While campaigning for president in Iowa on Saturday, Sanders took a question from someone who said they had recently had their right to vote restored. The question referenced Vermont’s approach to the issue, which according to the National Conference of State Legislatures allows felons to vote, even while incarcerated.
Asked if he would support that on a nationwide scale, Sanders said, “I think that is absolutely the direction we should go.”
He went on to explain that in many states, when people are convicted for felonies, in addition to serving time, they lose their “right to participate in a democratic society.”
He pointed to Florida as an example of change, where a ballot measure passed last year that called for the state to allow felons, except those convicted of murder or felony sexual offenses, to have their right to vote restored after their sentences were served.
“In my state, what we do is we separate — you’re paying your price, you committed a crime, you’re in jail, that’s bad, but you are still living in American society, and you have a right to vote,” Sanders continued. “I believe in that, yes, I do.”
His comments in Iowa on Saturday built on increased calls in recent years for expanded voting rights for felons, while going further than many: Florida’s ballot measure applies to voting rights for people after release from prison, while Vermont’s approach applies to people still in prison.
While many have vouched for the former approach, Sanders’ comments contrasted with those of President Donald Trump, who railed against an attempt in 2016 for Virginia to expand voting rights to some convicted felons who had completed their sentences.
While campaigning for president in Iowa on Saturday, Sanders took a question from someone who said they had recently had their right to vote restored. The question referenced Vermont’s approach to the issue, which according to the National Conference of State Legislatures allows felons to vote, even while incarcerated.
Asked if he would support that on a nationwide scale, Sanders said, “I think that is absolutely the direction we should go.”
He went on to explain that in many states, when people are convicted for felonies, in addition to serving time, they lose their “right to participate in a democratic society.”
He pointed to Florida as an example of change, where a ballot measure passed last year that called for the state to allow felons, except those convicted of murder or felony sexual offenses, to have their right to vote restored after their sentences were served.
“In my state, what we do is we separate — you’re paying your price, you committed a crime, you’re in jail, that’s bad, but you are still living in American society, and you have a right to vote,” Sanders continued. “I believe in that, yes, I do.”
His comments in Iowa on Saturday built on increased calls in recent years for expanded voting rights for felons, while going further than many: Florida’s ballot measure applies to voting rights for people after release from prison, while Vermont’s approach applies to people still in prison.
While many have vouched for the former approach, Sanders’ comments contrasted with those of President Donald Trump, who railed against an attempt in 2016 for Virginia to expand voting rights to some convicted felons who had completed their sentences.
The count began Friday at 6 p.m. and ran though Sunday.
In one incident, two children were among several people injured at a baby shower, Chicago Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. The children were in stable condition midday Monday.
“We know that two men in dark clothing approached the family gathering which we believe was a baby shower and opened fire,” Guglielmi said.
“The shooters fled the area on foot,” he added. “Cooperation has been very limited with detectives, and based on victim profiles we suspect this could have been a possible retaliatory shooting from an earlier incident that stemmed from an ongoing gang conflict in that neighborhood.”

Mayor-elect warns of ‘summer violence season’

In the same time frame last year, there were 18 shootings and four murders, police spokesman Michael Carroll said.
While many candidates in Chicago’s mayoral election have called for Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson’s badge, Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot promised a more patient approach, predicting warmer weather would again usher more violence into the city.
“We’re going to be heading soon into the summer violence season,” she told CNN. “After that’s over, we’ll evaluate at that point, but I’m going to be working closely with the superintendent and with his executive team to make sure that we keep our neighborhoods safe.”

The S&P 500’s seven-day winning streak is in jeopardy.

US stocks were under pressure early Monday afternoon.

  • The Dow declined 150 points, or 0.6%
  • The S&P 500 fell 0.3%, on track to snap its longest winning streak since October 2017
  • And the Nasdaq dipped 0.2%

The Dow’s losses were magnified by Boeing, which continues to grapple with a safety crisis. Boeing (BA) dropped 5% after announcing it will cut its 737 Max production pace.

General Electric (GE) tumbled 7%, leading the way lower in the S&P 500, after influential JPMorgan analyst C. Stephen Tusa, Jr. downgraded the stock in a 123-page report.

The energy sector (XLE) was the biggest winner Monday, buoyed by the red-hot crude market. US oil prices climbed nearly 2% to $64.20 a barrel. Schlumberger (SLB), Cabot Oil & Gas (COG) and Concho Resources (CXO) rose sharply.

