Y’all, we made it through another year of this “presidency.” And a trump year is approximately 5,783 regular years, so that is really saying something. Yes, there were heartbreaks, disappointments, and new lows. But there were also victories and reasons to celebrate. And there were many more of those than most people would have predicted a year ago.
So as we move into 2019, let’s take some time to remember the amazing victories of 2018 and appreciate the strength of our movement as we move forward.
Long live the Resistance!
1. The Blue Wave
This year showed, once again, that we are the majority and we are motivated and organized
Democrat Doug Jones was sworn in today as Alabama’s newest U.S. senator, reducing the Republican advantage to 51-49 and giving his party more room to impede President Trump’s 2018 legislative agenda.
Jones is already playing an outsized role in Senate politics. His presence allows Democrats to block any Trump nominee, or any budget bill, by winning over just two Republicans. (If one Republican defects, Vice President Pence can break a tie.) Senator Republican aides privately conceded that Jones’s vote will make it nearly impossible to take another run at repealing the Affordable Care Act and may quiet talk of a major entitlement reform push this year.
Democrats won a Missouri special election on Tuesday for a state house seat in a district that President Donald Trump won in a landslide victory during the presidential election.
Since Trump’s inauguration, Democrats have flipped 35 contested seats, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee said in a statement
One reason that the results are especially scary for Republicans — Democrat Conor Lamb is the apparent winner1 in a district that President Trump won by 20 percentage points — is because it came on reasonably high turnout, the sort of turnout one might expect in this year’s midterms.
The high-turnout wins in Pennsylvania and Alabama ought to reassure Democrats — and worry Republicans — because there had previously seemed to be a pattern in which Democratic results were most impressive in low-turnout special elections.
Thus, Republicans have one less excuse for their string of really awful special election performances.
And there were signs of an enthusiasm gap even within Pennsylvania 18 on Tuesday night. According to the Cook Political Report’s David Wasserman, turnout in Democratic-leaning Allegheny County equaled 67 percent of presidential-year turnout, but voters turned out at only 60 percent of presidential levels in Republican-leaning Westmoreland County. That sort of turnout gap suggests that registered-voter polls could be underrating Democrats in this year’s midterms — and could turn a challenging year for Republicans into a catastrophic one.
The final votes are being counted from the 2018 election. They confirm that the Democrats crushed Republicans.Let’s start in the seat count. Republican Rep. David Valadao of California’s 21st District conceded on Thursday to Democrat T.J. Cox.Cox’s victory combined with other election results means that Democrats have picked up a net gain of 40 seats.As has oft been repeated, this is the largest Democratic House gain since 1974. It’s a larger gain than Democrats had in the wave elections of both 1982 and 2006.We can go back even further and see how unusual it is that Democrats picked up this many seats. If you go back all the way to first election of the post-World War II era (1946), there have only been three elections in which Democrats net gained more seats than they did in 2018. Put another way, this was the fourth best performance for Democrats in the 37 general House elections since President Donald Trump was born.Another way to judge an election is by how many votes each side wins. Democrats’ position in the national House popular vote is now reaching historical proportions.This year’s 8.6 point House popular vote win for the Democrats is the greatest on record for a minority party heading into an election. This dates all the way back to 1942, when the Clerk of the House started listing the House popular vote in its after-election statistics document. That is, the Democratic performance this year was better than the minority party’s in the previous 38 elections.
2. The Quiet Strength of the Judicial Branch
Huge news with Gorsuch giving Trump an immigration defeat!
Gorsuch was the tie breaking vote by joining all of the liberal justices in handing Trump and the conservative justices a defeat on immigration and deportation this morning. Case is Sessions v. Dimaya, 15-1498.
SCOTUS first heard this case in January 2017 but deadlocked when there were only 8 Justices because Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat had not yet been filled — because Senate Republicans would not even hold a hearing for Pres Obama’s nominee — Merrick Garland.
SCOTUS heard this case again after Justice Gorsuch was confirmed. Today, SCOTUS ruled against the Trump Administration in a 5-4 vote with Gorsuch voting with Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan .
The Court today ruled that part of a federal law that makes it easier to deport immigrants convicted of crimes is too vague.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday for the second time this month put restrictions on police searches of vehicles, ruling that officers unlawfully searched a stolen motorcycle parked on private property in Virginia because they did not have a court-approved warrant.
The Supreme Court on Friday put new restraints on law enforcement’s access to the ever-increasing amount of private information about Americans available in the digital age.
In the specific case before the court, the justices ruled that authorities generally must obtain a warrant to gain access to cell-tower records that can provide a virtual timeline and map of a person’s whereabouts.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote the 5 to 4 decision, in which he was joined by the court’s liberal members.
MINNEAPOLIS — Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. for the first time Tuesday addressed the recent bitter partisan fight over new Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh and the Supreme Court, seeking to “assure” an audience that the court will serve “one nation” and not “one party or one interest.”
Before being interviewed by a law professor at the University of Minnesota, Roberts told an audience of 2,700 that he wanted to speak to the “contentious events in Washington in recent weeks,” and to “emphasize how the judicial branch is, must be, very different.”
“I have great respect for our public officials; after all, they speak for the people, and that commands a certain degree of humility from those of us in the judicial branch, who do not.
“We do not speak for the people, but we speak for the Constitution.”
A federal judge on Friday denied President Trump’s request to stay a lawsuit alleging he is in violation of the Constitution by doing business with foreign governments, a decision that paves the way for plaintiffs to seek information from his business as it relates to his D.C. hotel.
This is the second civil case in which Trump’s business is now subject to discovery, after Trump agreed Tuesday to produce portions of his calendar from 2007 and 2008 in a defamation lawsuit brought by former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos.
The Supreme Court refused Friday to delay an upcoming trial in which a number of states and civil rights organizations allege that there was an improper political motive in Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.
The trial is scheduled for next week in New York. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch would have granted the Trump administration’s request to delay the trial.
A federal judge on Friday granted CNN’s request for a court order that would temporarily reinstate network correspondent Jim Acosta’s White House press pass, which had been suspended indefinitely in the wake of a fiery exchange between the reporter and President Donald Trump a week earlier.
The ruling from Judge Timothy Kelly, who was appointed by Trump, was the first victory for CNN in the ongoing case.
“I want to thank all of my colleagues in the press who supported us this week, and I want to thank the judge for the decision he made today,” Acosta said outside U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.
“Let’s get back to work!” he added.
3. Even with Both Houses and the White House, We Beat Republicans on Many Fronts
President Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday evening to disband a White House commission investigating claims of voter fraud, ending an inquiry started after he falsely claimed that unauthorized votes had cost him the popular vote in the presidential election.
Mr. Trump cast blame for the commission’s demise on the refusal by several states to turn over voter information to the group. He said he made the decision despite “substantial evidence of voter fraud,” but experts generally agree such fraud is rare.
This is great news! Remember how freaked out we all were when he set this up? Remember all the calls we made on this? All the pressure we put on our states to not comply? IT WORKED!!! WE DID THIS!!!
Most GOP lawmakers aren’t interested in another failed effort to gut the health law in an election year.
Republicans are giving up on their years-long dream of repealing Obamacare.
Though the GOP still controls both chambers of Congress and maintains the ability to jam through a repeal-and-replace bill via a simple majority, there are no discussions of doing so here at House and Senate Republicans’ joint retreat at The Greenbrier resort. Republicans doubt they can even pass a budget providing for the powerful party-line “reconciliation” procedure used to pass tax reform last year, much less take on the politically perilous task of rewriting health care laws in an election year.
Republicans on Capitol Hill are giving up on what might be their last best chance to overhaul Medicare, just as they’re losing their leading champion on the issue, House Speaker Paul Ryan.
The quiet surrender on a subject that’s energized GOP fiscal hawks for the better part of a decade comes as new projections show Medicare’s trust fund in its worst shape since the recession, partly because of Republicans’ other chief obsession: their sweeping tax cuts.
