YPP Network Description

The MacArthur Research Network on Youth and Participatory Politics (YPP) formed out of recognition that youth are critical to the future of democracy and that the digital age is introducing technological changes that are impacting how youth develop into informed, engaged, and effective actors.

  • Towards a Book

    by Howard Gardner

    As readers of this blog are aware, we have for seven years been carrying out an ambitious national study of higher education. For the last year and a half, we have been busy—analyzing data, writing dozens of blogs, giving occasional talks. We believe that we could write hundreds of blogs, scores of articles, several books—but life is short, and we want to get the most important messages out, efficiently and effectively.
    Toward that end, we have had good conversations with our wonderful team of researchers and also with friends and advisers. A recent conversation with colleague Andrew (Andy) Delbanco crystallized our conundrum—What to do and how to do it?
    Drawing on decades of writing fine books and powerful articles, Andy said, “You can’t really progress unless you answer two questions: What is the story/narrative that you want to tell? And to whom do you want to tell it—who is the audience?”
    Paradoxically, we have been doing this for some time—without quite realizing it. But when in the past we had in effect followed Andy’s advice, we had done so for specific audiences with clear parameters. To use the most vivid example, in January 2019, Howard gave a set of three lectures at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, his home institution. Of course, he knew the audience: friends, colleagues, and students. Howard could presuppose some interest in the topic, or at least in his perspective on it. He also knew he had approximately three hours spread over a week, plus another hour or so for questions and answers. (Wendy was present throughout and answered some of the most challenging questions.)
    The lecture series—however it came off to others—broke down into three sessions: 1) What we did and how we did it: 2) What we found; and 3) What it means. This approach has worked well enough that, despite various nuances, both of us have used it in subsequent presentations to various audiences.
    However, over the last year, two facets have changed. First of all, we found that once one reports a social science finding, audiences can almost invariably explain the result—indeed, explain it away. So instead, of beginning with results, we instead begin with questions, and, as appropriate, ask the audience to anticipate what we found. For example, we ask: What’s the biggest issue on campuses? What books do individuals value? What do various constituents think about the purpose of college? Seeking to answer these questions, audiences learn how far from the mark they typically are; this state of affairs increases their attention and, with luck, their respect for what we have accomplished.
    Second (and this is why we have avoided high-stakes presentations, or interviews with the media), our initial impressions have not always been borne out by more careful analysis of the data. Accordingly, we have now changed—or at least nuanced—some of the previous headlines from the study.
    So returning to the two questions posed by Andy Delbanco, here are our current answers:
    The story: There are many problems with, and complaints about, higher education in the United States. There are also admirable aspects. More than seven years ago, we decided to act in the manner of physicians—looking for the various ailments among the various constituencies. Specifically, the constituencies that we interviewed across a wide range of public and private campuses included incoming students, graduating students, faculty, senior administrators, parents, alumni/ae and job recruiters—a total of over 2000 interviews! We sought to determine the pressures and symptoms across these constituencies as clearly and reliably as possible. We then identified and studied evidence-based therapies for those ailments—with the goal of helping higher education become a healthier and more valuable (and more valued) sector of our society.
    The audience: We begin with the goal of addressing individuals most involved in higher education. This includes the range of constituencies whom we interviewed—from students and faculty to administrators and job recruiters—as well as any other individuals or groups that have a stake in higher education (which would include legislators at the local, state, and national levels). If we are fortunate, and the narrative that we create is powerful and effective, we also aspire to reach the broader reading public—often called the “intelligent lay reader”—as well as those who read or listen to popular accounts of books that aspire to “change the conversation.”
    Of course, on their own, these words sound either grandiose (who do Wendy and Howard think they are?) or self-evident (every research-based book has a narrative structure—ranging from subtle to sledge hammer). The proof will be in our execution—which we hope will be drafted in the next year and published shortly thereafter.
    © 2019 Wendy Fischman and Howard Gardner

  • Opinion: Let’s Talk About Race and the U.S. Women’s National Team

    by Youth Radio Interns

    As an obsessed fan who played soccer for over a decade, I’ve spent the summer closely following the Women’s World Cup, which wraps up this Sunday. But one thing has been preventing me from rooting for the United States: the team has so little racial diversity.

