Stacey Abrams Wants You In The Census Fight With Her

Stacey Abrams is fighting for her vision of an equitable America — and it starts with making sure the youngest among us are seen by those in power.

The former Georgia state representative, who gained national prominence when she ran for governor in 2018, knows firsthand how voter access can impact a race. After she narrowly lost, her opponent, Brian Kemp, faced accusations of voter suppression, a practice that historically targets minority voters. (Kemp, who served as Secretary of State during the race, denied the claims.) Abrams’s supporters contend that she was robbed of the gubernatorial seat, which would have made her the first Black woman to serve as governor in United States history.

In the wake of her loss, Abrams founded a few organizations committed to fighting for a fair and representative democracy. Among them is Fair Count, an organization working to empower hard-to-count populations, including young people and people of color, to fill out the 2020 census. That matters because the census happens once every 10 years — and the U.S. government’s attempt to count everyone in the country, no matter their age, immigration status, or identity, helps determine the amount of funding to allot each region over the next decade. Census data is also used to divide up seats in Congress and votes in the Electoral College, which can sustain far-reaching effects on elections.

The census’s timing could not be more paramount, given that the current coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the already-critical need to address the climate crisis, the U.S. health care system, and other urgent issues which the census’s findings can influence. During a recent Skype discussion, Abrams talked to MTV News about how the 2020 census could change young people’s lives, from the fight to eradicate gerrymandering to providing solutions for overcrowded classrooms and more.

MTV News: You’ve been known for your work in advocating for voter access, especially in Georgia. So what does the census have to do with voting rights?

Stacey Abrams: I started Fair Count around the same time I started Fair Fight. I conceived of it right after the 2018 election because not getting the job of governor did not exempt me from the work that I thought I was responsible for: Protecting our people and making sure as many people can participate as possible. We know about going to vote, but how we vote and the options we have are determined by the census every 10 years.

The census does two really critical things: One, it allocates $1.5 trillion that is used to pay for things like beds in hospitals or school lunches or Pell grants. But the other thing it does is it reapportions how many congressional leaders each state has and it draws the political lines that let us get to decide who our leaders are. The problem is, if we don’t have an accurate census, [then] some of us never get a real choice because they don’t draw the lines to include us.

MTV News: What are some programs the census funds that would affect young people the most?

Abrams: Let’s start with Head Start. For a lot of communities, Head Start is not only education, it’s daycare. And the number of kids that are going to be in Head Start are determined by the number of babies being born right now.

And if you don’t want your youth in an overcrowded classroom — and a lot of us went to school with overcrowded classrooms or in trailers — they start counting how many kids are going to be in classrooms in 20, 30 years by looking at the numbers they have in 2020. So if you don’t get counted, you’re gonna be in overcrowded classrooms for the next 10 years.

And then when you get ready to go to college, assuming you got a good education, the Pell grants — money that helps you pay for college — are determined by the census. They allocate the funds by how many young people are likely to go. Decisions that you may think about today will be decided for you. Say you have an 8-year-old brother or sister. In 2020, the government is going to count how many 8-year-olds there are. So by 2030, they will have already decided how much money will be available when that child gets ready to go to college.

MTV News: Speaking of Pell grants, we know college students are among the most likely to be undercounted. How do you think the current coronavirus pandemic might affect what’s going to happen?

Abrams: Now, here’s the reality: The official responsibility is that your college should count you where you are. But it’s estimated that only about 60 percent of colleges actually do it. At the same time, your parents are told not to count you at home. So if your college doesn’t count and you and your parents don’t count you, you’re invisible. That means you don’t get the Pell grant money you need. You don’t get access to the services you might need if you need help with housing — and housing dollars come from the census. So if you have to live off campus, the census helps to decide how much housing is available.

So here’s what I say: If you’re in a household where you live with your parents, have them count you. If you happen to be double-counted, the census has a process to delete duplicates. They can get rid of one of the numbers — but it’s much easier to get rid of something than it is to add something. Because once the census is done, it is done. There is no do-over.

