The Week Ahead: July 30

We are now 98 days out from the November 2018 election. A group of IGGR members spent Saturday afternoon canvassing for Winnie Brinks. Between now and November, we must do everything we can to help build the Blue Wave in our community. The best method for engaging your neighbors and friends to win elections is face-to-face, authentic conversations about our shared values. Join activists in our community; watch the IGGR Facebook page for frequent postings about how and where you can help out.

Federal

Taxes: The Trump administration is considering bypassing Congress and using executive power to grant an additional $100 billion tax cut mainly to the wealthy, a legally tenuous maneuver that would cut capital gains taxation and fulfill a long-held ambition of many investors and conservatives. Using executive power on such a significant change to the tax law would be highly unusual and could be vulnerable to a legal challenge.
Mueller Investigation: The trial of Trump’s one-time campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, is getting underway this week, with jury selection starting today (Tuesday). Manafort’s trial is the first stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation but has nothing to do with Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election. He is accused of laundering more than $30 million in Ukrainian political consulting proceeds and hiding the money from the IRS. Manafort’s deputy, Rick Gates, has pleaded guilty and is testifying against him under a deal with prosecutors. Who knows what will come out during the trial? Meanwhile, Trump and allies like Rudi Giuliani continue to denounce and try to discredit not only the Robert Mueller and his investigation, but law-enforcement agencies like the F.B.I. and the Department of Justice.
Government Shutdown? Trump on Sunday threatened to shut down the federal government this fall if Congress fails to approve funding for his promised border wall as part of comprehensive immigration reform. Congress has to pass a funding bill by Sept. 30, and Trump’s threat raised the possibility of a shutdown just before the Nov. 6 midterm elections, something Republicans want to avoid.
A Purge of Trump Lackies in Veterans Affairs? Trump’s new Veterans Affairs secretary, Robert Wilkie, was sworn in on Monday, and in his first week, he plans to reassign several high-ranking political appointees linked to the agency’s morale crisis. Wilkie reportedly wants to build his own leadership team and ease lawmakers’ concerns that the VA has become politicized.

State and Local

Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission proposal update:  On Wednesday, July 18, the Michigan Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case challenging the proposal. The Court’s seven justices did not indicate when they will rule on whether the measure will appear on November’s ballot, but Ruth Johnson, the MI Secretary of State, urged the justices to resolve the matter by early August so there would be enough time to draft a 100-word summary and address other legal challenges if the initiative makes it on the ballot. The Court must decide the case before September 7, when the Secretary of State has to have all constitutional amendment wording finalized for printing on the fall ballot. Rumors have been circulating that a decision could be announced on Tuesday, July 31.

MEETINGS/TRAINING (Thanks to Linda Kristensen and Shellie Jeffries.)

WEDNESDAY – August 1

  • Black Lives Matter Vigil, 12:15 – 12:45 P.M., Rosa Parks Circle, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • Clinic Defense/Crowd Safety Training + GR Democratic Socialists of America chapter meeting, 7:00 – 8:30 P.M., Eastown Community Association, 415 Ethel Ave. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506

THURSDAY – August 2

  • Candidate Forum; Answers to Questions on Latino Priorities, 5:30 – 8:30 P.M., Burton Elementary School, 2133 Buchanan Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI  49507
  • Michigan Truth Tour Stop: Grand Rapids (Center for Michigan & Latino Community Coalition of West Michigan), 6:00 – 8:00 P.M., Burton Elementary School, 2133 Buchanan Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI  49507

FRIDAY August 3

  • Linc Up Community Town Hall hosted by Fred Wooden for Congress, 5:30 – 7:30 P.M., Linc Up, 1167 Madison Ave. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49507

SATURDAY – August 4

  • Grand Rapids Women For Gretchen Whitmer Rally, Rock the Block, 5:30 – 7:30 P.M., City Built Brewery, 820 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

SUNDAY – August 5

  • no scheduled events

On the Horizon

  • State Primary Election – August 7
  • Great Lakes and Great Opportunities Sunset Cruise – August 7