Mattis dismisses reports


Staff & Wire Reports



Defense Secretary Jim Mattis responds to a reporter's question during a meeting with and Philippine Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana at the Pentagon, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis responds to a reporter's question during a meeting with and Philippine Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana at the Pentagon, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)


Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Philippine Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana stand at attention during a ceremony welcoming Lorenzana to the Pentagon, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)


Mattis dismissive of news reports of tension with Trump

By ROBERT BURNS

AP National Security Writer

Wednesday, September 19

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Tuesday dismissed recent news reports that tensions between him and President Donald Trump point to his exit soon.

Asked by a reporter whether such reports should be taken seriously, he replied, “No. I wouldn’t take it seriously at all. It’s like most of those kind of things in this town” that he said are fanned by baseless rumor.

“Somebody cooks up a headline. They then call to a normally chatty class of people, they find a couple of other things to put in, they add the rumor, somebody else on the other coast starts writing the same thing — next thing you know you’ve got a story,” he told a small group of reporters on the steps of the Pentagon as he awaited the arrival of his Philippine counterpart.

Several news organizations have reported that Trump has become weary of Mattis, a retired Marine general who was one of his first Cabinet selections. He is seen by many as a steadying influence on Trump in the face of sometimes impulsive moves on national security issues.

It’s well known that Mattis has privately disagreed with Trump on numerous issues, including the president’s decision to end U.S. participation in the Iran nuclear deal and move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. But Mattis is widely supported in Congress and the military and prevailed in an administration argument in 2017 over whether to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

The New York Times reported on Saturday that Trump has “soured” on Mattis, and that the president is considering whether he wants someone running the Pentagon who would be more vocally supportive. The newspaper also reported that Mattis is becoming weary of pushing back against various Trump proposals.

In his comments Tuesday, Mattis did not refer to any specific story. He said he is not considering quitting and indicated he is not worried about the stories.

“It’ll die down,” he said. “How many times have we been through this now, just since I’ve been here? It’ll die down soon and the people who started the rumor will be allowed to write the next rumor, too.”

The Times report followed release of a book by Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward about the Trump White House in which the author says Mattis told close associates after a National Security Council meeting this year that the president acted like — and had the understanding of — “a fifth- or sixth-grader.”

Mattis quickly disputed the Woodward account, saying in a written statement on Sept. 4, “The contemptuous words about the president attributed to me in Woodward’s book were never uttered by me or in my presence.”

Asked Tuesday whether he thinks about leaving, Mattis said, “I think about doing my job each day.”

Fugitive sought in Trump threats suspected in truck theft

Sunday, September 16

HAZLETON, Pa. (AP) — Federal authorities suspect a man accused of having threatened President Donald Trump and other officials may have stolen a truck overnight from the same northeastern Pennsylvania business he is believed to have burglarized earlier this month.

U.S. Marshals, the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service have been searching for 27-year-old Shawn Christy of McAdoo for more than two months, saying he has threatened to use “full lethal force on any law enforcement officer that tries to detain me.”

State police in Luzerne County said the truck was reported stolen at 12:30 a.m. Sunday from the Skitco Iron Works in Hazle Township, from which Christy is believed to have stolen food, money and a shotgun.

“Federal agents are considering Christy a suspect in this vehicle theft because Christy is believed to have burglarized the same business on Sept. 5th and was known to still be in the immediate area,” the U.S. Marshals said in a statement Sunday.

A federal warrant was issued June 19 for Christy in relation to Facebook threats against Northampton County’s district attorney, alleging that he posted “I promise I’ll put a bullet in your head as soon as I put one in the head of President Donald J. Trump.”

Christy is also wanted in Pennsylvania on arrest warrants for burglary, probation violation, and failure to appear for an aggravated assault case.

The Maple Shade, New Jersey native’s parents said Thursday that Christy sent a Facebook message to them saying he “was slowed down a bit” after he may have broken his knee during a Maryland “getaway.” The message ends: “Stay safe, I have a mission to complete.”

Federal authorities have asked for help for the public, offering a reward of up to $20,000, but warn that Christy should be considered armed and dangerous.

Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault

Delays should never be used to discredit accusers like Christine Blasey Ford.

By Jill Richardson | September 18, 2018

When Christine Blasey Ford came forward to report that President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, sexually assaulted her in 1982, you could cue the response: Why didn’t she speak out then? Why didn’t she go to the police?

