ESSENTIAL #1: “THE TRAGEDY OF BALTIMORE” ALEC MACGILLIS, THE NEW YORK TIMES/PROPUBLICA
From the article: “In 2016, the United States Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division concurred, releasing a reportaccusing the city’s Police Department of racial discrimination and excessive force. The city agreed to a “consent decree”with the federal government, a set of policing reforms that would be enforced by a federal judge. When an independent monitoring team was selected to oversee the decree, Guy was hired as its community liaison. This was where she wanted to be: at the forefront of the effort to make her city a better place.
But in the years that followed, Baltimore, by most standards, became a worse place. In 2017, it recorded 342 murders — its highest per-capita rate ever, more than double Chicago’s, far higher than any other city of 500,000 or more residents and, astonishingly, a larger absolute number of killings than in New York, a city 14 times as populous. Other elected officials, from the governor to the mayor to the state’s attorney, struggled to respond to the rise in disorder, leaving residents with the unsettling feeling that there was no one in charge. With every passing year, it was getting harder to see what gains, exactly, were delivered by the uprising.”
ESSENTIAL #2: “INDEPENDENTS: WHO THEY ARE, WHAT THEY THINK” PEW RESEARCH CENTER
From the article: “Independents often are portrayed as political free agents with the potential to alleviate the nation’s rigid partisan divisions. Yet the reality is that most independents are not all that “independent” politically. And the small share of Americans who are truly independent – less than 10% of the public has no partisan leaning – stand out for their low level of interest in politics.
Among the public overall, 38% describe themselves as independents, while 31% are Democrats and 26% call themselves Republicans, according to Pew Research Center surveys conducted in 2018. These shares have changed only modestly in recent years, but the proportion of independents is higher than it was from 2000-2008, when no more than about a third of the public identified as independents.”
ESSENTIAL #3: “BETO O’ROURKE ENTERS THE 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN” MATT FLEGENHEIMER AND JONATHAN MARTIN, THE NEW YORK TIMES
From the article: “Beto O’Rourke, the 46-year-old former Texas congressman whose near-miss Senate run last year propelled him to Democratic stardom, announced on Thursday that he was running for president, betting that voters will prize his message of national unity and generational change in a 2020 primary teeming with committed progressives.
His decision jolts an early election season already stuffed with contenders, adding to the mix a relentless campaigner with a small-dollar fund-raising army, the performative instincts of a former punk rocker and a pro-immigrant vision to counteract President Trump’s.”
ESSENTIAL #4: “BREXIT: PM TO BRING THIRD BREXIT DEAL VOTE TO COMMONS” BBC
From the article: “Theresa May will make a third attempt to get her EU withdrawal deal through Parliament in the next week.
She told MPs that if her deal fails again to get their backing, a lengthy delay to Brexit may be needed.
The prime minister's warning comes ahead of a Commons vote later on whether to ask the EU for permission to delay Brexit beyond 29 March.”