Facebook found itself at the center of the probe into Russia's alleged interference in last year's presidential election after reports earlier this month revealed that operatives supported by the Russian government purchased more than $150,000 worth of political ads––about 3,000 pieces of content––to spread disinformation and inflame political hostilities among the American public. Many of these ads referred to then-candidate Donald Trump as “the only viable option." The ads were shared by what looked like a grassroots American group called Secured Borders, but Congressional investigators told ABC News that the group is, in fact, a Russian ruse designed to influence voters during and after the presidential election.
Others that were purchased by Kremlin-connected accounts promoted the candidacies of Jill Stein and Bernie Sanders, seeking to sow discord among the left and apparently drive votes away from Hillary Clinton.
Over the last two months, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has signed two bills that will egregiously affect the lives of LGBTQ children and adults in the state of Texas. These two bills are just the tip of the iceberg. According to LGBT advocates, as many as 25 to 30 anti-LGBT bills have been proposed in the Texas legislature.
Most recently, the Republican governor signed House Bill 3859, which makes it legal to refuse adoptive rights to qualified Texans based on their sexual or gender identity, their faith or marital status—i.e., not only are single parents at risk, but so are married couples where either partner was previously divorced. The bill would allow adoption agencies to tout religious objection to deny placement to any prospective parent. It also allows welfare agencies to refuse to provide certain kinds of care to a child based on the provider’s religious beliefs. In essence, it sanctions discrimination against LGBTQ couples who hope to adopt. Further, it gives child placement agencies that are beneficiaries of taxpayer money the power to claim “religious objections to certain groups of people—effectively giving them a license to deny adoption and fostering opportunities to LGBTQ, single, or non-Christian parents.”
With the Republican National Convention less than two weeks away, Donald Trump is set to name his vice president. Those close to Trump have suggested that the decision may occur later this week.
Trump has alternated between coy and unusually public during this intensive vetting period. He has appeared on stage with some of the presumptive frontrunners, and tweeted to stoke anticipation about meeting with others.
A new amendment by the GOP Rules Committee could provide delegates a way out of voting for Trump on the first ballot. The proposal would grant delegates “conscientious objector” status, which would free them from their pledge to vote as the result of primaries and caucuses. The measure would redefine the “faithless delegate” rule enacted at the previous convention to afford delegates “a vote of conscience, whether personal or religious.”
Donald Trump won last month’s Louisiana Republican primary, but that won’t stop Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) from winning more delegates, despite his second place finish.
Both candidates won 18 delegates each in the March 5 contest, but Cruz has reportedly used his influence to entice more delegates into supporting him, concentrating his efforts on convention committees with the power to deny Trump the GOP nomination. Trump threatened to file a lawsuit over delegate rules in response.
As the Democratic race tightens, the Republicans look as though their field will get more narrow in the coming week. In a surprisingly tight race, Senator Bernie Sanders beat Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Michigan primary. With 99% of the vote counted, Senator Sanders is at 49.9% to Secretary Clinton’s 48.2%. A win in Michigan could be a game-changer for the Democratic race, particularly since Secretary Clinton was expected to cruise to the same easy victory she found in Mississippi.