Tom Perez to Appear on Politico’s New Streaming Series “Plug In with Playbook”

Tom Perez is getting Politico

The 58-year-old Dominican American politician, attorney and current chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), will appear on Politico’s new streaming series, which is tied to its popular Playbook newsletter and franchise.

Tom Perez

Politico’s Plug In with Playbook will be streamed at 9:00 AM ET each morning from the Democratic National Convention and the Republican National Convention.

The Democrats’ convention will begin on August 17,  and Republicans’ convention will launch a week later, on August 24.

Plans for the show will move forward even though both conventions will be virtual.

On Wednesday, Democrats announced that Joe Biden would no longer travel to Milwaukee to deliver his acceptance speech and instead would do so from his home state of Delaware.

Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman, co-authors of Playbook, will anchor the 45-minute show, with plans to interview politicians and party insiders.

In addition to Perez, guests for the DNC include convention CEO Joe Solmonese, Biden campaign senior adviser Symone Sanders, and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), who was the vice presidential nominee in 2016.

Kevin McLaughlin, executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, is one of the guests so far during the week of the GOP convention.

Plug In with Playbook also will feature “deep-dive political segments and conversations with Politico journalists, as well as analysis of down-ballot races and a look at this cycle’s swing states. The show may continue at key moments during the campaign.

The show will be live-streamed on Politico’s conventions hub, with a link on Politico’s homepage.

Selena Gomez Encourages People to Register to Vote on ‘Register a Friend Day’

Selena Gomez is encouraging people to register to vote…

The 28-year-old Mexican American singer/actress took to social media over the weekend to remind Americans to make sure they’re registered to vote for the November 3 election, which is less than 100 days away.

Selena Gomez

Gomez shared information about how to register to vote as part of Register a Friend Day. Other celebrities who took part in the initiative included Ariana Grande, Lin-Manuel Miranda, former President Barack Obamaand former First Lady Michelle Obama,LL Cool Jand Cher.

President Donald Trump has continued to spread false theories about voting by mail – even though he’s done so himself – leading election experts to worry that a nation gripped by the coronavirus pandemic could face a chaotic election that may put even more Americans’ health at risk with a push for in-person voting in the midst of both a health and financial crisis.

Currently, presumptive Democratic candidate Joe Biden has a commanding 50-36 lead over Trump, whose mishandled response to COVID-19 has put the U.S. atop the list of countries with the most cases and deaths.

Click here for more information on how to register to vote.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Launches Joint Fundraising Committee, the “Squad Victory Fund”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is expanding her squad goals…

The 30-year-old Puerto Rican politician and congresswoman, who recently won her Democratic primary to remain the U.S. Representative for New York’s 14th congressional district, has joined forces with Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts to launch a joint fundraising committee called the “Squad Victory Fund.” 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

It’s the latest effort by the well-known freshmen lawmakers to support one another and their advocacy for progressive priorities.

The Squad Victory Fund will be able to raise money to support the reelection campaigns for the four congresswomen, as well as their political action committees known as leadership PACs.

The four members of the so-called ‘squad’ have become high-profile targets for criticism from Republicans, who’ve tried to turn their support for progressive agenda items like Medicare for All and a Green New Deal into a liability for the Democratic Party.

At the same time, each of the four lawmakers has amassed devoted national followings and unusually high name recognition during their first term in office. They all have the ability to raise substantial amounts of money with Ocasio-Cortez and Omar ranking among the top fundraisers in Congress, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

The joint fundraising committee will create a new opportunity for the four freshmen lawmakers to combine the power of their resources in support of shared goals.

Money raised by the victory fund will be distributed among the four congresswomen’s campaign committees and their respective leadership PACs. 

Once money is spread among these entities, it could be directed to bolster the members’ own bids for re-election, as well as to support other progressive candidates and efforts.

Its formation comes as two of the members of the squad — Tlaib and Omar — face upcoming primary challenges.

In Michigan’s 13th Congressional District, Tlaib is facing a re-match in an August 4 Democratic primary against Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones. Jones beat her once before to serve out the remainder of former congressman John Conyers‘ term, but lost to Tlaib in the full-term election for the seat.

In Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, Omar is facing off against several Democrats, though none with a major national profile, in a primary on August 11.

In announcing the victory fund, the four lawmakers also announced Wednesday that they are all officially endorsing one another for reelection in 2020.

Ocasio-Cortez recently notched a resounding win over a well-funded primary challenger in her heavily Democratic New York district that includes parts of the Bronx and Queens.

The creation of the fund comes after a series of strong showings by progressive candidates in other congressional races, including candidates endorsed by members of the squad like Jamaal Bowman, a 44-year-old Black former educator, who challenged veteran Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel in a New York primary.

