Silent Sam Falls With a Thud

Students Topple “Silent Sam” Monument at UNC
A statue funded in part by the Daughters of the Confederacy, meant to honor students and alumni of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who died during the Civil War was brought down by protesters on Monday night. “Silent Sam,” which stood at UNC-Chapel Hill since 1913, was torn down by students and protesters, and partially buried in campus dirt. Students had previously splashed red paint on the statue and covered it with large sheets to obscure it. In 2017, the university agreed with protesters that taking the monument down was in the best interest of the school. The New York Times reports that the school believed “removing the Confederate monument is in the best interest of the safety of our campus.” Despite this, the school had not gone through the formal process to take it down. An October 2017 PRRI survey asked Americans if they saw Confederate soldiers more as symbols of Southern pride or more as symbols of racism. sixty-eight percent of white Americans believed they were symbols of southern pride, while only 29 percent cited of black Americans agreed.
Paul Manafort Found Guilty in Virginia
A jury in Alexandria, Virginia reached a verdict on Tuesday on eight of eighteen counts against former Trump campaign Chairman Paul Manafort. Manafort was convicted on numerous counts of bank fraud, bank fraud conspiracy, failing to file foreign bank account reports, and subscribing to false income tax returns. Judge T.S. Ellis declared a mistrial for the ten other counts Manafort faced. Manafort was charged following the investigation into his finances by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team of prosecutors. A 2018 Democracy Fund Voter Study Group survey, co-authored by PRRI’s Associate Director of Research, Rob Griffin, found that nearly half (48 percent) of Americans felt that Mueller’s investigation was being conducted fairly. A 2018 PRRI study found that a similar number (45 percent) of Americans felt that outside interference from a foreign government was a big problem in U.S. elections. Manafort could face up to 240 years in prison.
Michael Cohen Reaches Plea Deal in New York
Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney to President Donald Trump, accepted a plea deal from the United States government on Tuesday. Cohen plead guilty to eight counts of campaign finance, tax evasion and bank fraud charges. Cohen explained to a federal courtroom on Tuesday how he committed his crimes, to include payments to two women who had alleged they had affairs with President Donald Trump. According to CNN, Cohen told Judge William H. Pauley III that he paid the women “In coordination, and at the direction of the candidate for federal office, he had made these payments.” The women are adult film stars Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels, both who alleged they had affairs with Trump while he was married to First Lady Melania Trump.
Susan Collins: Supreme Court Nominee Brent Kavanaugh Says Roe Is Settled Law
After meeting with Kavanaugh, Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) claims that the Supreme Court hopeful informed her of his opinion on the critical abortion case, telling her that he thought the issue was settled. Collins is widely considered to be a crucial swing vote in his upcoming Senate confirmation. “We talked about whether he considered Roe to be settled law. He said that he agreed with what Justice Roberts said at his nomination hearing in which he said it was settled law,” Collins said after meeting with Kavanaugh for more than two hours on Tuesday. PRRI’s Alex Vandermaas-Peeler recently examined how Collins’ constituents could inform her vote. Vandermaas-Peeler writes, “Fifty-four percent of New England Republicans say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, a view shared by three-quarters (75 percent) of New England Democrats. In contrast, fewer than four in ten (39 percent) Republicans nationwide favor abortion being legal in most or all cases.”
Jamil Smith: How Can African Americans Escape ‘Plantation’ If We Can’t Vote?
Rolling Stone writer Jamil Smith wrote an opinion piece in the publication challenging the Republican Party’s record on black American’s voting rights. Smith refers to a story coming out of Georgia’s Randolph County, an area that counts 60 percent of its 7,000 residents as black. The county’s election board recently decided to shutter seven of its nine polling places for the upcoming November election. Perhaps the biggest election this fall in the Peach State is the race for governor, where the state could become the nation’s first to elect a black woman. Citing a recent PRRI poll, Smith writes, “ A July poll
conducted by The Atlantic and the Public Religion Research Institute found that in the first presidential contest after the Supreme Court’s 2013 neutering of the Voting Rights Act, black and Hispanic voters faced disproportionate consequences from restrictive voting measures enacted in states throughout the country.”
Transgender Girl Pulled from School After Threats from Parents
Several schools in Achille, Oklahoma were closed last week after parents threatened stabbings and other acts of violence against a transgender middle-school girl. Maddie, who typically uses a staff restroom, could not find the facilities on a new campus and used the girl’s restroom. That sparked a Facebook post on a community page and threats from outraged parents. Protests against and rallies in support of the girl soon followed. According to recent Facebook and GoFundMe posts, the girl’s family has had enough. Brandy Rose, the girl’s mother, writes, “While I know the school district here is doing everything they can to help keep Maddie safe at school, it’s not just at school that I’m scared for her, and where we would like to move to is much more open to people like my daughter, she’d have more medical resources, and we’d be with loving, supportive family.” According to Tulsa World, this will be the second time Maddie’s family has moved after bullying from their community. The family will relocate to Houston, Texas. A recent PRRI survey shows that 59 percent of the country believes that transgender people face a lot of discrimination in the United States. When the same question was asked in 2013, 71 percent of respondents said the same.