Newswire : ‘Skullduggery’ foils Zimbabwe inauguration of former Mugabe ally

Mnangagwa supporters rally in streets

Aug. 13, 2018 (GIN) – The hastily organized inauguration of Emmerson Mnangagwa as president of Zimbabwe has hit a brick wall. Invites to the heads of diplomatic mission, international organizations and consulates were pulled back after challenges to last month’s general election put a question mark around the slim victory of Mr. Mnangagwe over his rival Nelson Chamisa. Mr Mnangagwa allegedly beat Mr. Chamisa with 50.8% of the vote to Mr. Chamisa’s 44.3%. The ceremony was slated for Sunday, August 5, at the National Sports Stadium in Harare despite clashes between opposition protestors and soldiers that broke out shortly after polls closed.

Some six people died in the melee, many others were beaten and a number sought refuge in neighboring Zambia. As the post-election violence increased, Mr. Mnangagwa called for “peace and unity” but this failed to unite the nation – at least half of whom had cast ballots for Chamisa’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). In early returns, the MDC was leading by about 50,000 votes over the ruling ZANU-PF. But that lead suddenly evaporated when returns from the fifth out of 10 provinces were announced. Mr. Mnangagwa, who ousted his predecessor, Robert Mugabe, in what was widely described as a “coup”, called the voting a “celebration of Zimbabwean democracy, a festival of unfettered freedom. With the eyes of the world on us we delivered a free, fair and credible election.” “It is now time to put the election period behind us and embrace the future,” Mnangagwa said during Heroes Day commemorations in Harare. “We should never be deterred by temporary setbacks or regrettable events which we encounter in our cause to build an open, free and democratic, prosperous Zimbabwe.” It is now up to the Constitutional Court over the next 14 days to rule on the challenges brought by the MDC. Meanwhile, according to reporters on the ground, hundreds of opposition activists are in hiding from an army-led crackdown. Over the weekend, soldiers were seen moving through suburbs of Harare, the capital, and satellite cities beating supporters of the MDC, firing weapons outside the homes of its MPs and sealing off the homes of leaders’ families. “There are people disappearing. We don’t know how many – maybe 30, maybe 50. They are clearly trying to scatter the leadership, to stop us organizing,” Nkululeko Sibanda, an MDC spokesman, said. As Mnangagwa struggles to unify sparring members of his own party and divisions in the armed forces, he may seem ineffectual but many remember his record as State Security Minister when in 1983 some 20,000 minority Ndebele people were murdered in “a moment of madness”, according to ousted president Mugabe.

Newswire : Former NAACP President Ben Jealous facing uphill climb to become first Black Governor of Maryland

 

