In latest months, Matt DePerno has become one of this year’s more controversial candidates for statewide office. The GOP’s nominee for attorney general in Michigan has been accused of helping orchestrate a clumsy scheme involving voting machine breaches after the 2020 elections.
Despite the fact that the lawyer is facing the prospect of a special prosecutor investigation, Michigan Republicans nominated him anyway.
But DePerno is also considered a provocative candidate because of his platform and political beliefs. The Detroit Free Press reported yesterday on remarks the GOP candidate made in which he seemed to endorse a ban on Plan B contraception.
Heartland Signal, a progressive digital reporting site based out of Chicago, reported earlier Tuesday it had obtained a recording of DePerno at an event in Texas last month. On the tape, DePerno initially seemed confused about the nature of Plan B — also known as the morning-after pill — but then said, “You’ve got to figure out how to ban the pill from the state.”
According to the recording, which has not been independently Verified by MSNBC or NBC News, someone at the event asked DePerno how Plan B could be banned. The Republican responded, “You have to stop it at the border. It would be no different than fentanyl.”
Late yesterday, the Michigan candidate did an interview with MLive and confirmed that he doesn’t consider Plan B contraception to be contraception. DePerno added that as far as he’s concerned, the morning-after pill would be banned under Michigan’s 1931 anti-abortion law — which was recently blocked by a judge from being enforced.
At this point, I could spend a few paragraphs explaining why Plan B contraception really is contraception. I could also take the time to explore how bizarre it is for a state attorney general candidate to equate the morning-after pill with, of all things, fentanyl.
But assuming readers already know this, let’s instead consider the political implications of such rhetoric.
The Michigan Republican’s comments, for example, apparently came to the attention of the White House.
“Another week and another extreme and backwards proposal from Republican officials that will strip women of their rights,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement provided first to the Free Press. “Make no mistake: These proposals from Republican officials expand far beyond a women’s right to choose; there are Republican officials [who] want to ban contraception.”
The claim was hardly outlandish. Circling back to our earlier coverage, it was just a few months ago when Justice Clarence Thomas explicitly condemned the outcome of Griswold v. Connecticut, a 1965 case that struck down a state law that restricted married couples’ access to birth control. A variety of Republican senators and candidates have also eagerly rejected the Griswold precedent in latest months.
A month after Thomas made his argument in a concurring opinion, a prominent GOP lawmaker in Ohio said she’d consider a contraception ban, and soon after, Mississippi’s Republican governor was asked whether his state might ban certain forms of contraception. He didn’t say no.
Though the bill ultimately died, Republican legislators in Louisiana also explored an abortion ban this year that would’ve criminalized forms of birth control.
It’s against this backdrop that a Trump-backed state attorney general candidate in one of the nation’s biggest battleground states not only compared the morning-after pill to fentanyl, he also talked up the idea of banning Plan B contraception.
Democrats are eager to paint Republicans as radical on social issues, and it’s striking to see some GOP candidates bolster the Democratic claims.
HP laptops offer something for you, whether you're a creative looking to edit photos, a gamer in search of aor a student in need of a small, lightweight laptop.
Many of the best HP laptops have features designed for remote or hybrid work such asand microphones, , longer battery life, and the .
Like other PC makers such as Dell, Lenovo, Acer and Asus, HP is in the midst of updating the processors in its laptops and two-in-ones. That means Intel-based models are moving from 11th-gen to 12th-gen CPUs, while AMD Ryzen systems are switching from 5000-series chips to 6000-series. It also means it's generally a good time to look for deals on older models of the best HP laptops. However, we've also seen big performance improvements with the new processors. An updated model might cost a little more but will add to the overall longevity.
Spectre is HP's top consumer laptop line so you're getting the best of the best with this 16-inch two-in-one.
Of course, a premium two-in-one like the Spectre x360 comes at a relatively high price; it starts at around $1,200. The top-end configuration we reviewed was good but not great considering its $2,030 price. This is definitely one we recommend getting with the 12th-gen Intel processors and Intel Arc graphics if you're going to go all-in. Read our HP Spectre x360 16 review.
