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August 11, 2016

On the campaign trail in the USA, July 2016

On the campaign trail in the USA, July 2016

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Thursday, August 11, 2016

2016 United States presidential election
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The following is the third edition of a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2016 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after an overview of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail: two individuals previously interviewed by Wikinews announce their candidacies for the Reform Party presidential nomination; a former Republican Congressman comments on the Republican National Convention; and Wikinews interviews an historic Democratic National Convention speaker.

Summary[]

As July started, presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton met with the FBI to discuss the private e-mail server she used as Secretary of State. A few days later, FBI Director James Comey held a press conference where he announced that charges would not be appropriate against Clinton. He noted, however, that Clinton had acted carelessly in installing a private e-mail server for State business and had risked compromising State secrets. Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump tweeted that the lack of charges in the case showed “the system is totally rigged!” Polls from the early part of the month gave Clinton a slight lead in the race. She led the July 4 Real Clear Politics average 44.9% to 40.3%. At this time, media interest in the running-mate selections of Trump and Clinton intensified. The Washington Post speculated that New Jersey governor Chris Christie and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich were the leading contenders to be Trump’s running mate. However, other reports pointed to Indiana governor Mike Pence, who confirmed he would accept the position if asked. Trump commented that ten names were on the shortlist including some not mentioned in the media. In later days, General Michael Flynn was floated as a possibility in reports. Gingrich, Flynn, and Pence were apparently finalists for the position, with Pence believed to be the favorite. For the Democrats, Senator Cory Booker, Congressman Xavier Becerra and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro received mention as potential running mates for Clinton, but the shortlist reportedly included Senators Elizabeth Warren, Tim Kaine, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Trump speaks at a July Iowa rally with Mike Pence’s name affixed to his logo
Image: Max Goldberg (flickr).

On July 7, Trump arrived in Washington D.C. and met with Republican members from the House of Representatives and Senate. During the meeting, Trump reportedly told the attendees if they did not support his candidacy, they were, in effect, supporting Clinton. Trump agreed to allow his former rival, Senator Ted Cruz, to speak at the convention, but he did not secure an endorsement from Cruz. The next day, both Trump and Clinton canceled campaign events as an African American shooter in Dallas killed five police officers. Trump’s state chairman in Virginia blamed the shooting on Clinton and others “who label police as racists.” In the aftermath, Trump proclaimed himself the “law and order candidate.” Ahead of its convention, the GOP platform committee approved a socially conservative platform that opposed same-sex marriage and identified pornography as a “public health crisis.” The convention’s host, Ohio governor John Kasich, a former presidential rival of Trump, would not endorse Trump and claimed through a spokesman that Trump had asked Kasich join the presidential ticket in May, but Kasich had declined. Trump’s spokesman denied the claim. Another former rival, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, said he might vote for Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson instead of Trump. On the other side, Hillary Clinton’s principle rival, Senator Bernie Sanders, dropped his campaign and officially endorsed Clinton. Clinton also seemingly received support from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who called Trump “a faker” and wondered why he has “gotten away” with not releasing his tax returns. Democratic Senator Chris Murphy questioned whether the country was “well served” with a Supreme Court justice openly discussing her political views. Trump referred to Ginsburg’s comments as “highly inappropriate.” Ginsburg later apologized.

Trump announced he would officially name his running mate on July 15. Though Pence was the favorite to receive the nod, Trump met with Senator Jeff Sessions, and had additional meetings with Christie and Gingrich. According to multiple news reports, Trump’s daughter Ivanka, her husband Jared Kushner, and financier Sheldon Adelson all tried to convince Trump to select Gingrich, while campaign manager Paul Manafort favored Pence, and pollster Tony Fabrizio wanted Flynn. CNN reported Trump had offered the position to Pence, who accepted. According to NBC, the purported leak of the news had left Trump “seething.” Due to the July 14 attack in Nice, France, Trump postponed the planned announcement. Both CNN and NBC reported Trump was looking for ways to get out of the selection of Pence. The campaign denied the report. The New York Times alleged the Pence selection was revisited because Christie had begged the campaign to reconsider its decision and replace Pence with himself. On July 15, Trump officially announced via Twitter that he had selected Pence. Through the selection, Trump said he hoped to unify the party. Manafort said the ticket would appeal to former supporters of Sanders. As the GOP convention approached, Manafort declared the #NeverTrump movement “gone,” as the GOP rules committee voted not to unbind delegates. Clinton announced she would reveal her vice presidential selection after the GOP convention. The Washington Post tapped Vilsack as the favorite.

RNC[]

Trump with Pence
Image: VOA.

As the GOP convention began in Cleveland, Ohio, Trump trailed Clinton in the July 18 Real Clear Politics average 40.6% to 43.8%. Although Ohio was hosting the convention, the state’s delegates were not placed in the front as is tradition. This was believed to be punishment for Governor Kasich’s refusal to endorse Trump or attend the convention. Manafort called Kasich’s absence a “big mistake” and “embarrassing [to] his state.” With the release of the lineup of speakers showing many members of Trump’s family, former RNC chairman Michael Steele called the convention “a [Trump] family affair.”