By Hazel Trice Edney

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Despite defeating six candidates to become the Democratic nominee for governor of Maryland, former NAACP president, Benjamin Todd Jealous, is still viewed as the underdog in his race against popular incumbent Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. “He’s got an uphill sled race,” says political scientist Dr. Wilmer Leon, also a radio talk show host. “Because the state of Maryland, by most statistics, is doing well. And Hogan has never proven himself to be a blind Republican ideologue. He’s more of a moderate Republican than he is an extreme right wing Republican. So, with that, it’s easier for Democrats to vote for him.”In somewhat of an upset, Jealous beat back six other candidates in the June 28 primary, including Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, viewed as the Democratic establishment candidate. Despite this sentiment, Jealous says his “rainbow” type supporters and association with people from all walks of life is the strategy that he believes will continue to carry him to a win Nov. 6. “The strength of this campaign, like my life, begins in Black churches in the civil rights community and gains power through the connection of those communities with the broader progressive community. That’s been the arc of my life and that’s the arc of this campaign,” he said in a recent interview with the Trice Edney News Wire. “We will win in November the same way we won June 28. We will win by traveling to every corner of the state making the case to voters in every county about how we can move forward together, about how we can make sure every school is fully funded, how we can finally get health care costs truly under control, how we can make colleges and public universities truly affordable again and how we can find the money to do it is in large part by ending mass incarceration.” Jealous said, “The issues at the core of this campaign are not partisan issues. Treating the opioid addiction crisis is a health crisis. It’s a people issue. Funding education is a people issue. And then the student debt crisis is a people issue. Those are not partisan issues and people recognize that.” Though some say he is an outsider until recently, his roots run deep in Maryland, Virginia, D.C. and across the nation for that matter. Jealous is former executive director of the National Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation and former president/CEO of the national NAACP. But when describing his grassroots political training, he is clear about his roots. “I started off in the Rainbow Coalition. I started off as a 15-year-old precinct captain for the Rev. Jesse Jackson,” he recalls. “The strategy of that campaign is what empowered L. Doug Wilder to win the governorship in Virginia a year later. And the same strategies that worked for Wilder in Virginia and David Dinkins in New York and Harold Washington in Chicago are right at the core of this campaign.” He continues, “What we all learned in that campaign is how they won their campaigns. That’s how we won our primary and how we will win in November. We’ll build a coalition of working families across every line…There’s nothing more important to any working family than assuring that they get to move forward again.” Like Jackson, Wilder and Dinkins, Jealous is poised to also make history. If he pulls it off, he would become the first Black governor of Maryland and the fifth Black governor in the U. S. According to recent polls, the issues may not be enough. Though Maryland is heavily Democratic, Hogan reportedly has a 68 percent approval rating across party lines. Therefore, Jealous is going to have to pull out all stops, says Leon.“In the eyes of some, the NAACP is not as relevant as it used to be. Plus, Hogan is not a Trump Republican,” Leon said. “So, I think you’re going to have a lot of people going to the voting booth saying if it’s not broke don’t fix it.” However, Leon said, Jealous could win because Maryland is in fact a Democratic state. “Turn out. Turn out. Turn out” will be the key, he says. “Plus, he needs to find a way to better explain how he’s going to implement some of the policies he’s articulating because one of the knocks against him is he’s promised a lot of things and he hasn’t explained how he’s going to pay for them.” Grassroots debaters in a local barber shop recently resolved that Jealous is the most popular candidate among Black voters, but, due to apathy, the voters he will need in a close race may not come out on Election Day. This means Jealous will need his best strategies, including his broadest rainbow, plus campaign boosts from some heavy hitters. His running mate is former Maryland Democratic Party Chair Susan Turnbull, who is running for lieutenant governor. In June, former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was largely credited for helping to drum up votes. Sanders has not given a full endorsement of Jealous, but has not been shy about pushing him. “I’m proud to be here because Ben is not going to be one of those leaders who is going to be nibbling around the edges, but understands we have got to transform the economic and political life of this country,” said Sen. Sanders to a cheering crowd as Jealous stood by his side June 18 just before his primary election, the Associated Press reported. Jealous is taking all the help he can get. “Bernie is a good friend. He’s a great ally to this campaign. And he has shown the Democratic Party that the people want real solutions to the pain that our families are feeling,” Jealous said. “Who runs our states matters because the road to taking back our country runs all through our states. I’m focused on making Maryland a model for how we move forward on education, health care and the economy no matter what happens in Donald Trump’s Washington.”

Newswire : Sarah Sanders can’t guarantee Trump hasn’t used N-word

By: Associated Press

Washington, D. C., August 14, 2018: White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says she cannot guarantee that President Donald Trump has never used a racial slur. Sanders said, “I haven’t been in every single room,” when asked if she can say with certainty that Trump has never used the N-word, but she added that Trump has been a high-profile businessman for decades and the allegations are only just now being made.

Ex-Trump aide Omarosa Manigault Newman has alleged she has heard Trump on tape using the slur. Trump said Monday on Twitter that he doesn’t “have that word in my vocabulary, and never had.” Sanders says she “can’t guarantee” Trump has never used the word, but calls Manigault Newman’s claims “salacious and ridiculous.” Sanders told reporters that Manigault Newman has “shown a complete lack of integrity” with her criticism of Trump in her new book, adding that Trump’s tweets referring to Manigault Newman as “crazed” and a “dog” reflect his “frustration” with her comments. Manigault Newman has responded that Trump has “absolutely no respect” for women or African-Americans. Sanders says Trump hired Manigault Newman as an assistant to the president because he “wanted to give her a chance.” She was a contestant on his reality show “The Apprentice” and a former campaign aide. Manigault Newman has been releasing audio recordings of private White House conversations as part of her book roll-out tour. She was fired in December. © Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Newswire : Annual NAACP Convention closes with a Call to Vote

By Lauren Poteat (NNPA Newswire Washington Correspondent)

Thousands of people from across the country gathered in San Antonio, Texas for the 109th Annual NAACP Convention. The daring theme of this year’s convention (“Stop Hate, Vote”) was right on target, given that the 2018 midterm elections are just a few months away.

