1.23.19 U.S. Supreme Court: Transgender Ban Can Go Into Effect

U.S. Supreme Court: Transgender Ban Can Go Into Effect

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court issued an order, over the objections of the four left-leaning justices, allowing the Trump administration to enforce a policy banning many transgender people from serving in the military while several challenges unfold in the lower courts. The ban was first announced by President Donald Trump in a 2017 tweet. A spokesman for the Department of Defense claimed that the policy does not constitute a total “ban” on transgender service members. “As always, we treat all transgender persons with respect and dignity. DoD’s proposed policy is NOT a ban on service by transgender persons,” Lt. Col. Carla Gleason tells CNN. “It is critical that DoD be permitted to implement personnel policies that it determines are necessary to ensure the most lethal and combat effective fighting force in the world. DoD’s proposed policy is based on professional military judgment and will ensure that the U.S. Armed Forces remain the most lethal and combat effective fighting force in the world.” A 2017 PRRI survey found that 64 percent of Americans favored allowing transgender people to serve in the U.S. military, while 30 percent were opposed. However, there were deep partisan divisions: A majority (57 percent) of Republicans were opposed, compared to just 15 percent of Democrats. 
CNN: Why Trump’s Border Wall is Not Just a Wall

PRRI CEO and founder Robert P. Jones is quoted heavily in a new piece at CNN that examines the links between Trump’s proposed border wall and broader cultural changes. “Who are we as a country? That’s the question on the table,” Jones tells CNN’s Ron Brownstein. “That’s a really fundamental question. And it’s getting fought out in this symbolic territory over something like a wall, which to both sides can symbolize some of their deepest values and conflicts with the other party.” Brownstein uses PRRI data to draw connections between support for the wall and other issues of the day, including immigration, race relations, and gender relations. He writes, “The Public Religion Research Institute poll is especially revealing because it asked opinions about the wall as part of a much broader survey examining Americans’ attitudes toward a wide range of cultural and demographic changes. It found that wall supporters and opponents express virtually mirror-image views on those broader shifts, according to previously unpublished results from the poll provided to CNN.” 
Hope on the Local Level?

As Trump and House Democrats continue to battle over the federal government shutdown, WNYC examined whether Americans feel there is common ground closer to home. Using PRRI data, WNYC points out that Americans have more hope for productive civic engagement on the local level. WNYC writes, “While 7 in 10 Americans report feeling generally negative about what is going on in the country today, Americans are also more hopeful about solving problems locally. According to the 2018 Civic Engagement Survey by the Public Religion Research Institute and The Atlantica majority of Americans say they are optimistic that people in their communities who hold different political views can come together to solve problems.” 
Some Trump Voters Blame Him For Shutdown

The Washington Post featured a story about some Trump voters who are upset with the president over the current government shutdown. Jeff Daudert, a retired Navy reservist, voted for Trump in 2016 to send a message to the political establishment. More than two years later, he’s second-guessing his decision. “‘What the [expletive] were we thinking?’ [Daudert] asked the other night inside a Walmart here, in an area of blue-collar suburban Detroit that helped deliver the presidency to Trump,” reporter Matt Viser writes. According to Viser, Trump’s comment that he was “proud” to shut down the government perplexed some of his supporters. Viser reports: “‘It’s silly. It’s destructive,’ Daudert said, adding that all he knows about 2020 is that he won’t be supporting Trump. ‘I was certainly for the anti-status quo . . . I’ll be more status quo next time.’” The current government shutdown was triggered by Trump’s insistence on border wall funding, a policy that most Americans oppose. According to the 2018 American Values Survey, nearly six in ten (58 percent) of Americans oppose building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, while about four in ten (41 percent) Americans are in support.