That’s left conservatives unsure how to agitate for a politically unpopular Medicare overhaul — one that President Donald Trump detests — and raises new questions about who will take up the entitlement reform mantle as Ryan heads for the exits.
“It takes two houses of Congress and a president to want to do that,” said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), lamenting the party’s apathy over Medicare. “No matter who’s been in the House or who’s been speaker, we have not been able to get entitlement reform done.”
Last year, Sinclair Broadcast Group, the nation’s largest operator of local TV stations and a leading voice for conservative views, made a $3.9 billion bid to expand its presence by agreeing to buy Tribune Media. The consolidation would have created a company that could reach seven out of 10 American households.
President Trump cheered the move, but not everyone was thrilled about the prospect of a company that could potentially challenge Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News as the country’s pre-eminent media outlet on the right.
And once a key government agency turned against the deal, it became clear Sinclair would not be realizing its dream. That was made official on Thursday, with the announcement by Tribune that it was ending its merger agreement with Sinclair and would sue for breach of contract.
Trump on Friday said that he was canceling plans for a military parade, blaming a $92 million price tag and local politicians in Washington, D.C.
4. Our Continued Activism Shows That We Are Only Growing in Numbers
The Second annual women’s marches showed that our movement had only gained strength over its first year
The resistance isn’t abating, it’s getting stronger. Nine months to midterms.
With more than 120,000 protesters estimated in New York City on Saturday, and more around the world, it was clear that the appetite for change that inspired the women’s marches last year remains strong in 2018.
5. Robert Mueller Carefully Built a Case That Points More and More to Trump
Special counsel Robert Mueller has indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities for allegedly meddling in the 2016 presidential election, charging them with conspiracy to defraud the United States, the Department of Justice announced Friday.In addition, three defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and five defendants with aggravated identity theft.“The defendants allegedly conducted what they called information warfare against the United States, with the stated goal of spreading distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said.
Gates finally flipped, y’all and that is a BIG F-ING DEAL:
Rick Gates, a former top official in President Trump’s campaign, pleaded guilty Friday afternoon to conspiracy and lying to the FBI, striking a deal to cooperate and provide information to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s ongoing investigation.
The plea caps a tumultuous 24 hours for Gates in which he was hit with fresh charges, changed lawyers and admitted crimes.
The guilty plea also marks a busy period for Mueller’s investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and related issues. He charged 13 Russians this month with participating in a criminal scheme to disrupt the election and a London-based lawyer pleaded guilty Tuesday to lying to FBI agents on the case.
A dozen Russian intelligence officers have been charged with conspiring to hack Democrats during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to a new indictment in the probe led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.
The 12 were members of a Russian military intelligence agency known as the GRU and are accused of engaging in a sustained effort to hack the computer networks of Democratic organizations and the Hillary Clinton campaign.
President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, has participated over the last month in multiple interview sessions lasting for hours with investigators from the office of special counsel, Robert Mueller, sources tell ABC News.
Add Russia Investigation as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Russia Investigation news, video, and analysis from ABC News.
The special counsel’s questioning of Cohen, one of the president’s closest associates over the past decade, has focused primarily on all aspects of Trump’s dealings with Russia — including financial and business dealings and the investigation into alleged collusion with Russia by the Trump campaign and its surrogates to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, sources familiar with the matter tell ABC News.
Investigators were also interested in knowing, the sources say, whether Trump or any of his associates discussed the possibility of a pardon with Cohen.
In two major developments this week, President Trump has been labeled in the parlance of criminal investigations as a major subject of interest, complete with an opaque legal code name: “Individual 1.”
New evidence from two separate fronts of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation casts fresh doubts on Trump’s version of key events involving Russia, signaling potential political and legal peril for the president. Investigators have now publicly cast Trump as a central figure of their probe into whether Trump’s campaign conspired with the Russian government during the 2016 campaign.
Together, the documents show investigators have evidence that Trump was in close contact with his lieutenants as they made outreach to both Russia and WikiLeaks — and that they tried to conceal the extent of their activities.
