Democrats Work to Defy History in Georgia Runoffs That Have Favored G.O.P.

first_imgBut those intimately involved in the two previous Senate showdowns say what happened before is not necessarily predictive of the future. Demographic and cultural change has led to rapid shifts in the state, and Democrats have made concerted efforts to energize and turn out their voters, work that paved the way for President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s strong showing in the state.“Both times before, Republicans really turned out and the Democrats didn’t,” said Saxby Chambliss, the former Republican senator of Georgia who won a second term in a 2008 runoff weeks after Barack Obama won the presidency. “This time around, I’m not so sure that is going to be the case. I have told my Republican colleagues that Democrats are fired up going into the race, and with Biden winning Georgia, I assume that gives them momentum.” – Advertisement – In the runoff, held two days before Thanksgiving, almost one million fewer votes were cast than three weeks earlier and Mr. Fowler saw his initial lead vanish, losing to Mr. Coverdell by 16,000 votes — 50.6 percent to 49.6. It was a stinging defeat for Mr. Fowler but a welcome consolation prize for Republicans.“We were more successful in getting our people back than the other side was in getting their people back without a presidential race at the top of the ticket,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster who was a consultant to Mr. Coverdell. But he cautioned that the dynamic could be vastly different this time around, given that Mr. Warnock, an African-American, is on the ballot.“Democrats have never had an African-American candidate to vote for at a time when control of the Senate is hanging in the balance,” he said. “The circumstances are clearly different. I don’t know if the outcome will be different.”Mr. Fowler agreed, noting that Black voters now make up a significantly larger share of Georgia’s electorate than they did when he ran.“Whether or not the Democrats can win this thing in the runoff, the demographics are much, much better now they were in 1992,” he said. “The numbers make it more likely than it would have been even six years ago. Either way, it is going to be whisper close.”Mr. Fowler said he shook off the loss fairly quickly, and in 1996, he became ambassador to Saudi Arabia, serving for five years until the election of George W. Bush. Both parties and their allied outside groups are already making huge investments in advertising and grass-roots efforts and a panoply of voter-stirring surrogates — perhaps including Mr. Biden and President Trump — will visit the state over the next two months in an intense effort to win. Vice President Mike Pence is making the trip next week. If Republicans can hold only one of the two seats, they will retain the Senate majority and control much of Mr. Biden’s agenda. If Democrats win both, they will gain a working majority in a 50-50 Senate, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris empowered to break ties. The difference between a Republican-controlled Senate or a Democratic-run chamber is immense when it comes to what legislation would be considered and how nominations would be handled.“I can’t ever recall a time when the difference between a 50-50 Senate and a 51-49 Senate was so stark,” said Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat.Mr. Perdue, like Mr. Fowler, finished first in his re-election bid, with a narrow lead over his Democratic challenger, Jon Ossoff. Ms. Loeffler, appointed last year to fill a vacancy, trailed her Democratic opponent, the Rev. Dr. Raphael G. Warnock, a Black minister.The twin runoffs amount to an extraordinary accident of timing that came about because Mr. Perdue’s regularly scheduled re-election race coincided with a special election to finish the term of former Senator Johnny Isakson, who retired in 2019 for health reasons, creating the opening Ms. Loeffler was tapped to temporarily fill.But the unusual runoff rules in Georgia — which require a candidate to gain a majority of the vote to win, and automatically prompt a second contest between the top two vote-getters if no one does — are very much by design. They grew out of efforts by some white Georgians in the 1960s to keep control of the state’s political apparatus after the Supreme Court struck down a system that gave sparsely populated, heavily white rural counties more voting weight than dense urban areas that had large numbers of Black voters.A federal study published in 2007 on the fight for voting rights described how segregationist state legislators then turned to runoffs, which many believed would reduce the likelihood that Black voters would unite behind one candidate to deliver a