On the opening day, on the floor of the convention at Quicken Loans Arena, anti-Trump delegates unsuccessfully attempted to force a roll call vote on the convention rules. Protests outside were relatively minor with only 24 arrests throughout the entire convention. During the convention speeches, delegates frequently chanted “Lock her up!” in reference to Hillary Clinton. Patricia Smith, mother of diplomat Sean Smith who died in the 2012 Benghazi attack, blamed Clinton for her son’s death and exclaimed, “Hillary belongs in prison. She deserves to be in stripes.” In his speech, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani commented Clinton “would go to jail” if he were allowed to prosecute her. In the prime-time opening-night speech, Trump’s wife Melania delivered a speech that initially received acclaim. However, this changed once the media pointed out some lines were nearly identical to those from the speech of First Lady Michelle Obama at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Quicken Loans Arena ahead of the 2016 Republican National Convention.
Image: Erik Drost.

The Trump campaign spent most of the second day of the convention explaining away the plagiarism flap as speechwriter Meredith McIver took the blame for the passages and offered to quit. Trump requested she remain. Trump officially received the presidential nomination on the second day of the convention and Pence received the vice-presidential nomination. Christie delivered a speech in which he held a mock trial prosecuting Clinton in absentia before the delegates. He was followed with prime-time speeches by Trump’s children Tiffany and Donald Jr.

View from the floor of the Convention
Image: VOA.

On the third day, The New York Times released a transcript of an interview with Trump in which he criticized NATO and questioned whether the US should honor the treaty if member nations do not contribute their share of funds. Several Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, said they disagreed with Trump’s comments. Disagreements seeped into the convention as well when Cruz gave a speech in which he did not endorse Trump. When his refusal became evident, a chorus of boos erupted from the delegates, continuing until he left the stage. The speech overshadowed that of Pence who accepted the vice-presidential nomination later that night. Cruz received almost universal condemnation from prominent Republicans. However, Gingrich, who spoke after Trump’s son Eric, who followed Cruz, commented he did not take the speech to show a lack of support for Trump. Manafort and Donald Trump Jr. claimed it had helped Republicans unite behind Trump.

On the last day of the convention, after a formal introduction from Ivanka, Trump accepted the GOP nomination and delivered, CNN noted, the longest nominee acceptance speech in 40 years. In the speech, Trump emphasized “law and order”, and referenced his proposals of building a wall along the southern border and banning immigration from nations with a history of terrorism. Trump described the legacy of his opponent Clinton as one of “death, destruction, terrorism, and weakness.” President Barack Obama criticized the speech, accusing Trump of basing it on fear and inaccurately painting a bleak portrait of the nation. Nevertheless, a CNN/ORC instant poll showed 57% of respondents who watched the speech received it favorably and 56% were more likely to vote for Trump. According to pundit Joe Trippi, the speech and overall convention provided the GOP with about a 5.9% bounce in the polls, one point higher than the average. Most polls at this time showed Trump leading Clinton.

A day after the convention, Clinton announced her vice-presidential selection. The New York Times had reported that Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, wanted Clinton to pick Senator Tim Kaine. Indeed, she named Kaine, a centrist from Virginia, as her running mate. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus called Clinton-Kaine a “failed Democrat status quo” ticket.

DNC[]

Pro-Bernie Sanders protests of the DNC
Image: Becker1999.

Ahead of the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Wikileaks released nearly 20 thousand hacked Democratic National Committee (DNC) e-mails. The e-mails showed favoritism of Clinton within the DNC and revealed plans to diminish the Sanders campaign. DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned her position as a result. Initially, she was to gavel-in the convention, but after a highly negative reception from her home state Florida delegation before the convention, she was replaced with DNC Secretary Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Media reports and the Clinton campaign itself blamed Russia for the hacking and leaking of e-mails. The DNC issued an apology to Sanders. Sanders urged his supporters not to protest on the floor of the convention. He was booed upon reiterating his support for Clinton before a group of delegates. Presumptive Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein invited Sanders to meet with her, but Sanders declined. Via Twitter, Trump said Sanders had “sold out.”

View of the floor of the DNC
Image: JefParker.

On the first day of the convention, the first speakers received boos upon mentioning Clinton with the crowd erupting into chants of “Bernie! Bernie!” and “Count our votes!” As the convention continued, the protests died down inside Wells Fargo Center, but continued outside. Overall, a total of 103 citations were issued in lieu of arrests, while the Secret Service arrested eleven. As the convention moved along, commentators oddly noted a common theme of “American exceptionalism” in speeches and more religious references than at the RNC. On the first night, Michelle Obama addressed the convention in a well received speech. She did not mention Trump by name, but referenced his slogan in proclaiming, “don’t let anyone ever tell you that this country isn’t great, that somehow we need to make it great again. Because this right now is the greatest country on earth!” She heaped praise upon Clinton, whom she called a leader “guided every day by the love and hope and impossibly big dreams that we all have for our children.” She was followed by the keynote speaker Elizabeth Warren, who opened a blistering attack on Trump, accusing him of defrauding people. Sanders spoke. He expressed disappointment in the outcome of the primaries but heralded the “historical accomplishments” of his movement and urged his followers to get behind Clinton.

