The Future of the Democratic Party

PRRI Board Chair Pens Piece for Vox on Future of Democratic Party
A new Vox piece co-authored by PRRI Board Chair Melissa Deckman, Ph.D. examines how young women of color could shape the future of the Democratic Party. Deckman, along with Shauna Shames of Rutgers University, focuses on how the primary defeat of Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) at the hands of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a Latina democratic socialist, is in line with statistical trends. Deckman and Shames write, “Our analysis of their results shows that young women of color are distinct from both young white Americans and from young men of color in terms of policy views and partisan preferences — by a long shot. We also find young women of color to be the most politically engaged, which speaks to their potential future influence within the Democratic Party.” Deckman and Shames utilize several years’ worth of PRRI data to drive their point home. PRRI data from 2016-2018 shows that women of color are most likely to respond that rising higher education costs, discrimination against African-Americans, LGBT rights, and wealth gaps are critical issues to them personally. They are least likely to support building a wall between Mexico and the United States. Of specific interest to Deckman and Shames is the 2017 PRRI/ MTV National Youth Survey, which showed that among young people (aged 15-24), the majority of women of color identify as Democrats.
The New Republic featured an article looking at the rise of women in leadership roles inside the Democratic Party recently. “Women (and some men), activated by the current moment and aided by civic groups of their own making, are heading out—into neighborhoods, church halls, and county party committees—working to oust unresponsive incumbents and rebuild participatory democracy,” the article’s authors point out. The current wave of local civic groups, activists, and political candidates is likely the largest since the Tea Party, and much of these groups have done work revitalizing pre-existing civic structures, particularly within the Democratic Party. Emphasizing the emerging gender split that exists among young white people, the piece cites PRRI polling, arguing, “While a Public Religion Research Institute poll in January found that 48 percent of young white men aged 15–24 “believe diversity efforts will harm white people,” only 28 percent of young white women agree.”
Priest Claims He Was Beaten Over Church Abuse Scandal
A Catholic priest in Indiana claims he was beaten this week and believes that recent scandals involving the church motivated the perpetrator. Rev. Basil John Hutsko says that he was knocked out early on Monday morning. He claims his assailant yelled, “this is for all the little kids.” The incident has been referred to the Merriville, Indiana office of the FBI. On the same day Hutsko’s assault occurred, Pope Francis sent a letter to his followers regarding the recent sex-abuse scandal in Pennsylvania. Francis writes, “It is essential that we, as a Church, be able to acknowledge and condemn, with sorrow and shame, the atrocities perpetrated by consecrated persons, clerics, and all those entrusted with the mission of watching over and caring for those most vulnerable.”
Why Trump Supporters Believe He Is Not Corrupt
Writing in The Atlantic, Peter Beinart argues that the President’s base is not afraid of the corruption of American law, but the corruption of how America identifies itself, and how that appears to be changing. He makes this point by comparing two of the biggest news stories this week: Michael Cohen’s admission that Trump had commanded him to pay hush money to two of the president’s mistresses, and the alleged murder of a white Iowa woman, Mollie Tibbets, by an undocumented immigrant. Beinart writes, “When Trump instructed Cohen to pay off women with whom he’d had affairs, he may have been violating the law. But he was upholding traditional gender and class hierarchies. . . The Iowa murder, by contrast, signifies the inversion—the corruption—of that “traditional order.” Throughout American history, few notions have been as sacrosanct as the belief that white women must be protected from nonwhite men. By allegedly murdering Tibbetts, Rivera did not merely violate the law. He did something more subversive: He violated America’s traditional racial and sexual norms.” According to the most recent PRRI polling, 86 percent of Republicans continue to view Donald Trump favorably.
Millions of Muslims Climb Mount Arafat
On August 20, millions of Muslims climbed Mount Arafat at the conclusion of their annual Hajj, a pilgrimage to Mecca. Some 2.4 million people climbed the mountain to celebrate their faith, according to various news reports. One traveler explained to SBS News how he felt about the journey. “It feels great,” Jai Saleem said. “I have always seen this area, since my childhood, in photographs and on television.” Amna Khan, described by SBS News as an “American Muslim pilgrim” told the outlet that despite the difficulty of the journey, the celebration was worth it. “We’re doing this to get closer to Allah, to be absolved,” Khan said. Completing the Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, the foundation of Muslim culture.
Prison Strike Spreads Across North America
A prison strike has spread across the United States and Canada. Protests have been confirmed in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, while reports of protest action range from California to Nova Scotia. At this point, confirmed actions include Folsom state prisoner Heriberto Garcia’s recording of himself refusing food, Tacoma, Washington’s Northwest detention center where as many as 200 immigrant detainees joined the protest, and Burnside jail in Halifax, where prisoners put out a statement in solidarity with their U.S. counterparts. Providing context for the protests, The Guardian reports, “The 19-day strike is the first such nationwide action in the US in two years and was triggered by April’s rioting in Lee correctional institution in South Carolina in which seven inmates were killed. The start of the strike on Monday was symbolically timed to mark the 47th anniversary of the death of the Black Panther leader George Jackson in San Quentin prison in California.”