    Only a small handful of the USWNT are not white.

    While the rest of the U.S. has been caught up in World Cup mania — buying jerseys with “Morgan” emblazoned across the back or obsessively tracking President Donald Trump’s tweets directed at Megan Rapinoe — I’ve been watching from the fringes. 

    Don’t get me wrong: I have so much respect for the USWNT. They’ve won four Olympic Gold Medals and three World Cup Championships. On top of that, they’re fighting for equal pay, showing that women in every field (literal and figurative) face gender discrimination.

    I grew up playing soccer with girls of every racial and ethnic background. Sometimes I’d play against teams that spoke exclusively Spanish. My own team had a huge jumble of black, Latina, Asian, white, and mixed-race players.

    A photo of my soccer team from 2013 shows how diverse youth soccer can be in certain parts of the country. (Photo courtesy of Sierra Fang-Horvath)

    When I tuned into the highly-anticipated U.S. vs. France game last Friday, I was shocked and thought to myself: only one black player — defender Crystal Dunn — in the starting line up?

    Granted, I played soccer in California, which is one of the most diverse states in the country. I don’t expect teams from other parts of the U.S. to look the way mine did. But the U.S. is 60.4% white. That means two out of every five Americans is not white — the USWNT is far from that diverse.

    The lack of diversity is even more noticeable when my friends and I compared the USWNT with other national teams at the World Cup, especially host France, knocked out by the U.S. in the quarterfinals.

    The USWNT faced off against France in the Women’s World Cup quarterfinals, and the diversity differences were glaring. (Photo: Naomi Baker – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

    The issue of diversity in U.S. soccer — not just on the USWNT, but at every level of the sport — is starting to grab more people’s attention. In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, Dunn talks about how expensive soccer can be: “You’re traveling to all these tournaments, the equipment is expensive, [and] being part of a club you have to pay all these fees. That’s where we kind of have it backwards in the U.S.” Dunn said she was oftentimes the only black player on her team. And in 2018, former USWNT goalkeeper Hope Solo called soccer a “rich, white kid sport.”

    There’s more diversity on the #USWNT — but there’s still a long way to go, @elindsay08 explains:https://t.co/Y638kO8x6t pic.twitter.com/oURDkfKhZM— The Equalizer (@EqualizerSoccer) July 2, 2019

    This question of access and affordability strikes at the heart of the issue. I know the lack of diversity in the USWNT can’t be blamed on the players. My parents shelled out more than $3,000 a year to pay for my travel, soccer gear, and coaches, all so that I could play the sport I love. And even though I played in a league that had a lot of racial diversity, we all came from families who could afford the expenses.

    When the U.S was playing against Thailand, I was texting one of my former teammates, and she said something that really stuck with me: “U.S. soccer [has] literally terrible structure! You know all those players are mostly suburban soccer girls and they’re all super good but they’re not the only soccer talent out there!”

    Our experience playing youth soccer has shown us that there is a lot of other talent out there. Right now, the USWNT only represents a small — and very white — slice.
    The post Opinion: Let’s Talk About Race and the U.S. Women’s National Team appeared first on YR Media.

  • Putting The “I” in Independence

    by Merk

    Have you ever gone somewhere you haven’t been in a while and it just feels … different? Like when you go back to your elementary school and notice all the small changes, replay a bunch of memories in your head, and know that being there will never be the same?

    That’s how I feel where I am now — in my parents’ house, the same home I grew up in and just returned to after living solo for a year.

    My folks live several miles north of Seattle and have been for my whole life (22 years and counting). Last year in 2018, I graduated from college and scored a part-time podcasting gig on the East Coast. That meant I had to leave the state known for its apples and head to THE BIG Apple: New York City.