Clinton accepts the Democratic presidential nomination
Image: VOA.

In a historic moment on the second day, Clinton officially received the Democratic presidential nomination, making her the first woman to be nominated by a major party. That night, her husband, former President Bill Clinton, addressed the convention, discussing his relationship with his wife and highlighting her accomplishments. Before the convention convened on the third day, Trump held a press conference. Referencing the DNC hack leak, he remarked, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.” The Clinton campaign attacked Trump for “actively encourag[ing] a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent,” though Trump claimed he was merely joking. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange commented in an interview that he timed the release of the hacked e-mails to hurt Clinton in the election.

On the third day, after a speech from Vice President Joe Biden, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent, addressed the convention. He formally endorsed Clinton and referred to Trump as a “con,” arguing, “[t]he richest thing about Trump is his hypocrisy.” Later, Kaine officially accepted the vice-presidential nomination. President Obama followed with a speech to wrap up the third day. He argued that no one, himself included, was “more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America.” He accused Trump of offering “no serious solutions to pressing problems — just the fanning of resentment, and blame, and anger, and hate.”

On the final day, Chelsea Clinton spoke and introduced her mother, Hillary Clinton, who accepted the Democratic nomination. During her speech, Clinton laid out policy proposals and attacked Trump for making some of his products overseas. In addition, she argued that Trump cannot be trusted with nuclear weapons. Clinton’s speech was deemed a success. A CNN instant poll revealed 71% of viewers had a favorable opinion of the speech with 60% more likely to vote for her after watching. Although Trump’s speech received higher television ratings, Clinton overtook Trump in post-convention polls.

Khizr and Ghazala Khan
Image: VOA.

Press coverage of Clinton’s speech was overshadowed by an earlier speech from Khizr and Ghazala Khan, a Muslim couple whose son died in Iraq in 2004. The speech set off a back-and-forth between Trump and Khan that lasted several days. With his wife at his side on the convention stage, Khizr Khan delivered a stinging attack on Trump for his earlier proposal to ban Muslim immigration and wondered whether Trump had ever read the U.S. Constitution. Trump responded, attacking Khizr for his comments and questioning whether Khizr’s wife remained silent during the speech because she was not allowed to speak. Trump’s comments were condemned by Democrats and Republicans alike. Khizr labeled Trump “void of decency” and accused him of having a “dark heart.” Ghazala responded with an op-ed in The Washington Post in which she attributed her silence at the convention to grief.

As July came to a close, Trump had additional setbacks. First, he mistakenly asserted that no Russian troops were currently in Ukraine. Second, he made an unsupported claim that the NFL had complained to him about the presidential debate schedule coinciding with NFL games. Nevertheless, Trump received some positive news with the announcement that Julian Assange had “extremely interesting” information on Clinton that had yet to be released through Wikileaks. In the July 31 Real Clear Politics average, Clinton, who had just received the endorsement of billionaire Mark Cuban, held a 1.1% lead over Trump .

Reform Party race features two Wikinews interviewees[]

Two candidates who each previously spoke with Wikinews have both announced their candidacies for the 2016 presidential nomination of the Reform Party of the United States. Historian Darcy Richardson and businessman Rocky De La Fuente each decided to seek the nomination in July. Both have previously run for president as Democrats.

Logo for the Reform Party of the United States of America.
Image: Reform Party National Committee.

[T]here was and is a party that was opposed to NAFTA, CAFTA, the WTO and other unfair trade agreements and which is still deeply committed to the Hamiltonian idea of protecting U.S. jobs and industry as we proceed into the 21st Century
Darcy Richardson on the Reform Party

Richardson, a veteran of third-party politics, sought the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2012 and briefly vied for the Reform Party presidential nomination that same year. He is the author of “The Others” anthology, covering third-party candidates, and has written books on such political topics as the 1968 presidential election and the presidential candidacies of Eugene McCarthy, George McGovern, and recently, Bernie Sanders. He served as campaign manager during McCarthy’s 1988 presidential bid. In addition, he ran for Pennsylvania Auditor General in 1980, and was the Consumer Party’s 1988 nominee for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania. In 2010, he ran for Lieutenant Governor of Florida as the running mate of gubernatorial candidate Farid Khavari.

Richardson has a history within the Reform Party beyond his 2012 run. He participated in the party’s 1996 and 2000 mail-in primaries, was part of the 2004 nominating conference calls, donated to candidates nominated by the party, and contributed to the Reform National Committee. Richardson says Reform Party Secretary Nicholas Hensley encouraged him to enter the 2016 race. As the nominee, he plans to spread the party message through television, radio, and speaking engagements.

