fresh voices from the front lines of change







It’s been almost a week since the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states. Was that enough time for wingnuts to calm down and realize the Court gave them an escape hatch from the “culture war”? Of course not.

In the aftermath of the Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodge, some perceptive political analysts noted that LGBT Americans weren’t the only one’s with a “win” to celebrate. The Court handed conservatives a “win,” too, if only they could calm down enough to see it.

Obergefell was compared to Brown v. Board of Education, which overturned laws segregating public schools, because each had a similar impact on American society. However, in Brown the Court was getting out far ahead of public opinion, in the name of justice. In the southern states, where racial segregation was the law, public opinion solidly in support of segregation, and light years behind the Court’s reading of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

In Obergefell, the Court merely aligned itself with public opinion. Public support for marriage equality has increased dramatically in the last ten years, and for the first time a majority of Americans support marriage equality. Recent polls show that 60 percent of Americans support marriage equality, and even higher percentages of younger voters support it. Movements in several state successfully overturned bans on same-sex marriage, challenged bans in the courts, and/or passed marriage equality statues.

The Court recognized this trend when it overturned parts of the Defense of Marriage Act relating to the federal government. Perhaps the court let stand the portion of DOMA allowing states to ban same-sex marriage to give states time to get their acts together. But in the interim the Court telegraphed where it was heading, as it let stand lower court rulings that overturned state bans on same-sex marriage, based on the Court’s DOMA ruling. Only when the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a state same-sex marriage ban did the Court finished what it started with the DOMA ruling.

As a result, same-sex couples gained the right to marry and have their marriages recognized in all 50 states. Though some states will no doubt resist, same-sex couples won the freedom to travel anywhere, and live anywhere in the United States without having to worry about where their families are not protected, and where their relationships are not recognized.

Conservatives won an important freedom, too. The Court handed conservatives an opportunity to stop fighting (and losing) the “culture war,” and start figuring out how to stay relevant to a changing electorate.

Did wingnuts embrace this opportunity? Not a chance.


In most wedding ceremonies, there’s a part where the celebrant tells anyone who objects to “speak now or forever hold your peace.” For the second time, wingnuts proved unable to do so, and now fewer and fewer people are listening.

GOP Primary “Trumped”

By any conventional standard, billionaire Donald Trump’s candidacy for the GOP presidential nomination has been a disaster; from his rambling, racist announcement speech, to his abysmal media performance. But he’s currently beating all but one of the GOP presidential candidates at the polls, and giving the GOP establishment heartburn.

It all started when the entertainment value of Trump’s campaign launched was over shadowed by an anti-Mexico rant worthy of Archie Bunker.


“When do we beat Mexico at the border?” Trump asked the crowd at his announcement at his namesake Trump Tower in New York City. “They are not our friend, believe me…The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems…When Mexico sends its people, they are not sending their best. They are not sending you. They are sending people that have lots of problems, and they are bringing those problems to us. They are bringing drugs and they are bringing crime, and they’re rapists.”

The backlash has been epic.


The lost business deals and resulting fallout are estimated to cost Trump just over $50 million. That’s not insignicant, for a guy whose net worth is. This is probably only the beginning. Insulting an entire demographic could end up costing Trump a lot more.

What of the political cost for insulting what actress America Ferrera, in an open letter to Trump, described as “the largest, youngest and fastest-growing constituency in the United States of America”?

You are running for President in a country where the Latino population grew by over 49 percent from 2000–2012, while the rest of the country grew by 5.8 percent. What’s more, we are the future. The median age of the average Latino is 27 years old, compared to 42 years old for white Americans. In case you need a translation, that means there are a whole lot of Americans who are Latino and have the right to vote. And, we’re not going anywhere.

So far, it hasn’t hurt Trump in Republican primary polls. A recent Quinnipac poll has Trump tied with Ben Carson for second place in Iowa behind front runner Wisconsin governor Scott Walker. In New Hampshire, Trump is in second place, behind former Florida governor Jeb Bush. New Jersey governor Chris Christie, once the GOP’s favorite loud-mouthed jerk, has flatlined right out of the starting gate by comparison.

Numbers like these could put Trump front and center for the first GOP presidential debates. (Meanwhile, sitting GOP governors like Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal and New Jersey’s Chris Christie could be sidelined.) For the GOP, it’s a nightmare. Not only has a guy who didn’t even vote in the last six presidential elections surged to the front of a field of candidates he’s described as “nothings” who couldn’t shine his shoes, but he’s shown a bottomless capacity and willingness to insult a demographic that the GOP needs to attract.

Republicans can’t ignore Trump, and getting rid of him may be tricky. Most Americans don’t take Trump seriously as a presidential candidate, but the GOP base loves him. They love his immigrant bashing, his birtherism, and his overall belligerence. (Trump has even gained new fans among white supremacists, including members of the Council of Conservative Citizens; the group cited by Charleston shooter Dylan Roof, and associated with a number of Republicans.)

Ferrera thanked Trumped for driving more Latinos to the polls. Unless Republicans find the courage to repudiate Trump and his bigoted views, it’s likely those Latino voters will cast their votes against the eventual Republican nominee.

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