Super Tuesday changed the Democratic race

March 4, 2020, 5:58 PM UTC

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It’s now a two (white) man race. 

Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign roared back to life last night, sweeping all Super Tuesday states short of Vermont, Utah, and California. At press time, Biden leads Bernie Sanders in delegate count 453-373; Elizabeth Warren holds a dismal 39. It’s an unusual victory: Biden overcame in states where he didn’t campaign, didn’t organize, and didn’t spend any money.

It’s almost like people already knew who he was.

The influence of Black voters is unmistakable in these result—an influence which had been much discussed in advance and yet somehow, thoroughly underestimated. After his resounding win in South Carolina, Biden can credit Black voter turnout for his wins in Alabama, Virginia, and Texas.

Supporters of the other candidates now face tough choices. 

While managing to excite large numbers of Hispanic voters, the Sanders campaign must now grapple with the failure to turn out the promised youth vote. Warren supporters are facing a reckoning of a much different sort. The charismatic woman with both the plans and the chops to take a billionaire down a peg or six on national television fell short across the board, even in her home state.

Bloomberg, who came out on top only with the American Samoan vote, ended his campaign and endorsed Biden on Wednesday morning.

But the big loser last night was the American voter.

Thousands experienced inexcusable delays from a variety of factors, from a lack of polling sites, to poor processes, to a lack of voting machines. The delays were mostly in California and Texas but voting systems across the country are vulnerable.

A couple of examples bode poorly for the future.

The first test of a newly revamped election system at Los Angeles County voting centers seemed to have failed. “It’s a mess,” said one voter who waited for a half-hour in a line only to be told that the voting machines were broken.

And consider Hervis Rogers, the very last person in line to vote at Texas Southern University. He cast his ballot at 1:30 a.m. after a seven-hour wait, and then headed to his third shift job. Even though he was already late, he stopped to chat with reporters. “It was my duty to vote,” he told the local ABC affiliate

Rogers’ good-natured persistence is emblematic of the kind of deep pragmatism that Black voters often embody; clear-eyed about the barriers they face on the daily, yet determined to shape a system that routinely fails to make their communities a political priority.

“I wanted to get my vote in, voice my opinion,” he said. “I wasn’t going to let anything stop me, so I waited it out.”

Ellen McGirt

On Point

What makes a great place to work? I’ll be finding out today at the annual Great Place to Work For All Summit in San Francisco. Michael Bush, the CEO of Great Place to Work, has long believed that it’s understanding how to unlock the real human potential of the people who work there. “Here’s what we know: That treating people with respect, credibility and fairness gives you a significant edge,” he says. “We can link those leadership behaviors to economics, but those behaviors have to be real.” I’ll report back. Link to the agenda and livestream below.
GPTW For All Summit 2020

Charlottesville will no longer celebrate Thomas Jefferson’s birthday The former president’s hometown has decided instead to celebrate Liberation and Freedom Day, marking the day when Union troops arrived to free the enslaved people, on March 3, 1865. (I was surprised to learn that they were the majority of Charlottesville’s residents.) “This marks a wholesale shift in our understanding of the community’s history,” Jalane Schmidt, a professor at the University of Virginia who helped organize the weeklong event. “To take Thomas Jefferson’s birthday off the calendar and add this is a big deal.”
Washington Post

Brewer’s trade group announces grants to increase diversity in the industry The Brewers Association, the nonprofit trade association for independent brewers in the U.S., announced the winners of its 2020 Diversity and Inclusion Event Grants program. The program aims to support events that promote underrepresented brewers. The grants are part of a broad effort to diversify brewing. Last year, the Association conducted its first benchmarking survey of brewery owners and employee diversity in terms of gender, race, and ethnicity. This year expect a new mentorship program and a series of case studies on best practices. Fourteen events were selected from an applicant pool of 69 and will receive grants totaling $50,000. They sound like a lot of fun!
Brewer’s Association

On Background

Reimagining the corporate ladder People who want career growth are promoted into jobs they’re terrible at every day, so reimagining a path for growth that’s based on true talent is a compelling idea. It also requires re-thinking how people are compensated. This post from Gallup asks companies to stop thinking about careers as a ladder, and more like a jungle gym, designed on matching strengths with work and developmental opportunities. “The key is to always be thinking about When does this person shine the most? and then balancing that employee's talents, personal goals and expertise with what the company needs at the time.” Unstated, but food for thought: How would this approach help underrepresented employees?

Making music with your data While this has nothing to do with race, it is an inspiring reminder that even information that we think we (sort of) understand can be presented and understood in a fresh way. The much fussed-over yield curve, the chart that compares the shifting yields of government bonds of different maturities, is used to assess market health and considered by analysts to be a warning bell for impending recession. Because it changes daily, animating the data — in this case, five days-worth of chart data per second — can help market-watchers track the curve’s shape. Fascinating! But to make it more powerful, this data expert mapped the Y-axis onto a four-octave scale. Each data point now makes a sound. As the yields rise, so does the pitch. So when it inverts, you can hear it in the music. Now you know what the yield curve and data sonification is. 
Financial Times

The history of black women doctors in comic books Darnel Degand has written an excellent essay exploring the long history of discrimination Black women have experienced when they’ve pursued careers in medicine, and the media’s role in perpetuating specific stereotypes. Even W.E.B. Du Bois tackled the subject in a 1933 article, “Can a Colored Woman be a Physician?” (Yes, was his answer.) “The inability to see black women as doctors extends into the world of comic book superheroes,” Degand writes, with one notable exception: Dr. Cecilia Reyes, who appeared in Marvel’s X-Men in 1997. Degand is clearly a comic book fan and X-Men readers will geek out at his analysis of Dr. Reyes' plot line. Others will understand how much of an outlier she was. As her narrative grew, she became bolder, changed her bobbed hair to long locs, and was not there for any discrimination. “To the contrary, she was portrayed as a confident doctor who was in command of her operating room.”

Tamara El-Waylly produces raceAhead and manages the op-ed program.


"The alleged menace of universal suffrage having been avoided by the absolute suppression of the negro vote, the spirit of mob murder should have been satisfied and the butchery of negroes should have ceased.”

Ida B. Wells

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