HP's Victus 16 is a surprisingly robust and powerful gaming laptop that keeps up with the latest games at a more affordable price. Compared to HP's high-end Omen gaming laptop line, the Victus is more of an all-purpose laptop but still configured for gaming with a price starting at less than $1,000. HP offers several configurations with graphics chip options ranging from Nvidia's entry-level GeForce GTX 1650 up to a midrange RTX 3060 or AMD Radeon RX 6500M. We like almost everything about it except for its flimsy display hinge and underwhelming speakers. Read our HP Victus 16 review.
There are plenty of convertible Chromebooks, where the screen flips around to the back of the keyboard so you can use it as a tablet. But Chrome tablets with removable keyboards like the HP Chromebook x2 11 are still a rarity. It offers long battery life and performance that rises (slightly) above the competition. The main downside is that it's expensive; the model we reviewed is $599. However, that price did include both the keyboard cover and USI pen and it's regularly on sale for $200. If you're interested make sure to wait for one of those deals. Read our HP Chromebook x2 11 review.
If you're making a laptop aimed at creatives, it's not enough to just put discrete graphics and a strong processor in a slim body. The extra performance really should be paired with a good screen, and that's what you get with the HP Envy 14. The laptop's 16:10 14-inch 1,920x1,200-pixel display not only gives you more vertical room to work, but is color-calibrated at the factory and covers 100% of the sRGB color gamut. The result: a well-rounded option for creatives looking for on-the-go performance at a reasonable price. This model is due for a refresh, though, so keep an eye out for updated models. Read our HP Envy 14 review.
HP has put forward a small robot it says can dramatically speed up construction work, by autonomously printing guidelines straight from the blueprints onto the floor. Rugged, roadworthy and extremely accurate, Siteprint is a super-quick layout tool.
The robot replaces the time-consuming manual process of site layout, using a variety of different inks to place precise lines, exact curves and faithful reproductions of complex shapes on all kinds of floors, from porous surfaces like concrete and plywood to terrazzo, vinyl or epoxy.
It doesn't require a perfectly smooth or clean floor – indeed, it can handle a certain degree of surface irregularity and obstacles up to 2 cm (0.8 in) high. It runs built-in obstacle and cliff drop sensors for fully autonomous operation, and will work around barriers even if they're not in the plans.
As well as layout lines, it's capable of printing more or less whatever else you need on the floor too, including text notes. Operators set it up using cloud-based tools for job preparation, fleet management and tracking, and can run it on site with a touch-screen tablet and a tripod-mounted "totalstation."
“The existing manual layout process can be slow and labor intensive,” said Albert Zulps, Director of Emerging Technology at Skanska - a global construction and development company currently using the SitePrint system for two of its US projects. "Despite being done by specialists, there is always the risk of human error, which can result in costly reworks. Layout experts are a scarce resource who add a lot of value in terms of planning and strategy, but often end up dedicating most of their time to manual execution. HP SitePrint lets us do more with less, helping reduce schedules thanks to a much faster layout process, and allowing senior operators to focus on other critical activities like quality control.”
While HP hasn't announced pricing, we assume the printer robot itself will be surprisingly cheap, but the ink's gonna be a killer. Yuk yuk.
Check out Siteprint in the video below.
HP SitePrint Skanska testimonial | HP
In the vast and competitive PC market, few brands have stood the test of time like HP. That’s no mere coincidence: HP (formerly Hewlett-Packard) was an industry leader during the PC revolution that brought computers into millions of homes during the late 20th century, and in the 21st, the brand is still offering up some of the best machines money can buy. Today, you’ll find the HP logo gracing everything from budget-friendly Windows laptops and Chromebooks to cutting-edge 2-in-1s and beefy gaming machines, so whatever you’re after, HP is sure to have it. We’re here to help you find it with this hand-picked half-dozen of the best HP laptop deals available this month.
It’s not hard to see why there are so many great cheap laptops featuring the HP logo flying off the shelves with so many people now studying and working from home. This highly affordable HP workhorse combines the speed of an 11th-gen Intel Core i3 processor with a 15-inch HD display that’s the perfect size for all-day use if those smaller 11- and 13-inch laptops are leaving you feeling boxed in. That CPU works with 8GB of RAM, a nice fast 256GB SSD, and a generous battery life that make it an ideal everyday companion for work, entertainment, and web browsing on the go.
