Wednesday Reading List: Trump's Cabinet, Explaining the Election, and Hate Crimes

Alyson Klein at Education Week is keeping a tally of who might be in the running to become the United States Secretary of Education in the Trump administration. Now that Ben Carson is out, here are the top two on the list:

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin: Walker, also a one-time Trump GOP primary rival, is probably best known for rolling back collective bargaining rights for public employees, including teachers, in Wisconsin. It's unclear if he wants to sit at the helm of the education department, but a lot of Republicans in Washington have him on the top of their wish list. Since Walker is, or at least was, a rising star in the party, such a pick could elevate the importance of the issue.
Gerard Robinson: The former state chief in Virginia and Florida is now a fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute and a leader of Trump's transition team on education. Check out Andrew's interview with him here on what he hopes to see from a Trump administration. (Robinson was speaking only for himself in the interview, not on behalf of any organization.)

First of all, I should note that it literally hurts my fingers to type "Trump administration." Klein's list isn't exhaustive, as Rick Hess is keeping a separate tally, and The Washingtonian has two big names that aren't on other folks' lists. Speaking of Rick Hess, wasn't he #NeverTrump?

The moderates on the political right aren't the only ones struggling to make sense of the meaning of this election. Nikole Hannah-Jones offers some help in The New York Times:

I was struck by how quickly white pundits sought to tamp down assertions that race had anything to do with [the election]. It was, it seemed to me, almost a relief to many white Americans that Trump’s victory encompassed so many of the heavily white places that voted for a black man just years before. It was an absolution that let them reassure themselves that Donald Trump’s raucous campaign hadn’t revealed an ugly racist rift after all, that in the end, the discontent that propelled the reality-TV star into the White House was one of class and economic anxiety, not racism. But this analysis reveals less about the electorate than it does about the consistent inability of many white Americans to think about and understand the complex and often contradictory workings of race in this country, and to discuss and elucidate race in a sophisticated, nuanced way.

Hannah-Jones talks to voters in Iowa, which is ground zero for the shift she describes. The pithy takeaway from a complicated narrative is that class anxiety can supersede racial animus, but only when shit gets REAL bad, like in 2008. From the standpoint of American history, those moments of progress always hasten a backlash.

In the meantime, communities of color still contend with a broken criminal justice system, as Charles F. Coleman, Jr. points out in The Root:

The mistrial of former University of Cincinnati Police Officer Ray Tensing in the shooting death of Sam Dubose is the latest reminder that in the eyes of many, black lives don’t matter. On Saturday, Judge Megan Shanahan declared a mistrial after a jury of six white men, four white women and two black women failed to reach an agreement as to whether Tensing had been proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt on the charges of murder and voluntary manslaughter. As a former prosecutor, I’m simply at my wit’s end. I have pondered in this space what it will take to convict police for the criminal use of excessive force, and the reality is, we simply cannot beat race.

There are some scary details in this case, including the fact that Tensing was wearing a Confederate flag t-shirt on the day of the shooting. This story is a good reminder that, while there are some interests that span racial boundaries, police disproportionately punish, arrest, abuse, and incarcerate people of color.

In other news, Meredith Kolodner of The Hechinger Report sat down with a group of Muslim students in New York to get their reactions to the election. Here's a snippet from Ruba Tariq:

I was really shocked that Donald Trump won…I don’t like how he said ‘radical Islam’ all the time. Not everyone practices radical Islam, not everybody has those thoughts, not everybody’s a terrorist. And the way he said, ‘I don’t want any more Muslims coming in to America. We’re going to close the borders off to them.’ That kind of made me feel so insecure, because I came to America looking for freedom. I’m an immigrant and now I’m a citizen… I came from a third world nation to here for safety and all of sudden I’m concerned about my safety again.

Tariq's fear, unfortunately, is justified, as there has been a large spike in hate crimes perpetrated against Muslims. It's good to see some individuals express solidarity, but first and foremost, we need to keep our children, like Tariq and her friends, safe.