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Dark Cloud Of Trump Victory Had Rainbow-Colored Linings

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LGBT Candidates Made History Nov. 8

There is no sugarcoating the fact that the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States on Nov. 8 was a disaster, both for the LGBT movement and for the country as a whole.

The potential danger of a Trump presidency is augmented by the fact that Republicans maintained control of both houses of Congress, though Democrats did cut slightly the majorities held by the GOP in each.

Yet in many ways, the election was less a “change election,” as Trump partisans claim, than it was a status quo election. After all, the large majority of incumbents running for House and Senate were re-elected.

Trump not only did not receive a mandate to erode LGBT rights (or for any other policy position), but he also failed to receive even a plurality of the popular vote, much less a majority. When all the votes are counted, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is expected to have received more than 2,000,000 votes than Trump.

The new Republican mantra echoed this week by Sen. Ted Cruz, among others, that Trump won “overwhelmingly” is a lie that must be denounced every time it is uttered.

Moreover, it is useful to remember that this election brought, in addition to heartbreaking losses, some significant successes as well.

Not only were the anti-gay North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (apparently) and the seven-term anti-gay New Jersey Congressman Scott Garrett (definitely) defeated by LGBT allies, but a number of the newly elected senators, such as Kamala Harris of California, Chris van Hollen of Maryland, Tammy Duckworth of Illinois and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire are strong allies who put LGBT rights at the very center of their campaigns.

In addition, although we did not add any new members to the openly LGBT Congressional caucus, many LGBT candidates for other offices won. The Victory Fund, an organization devoted to electing openly LGBT candidates at local, state, and federal levels, reports that 87 of the 135 candidates the organization endorsed won their races.

Victory Fund President Aisha C. Moodie-Mills expressed her disappointment with the presidential election, remarking that “The devastating results hit the LGBT community particularly hard because we are unique in spanning all the demographic groups targeted by the president-elect throughout the campaign.” Still, she observed, the election also provided some “rays of light.”

For example, the 2016 election saw the first openly LGBT person elected governor and all six openly LGBT members of the House handily re-elected.

Kate Brown, who had previously served as Majority Leader of the Oregon State Senate and as Secretary of State, became governor of Oregon in February 2015, when she succeeded John Kitzhaber, who resigned in the midst of a corruption scandal. On Nov. 8, she was elected governor in her own right. Her victory makes her the first openly LGBT person elected governor of a U.S. state.

Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado crushed his Republican opponent to win re-election to the seat he won in 2008, when he became the first openly gay man elected to Congress as a freshman. (When he and his partner Marlon Reis announced the birth of their son in 2011, Polis became the first openly gay father to serve in Congress.)

Amassing 64% of the vote, Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island easily won re-election to the seat he first won in 2010.

Rep. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin coasted to victory with almost 70 percent of the vote to retain the seat he won in 2012, when he succeeded Tammy Baldwin in the seat she vacated to run for the U.S. Senate.

Upstate New York Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, running in a competitive district, defeated his Republican challenger 51 percent to 41 percent to retain the seat he won in 2012.

Rep. Mark Takano, who became the first openly LGBT person of color to serve in Congress when he won California’s newly created 41st Congressional District in 2012, easily retained his seat.

In Arizona, bisexual Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, who won her seat in 2012 in a bitter, nail-biter of a race, coasted to re-election in 2016.

Among other highlights of the 2016 election include some notable triumphs by newly elected LGBT candidates.

In Gwinnett County, Georgia, a 31-year-old political newcomer, Sam Park, upset a well-funded three-term Republican state representative to become the first openly gay man elected to the state Legislature. He will join three lesbian lawmakers in the Legislature.

In Denver, Leslie Herod won her race for the Colorado House of Representatives to become Colorado’s first African-American LGBT elected official. She explained her victory as a result of having built “a coalition of folks of all races, class, gender and sexual orientation.”

“They all came together to support me,” she said.

In Arizona, Daniel Hernandez won a seat in the state House of Representatives. Hernandez, who serves on the Sunnyside Unified District School Board, is credited with helping save the life of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords during the Jan. 8, 2011 shootings in Tucson. At the time he was a congressional intern accompanying Giffords at a constituent event when a gunman shot her and 18 other people. His medical training, quick thinking, and bravery on that day has earned him plaudits as an American hero.

In Florida, Carlos Guillermo Smith was elected to the state House, becoming the state’s first openly gay Latino legislator. He will represent the district that includes the University of Central Florida and the Pulse nightclub. Smith, a former legislative aide and a lobbyist for Equality Florida, defeated his opponent by a margin of 69 percent to 31 percent.

In Minnesota, activist Erin Maye Quade upset a favored Republican to win a seat in the state House of Representatives. The race turned ugly when remarks by Maye Quade’s opponent that disparaged “identity politics” were perceived as homophobic.

In Washington, Nicole Macri easily won Seattle’s “legacy seat“ in the state House of Representatives. The seat, which includes Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, has been held by an openly LGBT person for the last 29 years.

In a surprise victory in Houston, Democrat Kim Ogg decisively ousted the incumbent district attorney of Harris County.

But perhaps the most reassuring news we have received is the pledge from Sen. Charles Schumer, who will become the Senate minority leader in the new Congress.

