“We don't want Disneyland to train our military. . .” House speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). ___________________________________________________
Defense bill victim of culture wars
Normally, we like to open the Alert with an uplifting thought to inspire action for the coming week. This week, however, we could not resist an over-the-top tweet by U.S. House leader
Kevin McCarthy on the GOP's latest effort to focus attention on an "anti-woke" agenda --- this time at the expense of the military and their families. The normally bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) fell victim to the culture wars last week as House Republicans piled on amendments eliminating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs, limiting access to abortion, banning transgender care, nixing the use of affirmative action in admissions to military academies, banning books and prohibiting the teaching of critical race theory at these academies, and blocking the Pentagon's implementation of executive orders on climate change.
(Graphic: Art of Drawing/Alamy) The bill passed 219 to 210 largely along partisan lines, and its "anti-woke" provisions are expected to tank its passage in the Senate. We can look forward to more jockeying and delays. At stake is $880+ billion in defense spending, including pay increases for service members, child care, and other supports for their families. The right-wing amendments are designed to roll back efforts to enlist and support an increasingly diverse military, where people of color currently make up 43 percent of active duty service members. The provisions also aim to counter the Pentagon's current LGBTQ policies, and supports for reproductive health care. Take a few minutes this week to contact Florida Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio, and urge them to oppose this "anti-woke" defense bill. NDAA is a chance to be bipartisan and support service members and their families, not to mention modernize and fund the country's defense. Although this seems like a futile exercise, it is important that these two hear from ALL of their constituents, not just the vocal minority who see the culture wars as the path to victory in 2024.
Beaches Dems Host Mayor Deegan
Beaches Democratic Club will host Mayor Donna Deegan at its monthly meeting on Tuesday, July 18 at 6:30 p.m. at the Adele Grage Culture Center. Deegan, fresh from her inauguration as Jacksonville first female mayor, is expected to unveil her first city budget, today (Monday, July 17). Attend and learn more about her priorities and vision for the city. You Must RSVP for this meeting here.
Pew Report: Turn-out Matters
A detailed analysis of voting behavior in recent elections finds that partisan differences in turnout, rather than vote switching between parties, accounted for GOP gains during the mid-terms that gave them control of the U.S. House. According to a new study by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, relatively small shares of voters defected from their partisan affiliation or 2020 presidential vote when they voted in the mid-terms. Among those who voted for both president in 2020 and for a House representative in 2022, just 6% crossed party lines between elections or voted for third-party candidates in either election.
Similarly, the vast majority of those who voted in both 2018 and 2022 had consistent party preferences across the two elections: 95% of those who voted for a Republican candidate in 2018, and 92% of those who voted for a Democrat, voted for a House candidate of the same party four years later. Interestingly, although they made up a much smaller proportion of the vote, party defections and split-ticket voting tended to favor Democrats and were critical to key Senate and gubernatorial races in 2022. Also of note, Democrats performed better among Independents in the mid-terms, according to the national study. Of note, outcomes in Florida were particularly impacted by low turnout among Democrats compared to GOP voters. So if you ever wonder whether all the canvassing, texting, phone calling, postcarding, and other GOTV efforts are worth it --- they are and these activities will be critical again in 2024. A fun fact: if you voted in the 2018, 2020, and 2022 elections, you are among an elite 37% of the electorate! While 70% of voters cast a ballot in one of the three elections, far fewer voted in all of them. Keep up the good work and while you are thinking about voting, renew your Vote-by-Mail request now. It has to be done annually!
Mark your Calendars!
BAM, along with a host of community partners, is hosting a Beaches Back-to-School Book Bash on Saturday, August 19th from 11:30 am to 2 pm at Donner Park. The event will feature book giveaways and free school supplies, as well as food, speakers, and kids' activities. We need volunteers to help with planning, as well as coordinating and supervising the day of the event. It's a great opportunity to support reading and public education in our Beach community! Email BAM at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help.
Jacksonville NOW and the Women of Color Cultural Foundation are hosting an exclusive showing of Plan C, the award-winning documentary about an inspiring grassroots effort to protect access to abortion on Thursday, August 10 at WJCT Studios. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the documentary will air at 6:30 p.m. Suggested donation is $20. Net proceeds will go to Floridians Protecting Freedom and local outreach activities for the abortion ballot initiative. Get more information and reserve your spot here.
Black Lives Matter: 10 years later
This month marks the 10th anniversary of the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Despite its initial success in stimulating a racial reckoning across America, it is sad and sobering to see how quickly the movement was weaponized and used to advance an agenda diametrically opposed to its goals. We need to look no further than the recent mayoral campaign in Jacksonville. The good news is this tactic was not successful in our local election. The other good news is that Black Lives Matter is actively working in Jacksonville to engage, register and activate under-represented voters. Find out more about their activities and connect with the local group here.