Panels and breakout sessions also focused on social justice and civil rights in the Trump Era, conversations that NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson deemed “highly necessary.” “As we begin to look at the critical landscape—with the increase in intolerance and hatred—we realize that the 2016 elections resulted in a new level of boldness for racists to display their racism,” Johnson said. “The only way to counter that is to vote…Vote on the midterm elections, so that we can hold elected officials accountable and make sure that they implement positive change.” The convention also included a diverse career fair, educational seminars, workshops on public policy, and a special hip-hop summit. Johnson also spoke about the importance of millennials and their community and political engagement. “Millennials should understand that their role in democracy is the same as everyone else’s,” Johnson said. “We are African Americans first and we owe it to our communities to use all of the tools necessary to better impact our society.” Championing this effort, NAACP Chairman Leon W. Russell shared his own ideas during his annual convention address. “In this new era of xenophobia, neo-Nazism, White nationalism, and current efforts to take our nation back to a darker and more dangerous time, I have come to San Antonio, Texas to say to the NAACP and our allies, ‘the time has come to defeat hate.’” Russell continued: “We call on voters, especially millennials of color, to stand against the face of bigotry and divisiveness.” Acknowledging that nearly 63 million Americans voted for the current president and that Black voter turnout declined, Russell still expressed hope for the future. “Our hope is to vote out the hate and we need everyone to vote,” Russell said. The NAACP also honored Willie Brown, San Francisco’s first Black mayor, with the “Spingarn Medal,” the organization’s most prestigious award; the award was in recognition of his years of civil rights work and dedication to the betterment of the Black community. Former President Bill Clinton presented the award to Brown and paid tribute to the civil rights activist. Brown said that the Spingarn Medal represented his dedication to public service and the community. Dozens of millennials attended this year’s convention, much to the pleasure of former NAACP President and current National Newspaper Publishers Association President Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. “The NAACP is just as relevant today as it was 50 years ago,” Dr. Chavis said. “The potential that the organization has with these millennials is even greater. The NAACP literally has the opportunity to embrace these young lives and thus be embraced, to create an even better, bolder organization for the lives of all people.”

Boligee man killed in two vehicle crash on Interstate 59

A two-vehicle crash Thursday, Aug. 9, claimed the life of a Boligee man and injured two others. Eddie Lawson, 64, of Boligee was killed when the 2000 Mitsubishi Montero Sport he was driving was struck by a 2006 Honda Accord driven by Clydarryl Lance Smith, 25, of Eutaw. Lawson, who was not using a seatbelt, was ejected and pronounced dead at the scene. Lawson’s passenger, Cedric Leon Williams, 29, of Boligee and Smith were both injured and transported to DCH Regional Medical Center. The crash occurred at 5:40 a.m. on Interstate 59 near the 60 mile marker, 13 miles south of Tuscaloosa. Nothing further is available as Alabama State Troopers continue to investigate.

Commission acts on bridge replacement, bids and contracts County commission uses work sessions to prepare for official meetings

The agenda for the Greene County Commission’s meeting on Monday, August 13, 2018 was a carry over from the discussions of the work session held Wednesday, August 8. At these work sessions, the commissioners list and discuss pertinent business items from various departments as well as detailed district reports from each commissioner. Oftentimes, presentations are made by representatives from state offices, local municipalities, businesses and the community. These work sessions are open to the public and are scheduled the Wednesday afternoon prior to the second Monday commission meeting. No decisions are made at the work sessions. At the formal commission meeting of the month, the commissioners generally move quickly through the agenda, since they have had prior discussions on the items and are prepared to make decisions. This facilitates a quick and efficient process for the commissioners, but usually leaves the community persons in attendance lacking information and clarity on the particulars of those decisions. This situation perhaps warrants some discussion between commission and community. The Greene County Commission approved the following items at the August 13 meeting. Approved the finance report, budget amendments, and payment of claims as presented by the CFO Paula Bird. * Approved contracts and authorized Chairman Tennyson Smith to sign all necessary documents with Delta Computer Systems; Digital Information System and S&W Software. * Approved agreement with BKI for construction engineering for the bridge replacement on County Road 86, giving the Chairman authorization to sign all necessary documents.* Approved request of Engineer to solicit annual bids, which include such items as stone, gas timber, signs, pipe, asphalt, traffic strip, etc. * Approved submitting a request to the local legislative delegation to enact local legislation that treats the coroner the same as other elected officials of the county. * Approved the replacement of the air condition unit at the Eutaw Activity Center. Tabled authorizing the Chairman and Engineer to take steps to vacate portions off Outland Road. Approved ratifying actions of the Chairman in regards to ATRIP funding for Bridge over Little Buck Creek (County Road 86). Cash in banks as of July18, reported by CFO Paula Bird, was as follows; Citizen Trust Bank -$2,498,752.55; Merchants & Farmers Bank – $4,673,870.14;CD Bonds – $807,582.67; Bank of New York – $919,946.10.