Addressing a gathering of progressive activists, Buttigieg, who is gay and married to his husband, Chasten, reflected on the impact decisions made in Washington have had on his life.
“Sitting down to Christmas dinner at the side of my husband, whose marriage to me, our family — not its well-being but its existence — comes by the grace of single vote on the United States Supreme Court,” he said in December.
After the event, a group of women mingled near the elevators and reflected on their first impression of the South Bend mayor.
“I like that Mayor Pete guy,” one woman standing near the elevator said to the others. “He’s gay and going places.”
Pete Buttigieg says his team raised more than $7 million in first quarter

In the months since, Buttigieg went from the obscure mayor of a small town to a standout contender within the Democratic field of candidates looking to take on President Donald Trump next year. And being gay, while not the entirety of Buttigieg’s story, is a key aspect of his identity, something that voters say sets him apart from the other candidates and something that Buttigieg has highlighted more as he began to rise in prominence. His campaign has worked to seize on his newfound status in recent weeks by tapping into LGBT communities for support and money.
His swift rise as the only member of the LGBT community in the race has also prompted a broader conversation about the importance of his identity and the progress made on LGBT rights in the course of just a decade.
“The fact that his sexual orientation is not the headline, that he is being received as a credible qualified candidate for president, just as all the others are, is without question is a profound sign of our progress,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBT advocacy group in the United States.

‘Not eager to become a poster child’

All of it is a bit of an adjustment for the mayor, who once wrote that he came out later in life, in part, because he didn’t want to become “a poster child for LGBT issues.”
In “Shortest Way Home,” the mayor’s pre-campaign memoir, Buttigieg writes that he worried his coming out would turn into something he is not.
“I had strongly supported the causes from the beginning, but did not want to be defined by them,” he wrote.
Speaking at the Victory Fund National Champagne Brunch in Washington, DC, on Sunday, an event that is meant to raise money for LGBTQ candidates across the country, Buttigieg took that a step further and told attendees that dealing with his sexual orientation was “a kind of war.”
“If you could have offered me a pill that could make me straight, I would have swallowed it before you could give me a swig of water,” Buttigieg said. “It’s a hard thing to think about now. If you had shown me exactly what it was that made me gay, I would have cut it out with a knife.”
He added later: “Thank God there was no pill. Thank God there was no knife.”
Buttigieg goes on to write in his memoir that it was his deployment to Afghanistan in 2014 that forced him to come to terms with his public and private life. Despite the fact that Buttigieg, as a student at Harvard, used the earliest iterations of Facebook to see which men identified as “seeking men” on the site, it wasn’t until he reflected “on the possibility that I might get killed in action, thirty-two years old, single for basically all my adult life” that he realized he “needed to come out.”
He did so in a June 2015 essay in the South Bend Tribune, where he nodded to the fact that the Supreme Court would soon decide on whether gay marriage was legal nationally by writing that he felt his public coming out “could do some good” for people struggling with their sexuality.
As the only gay candidate in the race, Buttigieg has also been asked questions that other candidates haven’t had to address.
During an appearance on The Breakfast Club in March, Buttigieg was asked about how he feels about Chick-fil-A, a chicken-centric fast food company that has faced criticism — and, in some cases, boycotts — from gay rights advocates for its donations to anti-gay groups and anti-gay comments by Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy.
“I do not approve of their politics, but I kind of approve of their chicken,” Buttigieg said. He later added at another event that while he supports people’s right to boycott companies and spend their money however they please, he worries it leads people to “sometimes slip into a sort of virtue signaling in some cases where we’re not really being consistent.”
Buttigieg says he doesn't support boycotts of companies over political donations

