Democratic rules make it difficult to replace Biden on the November ballot

Biden-at-Debate-2024

Important Takeaways:

  • Democratic rules mandate that the delegates Biden won remain bound to support him at the party’s upcoming national convention unless he tells them he’s leaving the race.
  • The conventions and their rules are controlled by the political parties. The current rules read: “Delegates elected to the national convention pledged to a presidential candidate shall in all good conscience reflect the sentiments of those who elected them.”
  • The vice president is Biden’s running mate, but that doesn’t mean she can swap in for him at the top of the ticket by default. Biden also can’t decree that she replace him should he suddenly decide to leave the race.
  • If Biden opts to abandon his reelection campaign, Harris would likely join other top Democratic candidates looking to replace him.
  • “The business of nominating someone to represent a political party is the business of the political party.”

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Biden administration moving to expand background checks for gun purchases outside of brick-and-mortar stores

Kamala

Important Takeaways:

  • The Biden administration is moving to expand background checks for gun purchases, fulfilling a key demand of advocates following the deadly shooting at a school in Uvalde, Texas.
  • The final rule, expected to be submitted Thursday to the Federal Register by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, would eliminate a loophole that has allowed sales of guns without background checks of guns outside of brick-and-mortar stores.
  • It requires that anyone who sells guns for profit to have a license and that buyers be subject to a background check, including at firearms shows and flea markets.
  • The administration had been working on the rule since last spring. Once publicized, it will take effect in 30 days.
  • The new rule, the most sweeping expansion of firearms background checks in decades, will apply to more than 20,000 individuals engaged in unlicensed gun dealing and affect “tens and tens of thousands of gun sales” each year

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Kamala backs Taiwan amidst Chinese aggression

Revelations 6:3-4 “when he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” 4 And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword.

Important Takeaways:

  • Kamala Harris Vows to Back Taiwan Against China’s Aggression
  • China is undermining key elements of the international rules-based order,” the vice president said from the deck of USS Howard
  • Harris’ brief remarks came in the days after President Joe Biden riled Beijing with his most explicit commitment to defend Taiwan from a hypothetical Chinese invasion in the future.

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David Fiorazo perspective on Kamala speaking at Houston Baptist Convention denouncing pro-life “extremists”

2 Peter 2:1 “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.”

Important Takeaways:

  • Harris Decries Pro-Life ‘Extremists’ At Baptist Convention, Says Nation Must ‘Fight For Light Over Darkness’
  • Nancy Pelosi recently said it was sinful to restrict abortion and called it unjust if a woman couldn’t do whatever she wanted with her body. They’re framing arguments by appealing to emotion while changing both language and meanings of words. Ironically, her comments came during a roundtable discussion on “reproductive health.”
  • To the left, it’s better not to reproduce, to prevent parenthood rather than protect a pre-born baby, carry out a pregnancy and allow a baby to be born.
  • Vice President Kamala Harris spoke at the National Baptist Convention in Houston, Texas, last week and received plenty of applause. From Christians?
  • But it was quite a confusing speech – IF you pay attention to her actions and policies.
    • She denounced pro-life “extremists” working to outlaw abortion. We better understand what a divisive, secular progressive politician who openly opposes the biblical worldview is doing speaking at a Christian event. Harris told the crowd that for her and Joe Biden, “faith guides our work every day.”
    • The crowd applauded Harris when she claimed extremists “take away the freedom of women to make decisions about their own bodies.”
  • Are people that easily confused?
  • Host on MSNBC, Joe Scarborough said last Friday:
    • “As a Southern Baptist, I grew up reading the Bible — maybe a backslidden Baptist, but I still know the Bible. Jesus never once talked about abortion, never once! …Never once mentioned it, and for people perverting the gospel of Jesus Christ down to one issue, it’s heresy.
  • So according to theologians in the godless media and in the totalitarian Biden administration, if we quote Scriptures that support human life in mother’s wombs, we are perverting the gospel? Calling evil good.”
  • Read Jeremiah 32:35 states: Moreover, Leviticus 18:21
  • Watch Kamala’s speech here

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Gender equality makes democracy stronger, says Kamala Harris

PARIS (Reuters) – Women deprived of freedom of speech or the freedom to vote should fight for their rights and know that the United States stands beside them, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris said on Wednesday.

Harris told the Generation Equality Forum at a summit hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron that gender equality was paramount to strengthening democracy.