plurality victory while other candidates split the white vote. By requiring the winner to square off in a head-to-head race, backers of the plan were confident they could better control the outcomes. “Yes, I was disappointed, running six points ahead of the president and being the only state in the country that had this kind of crazy system,” said Mr. Fowler, now 80, looking back on a storied runoff election 28 years ago after Bill Clinton won the presidency.Now that same “crazy system” that overturned Mr. Fowler’s lead, defeating a popular member of Congress known for his folksy stories, has once again seized the attention of both parties. This time, the scenario is playing out in double: Not one but two incumbents, Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, both Republicans, are facing runoffs to keep their seats. This time, the ramifications are even more consequential. The racist origins of the runoff have faded into the background over the years, and defenders argue that it is only fair to require a candidate to win at least half the state’s voters to be elected. “It was just another form of gerrymandering,” Mr. Fowler said.The special election offers a textbook example of why Republicans have wanted to retain the system. Mr. Warnock drew just under 33 percent of the vote, while Ms. Loeffler received just under 26 percent, and another Republican, Representative Doug Collins, captured just under 20 percent. With Mr. Collins now out of the picture, Ms. Loeffler has the potential to consolidate the Republican vote in a one-on-one contest.center_img Georgia’s runoffs, the vestige of segregationist efforts to dilute Black voting power, will determine control of the Senate in races to be decided on Jan. 5. In the past, such contests have heavily favored Republicans because of a drop-off among Democratic voters, particularly African-Americans, after the general election.- Advertisement – In 1992, Mr. Fowler, a former city councilman for Atlanta and congressman considered an up-and-coming force in the Senate, was seeking his second term. He had won in 1986 by surprising a Republican, Mack Mattingly, who had been swept in on Ronald Reagan’s coattails in 1980. Mr. Fowler’s opponent this time was Paul Coverdell, a Republican and a low-key Atlanta businessman, state legislator and ally of the elder George Bush, who had named him head of the Peace Corps.Mr. Clinton’s Southern roots helped him carry Georgia with 43 percent of the vote — the last Democrat to win Georgia before this year — while Mr. Fowler surpassed Mr. Coverdell with 49.2 percent, besting him by 35,000 votes. But under Georgia’s unique law, it was not enough.The runoff rapidly escalated into a bitter clash. As Mr. Clinton prepared to move into the White House, Republicans saw an opportunity to deliver him a quick blow by defeating Mr. Fowler. They pulled out the stops, pouring in money and sending Republican luminaries into Georgia by the planeload, including Senator Bob Dole of Kansas, who promised to turn over his Agriculture Committee seat to Mr. Coverdell if he won.Mr. Fowler drew his own big-name visitor when the president-elect popped over from Little Rock, Ark., for joint appearances in Albany and Macon, where he played the saxophone with a high school band. He and Mr. Fowler raised clasped hands to celebrate what they anticipated as a coming victory.But Mr. Fowler had problems. It was going to be hard to re-create the enthusiasm of the presidential election with the voting finished and Mr. Clinton victorious. Mr. Fowler was also facing backlash for his vote the year before to place Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court. Mr. Fowler remembered Justice Thomas, a Georgia native, had strong support from the state’s Black community, but was opposed by leading women’s groups because of his anti-abortion stance and accusations of sexual harassment. He said he believed that opposition cost him. “I’ve had a good, adventurous life,” he said.He said he had steered clear of politics over the years but was changing course in this election, relaying knowledge and ideas to Mr. Warnock and his campaign.“I have dusted off my campaign shoes,” Mr. Fowler said. “I think it is that important.” Updated Nov. 12, 2020, 7:30 p.m. ET WASHINGTON — A first-term senator in Georgia narrowly bested his opponent, outrunning his party’s standard-bearer only to face voters again a few weeks later under a quirky system that briefly made the state the center of the political universe after a hard-fought presidential election.The year was 1992, and Senator Wyche Fowler Jr., a Democrat, had amassed more votes than his Republican opponent on Election Day. But he lost his seat three weeks later.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more