Buttigieg says he doesn't support boycotts of companies over political donations

It was a nuanced view on a controversial subject within the LGBT community and was not universally well received.
“It riled people in the LGBTQ community,” Annise Parker, the head of Victory Fund and the former mayor of Houston who was one of the first gay mayors of a major US city when she was elected in 2010, said of Buttigieg’s comments about Chick-fil-A. “There are certainly folks on the left of the community who say that is not good enough. But I think that is one of the things that has caused a lot of folks to take another look at Pete is that he is a bridge builder, mainstream, middle of the road politician and he wants to find a balance and a position of fairness.”
Even if Buttigieg wasn’t looking to draw attention to his sexuality, it has found him during the presidential campaign. And that he is gay, in the eyes of gay rights advocates and political operatives, could be an asset.
“One reason Obama had a lot of success in 2008 was that he represented change in many ways,” said Robby Mook, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign manager and the first gay man who ran a major presidential campaign. “I think Buttigieg represents change in many ways in a primary where voters want just that.”
Mook added: “All the gay men I know, they all want to give him money. It’s not the worst demographic to raise money from.”
Polling bears this out — a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found nearly 70% of American are either enthusiastic or comfortable with a candidate who is gay or lesbian — but it is still remarkable to those gay lawmakers who paved the way for a Buttigieg campaign.
Former Rep. Barney Frank, who came out in 1987 and was, at the time, widely considered the most prominent gay politician in the United States, said during his decades in politics he never viewed his sexuality as an asset. For Buttigieg, however, it could be, he said, because it allows people who have had homophobic views in the past to atone at the ballot box.
“His candidacy is an example of the absolute speed with which we are getting there. I think it is very clear, his being gay is clearly an asset,” Frank said. “In a way, he gives people a chance to almost atone for past wrongs.”
For those LGBTQ voters who have come to Buttigieg events, some because they support him and others because they are curious about a gay man running for president, the symbolism in Buttigieg’s rise is powerful.
“I think it matters because symbolism is important. I think having that reflected in your leaders is important,” said Adi Dubash, 37, who attended a Buttigieg event in South Carolina last month with his husband, Michael Upshaw, 34, and their 16-month-old son Finnick. “But I think he has got the right idea because he embraces his identity and he wants people to know his identity but it is not all who he is.”
For Upshaw, Buttigieg’s presidential bid is about representation, he said, and being able to tell their young son that “your dads are represented” and “you are growing up in a world that accepts people and families like you are growing up in.”
“That means a lot,” he added.

Radical normalcy

One area in which gay rights activists are most pleased by Buttigieg’s campaign is the way that his marriage to Chasten Buttigieg, a now ever-present figure on the campaign trial, has given increased visibility to the normalcy of same-sex marriage.
Chasten, 29, has seen his online following balloon from a few thousand Twitter followers months ago to nearly 200,000 this month. He and his husband regularly tweet about the normalcies of life: Doing laundry on the weekend, reading on the couch and their two dogs.
“Doing a quick bit of laundry. Hear loud scream. Run into kitchen terrified, expecting to see @Chas10Buttigieg in pool of blood. Am thereupon informed that @Lin_Manuel is following my husband, whose life is now complete,” Pete Buttigieg tweeted last month after the Hamilton star followed his husband on Twitter.
Pete Buttigieg's not-so-secret weapon is his husband, Chasten