“Use the tools for democracy, whether that is the freedom of speech or the freedom to vote. And if you do not yet have those freedoms, fight for them and know we will fight alongside you,” Harris told the summit by video link.

Democracy was in peril in countries around the world, Harris said.

“If we want to strengthen democracy, we must fight for gender equality. Because here is the truth: Democracy is strongest when everyone participates and it is weaker when people are left out,” the vice president said.

Two months after entering office, Harris said President Joe Biden’s administration would revitalize Washington’s partnership with U.N. Women – a U.N. body dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Under former President Donald Trump, the United States led a push at the United Nations against the promotion of women’s sexual and reproductive rights and health because it saw that as code for abortion.

Harris struck a different tone.

“When women have access to reproductive healthcare to stay healthy, they can participate more fully and our democracy grows stronger,” she said.

Melinda Gates said the Gates Foundation would direct $2.1 billion in new money to strengthening gender equality. More than half would go to sexual health and reproductive rights, while $100 million would be spent on helping get women into positions of power in government and the workplace.

“Women should not only have a seat at the table, they should be in every single room where policy and decisions are being made,” Gates said.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Pineau; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Giles Elgood)

U.S. Senate passes budget plan to advance Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID aid package

By Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden’s drive to enact a $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid bill gained momentum on Friday as the U.S. Senate narrowly approved a budget blueprint allowing Democrats to push the legislation through Congress in coming weeks with or without Republican support.

At the end of about 15 hours of debate and votes on dozens of amendments, the Senate found itself in a 50-50 partisan deadlock over passage of the budget plan. That deadlock was broken by Vice President Kamala Harris, whose “yes” vote provided the win for Democrats.

This was a “giant first step” toward passing the kind of comprehensive coronavirus aid bill that Biden has put at the top of his legislative agenda, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.

Shortly before the final vote, Democrats flexed their muscles by offering an amendment reversing three earlier votes that Republicans had won.

Those had used the coronavirus aid battle to voice support for the Canada-to-United States Keystone XL pipeline that Biden has blocked and support for hydraulic fracking to extract underground oil and natural gas.

Also overturned was a Republican amendment barring coronavirus aid to immigrants living in the United States illegally.

With Democrat Harris presiding, she broke a 50-50 tie to overturn those Republican victories.

It marked the first time Harris, in her role as president of the Senate, cast a tie-breaking vote after being sworn in as Biden’s vice president on Jan. 20.

Before finishing its work, the Senate approved a series of amendments to the budget outline, which had already passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday. As a result, the House must now vote again to accept the Senate’s changes, which could occur as early as Friday.

For example, the Senate added a measure calling for increased funding for rural hospitals whose resources are strained by the pandemic.

Senate Democrats and the Biden administration have said they want comprehensive legislation to move quickly to address a pandemic that has killed more than 450,000 Americans and left millions jobless.

They want to spend the $1.9 trillion to speed COVID-19 vaccines throughout the nation. Other funds would extend special unemployment benefits that will expire at the end of March and make direct payments to people to help them pay bills and stimulate the economy.

They also want to send money to state and local governments dealing with the worst health crisis in decades.

But as the hours wore on and dozens of amendments were offered, exhausted senators mainly spent the night disposing of Republican ideas, such as ending all U.S. foreign aid and prohibiting Congress from expanding the U.S. Supreme Court beyond its current nine justices.

RANGE OF ISSUES

Senators voted on issues ranging from immigration and abortion to energy and taxes. But none of the approved amendments will carry the force of law in a budget blueprint and mainly are guidelines for developing the actual coronavirus aid bill in coming weeks.

More importantly, the budget plan unlocks a legislative tool called reconciliation that is designed to let Democrats approve Biden’s $1.9 trillion proposal by a simple majority.

Most legislation must get at least 60 votes in the 100-seat Senate to advance. But the chamber is divided 50-50 and Republicans oppose the Democratic president’s proposal. Reconciliation would allow the Senate’s 48 Democrats and two independents who align with them to approve the relief package, with a tie-breaking vote from Harris.

Republicans have countered the budget plan with proposals that would be less than one-third the cost. While their plan dovetails with the Democrats’ in some respects, Biden has deemed it as too anemic to put the country back on its feet after a year of suffering through the pandemic.

A group of 10 Republican senators who met with Biden at the White House on Monday sent him a letter on Thursday saying that significant amounts of money already appropriated by Congress have not yet been spent.

Last year, Congress passed emergency bills totaling around $4 trillion to deal with the health and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 virus.