“In short, my candidacy is designed to remind older folks about the Reform Party’s important role in American politics”, says Richardson, “and to inform younger millennials — those facing a low-paying, if not jobless, future — that there was and is a party that was opposed to NAFTA, CAFTA, the WTO and other unfair trade agreements and which is still deeply committed to the Hamiltonian idea of protecting U.S. jobs and industry as we proceed into the 21st Century.”

De La Fuente, a San Diego businessman with properties throughout the world, got his start in the automobile industry and has since branched into the banking and real estate markets. Before his 2016 Democratic Party campaign for president, he had not sought political office, but did serve as the first-ever Hispanic superdelegate, at the 1992 Democratic National Convention. During his 2016 presidential campaign, which he began largely as a reaction to the presidential campaign of Donald Trump, De La Fuente qualified for the ballot in 48 Democratic primary contests. In addition to seeking the Reform Party nomination, he is current attempting to qualify for the general election ballot in several states as an independent or as the nominee of the new “American Delta Party,” which he founded. De La Fuente is currently running in the Democratic Party primary for U.S. Senate in Florida as well. According to Hensley, in remarks to Wikinews’, ballot access expert Richard Winger encouraged De La Fuente to seek the Reform Party nomination.

Rocky De La Fuente in January 2016.
Image: Marc Nozell.

Darcy Richardson in 2010
Image: Darcy Richardson.

According to Richardson, De La Fuente entered the race a mere 24 hours after he did. Moreover, Richardson distinguishes himself from De La Fuente, arguing that while those within the Reform party encouraged him to run, De La Fuente ran at the insistence of “a partisan Libertarian [Winger] […] who personally has little interest in the Reform Party’s current fortunes or its future”, and who sees the Reform Party as “just an available ballot line”.

Richardson’s preferred running mate, activist Thomas Knapp, founder of the now-defunct Boston Tea Party, draws an even greater contrast between Richardson and De La Fuente.

“[There were] five states that both Mr. [De La] Fuente [in 2016] and Mr. Richardson [in 2012] appeared on a Democratic primary ballot [in different election cycles] […],” explains Knapp, comparing De La Fuente and Richardson’s Democratic Party candidacies, “Richardson outpolled [De La] Fuente and did so on a budget two full orders of magnitude smaller, even though Richardson was running against a popular incumbent president [Barack Obama] and [De La] Fuente was running against one of the most hated politicians in America [Hillary Clinton].”

“In his presidential campaign so far [De La Fuente] has spent $6.4 million to get 67,000 votes”, Knapp continues. “That’s $95.50 per vote.”

De La Fuente was asked to respond to these statements and to comment on this report, but he has yet to do so.

The Reform Party was founded in 1995 by industrialist Ross Perot. Perot ran as the party’s first presidential nominee in 1996, and won over eight percent of the popular vote, the highest percentage for a third-party candidate since. In 1998, professional wrestler Jesse Ventura ran on the Reform Party ticket and was elected Governor of Minnesota. The party fell in prominence during the lead-up to the 2000 presidential election when it was plagued by infighting between ideological factions. In 2000, Donald Trump briefly sought the party’s presidential nomination, but it was ultimately won by paleoconservative icon Pat Buchanan, who went on to receive only 0.4% of the popular vote in the general election. In 2004, the party opted to endorse consumer advocate Ralph Nader, but ended the year nearly bankrupt. Ted Weill won the party’s 2008 presidential nomination, but appeared on the ballot in only one state and won a total of 481 votes. In 2012, the party’s presidential nominee, fitness model Andre Barnett, on the ballot only in Florida with write-in status elsewhere, received a total of 952 votes. The party is currently on the ballot in New York and Florida, but, according to Ballot Access News, the New York affiliate is expected to nominate Trump.

The party held its 2016 convention the last weekend in July. It had planned to formally announce its presidential ticket on August 8. According to Knapp, Richardson and De La Fuente were the two leading contenders for the nomination. Others seeking the nomination included 2012 vice presidential nominee Kenneth Cross and psychologist Lynn Kahn.

“I was approached about entering the contest very recently”, says Richardson. “I plan to support whatever ticket the party nominates.”

Former Congressman responds to Cruz RNC speech[]

Congressman Tancredo
Image: United States Congress.

As Senator Ted Cruz delivered his much-discussed speech before the Republican National Convention, former Congressman Tom Tancredo, an early supporter of Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign, watched with disappointment. In an exclusive interview with Wikinews, Tancredo argued that Cruz’s refusal to endorse Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump during the speech, which prompted what was perhaps one of the most negative crowd reactions to a convention speech in recent memory, was a mistake.

“He needs to realize and appreciate the bigger picture”, said Tancredo about Cruz, “[y]ou can still hate Donald Trump for the things he says [but] he has to recognize what will happen to the country if the Supreme Court is under the control of Hillary Clinton.”

Ted Cruz delivering his convention speech
Image: VOA.

Tancredo, who represented Colorado’s 6th congressional district from 1999 to 2009, endorsed Cruz in January, writing an op-ed for Breitbart.com in which he touted Cruz as an outsider and “the real deal.” Tancredo himself ran for president in 2008 as an outsider Republican, focusing on securing the U.S.–Mexico border and enforcing laws against illegal immigration. Notably, during his campaign, Tancredo had a September 2007 interview with Wikinews.