    I remember the initial excitement of not having to follow a curfew. I loved not having to hear the passive-aggressive comments my mom made about my outfits or the reminders from my dad to mow the lawn on Sundays. Even paying my own rent gave me satisfaction that I no longer needed to depend on anyone else for the way I lived. But despite feeling free, I don’t think I truly understood the magnitude of my freedom until the last 48 hours before moving back home.

    I quit the job that brought me to NYC because I wanted to focus all my energy toward co-hosting Adult ISH. With less of a reason to stay (and an itch to move to California to really give the #westcoastbestcoast a chance), I figured living with my parents again would be my best option if I wanted to save up for a few months. So, I started packing, bought my plane ticket, and made my round of goodbyes. 

    On my last full day, I stood on a subway platform feeling bittersweet about leaving the city where I grew so much in my journey as an independent person. I even posted about it on my Snapchat story.

    Standing on the Essex Street subway platform all up in my feels, self-actualizing, and trying not to mess up my lashes on June 14, 2019. (Photo: Merk Nguyen)

    I had an early flight back home but didn’t get much sleep because my mind was racing with thoughts.

    Will I constantly have to prove to my parents that I’m responsible? Will they say anything that would prevent me from doing the things I actually want to do? Will I be able to stand up to them? I feared that last one the most. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to find a balance between respecting my parents and respecting myself. By that, I mean knowing when to put my foot down and tending to my own needs before theirs.

    Since I’ve been home for two weeks, I surprisingly haven’t felt pressures I used to feel from my parents. They don’t tell me to do the laundry or request that I be home by midnight. And while they still ask if I want to attend events with them, I no longer feel the obligation to go. There are also tiny details of the house that’ve changed (like how my mom’s rearranged furniture or used my bedroom as her second closet) but the biggest change I’ve felt is from within myself. 

    I haven’t straight up asked my folks why they’re treating me differently now. But reflecting on everything, I think it’s because I’ve shown them I can make it on my own. If that’s not two Vietnamese immigrants achieving their American Dream, then I don’t know what is. What I do know is that I’m still me — just not the same exact person I was when I left.

    While living away was one of the most freeing experiences in my young adult life so far, showing to my family (and myself) that I’m capable of establishing my identity as an independent person, under their roof, gives me a fresh sense of freedom that makes me truly proud.
    The post Putting The “I” in Independence appeared first on YR Media.

  • P-Lo Breaks Down the Making of ‘Somethin’ Light’

    by Yared Gebru

    Hyphy, as coined by rapper Keak Da Sneak, is a musical movement that dominated the Bay Area in the early to mid-2000s. Although the spirit remains within the region, the movement tapered off towards the end of the decade. P-Lo is one of the few acts spearheading the spiritual movement within the Bay Area. His discography is chock-full of hyphy inspired slaps, just listen to “Put Me On Something” featuring E-40 or “Same Squad.”

    Outside of providing guest verses for his friends like G-Eazy and ALLBLACK, “Somethin’ Light” is P-Lo’s first solo offering since his full-length project “PRIME” was released last July. “Somethin’ Light” contains hella mainey high-pitched singing and ballad-type hooks enveloped in hyphy and slick verses. Here, P-Lo juxtaposed love-ballads with next-generation hyphy sounds. We talked to P-Lo and he breaks down how each of the songs came together on his latest offering, “Somethin’ Light.”

    Sam: Walk us through the creation of ‘Hella Fun.’ Jay Ant’s hook is so infectious, how’d that song come about?

    P-Lo: We start with ‘Hella Fun,’ to me, it’s like the evolution of Bay Area music. I think it has some elements from the Bay and it has elements that bring something new and something to elevate it. I feel like someone like Jay Ant, who is a forward-mind in Bay Area music, to be on it is special. It was cool because the song had the beat for a second. And me and my manager, David Ali, went to go grab some food and I was just like thinking about the beat like on the way to go get some food, so we ate. And when I came back to the studio, Jay Ant happened to be there. I was just like, ‘Yo J, you think you could sing something.’ I had pulled up the beat and he just started saying the hook. I guess it was an idea he already had written, and I was like, ‘Bruh what if you just started singing it hella mainey.’ Like lowkey on some high strung crazy shit. That’s how the song came about. Not only as an artist but as a producer, I want to push the sonics of Bay music.