“(M)ake no mistake, last week’s victories put an even larger target on our backs. Wall Stree and Trump donors poured over $3 million into an attempt to defeat me and now they’re preparing to do even more to stop this progressive momentum in its tracks. The Squad Victory Fund will help us fight back,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a statement in a press release announcing the victory fund.

“In the wake of George Floyd‘s murder, Minneapolis inspired a movement. Right now, people across the country are taking to the streets to demand an end to our broken systems of injustice,” Omar said in a statement, adding, “While GOP and corporate donors fight to silence us, we are building a multi-racial grassroots movement to take on entrenched systems of inequality. Our movement is for justice. Our movement is for equality. Our movement is for peace. And our movement is for a better future.”

Camila Cabello Partners with Headcount for Voter Registration Drive

Camila Cabello is getting out the vote…

As this year’s U.S. presidential election draws closer, the 23-year-old Mexican and Cuban singer is encouraging her fans to exercise their right to vote.

Camila Cabello

Cabello has teamed up with the non-profit organization Headcount to video chat with a fan at random who checked their voter registration status at HeadCount.org/Camila.

Anyone not currently registered is directed to their state election website or offered a printable form to get registered.

“I promised to keep using my platform to take action and make real lasting change, so I’m working with ‪@headcountorg to help register voters. text VOTER CAMILA to 40649 to register to vote, check your status, etc. plus enter to win a video chat with me,” she tweeted.

The platform, called Vote Ready, was created by HeadCount in conjunction with technology firm Phone2Action

The organization aims to register at least 200,000 voters for the 2020 election and contact over one million Americans in a massive get-out-the-vote effort.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Wins Democratic Primary in New York’s 14th Congressional District

It’s a blowout win for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

The 30-year-old Puerto Rican politician, currently serving her first term as the U.S. Representative or New York’s 14th congressional district, handidly won her district’s Democratic primary, a victory that effectively ensures a second term in the heavily Democratic distrct.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Ocasio-Cortez warded off three Democratic primary challengers, including Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, a former CNBC anchor and self-described fiscal conservative who criticized the first-term progressive’s expensive agenda.

AOC was leading with 74-percent of the vote, compared to Caruso-Cabrera’s 19-percent, with less 2 percent of precincts reporting, accoridng to The Associated Press.

Ocasio-Cortez noted on social media Tuesday evening that her surprise upset in 2018 was not a “fluke.”

The Democratic socialist shocked political pundits after defeating 10-term incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley during the 2018 midterms. 

“Our win was treated as an aberration, or (because) my opponent ‘didn’t try,’” Ocasio-Cortez wrote in a tweet. “So from the start, tonight’s race was important to me. Tonight we are proving that the people’s movement in NY isn’t an accident. It‘s a mandate.”

Ocasio-Cortez has raised more than $10 million since 2019, and she spent more than $2.4 million on Facebook ads alone since January—far more than any other member of Congress has, The New York Times reported last week—as the COVID-19 pandemic effectively halted traditional campaigning in her district.

Lin-Manuel Miranda is Getting Lyrical About John Bolton’s Book Title

Lin-Manuel Miranda is getting political…

The 40-year-old Puerto Rican star and Hamilton creator has weighed in on John Bolton’s lift of a lyric from his Tony Award-winning musical for use as the title of his memoir The Room Where It Happened.

Lin-Manuel Miranda

Since the former national security adviser announced the title last year, Hamiltonfans have taken notice of the reference to the musical’s song “The Room Where It Happens.” 

Earlier this year, the show’s producer, Jeffrey Seller, told a California newspaper, “I don’t even know how to describe it; it’s just strange.”

And now Miranda has just chimed it… by adding a lyric to another Hamilton number, “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story.” 

He tweeted – with the additions in brackets – today:

Let me tell you what I wish I’d known
When I was young and dreamed of glory
You have no control
Who lives, who dies, who [borrows your song title to write a cash-in book when they could have testified before Congress]
tells your story…

Bolton’s book is set for release on June 23, and while his portrait of President Donald Trump is far from flattering, Miranda calls him out for not stepping up and testifying before Congress during the impeachment hearings.

Seizing the moment, Miranda provides a link in his tweet to Fair Fight, an advocate for fair elections in Georgia. Miranda’s link opens to a page that says, “Sign up to volunteer and help us build a more inclusive Georgia, where every vote is counted and every voice is heard.”

Rosario Dawson to Co-Host Rock the Vote’s Democracy Summer Campaign Virtual Concert

Rosario Dawson is ready to rock the vote…

The 41-year-old Puerto Rican and Cuban American actress and activist will co-host Rock the Vote’s Democracy Summer campaign kick-off on Thursday, June 18, a two-hour virtual concert co-headlined by Katy Perry and Black Eyed Peas.