Cruz’s speech affected more than just Tancredo’s opinion. Though some praised the speech as principled and politically astute — including Hillary Clinton, who tweeted “vote your conscience”, repeating what Cruz had said — many prominent Republicans offered rebukes. Former Congressman Joe Walsh called for a Texas Republican to “primary” Cruz in 2018, when his Senate seat goes up for re-election, as a consequence for not honoring the GOP endorsement pledge. Chris Christie described Cruz as “selfish” for refusing to endorse. Congressman Peter King called Cruz an “asshole”, a term which RNC spokesman Sean Spicer said was apt. Polls from before and after the speech showed Cruz’s approval rating among Republicans fall from 60% to 33%.

Addressing the backlash, Cruz defended his decision, arguing “I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father.” Moreover, he claimed the GOP endorsement pledge “was not a blanket commitment that, if you go and slander and attack Heidi [his wife], that I’m going to nonetheless come like a servile puppy dog and say thank you very much for maligning my wife and my father”.

The attacks Cruz refers to are Trump’s re-tweeting in March of a graphic comparing an unflattering photo of Cruz’s wife, Heidi, to a glamour shot of Melania Trump, as well as Trump’s mention last May of a National Enquirer report connecting Cruz’s father to Lee Harvey Oswald, assassin of President John F. Kennedy.

Tancredo said he believes the issues facing the nation are “more important than [Cruz’s] personal feelings about his wife or father.” He maintained that Cruz “could have avoided the problem and ‘lived with himself’ by passing on the invitation to speak. Apparently the few minutes still in the spotlight was too alluring”.

A new view on Cruz was not Tancredo’s only takeaway from July’s convention. He appreciated Trump’s acceptance speech as well, calling it the “[b]est I’ve heard from him”.

Wikinews interviews history-making DNC speaker[]

Before Hillary Clinton’s historic moment on the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention, as she became the first woman to accept the presidential nomination of a major US political party, another woman, much younger than Clinton, made history of her own. Sarah McBride, national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), became the first openly transgender person to address a major political party’s national convention when she spoke before the Democratic National Convention. Wikinews contacted McBride to find out more about her groundbreaking speech.

Sarah McBride
Image: Human Rights Campaign.

McBride, a native of Delaware in her mid-20s, came out as a transgender woman during her term at American University as student body president. Before HRC, an LGBT lobbying group, McBride was employed by the Center for American Progress, a progressive advocacy organization, and was the first openly transgender woman to intern at the White House. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the LGBT activist group Equality Delaware, through which she successfully lobbied the legislature of Delaware to expand the state’s anti-discrimination and hate-crimes acts to include gender identity and expression.

During her convention speech, McBride discussed her relationship with a transgender man, Andrew, who continued LGBT activism despite having terminal cancer. McBride married the man just a few days before his death. McBride’s speech received widespread coverage with feature stories from Time Magazine, The Washington Post, Daily Mail, CNN, ABC News, NBC News, Rolling Stone, New York, and others.

With Wikinews, McBride discusses the speech, her experience at the convention, and any future political plans.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png How did you find out the DNC wanted you to speak at the convention? What were your initial thoughts?

McBride: I found out that I was speaking about a week before the convention started. The Congressional LGBT Caucus was granted six minutes on the main stage of the convention and they decided that they wanted to dedicate half of that time to having a transgender person speak, breaking that barrier of finally having an openly trans speaker at a major party convention. When I found out, I was excited, nervous, and honored. Throughout the week leading up to the convention and during the week of the convention, my main thought was that I wanted to do the trans community proud and do them justice.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png How did you prepare for the speech and what did it feel like to deliver it before millions of people?

McBride: For the last few years, much of my advocacy has been about telling my personal story and weaving it in to the larger effort for LGBTQ equality. In writing my speech for the DNC, I took some of the themes, thoughts, and experiences that I’ve spoken about before and condensed them for the speech. During the week of the convention, I didn’t have much time to really focus on the upcoming speech. Instead, I went from interview to interview, talking with various outlets about this opportunity and the stakes of this election for LGBTQ people.
Standing on the stage and delivering my remarks was one of the most empowering and inspiring experiences of my life. While I was nervous beforehand, once I got on the stage and started speaking, I felt calm and determined to utilize those three minutes to effectively speak to the audience, both in and out of the arena. Throughout the speech and right afterward, I kept on thinking about a young transgender person in North Carolina who may be watching, who is wondering whether this country has a place for them too, and hoping that my speech could give that person, and anyone like them, just a little comfort and hope that things are changing, that they matter, and that their dreams and identity are not mutually exclusive.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png What did you hope to achieve with the speech and what reaction have you received thus far?