    S: ‘Luh U’ is a catchy romantic ballad, tell us how that record came about. 

    P: ‘Luh U’ is a song written about a friend. Written about someone I found special. All of it’s really cool. There’s different versions of that song. There was a part of the song where it’s just literally — I played those chords and built the beat out after I recorded the actual lyrics. Just catching the initial feeling from those chords is super important. On the song, it [those chords] gives you the romantic kind of lovey-dovey mood. Yeah. Then I ended up getting Bosco to do the top box on it, and Bosco is a super legend. He’s famously known for playing the talk box on Kanye’s ‘The New Workout Plan.’ They also sampled that for J. Cole’s ‘Work Out.’ [He starts singing workout] Since then, he’s made cleaner shit. But he’s that dude, Bosco, is an alien. He’s from out of this world. He’s super dope.

    S: What does it mean to have Bosco on a record? 

    P:  Ah man, it was an honor because he has been around everyone. From John Legend to Kanye to Drake and T-Pain, everyone. He was actually telling me, like ‘Yo man, I’ve been around Drake and I been around T-pain, Kanye, John Legend, before they were even who they were.’ and he was like, ‘Yeah man, I got a good feeling about you.’ I feel like someone who’s like been around those people and been around those people that are creative geniuses, you know what I’m saying. Just for him to be like, ‘I have a good feeling about you,’ is a rite of passage — an affirmation. So yeah I know that I’m just in the right place and that’s where I was supposed to be at that time.

    S: How did you and Bosco meet?

    P: My engineer was like, ‘Yeah I know the dude that plays talk box’ because I’ve been looking for somebody who does it. My engineer, Miggy, was like ‘Yeah, I know somebody, he’s some OG dude named Bosco.’ So I followed bro on the gram hella long ago. I ended up hitting him up on the gram ‘Yo, you in L.A. anytime soon? I wanna get in with you and do some stuff.’

    S: ‘Type Beat.’ What were you trying to prove with that record?

    P: Oh bro, this is the record that really got a story for sure. So one of my patnas, I’ve known him for years, I’m not even gonna call him out but he’s one of my great friends. I live in L.A., so he visits me every once in a while. We were just catching up, whatever, alright. He played a song and I’m asked, ‘Who did this beat?’ And he said, ‘I don’t know bruh. I found it on YouTube. I just searched P-Lo type beats because you wasn’t giving me any beats. So I went on YouTube and found one.’ I was like damn, that’s fucked up. I was damn near taken aback. I was like, ‘Damn bruh, you just gonna go around me?’ But I wasn’t even mad like damn this is a really good type beat because the song slaps.

    Maya: That’s crazy because you have a sound that defined that you can go on YouTube and search ‘P-Lo type beat.’ You’re at that point; you’ve created a whole lane.

    P: I mean, that’s an honor itself.

    S: So what happened after that?

    P: After I found out the song slaps. I just went to the studio and I started making a beat and rapping, ‘This ain’t no type beat.’ I just started going but that’s where the whole inspiration for the song came from. The feeling that I got from that moment. I asked myself how do I capture that and put that into the song. Songs are just like moments that happen in your life and you’ve got to somehow like capture it and put it into song form. 

    S: I guess, piggybacking off that, what does ‘Somethin’ Light’ mean to you?

    P: Yeah, I haven’t released anything since last July. As far as project-wise, I just wanted to give people ‘Somethin’ Light’ before the actual thing comes. Something light is, you know, it’s not too forced. Just something light, something for you, it’s a light blessing. It’s not too overbearing, just something light.

    The post P-Lo Breaks Down the Making of ‘Somethin’ Light’ appeared first on YR Media.

  • Video: Cultural Appropriation or Appreciation?

    by Chaz H

    Cornrows, box braids, and dreadlocks are nothing new, but when non-Black celebrities adopt these hairstyles they are seen as trendsetters. Are some celebrities cultural appropriating or appreciating? Watch Kiarra and Nyge discuss this heated topic.
    The post Video: Cultural Appropriation or Appreciation? appeared first on YR Media.

