It’s only been a few weeks since former President Barack Obama left the White House, but presidential historians have already placed him on the right side of history.
AC-SPAN survey of 91 historians and presidential experts ranked the Democrat the 12th best leader in United States presidential history — just ahead of James Monroe and right behind Woodrow Wilson.
Another Illinois politician, former President Abraham Lincoln, claimed the survey’s top spot. He’s followed closely by George Washington, with Franklin D. Roosevelt rounding out the top three.
Experts who participated in the survey were asked to grade the presidents on 10 different facets of their terms in office, like “Crisis Leadership” and “International Relations.”
Obama earned high marks for his pursuit of “Equal Justice for All,” ranking third in the category behind Lincoln and former President Lyndon B. Johnson. He also cracked the top 10 for his “Moral Authority” and “Economic Management,” ranking seventh and eighth, respectively.
The 44th president’s lowest mark is for his relationship with Congress. Historians ranked him 39th, ahead of only a few others including former presidents Franklin Pierce and Andrew Johnson, who was ranked last.
Experts said the passing of time will likely effect Obama’s rankings in the future and remained mixed on whether the former President’s marks were higher or lower than expected, Politico reported.
Former President Barack Obama appears in C-Span’s Historians Survey of Presidential Leadership for the first time, and he has placed just outside of the top 10 in the overall ranking. On Friday, the television network released the results of its survey of 91 historians, its third following versions in 2000 and 2009.
Members of the advisory team for the survey had varied reactions to Obama’s placement. “That Obama came in at number 12 his first time out is quite impressive,” Douglas Brinkley, a professor of history at Rice University, said in a statement. Edna Greene Medford, a history professor at Howard University, had a different take: “Although 12th is a respectable overall ranking, one would have thought that former President Obama’s favorable rating when he left office would have translated into a higher ranking in this presidential survey.”
The top slots in the overall rankings are unchanged since the 2009 survey: Abraham Lincoln at No. 1 (he also earned the top rank in 2000), George Washington at No. 2, Franklin D. Roosevelt at No. 3 and Theodore Roosevelt at No. 4. Others in the top 10 are Dwight Eisenhower, Harry Truman, Thomas Jefferson, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Lyndon Johnson.
At No. 12, Obama falls in between Woodrow Wilson and James Monroe. As for recent presidents, Bill Clinton continued to occupy the No. 15 slot, and George W. Bush improved three spots, to No. 33. That president “has benefited somewhat from the passing of the years,” C-Span said in a statement.
Dave R. Jacobson Huffington Post Democratic Strategist, Campaign Consultant and Political Analyst based in Los Angeles, California. 01/28/2017 09:08 pm ET
Co-Authored by Maclen Zilber, Democratic Strategist and Campaign Consultant based in Hollywood, CA
Under the less than ten day old Trump presidency, it seems that every day there’s a new war.
A war against the facts. A war against the president of Mexico. A war against the media. A war against the environment. A war against NATO. A war against muslims. A war against our election system. A war against Hollywood celebrities. A war against women’s rights. A war against China. A war against presidential etiquette. A war against refugees.
Barack Obama’s presidency is just a few days into the rear view mirror, and already questions are being raised about whether or not these wars that Trump has incited, will ever end.
The sitting president’s continued flame-throwing and open hostility towards the world, both domestically and internationally, is increasingly raising tensions inside the United States and abroad, while sowing the seeds of conflict, chaos and instability across the planet.
Trump’s actions are even raising questions about whether his dangerous and divisive moves are putting Americans, and all of Earth’s human inhabitants, on a collision course destined for global war.
We sincerely hope not, as this question is downright scary to imagine or even to conceptualize.
At the heart of what makes the Trump presidency so dangerous is his overt willingness to look the American people in the eye— and flat out lie to them.
Trump first did it through his press secretary, Sean Spicer, regarding the crowd size of his inauguration. Then he did it himself the following day at CIA headquarters, conveying the same falsehood as Spicer. At the same event, Trump misrepresented the facts about his relationship with the intelligence community, saying the media created the illusion that he had a poor relationship with the apparatus, when just days before his inauguration it was Trump who callously compared it to “Nazi Germany.”