In early voting on Thursday, senators delivered a message to the Biden administration that direct payments should be tailored to those who need the money the most, as it voted 99-1 to recommend that high-income earners not qualify for a new round of government checks that could amount to $1,400 for individuals.

Senators did not specify income limits. But an earlier round of direct payments placed thresholds of $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for married couples before the money would start scaling down.

“The decent compassionate thing is for us to target the relief to our neighbors who are struggling every day to get by” during the coronavirus pandemic, said Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, author of the proposal.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

President-elect Biden’s hopes for Democratic agenda hang on Georgia runoffs

By Susan Cornwell

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President-elect Joe Biden’s hopes of enacting major Democratic priorities like expanding healthcare access, fighting climate change and providing more coronavirus aid are going to hang on a pair of U.S. Senate races in Georgia in January.

Democrats fell short of their goal of taking a Senate majority and actually lost seats in the House of Representatives, making Republicans well positioned to block major Biden legislative initiatives.

That leaves Biden’s party with the daunting task of trying to unseat two incumbent Republican senators in the traditionally Republican-leaning state, where Biden himself holds just a narrow lead over President Donald Trump as vote-counting continues.

“We take Georgia, then we change the world,” Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer declared in New York on Saturday. Georgia’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp also heralded the high-stakes January voting, calling on Republicans to unite and saying “the fight is far from over.”

Republicans appear poised to hold at least 50 of the Senate’s 100 seats next year, presuming that leads in North Carolina and Alaska hold. That makes winning the two Georgia runoffs pivotal in getting control of the Senate for Democrats. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would be able to cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate.

Georgia Republican Senator David Perdue, who is seeking a second term, received 49.8 % of the vote, compared to Democrat Jon Ossoff, who got 47.9%.

In the other contest, Black Democrat Reverend Raphael Warnock got 32.9% to Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler’s 25.9%. A third Republican, Representative Doug Collins, failed to make the runoff after coming in third with 20%.

DEMOCRATS HAVE A CHANCE

Georgia has not elected a Democratic senator for two decades, but changing demographics and the gradually improving Democratic performances in recent contests suggest the party has a chance at winning the Jan. 5 runoffs, political scientists say.

But those odds will largely depend on keeping voters engaged, said Andra Gillespie, a professor of political science at Emory University.

“Whichever party has the better turnout operation is the one that wins,” Gillespie said.

Voter mobilization efforts have boosted Democrats’ fortunes, she said. Registration campaigns, like the one led by Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost the governor’s race in 2018, helped register thousands. But it remains to be seen if Georgia voters will come out in January as they did for November’s election, which featured the presidential ticket.

Both Perdue and Loeffler are Trump allies. But Loeffler ran strongly to the right this year to defeat fellow Republican Collins.

She accepted an endorsement from Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican congresswoman-elect who has promoted the baseless pro-Trump conspiracy theory QAnon. Loeffler has posted photos with herself on Twitter with members of a private militia group, and has called the Black Lives Matter movement, which protests police violence and racial injustice, a “Marxist” group.

Amy Steigerwalt, a political science professor at Georgia State University, asked whether Loeffler’s actions might now work against her in the runoff with Warnock — and in turn pull Perdue down since both Republicans will be on the ballot at the same time.

“Will she get a boost on some level from Perdue also running? … Or is it possible that now that there is more attention given to her and given to some of the positions that she took, that (could) honestly harm both of the Republican candidates?” Steigerwalt said.

“Democratic voters in particular in the exit polls mentioned that one of the main things that caused them to turn out was racial justice,” Steigerwalt said.

BIDEN GOALS AT STAKE

Biden’s cabinet picks and policy proposals would face choppy water if Republicans maintain a Senate majority. He pledged to strengthen and build on the Obamacare healthcare program. He also campaigned on a multi-trillion-dollar plan to curb carbon emissions and create jobs, and said he favored raising taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals.

Those goals would face stiff opposition with Republicans in charge of the Senate. There would likely be hard bargaining over any additional coronavirus aid, which a number of Republicans oppose.

On the other hand Biden, a former senator who campaigned as a centrist, has known the leader of the Senate Republicans, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for years. They have struck deals together before, including an agreement to allow tax rates to rise on the wealthy late in 2012, when Biden was vice president. Last week, McConnell referred to Biden as an “old friend.”

“Look for him to drive long-standing priorities of his like infrastructure, where he could perhaps find support from a moderate Republican or two,” said Scott Mulhauser, a Democratic strategist who worked for Biden in the 2012 presidential election.