  • 5 Things You Missed in Music Business News

    by Money Maka

    Things are constantly changing in the music industry landscape and it’s important to stay on top of trends and news updates, especially as an independent artist. We’ve got you covered with a weekly recap of the top stories you need to know.

    Drake Out of YMCMB Deal

    After years of being stuck in his YMCMB deal, Drake is finally free! He will still be under Republic Records, but from here on out his label will be listed as Frozen Moments/Republic instead of YMCMB/Republic. Drake hinted at the cutting of ties on his last album “Scorpion” with the lyrics, “soon as this album drop I’m out of the deal.”

    Spotify Demands Refunds from Publishers and Writers, Claims They Overpaid Royalties

    According to a statement made to Music Business Worldwide by a Spotify representative, Spotify overpaid most publishers in 2018. Spotify claims they’re owed millions from royalty payments made to many songwriters and publishers, and they want their bandz back. Apparently, they aren’t seeking payment immediately… let’s see how this one plays out.

    Labels and Artists Expected to Lose Up to $300M to Fake Streams

    According to new reports from Rolling Stone, labels and artists will lose about $300 million in “potential revenue” to fake streaming. Hopeless Records founder Louis Posen recalls peeping suspicious activity after a song that the label released received 35,000 streams a day for three straight days back-to-back.  Many in the music industry are concerned with streams potentially coming from fake users/bots, as it’s becoming a growing problem.

    “Old Town Road” Producer Young Kio Signs Pub Deal with UMPG

    Producer Young Kio, who was responsible for producing the hit single “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X has decided to sign a deal with Universal Music Publishing Group. The producer uploaded a picture to Instagram posted up with UMPG VP Walter Jones, widely known producer Cash Money AP, Def Jam EVP Steven Victor, and attorney Jess Rosen.

    Tupac Estate and Others Suing UMG over Lost Masters in 2008 Fire

    Last Friday a lawsuit was filed against Universal Music Group on behalf of Tupac Shakur over a 2008 fire that destroyed about 500,000 master recordings located in the company’s archive vaults. Pac’s estate is hoping to receive half of any settlement cash and insurance payments collected by UMG. UMG’s insurance claims and legal proceedings are valued at $150 million according to the lawsuit. The complaint states, “UMG did not share any of its recoveries with Plaintiffs, the artists whose life works were destroyed in the fire…Plaintiffs are entitled to 50% of those proceeds and payments.”
    The post 5 Things You Missed in Music Business News appeared first on YR Media.

  • Immigration Activist Sara Mora Talks Trump and Social Media

    by Youth Radio Interns

    Sara Mora has always been an activist. At only ten years old, she was engaged in her local church — later becoming a leader at her high school, where she sparked conversations about the importance of female role models.

    But in 2017, when the Trump Administration decided to discontinue the DACA program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), she hit a breaking point. Mora decided “to come out publicly as undocumented” — a decision that would soon make her a renowned figure in the immigrant community.

    Now 22, Mora is a prominent community organizer and social media influencer. Besides her work with Make the Road New Jersey, a political advocacy organization, she serves as co-president for the Women’s March Youth branch, overseeing hundreds of chapters across the United States. In 2017, she met with senators Cory Booker and Bob Menendez to discuss the DACA recision.

    Mora uses Twitter and Instagram to run social media campaigns on immigrant rights — the latter of which has cultivated a following of over 155,000. She appeared at the Teen Vogue Summit 2018, and has been featured on Telemundo, CNN and Elle Magazine.

    YR Media’s James Wellemeyer talked with Mora to discuss her advocacy work, social media activism and the 2020 presidential race.

    This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

    James Wellemeyer: You’re an immigration rights activist. How did you get into this work? What motivates you to stay in the work?Sara Mora: I got into this work because, being undocumented, I saw that the best way for me to fight for my family and community was by actively educating myself and fighting for dignity and respect. The work is nowhere near done.

    JW: When you began your work as an activist, were you ever concerned about speaking out given your DACA status?