Trump often grows aggrieved seeing Cohen on TV, aides say. Among White House advisers, Cohen is seen as an existential threat — as much or more so than the Mueller investigation itself because of his longtime role as Trump’s fixer. Trump’s legal team did not learn until Thursday that Cohen had sat for dozens of hours of interviews with Mueller’s office, according to a senior administration official.
He said he had nothing to do with a Russia project. Michael Cohen’s plea deal suggests otherwise.
The special counsel is connecting the dots and it doesn’t paint a pretty picture for the president.
a flurry of recent activity this past week all points in the same direction: Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation will likely implicate the president, his campaign, and his close associates in aiding and abetting a Russian conspiracy against the United States to undermine the 2016 election.
6. Subtle Signs That We Are Everywhere
Michelle Obama was so popular she needed more space.The distinctive Amy Sherald painting of the former first lady, unveiled at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery last month, has relocated to a different part of the museum due to demand.“We’re always changing things up here. Due to the high volume of visitors, we’ve relocated Michelle Obama’s portrait to the 3rd floor in our 20th-Century Americans galleries for a more spacious viewing experience,” the National Portrait Gallery tweeted.
Marvel and Disney’s “Black Panther” became the highest-grossing superhero film in North America on Saturday, stealing the title from 2012’s “The Avengers.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Black Panther” surpassed “The Avengers,” which grossed $623.4 million from its North America release in 2012.
In passing the milestone, “Black Panther” has become one of only seven films to earn at least $600 million domestically, according to the Reporter.
7. We Showed Goodness Still Has Power
in less than three days, a California couple has raised over $3 million — and counting — through Facebook to help reunite undocumented families that have been separated at the border.The Willners originally started their fund-raising campaign named “Reunite an immigrant parent with their child” on Saturday morning with the goal of $1,500. But soon their efforts went viral.By Monday night, the campaign surpassed its new $3 million goal with over 78,000 people donating to the cause.“The run rate over the last 3 hours was nearly $4k every minute,” posted Dave Willner on Facebook.RAICES confirmed to CNN that the organization has been in contact with the couple since Saturday.
8. The Labor Movement Is Surprisingly Hard to Kill
A teacher rebellion that started in the hills of West Virginia spread like a prairie fire to Oklahoma this week and now threatens to reach the desert in Arizona.
In the deep red state of Oklahoma, the Republican-led Legislature approved money for teacher raises and more school funding, even hiking taxes on the vaunted oil and gas industry to do it. Republican Governor Mary Fallin rushed to sign the measures into law Thursday.
9. Trump’s “Friends” Flip on Him
The F.B.I. raided the office and hotel room of President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, on Monday, seizing business records, emails and documents related to several topics, including payments to a pornographic film actress.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating Mr. Cohen for possible bank fraud, and the documents identified in the warrant date back years, according to a person briefed on the search.
The prosecutors obtained the search warrant after receiving a referral from the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III
The searches open a new front for the Justice Department in its scrutiny of Mr. Trump and his associates: His longtime lawyer is being investigated in Manhattan; his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is facing scrutiny by prosecutors in Brooklyn; his campaign chairman is under indictment; his former national security adviser has pleaded guilty to lying; and a pair of former campaign aides are cooperating with Mr. Mueller. Mr. Mueller, meanwhile, wants to interview Mr. Trump about possible obstruction of justice.
The search is an aggressive move for the Justice Department, which normally relies on grand jury subpoenas to obtain records from people who are represented by lawyers and are cooperating with authorities. Search warrants are more often used in cases in which prosecutors do not trust people to preserve or turn over the records themselves. Justice Department rules require prosecutors to first consider less intrusive alternatives before seeking records from lawyers.
Pecker’s apparent decision to corroborate Cohen’s account, and implicate Trump in a federal crime, is another vivid example of how isolated Trump is becoming as the walls close in and his former friends look for ways out. “Holy shit, I thought Pecker would be the last one to turn,” a Trump friend told me when I brought up the news. Trump and Pecker have been close for years. According to the Trump friend, Pecker regularly flew on Trump’s plane from New York to Florida. In July 2013, Trump tweeted that Pecker should become C.E.O. of Time magazine. “He’d make it exciting and win awards!”