If you’re looking for the sweet spot between price and performance and not interested in paying for bells and whistles you don’t really need, then you should grab this super-cheap HP laptop right now.
When it comes to affordable workhorse computers, HP makes some of the best. This Pavilion x360 14-inch 2-in-1 is one such cheap HP laptop, but one that punches well above its weight with its 11th-gen Core i3 CPU, 8GB RAM, and a nice fast 256GB SSD. Straightforward specs to be sure, but very good ones for working, studying, web browsing, and general daily use, with the added versatility of its 14-inch HD display also being a fold-flat touchscreen and its built-in audio engineered by Bang & Olufsen.
This cheap HP laptop deal rings in at a great price for a modern 2-in-1. With specs like these, you’re getting a lot of laptop for your money.
If you like inexpensive laptops but are willing to trade things like 2-in-1 functionality for a sized-up display, this high-value HP 17 Laptop is perfect. This Windows 11 computer comes with a 17.3-inch 1080p screen, an AMD Ryzen 5 processor, a nice fast-loading 256GB SSD, and a full 8GB of DDR4 RAM — a worthy upgrade over the 4GB you often find on cheap PCs. The fact that it’s one of the better 17-inch laptops (a woefully underserved market) out there right now is just icing on the cake.
This cheap HP laptop is perfect for remote work, light gaming, and pretty much all other basic computing needs, making it one of the best plus-sized machines you’re going to find for the money.
HP is most well-known for its work-focused laptops for students and professionals, but it makes some pretty solid gaming PCs as well. The 15-inch HP Victus is a solid example of what modern gaming laptops have to offer, and this one delivers plenty of juice for gaming with its Ryzen 5 CPU, Radeon RX 6500M graphics card (a very solid budget-friendly GPU for 1080p gaming), and 16GB RAM.
On top of that, you also get a 512GB SSD for your games and other software, and the 15-inch 1080p 144Hz display is good to go for both gaming and all-day use. You can grab this fast HP laptop for well below the $1,000 mark, making it one of the better gaming laptop deals to be had for less than a grand right now.
No roundup of HP laptop deals would be complete without one of the brand’s best, the HP Envy x360. This mighty laptop represents the pinnacle of modern Windows ultrabook design, boasting a beautiful 15-inch touchscreen display, a gorgeous look, rugged build quality, and generous all-day battery life.
These premium laptops can get pricey, though, but this model is an solid value at a price that fits within our budget — and with an AMD Ryzen 7 CPU, 12GB RAM, and a 512GB SSD, it’ll last you for years to come. It’s one of the few professional-grade ultrabooks you’ll find for less than a grand, too, with ongoing HP laptop deals bringing this unit in at a price that’s comfortably below the $1,000 mark.
Many gaming laptops make a lot of compromises to fit powerful hardware into a slim clamshell frame, a situation often made worse by lackluster build quality. That can be a problem with some PCs, but not this one: This upgraded HP Victus laptop is one of the best notebooks you can find with hardware like this for around a grand, not to mention one that’s still suitable for working and gaming on comfortably. It comes with some very nice specs that are not usually seen at this price point: For starters, it’s packing an AMD Ryzen 5 processor, a full 16GB of RAM, and a nice big 512GB SSD.
But where this PC really shines is its GeForce RTX 3050 graphics card, which is a fine GPU for enjoying modern games. This is a solid HP laptop for work, gaming, streaming, and general everyday use, and you can grab it on sale right now for a great price.
HP’s lineup of computers is extensive, and its laptops alone offer enough variety to make your head spin. Despite being a decades-old brand, though, it has definitely kept up with the times: Today, HP makes everything from modern Chromebooks to sleek 2-in-1 ultrabooks to beefy gaming machines, and no matter your needs or budget, chances are good that there’s an HP laptop deal waiting for you.
Laptops can more or less be broken down into three categories: Traditional laptops, 2-in-1s, and gaming laptops, all of which can be found in most price brackets. After deciding which you want and determining how much you’re willing to spend (something you probably already have a good idea of), it’s time to start looking at what features you want — as well as what to expect from a cheap HP laptop that’s within your chosen price range.