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Shipping industry weathers pandemic, oil price storm

first_imgBecause of the suffering oil and gas sector, shipping companies have seen early terminations of contracts with oil and gas businesses.The ongoing health crisis has also impacted shipowners’ expenses. They have had to deal with higher insurance prices and more expensive spare parts, among other things, as the rupiah remains weak against the United States dollar, according to the association.“We’ll see how it is a month from now,” Carmelita said.Statistics Indonesia (BPS) reported that the transportation and warehouse sector grew by 1.27 percent yoy in the first quarter of 2020. This was a significantly slower pace than the 5.45 percent annual growth in the first quarter of 2019.In April, cargo ships took a hit in terms of volume, which was down by almost 2 percent year-on-year to 24.91 million tons, according to data from Statistics Indonesia.Meanwhile, logistics firms have started to switch to sea transport amid the decline in the air cargo operation under PSBB.While the country transitions to the “new normal”, Transportation Ministerial Regulation No. 41/2020 will allow ships to deliver medical equipment and staple goods to help with the COVID-19 response.Logistics firm PT Kamadjaja Logistics, which offers freight forwarding and warehouse services, used sea freight to deliver its cargo in late March because government restrictions on air travel had hampered air shipping.“We are switching to sea freight, and we’re using roro [roll-on/roll-off ships]. In any kind of transportation, we try to reach the customers, the end users,” Ivy Kamadjaja, the company’s deputy chief executive officer, said on Tuesday.Topics : The country’s sea freight industry has continued to see depressed demand as a result of the pandemic and a global oil price slump, the Indonesian National Shipowners Association (INSA) has said.INSA chairperson Carmelita Hartoto said that although the government’s relaxation of large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) had resulted in an uptick in passenger sea transport, the cargo shipping sector had continued to suffer.“In other [sea transportation services], there have not been any significant changes, since production, or industrial output, has not fully recovered,” Carmelita told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday. COVID-19 restrictions, which are now being phased out in some places, have caused logistical disruptions along the supply chain by limiting mobility in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected more than 40,000 people nationwide.The INSA reported in early May that container ship revenue had fallen by 10 to 25 percent from normal levels. Likewise, the revenue of bulk carriers – tankers, tugs and barges – dropped by 25 to 50 percent.The pandemic has affected the major users of maritime shipping, including oil and gas companies, which are suffering from record-low oil prices following a demand slump during the pandemic.In May, exports plunged 28.95 percent year-on-year (yoy) to US$10.53 billion, the lowest since July 2016, as a result of falling oil and gas exports, among other commodities, according to BPS data. last_img read more

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NEST to consider physical impacts of global warming for climate fund

first_imgSo far the fund, which NEST developed in partnership with UBS Asset Management, has been focussed on investment risks and opportunities linked to efforts to stem climate change. NEST adopted it for its default strategy in February 2017 and, at the end of June, managed £624m of assets.In its first year the fund performed better than the FTSE World Index. NEST acknowledged that this was a short time frame and that the differences were small but said they were statistically significant so far.According to analysis it carried out, one potential reason for the improved performance was that the share price of companies in the fund responded better to negative climate-related news than the benchmark, it said.“We’ve successfully identified more resilient companies, which even in the face of negative climate change news are maintaining their value better”NEST said it took all the important climate-related news stories it could find in major media publications over a six-month period and measured the investment performance of its climate aware fund and that of the FTSE benchmark index and a control fund for five days after each news story was published.“On average, each time a negative news story about climate change was published, the investment value of the control fund and benchmark lost more money,” it said.“This suggests that we’ve successfully identified more resilient companies, which even in the face of negative climate change news are maintaining their value better.”Over a year, added NEST, these small differences added up and contributed to the overall outperformance of its climate aware fund.Compared with the benchmark, NEST’s investment in the fund meant it had about 21% – £133m – more invested in companies that were positioned to benefit from a global transition to a low carbon economy, including renewable green technology companies such as Xinyi Solar Holdings.Conversely, it had withdrawn the same amount from companies not making progress on adapting for a low-carbon future; companies such as Duke Energy, ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell were affected by this.The climate aware fund tracks the FTSE Developed index but over or underweights companies depending on whether they stand to benefit or lose from the move to a low carbon economy. NEST seeded the fund with about £130m and has since increased its allocation to 30% of its global developed equities in the growth phase of its default strategy, and 40% in the foundation phase.‘Members want responsible investment’ Almost three-quarters of NEST members who participated in a survey wanted their pension scheme to invest responsibly, the auto-enrolment provider has said.Just under half of those surveyed – 47% – said it “matters a lot” to them that their pension scheme considers how the companies and markets they invest in are run and how they “treat people and planet”, NEST reported.A further 26% said they agreed with this if it produced better returns, while 12% said it did not really matter to them at all.Research commissioned by the multi-employer scheme also found that savers’ levels of trust, interest and confidence in pensions were boosted by hearing about how their pension was invested responsibly.NEST gave a sample of its membership some information about what it did as a responsible investor, and found that half of those surveyed said the information improved their impression of the scheme. Some 44% said it made them more interested in their pension and 45% agreed it made them feel more confident about saving with NEST.The master trust also found that 63% of savers wanted to hear more about responsible investment from their pension scheme.Diandra Soobiah, head of responsible investment at NEST, said: “A potential £495bn will flow into workplace pensions over the next 12 years, making workers more powerful shareholders with a major stake in how companies and markets are run.“They’re telling us they want this money invested responsibly, which could improve the environment and society they’ll live and retire in as well as their future bank balances.”The scheme said it was encouraged by the survey results. It said it would continue to invest “to achieve good pension outcomes by considering the wider impact of corporate behaviour on people and the planet”.NEST’s latest annual responsible investment report can be found here . The UK’s £3.8bn (€4.2bn) National Employment Savings Trust (NEST), with over seven million members, is to begin considering how physical impacts of climate change may affect investments it has made in its “climate aware” fund, the pension scheme has said.The next stage of the development of the fund would consider how phenomena such as sea level rises, flooding, hurricanes and droughts might influence companies based on their physical location, and hence the value of the scheme’s investments, the multi-employer scheme said in its 2018 responsible investment report.“Impacts might include transport networks in extreme weather regions becoming unavailable, or heavy industry and refining close to the coast becoming unusable,” it said. Schroders recently warned investors against overlooking the physical risks of climate change – as opposed to transition risks stemming from steps to limit temperature rises.  last_img read more

