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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Trump lawyer tells jury ‘every campaign is a conspiracy to win an election’ in hush-money closing arguments – live

Trump lawyer tells jury ‘every campaign is a conspiracy to win an election’ in hush-money closing arguments – live

"Former president in court for closing arguments in trial charging him with 34 counts of felony falsification of business records

man wearing sunglasses speaks to reporters
Robert De Niro speaks in support of Joe Biden outside of Donald Trump’s hush-money trial. Photograph: Charly Triballeau/AFP/Getty Images

Robert De Niro, at a press conference across the street from the Manhattan courthouse, says voters have a second chance to make sure Donald Trump is not elected to the White House again.

“We don’t want to wake up after the election saying ‘What again? My God, what the hell have we done?’” the actor told reporters.

If Trump gets into the White House, “he will never leave”, he goes on.

Is that the country we want to live in? Do we want him running this country and saying ‘I’m not leaving, I’m dictator for life’?

“This is not a threat. This is a reality,” De Niro says, adding that the reason he joined the Biden-Harris campaign is “because the only way to preserve our freedoms and hold on to our humanity is to vote for Joe Biden for president”.

man wearing sunglasses speaks to reporters
Robert De Niro speaks in support of Joe Biden outside of Donald Trump’s hush-money trial. Photograph: Charly Triballeau/AFP/Getty Images

Behind De Niro stood Harry Dunn and Michael Fanone, two law enforcement officers who defended the US Capitol on January 6.

“These guys are the true heroes,” De Niro says. “They stood and put their lives on the line to defend this county and our democracy.”

When a heckler interrupts by saying the two officers “lied under oath”, De Niro snaps back that “I don’t even know how to deal with you” and says he is “honored” to be with Dunn and Fanone today.

'Trump could destroy the world', says Robert De Niro outside courthouse

Just across the street from the courthouse, the Biden campaign is holding a press conference including the actor Robert De Niro.

De Niro says downtown New York city is his neighborhood. “I grew up here and feel at home in the streets … I love the city.”

He says the Twin Towers “fell just over there”, adding that we vowed “we will not allow terrorists to change our way of life.”

Donald Trump “wants to sow total chaos”, De Niro says, arguing that the former president is a “tyrant”.

Donald Trump wants to destroy not only the city, but the country and eventually he could destroy the world.

The former president “does not belong in my city. I don’t know where he belongs, but he certainly doesn’t belong here,” he says, adding that Trump is a “grubby real estate hustler masquerading as a big shot”.

De Niro says he became involved with the Biden Harris campaign to remind people that Trump will “use violence against anyone who stands in the way of his megalomania and greed.” He adds:

Yesterday was Memorial Day. It’s a good time to reflect on how Americans fought and died so that we may enjoy the freedoms guaranteed to us by a democratic government … Under Trump, this kind of government will perish from the earth. If Trump returns to the White House, you can kiss these freedoms goodbye that we all take for granted."

Trump lawyer tells jury ‘every campaign is a conspiracy to win an election’ in hush-money closing arguments – live

Opinion How geography and religion drive America’s blue vs. red divide

Opinion How geography and religion drive America’s blue vs. red divide

A weathered American flag outside a Baptist church in Gallant, Ala., on Nov. 12, 2017. (Brynn Anderson/AP)

“After Barack Obama’s 2012 victory, political commentators, including some Republicans, fixated on the racial divide. Democrats, they (wrongly) predicted, would win most elections in the future because voters of color were overwhelmingly backing them. The past few years, education has replaced race as the explanation for everything. Journalists and officials in both parties at times speak as if every Democratic voter has a college degree and none of the Republicans do.

But race and education aren’t the only things driving how Americans vote — and arguably aren’t even the most important. Religion, geography and other factors play major roles. Democrats and the broader anti-Trump coalition are too fixated on the education divide and are ignoring everything else.

