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MORNING MESSAGE

George Goehl

If Progressives Don’t Try to Win Over Rural Areas, Guess Who Will

While Congress advances an impeachment inquiry into possible high crimes by the president, I believe his most destructive acts are his fanning the flames of racism and emboldening white nationalism. I run People’s Action, a coalition of 40-some grass-roots organizations across the country that bring poor and working-class people together to win economic and racial justice. We are rare in that we work in both urban and rural areas; many of our peer organizations are largely urban. As part of this work, our organizers had over 10,000 conversations with people in small towns across the country over the past year. We spoke with neighbors in Amish country, visited family farms in Iowa and sat on front porches in Appalachia — communities that have experienced hard economic times and went solidly for Donald Trump in 2016. Although these communities may be fertile ground for the Trump administration and other white nationalist organizations, they are also places where people can come together across race and class to solve the big problems facing everyday people. That starts by recognizing one another’s humanity — and with honest conversations. At a trailer park home in Michigan, a white man told canvassers from our local affiliate group, Michigan United, he did not want undocumented immigrants receiving federal benefits or wage protections. Yet, as he continued to share, he revealed that his father had immigrated to this country and had done well by the family. He then admitted a sense of shame for struggling with addiction and poverty. In a single conversation, he realized that he actually identifies with immigrant workers, and maybe his views on immigration are not set in stone. In all these conversations, people recognize that the enemy is not one another but the big corporations — driving up health care costs, taking away jobs, polluting air and water. It’s not where you start, but the destination that matters.

Read more in The New York Times

House Votes On Impeachment Today

House to make first vote of formal Trump impeachment inquiry, resolution sets rules for public hearings. USA Today: “The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote Thursday on a Democratic resolution mapping out rules for public hearings in the impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump, after weeks of Republicans criticizing the inquiry for holding closed-door meetings in the basement of the Capitol. Also on Thursday, the trio of committees investigating Trump’s dealings with Ukraine have another private deposition with a National Security Council official. Timothy Morrison, whose departure from the NSC as senior director for Europe and Russia was announced on the eve of his testimony, was described by another witness in the House impeachment inquiry as having a “‘inking feeling’ after learning the U.S. was withholding military aid for Ukraine while urging an investigation of Trump’s political rival former Vice President Joe Biden. Morrison’s testimony is expected to begin in the morning. The House is expected to debate the resolution in the morning and vote on it as part of a series beginning about 10:30 a.m. The vote will be the first of the full House under the formal impeachment inquiry and will put moderate lawmakers from both parties under scrutiny heading into the 2020 election. The resolution formalizes the public phase of the investigation with hearings and evidence-sharing with the president’s counsel.”

Russia Expert Resigns Ahead Of Testimony

Trump’s Russia director to leave National Security Council amid impeachment inquiry. NPR: “Tim Morrison, the top Russia official on President Trump’s National Security Council, who is scheduled to testify in the impeachment inquiry on Thursday, is set to leave his White House post imminently, three sources familiar with the plan told NPR. Morrison, a conservative hawk who has served as the senior director for European and Russian affairs on the National Security Council, will be replaced by Andrew Peek, the deputy assistant secretary of state for Iraq and Iran in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, according to the sources. A senior administration official confirmed Morrison’s departure late Wednesday evening. ‘After more than a year of service at the National Security Council, Mr. Morrison has decided to pursue other opportunities – and has been considering doing so for some time. We wish him well,’ the official said. Morrison and Peek did not respond to requests for comment for comment by NPR. Morrison had been working on arms control and biodefense issues at the NSC when he was elevated to the Russia portfolio by Trump’s then-national security adviser, John Bolton. Morrison started in the role in July, overlapping with his predecessor, Fiona Hill — another witness in the impeachment inquiry — who had announced her plans to leave the White House in August. Morrison is a crucial figure in the House Democratic investigation into whether Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to launch an investigation of a political rival.”