Supporters of Hillary Clinton use the catchphrase “I’m with her” to indicate support for the former secretary of state’s presidential campaign, but Clinton isn’t the only “her” running for president.
Here in New Jersey, Clinton is on the ballot with four other women, including Jersey City’s own Monica Moorehead, the nominee of the far-left Workers World Party.
Moorehead, 64, has run for president and lost twice before and she will not win this time either. She and her running mate, North Carolina man Lamont Lilly, are on the ballot only in New Jersey, Utah and Wisconsin. A sweep on Nov. 8 would give the team 30 electoral votes. The winner needs 270.
The objective of Moorehead’s 2016 bid, she said, is not to defeat Clinton or Trump but to bring attention to issues she said are ignored by Democrats and Republicans: police brutality, ending war, abolishing capitalism.
“Vote for Socialism!” reads a heading on the party’s campaign website.
Speaking to The Jersey Journal in her Bentley Avenue home with a black-and-white cat, Jasmine, curled up by her side, Moorehead said she thinks little of Trump — “a racist who has fascistic tendencies, who is misogynist” — and Clinton, whom she calls a “warmonger” and “just terrible.”
“You have these two choices, which we feel are not choices at all,” she said. “You’re either choosing between a quick death or a slower death.”
Not that Moorehead completely disagrees with the two leading candidates. Trump, down in the polls nationally and in key battleground states, is alleging that the election is “rigged.” Moorehead agrees, for different reasons.
“They are rigged every four years,” she said. “You’re forced to vote for the lesser evil, so to speak. The Democrats and Republicans, we feel, both represent the interests of corporate America.”
The complexion of the United States has shifted over the last few decades, and the future will demonstrate an even more varied set of racial and ethnic demographics. Little wonder why there is a rabid response of racism, xenophobia, and anti-immigration rhetoric from the Republican Party—which we might as well call “The White People Party,” since, according to Gallup “non-Hispanic whites accounted for 89% of Republican self-identifiers nationwide in 2012.” From my perspective they are no different from the White Citizens’ Councils of the past, who were the public face of the Klan.
This shift presents a challenge, and not just to white Americans. It also highlights inter-ethnic positions and tensions. Let’s not fool ourselves: Developing fusion politics with whites and erasing friction between and among peoples of color is a challenge. We can look to movements like Moral Mondays in North Carolina for an example of how fusion is being put into practice outside of the electoral realm.
Barring an asteroid strike that extinguishes life on Earth, the American electorate will be much more diverse in coming elections than it is today, especially the portion of it that Democrats plan to rely on. There are now more non-white than white babies being born every year, and the under-18 crowd is close to reaching majority-minority status as well. That’s the Democrats’ greatest potential strength, which grows only more pronounced the closer Trump comes to being officially named the GOP nominee.
No longer is it a given that straight white males will be always be the defining force in Democratic party national or local elections. For us, fusion is our future. Failure to accept, acknowledge, embrace, and work toward that future will set us back. It will play into the racist, sexist, regressive Republican agenda that’s espoused by not only Donald Trump, but also co-signed and reinforced by right-wing elected officials in Congress and Republican-leaning independent voters.
Article Last Updated: Thursday, June 09, 2016 11:30am
(c) 2016, The Washington Post.
Thirty years ago, the Supreme Court expanded the meaning of one of the most important civil rights laws in U.S. history – the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Among other things, the court prohibited a then-common practice among some states of spreading minorities across voting districts, leaving them too few in number in any given district to elect their preferred candidates. The practice became known as “racial gerrymandering.”
The court’s solution required that states create majority-minority districts – districts in which the majority of the voting-age population belonged to a single minority. With voting that occurred largely along racial lines, these districts allowed minority voters to elect their candidates of choice.
But a fascinating development occurred in the years since. These districts, rather than giving African-Americans more political power, might have actually started to deprive them of it. Majority-minority districts, by concentrating the minority vote in certain districts, have the unintended consequence of diluting their influence elsewhere. Experts say some Republican legislatures have capitalized on this new reality, redistricting in their political favor under the guise of majority-minority districts.
“Typically the goal in [packing minorities into a district] is not to reduce minority representation in the adjacent districts; it’s to reduce Democrats’ representation in those districts,” said Nicholas Stephanopoulos, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School. “They’ve been arguably using the racial demographics as a way to enact a Republican gerrymander.”
