Democracy in Color's Steve Phillips Shares His Perspective on Midterm Elections
There was an extraordinary turnout of people rallying for "the defender of white supremacy in the White House," said Phillips.
By Keka Araujo and Sheryl Estrada
There's a multicultural progressive New American Majority that made its voice heard in Tuesday's midterm elections, according to Steve Phillips, a national political leader and civil rights lawyer.
Phillips, author of New York Times bestselling book, Brown Is The New White, and founder of Democracy in Color, offered a virtual play-by-play via Facebook Live as election results unfolded.
"Tonight was the first step in taking back our country," he said. "It was not all the way. There are a number of things that we've not yet gotten in terms of being able to get there."
Democrats secured 218 seats in midterms to win control of the House. Yet, Democrats lost key states, including Florida and Texas. And the GOP retains Senate majority.
Phillips said Democrats taking back the house will help in the fight for democracy, "and, frankly, the future of this country, if not the world."
"The path of destruction the man in the White House was on, was bad enough," Phillips began. "But what was almost worse was the complicity of Congress in terms of there being no accountability, just letting him do whatever."
He said we are seeing how fascism "unfolds step by step."
"[Trump] just kept doing more and more and no one was saying anything," Phillips said. "So really, for the health of democracy, and the future of the country, it was so imperative that we take back the House."
One of his most intriguing statements was the admission that progressive whites, Blacks and other critical voters for Democrats were doing their part to get the numbers in favor of their candidate, but ultra-conservatives were voting in droves because they have their own racist representatives who think like they do.
"There was an extraordinary turnout of people rallying to the defense of the defender of white supremacy in the White House," Phillips said. "I really, deeply, believe that the intensity of the reaction that we're facing is because these people are fearful about the changes in the country."
He said their vote was "their best chance to hold back the demographic revolution that brings about a much more just and equal society."
Phillips also said Florida's gubernatorial election voter numbers rivaled Barack Obama's presidential election numbers.
"The number of votes Andrew Gillum got today would have elected any Democratic nominee for governor of Florida in any prior time in the history of the United States of America," Phillips said.
Andrew Gillum conceded the race against Republican candidate Ron DeSantis at around 11 p.m. Phillips said the election results were "disappointing," but a sign of the times.
"What this shows is the level of veracity and the intensity of the fight that we are engaged in," he said.
He reminded viewers that this election was crucial because clearly progressives are ready to take back their voices and fight for justice, equality and liberty for all Americans, without all of the racist rhetoric that's been behind Republican candidates and President Trump.
Phillips said that the historic wins by an unprecedented number of women and people of color running for Congress was fueled by grassroots organizing.
"Thousands of organizers and activists, volunteers and new voters in Florida, Georgia, Arizona and Texas are not going away," he said. "Tomorrow begins the 2020 presidential campaign."
The video can be viewed below:
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"This is not a speech of concession," Abrams said, in a press conference.
Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams acknowledged on Friday that Republican candidate Brian Kemp will be declared governor of Georgia, but she will not officially concede the election.
"I think, at this point, everybody's qualified and everyone should run," Obama said, in jest. "I might even tap Sasha!"
We've never had a POTUS and FLOTUS like the Obama's before, and we've never had a Trump before. Two very different presidencies, one wrought with bigotry, racism and rampant white supremacy, and scandal, the other full of hope, unity and service. Former FLOTUS Michelle Obama says we need to pay attention to who is qualified in the next presidential election.
"I implored people to focus and think about what it takes to be commander-in-chief," Obama told Robin Roberts in a "20/20" interview, in reference to women electing a misogynist in 2016 instead of a qualified female candidate.
She expressed the importance of voting, but went beyond that to describe the kind of person qualified to run this country.
"The commander in chief needs to have discipline, and read, and be knowledgeable. You need to know history, you need to be careful with your words," she said.
"I'm going to be looking to see who handles themselves and each other with dignity and respect so that by the time people get to the general (election), people aren't beat up and battered," the former first lady, who said she will not run for president, stressed.
"I think this (Democratic nomination) is open to any and everybody who has the courage to step up and serve."
She even joked that at this point, anyone is qualified to run for president —even her daughter.
"I think, at this point, everybody's qualified and everyone should run," she said on Good Morning America "I might even tap (her younger daughter) Sasha!"
.@MichelleObama on whether Hillary Clinton should run for president in 2020: "I think at this point everybody is qualified and everybody should run. I might even tap Sasha!" https://t.co/E6lGKfK6oR pic.twitter.com/Axrvs7SDZQ
— Good Morning America (@GMA) November 13, 2018
Obama and her husband were about service before, during and after the presidency.
Candidates like Trump, drunk with power, have a past, present, and future that mirror that intoxication.
Coming off midterms there are questions about what to do next — investigations of Trump, what lessons did we learn articles, predictions of the 2020 election, but getting back to what a leader, a public servant of this country is supposed to do — lead by serving its people — is a message that voters can review candidate criteria with.
"It's amazing to me that we still have to tell people about the importance of voting," she said. "People have to be educated, they have to be focused on the issues and they have to go to the polls if they want their politics to reflect their values."
