Val Demings Is in the Mix to Become Joe Biden’s Running Mate. Is Her Police Background an Asset or a Liability?

TIME magazine, July 2020.

Her chances to become Vice President rest in part on whether Demings –and Democrats– can reconcile her identity as a former cop with that of a Black woman in a country where Black people have the most to fear from police. Some on the left see her as a symptom of the problem, not a beacon of progress. This raises some hard questions for Americans. How much should we expect our politicians to account for injustices that are bigger than any one person? Is it fair to ask public servants how their own experiences with racism or sexism guide their approach to fighting such forces stacked against them? And are those who have found success within existing structures an extension of systemic failure or the ones best equipped to fix them?

‘We’re Not Going to Know Who the President Is Until Well Into November.’ These Are the Scenarios Worrying Election Officials

TIME magazine, June 2020.

The National Association of Secretaries of State elections committee has been holding a weekly call to swap information on preparing for an unprecedented election. There are hundreds (thousands!) of ways an election can go awry anyway, but the coronavirus pandemic has complicated preparations. It’s not just the intake of absentee ballots that’s worrying officials like Wyman. The pandemic has brought up a range of new issues, from determining whether coronavirus is a valid reason voters can cite to request an absentee ballot to recruiting poll workers to ensuring there are enough financial resources to make the necessary adaptations.

Nothing less is at stake than the integrity of America’s elections and voters’ faith in the process. And it’s a race against time for states to pull it off. “You asked me what keeps me up at night,” Wyman says. “This is it.” 

TIME interviewed nine secretaries of state from both parties. Here are their top concerns.

Why Protesters Want to Defund Police Departments

TIME magazine, June 2020.

In the wake of George Floyd’s death, proponents say it’s time to defund police departments and put that money toward community programs, like after-school programs for students and housing assistance for disadvantaged communities. Among racial-justice activists, the idea isn’t new: organizers, including in Minneapolis, had already been calling to defund the police for some time. But now the idea has been taken up by protesters across the country, who say efforts to reform police departments have been unsuccessful and it’s time to curtail the role police play in society.

‘We’re Ignored Completely.’ Amid the Pandemic, Undocumented Immigrants Are Essential But Exposed

TIME magazine, April 2020.

Maria is one of an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., many of whom are now working the essential jobs the nation is relying on—in apple orchards and grocery stores, food processing plants and hospitals. The Migration Policy Institute estimates that 6 million immigrant workers (a figure that does not take into account legal status) are in jobs on the front lines of coronavirus response, while another 6 million are in industries hardest hit by the pandemic. In normal times, undocumented labor is a pillar of the U.S. economy. In these extraordinary times, immigrant advocates say lawmakers must recognize the contributions that essential undocumented workers are making.

As U.S. Braces for Coronavirus to Spread, Hospitals Worry About Shortages

TIME magazine, March 2020.

As health care professionals watch the potential future unfold across the Atlantic, they are growing increasingly anxious that the novel coronavirus, which is particularly dangerous for the elderly and people with underlying medical conditions, could overrun the American healthcare system. As public officials and businesses try to enforce social distancing to slow the spread, hospital staff say they are concerned about shortages of specialized equipment like ventilators, hospital beds, masks and personnel. If the system grows too stretched, they worry they may ultimately have to ration health care.

Bernie Sanders Leads in Nevada and the Establishment Isn’t Doing Much to Stop Him

TIME magazine, February 2020.

Somewhere in the recesses of the sprawling Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, where giant animatronic dragons live, slot machines are always busy, and bad decisions are likely being made at any given moment, former Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid sits in a quiet executive office.

Bernie Sanders Supporters in Nevada Are Canvassing on Horseback to Get Out the Rural Vote

TIME magazine, February 2020.

You might assume that a democratic socialist from Vermont would struggle in this vast stretch of desert scrubland, where the houses are spaced far apart and the roads are best traveled by horse or four-wheeler. But it’s in places like this, a patch of the West that’s still-Reno-but-only-in-the-official-sense, that the breadth of Sanders’ movement really comes through. Sparse polling shows him well ahead in Nevada. At the same time, new national surveys show Sanders opening a double-digit lead in the wake of his wins in Iowa and New Hampshire. The campaign said Tuesday that it has knocked over 400,000 doors across Nevada. And in places like rural Washoe County, that means relying on supporters like Rifi and Meechan, her stepdaughter, who have logged many miles canvassing on horseback.

How the Democratic Party Missed the Power of Bernie Sanders—Again

TIME magazine, February 2020.

According to a drumbeat of recent polls, Sanders is one of two candidates to beat. Iowa is anyone’s game as the frontrunners remain locked in a close race, and while it’s unclear what will happen on Monday night, the expectations for Sanders are sky high. The rest of the Democratic party appears to only just be waking up to this fact— and they’re worried. Very worried. “That should be a four-alarm fire for the entire Democratic party regardless of your exact ideology,” says Jonathan Cowan, the President of Third Way, a center-left think tank that opposes Sanders. “The Democratic party has been asleep at the switch.”

Inside Bernie Sanders’ Iowa Ground Game

TIME magazine, February 2020.

We’ve just pulled out of Bernie Sanders’ West Des Moines field office and have barely traveled a block when Amy Jerman, a 54-year-old volunteer from Rochester, N.Y., starts tearing up. 

Jerman is a stylish woman wearing a beanie with “Bernie” buttons on it, a Bernie shirt, a kerchief tied around her neck, stacks of silver rings on her fingers and ripped jeans rolled up above her duck boots. She’s normally not emotional, she says, but sometimes she gets overwhelmed by what Sanders and his movement are working toward.

“One of the questions that Bernie put out there at one time was, are you willing to fight for someone else?” Jerman says. “Everyone is willing to fight for everyone else. And it’s just so beautiful.”