McBride: I really hoped to drive two major points home. The first was that there is a lot of unfinished work for the LGBTQ equality movement and that Hillary Clinton is the champion and fighter we need to deliver the change so many of us still need. The second point was that I wanted to reinforce that behind this national conversation on transgender rights, are real people who hurt when we are mocked, who hurt when we are discriminated against, and who just want to be treated with dignity and fairness.
The energy in the arena was palpable as I stood on stage and I hope that the trans community could see and hear the love in that space. [The] response was and has been overwhelming and heartening. I hope that my speech helped open some hearts and change some minds, even if it was just one person.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png Other than the speech, how was your experience at the convention?

McBride: This was the first convention I had ever attended and needless to say it was an incredible experience. Watching the first woman nominee of a major party stand up and accept the nomination of her party for President of the United States was a sight and experience I will never forget. I feel so lucky to have witnessed so much history in Philadelphia.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png After participating in the convention, do you personally have any interest in pursuing political office?

McBride: I’ve always been interested in politics and government and I definitely plan on returning to my home state of Delaware at some point, but I don’t know if running for office is ever in my future. Right now, I’m incredibly focused on contributing whatever I can to push equality forward for LGBTQ people and if there is anything I’ve learned in the last few years, it’s that making long term plans is usually a pretty fruitless exercise.



Related articles[]

Sources[]

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This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

June 1, 2016

Eleven US states file lawsuit against transgender bathroom directive

Eleven US states file lawsuit against transgender bathroom directive

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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Eleven US states announced last Thursday that they would be filing a joint lawsuit against the government’s administration efforts to expand bathroom rights to include transgender students in North TexasFederal District Court. In the lawsuit they were suggesting that the issue needed to be decided by each state individually and not on federal level. Last Saturday, the governor of Mississippi announced plans to also join the lawsuit.

The United States President Barack Obama’s new directive was announced earlier this month appeared to give transgender students the right to use the bathroom they wish in schools.

The plaintiffs included Texas, Wisconsin, Alabama, West Virginia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Utah and Georgia, and also Gov. Paul LePage of Maine and the Arizona Department of Education. West Virginia and Louisiana having Democratic leaders, and the other nine states had Republican leaders. Texas attorney-general Ken Paxton announced the suit in a statement on their official website. In the release he said, “the Obama administration is trampling the United States Constitution”.

States involved in the lawsuit have made the argument that the country’s federal government is taking matters into their own hands and creating directives which should be left to individual states, and as a result should not be followed as it is sidestepping each states government. The states called the directive “a massive social experiment”.

Furthermore, it was announced today that the state of Kansas are also considering submitting a resolution against Obama’s newest directive.

The new directive was put in force by the government in response to North Carolina passing a law requiring usage of public bathrooms according to the sex listed on a person’s birth certificate. The US Justice Department had challenged the North Carolina law as discriminatory.



Sources[]

This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

May 25, 2016

Victorian premier apologises for history of criminalisation of homosexuality

Victorian premier apologises for history of criminalisation of homosexuality

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Victoria, Australia premier Daniel Andrews, speaking in parliament yesterday, apologised for the state’s history of ‘abominable’ laws under which homosexuality could be punished with jail time.

“For decades, we were obsessed with the private mysteries of men. And so we jailed them, we harmed them, and in turn, they harmed themselves”, said Andrews.

He noted that while those laws haven’t been in force since the 1980s, many still have criminal records because of them. Many are trying to clear their records; so far, six have completed the process.

According to the Australian Human Rights Commission, eleven in 100 Australians identify as being a part of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex community. They have triple the general population’s rate of depression, and six in ten admit they have been verbally abused.

Victorian Opposition leader Matthew Guy said earlier, “Australia post-war was a very, very intolerant place towards gay people, particularly gay men, and today we’re going to apologise for that.”

His apology follows one earlier this year by the New South Wales parliament to the first Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras marchers in 1978, that apology led by the member for Coogee, Bruce Notley-Smith.



Sources[]

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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

December 24, 2015

U.S. now allows gay and bisexual men to donate blood with restrictions

U.S. now allows gay and bisexual men to donate blood with restrictions

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Thursday, December 24, 2015

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On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a decision to allow gay and bisexual men in the United States to donate blood. To be allowed, the men must avoid sexual intercourse with the same sex for at least one year.

Men have been asked whether they had sex with men since 1977. During the HIV/AIDS crisis, in 1983, the FDA started banning the men from donating their bloods. Since then, medical and gay rights groups, like The National Gay Blood Drive, advocated lifting the blood donation federal ban on the men.

In May 2015, the FDA first proposed allowing gay and bisexual men to donate if they do not make sexual contact with the same sex for the minimum of twelve months. This month the FDA repeals the ban and approves the proposal.

Activists criticize the FDA’s restrictions as “discriminatory”. Nonetheless, other countries like Australia, Japan, and the United Kingdom enforce similar restrictions on gay and bisexual men. Australia has enforced the rule for more than a decade.

Annually, about 15.7 million units of blood have been donated in the U.S. According to a 2010 UCLA study, lifting the ban will increase annual U.S. blood donations by 2–4%.

Even with the restriction, the FDA raises concerns about contaminated U.S. blood donations. The FDA has screened the donations for transmissible diseases like HIV before shipment.