- Allen Weisselberg, longtime chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, has been granted immunity by federal prosecutors as part of their investigation into President Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen.
- Weisselberg’s ties to the president go back decades: He has overseen the Trump Organization’s finances, been involved in the Trump Foundation, the president’s charity, and has managed Trump’s private trust alongside his eldest sons, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr.
- Weisselberg was subpoenaed by prosecutors earlier this year to testify before a grand jury as part of that probe.
Donald Trump has a lot more to worry about than just Robert Mueller. That much has been clear since April, when details began to emerge from public court filings regarding the FBI raid on Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a number of criminal charges, including some stemming from his work for Trump.
That raid wasn’t the work of Mueller. Instead, it was carried out by FBI agents acting in coordination with Robert S. Khuzami, a deputy U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York. Mueller had referred the Cohen case to Khuzami’s office, but that was as far as his involvement apparently went. As I wrote at the time, the distribution of the investigation to a second office served to “potentially inoculate [it] from Trump’s attacks against Mueller and potential meddling in the broader Russia investigation.” Samuel W. Buell, the former lead Enron prosecutor, told me that would make it much more difficult to kill the investigation with a Saturday Night Massacre–style firing spree. “The network of federal law enforcement professionals with experience and reputations, in different respected offices, involved in these matters makes it much harder to come up with a plausible way to surgically stop this,” he said at the time over email.
10. Although Racism Continues to Be a Problem, the Alt-Right Has Proven to Be Surprisingly Pathetic
Eight months after a white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville ended in the death of a counterprotester, the loose collection of disaffected young white men known as the alt-right is in disarray.
The problems have been mounting: lawsuits and arrests, fundraising difficulties, tepid recruitment, widespread infighting, fierce counterprotests, and banishment from social media platforms. Taken together, they’ve exhausted even some of the staunchest members.
One of the movement’s biggest groups, the Traditionalist Worker Party, dissolved in March. Andrew Anglin, founder of the Daily Stormer, the largest alt-right website, has gone into hiding, chased by a harassment lawsuit. And Richard Spencer, the alt-right’s most public figure, canceled a college speaking tour and was abandoned by his attorney last month.
“Things have become a lot harder, and we paid a price for what happened in Charlottesville. . . . The question is whether there is going to be a third act,” said Spencer
“Imploding” is how Beirich now describes the alt-right. “The self-inflicted damage, the defections, the infighting is so rampant, it’s to the point of almost being pathetic.”
Richard Spencer was supposed to lead the alt-right to legal victory over the nation’s liberal universities. Now he’s giving up on his war on colleges, and begging for help in a serious lawsuit against him.
Spencer, a white nationalist, became a figurehead of the alt-right during the movement’s rise to prominence in the 2016 election, after which Spencer reworked a Nazi chant to praise Donald Trump during a speech condemning Jews. A series of media profiles described Spencer as a well-dressed leader who could legitimize the alt-right.
That was then.
In March, his longtime lawyer publicly quit the alt-right. Last week, one of Spencer’s assistants quietly filed an order dismissing Spencer’s last lawsuit against a college. Days later, Spencer was on YouTube asking supporters for $25,000 to support him through a lawsuit against him and other actors in the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last August.
Spencer announced the cancellation of his college speaking tour, blaming anti-fascist demonstrators who opposed him at every tour stop.
In his Friday video, Spencer begged supporters for $25,000 for his legal defense fund. He issued a similar plea on Twitter, asking his backers to please send him Bitcoin. The Bitcoin wallet he linked to has received just over 0.3 Bitcoin (currently worth about $2,763) since November 2017.
11. States Protected American Ideals
On Wednesday, the New Hampshire Senate passed a landmark bill outlawing discrimination against transgender people in housing, employment, and public accommodations. The state House of Representatives has already passed the measure, and Gov. Chris Sununu has confirmed his intent to sign it. What’s remarkable about this victory is that Sununu is a Republican, and both houses of the state legislature are controlled by the GOP. Democrats pushed hard for the bill and supported with near-unanimity. But it was Republican legislators who carried it over the finish line.