MTV News: Fair Count is doing a lot to make sure that people without access to the internet or computers can complete the census, as this is the first time that the census is being conducted online. How is the strategy changing now that so many people are advised not to go out in public? 

Abrams: We’re using a lot of social distancing, but we still are encouraging people who need access to go online to use it. There are call centers that are available so you can call to fill out the census. The problem is people aren’t necessarily staffing the call centers because call centers tend to be packed pretty tightly. So [in places where] we’ve put the internet in place, we’re encouraging the people in charge of those community spaces to be very careful about who they encourage to come in and to use social distancing where they have to.

But that’s why we’re so eager to get as many people as possible to fill it out as early as they can. The more people we can get to do it now, that gives us more opportunity to reach out to the people who don’t get it done as we move forward.

MTV News: What would you want to see the federal government doing differently right now in regard to the census?

Abrams: I think that we have seen more advertisements about it. But what I need people to understand — and what I wish the federal government was explaining — is that there is no do-over. Even though COVID-19 is a pandemic that is forcing people to change their behaviors, the Constitution doesn’t change and the Constitution says it has to be done this year.

Now, what the federal government needs to do is make sure they lengthen the amount of time for responses. Typically, they’re done counting by August. We know that’s not going to be possible. And so our hope is going to be that they take as long as they need to make sure everyone gets counted.

That’s why young people are so critical, because — [for] your grandparents, those family members, or those neighbors who are afraid to fill out the census — young people can be the voice of reason but also the voice of really good information. We need folks to know that the federal government can’t use this information against you. They’re not going to send ICE to your homes because you fill out the census. If you have a warrant, they are not going to use the census to come and find you. If you have a utility bill or phone, they already know where you are. Fill out the census so you can get the money. And we need the federal government to remind people that it’s safe to fill out the census.

I know there’s a lot of cynicism and people don’t necessarily trust what’s happening and that we have a federal government that doesn’t always seem to be doing what it should. But we’ve been doing the census since 1790. That’s the one thing we do right. And so I want everyone to participate because it’s going to predict our futures, especially for people of color and for young people for the next decade.

MTV News: What can young people do to encourage people who normally mistrust the census to take it? 

Abrams: One: tell them it’s safe. As I said, if you have a phone or electric bill, they already know how to find you. [The census] just means they can confirm where you live, and the confirmation is important because it means the money comes to your communities. That’s why we need to know exactly where you are.

Number two: The information is confidential for 72 years. I’m 46, and I’m still too young to see a census with my name in it. And it is against the law. You would spend five years in prison, plus have a $250,000 fine for breaking the law, for every single count. So there’s never been a person who has taken information from the census.

Number three: There is no citizenship question. They cannot use it to terrify immigrants or families that have immigrants and immigration issues. So it’s absolutely safe. What’s not safe is not responding.

This is the most diverse census in American history and the youngest census in American history. Those are two populations that will take power away from some people who want that power. Now, this is not a partisan issue. But if you want your life to be determined by who you are and by what you need and not by people who are trying to erase you, the most dangerous thing to do is to not fill out the census.

MTV News: One of the most important issues for young people right now is the climate crisis. How does the census affect climate policy? 

Abrams: Three things. One: If you want elected leaders who actually believe in climate change, the census draws the political lines for a decade. So if you thought the last 10 years of people in charge were bad, this is your only chance to change the lines because what they did was draw the lines. That’s gerrymandering, when you draw the line so politicians get to pick the voters they want. But if we fill out the census, the new lines will actually let voters pick the politicians we want. And if you want to see climate change action, you have to have leaders who believe.

Number two: We have to remember that the climate change response isn’t simply what’s happening with the president or the Congress, although we need both to do the right thing. It’s also who’s in charge of your city council. Are they passing water laws that make sense? Who’s in your state legislature? Are they allowing fracking or putting real controls on where coal ash goes? All of those decisions get made at the state and the local level and redistricting from the census affects every level of government. It’s not just the federal government. So it’s 10 years not only in the Congress — it’s 10 years for everything.

