What We Read This Week: Our Investigative News Roundup
Ginni Thomas Moves to ‘Protect Trump’
Conservative activist Virginia “Ginni” Thomas is launching yet another project to wage war on multiple fronts of America’s most heated cultural and political debates. This time, however, her plan will include a project to “protect President Trump” using at least two new campaign-related political entities, according to a presentation obtained by The Intercept and Documented. Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, unveiled the venture in a closed meeting of GOP lawmakers, donors and Christian-right leaders last month, seeming to make reference to the movement disarray and electoral losses suffered by conservatives in the Trump era — and the gains made by left-wing groups and politicians. The project is focused on political campaigns—slated to do business under the name “American D-Day”— and will be set up by Cleta Mitchell, a well-known Republican campaign finance lawyer and partner at the law firm Foley & Lardner. D-Day will include a 501(c)(4) arm that can solicit undisclosed donations and a separate PAC registered with the Federal Elections Commission.
How Trump and the Republicans Could Steal the 2020 Election
Of course, maybe Trump won’t need protecting. Writer Daniel Block in The Washington Monthly has a step-by-step guide to how Trump and his Republican accomplices could thwart the public’s will in the coming presidential election. While nationwide cheating or a military-style coup may be impossible, the Republican Party has proven more than willing to violate democratic norms where it has local control, and not every powerful institution is as neutral as the military. There is a sequence of events, each individually plausible, that would allow Trump to remain president despite losing the election—breaking American democracy in the process. “I think we know that Trump will certainly, no matter what the result is, be likely to declare that there was fraud and that he was the rightful victor,” said Joseph Fishkin, a law professor at the University of Texas who studies elections.
States Use Welfare to Keep Blacks Families Down
What do a Christian overnight camp, abstinence-only sex education and pro-marriage advertisements all have in common? They’ve all been funded with money that individual states used to provide cash assistance for low-income families—the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, often known simply as “welfare”. But states have considerable leeway about how to spend the money, and the choices states make are unmistakably correlated with race, reports The Atlantic. A state with a higher share of black families is less likely to allocate welfare funds toward the provision of cash assistance, but more likely to allocate funds toward efforts to “encourage the formation of two-parent families” and “reduce the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies.” The stated assumption behind these initiatives is that strengthening the family unit has greater long-term benefits than simply giving money to needy people. The diversion of TANF funds away from cash support and toward programs meant to influence family formation has likely exacerbated racial differences in poverty. A clear pattern emerges: a black family in poverty is more likely than a white family to be offered a “Healthy Marriage Initiative” in place of direct cash support.