more) parties and allow “spoiler” candidates to win.

That spoiler effect is partly how the state elected current GOP Governor Paul LePage, whom Politico has dubbed “America’s craziest governor.” During his time in office, Mic reports, LePage has made a number of comments—“ranging from bizarre to racist,” including saying that polar ice cap melting has actually made things better for shipping companies, and that he wanted to blow up the offices of one of the state’s largest newspapers.

To date, the voting system has been used in 11 local jurisdictions and was used for the first time in a U.S. statewide primary on June 12.

But it has plenty of critics “I don’t think it’s going out on a limb to say that there will be at least one lawsuit. I’ll take that bet,” University of Maine Political Science Professor Mark Brewer told U.S. News & World Report this week.

The new system already is affecting some races: Republican businessman Shawn Moody was a majority winner in the June 12 vote, however no one came close to getting an outright majority to claim victory in the seven-candidate Democratic gubernatorial primary, U.S. news said. That means more ballots will be shipped to Augusta, Maine, for addition tabulations next week under the state’s ranked-choice voting system.

The city of Portland, Maine, and other municipalities around the country have been using ranked-choice voting in local elections for several years.

Research contact: @CahnEmily