And number three: The money to pay for the response, the money to pay for putting out fires, for dealing with coal ash, over ensuring that environmental justice advocacy can happen — all of those dollars are allocated by the census. So if you live in a community that’s affected by climate action or by inaction, if you live in one of those communities and you don’t fill out the census when the money becomes available to respond, it won’t come to you.

MTV News: If you do end up campaigning as vice president on a presidential ticket, what would your top platforms be — especially pertaining to young people?

Abrams: Well, my responsibility, if I were so privileged, is to work with the platform of the nominee. But here’s the thing: We don’t have a nominee who doesn’t understand what’s at stake. We need to invest in education from cradle to career. We need climate action now. We cannot wait. And we need justice — and that means criminal justice reform. But it also means justice for communities that are often left out. So immigration, justice, making sure that no matter who you are, if you’re in America, that we treat you with respect and dignity. And that’s what I’m going to talk about because I believe it. It’s what I fought for here in Georgia. It’s what I want to fight for, for America.

This interview has been edited for length.

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The Senate's New Coronavirus Bill Will Extend Student Debt Relief Until September

After days of deliberations and one stalled vote, the United States Senate passed a stimulus plan that will aim to support the American economy as it weathers the spread of the novel coronavirus, and the social distancing and self-isolation techniques that entire states have put into place in an effort to slow contagion rates. At $2 trillion, it’s more than double the $831 billion stimulus bill which the Obama administration passed in 2009 and dwarfs the multiple efforts made by the Bush administration after 9/11 and the housing crisis and subsequent market collapse of 2008.

While Trump is already touting the sheer size of this bill, it’s worth keeping in mind that this pandemic is an unprecedented crisis: The problem is bigger, so the response will naturally need to be bigger, too. At least 3 million people filed unemployment claims the week of March 16, which the New York Times points out is the biggest number of new claims the country has seen in modern history. (The last record was 695,000 new claims in a single week in October 1982, at the tail end of the 1981-1982 recession.) It’s unclear how that number will change in the coming weeks, not least of all because plenty of people are experiencing issues connecting with their state’s unemployment office. That data may not reflect people who are self-employed and have had clients or gigs canceled, or who are still employed part-time and have seen a reduction in working hours or pay. According to a poll from student advocacy group Rise, 52 percent of college-aged respondents said their work had been impacted as a result of the pandemic.

That’s why the Senate bill, called the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, allocates around $250 billion to distribute one-time checks to American adults and their children, with some provisions. The checks will cap at $1,200 and will be based on the most recent tax filings: Those who make up to $75,000 as a single person qualify for the full amount, while couples who make up to $150,000 will qualify for $2,400 total. Households with children will receive an additional $500 per child.

But that one-time check likely won’t go far for a lot of people, who are worried about being out of work for the foreseeable future. To that effect, the Senate bill will provide an additional $600 a week for people who have qualified for unemployment, for up to four months. Those benefits will extend to self-employed and part-time workers, which typically doesn’t happen, as well as gig workers and furloughed workers. Those funds are on top of whatever unemployment assistance is provided for by the state; if you have been impacted by a recent COVID-19 related layoff, you can click here for help on how to apply for benefits.

The bill also sets aside money for emergency financial aid to both colleges and students, who will receive at least half of the funds provided to their institutions. The bill mandates that institutions use “no less 15 than 50 percent of such funds to provide emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus (including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care).”

This comes after many schools mandated that students move out of their dorms for the remainder of the semester, sometimes without providing adequate messaging or support to international students or those without the immediate means to secure their way home. An estimated 18 percent of students nationwide do not have reliable internet or computer access at home, and one in three students told Rise they now lack access to a reliable source for healthy food.

While the bill will allow for up to six months’ deferment on federal student loan payments, it does not provide widescale student debt relief. Unlike the previous promise by the Department of Education, these federal loan deferments should kick in automatically, and last until September 30. The bill also stipulates that interest will not accrue during this six-month period.