The issue has gained new prominence thanks to Bethune-Hill v. Virginia Board of Elections, a case the Supreme Court agreed on Monday to hear. Virginia’s Republican-held state legislature drew its majority-minority districts to be 55 percent black. Golden Bethune-Hill, among other Virginian voters, sued the state’s Board of Elections, arguing that they used race as a primary factor in drawing district lines for the House of Delegates, which is unconstitutional under the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.
2008’s black political discussion around presidential politics was all about silencing black noise over housing, jobs, unemployment, education, justice and peace. Be quiet we told each other. White folks will hear you and not vote for Obama. By 2012 we shut each other up to keep from embarrassing or the First Black President. Radical activists are now pushing for a wider black conversation about our people’s needs that includes socialism.
Remember the black presidential discussion in 2007 and 2008?
Barack Obama was the Democrat candidate, and practically all you could hear was:
How black is this Obama dude anyway? Ain’t his mama white, his daddy African? What does that make him? Later on it became “How black are YOU if you don’t support Obama?”
Got demands or just thoughts on issues like housing, foreclosures, low wages, no wages, black unemployment, mass incarceration or whatever? Swallow them. Siddown and shuddup before you scare white people out of voting for Obama. Keep quiet so he can get elected first.
Got a hunger and thirst for peace and justice? Grow up and lower those expectations. And remember he’s running for president of everybody, not just black people so keep that peace and justice stuff in your back pocket till after the elections, or after he gets settled in or maybe for his second term if he gets one.
He’s black so he obviously wants what you do, he just can’t say so out loud or he’ll scare the white folks. He’s can’t do nothin’ anyway if he don’t get elected.
There were also surrogates, who frequently lied outright to credulous black audiences, making explicit claims the candidate never wouled about rolling back mass incarceration, address black unemployment and a host of other issues if only we would keep the faith by shutting up and getting him elected first.
Some tech savvy young professionals I knew even organized a network that scooped up any short racist statement or outrage they could find online to make them viral, emailed, sent, forwarded and resent multiple times to every black person with an email address. The emails all had big headlines instructing recipients to send resend and forward the hot racist mess to every black colleague churchgoer, neighbor friend family member and friend they knew. Often these were accompanied with admonitions to register and vote. My email boxes and those of everybody I know were clogged for months with the stuff.
Let’s list major problems affecting black Americans. Topping the list is the breakdown in the black family, where only a third of black children are raised in two-parent households. Actually, the term “breakdown” is incorrect. Families do not form in the first place. Nationally, there is a black illegitimacy rate of 72 percent. In some urban areas, the percentage is much greater. Blacks constitute more than 50 percent of murder victims, where roughly 7,000 blacks are murdered each year. Ninety-five percent of the time, the perpetrator is another black. If a black youngster does graduate from high school, it is highly likely that he can read, write and compute no better than a white seventh- or eighth-grader. These are the major problems that face black Americans.
Let’s look at some of the strategy since the beginning of the civil rights movement. The black power movement of the ’60s and ’70s held that black under-representation in the political arena was a major problem. It was argued that the election of more black officials as congressmen, mayors and city council members would mean economic power, better neighborhoods and better schools. Forty-three years ago, there were roughly 1,500 black elected officials nationwide. According to the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, by 2011 there were roughly 10,500 black elected officials, including a black president. But what were the fruits?
By most any measure, the problems are worse. There is the greatest black poverty, poorest education, highest crime and greatest family instability in cities such as: Detroit, St. Louis, Oakland, Calif., Memphis, Tenn., Birmingham, Ala., Atlanta, Baltimore, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Buffalo, N.Y. The most common characteristic of these predominantly black cities is that, for decades, all of them have been run by Democratic and presumably liberal administrations. What’s more is that in most of these cities, blacks have been mayors, chiefs of police, school superintendents and principals and have dominated city councils. Political power has not lived up to its billing.
So what should black politicians and activists now be focused on to address some of the problems confronting black people? Let’s look at some of the fiddling by some black politicians, white liberals and some intimidated white conservatives. How about banning the Confederate flag from public places because it is alleged to be a symbol of slavery? What would that do for black problems? By the way, one could make the case for also banning the American flag. Slave ships sailed under the American flag.
