1.30.19 Newsweek: Why is President Trump Praising Bible Literacy Classes?

On Monday morning, President Trump tweeted: “Numerous states introducing Bible Literacy classes, giving students the option of studying the Bible. Starting to make a turn back? Great!” The social media post came shortly after a “Fox and Friends” segment that described a campaign in several states to encourage Bible study classes in public schools. In an article explaining why Trump would want to encourage such legislation, Tom Porter writes: “Evangelical support was key to propelling Trump to victory in the 2016 presidential election. His vice president, Mike Pence, is an evangelical Christian and longstanding champion of Christian right causes.” White evangelical Protestants are still one of the strongest parts of Trump’s coalition. Citing PRRI research, Porter writes, “Support for the president from evangelicals has remained consistent, despite reports the Trump had an affair with adult entertainer Stormy Daniels before his election as president. A November Public Religion Research Institute poll found that [an overwhelming majority] of white evangelicals back the president.”

2020 Will Have Record Number of Women Presidential Candidates

In an article for The Los Angeles Times, reporterJanet Hook highlights three women candidates running in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary—Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Kirsten Gillibrand. The women candidates, who are all U.S. senators, are utilizing different strategies in their electoral bids. “Gillibrand plays the gender card most emphatically, emphasizing her record on protecting women from sexual assault and her support for female candidates,” Hook writes. Harris’s campaign, meanwhile, focuses more on her connections with black America as well as her career as a prosecutor, while Warren is centering class in her campaign. According to a 2018 PRRI poll, although most Americans say they do not have a gender preference for political candidates, six in ten (60 percent) believe that the country would benefit if we had more women in political office, while 29 percent disagree.

Flake Announces He’ll Sit Out 2020

In late December, former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) was asked if he was going to challenge Trump in the 2020 presidential election. “Like I said, I haven’t ruled it out,” he said at the time. “I’m a long way from there, but somebody needs to and I think that the country needs to be reminded of what it means to be conservative.” One month later, Flake has officially ruled out a 2020 run, announcing that he will instead join CBS News as a contributor. During the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Flake received a great deal of attention as one of few Republicans who supported delaying a confirmation vote while more information was gathered about allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh. After the process, Flake said, “We sometimes seem intent on stripping people of their humanity so that we might more easily disregard or defame them and put them through the grinder that our politics requires.” The notion of lost decency in Washington was something that Flake frequently discussed. According to PRRI data, a majority of Americans think Trump has marred the office of the president. Almost seven in ten (69 percent) say that he has damaged the dignity of the presidency, while three in ten (30 percent) disagree.

Should We Keep the Electoral College?

Marquette student Matthew Harte recently penned an opinion piece in the Marquette Wire arguing for a overhaul of the Electoral College. Currently, there is a push underway to get multiple states to join an interstate compact to end the current system for presidential elections, and instead give the presidency to the nationwide winner of the popular vote. “The Electoral College’s winner-takes-all system encourages candidates to only focus on swing states, or states where each candidate has a reasonable shot at winning. In 2016, about 92 percent of campaign events occurred in one of the 11 projected swing states, such as Wisconsin and Florida, according to FairVote,” Harte argues. Swing states have an advantage even after the election, as politicians are incentivized to deliver more grant dollars and services to these states in exchange for political leverage. Harte notes that according to PRRI/The Atlantic’s first Democracy in Crisis survey, a majority of Americans would support this change. “About 65 percent of Americans believe that presidential elections should be decided by the national popular vote, according to a 2018 poll from the Public Religion Research Institute. Only 32 percent believe the president should be elected through the Electoral College,” he writes.”