The House of Representatives has yet to vote on the bill; they are set to cast votes on Friday (March 27). If the CARES Act passes, it will take at least a few weeks for checks and other relief to start rolling out to people. But a new month is fast approaching, and plenty of people are worried about paying rent on April 1. (Only one in three young people own their homes; the vast majority of people aged 25-30 rent.) Curbed notes that a number of cities have issued eviction moratoriums, but not outright forgiveness, which means that renters may be at risk of eviction when the grace period is up. As a result, people are lobbying their state lawmakers to pass more comprehensive legislation, and also rallying together to create mutual aid funds to help those in need.

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As Coronavirus Spreads, Liberty University Opens Back Up

School is back in session for students at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, despite Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requesting that everyone practice social distancing if they can in an effort to slow the rapid spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. announced Monday (March 23) that students should return to campus but continue classes online for the rest of the semester, since the state of Virginia has a ban on gatherings of 10 or more people. The campus’s academic buildings, library, and gym will all remain open, and students have been told to go back to their dorms. Professors are expected to hold office hours on campus. As of Tuesday, about 1,900 students were back on campus, a university spokesperson told Lynchburg’s News and Advance.

“I think we have a responsibility to our students — who paid to be here, who want to be here, who love it here — to give them the ability to be with their friends, to continue their studies, enjoy the room and board they’ve already paid for and to not interrupt their college life,” Falwell Jr. told the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

This comes just days after Virginia Governor Ralph Northam ordered all K-12 schools in the state to close throughout the entire academic year. Most of the universities in the United States are closed and remaining closed until the pandemic slows.

“We could not be more disappointed in the action that Jerry took in telling students they could come back and take their online classes on campus,” Lynchburg City Manager Bonnie Svrcek told The Associated Press. Doctors and public health experts seem to agree with Svrcek, telling the Daily Beast that the decision to reopen the school is “nuts” and “utterly irresponsible.”

“If Liberty University reopens, people will die,” Max Cooper, an emergency-room doctor at Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Pennsylvania who served in the United States Navy and is now leading his area’s Emergency COVID-19 Task Force, told the Daily Beast. “To say nothing of the many educators and university support staff whose age and mortality likely skews older and higher. It’s imperative that Liberty and other universities stay closed.”

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How To Get Your Student Loans Deferred For 60 Days As Coronavirus Relief

In response to the ongoing economic repercussions stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump announced on Friday (March 20) that the Department of Education will allow any person with student loan debt to take a 60-day break (at least) from making their monthly payments — without any interest or penalties.

“Probably a lot of students will be extremely happy, some probably not,” Trump said. “The ones that work hard, maybe not, but it’s one of those things. Very unfortunate circumstances.”

In a press release, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos called the measure a response to “anxious times, particularly for students and families whose educations, careers, and lives have been disrupted. Right now, everyone should be focused on staying safe and healthy, not worrying about their student loan balance growing. I commend President Trump for his quick action on this issue, and I hope it provides meaningful help and peace of mind to those in need.”

Currently, Americans collectively hold $1.56 trillion in student loan debt. Interest rates on all federally held student loans will dip down to zero until at least May 12, according to Politico. This comes one week after Trump declared a national emergency and said the government would wave interest in all student loans held by federal agencies for the time being.

But you don’t automatically get the 60-day suspension: First, you’ll need to make a request to your loan servicers on the phone or online. However, if you’re already a month or more behind on your payments, the administration will automatically give you a 60-day reprieve.

“Some borrowers may want to continue making payments, like those seeking Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) or those enrolled in a repayment plan with a manageable monthly payment,” the statement from the education department read. “The Department will work closely with Congress to ensure all student borrowers, including those in income-driven repayment plans, receive needed support during this emergency.”

MTV News has reached out to the Department of Education for guidance on what borrowers should do if they are not able to contact their servicer. When one staffer tried to call his loan provider, he went through several menus only to be met with an automatic recording: The office was closed to mitigate the threat of COVID-19.

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Everything You Need To Know About Shelter In Place Orders

On Monday (March 16) everyone in San Francisco and five other counties in California’s Bay Area were ordered to “shelter in place,” a similar tactic to the lockdown measures taken in places like Italy, Spain, France, China, and Prague to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. And in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the 8.6 million people who live there may soon be required to adhere to the mitigation strategy. But just as soon as those directives hit the internet, so did plenty of questions: What does it mean to shelter in place? And how drastic is it?

