I don’t normally open this newsletter with an op-ed, but to say that these are not normal times would be a monumental understatement.
As I write, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people from virtually every walk of life are marching in the streets of countless cities across the nation and around the world.
Setting aside the wave of violence perpetrated by a comparatively tiny fraction of those who have turned out to express their outrage against endemic racism and injustice, the movement that’s erupted seemingly overnight is like nothing we’ve seen in modern U.S. history.
The incident that sparked this uprising for justice, of course, was the videotaped torture and murder of an accidental hero named George Floyd. I describe him that way because it’s fair to say that Floyd, who was killed on May 25 at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers, could not have imagined his death would ignite a global grassroots revolt.
Floyd, I believe, deserves to be lionized, if for no other reason than the fact that his senseless murder is a searing reminder of how deeply immoral it is for human beings to be summarily stripped of their dignity.
Floyd’s killing, of course, is only the latest example of how dangerous it has always been to be black or brown, but especially black, in America.
Still, as justifiably fixated as we are on today’s mass protests, an even greater threat to the enduring, if deeply flawed, aspirations of our democracy has planted himself in the White House.
President Trump’s worsening mental and emotional instability, coupled with his brazen affection for authoritarianism, suggests that he is capable of doing almost anything to remain in power. Read more on this here.
Julián Castro Joins ‘Team Biden,’ Pledging to Help Push Police Reforms
Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has recruited his one-time rival, Julián Castro, to advise him on criminal justice and police reform issues.
Castro suspended his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in January, and campaigned for U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren during the early Democratic primaries. But until this week, he had failed to endorse Biden’s candidacy.
According to the San Antonio Express-News, Castro has agreed “to help Biden push police reforms in the wake of the killing of former Houston resident George Floyd.”
In a statement posted on Twitter, Castro said he’s confident that Biden will pursue “real reform to address our broken policing system,” adding, “This week Americans saw a clear contrast in leadership” between Trump and Biden. “Trump tear-gassed Americans for a photo op. Joe Biden put forward real solutions to police violence, and showed he can help heal our nation. I’m proud to endorse him.”
Joe Biden recognizes the urgent need for real reform to address our broken policing system.
I’m proud to support him, and I look forward to seeing these reforms become law, so that what happened to George Floyd never happens again. pic.twitter.com/MKcOCk526Z
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) June 2, 2020
Castro was the only major Latino candidate to seek his party’s presidential nomination in the current election cycle. He is a former mayor of San Antonio and served as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama.
Cortez Masto Withdraws Her Name as a Possible Biden Running Mate
Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto has pulled her name from consideration as a potential running mate for former Vice President Joe Biden, reports Politico.
Masto was on a short list of candidates for the job, which Biden has publicly pledged to fill with a woman. That list also includes New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, along with several high-profile African American women.
“It is an honor to be considered as a potential running mate, but I have decided to withdraw my name from consideration,” Masto said in a press statement. “Nevada’s economy is one of the hardest hit by the current crisis and I will continue to focus on getting Nevadans the support they need to get back on their feet.”
Cortez Masto, the first Latina elected to the U.S. Senate, pledged to “work tirelessly” for Biden’s election.
Self-Described White Nationalist, Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King, Loses Reelection Bid
Described by the New York Times as “one of the nation’s most divisive elected officials,” U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, has been defeated in his bid for a tenth term in office.
King, who has a long history of spewing racist comments, lost to Iowa State Senator Randy Feenstra, who is expected to win handily in November.
King is well known for hurling insults at undocumented immigrants, including once having said of DREAMers in a 2013 interview with Newsmax, “For every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”
Despite his practice of making similarly offensive remarks, it was only last year that King fell out of favor with Republican Party leaders when he questioned in a New York Times interview why white supremacy is offensive.