These features include things like screen size and resolution, hard drive type (SSD or HDD) and capacity, and hardware (such as how much RAM you need, or whether you want a discrete graphics card that can handle gaming). More features and better hardware come with a higher price tag, of course, but if you know what you want ahead of time and set realistic expectations, you’ll end up happy with your purchase. To make things easier, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Bluetooth is a wireless standard that is ubiquitous nowadays. Your phone almost certainly has Bluetooth capability, and virtually all modern tablets and laptops, including HP laptops, pack this connectivity. Bluetooth allows you to pair your computer or another device to peripherals such as wireless headphones or speakers (to name the two most popular examples), but if you’re picky about being on the latest standard, then you’ll want to look closely at the specs of the PC you’ve got your eye on to make sure it’s not outdated — something you run the risk of if you’re looking at the cheapest of the cheap HP laptop deals out there.
Any Windows laptop can run games, but that doesn’t mean that any computer can run any game. For playing modern games at good settings, you need a laptop with a dedicated (or “discrete”) graphics card. These GPUs act almost like a second CPU for your PC, but one that is fully dedicated to handling resource-heavy graphical tasks. That usually means gaming, but also applies to jobs like video rendering.
You’ll also want a good modern CPU, ideally a ninth- or 10th-generation Intel Core processor or one of the newer AMD Ryzen processors. Many HP laptops (and even many other cheap gaming laptops you can find today) come loaded with this sort of hardware and HP also makes a number of PCs dedicated to gaming in its Pavilion and Omen lines, so you’ve got a few options if you’re looking for a beefier machine for both work and play.
Microsoft Word, being a component of the Microsoft Office suite, is paid software, and HP laptops do not include this for free. However, many do come with an Office trial, and you may even be able to get Microsoft Office for free through your school or workplace (and if not, consider looking around for a good Microsoft Office deal to save some money). If all you need is a basic word processor, Windows still includes the classic WordPad text editor, and you can also check out the free Microsoft Office alternatives.
Electronics and water typically don’t mix very well, and laptops (from HP or any brand) are no different. Although you can often rescue a laptop from a spill on the keyboard, no consumer-grade PC is fully waterproof or even what you would consider water-resistant. Even Apple MacBooks, despite some persistent rumors, are not waterproof. If you’re concerned about that, however, then you may want to invest in a waterproof cover or bag that can keep your HP laptop safe.
The vast majority of modern computers come with ports for an HDMI cable, which is the current standard for A/V connectivity (DisplayPort is also popular, although more commonly used for desktops rather than laptops). HDMI is a connection that transmits high-definition audio and video signals along a single cable, and pretty much all HP laptops feature an HDMI port which allows you to connect your computer to an external display if you want to.
Looking for more great stuff? Find tech discounts and much more on our curated deals page.
“The 360” shows you diverse perspectives on the day’s top stories and debates.
For much of modern American history, debates have been seen as a more or less essential part of any major political campaign. As much as candidates might squabble over the details ahead of time or claim they were mistreated after the fact, it was broadly assumed that they would at some point — or, frequently, more than once — meet in a formal face-off in front of the voters.
But that tradition has eroded over latest election cycles to the point where it’s become a genuine question whether some of the most important races in this year’s midterms might feature any debates at all. In state after state, candidates have been squabbling over the timing, circumstances and number of debates.
The debate over debates has been a central theme in Senate races in two of the most closely watched current contests. In Pennsylvania, Republican Senate candidate Mehmet Oz has repeatedly accused his Democratic opponent, John Fetterman, who suffered a stroke in May, of trying to avoid debates. A similar dynamic is happening in Georgia, but with the party affiliations reversed. Incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock had called out GOP challenger Herschel Walker for “dodging” several debate opportunities before the two campaigns came to an agreement on a single date next month. Both Fetterman and Walker eventually agreed to debate at least once.
The debate issue has emerged in a number of other races across the country. In Missouri, the Republican Senate candidate was a no-show at a candidate forum last week. It’s still unclear whether there will be any debates in the race for Pennsylvania governor. GOP candidate Doug Mastriano, who was at the Capitol during the Jan. 6 assault, has refused to participate in a traditional debate with an independent moderator. One key contest that definitely won’t include a debate is for governor of Arizona. Democrat Katie Hobbs has said she won’t debate “conspiracy theorist” Kari Lake, a Republican who has enthusiastically endorsed former President Trump’s lies about the 2020 presidential election.