A shelter-in-place order can sound scary because it’s a term that’s used by officials in times of emergency and disaster. But don’t panic: While sheltering in place may differ depending on your location and the specific regulations put forth by local leadership, it’s likely not all that different from the social distancing you’re already practicing.

What does it mean to “shelter in place?”

Sheltering in place is basically a governmental order to stay in your home and not leave unless it’s necessary. According to a FAQ released by the Santa Clara County Public Health Department, the intent of the order is to “ensure that people remain in their residences and minimize social interactions outside of their immediate family unit.” Basically, sheltering in place is an opportunity for you to hunker down, really get to know your roommates, and pick up an at-home hobby. You can keep living your life, but you will limit your interaction with anyone and anything outside of your home.

What is the difference between “sheltering in place” and “social distancing?”

Sheltering in place is basically just a more rigorous version of social distancing, according to the Santa Clara County Public Health Department. You’ll still want to maintain the principles of social distancing, like staying 6 feet away from everyone else and washing your hands often, but you’ll now only leave your home for absolutely necessary activities, and you can’t participate in any gatherings.

Can I leave my home at all?

Yes! You can go grocery shopping, pick up your mail, and walk your dog. According to the Santa Clara County Public Health Department, you can leave your home to do anything outdoors that doesn’t involve any close contact with other people: So go for that run, but don’t hang out at your buddy’s house after.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health made this easy by listing out five “essential activities” that residents can do while they’re sheltering in place unless they are already sick, in which case they’ll need to stay home to avoid spreading the virus. These five exceptions include: taking care of your own wellbeing (go pick up that medicine); obtaining supplies or delivering supplies to others (go grocery shopping if you need to); working out, as long as you stay 6 feet away from everyone else; taking care of your animals (like taking your dog for a walk); or going to work at an essential business, like as a medical professional.

Do I need to stock up on food and medicine?

While it’s always a good idea to have the food and medicine you need, essential retailers like pharmacies and grocery stores will still be open — so there’s no need to buy all the toilet paper. (Seriously: Doctors don’t know why you’re doing that, either.) That said, you’ll want to limit your exposure outside, so if you do go to the grocery store, make sure you’re productive and get everything you need for as long as you can.

What other places will be open?

Hospitals, grocery stores, farmers’ markets, food banks, convenience stores, pharmacies, gas stations, banks, garbage collections, hardware stores, and laundromats will all be open, among others, according to CNN. That means you can access pretty much everything you’ll need.

What if I don’t follow the rules?

As is the case with most governmental orders, if you don’t follow the rules, you’ll likely face some consequences. In the Bay Areas, that’s a misdemeanor, USA Today reported. It’s up to your specific state or city to give you guidance for the kind of trouble you’ll get in if you don’t abide by the regulations. Perhaps worse than legal trouble, though, you’ll be putting your neighbors at risk. So if this guideline is put into place in your community, do your best to follow along.

You can help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Not everyone has the option to stay at home, but if you can, you should! Social distancing is the new normal, and we’re here to help.

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Ariana Grande On Social Distancing: 'Your Hip Hop Yoga Class Can F-ing Wait'

Nothing but respect for my president, Ariana Grande, who on Sunday (March 15) urged fans to practice social distancing in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

“I keep hearing from a surprising amount of people statements like ‘this isn’t a big deal,’ we’ll be fine,’ ‘we still have to go about our lives, and it’s really blowing my mind,” the singer wrote in an image she shared on Twitter. “I understand that is how u [sic] felt weeks ago. But please read about what’s going on. Please don’t turn a blind eye.”

She was referring to the increasing spread of the coronavirus that has never before been identified in humans, and which spreads incredibly quickly. The World Health Organization declared it a pandemic on March 10, and several countries have formally declared states of emergency in an effort to mobilize against spread and help mitigate its toll on hospitals, healthcare workers, and society at large. Experts, meanwhile, have implored people to practice social distancing, by taking pains to keep themselves 6 feet apart from others and limit all non-necessary travel outside their homes if they can.