(Additional reporting by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Scott Malone and Aurora Ellis)

Split screen: Trump and Biden to headline dueling town halls

By Joseph Ax

(Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden will hold dueling prime-time town halls on Thursday instead of their second presidential debate, which was canceled after Trump declined to take part in a virtual matchup.

With less than three weeks to go until the Nov. 3 vote, the Republican president is searching for ways to change the dynamics of a race in which Biden has a double-digit advantage in some national polls.

Nearly 15 million Americans, a record for this date, have cast ballots, according to the U.S. Elections Project at the University of Florida, as voters seek to avoid in-person lines on Election Day because of concerns about the novel coronavirus.

North Carolina, a highly competitive state, began more than two weeks of in-person early voting on Thursday. Local news reports showed long lines of voters eager to cast ballots, and Trump was due to hold an afternoon rally in Greenville in the eastern part of the state.

Trump’s campaign is counting on a surge of last-minute votes. But Reuters/Ipsos polling conducted between Oct. 9 and Oct. 13 shows there are far fewer undecided likely voters this year – around 8% – and they are just as likely to pick Biden as they are Trump.

Four years ago at this stage of the campaign, more than twice as many people were similarly wavering between Trump and his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

The Reuters/Ipsos polling shows Biden holding a 10 percentage-point lead nationally, with a tighter margin in the battleground states that will help decide the election.

Both candidates have been visiting those states this week, with Trump holding rallies in Florida, Pennsylvania and Iowa and Biden traveling to Ohio and Florida.

Trump has pulled into a statistical tie with Biden in Florida, a key battleground, with 47% support versus Biden’s 49%, and a credibility interval of 4 points, a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll showed.

Thursday’s town halls, in which each candidate will field questions from voters, will take place at 8 p.m. EDT (0000 GMT), with Trump on NBC from Miami and Biden on ABC from Philadelphia.

Trump pulled out of the scheduled debate when the commission in charge of organizing the event said it would be held virtually after the president contracted the coronavirus. A final debate is still scheduled for Oct. 22 in Nashville, Tennessee.

On Thursday, the Biden campaign said two people involved in the campaign had tested positive for COVID-19, including one on the staff of U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, Biden’s running mate.

Although neither Biden nor Harris was in close contact with the people, the campaign said it was cancelling Harris’ travel until after Sunday, “in line with our campaign’s commitment to the highest levels of precaution.”

Trump has returned to the campaign trail after spending several days being treated for the virus in a military hospital.

NBC said on Wednesday that Clifford Lane, clinical director at the National Institutes of Health, and the government’s top infectious disease specialist, Anthony Fauci, had concluded “with a high degree of confidence” that Trump was no longer “shedding infectious virus.”

The election could be the most closely contested in recent memory due to a deeply divided electorate and the possibility that Trump will challenge widely used mail-in ballots, claiming without evidence they are fraudulent.

(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt and Chris Kahn in New York and Doina Chiacu and James Oliphant in Washington; Writing by Joseph Ax and Sonya Hepinstall; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Matthew Lewis)

Harris, fellow Democrats target Trump Supreme Court nominee on Obamacare

By Lawrence Hurley and Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic senators including vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris on Monday painted President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett as a threat to the Obamacare healthcare law during a deadly pandemic and denounced the Republican drive to approve her before the Nov. 3 U.S. election.

As the Senate Judiciary Committee began its four-day confirmation hearing for Barrett, Democrats voiced their strong opposition to the nomination even though they have little hope of derailing her nomination in the Republican-led Senate.

Barrett, a conservative appellate court judge nominated to replace the late liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, sat at a table facing the senators wearing a black face mask amid the pandemic as senators made opening statements. Barrett removed the mask when she was sworn in and delivered her own opening statement.

“I believe Americans of all backgrounds deserve an independent Supreme Court that interprets our Constitution and laws as they are written,” Barrett said, reading from prepared remarks that had been made public on Sunday, with her husband and seven children sitting behind her.

Barrett’s confirmation would give the court a 6-3 conservative majority that could lead to rulings rolling back abortion rights, expanding religious and gun rights, and upholding voting restrictions, among other issues.

But it was the fate of the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA), Democratic former President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement that has enabled millions of Americans to obtain medical coverage, that was the focus of Harris and her fellow Democrats. Barrett has criticized a 2012 Supreme Court ruling authored by conservative Chief Justice John Roberts that upheld Obamacare.

