Politics News Briefs



Seth Plush, Politics Editor

Prison Strikes Close Nationwide

After a 19-day strike and protest period, thousands of prisoners currently held in United States prisons formally ended all strike activity late Saturday evening. With the closure date commemorating the 47th anniversary of the Attica Prison Uprising, the prisoners hope to achieve some of the same reforms as the original Attica prisoners.

Detailed in a ten item-long list of demands, these included voting rights for convicts, enforcement of state and/or federal minimum wage for incarcerated workers, and more.

Organized by Jailhouse Lawyers Speak, a law education resource for incarcerated prisoners, the strike was led by the Incarcerated Worker’s Organizing Committee, who urged prisoners to refuse to perform any labor or participate in any prison-organinzed activities during the striking period. Some prisoners took this further, with reports of hunger strikes surfacing from multiple prisons.

Organizers hope that the pressure put on both correctional institutions and lawmakers by the strikes will continue after its cessation.   


Texas Senatorial Race Heats Up Following O’Rourke Surge

In what continues to be one of the most watched senatorial races leading into upcoming November elections, progressive Democrat candidate Robert “Beto” O’Rourke has closed in on Republican candidate Ted Cruz’s narrow lead in recent weeks. Largely considered an outside chance candidate in the traditionally conservative Texas, O’Rourke cut Cruz’s lead in the polls to 4 points Saturday, causing fearful reactions from GOP officials.

According to the New York Times, at a closed door meeting in New York, top Trump adviser Mick Mulvaney offered a blunt assessment of election prospects to GOP donors, alluding to large vulnerabilities in the party’s marketability in contested races, especially against progressive candidates.

Polls would suggest this vulnerability, as O’Rourke’s Texas campaign has steadily risen in popularity across the state, with urban youth making up most of his support base. However, O’Rourke has attempted to bring in rural support as well, visiting every one of Texas’s 254 counties.

With November nearing, projections put the race almost too close to call, with Cruz barely edging out O’Rourke in most polls.      


Kavanaugh Set to be Appointed to Supreme Court After Raucous Hearings

 Mired in controversy, confirmation hearings for Supreme Court candidate Brett Kavanaugh finally concluded Saturday afternoon. The hearings, which pushed through multiple protests and arrests, were one of the final steps towards Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court appointment.

Originally a judge on Washington D.C.’s appeals circuit and aide to President George W. Bush, Kavanaugh would cement a conservative majority on the bench, with five out of nine members leaning rightward.

Kavanaugh’s openly conservative views on women’s rights, both stated before and confirmed during the hearings, sparked numerous protests and interruptions during the three-day hearing process, mostly from female protesters. By the time proceedings were brought to a close, upwards of 200 people were arrested in hearing-related incidents, most of which were from inside the committee room itself.

Kavanaugh sparked more controversy when he refused to shake the hand of Fred Guttenburg, father of Jaime Guttenburg, who was killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to hold a vote for Kavanaugh’s approval the week of September 17, with the Senate expected to hold their full vote the following week.