    SM: Speaking out was always a risk. When you grow up feeling like you have to speak out for the sake and health of the people you love, you don’t think twice about taking risks.

    JW: When you hear Trump make announcements on immigration policy now, what is your reaction? Are you still frustrated and upset, or is it a feeling of numbness?SM: Trump’s announcements are like that sound of nails scratching the wall. It’s all levels of cringe — but he is also just one person, part of a larger system of oppression. I am numb, yet I am motivated to continue to fight a system that does not take breaks.

    JW: You recently took a trip to the southern border. What did that trip mean to you, and what did you learn?SM: This trip was re-energizing in the most traumatic way. It was a reminder that immigration reform is needed at all levels, because comprehensive immigration reform is needed for those entering the country and those within the system. I learned about the unity and power that exists near the border.

    JW: A lot of your work is done through social media. How powerful is social media for your work?

    SM: While it seems that a lot of my work is on social media, it isn’t. The community that I have online is only a small reflection of the work I’ve done as an organizer on the ground. Having this platform allows me to amplify resources, messages of hope and truly create a community of changemakers online.

    JW: What campaigns are you working on now?

    SM: I am launching a campaign/movement online and in real life, #WhoIsOur2020, which will be a national conversation on presidential candidates and on what we need for presidential candidates to pay close attention to and address.
    The post Immigration Activist Sara Mora Talks Trump and Social Media appeared first on YR Media.

  • Getting My Driver’s License Came with More Burden than Freedom

    by Youth Radio Interns

    I was stoked when I got my driver’s license. When I passed the test, I sent my friends a Snapchat message, “Road trip anyone? #Licensed!” But then the responsibility of driving hit me.

    I had a vision for my life with a car. I know it sounds cheesy, but I pictured my friends and I with the windows rolled down, music blasting, and hands in the air.

    Then my mom left town for a week! No mom and a car — sounds like the best thing to have ever happened to me, right? Wrong.

    I became a chauffeur for my friends, and when we were out partying, I wound up as the designated driver. I had to pay for gas. And worst of all , I got a one hundred and ten dollar parking ticket. I sat in the driver’s seat and cried, before moving the car.

    It’s funny, how fast this privilege became a burden. For years, I fantasized about the freedom of driving. But now, the responsibilities of it are weighing me down. And I’m beginning to wonder if the rest of adulthood will be similarly bittersweet.
    The post Getting My Driver’s License Came with More Burden than Freedom appeared first on YR Media.

  • Five Highlights from Second Round of the Democratic Debate

    by Nancy Deville

    Wow. Just wow. 

    Wednesday night’s debate was tame compared to Thursday’s round two. With more star-power than the previous night, Thursday’s line-up pitted key players against one another.

    Senator Kamala Harris dominated the stage, while Senator Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden were shockingly docile. 

    While similar issues were discussed, including climate change, immigration, and health care, our five key takeaways are very different from night one of the Democratic debate. 

    Harris was far-and-away the star of Thursday night

    Harris emerged as Thursday’s obvious superstar. Entering the debate as the fourth-best polling candidate, Harris was looking for a much-needed boost, and she might’ve gotten it.

    She appeared calm and prepared amidst yelling and interruptions. When cross-stage arguing reached a fever pitch, Harris firmly interjected, “America does not want to witness a food fight, they want to know how we are going to put food on their table.” Viewers at home may have cringed, but the Miami audience loved it.

    Harris also engaged in a contentious spat with Biden, criticizing him for his past support of anti-integration bills (see #2). In return, Biden called her out for her history as a criminal prosecutor.

    It’s still unclear whether Harris can catch up to the frontrunners, but she definitely gained some momentum.

    Another surprising star to emerge: activist, humanitarian, and entrepreneur Marianne Williamson, who was on basically nobody’s radar before Thursday. Her off-beat performance made her blow up on social media. Perhaps it was her melodramatic closing remarks, or because she called the New Zealand prime minister “girlfriend,” but she’s now an internet sensation.