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US FDA allows gay and bisexual men to donate blood with restrictions

US FDA allows gay and bisexual men to donate blood with restrictions

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Thursday, December 24, 2015

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On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a decision to allow gay and bisexual men in the United States to donate blood. To be allowed, the men must avoid sexual intercourse with the same sex for at least one year.

Men have been asked whether they had sex with men since 1977. During the HIV/AIDS crisis, in 1983, the FDA started banning the men from donating their blood. Since then, medical and gay rights groups, like The National Gay Blood Drive, advocated lifting the blood donation federal ban on the men.

In May 2015, the FDA first proposed allowing gay and bisexual men to donate if they do not make sexual contact with the same sex for the minimum of twelve months. About half of 700 comments on the proposal suggested upholding the ban. This month the FDA repeals the ban and approves the proposal.

Activists criticize the FDA’s restrictions as “discriminatory”. Nonetheless, other countries like Australia, Japan, and the United Kingdom enforce similar restrictions on gay and bisexual men. Australia has enforced the rule for more than a decade.

Annually, about 15.7 million units of blood have been donated in the U.S. According to a 2010 UCLA study, lifting the ban will increase annual U.S. blood donations by 2–4%.

The FDA has screened the donations for transmissible diseases like HIV before shipment. Australia has done the same.



Sister links[]

  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Men who have sex with men blood donor controversy

Sources[]

This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

December 22, 2015

Slovenians reject referendum to recognize same-sex marriage

Slovenians reject referendum to recognize same-sex marriage

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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

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On Sunday, Slovenians voted on a referendum to legalize same-sex marriage. The referendum failed to pass, with opposing majority.

Slovenia, whose population largely practice Roman Catholicism, neither recognizes marriage between nor allows full child adoption by two persons of the same sex. Even as a member of the European Union, its position has not changed.

The issue has been still debated in the country. In 2012, a majority of participating voters opposed a referendum to legalize same-sex marriage.

The government earlier this year passed a law to legally recognize same-sex marriage. However, the law had not been enforced; a civil group translated as For Children or Children Are at Stake demanded a referendum to the top court. The group’s petition for a referendum collected at least 40,000 signatures.

In preliminary results from this year’s elections, around 36.18% out of more than 1.7 million registered voters voted on the referendum. 63.5% voted to oppose the referendum, while 36.5% voted in favor.

Meanwhile, Slovenia allows civil union registration by same-sex couples since 2006. Also it allows them to adopt children of either partner’s previous marriage(s). Thirteen European Countries, such as France and Spain, and five non-European countries legally recognize same-sex marriages.



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November 20, 2015

Germaine Greer gives Cardiff University oration despite campaign to prevent lecture

Germaine Greer gives Cardiff University oration despite campaign to prevent lecture

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Friday, November 20, 2015

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Feminist author and academic Germaine Greer gave a lecture at Cardiff University on Wednesday despite a petition with over 3,000 signatures calling for its cancellation.

Cquote1.svg I feel like the words Germaine Greer has spouted in recent years has no place in our movement Cquote2.svg

—Emily Cotterill, LGBTQ rights activist

Australian Greer gave the Hayden Ellis Lecture entitled “Women and Power: The Lessons of the 20th Century” under security with uniformed police officers and university security guards. The lecture covered equal pay for women, and Emmeline Pankhurst and the Suffragettes.

Ms Greer had been criticised by LGBTQ rights activists for comments made about transgender reality television star Caitlyn Jenner, and her belief that ‘post-operative’ trans women aren’t ‘real women’. The women’s officer of the Cardiff University Student Union called for cancelling the lecture in a Change.org petition which has received over 3,000 signatures. “I’m 76,” Greer said in a BBC Newsnight interview, “I don’t want to go down there and be screamed at and have things thrown at me.” However, ultimately she did give the lecture.

The Independent reported a group of around two dozen protestors outside the lecture. LGBTQ rights activist Emily Cotterill, who was at the protest, said she believed transphobia had no place in modern feminism. “I feel like the words Germaine Greer has spouted in recent years has no place in our movement”, Ms Cotterill said.



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November 12, 2015

Tasmanian man denied next-of-kin status to late same-sex partner

Tasmanian man denied next-of-kin status to late same-sex partner

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Tasmanian man was denied next-of-kin status to his same-sex partner following the partner’s suicide in their Hobart home earlier in the year.

Ben Jago and his late partner Nathan Lunson had been in a relationship for 5 years when Mr Lunson took his own life in January after struggling with mental illness for many years.

The couple had de facto civil partnership status under Australian law, giving unmarried couples almost the same legal status as married ones, and the Tasmanian Relationship Act guarantees equal protection under that state’s laws.

Despite these legal rights, Mr Jago said his relationship wasn’t acknowledged by Police or the Coroner.

“Several hours after his death I was interviewed by the police who told me his mother would be recognised as next-of-kin instead of me, and that she would be given custody of his body,” Mr Jago wrote in The Launceston Examiner. “I was distraught, disoriented, and overwhelmed,” he said.