Harris, the running mate of Trump’s Democratic election opponent Joe Biden, called the confirmation process so near the election “illegitimate.”

“I do believe this hearing is a clear attempt to jam through a Supreme Court nominee who will take away healthcare from millions of people during a deadly pandemic that has already killed more than 214,000 Americans,” Harris said, speaking via a video link.

“A clear majority of Americans want whomever wins the election to fill this seat and my Republican colleagues know that. Yet they are deliberately defying the will of the people in their attempt to roll back the rights and protections provided under the Affordable Care Act,” Harris said.

Barrett could be on the Supreme Court in time to participate in a case due to be argued on Nov. 10 in which Trump and Republican-led states are seeking to invalidate Obamacare.

Barrett will face marathon questioning from senators on Tuesday and Wednesday. The hearing is a key step before a full Senate vote by the end of October on her confirmation to a lifetime job on the court. Republicans have a 53-47 Senate majority so Barrett’s confirmation seems almost certain.

A pivotal Obamacare provision that would be thrown out if the court strikes the law down bars insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions. In the hearing room, Democrats displayed posters of patients who could lose their medical coverage if Obamacare is invalidated, with senators recounting their individual stories.

Repeated Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare in Congress have fallen short, and Republicans have taken the effort to the courts.

Republican Senator Ted Cruz said the Democratic focus on healthcare and other policy issues showed they were not contesting Barrett’s qualifications to serve as a justice.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who chairs the committee, opened the hearing by saying it would be “a long contentious week” but implored senators to make the proceedings respectful.

“Let’s remember, the world is watching,” Graham added.

“This is probably not about persuading each other, unless something really dramatic happens. All Republicans will vote yes and all Democrats will vote no,” Graham said.

‘MAD RUSH’

Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy condemned the Republican “mad rush” to fill the vacancy.

“They see the ability to take the courts from being independent to making them instead an arm of the far right and the Republican Party, with the potential to accomplish in courts what they have failed to accomplish by votes in the halls of Congress. And at the top of the hit list is the Affordable Care Act,” Leahy said.

Graham defended the Republican approach even while acknowledging that four years earlier they had refused to act on Obama’s nominee to fill a Supreme Court vacancy because it was an election year, and that no Supreme Court nominee had a confirmation process so close to an election.

The Senate’s Republican leaders rejected Democratic pleas to delay the hearing over COVID-19 concerns.

Due to the pandemic, Harris and some other senators participated remotely. Republican Senator Mike Lee attended in person nine days after revealing he head tested positive for the coronavirus, arriving wearing a light-blue surgical mask. He took off the mask while giving his opening statement.

Barrett is a devout Catholic who has expressed opposition to abortion. Christian conservative activists long have hoped for the court to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

Democratic Senator Cory Booker said that “Senate Republicans have found a nominee in Judge Barrett who they know will do what they couldn’t do – subvert the will of the American people and overturn Roe v. Wade.”

Republicans sought to portray the Democrats as attacking Barrett on religious grounds, though the Democrats steered clear of doing so. Speaking to reporters in Delaware, Biden said Barrett’s Catholic faith should not be considered during the confirmation process. Biden was the first Catholic U.S. vice president.

“This nominee said she wants to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. The president wants to get rid of the Affordable Care Act,” Biden said. “Let’s keep our eye on the ball.”

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley, Andrew Chung and Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Will Dunham)

White nationalism upsurge in U.S. echoes historical pattern, say scholars

By Katanga Johnson and Jim Urquhart

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The first Black woman is on a major party presidential ticket, Americans of all races are showing their support for the Black Lives Matter movement and at the same time white nationalists are ramping up recruiting efforts and public activism.

That nationwide backing for America’s stated goal of equal rights for all has been met by a rise in hate-related activities is part of a decades-long pattern in the United States, six scholars and historians say – any expansion of civil rights for a minority group leads to a rise in intolerance.

“Each wave of civil rights progress brings us a little closer to real equity, but there will always be backlash from those who feel threatened by that progress,” said Cynthia Miller-Idriss, director of research with the Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab at American University in Washington. People who feel vulnerable to change become “eager to recruit and radicalize support to slow things down, even if by use of violence or radicalized propaganda,” she said.

After the first Black president, Barack Obama, was elected in 2008, the number of hate groups “ballooned,” Miller-Idriss said, just as Ku Klux Klan activity grew again after the 1954 Brown v. Board of Ed. decision desegregating schools, and during the 1960’s civil rights movement. Backlashes happened after women got the right to vote, and as LGBTQ rights expanded, too.