Twitter To Stop Accepting Political Ads

Twitter to stop accepting all political ads on the platform globally. Axios: “Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said Wednesday in a series of tweets that the tech giant will no longer accept political or advocacy advertising of any kind on its platform. Tech companies have come under fire as of late for policies around how they police political ads. Facebook, most notably, has been criticized for saying that the company would not fact-check ads from political candidates or politicians. According to Dorsey, more specifics about the policy will be published by Twitter on Nov. 15. The policy will go into effect on Nov. 22. In his tweets, Dorsey said the reasoning for the policy change is in part because Twitter acknowledges that a tech platform’s unique ability to distribute ads in a highly targeted manner, and with easily tested and customizable messaging, is different than the advertising opportunity on broadcast TV — where networks are required by law to run ads from all political candidates, regardless of whether they lie in those ads.”

NC Court Kills Congressional Gerrymander

North Carolina’s congressional gerrymander is dead. Slate: “North Carolina’s congressional gerrymander is dead. A state court ruled on Monday that the map, which is skewed in Republicans’ favor, likely violates the North Carolina Constitution and may not be used in the 2020 election. The only question now is how long Republicans hem, haw, and dawdle before conceding defeat and redrawing the illegal districts. Importantly, Republicans will not be permitted to stall past the election; the court made clear that it will delay the 2020 primaries to guarantee a lawful election. Monday’s decision came from the same three-judge court that invalidated North Carolina’s gerrymander of the state Legislature in September. Following that ruling, the plaintiffs—who are backed by Eric Holder’s National Democratic Redistricting Committee—filed suit against the state’s congressional map. The court found that this plan had the same infirmities as the legislative map: GOP legislators discriminated against Democratic voters, drawing maps behind closed doors with the aid of gerrymandering guru Thomas Hofeller. Their map ‘packed’ most into a few deep-blue districts then ‘cracked’ the rest throughout red districts. ‘I think electing Republicans is better than electing Democrats,’ the legislator in charge of redistricting declared upon presenting the plan.”

NC GOP Considered ‘All-White’ Voting Map

To fix racial gerrymander, NC GOP considered a map that could have elected an all-white slate. The Intercept: ‘I propose that we draw the maps to give a partisan advantage to 10 Republicans and three Democrats,’ said North Carolina Rep. David Lewis, in 2016 in a legislative committee hearing, ‘because I do not believe it’s possible to draw a map with 11 Republicans and two Democrats.’ This might be the most infamous gerrymandering confession ever — a rare moment of clarity exposing the GOP’s ambition to control the state’s map through redistricting. This year, Lewis’s statement was debated in the Supreme Court; in 2017, it was even cited by comedian John Oliver. And this week, the admission that state lawmakers intended to give an advantage to the Republican Party was at the root of a decision by a North Carolina state court that invalidated the state’s congressional map ahead of 2020. But even Lewis’s bold acknowledgement understated the GOP’s redistricting capabilities, new documents obtained by The Intercept suggest. In fact, GOP strategists did prove that it was possible to draw a map with 11 or 12 Republican congressional seats — in one case, a partisan gerrymander that could have feasibly elected an all-white slate. In 2016, Thomas Hofeller, the veteran redistricting mastermind, was tapped by Lewis and the North Carolina legislature to craft the state’s congressional lines. The original map, drawn in 2011 redistricting, had been thrown out for racially discriminatory intent. During that process, Hofeller created drafts of maps that would give Democrats only one or two seats in this competitive purple state. These never-before-seen draft maps are among the more than 70,000 previously unpublished documents and emails from Hofeller’s hard drives, obtained and reviewed by The Intercept. And there is evidence that he talked them over with Lewis, who chaired the state House of Representatives redistricting committee from 2011 until 2018. New documents suggest that even Lewis’s bold acknowledgement understated the GOP’s redistricting capabilities. Lewis has maintained that his specific instructions to draw Republicans a partisan advantage were meant to make clear that the maps were motivated by politics, not race. At the time, GOP lawmakers believed that the partisan gerrymander would be legal. But on Monday, the court ruled that it violates the state’s constitutional protections of both fair elections and equal protection ‘beyond a reasonable doubt.'”

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