In her tweet, Grande further called it “incredibly dangerous and selfish to take this situation lightly. The ‘we will be fine because we’re young’ mindset is putting people who aren’t young and/or healthy in a lot of danger. You sound stupid and privileged and you need to care about others. Like now.”

“Your hip hop yoga class can fucking wait, I promise,” she added.”

In follow-up tweets, Grande clarified that she understood that many people don’t have the luxury of staying home, and that doing so could cost service workers their pay, given that they cannot perform those jobs remotely.

“I understand and support your frustration,” she clarified. “I do not mean to disrespect anyone who doesn’t have the privilege of cancelled work or being able to call out of their work. But, this is a national emergency and a pandemic of global proportion.”

In the United States alone, many governors have banned the congregation of 500 or even 250 people at a time, and tours, festivals, and movies have been postponed or cancelled entirely.

According to Dr. Darien Sutton-Ramsey, an emergency medicine physician in New York, social distancing asks you to rethink attending any “social gathering [of] more than 10 to 20 people. Anything that’s not imperative for you to carry on your life, you need to physically distance yourself from it. That includes going to the movie theater, going to a crowded gym or group workout class, and visiting a museum with a large group.” People who work in service or retail jobs, or are otherwise unable to work from home, can ask their employers for extra precautions, and he stresses that they not feel guilty for doing what they need to do to pay their bills.

And Grande is already using her star power to direct fans toward the people who can make change happen on a federal level: Their senators. “Instead of responding with your frustration (that I totally agree with and support) call your senators!”, she urged, informing followers of the coronavirus relief bill, called the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which has passed the House and now waits for deliberation in the Senate. (You can identify your senators here.) “Everyone deserves to be financially supported and feel safe at home during this time.”

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Is A Woman President Impossible? What I’ve Learned From The 2020 Race

What was a probable undercurrent became an almost definitive reality on Thursday (March 5) when former front-runner Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) suspended her campaign for the 2020 Democratic nomination: Our next president will be a man. It wasn’t a surprising revelation after Warren’s disappointing performance in the primary elections. But it still stung for many people, especially women, many of whom are generally tired of being told that we can do anything we set our minds to, but are shown, time and time again, that “anything” still doesn’t mean “everything.”

It’s a bittersweet pill to swallow, especially for a generation of girls and women who went to college at higher rates than their mothers and, eventually, even their male counterparts, and who see both culturally and politically that their wins are still valued less than those of their male counterparts. I didn’t know what the future would hold when I was little, or that in 2020, we would still be racking up firsts in ways that are as galling as they are inspiring. But I do remember precociously telling my parents once or twice not that I wanted to be president one day, but that I would be.

I abandoned those plans sometime between my fifth and 10th birthdays, but not because I thought it wasn’t possible that a woman could do it. And all these years later, I know more than ever that women certainly are capable of it. In the bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, we saw six women make the case they would be the best-case scenario. Five of them had even won past elections on the road toward their candidacies, often more consistently than their male counterparts. Their policies were similar to their male colleagues, but their success was not. None of their appeals resonated with voters enough to hold the line.

Of any candidate, Elizabeth “I Have A Plan” Warren was possibly the best example of what it means to do the work — though even she, with all her plans and policies, was not a perfect candidate. No one is. But she was one of the few who seemed most willing to admit when her ideas fell short and seemed interested in fighting to make things right. Is that due in part to the fact that men apologize less often than women do? Perhaps.

It is partially reductive to blame sexism as the sole demise of her, or any other woman candidate’s campaign. But it’s also not entirely off the mark: In Super Tuesday exit polls conducted by the Washington Post, however, most Democratic voters indicated they wanted to support a candidate who could beat Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton won 3 million more votes than Trump in 2016, only to lose to him due to the electoral college, and report after report quoted voters who weren’t ready to take that risk with another woman candidate again.