One of the things that makes this moment so heated is there’s been a bigger embrace by politicians, businesses and white people in general supporting racial justice movements than in the past, historians and civil rights experts said.

America rests on the “great social challenge of creating a successful harmonious, multiracial democracy,” said Simon Clark, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress (CAP). The backlash against that accelerated during the Black Lives Matter protests and “is both a political one and a violent, social one,” he said.

Protests against excessive use of force by police and racism swept the United States, and the world, this summer after a Black man, George Floyd, died on May 25 while a white Minneapolis, Minnesota police officer kneeled on his neck.

The latest police shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Aug. 23 has sparked more protests that have sometimes become violent.

Two white nationalist groups, who want an independent state for whites, told Reuters their numbers are also increasing, which Reuters could not independently confirm. The National Socialist Movement Corporation and the ShieldWall Network said many of the new prospects reject the Black Lives Matter protesters mainly out of fear the demonstrations will impose on their freedoms, such as the right to bear arms.

“I’ve got guns. I’ve got a lot of bullets and an armor, too. And if people come down my street looking for trouble, I am going to fight it,” Burt Colucci, self-described commander of the Corporation, said a prospective recruit told him in a recent phone call.

The New York-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has documented 3,566 “extremist propaganda incidents” and events in 2020, compared to 2,704 in the same period of 2019. Almost 80% of this year’s cases involve white nationalist ideology, the civil rights advocacy organization found. Anti-Semitic incidents and plots and attacks of terrorism among others made up the rest, the ADL said.

MARCH IN WASHINGTON

Patriot Front, a white nationalist group, marched in Washington in February, and flyers and leaflets advertising the group have been found on college campuses from Arizona to Vermont in recent months. White nationalist groups posted messages on Facebook this summer advocating bringing guns to Black Lives Matter protests, and staged demonstrations in Florida and Pennsylvania in July.

While the ethnic and racial diversity of the United States is growing, whites remain a majority, about 60% of all Americans, according to Pew Research Center analysis published a year ago.

One-third of eligible voters in the Nov. 3 elections, in which Senator Kamala Harris of Jamaican and Indian parentage is running on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s ticket, will be non-white, according to Pew, up from one-quarter in 2000.

Most Americans say they embrace diversity, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll last year about race, society, and their political engagement. Sixty-three percent said the statement “I prefer to live in a community with people who come from diverse cultures” reflects their point of view.

Among registered Democrats, that affirmative answer jumped to 78%, while among Republicans it dropped to 45%.

In the election campaign, Biden has accused President Donald Trump of stoking divisions. The Trump campaign has said that the president “works hard to empower all Americans.”

‘HEAR THE RAGE’

“I’ve never seen the country so divided – not only divided, but charged, on all sides,” said Billy Roper of the Arkansas-based white nationalist organization, ShieldWall Network.

America has been at similar crossroads before, though, the scholars and historians interviewed by Reuters say.

The Ku Klux Klan, founded at the end of the U.S. Civil War, is the oldest and most violent of white extremist organizations, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) civil rights advocacy group. The KKK, bent on reversing the federal government’s progressive policies during the period known as Reconstruction, used violence against Black people in Southern states, particularly to deny them the newly-won right to vote.

Women’s voting rights, granted in 1920, coincided with a rise of the word “bitch” in newspapers around the country, Representative Pramila Jayapal said recently on the floor of the House of Representatives because, she contends, voting “was just a little too much power for too many men across the country.”

During the early years of the civil rights movement, a number of monuments honoring the war heroes of the Confederacy, the slavery-supporting states that lost the Civil War, were erected in the South, according to a SPLC report.

At least 780 monuments remained in public places in the South and elsewhere in the United States as of February 2019, the report said, among other Confederate symbols that are deeply divisive. Of those monuments, 604 were dedicated before 1950, but 28 others were unveiled from 1950 to 1970 and 34 after 2000.

National legalization of gay marriage in 2015 contributed to a powerful resurgence in conservative politics and legal challenges to LGBTQ rights, advocates said.

Colucci says his group has seen an uptick in calls and emails after racial justice protests and growing corporate and public support for Black Lives Matter and other groups.

“Some of those e-mails, I mean, you could just hear the rage,” he told Reuters.

(Reporting by Katanga Johnson in Washington and Jim Urquhart; Additional reporting by Chris Kahn; Editing by Heather Timmons and Grant McCool)