Pete Buttigieg's not-so-secret weapon is his husband, Chasten

Buttigieg reflected on his marriage at Sunday’s brunch.
“Being married to Chasten has made me a better man,” Buttigieg said, before the turned his focus on Vice President Mike Pence, the former governor of Indiana who has a long history of comments of opposing same-sex marriage.
“And yes Mr. Vice President it has made me closer to god,” Buttigieg said as the crowd gave him a standing ovation. “If you have a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”
Pete and Chasten met online and the mayor proposed to his husband-to-be in 2017 at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, the spot where Chasten, a teacher, was sitting when they first connected on the dating app Hinge.
The mere fact that the two are living their lives so openly on the political stage is a moment in the eyes of Parker, the head of Victory Fund and the former mayor of Houston.
“I have been an activist since the 70s and if you had asked me back then if we would have had a gay married man running for president, I would have thought you were crazy,” Parker said.
But it’s the rise of Chasten Buttigieg’s popularity that has really marveled men and women in the LGBTQ community, a rise that was recently cemented by the fact that the political spouse headlined the Human Rights Campaign annual gala in Houston on Saturday, hours before his husband headlined the Victory Fund event in Washington, DC.
And Chasten Buttigieg, who came out at 18 and moved out of his home shortly after, has embraced the spotlight — from the comical, like tweeting the hosts of Netflix’s “Queer Eye” asking them to take him shopping, to the serious, like when he tweeted “your time in the closet and your journey to coming out belong to you. … You matter first.”
For Frank, who married his longtime partner James Ready in 2012, making him the first gay politician to be married in office, the prominence of this LGBTQ couple has been remarkable.
“I got married, seven years ago. It was international news when I announced that I was getting married,” Frank said in an interview. “It was, to quote Joe Biden, a BFD. Now, the fact that Pete is married isn’t a big deal. A BFD to an NBD in seven years. … It’s a sign of enormous progress.”
Patten’s case, and how it related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, has been full of intrigue but short on details. Many of the filings in the case are still under seal, leading many to speculate that Patten might be a marquee cooperator.
Patten’s lawyers wrote Monday that he was a valuable asset for the Mueller investigation and other federal prosecutors. But the details of how he helped prosecutors will be submitted in sealed filings that aren’t available to the public, they said.
“Mr. Patten earned the trust of the government and became a reliable and valuable resource,” they wrote, noting that he assisted “several ongoing investigations.”
Patten previously admitted funneling money from a Russia-friendly oligarch to the Trump inauguration, and that he lied about it to Congress. But Patten’s lawyers said Monday that his actions were not intended to “cover up” foreign interference in the US election.
“[H]is crimes were not motivated by greed or a desire to conceal relevant information from the American public or to aid or cover up any potential interference with the 2016 Presidential election,” Patten’s lawyers wrote in their sentencing memo.
Patten’s attorneys wrote that his use of an American company to disguise the purchase of inauguration tickets for a Ukrainian national was not part of an effort to funnel foreign money into the Trump campaign but another a “breakdown in judgement” to please his client. They went on to say that Patten didn’t even like President Donald Trump, even though he facilitated a donation to the Trump inauguration.
“Mr. Patten did not support the Trump campaign and while he may have known people who worked for the campaign at various times, he had no personal connection to it,” his lawyers wrote. “Indeed, Mr. Patten not only openly opposed the Trump candidacy but even broke with his party when he voted for President Trump’s opponent in the 2016 presidential election.”
He pleaded guilty in August to acting as an unregistered agent for the Opposition Bloc, a Ukrainian political party that favors close ties with Russia. He worked for some of the same oligarchs that hired Paul Manafort, who became Trump’s campaign chairman.
Manafort was sentenced last month to more than seven years in prison on federal fraud and tax charges.
Such a commission would seek to remedy generations-worth of discrimination as a result of “overt policies fueled by white supremacy and racism that have oppressed African-Americans economically for generations,” the New Jersey Democrat said in a statement, in addition to policies “that have ushered millions of Americans into the middle class” but “systematically excluded blacks.”
“This bill is a way of addressing head-on the persistence of racism, white supremacy and implicit racial bias in our country,” Booker added. “It will bring together the best minds to study the issue and propose solutions that will finally begin to right the economic scales of past harms and make sure we are a country where all dignity and humanity is affirmed.”
2020 Democrats vow to sign House reparations study bill

The bill, originally introduced by former Rep. John Conyers of Michigan and currently sponsored in the House by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, has emerged as a key issue for 2020 Democrats — and an area of consensus. At the National Action Network Conference in New York last week, Rev. Al Sharpton questioned one presidential hopeful after another on the measure and the candidates vouched their support.
Now, Booker seems poised to emerge as the legislative leader on the issue.
The New Jersey senator has previously vented frustration that the question of reparations has been “reduced to a box to check on a presidential list, when this is so much more of a serious conversation,” as he told CNN’s Don Lemon during a recent town hall in Orangeburg, South Carolina.
“Do I support legislation that is race-conscious about balancing the economic scales?” Booker said. “Not only do I support it, but I have legislation that actually does it.”
On the campaign trail, Booker has promoted a “baby bonds” proposal that would give each child a savings account, with money added annually based on a family’s wealth — touting a Columbia University study that concluded such a program would “dramatically reduce racial wealth inequality.”
Addressing a gathering of progressive activists, Buttigieg, who is gay and married to his husband, Chasten, reflected on the impact decisions made in Washington have had on his life.
“Sitting down to Christmas dinner at the side of my husband, whose marriage to me, our family — not its well-being but its existence — comes by the grace of single vote on the United States Supreme Court,” he said in December.
After the event, a group of women mingled near the elevators and reflected on their first impression of the South Bend mayor.
“I like that Mayor Pete guy,” one woman standing near the elevator said to the others. “He’s gay and going places.”
Pete Buttigieg says his team raised more than $7 million in first quarter

In the months since, Buttigieg went from the obscure mayor of a small town to a standout contender within the Democratic field of candidates looking to take on President Donald Trump next year. And being gay, while not the entirety of Buttigieg’s story, is a key aspect of his identity, something that voters say sets him apart from the other candidates and something that Buttigieg has highlighted more as he began to rise in prominence. His campaign has worked to seize on his newfound status in recent weeks by tapping into LGBT communities for support and money.
His swift rise as the only member of the LGBT community in the race has also prompted a broader conversation about the importance of his identity and the progress made on LGBT rights in the course of just a decade.
“The fact that his sexual orientation is not the headline, that he is being received as a credible qualified candidate for president, just as all the others are, is without question is a profound sign of our progress,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBT advocacy group in the United States.