There are a number of theories for why candidates have become increasingly skeptical of debates, including a belief that the potential risks of gaffes greatly outweigh the rewards of a strong performance and the lack of perceived consequences for skipping them. Some also point to the GOP’s general rejection of the mainstream media, which typically provides a platform for political debates.
There’s also disagreement over whether this trend really matters. Debate advocates say the events offer a critical opportunity for voters to learn about the candidates and their policy positions outside of hyper-calculated campaign ads and stump speeches. They say debates can serve as a proving ground for those who voters may have questions about the aspiring politicians’ fitness for office. Many also worry that the decline in debates is a troubling symptom of a much broader shift in which lawmakers increasingly feel they don’t have to be accountable to the people they represent.
But others make the case that it doesn’t really matter whether candidates debate in person. They point to a significant body of research that suggests debate performance has little to no effect on the results of even close races. Some also argue that skill at debating is in no way representative of how someone will perform in public office.
Debates have been scheduled in many of the high-profile Senate races across the country, all of them set to be held in October. It remains to be seen whether those events actually take place and whether they’ll play any role in deciding which party controls Congress for the next two years.
Healthy debates make a healthy democracy
“The value of debating in a democracy shouldn’t be understated. It’s a proven part of the process that helps voters become informed and make decisions on who is best to represent them in government. Voters deserve to know where candidates stand on certain issues, and debates and candidate forums are one of the best tools we have.” — Geoff Foster, executive director of Common Cause Massachusetts, to WGBH
Debates aren’t as enlightening for voters as many seem to think
“There’s not a lot of evidence we learn that much from debates in terms of policy content because the people who tend to watch debates are those who know a lot about the candidate and are tuning in to see their candidate win the same way you watch a sports game.” — Megan Goldberg, political scientist, to KCRG
Voters deserve a chance to see candidates as they really are
“The knock on debates is no one cares about them except the press. That they’re purely platforms for media outlets and media members. But they are more than that. They can show a candidate’s demeanor and temperament. How a candidate responds when challenged. They supply voters the chance to hear candidate views. In their own words. In real time. Not through handlers. Not with press or pundit interruptions.” — John Baer, Penn Live
Good debaters don’t necessarily make good leaders
“There is campaigning, and there is governing. Two different things. … Campaign choices make a big difference, and the public cannot be expected to follow issues as closely as political professionals. And yet … in the end, it is governing that really matters.” — Nelson Morgan, Arizona Republic
Most debates are unimportant, but they can occasionally be decisive in close races
“General-election debates are usually dry affairs for which the competing camps have spent weeks preparing each candidate on how to avoid walking into political traps and rehearsing a few zingers that they hope the media will focus on in their post-mortem stories. But in very close races, small mistakes can prove decisive, or at least knock a campaign in the wrong direction for a few days.” — Paul Kane, Washington Post
Without real punishment for skipping them, a lot of candidates will see debates as unnecessary
“I like debates. I think candidates should do them & they risk bad press by not doing them. But from a campaign's perspective: 1. Debate prep takes a LOT of time 2. On an event with your opponent that rarely moves the needle 3. unless you screw up. So … if it's the case that you can skip debating, and the bad press doesn't matter because voters don't really care, then campaigns have every reason to skip them and spend more time on their own campaign activities.” — Bill Scher, political analyst
The debate over debates allows candidates to distract from issues that really matter
“The debates themselves are shaping up to be major campaign issues. It’s tedious, and it does not serve the voters.” — Editorial, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The decline of debates is a sign of how badly partisanship has splintered the country
“I don’t know how much utility they have … on the other hand, I do think it’s just a sad symptom of where we are in terms of polarization and candidates willingness … to even be in the same space with each other and talk about the same issues. It feels a little depressing to me.” — Amelia Thomson-Deveaux, FiveThirtyEight
Debates could play an important role in helping restore civility to U.S. politics
“I am hopeful we can get back to the ideal of debate, which allows citizens to be informed on the issues they need to confront. We are in a serious crisis of democracy, and we need to be able to figure out how to disagree without moving into the language of civil war.” — Tom Hollihan, political communication researcher, to U.S. News & World Report
Is there a Topic you’d like to see covered in “The 360”? Send your suggestions to email@example.com.
Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: Getty Images
After the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which took the lead by announcing the first list of four candidates for Himachal Pradesh, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has declared candidates for eleven constituencies in Shimla, Mandi, Kullu, Sirmaur, Hamirpur and Chamba districts.
The candidates were picked in the party’s state secretariat meeting held late on Tuesday and will be sent to the CPI-M politburo for final approval, said Onkar Shad, the state secretary of CPI-M Himachal Pradesh.
“In the upcoming elections, the party intends to contest on 17 assembly seats where we have a considerable vote base,” said Shad. The rest of the candidates will be declared on September 26.
The CPI-M has a considerable support base in some pockets of Himachal. However, the party has achieved little success in electoral politics.
Party leader and former Shimla mayor Sanjay Chauhan said that the main objective of the CPI-M was to defeat BJP.
“Where we are not fighting elections, the party will support the candidates of like-minded and secular parties,” he said.
Singha from Theog
Rakesh Singha, the face of left forces in Himachal Pradesh, will again contest from the Theog assembly segment, the seat he won in the 2017 elections defeating BJP’s Rakesh Verma and ensuring CPI-M entry into the state assembly after a gap of 24 years.
Singha, known for his fiery speeches and relentless protests he has led for farmers, labourers and hotel workers, started as a student leader associated with the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) and was the first elected president of the HPU Students Union in 1980-81.
He was a councillor in the Shimla Municipal Corporation before being elected to the state assembly from the Shimla seat in 1983. He, however, was unseated after the Supreme Court upheld his conviction in a murder case dating back to 1978. Singha contested the 2012 election from Theog, remaining in third position garnering over 10,000 votes.
From Seraj, the constituency of chief minister Jai Ram Thakur, the party has fielded a former student leader Mahender Singh Rana.
He had been elected president of Kullu College Students’ Union and also served as the state president of SFI. He also remained a member of Mandi Zila Parishad and is currently the Mandi district president of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), the youth wing of CPI-M.
To capitalize on the farmer’s movement in the apple belt, CPI-M has nominated Vishal Shankta from the Jubbal-Kotkhai seat, a stronghold of Congress. Shankta was also a former student leader and remained president of the HPU Students Union. He is also a two-term member of Shimla Zila Parishad.
In Joginderngar, Mandi district, Kushal Bhardwaj will be the party candidate. A former president and general secretary of the HPU Students Union, Bhardwaj is a sitting Zila Parishad Member.
He has unsuccessfully contested elections from the Jogindernagar Vidhan Sabha seat and Mandi Parliamentary elections in the past. From the Hamirpur constituency, the party has reposed faith in state secretariat member Kashmir Singh Thakur.
Among other candidates, the CPI-M has picked Kuldeep Singh Tanwar, a retired Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer and farmers’ leader from Kasumpti in Shimla, Bhupender Singh from Dharampur and Kishori Lal from Karsog in Mandi, Narender Singh from Chamba, Ashish Kumar from Sirmaur and Devki Nand from Anni in Kullu.
With the code of conduct for the elections to be enforced within a few days, Congress Screening Committee went into a huddle in New Delhi to shortlist the candidates for Vidhan Sabha elections scheduled by the end of this year.
The state screening committee headed by former Union minister Deepa Dasmunshi held a marathon meeting with members Umang Singhar and Dhiraj Gurjar in New Delhi to discuss and finalise the candidates. The two members had also visited Himachal before the meeting, to seek feedback from the workers as well as those aspiring for the tickets.
Those who attended the meeting included AICC in charge for Himachal Pradesh and Rajya Sabha member Rajiv Shukla, AICC secretaries and in charge for Himachal Sanjay Dutt, Tejinder Pal Singh Bittu and Gurkirat Kotli. State PCC chief Pratibha Singh, leader of opposition Mukesh Agnihotri and the Congress campaign committee head Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu were also present in the meeting that lasted for nearly six hours at its war room in 15 Rakabganj in New Delhi.
