Supercreator Daily: Leaving on the midnight train to Georgia
The Senate takes its voting rights campaign to the Peach State. Plus: A breezy and breathable polo that’s up to the task for those summer occasions when a T-shirt feels too casual.
👋🏾 Hi, hey, hello! It’s Tuesday, June 29. I’m Michael, writing to you from New York City where my weather app says it feels like 106 degrees and I’m sitting here unable to deal. Today’s top story is about voting rights.
Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar announced yesterday that the Senate Rules Committee she currently chairs will hold a hearing in Georgia next month on voting rights after Republicans blocked a comprehensive election bill last week. It’s the Rules Committee’s first field hearing in two decades.
The hearing will take place on July 19 and is expected to be the first of several election and voting rights hearings. A panel of yet-to-be-annouced witnesses will discuss “the state and the need for basic federal standards to protect the freedom to vote,” according to a statement from Klobuchar’s office.
Georgia is the perfect backdrop for the hearing thanks to its role as a battleground state that flipped the White House and Senate back to Democratic control in the 2020 election. It’s also one of the states where Republican-led legislatures have passed restrictive voter laws to limit ballot access, confuse voters and give more power to GOP lawmakers. (The Justice Department announced last week that it filed a lawsuit against Georgia over the voter-suppression law.)
Klobuchar’s announcement follows the failure of the For The People Act to advance in the Senate a week ago due to all 50 Republican senators voting against the bill. They claim that voting rights is outside the scope of federal intervention, a rich position since 60 percent of all state legislatures are controlled by Republicans. “It was the first time we tired to consider major voting rights legislation, but it won’t be the last,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said last week after the vote. “[Democrats will] leave no stone unturned. Voting rights are too important.”
In the days since, politicians have attempted to keep the issue in the news cycle while Democrats plan their next move.
President Biden delivered remarks yesterday in a virtual fundraising reception for the Democratic National Party and committed to “fight like hell” to make sure it’s easier to vote — no matter where you live, what you look like or who you plan to vote for. “I will take the case to the American people on the need to protect the sacred right to vote,” he said. “It’s under assault in ways that I haven’t seen in my entire career and that’s what got me involved in the first place.”
Former President Barack Obama focused on the issue during a fundraiser of his own yesterday with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former Attorney General Eric Holder. “If we don’t stop these kinds of efforts now, [what] we are going to see is more and more contested elections — contested not in the sense of healthy competition but contested in terms of who wins, who loses,” Obama said. “We are going to see a further deligitimizing of our democracy. And not only are we going to see more unfairness in terms of results and who is represented and who isn’t, but we’re going to see a breakdown of the basic agreement that has held this magnificent democratic experiment together.”
And today the House Judiciary subcommittee on civil rights held a hearing on the need to enhance the Voting Rights Act, which would restore the formula the Supreme Court gutted in a 2013 decision that required jurisdictions with a history of discrimination to obtain approval before changing voting rules.
Going forward, Democrats could narrow their focus on strengthening the VRA or bring up a revised version of the For the People Act for another vote, an option Obama spoke to during his fundraiser. “I have every confidence that [Pelosi] working in conjunction with Chuck Schumer, Joe Biden and others, including people like [Sen.] Joe Manchin, are going to figure out a way in which there’s an up and down vote on the For the People Act.”
Let’s hope the former president is right. Because who gets to vote and whether the vote counts will determine if Democrats will expand their House and Senate majorities next year and deliver on the promises they made to the first-time and young voters that sent them to Washington in the first place.
Welcome to Supercreator Daily, your go-to guide to the latest at the intersection of politics and creativity so you can take action and make real change. Thank you for spending part of your evening with me.
Here’s what else you need to know this evening:
41 percent of US adults say attending a Fourth of July celebration this year carries either a moderate or high risk. This figure is down from 78 percent when adults were asked the same question and demonstrates the psychological impact of the vaccine’s effectiveness. [Margaret Talev / Axios]
President Biden wants to improve the Affordable Care Act by increasing enrollment and rolling back T****-era policies. This is likely to disappoint progressives who are pushing for universal coverage. [Sarah Owermohle and Adam Cancryn / Politico]
The president and first lady will travel to Surfside on Thursday to thank first responders and meet families of the victims after the collapse of a residential building last week. At least 11 people have died and 150 are still missing. [Michael Wilner and Alex Roarty / Miami Herald]
Related: The White House said President Biden supports an investigation into the Surfside collapse to prevent similar disasters from happening again. [Michael Wilner / Miami Herald]
Sen. Joe Manchin said he will support a Democratic-only infrastructure bill to avoid obstruction from Republicans who are unwilling to raise taxes on corporations and the wealthy. Manchin hasn’t agreed on an amount for the bill, but leading progressives have proposed a $6 trillion investment. [Jordain Carney / The Hill]
Police reform negotiations between Sens. Cory Booker and Tim Scott are reportedly on the brink of falling apart. Just last week the lawmakers released a statement last week saying they had agreed on a framework. [Leigh Ann Caldwell / NBC News]
A federal district court dismissed two lawsuits against Facebook brought by the Federal Trade Commission in an attempt to break the tech company up. The court said the FTC can refile their complaint and try again. [Alison Durkee / Forbes]
Related: Facebook reached $1 trillion in market value yesterday, making it the fifth US company to do so. [Salvador Rodriguez / CNBC]
Also related: Facebook rolled out its standalone newsletter platform today. It’s called Bulletin and is expected to compete with apps like Substack, which provides the tech for this newsletter. [Brian Stelter / CNN]
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers announced parents in the state will soon be able to choose from gender-neutral options to identify themselves on their kids’ birth certificates. In addition to the current “mother-father” choice, forms will now include “parent-parent” and “parent giving birth.” [Jon Jackson / Newsweek]
US consumer confidence rose to the highest level since the pandemic began last year. It’s the fifth month the index has risen. [Martin Crutsinger / AP News]
Instagram plans to offer publishers a share of revenue for their content on its app via IGTV ads. Instagram has already offered to a 45-55 percent ad-revenue split with creators [Sara Fischer / Axios]
Related: Instagram is testing linking stickers in Stories that will work like swipe-up links, which require people to be verified or have 10,000 followers. People will also be able to respond to stories that include a sticker, which they’re unable to with stories that have a swipe up. [Ashley Carman / The Verge]
Read All About It
Jonathan Van Meter at Vogue on First Lady Dr. Jill Biden:
Part of what makes the Bidens’ right-out-of-the-gate successes so extraordinary is that they seem to have perfectly read the room: We have been through this enormous, collective trauma, and here’s a calm, experienced, empathetic president, and here’s a first lady who is driven, tireless, effortlessly popular, but also someone who reminds us of ourselves. She’s selling a new vision for how our most fundamental institutions ought to work—infrastructure, education, public health—even as she goes to extraordinary lengths to keep a real-world job, to stay in touch with what makes her human and what matters most.