This bipartisan triumph for transgender equality contrasts sharply with Donald Trump’s unrelenting assault on transgender rights. Indeed, it should be been seen as a rebuke to his persistent attacks on LGBTQ Americans.
12. Signs of Progress Popped Up Unexpectedly in Many Areas
America’s incarceration rate fell to a two-decade low in 2016, according to a recent reportby the US Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS).
In 2008, the incarceration rate hovered at an all-time high — with a rate of 1,000 per 100,000 people. Since then, the incarceration rate has fallen to 860 per 100,000. That still means that 2.2 million people were incarcerated at any given period in 2016, but that’s a big drop from the 2.3 million just a few years before.
The Trump era, overflowing with news, and the emergence of new ways to tell stories appear to be giving a jolt to journalism schools that in recent years struggled to cope with industry contractions. Students such as Ready are more fired up than ever about learning the tools of newsgathering, educators say. And at some prominent schools, there’s evidence of growing demand for journalism degrees as applications and enrollment rebound and investigative reporting classes fill up.
At the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism, an estimated 130 freshmen are entering the journalism college this fall, up 50 percent compared with the previous year. The incoming master’s class of 26 students is also bigger than the year before.
“Every time [Trump] calls journalists the ‘enemy of the people,’ or says something about ‘fake news,’ or gets a crowd at a rally to jeer at the White House press corps,” said Lucy A. Dalglish, dean of the Merrill College, more students decide “they’re going to major in journalism.”
something of enormous global significance is happening almost without notice. For the first time since agriculture-based civilization began 10,000 years ago, the majority of humankind is no longer poor or vulnerable to falling into poverty. By our calculations, as of this month, just over 50 percent of the world’s population, or some 3.8 billion people, live in households with enough discretionary expenditure to be considered “middle class” or “rich.” About the same number of people are living in households that are poor or vulnerable to poverty. So September 2018 marks a global tipping point. After this, for the first time ever, the poor and vulnerable will no longer be a majority in the world. Barring some unfortunate global economic setback, this marks the start of a new era of a middle-class majority.
13. Our Pressure Leads Corporations to Do The Right Thing
PayPal is terminating its relationship with Alex Jones and his website, Infowars, the online payment service said Friday.
After an extensive review of Infowars and its related sites, PayPal said in a statement, the company “found instances that promoted hate or discriminatory intolerance against certain communities and religions, which run counter to our core value of inclusion.”
It’s not unusual for advertisers to flee temporarily when controversy strikes a television program. But the sustained loss of advertising minutes and big, nationally recognized brands from “The Ingraham Angle” shows the power of activist-led boycotts and the depth of major corporations’ concerns about offending would-be consumers in the hyperpoliticized era of President Donald Trump.
14. Trump’s Legal Problems (outside Mueller) Continues to Rise
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating whether President Trump’s 2017 inaugural committee misspent some of the record $107 million it raised from donations, people familiar with the matter said.
In the FBI’s Michael Cohen raids, agents obtained a recorded convorsation between Cohen and Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, an ex-adviser to Melania, who worked on inaugural events. In the recording, Wolkoff expressed concern about how the inaugural committee was spending money
15. The NRA Lost Power
The NRA had a terrible 2018.
This year was full of setbacks for the most prominent alliance of gun extremists in the country. Even with a staunch ally like Trump boosting them from the White House, the NRA faced a crisis in public support, electoral strength, and financial resources.
The NRA has been experiencing major cash shortages due to falling membership dues; its receipts in 2017 were down $55 million from the year before. The group was so strapped for cash that it even cut offfree coffee and watercoolers for employees at its Fairfax, Virginia headquarters.
The group’s reputation just got worse and worse
But 2018 was the year Americans finally decided they wouldn’t be bullied anymore — and made the NRA pay for its dangerous behavior.