Newswire : Black women NASA pioneers nominated for Congressional Medals

HuffPost BlackVoices

Katherine Johnson, NASA pioneer

The Congressional Gold Medal is considered one of the nation’s highest civilian honors, celebrating individuals and groups who have made invaluable contributions to American history and culture. http://huffp.st/IiVw4TJ.The honor—which is given to trailblazers who have contributed to shaping American history—is one of the most prestigious awards distributed in the U.S., the news outlet writes. The decision to honor the women was made by a group of 44 political leaders including California Senator Kamala Harris, Delaware Senator Chris Coons and Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski. “These women were barrier breakers, and their immeasurable contributions to NASA and our nation have cemented their place in history,” said Harris in a statement, according to the news outlet. “I’m proud to help recognize their achievements as they continue to serve as a beacon for Black women both young and old, across the country.” Senator Coons added that their accomplishments remained hidden for far too long and that it’s not only important for them to be recognized for the indelible mark that they left in the STEM industry, but it’s essential for their stories to be brought to the forefront so they can serve as inspiration for the young women following in their footsteps. Several organizations dedicated to the advancement of women and people of color across different industries backed the bill. The organizations include Girl Scouts of the USA, the United Negro College Fund, the National Association of Mathematicians and others. The honors are continuing to roll in for the trailblazers who broke both gender and racial barriers in STEM. In June, West Virginia State University announced the creation of a bronze statue in Katherine Johnson’s honor as well as the launch of a scholarship fund named after her.

Newswire : Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) and the NNPA call for Congress to address disparities in Federal ad spending

By Stacy M. Brown (NNPA Newswire Contributor

 

Longtime D.C. delegate Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton said that she would work with the NNPA and the NAHP to pressure Congress to demand greater federal adverting spending with minority-owned publishers. This photo was taken during a congressional panel discussion on judicial diversity on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Freddie Allen/AMG/NNPA)

Eleanor Holmes Norton

In a blistering response to a new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that revealed federal agencies spend very little advertising dollars with minority-owned businesses, D.C. Democratic Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton said that she would work with minority publishers to press her colleagues in Congress “to demand greater spending on minority-owned outlets…to reach minority audiences that most traditional outlets do not.” Holmes Norton said that she requested the GAO report to learn more about the disparities in federal advertising contracts. “[The GAO report] showed, as we expected, that the federal government has a long way to go to ensure equal opportunities for minority-owned news outlets,” Holmes Norton said. “As the nation’s largest advertiser, the federal government has an obligation to provide advertising opportunities to news outlets and media companies owned or published by people of color.” The 41-page report issued, last week, revealed that over the past five fiscal years, federal government agencies spent $5 billion in advertising, but just $327 million of that went to minority-owned businesses. Black-owned businesses netted just $51 million—about $10 million per year over the five years covered in the new report. Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., the president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association President (NNPA), thanked Holmes Norton for her support. The NNPA is a trade group that represents more than 200 Black-owned media companies and newspapers that reach 20 million readers, combined, in print and online, every week. More than two years ago, Holmes Norton joined members of the NNPA and the National Association of Hispanic Publications (NAHP) for a press conference on Capitol Hill, to demand the report, which was issued last week. Dorothy Leavell, the chairman of the NNPA and publisher of the Crusader newspapers in Chicago and Gary, Ind., called the results of the report shameful. Leavell added that she would call for legislation to address the disparities; she also said that she plans on requesting meetings with members of Congress to further explore the matter. In an interview, last week, Dr. Chavis called on Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chairman Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus “to forcefully raise their voices of discontent and reaffirmation of the demands for equity, for justice, for fairness and end to this kind of systemic refusal to treat African American-owned and Latino-owned businesses along with others in a just, fair and equitable manner.” Dr. Chavis added that the report exposed the consequences of systemic racial discrimination in both Republican and Democratic administrations when it comes to federal advertising spending. Dr. Chavis continued: “It’s time for all of us to respond and to act. There should be legislation introduced in Congress immediately to rectify this gross systemic inequity This article was originally published at BlackPressUSA.com.