‘Not eager to become a poster child’

All of it is a bit of an adjustment for the mayor, who once wrote that he came out later in life, in part, because he didn’t want to become “a poster child for LGBT issues.”
In “Shortest Way Home,” the mayor’s pre-campaign memoir, Buttigieg writes that he worried his coming out would turn into something he is not.
“I had strongly supported the causes from the beginning, but did not want to be defined by them,” he wrote.
Speaking at the Victory Fund National Champagne Brunch in Washington, DC, on Sunday, an event that is meant to raise money for LGBTQ candidates across the country, Buttigieg took that a step further and told attendees that dealing with his sexual orientation was “a kind of war.”
“If you could have offered me a pill that could make me straight, I would have swallowed it before you could give me a swig of water,” Buttigieg said. “It’s a hard thing to think about now. If you had shown me exactly what it was that made me gay, I would have cut it out with a knife.”
He added later: “Thank God there was no pill. Thank God there was no knife.”
Buttigieg goes on to write in his memoir that it was his deployment to Afghanistan in 2014 that forced him to come to terms with his public and private life. Despite the fact that Buttigieg, as a student at Harvard, used the earliest iterations of Facebook to see which men identified as “seeking men” on the site, it wasn’t until he reflected “on the possibility that I might get killed in action, thirty-two years old, single for basically all my adult life” that he realized he “needed to come out.”
He did so in a June 2015 essay in the South Bend Tribune, where he nodded to the fact that the Supreme Court would soon decide on whether gay marriage was legal nationally by writing that he felt his public coming out “could do some good” for people struggling with their sexuality.
As the only gay candidate in the race, Buttigieg has also been asked questions that other candidates haven’t had to address.
During an appearance on The Breakfast Club in March, Buttigieg was asked about how he feels about Chick-fil-A, a chicken-centric fast food company that has faced criticism — and, in some cases, boycotts — from gay rights advocates for its donations to anti-gay groups and anti-gay comments by Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy.
“I do not approve of their politics, but I kind of approve of their chicken,” Buttigieg said. He later added at another event that while he supports people’s right to boycott companies and spend their money however they please, he worries it leads people to “sometimes slip into a sort of virtue signaling in some cases where we’re not really being consistent.”
Buttigieg says he doesn't support boycotts of companies over political donations

Buttigieg says he doesn't support boycotts of companies over political donations

It was a nuanced view on a controversial subject within the LGBT community and was not universally well received.
“It riled people in the LGBTQ community,” Annise Parker, the head of Victory Fund and the former mayor of Houston who was one of the first gay mayors of a major US city when she was elected in 2010, said of Buttigieg’s comments about Chick-fil-A. “There are certainly folks on the left of the community who say that is not good enough. But I think that is one of the things that has caused a lot of folks to take another look at Pete is that he is a bridge builder, mainstream, middle of the road politician and he wants to find a balance and a position of fairness.”
Even if Buttigieg wasn’t looking to draw attention to his sexuality, it has found him during the presidential campaign. And that he is gay, in the eyes of gay rights advocates and political operatives, could be an asset.
“One reason Obama had a lot of success in 2008 was that he represented change in many ways,” said Robby Mook, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign manager and the first gay man who ran a major presidential campaign. “I think Buttigieg represents change in many ways in a primary where voters want just that.”
Mook added: “All the gay men I know, they all want to give him money. It’s not the worst demographic to raise money from.”
Polling bears this out — a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found nearly 70% of American are either enthusiastic or comfortable with a candidate who is gay or lesbian — but it is still remarkable to those gay lawmakers who paved the way for a Buttigieg campaign.
Former Rep. Barney Frank, who came out in 1987 and was, at the time, widely considered the most prominent gay politician in the United States, said during his decades in politics he never viewed his sexuality as an asset. For Buttigieg, however, it could be, he said, because it allows people who have had homophobic views in the past to atone at the ballot box.
“His candidacy is an example of the absolute speed with which we are getting there. I think it is very clear, his being gay is clearly an asset,” Frank said. “In a way, he gives people a chance to almost atone for past wrongs.”
For those LGBTQ voters who have come to Buttigieg events, some because they support him and others because they are curious about a gay man running for president, the symbolism in Buttigieg’s rise is powerful.
“I think it matters because symbolism is important. I think having that reflected in your leaders is important,” said Adi Dubash, 37, who attended a Buttigieg event in South Carolina last month with his husband, Michael Upshaw, 34, and their 16-month-old son Finnick. “But I think he has got the right idea because he embraces his identity and he wants people to know his identity but it is not all who he is.”
For Upshaw, Buttigieg’s presidential bid is about representation, he said, and being able to tell their young son that “your dads are represented” and “you are growing up in a world that accepts people and families like you are growing up in.”
“That means a lot,” he added.