The Total Fertility Rate estimates the number of children that would be born if a mother were to live to the end of her childbearing years.
Total Fertility Rates are closely tied to growth rates for both countries and cultural groups and can be an excellent indicator of future population growth or decline.
Within the context of a nation, fewer children being born means that country’s political and economic power will decline with its population, based on the assumption that the military force that once could be deployed and paid for, will also decline.
Within the context of a culture, fewer children being born means that culture’s political and economic power will decline with its population, based on the assumption that the culture is politically and economically engaged.
GARY — Black leaders renewed a call for an end to wealth inequality, mass incarceration and restrictions on black voting Thursday at the opening of the National Black Political Convention.
“We are back,” former Gary Mayor Richard G. Hatcher told more than dozens of convention delegates who gathered at the Genesis Convention Center, 44 years after the first Gary convention he hosted.
In 1972, the first National Black Political Convention was held in Gary and developed an agenda that included such items as a call to eliminate capital punishment and establish a national health insurance system. It also was believed to have led to a dramatic increase in the number of African-Americans holding public office.
The gathering didn’t draw any presidential candidates as organizers earlier hoped and a number of speakers expected to attend have instead traveled to Louisville, Ky., for memorial services for African-American boxing champion Muhammad Ali.
A Poll Clerk wears an election themed apron at the Aimwell Presbyterian Church polling precinct on February 20, 2016 in Walterboro, South Carolina. Mark Makela / Getty Images
byLauren Victoria Burke
In preparation for the first election in 50 years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, African American civil rights groups will meet in Atlanta on June 14 to plan vote strategy. The effort is part of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation’s (NCBCP) “unity campaign” that is an “all hands on deck” call to civic engagement groups on voter participation.
The Atlanta meeting will be the first big gathering of younger civil rights groups as well as legacy organizations joining together to create a comprehensive message to get out the Black vote for the November elections. Overall strategy will be focused on states where the Black vote will make a big difference in 2016.
The conveners of the Black vote strategy summit are Melanie Campbell, President of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP) and Board member Tommy Dortch, Jr.
A key question will be whether Black voter turnout can come close to what it has been over the last two cycles with President Obama’s name on the ballot. With Donald Trump’s ascendancy, there could be another motivating factor in minority voter turnout. Most of the groups involved in the Atlanta meeting must conduct their strategies in a non-partisan way given their 501c status, but everyone is aware of the fact that African American voters are historically more likely to vote for Democrats.
Reuters reports that Ohio officials have purged tens of thousands of voters who haven’t cast a ballot since the 2008 presidential election from the rolls.
While purging inactive voters is fairly common, doing it on this scale — and after only eight years of inactivity — is an exception. Although the statewide total of impacted voters isn’t known, Reuters found that 144,000 voters had been purged in the three biggest counties, and black and Democratic-leaning districts were twice as likely to be affected as white and Republican-leaning districts.
When kicked off the rolls, voters have to register again. Not only is this a hassle, there are reports of voters not finding out until they get to their polling places. Then, it’s already too late.
Civil liberties groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, filed suit against Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted in April, alleging that the rule targets minority and low-income voters and violates a federal law saying states can only purge voters from rolls upon death, request, or if they move out of state.
Many believe that Bernie Sanders will lose the Democratic primary to Hillary Clinton in part because he cannot galvanize “the black vote.” Writing for The Nation on February 28th, Joan Walsh declared, “When the history of the 2016 presidential primary is written, if Hillary Clinton is the party’s nominee, it will show that Senator Bernie Sanders’s campaign effectively ended in South Carolina.” Why? Because Clinton learned, from 2008, to treat the state “as a proxy for the black Democratic primary vote.” That year, after she lost the state badly to Barack Obama, “her campaign hemorrhaged African-American support” and never recovered. This year, Walsh posits, that is more or less Sanders’s problem.