Newswire : Deadline nears for public comment on 2020 Census controversies

By Khalil Abdullah

Before the public comment period on the 2020 Census closes at 11:59 pm on August 7, civil rights organizations continue to amplify the clarion call to Americans to denounce the inclusion of a “citizenship question” on the final census form – a question as to whether respondents are U.S. citizens.

Jeri Green, Senior Advisor for the 2020 Census, National Urban League (NUL), said the citizenship question was “untested, unjust, and unconstitutional,” and should be opposed by all Americans. Conducted every 10 years, the constitutionally mandated census is “the nation’s largest and complex peacetime activity,” explained Terri Ann Lowenthal, former Staff Director of the House Census and Population Subcommittee, and currently Policy Advisor, Leadership Conference Education Fund (LCEF). For example, Green, a former Census Bureau employee, contends that the Census Bureau’s typical “what’s in it for you?” messaging to the Black community must change. “A different narrative is needed to motivate the Black population to participate in the 2020 Census.” Green said The National Urban League, in concert with other organizations, is “developing strategies to ensure that African Americans understand that political power and representation are at stake, and that we cannot afford to lose an inch of political ground by ignoring the Census.” She reminded attendant media that “Black America” comprises immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean, as well as those African Americans who, with predictable regularity, are still undercounted and have been so since the first 1790 census. Panelists repeatedly emphasized the importance of the Census Bureau getting the count right because mistakes have monetary and social repercussions lasting through the decade and beyond. The estimated annual $600 to $675 billion draw-down of federal funds, based on and allocated to states, counties, and cities using census data, would expand to over six trillion dollars until next decennial count in 2030. More difficult to quantify and qualify over that span is the impact of the loss of a family’s home, food insecurity, or lack of access to medical care. Yes, Green said, African Americans, as do many Americans across ethnic lines, benefit from federally programs based on Census data, among them the Medical Assistance Program (Medicaid); Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); Health Center Programs (Community, Migrant, Homeless, Public Housing); and Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP). “But for many African Americans residing in urban communities,” she argued, “state and local funding has become a one-way ticket out of their communities, out of affordable housing, and out of health-care coverage — bye-bye Obama Care.” With the near universal specter of urban gentrification across America in mind, Green said, “The neighborhood school funded by state and local funding 10 years ago, has been razed and a new multi-million-dollar condominium complex sits in its place today. Simply put, many African Americans are not better off than they were 10 years ago. “But, wherever you might live — even if displaced, federal funding allocations, based on Census data, still support services vital to our communities, and well-being.” One of the NUL’s concerns about the 2020 Census is the practice of prison-based gerrymandering. Prisoners are still to be counted as residents of the communities where they are incarcerated rather than as members of communities where they live, this despite an outpouring of public comment for the Census Bureau to end the practice. Green said NUL president, Marc Morial, considers this type of gerrymandering predatory because the per capita funds that should follow each prisoner into his or her community – revenue that would benefit the hospitals, housing, schools, and transportation infrastructure therein — is being diverted. In his view, African-American communities are continuously and unjustly losing to others revenue that should rightly be theirs. However, loss or diversion of funding is but one consequence of an undercount. John C. Yang, president and executive director of the Asian Americans Advancing Justice reiterated that census data are the basis for drawing congressional districts. Less well known, he explained, that data also trigger a provision of the Voting Rights Act. Census data are the driving factors in determining when ballots are required to be printed in an additional language, based upon the percentage of an ethnic group’s population who do not speak English as their primary language. It was Census data in 2010, for example, that recorded the growth of the Chinese American population in Harris County, Texas, the home of Houston. Thus, for the first time in that jurisdiction – and mandated by law — election materials and ballots also were printed in Chinese. Education and ballot access likely will continue to be a core issue for newly minted Asian Americans. Yang said that, due to recent immigration, “one in four Asian Americans have never participated in the census” and that when all the ethnic groups comprising the Asian American community are totaled, “60 percent are immigrants.” Initiatives that depress Census participation – like the citizenship question — could negatively affect the future political voice of Asian Americans. Taking umbrage and aim at the intention of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to include the citizenship question on the Census form, Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of LCEF, called the Ross initiative misguided and politically motivated. Comments and e-mail exchanges between and among administration officials are being made public due to Freedom of Information Act requests. Those materials are bearing out her assertions, according a judge who is ruling in one of the raft of law of lawsuits challenging Secretary Ross’s goal. Panelists ceded that some issues plaguing the 2020 count are not of Census Bureau’s own making, including leadership vacancies as a result the administration’s inaction, or the chronic shortfall in funding. Gupta said determining funding levels for the census will be a leading issue for Congress in its upcoming calendar. But the addition of the question in the current political environment — one highly charged with acrimonious debate — would subvert the objective of the census itself, which is to count all persons living on U.S. soil, not just citizens. Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund believes that there is already evidence that it will depress the response rates from the Latino community. Immigrants, though “legal” or documented, often have relatives or acquaintances who share “mixed status” households. , Thus, whether one’s personal immigrant status is secure, others within the same familial or social orbit – whose status may be unresolved – might well decline to respond, fearing deportation or possible incarceration. Among Asian Americans, residual paranoia about responding to the census is more than partly due to the indelible memory of the U.S government’s use of census data to identify and imprison Americans of Japanese ancestry during World War II. Yang, though convinced there now are “much stronger privacy laws in place” to sufficiently protect the confidentiality of census data, also opposes adding the citizenship question. Lowenthal and Vargas stressed that the public should and can weigh in, before August 7, on any proposed census methodology. Such concerns might include the robustness of cybersecurity protections, or the Bureau’s over-reliance on Internet responses as opposed to increasing the number of door-to-door enumerators, particularly to cover rural areas and other hard to count communities. “Time is of the essence,” said Gupta. Lowenthal said that public comments have carried weight with the Census Bureau’s professional staff. She cited past examples, such as the revision of racial categories to provide more options for the increasingly ethnically diverse American demographic. But apparently, the weight thus far on behalf of ending prison-based gerrymandering has been insufficient. Green said Morial and the NUL will continue to fight on numerous fronts. Public comments should be submitted to: www.censuscounts.org.