There’s a long, long list of reasons why a woman wouldn’t speak out even now, and no doubt it was even more difficult in the pre-Anita Hill world of 1982.

I can’t speak for everyone who has faced sexual assault, but I can speak for myself.

1. At first, I didn’t know that what happened to me was a crime. My first assault occurred in college, 18 years ago. He lived in my dorm. I knew what rape was and didn’t think I’d experienced that. But I didn’t know that sexual violations without consent that aren’t sexual intercourse are also a crime.

2. I couldn’t talk about it. Even now, I can’t describe what happened to my therapist in any detail. What happened involved body parts that are too private to discuss with those closest to me — let alone the police, a judge, or a newspaper. Talking about a past trauma can be re-traumatizing. Some of us cope by staying silent.

3. I blamed myself. I physically resisted for a while and then I froze and it happened. At the time, I told myself that if I really didn’t want it, I would’ve kept fighting. I didn’t know that freezing is a normal human response in a traumatic situation.

4. Afterward, I wanted him to be my boyfriend. My therapist said this was my way of trying to improve the situation. If he was my boyfriend, then what happened could be reinterpreted as meaningful. It’s a perverse response, but it’s apparently not uncommon.

5. I know someone who reported a rape to the police and had a traumatic experience of testifying in court and getting cross-examined by her rapist’s lawyer in front of her rapist. And then the rapist was found innocent. I don’t want that to happen to me.

6. Now, 18 years later, the man who assaulted me is an instructor of neurology at a prominent children’s hospital. He did a terrible thing to me, once, nearly two decades ago. Should I attempt to ruin his career because of it?

The answer to that is: I don’t know. If I thought he was still assaulting women and my speaking out would contribute to making him stop, I would in a heartbeat.

What he did to me 18 years ago still hurts so much that I would only revisit that assault and expose him publicly if there was a very clear purpose to doing so.

I expect if I did attempt to expose him, I’d be attacked. People would say that it wasn’t an assault because I wanted him to be my boyfriend afterward. They would say I wanted it because I froze and stopped fighting. There are good odds I wouldn’t be believed.

I’ll tell you this: Like Christine Blasey Ford, if the man who assaulted me was nominated for the U.S. Supreme Court, I’d speak up. I don’t think a man who violates a woman that way is qualified to rule on cases of violence against women, or any other aspect of their well-being. I don’t think he could be impartial.

When a victim of sexual crimes comes forward, even if it’s decades after the crime took place, we shouldn’t use her past silence against her as “evidence” to discredit her. That urge to discredit is exactly why it takes so long for some to come forward in the first place.

OtherWords columnist Jill Richardson is pursuing a PhD in sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She lives in San Diego. Distributed by OtherWords.org.

Ohio Man Indicted for Murder of Wife

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine

September 19, 2018

(LOGAN, Ohio)— Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Hocking County Prosecutor Benjamin E. Fickel announced today that a Logan man has been indicted on charges related to the murder of his wife.

A Hocking County grand jury indicted George Cooper, 50, on charges of aggravated murder and murder today. Both charges carry a gun specification.

Cooper is accused of shooting Mary Cooper, 37, multiple times in their Logan home earlier this month.

“There is evidence that leads us to believe that this homicide was premeditated,” said Attorney General DeWine. “We intend to seek justice for the victim and her children, who will tragically grow up without their mother.”

The Hocking County Prosecutor’s Office is prosecuting the case with assistance from Attorney General DeWine’s Special Prosecutions Section.

“Our Victim’s Services Program is working with the family members to provide them with services to help them through this tragic event,” said Prosecutor Fickel. “I would like to also thank Attorney General Mike DeWine and all law enforcement involved for working diligently to ensure that justice will prevail.”

The case was investigated by the Logan Police Department with assistance from the Hocking County Sheriff’s Office, Meigs County Sheriff’s Office, and Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

Cooper is currently being held in the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail on $2 million bond.

Opinion: El Paso del Norte, a Cross-Border Community

By Matthew Rooney and William McKenzie

InsideSources.com

EL PASO, Texas — If you’re looking for a way forward on border issues, international trade, immigration flows and even cultural identity, you may want to start with El Paso del Norte. This community of 2.3 million people includes the nearly 700,000 residents of El Paso, Texas, the 1.5 million residents of Ciudad Juarez across the Rio Grande in Chihuahua, Mexico, and more than 100,000 residents of Las Cruces, New Mexico. The region, one of the world’s largest binational metropolitan areas, points to the challenges and potential benefits of the two nations’ close relationship.