Radical normalcy

One area in which gay rights activists are most pleased by Buttigieg’s campaign is the way that his marriage to Chasten Buttigieg, a now ever-present figure on the campaign trial, has given increased visibility to the normalcy of same-sex marriage.
Chasten, 29, has seen his online following balloon from a few thousand Twitter followers months ago to nearly 200,000 this month. He and his husband regularly tweet about the normalcies of life: Doing laundry on the weekend, reading on the couch and their two dogs.
“Doing a quick bit of laundry. Hear loud scream. Run into kitchen terrified, expecting to see @Chas10Buttigieg in pool of blood. Am thereupon informed that @Lin_Manuel is following my husband, whose life is now complete,” Pete Buttigieg tweeted last month after the Hamilton star followed his husband on Twitter.
Pete Buttigieg's not-so-secret weapon is his husband, Chasten

Pete Buttigieg's not-so-secret weapon is his husband, Chasten

Buttigieg reflected on his marriage at Sunday’s brunch.
“Being married to Chasten has made me a better man,” Buttigieg said, before the turned his focus on Vice President Mike Pence, the former governor of Indiana who has a long history of comments of opposing same-sex marriage.
“And yes Mr. Vice President it has made me closer to god,” Buttigieg said as the crowd gave him a standing ovation. “If you have a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”
Pete and Chasten met online and the mayor proposed to his husband-to-be in 2017 at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, the spot where Chasten, a teacher, was sitting when they first connected on the dating app Hinge.
The mere fact that the two are living their lives so openly on the political stage is a moment in the eyes of Parker, the head of Victory Fund and the former mayor of Houston.
“I have been an activist since the 70s and if you had asked me back then if we would have had a gay married man running for president, I would have thought you were crazy,” Parker said.
But it’s the rise of Chasten Buttigieg’s popularity that has really marveled men and women in the LGBTQ community, a rise that was recently cemented by the fact that the political spouse headlined the Human Rights Campaign annual gala in Houston on Saturday, hours before his husband headlined the Victory Fund event in Washington, DC.
And Chasten Buttigieg, who came out at 18 and moved out of his home shortly after, has embraced the spotlight — from the comical, like tweeting the hosts of Netflix’s “Queer Eye” asking them to take him shopping, to the serious, like when he tweeted “your time in the closet and your journey to coming out belong to you. … You matter first.”
For Frank, who married his longtime partner James Ready in 2012, making him the first gay politician to be married in office, the prominence of this LGBTQ couple has been remarkable.
“I got married, seven years ago. It was international news when I announced that I was getting married,” Frank said in an interview. “It was, to quote Joe Biden, a BFD. Now, the fact that Pete is married isn’t a big deal. A BFD to an NBD in seven years. … It’s a sign of enormous progress.”
Such a commission would seek to remedy generations-worth of discrimination as a result of “overt policies fueled by white supremacy and racism that have oppressed African-Americans economically for generations,” the New Jersey Democrat said in a statement, in addition to policies “that have ushered millions of Americans into the middle class” but “systematically excluded blacks.”
“This bill is a way of addressing head-on the persistence of racism, white supremacy and implicit racial bias in our country,” Booker added. “It will bring together the best minds to study the issue and propose solutions that will finally begin to right the economic scales of past harms and make sure we are a country where all dignity and humanity is affirmed.”
2020 Democrats vow to sign House reparations study bill