There is a big split between the nearly 70 percent of American voters who identify as Christians and lean strongly Republican as a group, and the 30 percent who say they aren’t Christians and are much more Democratic, according to polling this cycle and the results from the 2020 and 2022elections. Another fissure is between those who live in rural areas (very Republican) compared with those in urban ones (very Democratic).

Religion and population density often outweigh race and education in terms of how people vote. White evangelical Christians, even those with college degrees, overwhelmingly vote for Republicans. Asian Americans who are Christian are much more conservative than their non-Christian counterparts. White people without degrees who live in urban areas are significantly more liberal than those in rural areas.

Beyond the urban-rural divide, another geographic factor that is perhaps underappreciated in shaping Americans’ political views is the state they live in. Blue states aren’t just full of atheists, urbanites, minorities and college graduates; red ones aren’t just evangelical Christians, Whites and people without degrees living on farms. States have political cultures and institutions that push people toward certain ideological and partisan views. President Biden’s biggest margin of victory in 2020 was in Vermont, even though it’s one of the Whitest and most rural states.

Age matters, too, largely because voters under 30 tend to be very Democratic-leaning. As does race, mainly because of the huge difference between White voters (about 40 percent back Democrats) and Black ones (more than 80 percent support Democrats.) And there is a growing diploma divide, particularly among White voters. (College graduates are increasingly Democratic, while those without degrees are more Republican.)

A gender gap exists, too. (Women prefer Democrats, men Republicans.) But it’s much smaller than some of the other divides.

The biggest divides and predictors of voting are, of course, ideology and partisanship. Democrats and liberals overwhelmingly support Democratic candidates; Republicans and conservatives back Republican politicians. But ideology and partisanship are shaped by other factors.

People often become a Democrat or a Republican because that’s what their friends or family are and then adopt the policy views of that party. So getting someone to join a church with lots of right-leaning members might be a more effective way to get them to vote Republican than convincing them of the value of tax cuts for economic growth.

Why does understanding these divides matter? First of all, I worry my industry (the news media) is presenting a flawed view of how people come to their political identities, positions on issues and preferred candidates. The description by many journalists during Obama’s presidency of a monolithic, left-leaning voters of color bloc was overly simplistic. But replacing that with a similarly monolithic frame of right-leaning voters without degrees isn’t any better.

Secondly, I worry those I agree with politically (people opposed to the Republican Party and former president Donald Trump) are misreading the electorate. Both centrist and progressive Democrats have spent much of the past eight years openly discussing their plans to win back the working class, defined as people without bachelor’s degrees. They often publicly brag about initiatives that will create jobs specifically for people who didn’t graduate from college.

I largely agree with those policies. But Democrats aren’t gaining much ground among people without degrees.

There are many reasons for the party’s struggles among these voters, such as continued high prices for some goods and Biden’s age. But I suspect we are also seeing the results of a flawed political analysis and resulting strategy. No one self-identifies as “Jake without a college degree.” There are no institutions or clubs that people join specifically to connect with other noncollege graduates. I doubt most of the 62 percent of American adults without a bachelor’s degree consider themselves part of some collective working class.

Americans do describe themselves as Christians, residents of small towns or, alternatively, people who like to live in urban, walkable areas. Christians congregate in specific places (churches). So do non-Christians (mosques, synagogues). Christians have a set of shared values; so do Muslims and Jewish people. People who prefer cities self-identify as tolerant and inclusive; rural Americans often say they value tightknit communities.

“When it comes to understanding people’s political views and behaviors, their sense of identity is much more important than demographics alone,” said Lauren Goldstein, a pollster at the left-leaning firm Change Research.

I wish the Democratic Party, instead of defining its problem principally as noncollege voters over the last several years, had also tried to appeal to people based on these other identities. There hasn’t been a deep, sustained effort by the party to reduce its margins of defeat in small towns or to develop a rural Democratic identity with corresponding policies.