To the naked eye, especially when flying into El Paso or standing on one of the mountains that majestically line these communities, it is almost impossible to determine where one country stops and the other starts. Of course, when you are standing next to it, the line of demarcation between the United States and Mexico is clear enough: fences, bridges, a culvert, and the river itself signal where one country starts and the other ends.

Still, bonds of family, community and history have transcended the border for generations. They even predate it, since El Paso was a trade and government center of the Spanish empire long before today’s U.S.-Mexico border was drawn.

Nearly 25 million people cross annually by car or the footbridge that links the two downtowns. They shop, eat and visit families and friends. Some are students commuting to the University of Texas at El Paso. Last fall, about 500 students traveled daily from Juarez to UTEP.

Trading as a way of life

These human ties drive and are driven by the region’s embrace of trade, particularly the North American Free Trade Agreement. Everyone recognizes their own path to prosperity, as well as their community’s path, depends upon goods and services regularly and easily crossing the border. The Dallas Federal Reserve Bank projects total trade in El Paso to be up 5.2 percent from a year earlier — a faster pace than the national economy.

Trading relationships existed before NAFTA, but the treaty has affected each side of the border. Take the expansion of Juarez’s maquiladora factories. They specialize in manufacturing such products as auto parts, medical devices and electronics. And employment in Juarez’s maquiladoras has grown 56 percent since 2010.

True, El Paso’s low-wage jobs took a hit as the maquilas grew. But El Paso has rebounded and focused on how its residents could provide financial and business services for Juarez’s factories. UTEP’s Hunt Institute for Global Competitiveness reports that El Paso’s service sector increased its share of the city’s total employment from 53.8 percent in 1990 to 68.0 percent in 2014.

But will we be smart enough to modernize this trading pact and keep it as a force for economic growth? The United States and Mexico have announced “agreement in principle” to increase the amount of North American content that an auto would have to include to qualify for duty-free access to the U.S. market. It is tempting to see this as a win for manufacturing employment, but it does tend to raise the cost of manufacturing in the United States and Mexico — and economics teaches us that when you raise the cost of something, you get less of it.

“If you want to learn about immigration, this is where you learn,” El Paso Mayor Dee Margo says, and he has a point.

Consider those Juarez students attending UTEP. They acquire skills that allow them to work across borders. So do many of UTEP’s 23,000 students. They are being equipped to work across nations and cultures, which is a selling point to companies that make their mark globally.

In the internet age, working across borders doesn’t necessarily mean moving across borders. The two countries’ labor markets are tightly synchronized even without cross-border movement of workers. So whether we agree on a reform of our immigration laws or not — and regardless of the final outcome of the NAFTA renegotiation — we should remember that wages and employment in Mexico are linked to wages and employment in our country, whether we like it or not.

Yes, the region faces challenges. Juarez’s drug-related violence has resumed, with more than 350 homicides in June and July alone. Fortunately, El Paso remains a very safe city, with just 17 homicides in 2016, a rate half the national average. Still, the region’s cross-border community is keenly aware of the human and economic cost of Juarez’s violent crime. Americans and Mexicans alike know the situation is untenable.

A more subtle challenge to growth in the region is the differing federal, state and local laws that may put off companies from creating jobs there, a point that the Hunt Institute is trying to address. “A market cannot function without a common regulatory framework,” says Patrick Schaefer, the Hunt Institute’s executive director.

Yet as you visit El Paso, you see what former U.S. ambassador to Mexico James Jones describes. There is the United States. There is Mexico. And there is the border. They work together. Both nations have plenty to learn from their shared border region how an integrated regional economy can produce prosperity and community. When you have those, you have a future.

ABOUT THE WRITERS

Matthew Rooney is managing director of the George W. Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative. William McKenzie is editorial director of the George W. Bush Institute. They wrote this essay for “The Catalyst: A Journal of Ideas from the Bush Institute.” This is distributed by InsideSources.com.

Carter, Abrams: Georgians from 2 eras chase rural votes

By BILL BARROW

Associated Press

Wednesday, September 19

PLAINS, Ga. (AP) — Georgia’s past and its potential future converged in the tiny town of Plains, as former President Jimmy Carter campaigned Tuesday alongside Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Stacey Abrams.