The pradesh election committee (PEC) that met in New Delhi on September 6 had cleared the names of all the 20 sitting legislators, three AICC secretaries Sudhir Sharma from Dharamshala, Rajesh Dharmani from Ghumarwein and former transport minister GS Bali’s son RS Bali from his father’s traditional Nagrota Bagwan seat in Kangra. The PEC had also cleared the names of former PCC Chief Kuldeep Kumar from Chintpurni and Kaul Singh Thakur from Darang.
However, senior Congress leader and former minister Ram Lal Thakur had recently stirred up a controversy after he resigned from the post of party vice-president following his differences with the central leaders. At one point in time Ram Lal Thakur had also hinted at his aspiration to be the party’s CM candidate in the state.
But during the press conference, after he announced his resignation, Ram Lal Thakur said he was not sure whether he would contest the elections or not, but importantly said he would continue to fulfil his responsibility as the party’s election management committee in charge.
It reliably learnt that at the state PCC Chief Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu and the leader of opposition Mukesh Agnihotri vehemently lobbied for their own men for tickets in today’s meeting, which by and large was inconclusive. The party cleared the names of the one dozen candidates but could not decide on the seats which had a long list of aspirants. There is a scramble for a ticket in the Shimla (Urban) seat with the highest 40 applications received. The seat is represented by urban development minister Suresh Bhardwaj, who won three consecutive elections here in 2007, 2012 and 2017. The Congress last won the seat in 2003. There was no consensus on the candidates in Shimla’s Theogh seat also. Former party president Kuldeep Rathore is vying for a ticket from here along with Kehar Singh Khachi, Deepak Rathore and Indu Verma, wife of the former BJP legislator Rakesh Verma, who shot into the political limelight when he defeated Congress stalwart Vidya Stokes.
Pratibha Singh was backing the candidature of Kuldeep Rathore while Kehar Singh Khachi was using his proximity to Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi and Deepak Rathore had contested elections last time. As per reports, surveys have put Indu Verma on the top. Similarly, there was a dispute in Nalagarh, Chopal and Kinnaur seats as well. The disputed tickets will be shortlisted for the third phase of the meeting.
The screening committee after finalising the names will send a list to the national election committee. The national panel will release the first list of candidates shortly.
During the second Presidential debate of 1984, in response to the question of whether he was too old to be president, the 73-year-old incumbent, Ronald Reagan, deflected the question by good-naturedly teasing his 56-year-old Democratic opponent, Walter Mondale.
“I will not make age an issue of this campaign,” Reagan says. “I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.”
Of course, Reagan was well aware of the reservations a number of people had about someone his age continuing to hold such a demanding job. Playing on those concerns by flipping them gave his quip extra punch.
““The reality is that the racial, ethnic and gender makeup of our political leadership does not accurately reflect the demographic makeup of the country. So why are we singling out age as the primary defining characteristic?””
But at the time, Reagan wasn’t the only older person with power in Washington. Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill was 72, and Senate President Pro Tempore Strom Thurmond was 82.
Although pessimistic views about getting old have been a longstanding feature of American culture, being a politician of advanced age didn’t carry as much of a stigma back in the 1980s as it does in this election cycle.
Recent articles and op-eds in newspapers and magazines have cited the ages of long-term officeholders — 25 Senators are more than 70 years old and 76 Representatives are at least that age — to suggest that the United States has become a gerontocracy, a government ruled by old people.
There’s a reason for this growing preoccupation with lawmakers’ ages. “We are living longer, healthier lives than ever before,” says Tracey Gendron, chair of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Gerontology and executive director of the Virginia Center on Aging.
“The average life expectancy in the U.S. is rising, and that trend will continue,” she adds. “Longevity at this scale is a relatively new phenomenon, which is why this conversation is happening more and more.”
Nevertheless, Gendron notes, “describing present-day America as a gerontocracy is an easy, convenient and frankly lazy way to argue the current state of American politics…Age is but one component of a political leader’s identity, as are race, gender, education and experiences, etc.”
“The reality is that the racial, ethnic and gender makeup of our political leadership does not accurately reflect the demographic makeup of the country,” she says. “So why are we singling out age as the primary defining characteristic?”
Gendron, the author of “Ageism Unmasked: Exploring Age Bias and How to End It,” believes that ageism has permeated political discourse and that what qualifies people for public service should have little to do with their birthdays. Further, the same criteria for not judging people in other occupations should be applied to political figures as well.