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Ernst supports review of military bases named after Confederate soldiers

first_imgWASHINGTON — There’s been a debate about whether to change the names of military bases that were named after former Confederate soldiers because of their link to slavery.Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, is an Army veteran on the Armed Services Committee, and says she’s happy to have the conversation. “It is something that has been brought up through our National Defense Authorization Act. And this provision passed almost unanimously in our committee,” Ernst says.Ernst, a Republican from Red Oak, says she supports the action that is being taken. “What we’re promoting is the establishment of a commission that’s bipartisan that would take a look at these installation names — work on new names replacing these names — working with local authorities,” Ernst says. “Finding a path forward, so at some point we can really begin to heal some of the racial injustice that we are feeling across the country right now.”President Donald Trump is opposed to the idea of renaming any of the ten bases named after Confederate soldiers. “There will be opposition to it — but again– it is a discussion that we absolutely need to have,” she says.Statues of Confederate soldiers have been torn down or vandalized in some cities, and a statue of Columbus was pulled down in Minneapolis because of the perceived link to racial injustice. Ernst says violence and destruction is not the way to handle things.”I don’t think it is appropriate in any situation. If there are statues that the public feels with the authorities in charge of those monuments,” according to Ernst. Ernst says bringing the nation together should be done through “healthy, constructive discussions” and not through violence.last_img read more

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66 voted that airport scanners were a good idea a

first_img66% voted that airport scanners were a good idea as they would speed up security checks and improve security, whilst 30% said that they disapproved, largely on health and privacy grounds. (4% gave other answers).Over 400 people voted in the poll, and the results clearly showed that most travellers were in favour of the scanners.Barry Smith, Skyscanner co-founder and business director commented:“As long as the machines are safe and any potential privacy issues can be solved, travellers are in favour of anything which will make flying safer and security checks faster. If it saves me from having to take my shoes off, empty my pockets and remove my belt, I’m all for them.”The Skyscanner poll did reveal that some travellers had concerns over the safety of the scanning machines, specifically the health issues of being X-rayed. However, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) say the technology is harmless, and that the amount of radiation produced is minimal, equating to what a person would naturally receive in just two minutes of flying on an airplane.Other respondents believed that the scanners would not increase passenger safety; Skyscanner user Vasco Sotomaior left a message on Skyscanner’s Facebook page explaining his reasons for being against the scanners:“There’s no use for them. The threat exists, but it is so little that it doesn’t justify them. The current measures are more than enough”.Trials with the body scanners are already taking place in some airports and train stations across Europe and the US, including Manchester Airport in the UK. The technology blurs facial details ensuring that passengers cannot be recognised and images are viewed by staff in walled-off rooms where they cannot see travellers who are being checked.Passengers who prefer not to be scanned will be able to opt for the traditional pat down check instead.ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map RelatedMost females in favour of airport body scannersMost females in favour of airport body scannersTravellers rebel against airport security and admit to smuggling banned items as frustrations riseThis week thousands of Americans were encouraged to join the ‘Don’t Touch My Junk’ campaign.Hidden charges number one gripe for air travellers say Skyscanner usersSkyscanner users have voted hidden charges to be the most annoying aspect of air travel in a recent poll. Two thirds of travellers are in favour of plans to install body scanners in airports, according to the latest poll on Skyscanner.last_img read more

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