Christina Greer at The New York Times on Vice President Kamala Harris:
Ms. Harris is a complicated figure. She is not a progressive darling — never has been. As with Barack Obama, the only thing radical about her is her skin color (and gender, in her case) in the Oval Office. On a more substantive level, how Ms. Harris deals with her portfolio will surely alienate the left and centrist factions of the Democratic Party. She was far from a diversity hire for Mr. Biden, and she has clear potential as a national leader, but she needs the time, support and right combination of goals to learn and grow. She needs a mix of tough targets and ones that show her ideas and creativity, as Al Gore had with his Reinventing Government effort, rather than a portfolio consisting of the most difficult policy challenges in 21st-century America.
Robinson Meyer at The Atlantic on extreme heat:
Extreme heat is colorless, odorless, and silent; like heart disease, its reality seems abstract until it happens to you. Then it kills. In most years, heat is the deadliest type of weather event in the United States. At least 600 and possibly as many as 1,500 Americans die every year of heat-related disease, although the real numbers may be higher because all-cause mortality rises during heat waves.
Heat is deadliest in places where people do not have air-conditioning. In 1995, a heat wave in Chicago killed 739 people in six days. Most victims were elderly people who lacked air-conditioning and lived alone, according to the sociologist Eric Klinenberg. Since then, American cities have improved their heat-emergency strategies—opening high-school gyms as community cooling centers, for instance—but the Pacific Northwest remains vulnerable to a cataclysm. In 2009, a study found that Pierce County, Washington, at the armpit of Puget Sound, was among the 13 census tracts most vulnerable to heat waves nationwide. Today in Seattle, less than half of residents have AC.
That will almost certainly change. Some weather events—such as hurricanes and tornadoes—are at least dicey to connect to climate change. Heat waves are not one of them: Longer, larger, and more intense heat waves are what scientists have expected to see from climate change for decades. In the climate of the 20th century, the heat dome was a one-in-1,000-year event, according to Jeff Berardelli, a meteorologist at CBS News, but the warming climate is making it much likelier.
Stephanie McNeal at BuzzFeed News on how travel influencers got through the pandemic:
It turns out, even digital nomads can be brought swiftly back to reality by a global pandemic. In 2020, travel bloggers, like all of us, were grounded, confined to their homes, and unsure how to keep their businesses running. Their partnerships were canceled, and they had to scramble and innovate to keep their head above water. Many spent long nights wondering how they would survive. When they did tentatively resume their trips, some dealt with travel-shaming from their followers (and others dealt with hate for even acknowledging the pandemic) on top of their own fears about safety.
Rebecca Jennings at Vox on what stories about influencer drama totally miss:
One of the major problems within this system is that both creator drama and the coverage of it tend to unfold like horse race journalism. Horse race journalism, a term used mostly in the context of politics, means that the media narrative focuses more on optics rather than the actual meat of what’s going on; so, for instance, writing about the fact that Candidate A is pulling ahead of Candidate B in the polls instead of explaining either candidate’s policies or agendas. In the world of celebrity and influencer beef, that’s essentially all we’re getting: Celebrity A Slams Celebrity B; Celebrity B Claps Back! Either side can pull out whatever they see fit to push their narratives and feel like they’ve won. No one is ever asked to question their biases or engage in any sort of critical thinking, and nothing ever really changes.
Kiera Butler at Mother Jones on the freakout over kids’ screen time:
That the screen-time panic persists even in the face of such questionable evidence isn’t surprising. Parents’ anxiety about screens follows an age-old pattern of overreaction to new technologies. In ancient Greece, University of Cambridge psychologist Amy Orbenfound, philosophers claimed that the act of writing would make young people more rebellious. In the 18th century, parents worried that their children would become addicted to reading. A 1929 New York Times article warned that constant exposure to fast-paced jazz would cause illness by tiring children out. Some parents in the ’40s fretted that they wouldn’t be able to control their children’s exposure to radio because, as one child-rearing magazine put it, “it comes into our very homes and captures our children before our very eyes.” As Orben says, “Any new technology makes us question what it means to be human and to have a childhood.”
Club Monaco Short Sleeve Mesh Sweater Shirt in Blue ($140): This breezy and breathable polo will be up to the task for those summer occasions when a T-shirt feels too casual.