Warren herself pointed to the divide in a press conference she gave after suspending her campaign. “If you say, ‘Yeah, there was sexism in this race,’ everyone says, ‘Whiner!’,” she said to reporters. “And if you say, ‘No, there was no sexism,’ about a bajillion women think, ‘What planet do you live on?’”

It would not only be impossible, but willfully obscures the facts to judge the female candidates as if they were not who they are, which is to say, women. As Samhita Mukhopadhyay wrote for Teen Vogue, identity informs every element of our lives, and it affects how other people see us, too. Even people who are fighting to dismantle sexism can be influenced, and maybe even a little spooked, by the sexist and racist standards in the world around us. A new report by the United Nations, published the same week that Warren dropped out, found that 90 percent of respondents globally held some sort of bias against women — that includes the 39 percent of respondents from the U.S. who said that men make better leaders.

But it is also simplistic, and patronizing, to suggest that people of any one identity group will inherently support someone who “looks like them.” Because we cannot forget: A plurality of white women voters sided with then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016. And not every woman has other women’s best interests at heart — and if your feminism is exclusionary to some people, does it actually serve anyone at all?

And this wasn’t the only hurdle that the 2020 election has laid bare, given that what started out as the most diverse Democratic primary pool we’ve ever seen became whiter, straighter, and more male as the months dragged on. That isn’t to say that white, straight, male candidates can’t vouch for the constituents whom they do not mirror; both Biden and Bernie Sanders have their own track records on those points. But frequently, topics like reproductive rights and income inequality seemed like afterthoughts during the debates, rather than the critical issues they are.  Warren had plans for them. So did Harris.

All of this serves as a reminder that so many things factor into the easily-debunked strawman called “electability.” Because make no mistake: When they run, women win elections at the same rate that men do. If anything is standing in the way about whether women are electable, it’s the fight to get them to run at all. And it’s also crucial to hold good candidates accountable, and to make clear that they should not rely on representation alone to earn support: Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) is still in the race, yet women voters are not coalescing around her.

My lived experience was never going to be fully reflected on the 2020 debate stage, and I made peace with that a while ago. (If you are also a queer Latina who was raised in Los Angeles by divorced parents and you want to run for president in 2024 or beyond, please, step up to the plate.) But for the most part, the optics of all but literally seeing myself in that spotlight miss a larger point about what a president can and should do. What I have learned to look for, instead of a mirror, is someone who will center the needs of people like me, and the people even more marginalized than I am. It’s a rubric that I think holds every candidate accountable equally, and I’m too stubborn to give it up now — the straight, white men shouldn’t get a pass simply because they’re the only options we’ve got.

That doesn’t mean that I’ve given up hope that we’ll one day see a woman in the White House. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think it was disappointing to have to wait at least four more years to try and make it happen (and even that isn’t a guarantee). And while we will likely see a woman vice presidential candidate in the ensuing months, I hope that she is chosen not as condolences for the alternative. I want her chosen outright.

I want a woman president because not wanting one is antithetical to the possibilities I know women are capable of. I want her to be elected fairly — and not assume the role in the way Hollywood first back-doored its way to President Selina Meyer, because her predecessor resigned in Veep, or in the hazy ambiguity of whether Ben or Leslie was actually president in the Parks and Rec flash-forward. I want her elected not solely because she is a woman, or because the country finally felt properly shamed for the sexism it has exhibited from the jump. I want her elected because she is the right person for the job.

And I cannot shake how bittersweet it is to know that we will have to wait that much longer to find out who she will be.

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Black And Latinx Voters Braved Hours-Long Lines In Texas On Super Tuesday

Texas has spoken: On Tuesday (March 3), the state’s Democratic voters selected former Vice President Joe Biden as their primary election winner, with 33.4 percent of the vote and 97 percent of precincts reporting. He was followed by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who earned 29.9 percent of the vote;  former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, with 15.1 percent of the vote; and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, with 11.4. percent of the vote. President Donald Trump won the Republican primary, as projected.