16. The Parkland Students Are Amazing
As a student publication, the Eagle Eye works to tell the stories of those who do not have a voice. Today, we are the ones who feel our voice must be elevated.
In the wake of the tragedy that occurred at our school on 14 February at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, our lives have changed beyond what we ever imagined. We, along with our publication, have been transformed. We will remain so for the rest of our lives.
We have a unique platform not only as student journalists, but also as survivors of a mass shooting. We are firsthand witnesses to the kind of devastation that gross incompetence and political inaction can produce. We cannot stand idly by as the country continues to be infected by a plague of gun violence that seeps into community after community, and does irreparable damage to the hearts and minds of the American people.
That’s why the Eagle Eye has come together and proposed these following changes to gun policy. We believe federal and state governments must put these in place to ensure that mass shootings and gun violence cease to be a staple of American culture.
The Parkland, Fla., students don’t have the kind of lobbyists or big budgets for attack ads that their opponents do. Most of them can’t even vote yet.
But they have the power so often inherent in youth: to see the world anew; to reject the old constraints, outdated conventions and cowardice too often dressed up as wisdom.
The power to insist that America can be better.
Our history is defined by the youthful push to make America more just, more compassionate, more equal under the law. This generation—of Parkland, of Dreamers, of Black Lives Matter—embraces that duty. If they make their elders uncomfortable, that’s how it should be. Our kids now show us what we’ve told them America is all about, even if we haven’t always believed it ourselves: that our future isn’t written for us, but by us.
Hogg has been among the most vocal of the survivors in the Feb. 14, 2018, shooting at Marjory Stoneman High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 students and staff were killed after a former classmate who allegedly opened fire with an AR-15-style rifle.
In the months after the mass shooting, Hogg and many of his classmates spent much of his time speaking out against gun violence and encouraging young people to vote, harnessing the power of social media — hashtag, #NeverAgain — to spread the message.
Hogg spent much of this year since the shooting lobbying for gun regulations in Washington, D.C., and across the country. Along with other student activist leaders, including Marjory Stoneman’s Emma Gonzalez and Cameron Kasky, he co-founded the March for Our Lives: Road to Change tour, which took place in 68 cities over the summer.
After 17 of their peers were gunned down in the classrooms and hallways of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, a group of teenagers from the Parkland school banded together to work to change the nation’s gun laws and offer a platform for students who worry their school will be next.
They rallied outside a local courthouse, appeared on Sunday news shows and motivated hundreds of thousands of people to march on Washington and in cities nationwide as part of an unprecedented day of action.
On Tuesday, the college-bound activists realized the global reach of their anti-gun violence movement as they were awarded the 2018 International Children’s Peace Prize, joining the likes of Pakistani education-rights advocate Malala Yousafzai as winners of the annual prize.
Since their movement began, more than 25 states have passed some form of gun violence legislation consistent with their goals, the group says.
17. Young People Are Our Future
Greta Thunberg, a 15-year-old student from Sweden, captured the attention of the world recently when she shamed climate change negotiators at a United Nations climate summit in Poland.“You are not mature enough to tell it like is,” she said at the COP24 summit, which ended late Saturday night after two weeks of tense negotiations. “Even that burden you leave to us children. But I don’t care about being popular. I care about climate justice and the living planet.”The teen has inspired thousands of young people around the world to walk out of their schools on Fridays to demand adults take more action to protect their futures and those of future generations. She decided to walk out of her own school in Sweden, she told CNN, by herself. No one joined her the first day, she said. Then she kept at it, inspiring thousands.
It’s easy to ignore the homeless encampment near your neighborhood, the pollution clogging the local beach or the faraway children who don’t have resources to play a sport they love.Solving those problems might seem insurmountable, but not to one group of teens and tweens who saw an issue and tackled it with passion and energy.“The next generation reminds us of the unwavering foundation that really connects us all — incredible acts of kindness, unconditional love and the promise of a better tomorrow.”