In a letter published in The Advocate, Schumer reassured the LGBT community. “I will do all in my power to prevent any backsliding on hard-won rights and to push back against a national discourse that allows for anything less than a full measure of respect for all Americans and would-be Americans.”

He said: “I will not forget what happened at Stonewall or what happened at Pulse — or any of the countless physical assaults, emotional taunts, and bullying endured by homosexual fellow citizens over the generations. I will not forget North Carolina’s passage of House Bill 2 or the trickle-down of hateful rhetoric inspired by these laws that causes children to take their own lives rather than continue to face the torment of bullies at school. I will not forget the 24 transgender Americans murdered this year alone.”Â

He added: “I also won’t forget when West Point opened the doors of its historic chapel for its first same-sex wedding after President Obama repealed ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ I won’t forget Edie Windsor’s boundless joy when the Supreme Court handed down its decision to make marriage equality the law of the land. And I won’t forget my family, my friends, my colleagues, or the New Yorkers who depend on me to protect their constitutional rights.”

This resolve from the leader of a united Democratic caucus will make it far more difficult for those who would like to erode LGBT rights to succeed in the first two years of the Trump presidency.
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‘Makes Me Want to Throw Up’: Investor in New Trump ‘Truth’ Network Is Out Now That He Knows It’s a ‘Fake News Business’

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The launch of Donald Trump’s new social media company “TRUTH” has hit another bump in the road as some early key investors are pulling out after discovering he is one of the principals behind itwhich they were unaware of at the time they put money into the start-up.

As the New York Times reported, “The details of Mr. Trump’s latest partnership were vague. The statement he issued was reminiscent of the kind of claims he made about his business dealings in New York as a real estate developer. It was replete with high-dollar amounts and superlatives that could not be verified.”

According to a report from the Huff Post’s Ed Mazza, one hedge fund manager lashed out when he found out about Trump’s involvement.

As Mazza reports, “[Boaz] Weinstein’s Saba Capital had been a major investor in Digital World, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) formed for the purpose of acquiring another company. As is common in SPAC arrangements, investors put their cash in before the acquisition target was chosen. When Weinstein learned it would be with Trump’s firm, he bailed.”

“I knew that for Saba the right thing was to sell our entire stake of unrestricted shares, which we have now done. Many investors are grappling with hard questions about how to incorporate their values into their work. For us, this was not a close call,” he explained.

Another unnamed investor, who reportedly held a 10 percent stake in the company, was considerably more graphic when talking about being taken in by Trump’s latest venture and he “sold everything as soon as he could,” reports Mazza.

“The idea that I would help [Trump] build out a fake news business called Truth makes me want to throw up,” they said.

You can read more here.

 

Image by U.S. Dept. of State via Flickr

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‘Act of War’: Trump Blasted for ‘Chilling’ Statement Calling Election an ‘Insurrection’

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Donald Trump, the twice-impeached former president, on Thursday issued what is being called a “chilling” statement on the election and the insurrection he incited.

“The insurrection took place on November 3, Election Day. January 6 was the Protest!” Trump said in a statement released Thursday afternoon.

Former Republican Congressman Joe Walsh simply and clearly calls it an “act of war.”

U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) during debate on the House floor has “repeatedly” been “calling on Republicans to denounce the Trump statement,” according to reporter Jamie Dupree.

“All my colleagues were elected on November 3,” McGovern said. “If you believe that Election Day was an insurrection, then your election results are illegitimate.”

McGovern is not the only one to blast the Trump statement:

Some journalists are also slamming the former president’s latest remarks.

S.V. Dáte, the White House correspondent at HuffPost weighed in, saying, “Donald Trump tried to overthrow American democracy after he lost his election by 7 million votes, but nearly a year later, he’s still lying. About all of it.”

Washington Post national political reporter Felicia Sonmez called it a “chilling statement … that makes clear his stance on peaceful democracy vs. violent insurrection.”

Washington Post White House bureau chief Ashley Parker pointed to the statement and said: “In which Trump’s shamelessness continues to be his political super power.”

ProPublica Senior Reporter Peter Elkind says: “This is the position of the widely embraced leader of the GOP. Republicans all behind that?”

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Trump’s New Social Media Site ‘Hacked’ Just Hours After Announcement

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Donald Trump announced Wednesday night he is launching TRUTH Social, a new social media site next year to fight “Big Tech,” because “We live in a world where the Taliban has a huge presence on Twitter, yet your favorite American President has been silenced.”

Within hours that brand new site, in a pre-launch state, was “hacked.”

“Trump announced he was launching a new media company, Trump Media & Technology Group, and its ‘Truth Social’ app,” Newsweek reports. “The ‘Truth Social’ app will begin a beta launch for ‘invited guests’ in November, with a nationwide rollout planned for early 2022, according to a press release.”

The Washington Post’s tech reporter, Drew Harwell, was hard at work late Wednesday night, revealing that accounts for Donald Trump and Mike Pence were either created by those who are not them, or those accounts were vulnerable and hacked.

The Daily Dot’s tech writer says he is the one who created the Donald J. Trump account:

Apparently Trump’s TRUTH agents were able to cut access to the vulnerable site:

 

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