Despite their starkly different biographies — he the 93-year-old peanut farmer who entered Deep South politics amid Jim Crow segregation, she the 44-year-old Atlanta attorney who’d be the first black female governor in U.S. history — the pair of Democratic politicians cited a shared interest in reversing the slide in rural health care services.

And Abrams hopes that emphasis can net her just enough improvement in heavily Republican rural Georgia to boost her chances of an upset over her GOP challenger, Brian Kemp, in a state that looks to be on the cusp of becoming a two-party battleground.

“Rosalynn and I are fully supporting Stacey for governor, and I don’t want anybody to be doubtful about that,” Carter said, standing in front of his town’s medical clinic, down the block from his 1976 presidential campaign headquarters.

“One of the main reasons is our deep concern about medical care in Georgia,” Carter continued.

He and Abrams joined in a recitation of dire health care statistics as they chided Georgia’s current Republican leadership, including Kemp, for opposing expansion of the Medicaid government insurance program for poor and low-income workers.

Kemp retorted Tuesday that he also prioritizes rural health care, and said Abrams wants to “double down on big government programs that cost too much and fail to deliver.”

More than a half dozen community hospitals have closed in Georgia in recent years under the weight of treating uninsured patients — treatments required by federal law. Abrams said that of Georgia’s 159 counties, 79 have no obstetrician-gynecologist, 64 have no pediatrician, 76 are without a psychologist, 52 counties are without social workers, and nine counties have no physician of any kind. She said the largest provider of mental health services in the state is the prison system.

Carter said the situation “grieves me very much.”

The answer, he and Abrams said, is accepting the federal government’s offer of expanded Medicaid coverage, a deal that would require Georgia to put up 10 cents of every new Medicaid dollar spent, with the federal treasury covering the rest. Georgia, under outgoing Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, is among the 17 states to reject expansion, calling it too expensive.

Kemp takes the same posture, arguing that economic development and job growth will expand access to private insurance.

Abrams retorted Tuesday that economic development simply doesn’t work that way in rural areas. “When we talk about bringing health care back to the South, back to rural Georgia, we’re talking about creating opportunities for jobs in construction, jobs for pharmacies, jobs for cafe owners, jobs for gas station attendants,” she said. “If we want to attract bigger jobs and bigger companies for rural Georgia, there has to be medical access available.”

Yet those dynamics that Abrams emphasized Tuesday highlight her political challenge and the generations-long shift in Georgia voting habits since Carter’s political prime: White voters in rural and small-town Georgia align overwhelmingly with Republicans.

When Carter was elected governor, Georgia had 4.6 million residents, fewer than a million of them living in cities and almost 1.8 million (about 40 percent) of them in rural areas. The 2010 census counted the state’s rural residents at less than 2.5 million in an ever-growing state now estimated at 10.4 million people.

The Georgia of a previous generation gave Carter nearly 60 percent of the vote in both the Democratic primary runoff and the general election as he carefully navigated the racial politics of the era, campaigning for black votes but not explicitly eschewing segregationist Democrats until after he had won.

But white Georgians’ shift to Republicans proceeded quickly under President Ronald Reagan, the man who ousted Carter from the White House in 1980. Carter managed to win Georgia in 1980, but four years later Reagan won more than 125 counties as part of his national landslide. The Democratic nominee has won Georgia just once since.

Democrats are buoyed this year, though, by a continued demographic shift in favor of an even younger, more urban and nonwhite electorate.

But, Abrams said, she still wants to prove that her agenda can appeal “for all of rural Georgia.”

Follow Barrow on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BillBarrowAP .

The Conversation

Binge drinking and blackouts: Sobering truths about lost learning for college students

Author

Jamie Smolen

Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Florida

Disclosure statement

Jamie Smolen does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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University of Florida provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US.

Tens of thousands of college students nationwide will cheer for their football teams this weekend. Some of those who show up for the game after tailgate drinking may not remember the highlight touchdowns that they cheered so loudly for. Others may have trouble remembering even a rousing celebration of victory. Binge drinking, the leading type of alcohol misuse for college students, is the culprit. Drinking too much too fast can cause memory loss, sometimes called a blackout, erasing any recollection of an enjoyable life event.