In the same article, Mr Jago said that Mr Lunson had been estranged from his family in Ulverstone in rural Victoria. Mr Lunson’s family ignored his wishes to be cremated in Hobart, and Mr Jago said he had only found out the date and location of his partner’s funeral through word of mouth.

Cquote1.svg I was distraught, disoriented, and overwhelmed. Cquote2.svg

—Ben Jago

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Mr Jago was told by the State Coroner that he would have to register the relationship with the Tasmanian government and the Office of Births, Deaths and Marriages for these rights. “When I contacted that office I was told both parties had to agree to registering the union which was now impossible,” he said.

National director of Australian Marriage Equality Rodney Croome told The Sydney Morning Herald that he believes current marriage legislation in Australia allows for officials to treat LGBT people as if they have no spousal rights. “As long as the Marriage Act says same-sex relationships don’t matter, the existing legal rights of same-sex couples will be easier to disregard,” he said.

Tasmanian Police Commissioner Darren Hine told The Sydney Morning Herald that while determining next-of-kin can be legally complex, “sexuality is not a consideration”.

According to SameSame.com.au, Mr Jago has lodged a complaint with the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commission against the State Coroner and Police Force for the denial of his legal rights.



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nothing” after my partner died]” — SameSame.com.au, November 8, 2015

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October 25, 2015

Cardiff student union calls for cancellation of lecture by \’transmisogynistic\’ Germaine Greer

Cardiff student union calls for cancellation of lecture by ‘transmisogynistic’ Germaine Greer

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Cardiff University student union has called for the cancelling of a November lecture by feminist author and academic Germaine Greer, following comments about transgender star Caitlyn Jenner and other trans women that they have labelled ‘transmisogynistic’.

Image: Photo by user Walnut Whippet on flickr; cropped slightly by Daniel Case.

In an online petition, women’s officer Rachael Melhuish asserts that Greer “…has demonstrated time and time again her misogynistic views towards trans women, including continually misgendering trans women and denying the existence of transphobia altogether.”

The petition adds that while debate should be encouraged in universities, Greer’s ‘problematic’ views of trans people, especially trans women were dangerous.

According to The Guardian, in an interview on BBC2’s Newsnight Greer said that Jenner had stolen the limelight from other women in the Kardashian family.

“It seems to me that what was going on there was that he/she [sic] wanted the limelight that the other… members of the family were enjoying and has conquered it, just like that,” Greer said.

According to SameSame.com.au, Greer defended her previous statements denying that trans women were ‘real women’.

Greer stated that she believes she is being pressured not to talk about trans people because of her belief that ‘post-operative’ trans women are not women. “I’m not saying that people should not be allowed to go through that [gender reassignment] procedure,” Greer said.

Greer clarified her position by stating that “It happens to be an opinion, it’s not a prohibition.”

This is not the first instance where Greer’s statements about trans people has come under criticism.

In 2012, New Zealand Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) advocacy group Queer Avengers ”glitter bombed’ Greer at a book signing in Wellington. According to SameSame.com.au, the group said at the time: “transphobic feminism is so 20th Century. It wasn’t okay then and it’s not okay now.”



Sources[]

This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

Cardiff student union calls for cancellation of lecture by Germaine Greer

Cardiff student union calls for cancellation of lecture by Germaine Greer

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Cardiff University student union has called for the cancelling of a November lecture by feminist author and academic Germaine Greer, following comments about transgender star Caitlyn Jenner and other trans women that they have labelled ‘transmisogynistic‘.

Image: Photo by user Walnut Whippet on flickr; cropped slightly by Daniel Case.

In an online petition, women’s officer Rachael Melhuish asserts that Greer “…has demonstrated time and time again her misogynistic views towards trans women, including continually misgendering trans women and denying the existence of transphobia altogether.”

The petition adds that while debate should be encouraged in universities, Greer’s ‘problematic’ views of trans people, especially trans women were dangerous.

Cquote1.svg It happens to be an opinion, it’s not a prohibition. Cquote2.svg

Germaine Greer

According to The Guardian, in an interview on BBC2’s Newsnight Greer said that Jenner had stolen the limelight from other women in the Kardashian family.

“It seems to me that what was going on there was that he/she [sic] wanted the limelight that the other… members of the family were enjoying and has conquered it, just like that,” Greer said.

According to SameSame.com.au, Greer defended her previous statements denying that trans women were ‘real women’.

Greer stated that she believes she is being pressured not to talk about trans people because of her belief that ‘post-operative’ trans women are not women. “I’m not saying that people should not be allowed to go through that [gender reassignment] procedure,” Greer said.

Greer clarified her position by stating that “It happens to be an opinion, it’s not a prohibition.”

This is not the first instance where Greer’s statements about trans people has come under criticism.

In 2012, New Zealand Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) advocacy group Queer Avengers ‘glitter bombed‘ Greer at a book signing in Wellington. According to SameSame.com.au, the group said at the time: “transphobic feminism is so 20th Century. It wasn’t okay then and it’s not okay now.”



Sources

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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.
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