    If the 2016 election taught us anything, it’s that we should expect the unexpected. So don’t write her off just yet. 

    Biden stumbled as fellow candidates took aim

    Entering the debates, Biden was polling the best among all Democratic candidates, making him a target. And his fellow candidates did not pull punches, forcing the former VP onto the defensive.

    The night’s most dramatic moment came when Harris directly addressed Biden, calling for him to renounce his past opposition to busing, a desegregation practice that allowed black students to commute to once all-white schools. Harris herself was a beneficiary of busing in Berkeley, California, and she’s already gone viral with her quote, “There was a little girl in California who was bussed to school. That little girl was me.”

    Other candidates also made overt and subtle jabs at Biden. Sanders jumped at an opportunity to highlight his personal history of voting against the Iraq War in 2003, while Biden voted for it. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, whose platform centers on women’s rights, denounced the Hyde Amendment, from which Biden only just recently withdrew his support. The 1977 provision blocks federal funding for abortions. Although Gillibrand never mentioned Biden specifically, she was clearly trying to contrast her support of reproductive justice with Biden’s spotty past on the topic.

    No beating around the bush: Biden and Sanders are old

    Four decades separate the oldest candidates — Biden (age 76) and Sanders (age 77) — from the youngest ones.

    Congressman Eric Swalwell, 38, one of the youngest candidates, repeatedly pressed Biden and Sanders to “pass the torch to a new generation of Americans.” Both he and Harris emphasized that by the time Biden had entered politics, they were still just students.

    Meanwhile, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is 37 and the youngest candidate, said, “Help me deliver [the] new generation to Washington before it’s too late.”

    The generational debate has plagued the Democratic Party for a while, and it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out in 2020.

    President Donald Trump’s name was thrown around a lot more on Thursday night

    Trump was rarely mentioned during the first debate, but Thursday night was filled with denouncements of the administration.

    Biden basically used his entire closing statement to call out Trump, saying that the President has “ripped out… the soul of this nation.”

    Sanders also passionately criticized Trump, calling the president a “phony,” a “pathological liar” and a “racist.” Meanwhile, other candidates condemned the administration’s practice of family separation at the border, which Williamson called “state-sponsored crimes.” Other criticisms targeted Trump’s tax policy, failure to condemn neo-Nazis and withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accords.

    Race, practically undiscussed on Wednesday, played a prominent role in Thursday’s debate

    Harris and Biden’s spat centered on race, but that wasn’t all.

    Buttigieg was asked about the recent fatal shooting of Eric Logan, a black man, killed by a police officer in South Bend, Indiana, where Buttigieg is mayor. The officer’s body camera was turned off. Buttigieg recently took a break from campaigning to address the tragedy, but residents have raised concerns about how he’s handled it.

    The mayor has been polling low with black voters, which is a problem considering African Americans make up a significant portion of Democratic voters.

    Swalwell then called on Buttigieg to fire the police chief for failing to enforce body camera rules. Buttigieg responded with a withering glare but stayed silent.

    Meanwhile, Williamson added her own two cents, saying that “the Democratic Party should be on the side of reparations for slavery” to address deeply-seated racism and injustice.

    That concludes our five key takeaways from Thursday night’s debate, which differed from Wednesday night in both content and tone. We’re 220 days from the first Democratic primary (a caucus, technically, in Iowa) and 493 days away from Election Day 2020. 

    Between now and then, things are bound to get even more dramatic.
    The post Five Highlights from Second Round of the Democratic Debate appeared first on YR Media.

  • Five Takeaways from the First Night of the Democratic Debate

    by Nancy Deville

    As we get ready for night two of the Democratic debate, some of us are still reeling from Wednesday’s round one. 

    From Beto O’Rourke and Cory Booker’s choppy Spanish to Amy Klobuchar’s reference to “my Uncle Dick and his deer stand” when speaking on gun control … the first night had it all.

    In case you were too busy to watch the debate, or just didn’t have the emotional energy to commit, here are five key takeaways from the first night of the Democratic debate.

    Warren was center-stage, literally and metaphorically. But did you expect these two underdogs to shine?