What’s more, research is suggesting that binge drinking in the college brain can impair not only learning but memorizing. Deficiencies in both of these crucial neurocognitive processes would probably make studying very difficult, and far less productive. In such a case, maintaining a high academic standing might be impossible.

While many young people may euphemistically refer to binge drinking as “partying,” those of us who study addiction know that it is a serious health risk for young people. We have long known of the immediate risks from assault, death by motor vehicle and suicide linked to drinking. But the effects of binge drinking affect learning inside and outside the classroom and can have adverse effects on making successful transitions throughout life.

The ongoing battle of the college binge

Binge drinking is generally defined as drinking several drinks – four for women, five for men – within two hours and elevating the blood alcohol level to 0.08 or higher. It leads to the deaths of about 1,825 people between 18 and 24 each year and close to 700,000 assaults. About 40 percent of college students binge drink monthly.

Despite a lower frequency of alcohol use in young people compared to older adults, getting intoxicated is more prevalent, and binge drinking seems to be their favorite way to get there. In fact, as much as 90 percent of the alcohol consumed by young people occurs while binge drinking.

Binge drinking can have an immediate and neurotoxic effect on the still developing and susceptible college-age brain. And, the damage done by heavy drinking can worsen from one party to the next, harming the brain at an accelerating pace beyond what would be expected from chronic dependence on alcohol. When a heavy episode of drinking has ended, and the hangover has cleared, there is still a great concern about the neurological insults that can interfere with the accumulation of text book and classroom facts. It can result in neurocognitive deficits that are likely to cause serious academic problems. Beyond that, if a young vulnerable brain is subjected to four years of undergraduate partying, the development of maturational skill sets, necessary for a more successful shift into adulthood, may be impeded.

Further explanation of this may come from objective proof that young binge drinkers have a depletion of glutathione, an important antioxidant principally responsible for protecting the brain from the oxidative stress of free radicals. When depletion of glutathione occurs in the hippocampus, a part of the brain playing a major role in memory and learning, there is less of a neuroprotective effect which persists even during periods of abstinence between binges.

Throughout development, spanning decades, extensive and important changes occur in multiple areas of white and gray matter in the brain. Among these is the prefrontal cortex, a region governing executive functions. Any interference from alcohol during maturation can result in what amounts to “faulty wiring” with lifelong effects. The resulting altered brain functioning, even while sober, can set off the impulse to take risks with thrill-seeking behaviors. Affected teens and those in their 20s are more likely to have less regard for the danger that may result from seeking extreme and dangerous pleasures.

Repetitive binge drinking is also known to impair social functioning. Young people who binge drink typically are not developing useful interpersonal skills. And, binge drinking cannot help the brain to learn and evolve into consistently making well-informed decisions, an executive ability useful for the achievement of success and the happiness that would naturally follow.

A particularly dark side of bingeing: Blackouts

Another big worry for those of us who study and treat alcohol abuse is blackouts. During a blackout, there is a failure of the brain to transfer memory, or what is called encoding. The information of facts and events cannot be remembered and is blocked partially or completely.

E.M. Jellinek, credited as being the first to view alcoholism as a disease, first documented blackout drinking as an important indicator of alcoholism. Now, experts acknowledge how frequently it can occur even in healthy young adult drinkers. About 50 percent of college students who drink have experienced a blackout.

Someone in a blackout may appear normal while engaging in conversation and even appear to interact appropriately and yet not remember any of it. That is because of a disruption in activity of the hippocampus, which also interferes with the acquisition of new autobiographical memories. While the brain is caught in a process of rapidly forgetting, binge drinking can also functionally compromise the brain with uninhibited poor judgment. The consequences can be embarrassing, and worse, can include injuries, sexual assault, unsafe sex, drunk driving and police involvement after drinking.

Researchers have a lot more to learn about blackouts. For one thing, we do not yet understand why blackouts continue in some people even after someone reduces his or her binge drinking. Genetic factors could hold the answer.

Earlier drinking in young people may also be associated with the continuation of blackouts even if binges become less frequent. Explanations for this require more scientific study like that done in Australia by Daniel Hermens and Jim Lagopoulos on the neurological underpinnings of alcohol-induced blackouts. They were looking for biological markers associated with alcohol-related brain damage affecting the hippocampus.

The greater question is can neuroscience rely on these brain changes as biomarkers to better understand what may be predisposing teen binge drinkers to blacking out and the resulting memory deficiencies that are far more worrisome.