Sanders’s struggle with black voters in the state came into clear focus at a meet-and-greet, on February 13th, with the Sanders supporter Erica Garner—the twenty-five-year-old daughter of Eric Garner, who died after being choked by a police officer—at Jackie’s, a soul-food restaurant in one of North Charleston’s black neighborhoods. I arrived before Garner and found fifteen Sanders supporters, nearly all of whom were white, chatting animatedly among themselves and picking at Jackie’s famous macaroni and cheese. Black customers who walked past the table on their way to the ordering counter cocked their heads and furrowed their brows in confusion—what were all these white people doing here? The intention of the gathering, surely, was to drum up support in the black community for Sanders, but the scene turned out to be a bleak harbinger of primary day—a giant win for Clinton that confirmed her long-established black support.
When black men were enfranchised, in 1870, with the Fifteenth Amendment, the group became a voting bloc known as “the negro vote,” Vincent Hutchings, a political scientist at the University of Michigan, told me. Almost a century later, the term morphed into “the black vote” as the word “negro” became gauche in the country’s liberal corners. The idea of the black vote persists among pundits, journalists, pollsters, and politically engaged dinner-party attendees to describe the electoral preferences of millions of voters. Once loyal to the party of Lincoln, blacks shifted their support almost completely to the Democratic Party with the passage of the Civil Rights Act, in 1964. But if you look at state-by-state numbers for this year’s Democratic contest, “the black vote” appears more complicated. So far, Sanders has not won a majority of black voters in any contest with a large African-American population. But he has done much better with black voters in Midwestern states and with younger black voters across the country. These variances are one reason to start to unravel the myth of a monolithic black vote.
In the South, black voters overwhelmingly went for Clinton, but it’s also the case that voters of every race cast more ballots for Clinton than they did for Sanders. In South Carolina, Clinton won eighty-six per cent of the black vote and fifty-four per cent of the white vote. In Georgia, she nabbed eighty-five per cent of the black vote and fifty-eight per cent of the white vote. “Clinton just did better in the South,” Harry Enten, a political writer and analyst for FiveThirtyEight, said. One reason why her black support may have been particularly strong in the region is that partisan politics in the South have a strong racial element. Hutchings noted that, in general, “black people and white people in the South have never belonged to the same political party since emancipation.” Before 1948, to the extent that blacks were able to vote, they largely voted Republican, and whites voted Democratic. When Democrats shifted to embrace civil rights after the Second World War, Southern whites briefly broke away from the Party to form the short-lived segregationist Dixiecrats. “Because of sharp racial divisions in the South—sharper than they are in the Midwest—blacks have a firm recognition that the Democratic Party is identified with their group, just as whites do with the Republican Party,” Hutchings said. Blacks in the South may have a harder time supporting an avowed socialist from Vermont, who only recently embraced the Democratic Party, in part because their identification with the Party brand historically has reigned supreme.
The following statement was provided by the candidate, who is responsible for its content.
Monica Moorehead, Workers World Party (WWP) 2016 Presidential Candidate.
Sisters and Brothers, Comrades in Struggle:
We send warm greetings of solidarity to Peace and Freedom Party members.
The 2016 election year is momentous. We are faced with the racist, reactionary hatred of billionaire Donald Trump and all the Republican candidates who want to take this country back to an earlier stage of imperialism — before the Civil Rights, national liberation and workers’ struggles won major gains and before the women’s and LGBTQ movements.
One presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, describes himself as a democratic socialist. Who would have thought he would be giving the Democratic Party establishment a run for their money?
In the midst of all this stands the Black Lives Matter movement resisting unbridled police terror. This movement has forced police brutality, mass incarceration and gentrification front and center. This ongoing battle against white supremacy is a tremendous step forward for the working class, poor and oppressed — including the victims of racist state repression, notably by the police and ICE.
The movement for immigrant rights continues, as witnessed in Wisconsin on Feb. 18, when thousands held a Day without Latinos. The fight against environmental racism is strong in Flint, East L.A. and North Carolina. The fight for $15 and a union continues.
Capitalism is a system that must be uprooted if humanity and the planet are to survive however. This is why the Workers World Party campaign pushes for a movement to make fundamental change now and beyond the elections.
Most importantly, the current period calls for a strong stand against white supremacy. This is why we are running two Black candidates, Monica Moorehead for President and Lamont Lilly for Vice President.
Socialists must make the struggle against racism pivotal. The legacy of slavery is still integral to U.S. society, despite the historic election of the first Black president. The Black Lives Matter movement is carrying forth the ongoing struggle for Black Liberation, central to the victory for our entire class.