Young people turned out at an estimated rate of 31 percent, a substantial increase over 2014 and a high-water mark for the last quarter century, according to an exclusive youth turnout analysis released by researchers from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE)—the preeminent, non-partisan research center on youth engagement at Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life.“Young people approached the 2018 midterms with a resolve to change the American political landscape through peer-to-peer action, and yesterday they demonstrated their power,” said Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, CIRCLE director. “These data estimates represent a huge increase in youth participation and are a testament to the efforts that a diverse group of youth organizers built and sustained in communities and on campuses across the country. This year we also saw new stakeholders, including more universities, the private sector and even celebrities, strengthen and deepen their approach to youth outreach and non-partisan voter engagement efforts.”
18. Women Making Progress and Making a Difference
In 2018 we saw a record number of women run for office in the US and get elected to Congress. These include some of the youngest and most diverse women in US political history like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest woman to ever be elected to Congress, Lauren Underwood, the first Black person and first woman to represent IL-14, Sharice Davids, the first Native American women serving in Congress, and also the first LGBTQ+ Member to represent the state of Kansas in Washington.
Women also won governorships, and we can expect at least 3 serious female candidates for the presidency: Senators Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Kirsten Gillibrand.
In 2018 we saw more women launching some of the most innovative companies and making up 40% of new entrepreneurs in the U.S. According to the the National Association of Women Business Owners there are 11.6 million women-owned businesses in the U.S that employ 9 million people and generate $1.7 trillion in revenue. We also saw more women investors and more women launching funds. These figures are even higher in Latin America.
Flight direction is, of course, a rocket science, but it is not a gender-specific. So it is not surprising that the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration got it right and appointed its first female chief flight director, Holly Ridings, in September. Meanwhile in India, Russian-made MiGs are no stranger to the skies and they were built to fly regardless the gender of the pilot. In February, Avani Chaturvedi, a female flying officer, made history by piloting a MiG-21 Bison.
Saudi Arabia has been restructuring the country and social and cultural change sweeping through as part of its “Vision 2030.” In January, the leadership drove change by letting their women behind the wheel.
Another barrier to girls attending school is the practice of marrying them off as children. That also poses a threat to maternal and infant survival rates because of the increased risk of complications in pregnancy and childbirth among young mothers.
Progress is being made on that issue, too. According to the UN, 25 million child marriages were prevented in the last decade. In 2000 one in three women between 20 and 24 reported they had been married as children, if not sold off as brides (sometimes on Facebook) for the dowries they bring to their families. By 2018 that number was down to around one in five.
We still have a long way to go — Dr. Christine Blasey Ford was believed but Kavanaugh got appointed; Stacey Abrams finally had to concede to Kemp — but now these women are household names, heroes of 2018. And in other places we won — Kelly beat Kobach, for example.
19. Environmental News
Killer bees and hurricanes may provide the answer to honeybee colony collapse disorder
Puerto Rico’s bee population was devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, leading to about a 80% loss of domestic and wild honeybees. Puerto Rico’s honeybees are a special breed. They are descendants of Africanized honeybees, also known as “killer bees”. Africanized honeybees are resistant to the Varroa mite, which is thought to be a contributing factor to colony collapse disorder. In Puerto Rico, the natural aggressiveness of the Africanized bee has mostly been bred out so they are gentle. They are also recovering from the losses incurred during the hurricanes much faster than expected.
“It’s the holy grail of beekeeping,” said McDonald. “But I mean, we have to be careful here.” It’s possible that the bees in Puerto Rico have so far avoided certain chemicals and pathogens that they’ll find on the mainland,” he explains. “It’s a miracle cure, if you can get them to survive.” [Mother Jones]
In 2018 we created a Good News Roundup team much greater than the sum of our selves, much more powerful than I could ever have envisioned. We each wrote our own parts and chose our own actions. We mentored each other, questioned each other, pointed out paths to each other, and encouraged each other. We networked to build a better network whose furthest reaches we cannot know. We spread the ripples.
Looking forward to 2019
If this is what we did in 2018 with literally NO branches of power, imagine what we can do with the HOUSE! I can’t wait to see Elijah Cummings, Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, and Maxine Waters with actual power over this White House.
Happy New Year everyone!