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Opinion

Newsletter: AOC’s tough, but she’s no tea party

House Holds Hearing On Hatch Act Violations By Trump Administration Officials
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) speaks during a House Oversight and Reform Committee on June 26.
(Alex Wong / Getty Images)

Good morning. I’m Paul Thornton, and it is Saturday, July 13, 2019. After reading this newsletter, click here for a depressing snapshot of how dirty our air is in Los Angeles compared to the rest of the country. Let’s take a look back at the week in Opinion.

Put aside, for a moment, the important news of the week — that of America’s newest pay-equity heroes, the passage of an important wildfire safety bill in Sacramento, the scuttling of a census citizenship question, even the very Earth rumbling beneath our feet — so we can focus first on a not-terribly-significant but click-generating topic: more Democratic Party infighting that involves Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The first-term lawmaker from New York set off a political earthquake of sorts this week when she complained to the Washington Post that the House’s Democratic leadership was “singling out … newly elected women of color” — that would be the “Squad” composed of her and Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.). Jon Healey, the L.A. Times’ deputy editorial page editor, points out that for all the attention AOC’s Squad draws in public, it lacks what the tea party wielded in private: clout. Healey writes:

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The 2020 census will not have a citizenship question, but that doesn’t get rid of the likelihood of a significant undercount of immigrants, especially in California. In a New York Times op-ed co-written with Govs. Jay Inslee of Washington and Kate Brown of Oregon, Gov. Gavin Newsom details what California and other states are doing to boost responsiveness to the census. The task is especially great here: “California is the largest and hardest to count state. Ten of the nation’s 50 hardest-to-count counties are there, including Los Angeles, the most difficult because of language barriers, the number of homeless people, and renters and immigrant communities that fear and distrust the federal government.” New York Times

One anti-immigrant crusade ended, another one began, and only in one short week. President Trump may have given up on convincing the Supreme Court that his case for including a citizenship question on the census isn’t based on a complete lie, but there’s another way his administration is pursuing its anti-immigrant agenda, and it could worsen Los Angeles’ homelessness crisis. L.A. Times

Here’s an idea to strengthen women’s soccer: World Cup double headers. Andrés Martinez and Victoria Jackson propose scrapping the separate tournaments and merging the two, with same-day matches pitting each country’s women’s and men’s teams against each other. Nations that do not field a women’s team would be prohibited from competing, incentivizing them to fund and develop programs for both women and men. L.A. Times

Captivated by the U.S. women’s soccer team victory? Thank Title IX. The sweeping 1972 federal law addressed breastfeeding accommodations on college campuses and sexual harassment, but its best-known feature is one of its more controversial ones: requiring equal athletic opportunities for girls and boys. New players poured in, and today we have the U.S. national women’s soccer team as World Cup champions. Next up: equal pay. L.A. Times

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The ex-Labor secretary isn’t the only one who mishandled the Jeffrey Epstein case. Alex Acosta rightly stepped down from his Cabinet post over allegations that he used egregiously poor judgment in allowing Epstein, a wealthy and politically connected financier, to avoid trial and serve a minimum of jail time despite stomach-churning charges of sex trafficking. The L.A. Times Editorial Board says, “Frankly, this wasn’t the failure of one prosecutor alone, but of the entire system of criminal justice that has too often been rigged to protect the rich and famous from criminal prosecution.” L.A. Times

Reach me: paul.thornton@latimes.com


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