Around Atlanta, Many White Suburbanites Are Sticking With Trump

Democrats could still chip away at Mr. Trump’s margins with such voters, Mr. Thurmond argued, in part by dispelling the notion that supporting racial justice and opposing “rioting and looting” are somehow at odds.

“You don’t have to choose,” he said. “But Republicans know that you can sell fear at a very low price. And they’ve taken the defund-the-police message to mean we don’t want any police, which is ridiculous.”

At the same time, Mr. Thurmond said, “we haven’t done a very good job in defining what it does mean.”

Mr. Thurmond pointed to Ms. McBath as someone trying to wrest the issue back from Republicans. She once more faces Ms. Handel in her re-election bid in Georgia’s Sixth District, among the best-educated congressional districts in the country, and has repeatedly emphasized that she does not want to defund the police. “That has never come out of my mouth,” she told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last week.

That Mr. Biden’s own insistence against defunding the police hasn’t resonated as deeply with white degree-holders in Georgia is in part a function of resources. With multiple true battleground states up for grabs, from Florida to Pennsylvania, Democratic strategists acknowledged that there’s only a moderate incentive to divert cash and time to places like Georgia and Texas, tight as the polling may be. Ultimately, Mr. Biden has a number of paths to 270 electorate votes should he lose Georgia; Mr. Trump, however, has a much narrower path.

Mr. Trump has visited the state multiple times since taking office, including a rally on Friday in Macon. September alone saw campaign swings from Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump. On Sept. 25, the president appeared in Atlanta as part of his Black Voices for Trump initiative, which he launched in the state last fall. During the Republican National Convention, the campaign featured Vernon Jones, a Black Democratic state representative supporting Mr. Trump. Following the convention, Mr. Jones called on his party to “condemn Black Lives Matter and then Antifa.”

Brian Robinson, a Republican strategist in Georgia, is hopeful that the new Supreme Court vacancy will allow Mr. Trump to solidify any incremental gains he has made through his law-and-order message.

“You’re hearing people now saying that they don’t like Trump, but that the Supreme Court opening has reminded them why it’s important to have a Republican in the White House,” he said. “It’s another example of people who were wavering before, but are now back firmly with Trump.”

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Chicago teachers, district joust over ‘sticking points’ on 2nd day of strike

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Striking Chicago public school teachers reported some headway at the bargaining table on Friday in a contract dispute focused on reducing class sizes and other issues that would benefit students.

Teachers picket at Sullivan High School on the second day of a teachers’ strike in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. October 18, 2019. REUTERS/John Gress

In addition to wage increases, the union has emphasized the demands of teachers for more money to ease overcrowded classrooms and to add more nurses, social workers and teaching aides.

On the second day of the strike, the two sides focused negotiations on three of the union’s demands: more preparation time for special education, more special education case managers and teachers and more bilingual education support staff, said Chicago Teachers Union spokeswoman Chris Geovanis.

“We’ve seen some movement, but it’s not enough,” union Chief of Staff Jennifer Johnson told reporters, adding that Chicago Public Schools (CPS) presented a counter proposal on staffing levels on Friday.

Sticking points in the talks included the needs of homeless students, pay for veteran teachers, and pay for low-wage employees such as teacher assistants, Johnson said.

Bargaining was set to resume at 1 p.m. on Saturday and continue on Sunday, union President Jesse Sharkey said.

Officials with CPS were not immediately available for comment on the negotiations on Friday.

The work stoppage forced officials to cancel classes for more than 300,000 students, but school buildings stayed open for children in need of a place to go during the strike.

Teachers in red T-shirts and sweatshirts were on picket lines outside many of the city’s 500 public schools.

“I feel really hopeful by the support that I have seen around the city,” said Suzanne Van Kersen, who teaches English as a second language, as she picketed outside Mather High School on the city’s North Side.

“The mayor seems really stubborn,” she added, “so I am not encouraged that this is going to be over soon.”

The strike, involving 25,000 teachers, is the latest in a recent wave of work stoppages in school districts across the United States in which demands for school resources have superseded calls for higher salaries and benefits.

In Chicago and elsewhere, teachers have emphasized the need to help underfunded schools, framing their demands as a call for social justice.

That emphasis has resonated with many Chicago parents but even so, the strike has put some of them in a bind over child care.

Daniel Perez, a 43-year-old project manager, had to bring his two elementary school children to work at a construction site on the South Side on Friday.

“I have had to adjust my whole schedule and thank God I have the flexibility. But other parents do not have that and I feel bad for them,” he said as his children sat in his black Toyota truck.

The strike comes seven years after Chicago teachers walked out for seven days over teacher evaluations and hiring practices. In 2016, teachers staged a one-day walkout to protest the lack of a contract and failure to stabilize the school system’s finances.

The district has offered a raise for teachers of 16% over five years, enforceable targets for reducing class sizes and the addition of support staff across the district, according to Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who was elected in April.

Lightfoot has previously said the union’s full list of demands would cost the district an additional $2.5 billion annually.

Wall Street credit rating agency Moody’s Investors Service, which rates the district’s debt in the junk level, said on Thursday the outcome of labor negotiations would have “substantial ramifications on whether CPS’ financial recovery continues, given its limited financial flexibility and narrow reserves.”

Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; Additional reporting by Kyle Coward and Andrew Hay; Editing by Frank McGurty, Cynthia Osterman and Daniel Wallis

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