Rosario Dawson

Co-hosted by Dawson and Logan Browning with Chuck D and Eve, the event will stream live beginning at 8:00 pm ET/5:00 pm PT on democracysummer.org, and Democracy Summer’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

Ne-YoBig FreediaLucy HaleAmara La NegraSaweetie, Sklyar Astin, Max, Leslie Grace, Dove Cameron, Sofia CarsonRich Brian and Michael K. Williams are among those slated to appear remotely. 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro will make appearances.

“I’m excited to be a part of this kickoff to Democracy Summer 2020 with so many amazing talents, activists and speakers,” says Perry. “The young people of America are speaking loud and clear on the streets and online, and come November, it will be more important than ever to fight for justice and equality, and against systemic racism, with our ballots.”

“The young people are engaged. Their voices are loud and getting louder. The world is watching. And we need to vote,” agrees Chuck D, an early and consistent supporter of Rock the Vote, which was founded in 1990 by Virgin Records America co-chairman Jeff Ayeroff primarily to increase voter turnout among young adults.

“We are seeing the urgency for change in America happening in real time. This is the moment for us to use the most important tool on the planet to fight for that change…our right to vote,” says Ne-Yo. “Our democracy needs our voices. Voting is the moment to be the voice for injustice and for equality. But most importantly, to be the voice for humanity. We cannot let each other down in the local elections or on Nov. 3.”

Produced by BWG Live and in partnership with Voto Latino FoundationWhen We All Vote and March For Our Lives, the concert marks not only the first live-streamed event for the Rock the Vote, but also its first large-scale summer activation. 

In previous years the organization amped up in the fall before a Presidential election and typically staged a live event. Both pivots are a direct result of Covid-19.

“One of the realities is coronavirus derailed the momentum that is required in a major election cycle,” Rock the Vote president Carolyn DeWitt tells Billboard. “A few months ago we began seeing how the restrictions were affecting young people in particular, by moving them off college campuses and disrupting graduations and proms,” she says. “Our effort is really about building that momentum back up.”

With some 4 million young people turning 18 this year and innumerable issues at stake, the goal of Democracy Summer is to bring 200,000 new voters to the polls in November when Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden challenges Donald Trump, as well as myriad primary and local elections throughout the summer and fall. Those interested in the event are encouraged to register at the Democracy Summer web site to get the latest details and lineup updates, although preregistration isn’t required to tune in. Viewers can go to Rock the Vote’s website to register to vote.

The murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer and the swell of support around the Black Lives Matter movement also has catalyzed Thursday’s event. As protesters around the country have taken to the streets, Rock the Vote registered 107,000 new voters through its platforms and gained more than 25,000 new Instagram followers during the week of June 1, DeWitt says—numbers that dwarf those of a typical week.

“With what we’ve seen over the last couple weeks, the effort around Democracy Summer has become even more important. It’s not just the virus, it’s bigger than the economy standing still. The world feels like it’s on the brink of chaos and yet this moment around Black Lives Matter is bigger than that,” DeWitt says. “Frankly speaking, a big part of that is people are exercising their rights in a democracy. Young people are looking for things they can do and actions they can take in order to create change. We want to make sure we’re continuing to sustain that fire and passion into November, and make sure young people know the power of their votes and create the change they want to see.”

The live stream will include opportunities for viewers to donate to black-led and -focused organizations including the Community Justice Action Fund and National Action Network.

“Now, more than ever, voting is key for long-term change,” Black Eyed Peas said in a statement. “The youth vote is going to decide the future of America. It’s not just our duty but our honor to spread the word in an election year.”

“The diversity of America is what makes it great, and it is also what makes it our country,” says La Negra. “I am Dominican proudly, yet I am a black woman always. I matter. You matter. And together, we will always matter!”

“The need for young people to get out and vote has never been more important,” says Participant CEO David Linde. “We are proud to be working with Rock the Vote in making that need a reality and by using the inspiring, powerful message of Rep. John Lewis to make good trouble.”

Rock the Vote is planning additional Democracy Summer activations throughout the summer including on the Fourth of July and on August 6, the anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Demi Lovato Encouraging People to Send Birthday Cards for Breonna Taylor to Kentucky’s Attorney General

Demi Lovato is calling for people to honor the memory of Breonna Taylor

The 27-year-old half-Mexican American singer/actress has taken to social media to ask her fans to honor Taylor’s memory with a different kind of social action on what would’ve been the slain African-American woman’s 27th birthday.

Demi Lovato

“It’s Breonna Taylor’s birthday this Friday (June 5). Her favorite colors were blue and purple @iamkevingates was one of her favorite artists. She was an EMT on the frontlines during corona(virus),” Lovato wrote of the Louisville woman who was killed when a squad of police used a battering ram to enter her apartment using a “no-knock” warrant and opened fire. “Around midnight on March 13th police broke down her door and shot her 8 times, no evidence of a crime was uncovered. The sole crime was the murder of Breonna Taylor. Her crime being asleep in her own home.”

