3.7.19 Rep. Omar’s Identity Might Play Role in Condemnation

Rep. Omar’s Identity Might Play Role in Condemnation

Recent comments from Rep. Ilham Omar (D-MN) have been condemned by many – including President Trump – as anti-Semitic, but it’s impossible to separate these criticisms from Omar’s identity, argues Philip Bump at The Washington PostIn the article, Bump contends that Omar, a black Muslim immigrant from Somalia, does not fit the profile for what many Americans consider to be “truly American.” Citing a recent PRRI poll, Bump writes: “A poll conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute and The Atlantic found that 63 percent of Republicans believe that being ‘truly American’ means having been born here. (Forty-three percent of Democrats agreed.) A quarter of Republicans think that being ‘truly American’ necessitates being of Western European heritage. . . In response to another question in the PRRI poll, 40 percent of Republicans said they mostly preferred a Christian majority, while 12 percent said they mostly preferred religious diversity.”
Racial Identity’s Impact on the American Body Politic

“The wall is not so much about policy and security as it is about politics and symbolism,” writes Nina Burleigh in Newsweek. Burleigh argues that for Trump and his base, a desire for strong white identity is the unifying factor motivating support for a range of policies. Burleigh cites a recent PRRI/The Atlantic survey that examines pluralism in the U.S., to support this claim. She writes, “Respondents were asked to place themselves on a scale measuring their support of racial and ethnic diversity in the United States. The lowest percentages of Americans from either party agreed with the phrase ‘I would prefer the U.S. to be a nation primarily made up of people from Western European heritage.’ But while 65 percent of Democrats agreed with the phrase ‘I would prefer the U.S. to be a nation made up of people from all over the world,’ only 29 percent of Republicans felt that way.”
Judge Blocks Trump Administration’s Census Change

On Wednesday, a federal judge ruled against the Trump administration, blocking the Commerce Department from amending the 2020 U.S. census to include a question about citizenship. “Secretary Ross’s reliance on [Voting Rights Act] enforcement to justify inclusion of the citizenship question was mere pretext and the definition of an arbitrary and capricious governmental act,” Judge Richard Seeborg wrote in his ruling. According to a 2019 PRRI poll, approximately three-quarters (76 percent) of Americans say it is at least somewhat likely that the Census will not get an accurate count because some people will be worried about answering this question, including a majority (53 percent) of Americans who say this is very likely. 
Trade Deficit Reaches Record Level

Despite Trump’s focus on reducing foreign imports through policies like tariffs, the U.S. sustained a trade deficit in 2018 – meaning that the country imported more goods than it made– bringing the total trade gap with the rest of the world to almost $900 billion. The deficit was primarily driven by the record amount of goods imported from China. According to PRRI polling, more than six in ten (63 percent) Americans are in favor of promoting free trade, while about three in ten (29 percent) say the U.S. should place more restrictions on foreign trade. More than seven in ten (72 percent) Democrats and about two-thirds (66 percent) of independents favor promoting free trade over implementing more trade restrictions. Nearly half (49 percent) of Republicans favor promoting free trade, while 45 percent prefer more restrictions. 
What About the Parents?

“As child sexual abuse moves back to the center of the cultural conversation due to high-profile documentaries—including Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly” and Netflix’s “Abducted in Plain Sight”—what’s being reckoned with is not only the awfulness of men who would allegedly target young people. It’s also the actions of young people’s parents, who demonstrate eerily commonplace kinds of gullibility—about fame, about power, about the dark intentions that might lie behind a smiling face,” writes Spencer Kornhaber in The Atlantic. Kornhaber’s piece explores HBO’s new documentary “Leaving Neverland” which documents alleged child molestation by pop star Michael Jackson, and meditates on the ways that fame, celebrity, and power can influence the unsuspecting, including parents. A 2018 PRRI poll shows that by more than a two-to-one margin, Americans say that real experiences of sexual harassment or assault that are not reported or believed are a bigger problem in the U.S. than false accusations made about sexual harassment or assault (65 percent vs. 26 percent).