The state had 228 pledged delegates up for grabs, as the Texas Tribune notes, and 268 delegates total. 42 of those are now pledged to Biden; Sanders followed with 38 delegates, and Bloomberg followed and Warren followed with one delegate each. Young voters in Texas overwhelmingly supported Sanders; according to exit polls conducted by the Washington Post, 65 percent of voters aged 18-29 indicated their support for the senator. They comprised 16 percent of the vote. Sanders also won big with the 31 percent of voters who were Latinx, 45 percent of whom indicated their support for him. Sixty percent of Black voters, who comprised 20 percent of voters, showed out for Biden.

Voting wasn’t without its problems: At least 750 Texas polling sites have been closed since 2013, Slate notes, which resulted in hours-long lines for many of the state’s Black and Latinx residents.

The state also voted for United States Senate and House of Representatives. In the Senate, incumbent Republican John Cornyn will face an as-yet-to-be-determined Democrat challenger; MJ Hegar will participate in a runoff election, per a local Houston NBC affiliate. NPR has consolidated the full list of Congressional battles, including the primary races that have yet to be called. Notably, Millennial challenger Jessica Cisneros narrowly lost to incumbent Congressman Henry Cuellar, by a margin of 52 to 48.

The state wasn’t the only location to hold a presidential primary on Tuesday — a total of 14 states, including Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia also cast their votes, as did the territory American Samoa.

This is a developing story. MTV News will update it as we know more.

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The impact Leon Rose could have on a frustrated Julius Randle

PHILADELPHIA – Julius Randle could use a boost in his mixed-bag first season as a Knick. Maybe former super-agent Leon Rose, expected to be announced officially as the Knicks president as soon as Monday, will be a good influence.

Unlike the other Knicks free agents, Randle’s three-year, $63 million contract calls for him to be back next season and possibly in 2021-22. (Randle is guaranteed $4 million for his third-year team option).

On the Knicks’ roster, only Randle and Frank Ntilikina know Rose well as clients of Creative Artists Agency. Rose ran CAA’s basketball department.

Ntilikina, however, parted ways with Rose before this season. Randle, whose primary agent is Aaron Mintz, is still a CAA guy. The previous regime, led by former president Steve Mills, was open to trading Randle.

“Leon’s is a well-respected agent who’s done a lot of great things representing players in his career,” Randle told The Post Wednesday before facing the Hornets. “I haven’t heard one bad thing about him. My personal relationship with him has always been very respectful. … Great guy, great family guy and well-respected agent. Straight-up guy. He’s a good dude.”

There’s been success stories with agents running franchises with Golden State’s Bob Myers, the Lakers’ Rob Pelinka and Utah’s Justin Zanik. But there have been cases where it hasn’t worked as hoped: Lon Babby failed in Phoenix, Arn Tellem hasn’t turned around Detroit and Joe Branch is new to moribund Minnesota.

“It’s got to be the right person,” Randle told The Post. “You can’t have any agent run a team. You got to be a person with a good reputation amongst other agents and NBA executives — a straight-up and standup person. A person with a good reputation who has had success representing players. We got players who have great agents and not so great. It might be a good fit for some.”

Randle’s frustration with the Knicks’ losing seems to be growing by the day. Randle, after being benched the entire fourth quarter for hot-shooting Bobby Portis in Wednesday’s loss in Charlotte, bolted the locker room after the game before reporters were allowed inside.

That marked the third time in the last four games — all losses — Randle left early. It’s noteworthy because prior to that, he was usually the first player to talk after a game, often waiting for the writers by his locker, fully clothed.

This is Randle’s sixth season in the NBA, and a loss by the Knicks (17-41) Thursday in Philly will clinch his sixth straight losing season.

Randle has been as healthy as a horse. His only two missed games were for personal reasons following the passing of his grandmother. The lefty power forward scored 18 points with nine rebounds in Charlotte.

But defense isn’t his strong suit. Sometimes his ball-stopping, lane-clogging, low-post style of play doesn’t help the offensive flow. His 3-point shooting has also been abysmal recently. In his past 15 games, Randle is shooting 10.5 percent from 3.

Maybe Rose’s presence will elevate Randle.

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