Taylor’s name is among those most frequently mentioned these days by protesters marching to demand justice for George Floyd, who was killed when a now-fired white police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

During a week in which she’s been sharing resources for Lovatics interested in donating to or showing solidarity for groups seeking racial justice and police reform – as well as participating in Black Out Tuesday – Demi Lovato offered up a new way to make a statement.

Drawing inspiration from writer/feminist Cate Young‘s suggestion, Lovato encouraged fans to honor Taylor’s memory by sending cards to Kentucky attorney general Daniel Cameron

“The most underserved demographic in America is black women, we cannot allow them to forget Breonna,” she wrote.

Demi Lovato Breonna Taylor

https://www.instagram.com/p/CA_AD3JhAIh/

To date, a GoFundMe effort to support Taylor’s family has collected more than three times the initial $500,000 goal.

The three officers in the case have been placed on administrative reassignment and the attempted murder of a police officer charges against Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker— who reportedly fired on police when they burst through the door — were dropped last month; the FBIis investigating Taylor’s shooting.

America Ferrera Signs Open Letter Urging Local Governments to Decrease Police Budgets

America Ferrera is calling for decreased police funding…

The 36-year-old Honduran American actress and activist has joined the likes of John LegendCommon, the WeekndLizzoJane Fonda, and others to signed a new open letter urging local governments to decrease police budgets in favor of spending more on health care, education, and other community programs. 

Others to sign the letter include Megan RapinoeYada Shahidi, and Anthony Romero, the executive director of the ACLU.

The letter was released by activist Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter and a founding member of the Movement 4 Black Lives, a coalition of more than 100 black-rights organizations. 

The letter arrived in conjunction with #BlackOutTuesday and #TheShowMustBePaused, a grassroots campaign within the music industryto pause work today, June 2nd, and “reconnect with our community.” 

Talib KweliNatalie PortmanBrie Larson and Taraji P. Henson also signed the letter.

The open letter ties the deaths of unarmed black people like George FloydAhmaud ArberyBreonna TaylorTony McDade, and others to the disproportionately devastating effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on black communities. 

“The COVID-19 deaths and the deaths caused by police terror are connected and consequential to each other,” it states. “The United States does not have a national healthcare system. Instead, we have the largest military budget in the world, and some of the most well-funded and militarized police departments in the world, too. Policing and militarization overwhelmingly dominate the bulk of national and local budgets. In fact, police and military funding has increased every single year since 1973, and at the same time, funding for public health decreased every year, crystallized most recently when the Trump administration eliminated the U.S. Pandemic Response Team in 2018, citing ‘costs.’”

Noting, for instance, that state and local government spending on police and corrections jumped from $60 billion to $194 billion between 1977 and 2017, the letter lays out an array of different ways that money could be used. “It could go towards building healthy communities, to the health of our elders and children, to neighborhood infrastructure, to education, to childcare, to support a vibrant Black future. The possibilities are endless.”

At the end, the letter lays out its three demands and asks all signees to encourage their local officials to take the pledge as well: “Vote no on all increases to police budgets. Vote yes to decrease police spending and budgets. Vote yes to increase spending on Health care, Education, and Community programs that keep us safe.”

Teresa Leger Fernandez Wins Democratic Nomination for New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District

Teresa Leger Fernandez is one step closer to entering the U.S. Congress

The Latina politician, a progressive Democrat, defeated former CIA operative Valerie Plameto win the Democratic nomination in New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District. 

Teresa Leger Fernandez

Leger Fernandez overcame six competitors including Plame to win her party’s nomination to succeed U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján as he runs for U.S. Senate.

Leger Fernandez, an attorney and activist who has emphasized her strong ties to the local community. 

Leger Fernandez emphasized her long history in the district throughout her campaign. “In New Mexico, we recognize there’s nothing to gain in demonizing an other,” Ms. Leger Fernandez said in an interview Wednesday. “It’s clear that voters liked that I am a Latina, based in the land and respectful of the land, and have complete acknowledgment of how we are different and that can be celebrated.”

She had secured a slate of top-tier endorsements, including from EMILY’s List, the Sierra ClubPlanned Parenthood Action Fund and the Latino Victory Fund, and she received endorsements from high-profile national Democrats, including Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. She had raised nearly $1.3 million.

The nomination of Leger Fernandez, a professional advocate for Native American pueblo communities and voting rights issues, is likely to be decisive in the vast northern district where Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly 2-1.

The congressional district — the state’s third — spans northern New Mexico and includes the capital of Santa Fe.