Justin Miller

 Justin Miller is a writing fellow for The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

Trump Bashes Minnesota’s Somali Immigrants

(Photo: Flickr/Lorie Shaull)

Somali-American candidate for Minnesota State Representative, Ilhan Omar speaking at a Hillary for MN event at the University of Minnesota in October. 

Less than 72 hours before Election Day, Donald Trump decided to hold an airport rally in the safely blue state of Minnesota. Why? Apparently, to bash the 70,000 Somali immigrants who have sought refuge, and put down roots, in the state.

“Here in Minnesota, you’ve seen first-hand the problems caused with faulty refugee vetting, with very large numbers of Somali refugees coming into your state without your knowledge, without your support or approval and with some of them then joining ISIS and spreading their extremist views all over our country and all over the world,” Trump said on Sunday, as he preached the need for his policy of so-called extreme vetting of refugees.

Trump was clearly trying to exploit isolated incidents within Minnesota’s Somali American community, like the arrests of nine Somali youth who were charged for intending to go to Syria to join ISIS in 2014, or the knife attack by a Somali man in central Minnesota in September.

“Everybody’s reading about the disaster taking place in Minnesota,” he declared. “You don’t even have the right to talk about it.”

Indeed, Trump was so busy trying to stoke fear and xenophobia as a voter-turnout strategy that he forgot to mention the 1,000 Somali workers who help make the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, where he was speaking, function. Nor did he mention the nearly 3,000 mostly East African–owned businesses in the state or the estimated $800 million annual buying power of the African immigrant community in the Twin Cities alone, as ThinkProgress points out.

Perhaps most conveniently of all, he also forgot to mention that Ilhan Omar—who fled violence in Somalia, toiled in refugee camps, and was eventually accepted into the United States as a refugee—is about to become the nation’s first Somali American legislator. After beating a longtime incumbent in the Democratic-Farmer-Labor (Minnesota’s Democratic Party) primary, she is all but certain to be elected as the state representative for a Minneapolis district that includes the state’s largest Somali refugee community.

Omar blasted Trump for his bigoted rhetoric in a Facebook post:

The $50 Million Potential of the 'First True Silicon Valley Candidate'

How a high-tech darling tried, and failed, to get the Clinton campaign to take sides in an intra-Democratic Party race.

(Photo: AP)
(Photo: AP/Ben Margot) Ro Khanna, Democratic candidate for U.S. Representative from California's 17th District, during a break in the California Democrats State Convention Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, in San Jose, Calif. O ne of the most competitive House races this Tuesday is between two Silicon Valley Democrats—Mike Honda, a progressive incumbent, and Rohit “Ro” Khanna, a start-up-style challenger who has become the darling of the tech industry. Khanna has frequently been portrayed as a smart, young candidate in the same vein as President Barack Obama, and an emerging leader who can bring the Democratic Party boldly into the 21st century. But behind the scenes, Khanna’s candidacy has been pitched to party power-brokers as a way for Democrats to capture a highly lucrative stable of wealthy tech donors that is primed to become a cornerstone of the party’s fundraising base—so long as attacks from party progressives doesn’t scare them into the eager arms of the Republican Party. “Ro Khanna...

Big Money Floods High-Stakes Gubernatorial Contests

Corporate interests are funneling hundreds of millions into a dozen state-level gubernatorial battles.

Missouri Republican gubernatorial candidate Eric Greitens speaks to supporters in Chesterfield, Mo. His campaign for the open seat has been fueled by huge political contributions. (Photo: AP/Michael Thomas) W ith most of the nation focused on the spectacle that is the presidential election, the battle over governors’ mansions across the country has drawn less notice, despite high stakes and big spending on both sides. There are only a dozen gubernatorial races this year, compared with three times that many in 2014, and spending is down. But the hundreds of millions spent by candidates, parties, and outside groups is being lavished on a smaller number of races. And the races have become a magnet for six-figure contributions from super-rich pharmaceutical, casino, and financial sector donors. The stakes are highest for Democrats, who hold eight of those 12 gubernatorial seats, and who are desperately trying to retain their hold on the few blue-state governorships they hold in such...

GOP Pols Won’t Raise the Minimum Wage — So Voters Are About To

Fed up with legislative inaction, labor advocates are putting wage increases directly before the voters. 

Supporters of Initiative 1433, which would increase Washington's minimum wage to $13.50 an hour by 2020 and mandate paid sick leave, speak at a press conference in July. (Photo: UFCW 21) W ith congressional Republicans resisting any attempt by Democrats to raise the federal minimum wage, the fight to raise the base pay for low-wage workers has gone decidedly local. Spurred by the organized pressure of the Fight for 15 campaign, sympathetic lawmakers in liberal strongholds like San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, and Chicago have passed legislation to dramatically raise wages over the next few years. And blue states are starting to hike their minimum wages as well, with California and New York leading the way. But Republican aversion to wage increases, and their control of most statehouses, means that legislative action is a non-starter in the majority of states. Labor advocates, however, have a strategy to cut out the middleman: ballot measures to be voted on next week. In four...

How to Get White Workers to Vote for Clinton

JJ Tiziou/Working America
A Working America canvasser talks with a voter. (Photo: JJ Tiziou/Working America) S outh Lawrence Street is in a predominately white working-class neighborhood near Dickinson Square Park on the south side of Philadelphia. But the narrow street of rowhouses also seems to be a microcosm of the vast chasm between the Trump and the Clinton electorates. On a Tuesday evening in mid-October, I tag along with Jihad Seifullah, who is out knocking on doors and talking to people about the election. He’s the canvassing director in southeastern Pennsylvania for Working America, the AFL-CIO’s non-union worker organizing project, which focuses chiefly on political persuasion within the white working class. At the first Lawrence Street door Seifullah knocks on, a man answers the door and politely answers Seifullah’s question about what his top issue is (wealth inequality), while his toddler daughter peeps out curiously from behind. He says that he’s definitely voting for Clinton and Pennsylvania...

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