    Entering the debate, Senator Elizabeth Warren was polling the best among Wednesday’s candidates — but still behind former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders, who go on Thursday. So it’s no shocker that she got lots of speaking time.

    But two candidates surprisingly stood out: former Housing Secretary under the Obama administration Julián Castro and Hawaiian Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. 

    Google searches about Castro spiked 2,400% during the debate. He spoke passionately about numerous issues, and his statement about reproductive justice endeared him to progressives. He also had some spicy one-liners — among them: “On January 20, 2021, we’ll say adios to Donald Trump.” 

    Meanwhile, interest in Gabbard surged nationally. She’s controversial among Democrats, some of whom criticize her for meeting with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and for her past anti-LGBTQ stances. Her history will undoubtedly reemerge later on, as will those of other candidates (including Biden’s abortion stances and Senator Kamala Harris’s history as San Francisco District Attorney).

    Dems Divided on Health Care

    Warren raised her hand high when the candidates were asked, “Who here would abolish their private health insurance in favor of a government-run plan?” She was one of 15 co-sponsors for the Medicare-for-All Act of 2019. This plan would abolish private health insurance in exchange for a single-payer system. This idea is popular among young voters: most Gen Z/Millennial voters support providing Medicare for every American, according to data from Hill.TV and the HarrisX polling company.

    Meanwhile, others prefer a more incremental approach. Many prefer offering a public option to those who can’t afford private insurance while allowing those who like their private plans to keep them. As former Congressman John Delaney said, “I think we should be the party that keeps what’s working and fixes what’s broken.” 

    The health care discussion spiraled into a shouting match. The tension shows just how divided Dems are when it comes to fixing health care.

    Bipartisanship Will be a Dilemma for the Nominee

    No one really had an answer for the question “Do you have a plan to deal with Mitch McConnell …  if he’s still sitting there as the Senate Majority Leader?” This will be a problem further down the line, especially given how partisan politics has become. Whoever the Democratic nominee is, they’ll face a huge decision if elected president: should they lean into the Democratic Party and pass bills on a party basis, further fueling partisanship? Or should they try to reach across the aisle and work in a bipartisan manner, risking blowback from liberal supporters?

    To Impeach or not to Impeach…

    There was a question about impeachment, but surprisingly, no one had much to say. Former Congressman Beto O’Rourke stated, “We must begin impeachment now so that we have the facts and the truth.” Delaney countered that, “This is not the number-one issue the American people ask us about.” Few other candidates added anything.

    This comes at a time when over half of Americans support a continued investigation or some form of punitive action against Trump based on the Mueller report, though not necessarily via impeachment. As campaigning continues, candidates better formulate clearer stances on impeachment. Voters are divided on it, and it’s a topic that’s not going away.

    Gun control unites the candidates

    In a show of unity, the candidates agreed that comprehensive gun reform is needed. This is an issue that strikes at the heart of young voters, especially as youth activism for gun reform has spiked following the Parkland shooting.

    Many — including Warren and O’Rourke — cited common sense gun reforms they would support as president. Their proposals included banning assault weapons (“weapons of war,” as O’Rourke described them), conducting background checks, and initiating buy-back programs.

    Booker also spoke passionately about gun control, tying in his experiences as mayor of Newark, New Jersey. He also criticized inaction on the issue, saying, “I’m tired of hearing people, all they have to offer is thoughts and prayers.”

    That wraps up our five key takeaways from the first night of the Democratic debates. And remember: we get to do it all over again tonight! Grab some popcorn… the saga continues.

    How to Watch 

    TV: NBC, MSNBC, and Telemundo

    Time: 9-11 p.m. EST

    Online: nbcnews.com, NBC app, Telemundo, NBC News’ Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook, 

    Candidates for tonight’s debate:

    Joe Biden, Michael Bennet, Pete Buttigieg, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, John Hickenlooper, Bernie Sanders, Eric Swalwell, Marianne Williamson, and Andrew Yang.

    The post Five Takeaways from the First Night of the Democratic Debate appeared first on YR Media.