Obama explained, "Where I'm at right now is that we should see anybody who feels the passion to get in this race, we need them in there. Let's see who wants to roll up their sleeves and get in the race. That's what the primary process is for."
In looking at Trump's record, most of his decisions have been made to serve himself. His record of cheating employees out of money, not paying taxes, discriminating against Blacks in terms of who could claim residency in his buildings, misogynistic comments, scandals around payoffs for affairs — none of it shows signs of service.
Obama writes in her new memoir "Becoming" how Trump's division and bigoted messaging tactics to garner a movement to propel his campaign impacted her own family's safety:
"The whole [birther] thing was crazy and mean-spirited, of course, its underlying bigotry and xenophobia hardly concealed. But it was also dangerous, deliberately meant to stir up the wingnuts and kooks."
In current times, his decisions in the White House usually involve a lot of divisive words to spark attention from white supremacists, "look what I did" moments on twitter for validation, and little about what the country needs, but instead what the country should be afraid of.
And that is not why you get the job in the first place.
"Black people have always been underestimated. The Black college experience is still an exceptional way to train young people," said Senator Art Haywood, a Morehouse Graduate.
What Kamala Harris, Alma Adams, Andrew Gillum and Stacey Abrams all have in common, in addition to being influential in U.S. politics, is they're graduates of Historically Black Colleges and Universities ( HBCUs) — Howard University, North Carolina A&T, Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, and Spelman College.
Approximately 40 percent of the members of Congress are HBCU graduates, according to the Network Journal, a Black professional and small business magazine. And recipients of The United Negro College Fund and Thurgood Marshall Foundation scholarships graduate from college at rates well above the national average.
"We're producing outstanding leaders in all of the major professions," said Harry L. Williams, president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and former Delaware State president.
"Anytime you can look at (HBCU) success stories, it just enhances their relevancy and continues to move them forward in a positive way."
This year, a record 38 women of color were elected to Congress. Many of them are HBCU graduates.
The prospect of so many Black-college graduates being elected to statewide office in the same year is unprecedented, Keneshia Grant, an assistant professor of political science at Howard University, said.
And they are touting their HBCU training. Abrams expressed her disapproval of legislation plans for education that did not include those institutions.
As a Spelman alumna, I share the concern raised by @RepRichmond. HBCUs are vital for economic independence. https://t.co/C5DtYKPukP
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) February 16, 2016
Gillum responded to President Trump's tweet attacking him about his lack of Ivy League education:
Mr. @realDonaldTrump, I am a graduate of THE Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University (FAMU) — an HBCU founded on October 3, 1887. Google it. 🐍 https://t.co/I8uOokptJA
— Andrew Gillum (@AndrewGillum) October 30, 2018
Art Haywood is one of four Black state senators in Pennsylvania, and one of two from Morehouse.
"If the two Black state senators had come from Harvard or Yale, then those schools would get all the credit," Haywood said.
"Black people have always been underestimated," Haywood said. "I don't think there's any more validation required. The Black college experience is still an exceptional way to train young people."
Of politicians like Abrams and Gillum, the president of HBCU Dillard University Walter Kimbrough said they are sending a message: "It's a reaffirmation, not only for students but for families, that you can go to an HBCU and compete with anyone."
Approximately 13 percent of HBCU graduates are CEOS, 40 percent are engineers and 50 percent are professors at non-HBCUs, according to the Network Journal.
The HBCUs Make America Strong: The Positive Economic Impact of Historically Black Colleges and Universities study shows how the United States economy benefits from HBCUs: $14.8 billion in economic impact. In addition, graduates predominantly come from low-income areas, giving them and the communities the opportunity to break cycles of poverty and open doors to successful and lucrative careers. Individual graduates can earn $927,000 within their lifetime, $130 billion collectively over their lifetime.
"Florida law requires an automatic machine recount in any race where the margin of victory is within one half of one percentage point."
"The American public was more likely to elect a person of color to the House than House members were to hire top staff of color," according to a Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies report.
As a result of Tuesday's midterm elections, Democrats have won a majority in the House of Representatives, and Republicans will remain in control of the Senate, but Congress, as a whole, needs to make diversity a priority when it comes to hiring top staff members.
Just days before Georgia voters decide the next governor, the Republican candidate accuses Democrats of an alleged hack on voter registration, but he has no evidence.
Brian Kemp is blaming Democrats for a failed attempt to hack Georgia voter registration. And Democratic Party officials are calling Kemp's claims yet another underhanded attempt to win the gubernatorial election on Tuesday.
"My mentors believed in me and taught me the power of perseverance," Jordan said.
NBA legend Michael Jordan believes so much in the power of mentorship that he has made a multimillion-dollar donation to a national nonprofit whose mission is to "break the cycle of generational poverty."
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Tribes in North Dakota to provide free identification with street addresses to its members for voting.
When the Supreme Court supported laws in North Dakota that require IDs must display a "current residential street address," about 70,000 Native American voices that could've been silenced.
But The Turtle Mountain Chippewa, Standing Rock Sioux, Spirit Lake Sioux and Three Affiliated Tribes in North Dakota all have helped provide free IDs with street address to tribal members who live on reservations. As over Tuesday, over 2,000 IDs have been provided, and the programs will continue to provide IDs through election day.