What has been a common, expected and celebrated relationship with alcohol for college students should continue to be viewed with great concern. Enough of the facts are in from neurobiological research to understand that alcohol has a substantial impact on the brain’s ability to transfer information into long-term memory. Binge drinking students experiencing blackouts could be compromising an opportunity to take advantage of a great education and perhaps diminish the probability of the success they anticipate.

Mainstream Media Outlets Counted the Left Out Way Too Soon

Progressive challengers are winning the battle of ideas in the Democratic Party — and more than a few primaries.

By Justin Anderson | September 19, 2018

Repeatedly throughout this election cycle, mainstream corporate media outlets have declared the insurgent left wing of the Democratic Party dead.

These insurgent candidates, often self-identified as democratic socialists, are exemplified by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, rising star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and groups like the Justice Democrats and the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).

All of these have campaigned hard for progressive primary candidates throughout the U.S. And corporate media outlets have again and again focused on their supposed inability to defeat Democratic incumbents.

For instance, following the August 7 primary defeats of high-profile progressive candidates Abdul El-Sayed (running for Michigan governor), Brent Welder (Kansas’ 2nd district) and Cori Bush (Missouri’s 1st district), outlets like the Washington Post, CNN, and the Wall Street Journal were quick to declare the Democratic Party’s left wing dead in the water.

“Down goes socialism,” declared Politico.

Despite these eager obituaries, there were plenty of wins for insurgent progressives in those same primaries.

James Thompson won in Kansas’ 4th district. Sarah Smith placed second in the top-two primary in Washington’s 9th district. And Rashida Tlaib handily won the nomination in Michigan’s 13th district, which will likely make her the first Palestinian-American woman in Congress.

The following week brought more victories.

Randy Bryce triumphed in Wisconsin’s 1st district, to contest the seat soon to be vacated by House Speaker Paul Ryan. Ilhan Omar, a Somali refugee, won in Minnesota’s 5th district.

Christine Hallquist won the Democratic gubernatorial primary in Vermont, making her the first trans woman nominated for a major political office. And Jahana Hayes won in Connecticut’s 5th district and is now expected to be the state’s first black woman in Congress.

In neighboring Massachusetts, Ayanna Pressley defeated a long-time Democratic incumbent in the state’s 7th district, likely making her that state’s first female African-American in Congress.

Finally, although the progressive Cynthia Nixon failed to unseat New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in September, progressive challengers toppled six right-wing Democrats in the state senate.

These wins made the premature obituaries look like wishful reporting. While, progressive challengers haven’t won every underdog primary race against well-funded centrists, the left is clearly winning the battle of ideas within the party.

Policies often referred to as “socialist” — such as Medicare for All, free college, student loan forgiveness, and jobs guarantees — are now expected to be litmus tests in the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries.

Countless hit pieces on the perceived dangers of socialism have appeared in virtually every mainstream publication. Yet “socialist” policies are becoming quite popular with voters: A recent Reuters poll showed that Medicare for All has support from 70 percent of the U.S. electorate, including 52 percent of Republicans. Another 60 percent of the electorate supports free college tuition.

A Gallup poll revealed further that 57 percent of Democrats have a positive view of socialism, compared to 47 percent who view capitalism favorably.

It’s not necessarily clear what “socialism” means to those who like it, with possibilities ranging from New Deal-style social programs to worker-controlled production. Still, it’s safe to say that there’s a growing political base to empower the working class and minorities against the rich.

Whether left-leaning Democrats fall flat in the midterms or not, their ideas have persuaded America that socialism is a legitimate and popular political movement, and will likely have a substantial voting bloc in the next Congress.

Justin Anderson is a contributor to FAIR.org, where an earlier version of this piece appeared. Distributed by OtherWords.org.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis responds to a reporter’s question during a meeting with and Philippine Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana at the Pentagon, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/09/web1_121395785-d82e4bb7b9374a119bef546c5ebf2935.jpgDefense Secretary Jim Mattis responds to a reporter’s question during a meeting with and Philippine Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana at the Pentagon, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Philippine Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana stand at attention during a ceremony welcoming Lorenzana to the Pentagon, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/09/web1_121395785-f5af558d875b4deeb502b512a67fe59a.jpgDefense Secretary Jim Mattis and Philippine Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana stand at attention during a ceremony welcoming Lorenzana to the Pentagon, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Staff & Wire Reports