The bill, originally introduced by former Rep. John Conyers of Michigan and currently sponsored in the House by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, has emerged as a key issue for 2020 Democrats — and an area of consensus. At the National Action Network Conference in New York last week, Rev. Al Sharpton questioned one presidential hopeful after another on the measure and the candidates vouched their support.
Now, Booker seems poised to emerge as the legislative leader on the issue.
The New Jersey senator has previously vented frustration that the question of reparations has been “reduced to a box to check on a presidential list, when this is so much more of a serious conversation,” as he told CNN’s Don Lemon during a recent town hall in Orangeburg, South Carolina.
“Do I support legislation that is race-conscious about balancing the economic scales?” Booker said. “Not only do I support it, but I have legislation that actually does it.”
On the campaign trail, Booker has promoted a “baby bonds” proposal that would give each child a savings account, with money added annually based on a family’s wealth — touting a Columbia University study that concluded such a program would “dramatically reduce racial wealth inequality.”
“Oh no, never, nor should they. Keep in mind that that’s an issue that was already litigated during the election. Voters knew the President could have given his tax returns, they knew that he didn’t, and they elected him anyway, which of course is what drive the Democrats crazy.”
This is wrong. You can debate whether Trump should be forced to reveal his taxes under a 1924 IRS law, but you simply cannot successfully argue that the 2016 election was a referendum — even in a small way — on the President’s unwillingness to release his taxes.
It’s also not the first time someone in Trump’s inner circle has made this argument. Way back in January 2017, White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway said of Trump’s taxes that “we litigated this all through the election.” Added Conway: “People didn’t care. They voted for him, and let me make this very clear: Most Americans are very focused on what their tax returns will look like while President Trump is in office, not what his look like.”

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The fundamental logic flaw in the arguments put forward by Mulvaney and Conway is that any and all of Trump’s flaws, transgressions or abnormalities are fully and completely exonerated — TOTAL EXONERATION — by the fact that he won.
Under that line of thinking, people who voted for Trump fully approve of how he behaves toward women — more than a dozen of whom said during the 2016 campaign that Trump had behaved inappropriately — and worse — around them. And we know that’s not true, since 70%(!) of the electorate said that Trump’s treatment of women bothered them, according to exit polling.
Painting with such an overly broad brush — a la Mulvaney and Conway — drastically oversimplifies why voters do what they do. Elections are never about one thing or one person. It’s a choice, always, between at least two candidates. And voters are motivated by lots of different things at the same time.
A look at the 2016 exit polling suggests that the primary motivation for voters who chose Trump was electing someone who could change Washington in fundamental ways, and they saw Trump much more in that light than Hillary Clinton. Four in 10 voters said that the most important quality they were looking for in a candidate was someone who could bring about change; Trump won that group 82% to 14% over Hillary Clinton.
There were a total of zero — that’s 0 — questions about Trump’s taxes and his refusal to release them (making him the first president to do so since Watergate) on the exit poll. Zilch. Not a one.
It is possible to make the argument that in voting for change, Trump voters saw his unwillingness to release his returns as somehow indicative of just how radically different Trump was than not only Clinton but also everyone who had held the office before him? I mean, I guesssssssss…..but almost certainly not.
The most likely explanation is that while they didn’t love that Trump refused to release his taxes, voters made their final choice on other issues — again with his perceived power as a change agent right at the top of that list. Most polling since the election, in fact, shows a clear majority of Americans believe Trump should release at least some of his tax returns. In a Quinnipiac University poll released in February, a whopping 67% said they wanted Trump to release his taxes while just 24% said he shouldn’t. That same poll showed a majority of Americans (52%) said Trump wasn’t releasing his returns because he had “something to hide.”
(Nota bene: It’s important to distinguish between people who say they want Trump to release his taxes and those who will vote against him for not doing so. The former number is high; the latter number not so much.)
The argument over Trump’s tax returns will turn into a legal one sometime very soon. The IRS isn’t going to turn the returns over, at which point House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal will have to decide whether he wants to subpoena the returns. If he does that, we are likely headed to the Supreme Court. (Make sure to read this great explainer by CNN’s Lauren Fox on what’s next in the tax return fight.)
But from a purely political perspective, the argument being forward by Mulvaney is nonsense. There is NO evidence to suggest that voters approved of Trump’s refusal to release his taxes in 2016 — and there’s plenty to suggest that they were not (and are not) happy with that decision.