ESSENTIAL #1: “SENATE VOTES TO BLOCK TRUMP’S BORDER EMERGENCY DECLARATION, IN BIPARTISAN REBUKE TEEING UP VETO” ADAM SHAW, FOX NEWS
From the article: “Senate Republicans joined their Democratic colleagues on Thursday in voting to block President Trump’s border emergency declaration-- a move that will prompt the president's first-ever veto.
The president made his intentions crystal clear, tweeting ‘VETO!’ moments after the resolution cleared Congress. The White House said Trump likely would issue the veto Friday.
The measure passed 59-41 as a dozen Republicans joined Democrats in voting for the resolution, despite White House efforts to keep the GOP united on the issue of border security. Those GOP members who backed the resolution cited concerns about the expansion of presidential powers.”
ESSENTIAL #2: “SECULAR DEMOCRATS ARE THE NEW NORMAL” PETER BEINART, THE ATLANTIC
From the article: “Today, by contrast, progressive white candidates more often cite religion as a source of division. In his announcement video, O’Rourke boasted that during his Senate campaign in Texas, ‘people allowed no difference, however great or however small, to stand between them and divide us. Whether it was religion or gender or geography or income, we put our labels and our differences aside.’ The only reference to faith in Warren’s announcement speech was an acknowledgment that ‘we come from different backgrounds. Different religions.’ The lone reference in Sanders’s was a call for ‘ending religious bigotry.’ While white progressives once described religion as something that brought Americans together, they’re now more likely to describe it as something that drives them apart.”
ESSENTIAL #3: “WOULD THE EQUALITY ACT HARM RELIGIOUS FREEDOM? HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW” KELSEY DALLAS AND MATTHEW BROWN, DESERET NEWS
From the article: “The Equality Act would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of other characteristics protected under federal laws against discrimination in housing, employment and access to credit. Additionally, it would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination in public spaces and services and federally funded programs on the basis of sex.
Like similar state-level nondiscrimination laws, it aims to ensure that gay or transgender people are treated the same as others in their job search or while visiting a local store. Twenty-one states, including Utah, already prohibit sexual orientation or gender identity-based discrimination in housing and hiring, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
What stands out about this legislation is that it also seeks to weaken the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a federal law aimed at ensuring that the government won't substantially burden someone's religious exercise unless it has a compelling interest to do so and can't find a less restrictive way to protect that interest. If the Equality Act passes, religiously affiliated schools, businesses, nonprofits and others would have a harder time defending themselves in court, Schultz said.”
ESSENTIAL #4: “HOW TRUMP’S BRAND OF GRIEVANCE POLITICS ROILED A PENNSYLVANIA CAMPAIGN” ASTEAD W. HERNDON, THE NEW YORK TIMES
From the article: “The Republican Party and its candidates, particularly in state and local campaigns, are increasingly being reshaped in President Trump’s image, adopting his laundry list of political opponents and his willingness to go to great lengths to spite them.
Here, among Republicans in the northeastern Pennsylvania region that has suffered with the gutting of the steel industry and the ravages of the opioid crisis, Mr. Trump’s language is endlessly repeated. He is not ensnared in several investigations of possible wrongdoing, but the victim of a ‘witch hunt.’ The discovery of Mr. Scavo’s anti-Muslim Facebook posts was the work of the ‘fake news media.’ The federal bureaucracy is the scheming ‘deep state.’
But the most common reflection of Mr. Trump’s brand of grievance politics — and the reason Mr. Scavo’s loss was treated as an existential threat in that Old Forge banquet hall — was the pervasive belief that the country is being undermined by undeserving outsiders and the Democrats who represent them.”