Marcia Brown

Marcia Brown is a writing fellow at The American Prospect. Her email is

Recent Articles

Climate Activists Win Partial Victory in Climate Debate Battle

At the resolutions committee meeting Thursday morning, two hours of debate only yielded a non-DNC sanctioned discussion—not a climate debate.

In a packed hotel conference room in San Francisco, climate activists clambered for space to urge the DNC resolutions committee to finally approve what they had been pushing for since early spring. When the DNC ran out of credentials, activists poured in anyway. They ranged in age from teenagers to grandparents, all with the same agenda. Organized by groups like the Sunrise Movement, Climate Hawks Vote, and, the activists sported t-shirts and waved signs. But after more than two hours of discussion, the resolutions committee voted 17-8 against holding a DNC-sponsored climate debate. It’s possible that the climate debate could resurface as a full-floor vote on Saturday. The activists did score one partial victory: The DNC advanced a resolution reversing the ban on candidates’ side-by-side participation in non-DNC sanctioned events discussing the climate crisis. For months, activists had demanded a DNC-sponsored climate debate, an event with much more coverage and...

Activists Fear Imminent Betrayal From DNC Quashing Climate Debate

Tomorrow the DNC votes on a resolution to hold a climate debate, but Chair Tom Perez’s competing resolution would undermine that effort.

Since the 2012 election cycle, California DNC member Christine Pelosi has called for a climate debate. In every subsequent cycle, she has called for a climate debate. But now, calls for a climate debate are widespread. And DNC members are voting on all resolutions—including those on climate—on August 22, the first day of the DNC summer meeting. DNC Chair Tom Perez entered his own resolution on climate, which was met with vitriol from climate activists. Activists who already distrust the DNC view the language in the Perez resolution as yet another excuse to avoid an official debate. RL Miller, founder of the environmental group Climate Hawks Vote and chair of the California Democratic Environmental Caucus, says that the calls for a climate debate started with activism—not with Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s presidential campaign. Nonetheless, the governor’s sustained calls for a climate debate have been a boon to the movement. “It’s a...

As Republican Legislators Seek to Ban Abortion, Voters in Every Single State Reject That Change

A new poll shows fewer than a quarter of voters in any state favor the outright abortion bans some Republicans are now trying to enact.

Yesterday in the Tennessee state senate, legislators held a hearing on an amendment to ban abortion in the state. Once “a viable pregnancy is presumed to exist or has been confirmed,” women would be banned from getting abortions. They explicitly discussed what’s the best strategy to get to the Supreme Court and win. This amendment goes even further than the so-called heartbeat bills that ban abortion at six weeks—or two weeks after a woman misses her period. The senators debated whether to add this even more stringent ban to the six-week abortion ban. “Most women don’t realize they’re pregnant until seven weeks or so, and women skip periods if they’re sick or if they’re traveling or if they’re irregular or if they’re on certain medications,” says Freda Levenson, legal director for the ACLU of Ohio. “Not everyone’s period is like clockwork, and two weeks late is not that late so they may not think they...

Kansas and Missouri Call a Truce in Corporate-Welfare Border War

Governments in both states have wooed Kansas City–area businesses with tax breaks to relocate across state lines. Now they’re partnering to stop the giveaways.

An executive order by Kansas Governor Laura Kelly and legislation signed by Missouri Governor Mike Parson mark the first time in U.S. history that two states have had a legally binding agreement that ends subsidies for corporations relocating within one labor market—in this case the Kansas City metro area—but across a state line. “I think it’s significant that two very red states did this first. I think it proves that this is not an elite coastal democratic idea but it is a local business fairness idea,” says Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First, a Washington, D.C., organization that advocates for accountability in economic development. Companies can make huge amounts of money in tax breaks and other perks by skipping over the Kansas-Missouri state line in the Kansas City area and taking economic-development subsidies. This has been nicknamed the economic “ border war ,” with Kansas and Missouri state governments doing combat to...

We’re Having the Wrong Debate About the Border

Democrats are talking about decriminalizing the border, but they’re missing the point—and it will cost them.

The word “asylum” was spoken only six times during each of last week’s Democratic presidential debates. With a southern border more fortified than it ever has been, asylum is one of the primary ways migrants gain entrance to the U.S., and is responsible for the majority of the recent surge in border crossings . Indeed, the situation at the border can best be described as an asylum crisis. While Democrats recognize that asylum is a legal process that the U.S. must by law provide, they don’t seem to realize just how many people need asylum. A working asylum system would need to function more efficiently, humanely, and—frankly—allow entry to a lot more people. Instead of addressing everything Trump is doing to prevent asylum seekers from accessing the system, Democrats have been focused on decriminalizing the border , a solution that only addresses some of the host of challenges in our immigration system. Senator Bernie Sanders has proposed the main...