Other experts in the field of aging agree.
“The media have often used derogatory terms like ‘silver tsunami’ to describe the rising numbers of seniors,” notes Dr. Dilip Jeste, professor of psychiatry and neurosciences at the University of California San Diego and past president of the American Psychiatric Association and the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry.
“This has led to greater scrutiny of older leaders in politics and elsewhere,” Jeste adds. “Just as people should not be stereotyped and stigmatized because of their sex or race/ethnicity, they should not be discriminated due to their chronological age.”
Like any other “ism,” ageism categorizes and stereotypes people, ignoring the variety of their individual backgrounds, experiences and traits.
“America is diverse, and age is just another part of that diversity,” says Paul Irving, senior fellow and founding chairman of the Center for the Future of Aging at the Milken Institute and a 2016 Next Avenue Influencer in Aging.
“The argument [that America is a gerontocracy] simply reflects negative age bias,” he adds. “Power is found in the hands of people of all ages. Joe Biden is old; Mark Zuckerberg is young. Nancy Pelosi is old; Pete Buttigieg is young. Greta Thunberg is young; Al Gore is old.”
“There are people of all ages in positions of influence; there people of all ages living in the shadows. Power derives from social status and a wide range of social determinants, not from age,” Irving says.
Since longevity alone doesn’t explain the reason why older people may hold positions of political power, could there be other factors related to aging that explain why they do?
A case could be made that the leaders of government bodies have been able to rise to those positions because they have been re-elected multiple times and thus over the years have honed the political skills necessary to do their jobs.
“Many people mistakenly think that our development ‘stops’ at some point (e.g., ‘You can’t teach an old dog new tricks’),” says Gendron. “But throughout our entire life, as we age, we continue to develop skills and abilities resulting from our years of experience.”
Adds Irving: “If someone is intelligent, informed, cognitively healthy and passionate about their work, experience and maturity are likely to enhance their effectiveness. Older adults know how to navigate, to deal with internal politics, and to reach multi-sectoral solutions.”
Jeste, who gave a 2015 TEDMED talk on elder wisdom, makes a key point.
“Chronological age is different from biological age — including brain age,” he explains. “Some people in their 80s and even 90s are cognitively functioning at a higher level than some in their 50s and 60s.”
“It is true that the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias increases with age,” he says; “however, it is worth noting that a majority of older people do not develop dementia. Nothing happens overnight on the 60th or 70th or 80th or 90th birthday to make people incompetent as leaders. Aging is heterogeneous — that is, as people get older, they become more different from one another. There is no one size of age that fits all.”
That’s not to say that young people who seek political office lack advantages or gifts. “Youth bring energy, excitement, ambition, and innovation,” says Jeste, “while older adults bring empathy, emotional regulation, self-reflection, and openness to diverse perspectives, which all are components of wisdom.”
But he poses this caveat: “Needless to add that not all the youth and all the seniors exhibit these traits, but many do.”
That’s the point experts want to make. In elections, considerations other than age should matter at the polls.
“There is no age at which someone is ‘too old’ to run for office or to do anything else,” says Gendron. “Make a determination based on specific issues, views and actions. How well does the candidate represent your personal ideology? Will they support the causes you support?”
“Focus on the person, not their birth date,” advises Irving. “Whether they are old or young, these decisions should be made based on the candidate’s capability, integrity, leadership skills, performance, and similar factors — about the quality of the individual, not their age.”
In short, there’s no room for age on the ballot.
“For the human species to not just survive but also flourish and thrive,” explains Jeste, “we must make use of the complementary strengths that different generations tend to display. Numerous studies have clearly shown that when different generations work together, everyone benefits.”
Social gerontologist and Ageful Living blogger Jeanette Leardi is a Portland, Oregon–based community educator and public speaker who gives popular presentations and workshops on ageism, brain fitness, creativity, health literacy, and caregiver support. Her essays, articles, and book reviews have appeared in The Charlotte Observer, The Oregonian, the Dallas Morning News, Stria, ChangingAging, and 3rd Act Magazine.
This article is reprinted by permission from NextAvenue.org, © 2022 Twin Cities Public Television, Inc. All rights reserved.
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