It’s obviously tricky to appeal to Christians without turning off people of other faiths or violating the principles of separation of church and state. But Obama gave memorable speeches connecting faith and religion to politics and policy. So did Bill Clinton. It’s unclear why Democrats collectively don’t spend more time emphasizing how their policies come from religious values such as charity and forgiveness, even if they aren’t quoting the Bible constantly.

On the flip side, the party could take advantage of the fact that living in a densely populated area and/or not being a Christian tend to make people more likely to vote Democratic. I wrote last year about the potential value of creating church-like institutions for the growing ranks of Americans who aren’t Christians. Perhaps no one would join those. But surely it’s worth people on the left trying to establish new institutions that connect urbanites and nonbelievers with one another, instead of pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into boring TV ads every election cycle.

The speech Obama gave at the Democratic National Convention 20 years ago, in which he downplayed the divide between blue states and red states, was great political strategy but terrible political analysis. We have blue and red states and, really, blue and red people. We are very divided. Understanding the real divides is a key step to addressing them.“

Monday, May 27, 2024

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Netanyahu Calls Civilian Deaths in Israeli Strike on Rafah ‘Tragic Accident’: Live Updates - The New York Times

Middle East Crisis Amid Condemnation, Netanyahu Calls Civilian Deaths in Rafah Strike ‘Tragic Accident’

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The Israeli military said the attack was aimed at a Hamas compound and killed two senior leaders.Haitham Imad/EPA, via Shutterstock

"With international condemnation mounting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said Monday that the killing of dozens of people in a camp for displaced Palestinians in Rafah was “a tragic accident,” but gave no sign of curbing the Israeli offensive there.

His comments came at a particularly delicate time, just three days after the International Court of Justice appeared to order Israel to immediately halt its offensive in the city and as diplomats were aiming to restart negotiations for a cease-fire and hostage release deal between Israel and Hamas at some point in the next week.

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Displaced Palestinians mourned the dead and sifted through the debris of a tent camp in Rafah, Gaza, that was devastated by an Israeli strike.Eyad Baba/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Witnesses and survivors described a terrifying scene of tents in flames and burn victims after what the Gaza Health Ministry said was an Israeli strike on a tent camp housing displaced Palestinians in Rafah, Gaza.

The health ministry said at least 45 people in the camp had been killed and 240 others wounded.

Kuwait Al-Salam Camp 1

Large number

of tents in the area

Location of

Israeli strike

United Nations


Mourners at a funeral in Rafah, in southern Gaza, on Monday.Mohammed Salem/Reuters

An Israeli airstrike on the southern Gaza city of Rafah that killed dozens of displaced Palestinians drew widespread international condemnation Monday, with world leaders calling for an investigation into the attack and intensifying the pressure for Israel to end its military campaign in the south.

President Emmanuel Macron of France said Monday he was “outraged” by the blast and called “for full respect for international law and an immediate cease-fire.”

A member of Egypt’s security forces has been killed during a shooting incident near the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip and an investigation is underway, an Egyptian army spokesman said on Monday, after the Israeli military reported a shooting incident on the border.

There were few details on what happened, and neither country said who had opened fire. But the shooting reflects the escalating tension between the two nations since early May, when the city of Rafah in southern Gaza became the focus of Israel’s military campaign to defeat Hamas, an armed group that led a deadly attack on Israel on Oct. 7.

Egyptian trucks carrying humanitarian aid bound for the Gaza Strip waiting on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing on Sunday.Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Aid trucks from Egypt entered the Gaza Strip on Sunday under a new U.S.-brokered agreement to reopen a vital conduit for humanitarian relief, the Israeli military and the Egyptian Red Crescent said.

Egypt had blocked aid from entering the enclave via its territory since Israel’s seizure of the Rafah crossing — which provides access to southern Gaza — in early May. The two sides have traded blame over that crossing’s closure, even as aid has piled up on the Egyptian side."

Netanyahu Calls Civilian Deaths in Israeli Strike on Rafah ‘Tragic Accident’: Live Updates - The New York Times

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