In the News

Chiraag Bains, a former prosecutor and civil rights attorney at the U.S. Justice Department, said that because criminal codes are so complicated, prosecutors have an incredible amount of flexibility in deciding whether and how to bring a case. Prosecutors normally consider the culpability of the individual, the severity of the offense and what kind of penalty is necessary to deter future misconduct.

Home ownership is a major contributing factor to the racial wealth gap, as Demos, a left-of-center think tank, previously argued in a 2015 report. Seventy-three percent of white households own their home, Demos found; in sharp contrast, home ownership drops to 45 percent among black households.

| |

Instead of putting money towards changing these systems — by funding efforts to make college free across the country or by making it easier for low-income students to get access to decent public K-12 education, for example — wealthy donors tend to funnel their money into causes that keep the system they benefited from in place, Giridharadas said.

| |

“There’s plenty of risk embedded in taking on a student loan,” says Mark Huelsman, an associate director at the think-tank Demos. “Student debt can impact the ability to buy a house, impact the ability to save for retirement, or save for a rainy day or a crisis.”

Sure there are reasons not to borrow, but Huelsman says, on an individual level — if the difference between a small loan is finishing college or not finishing — that’s a different story.

Last week, ballot initiatives to improve the functioning of democracy fared very well. In Florida — a state divided nearly equally between right and left — more than 64 percent of voters approved restoring the franchise to 1.4 million people with felony convictions. In Colorado, Michigan and Missouri, measures to reduce gerrymandering passed. In Maryland, Michigan and Nevada, measures to simplify voter registration passed.

Meanwhile, the overall cost of net tuition, fees, room and board rose 69 percent at public universities between 1997-98 and last year, even after being adjusted for inflation, according to the College Board. That’s a period during which the Census Bureau reports that median household earnings fell.

| |

The Campaign Legal Center, MacArthur Justice Center and left-leaning think tank Demos on Tuesday filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio requesting an emergency order from the judge to be directed to officials statewide that would require officers to notify detainees of their rights to submit an absentee ballot.

In the lead up to this year’s midterm elections on Nov. 6 we’ve heard about how young adults, women and people of color are running for office in record numbers.

| |

“For some 40 years now, the Supreme Court has been issuing decisions that make it difficult to regulate [money in politics],” Chiraag Bains, director of legal strategies at Demos, told WhoWhatWhy. “Citizens United is the crowning achievement of that effort.”

Connie Razza, vice president of policy and research at progressive think tank Demos, argues that Democrats need to use policy ideas to directly counter the president’s identity-based appeal.

“If progressives are silent on race, then the other side gets to try and reframe it so that they can take what is clearly not in the interest of working and middle-class white folks and make it palatable because they’re vilifying people of color,” Razza said.

|