Newswire : Michelle Obama joins voter registration drive for the midterms

By Lauren Victoria Burke (NNPA Newswire Contributor)

 

Former First Lady Michelle Obama has joined a number of actors, musicians and professional athletes to encourage people to register and vote. In this photo, First Lady Michelle Obama thanks U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) employees for their service and dedication at the Jefferson Auditorium, USDA on Friday, May 3, 2013. (Bob Nichols/USDA/Wikimedia Commons)

Michelle Obama Former First Lady Michelle Obama is featured in a video along with celebrities Tom Hanks, Janelle Monáe, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw and Lin-Manuel Miranda to encourage people to register and vote.

In less than 100 days, the midterm elections that will either expand President Trump’s power or greatly restrict it, will take place on November 6. There has been much talk about the likelihood of a “blue wave” that could give Democrats the gavel and investigative power in Congress over the next two years of Trump’s presidency. The underlying urgency of Michelle Obama’s message is an unspoken aspect of her new registration effort. The name of the new effort, “When We All Vote,” is also an indication that the former first lady is well aware of the fact that higher voter turnout usually leads to Democratic victories at the polls. The effort is also a challenge registered voters to participate in elections “both big and small.” Though the effort is billed as “non-partisan,” the sense of urgency about the country’s direction under President Trump’s leadership is an unavoidable backdrop. Several live events are also expected as part of the effort between now and election day. Former President Barack Obama is expected to hit the campaign trail to assist Democrats who are looking to take back the House and Senate in 2019. On July 31, the former President announced that he is endorsing 81 Democratic candidates on the ballot this November. There is a record number of women on the ballot this year. Many of the endorsements former President Obama has focused on were candidates who worked in his administration, like Colin Allred, Lauren Underwood and Richard Cordray. The Obamas have been relatively quiet since departing the White House in early 2017, but that is likely to change. The former president and the former first lady’s launch of “When We All Vote” is likely to be only the first of several post White House efforts they will participate in. “I’m confident that, together, they’ll strengthen this country we love by restoring opportunity that’s broadly shared, repairing our alliances and standing in the world, and upholding our fundamental commitment to justice, fairness, responsibility, and the rule of law,” Obama wrote in his endorsement statement.