A Democrat Went to a Trump Rally to Try and Understand MAGA-Lovers

President Donald Trump threw himself another big rally Thursday night, this time in Manchester, New Hampshire, a state he nearly clinched in 2016.

We invited Lucas Meyer, the president of the Young Democrats of New Hampshire, to attend the rally with VICE News and talk to Trump’s fanatical supporters about why they love him so much. He agreed to attend because it’s “instructive to experience.”

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This 14-Year-Old Climate Activist Is Giving Up School to Save the World

Alexandria Villaseñor is standing in front of the U.S. Capitol and posting Instagram stories like any other teenager.

“Is there any good music that goes with climate action?” the 14-year-old asks a group of activists.

A couple of suggestions later, a song that’s more than twice her age blasts from her phone speakers on abbreviated loop: “It’s the end of the world as we know it… It’s the end of the world as we know it…”

And Alexandria doesn’t feel fine. Over the next few hours, she’ll have meetings with both of New York’s senators to ask them to do what they can to ensure her generation doesn’t experience the actual end of the world because of climate change.

“I notice a lot of politicians are looking at what is politically possible,” she told VICE News in an interview. “But I did think with some politicians I talk to that we’re on the same page on how urgent this is.”

Around the globe, young people like Alexandria see the climate crisis as the existential threat to their generation. They’ve skipped school in more than 130 countries to demand policy changes, following the lead of Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old from Sweden who is currently sailing across the Atlantic Ocean to attend the United Nations climate talks in September.

As one of the movement’s American organizers, Alexandria has also become a prominent young critic of world leaders’ inaction. Even though nearly 200 countries pledged in the Paris Agreement to keep global temperatures from hitting catastrophic levels, laws and norms aren’t changing quickly enough, and global greenhouse gas emissions are still going up.

When her classmates go back to middle school this fall, Alexandria won’t be joining them. Instead, she’ll take on eighth grade via independent study so that she can lead her global youth network, Earth Uprising, and continue her activism at full blast.

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How Democrats Can Take Back Michigan in 2020

Both nights of the Democratic debates in Detroit posed a fundamental question for the Democratic Party: How far left is too far left to beat President Trump? That’s especially relevant in the upper Midwest, where Trump managed to flip Wisconsin, Ohio, and Michigan in 2016.

Congressman Dan Kildee understands how to win in a red state. The Democrat represents nearby Flint, Michigan — a Democratic stronghold that Trump chipped away at in 2016, winning 42.59% of the vote versus Mitt Romney’s 35.24% in Genesee County. The water crisis made national news and hit residents of all races. In the past few months, the town has become a must-stop for presidential candidates like Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, Sen. Cory Booker, and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who have all made visits in just the past few weeks.

Kildee came to Detroit to hear which of them has a plan that might galvanize voters in Flint and across Michigan. He told VICE News ahead of the Wednesday evening debate that candidates need to speak directly to voters’ anxieties.

“I think there’s a misperception about what’s happening in the economy. You know, we hear all this stuff about the economy is great, unemployment’s low, the Dow is at whatever. People are still afraid. They’re nervous about the job they might have now, but they don’t think they make enough money to support their families,” he said.

Kildee bluntly assessed that Michiganders “can see through bullshit really easily.”
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Louisiana Is Getting an Unlimited Supply of a $24K Hep C Cure (HBO)

Louisiana has struck a deal to improve access to a Hepatitis C cure so expensive that some people only acquire the drug once they already have liver damage.

Gilead Sciences, the owner of Hepatitis C cure Epclusa, will now provide an unlimited supply of the generic version of the drug to people covered by Medicaid and in Louisiana’s state prisons. Asegua, a subsidiary of Gilead making the generic, will supply the drugs.

The list price of Epclusa is $74,760; the generic is priced at $24,000. Medicaid receives a discount price, but in many states, including Louisiana, Medicaid only approves the treatment after Hepatitis C causes severe liver damage because of its astronomical cost.

Under the deal, dubbed the “Netflix model,” Louisiana will pay for the Hep C cure up to a negotiated spending cap in exchange for an unlimited supply of the drug over five years. The state will then receive a rebate from Gilead for all its expenses above that cap.

The Louisiana Department of Health first chose Gilead as a partner for the deal back in March, after three drug companies submitted proposals to the state. Since then, negotiations stalled, to the point that the agreement nearly fell through entirely. But this week, the deal closed, Louisiana Secretary of Health Rebekah Gee confirmed to VICE News.

Gee said she hoped to not spend more than $30 million — the cost of treating only 326 people last year, according to the state’s Department of Health. The pricing cap won’t be announced until next week, but Gee told VICE News that Gilead agreed to a higher amount than that. Louisiana will hold an official signing on the deal next week, according to Gee.

“We need to get our money’s worth,” Gee said. “Our goal is 10,000 [treated people] next year, but we’ll have to hit a lot less than that to make it work.”

Gee estimated that around 40,000 people in Louisiana suffer from Hepatitis C, a chronic liver disease spread through blood. It’s the most widespread infectious disease in the U.S. The CDC estimates 2.4 million people in the U.S. were living with Hep C in 2016, the latest year with data available.

Louisiana hopes to use the deal to attempt to eliminate the disease entirely.

As Hep C most commonly spreads through shared needles, the opioid epidemic has only made its prevalence worse. The CDC estimates that 41,200 people were infected in 2016.

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Why Hong Kong Is Rising Up (HBO)

For the second time in four days, Hong Kong was brought to a standstill by mass protests over a controversial extradition bill that threatens to chip away at the city’s diminishing semi-independence from China.

The demonstrations earned protesters a brief victory: the delay of a second reading of the bill. But tensions soon boiled over, when police fired rubber bullets and teargas to clear protesters from the streets, injuring dozens and further stoking outrage between the city’s pro-Beijing government and its residents.

Wednesday night’s events follow one of the biggest public protests in Hong Kong’s history, when more than one million people, about one-seventh of the population, swarmed the city’s streets on Sunday.

Read: Hong Kong protesters tell us why this might be their “last chance” to defy Beijing

At the center of the public’s fury is a proposed law that would allow China to extradite people from Hong Kong to the mainland. The bill has come to symbolize growing fear that the region, long-viewed as a separate entity from mainland China, is losing its autonomy under Beijing’s encroaching authoritarianism. They have reason to be concerned.

When the UK handed the island back to China in 1997, Hong Kong was promised freedoms of speech, press and assembly under its Basic Law — which effectively serves as the islands constitution and differentiates it from the mainland. But in recent years, Beijing has begun to impose its will on Hong Kong, slowly eroding those freedoms in a bid to bring the region more firmly under its control.

“I reminisce about the period of British rule. I was born and brought up in Hong Kong” Wong Fung Yiu, a 63 year old retiree at Sunday’s march told VICE News. “Human rights were better back in that time, compared to what we have nowadays. I have no trust in Mainland China.”

Despite the delays, Carrie Lam, the island’s pro-Beijing Chief Executive, has vowed to push the bill through the government saying further delays would only cause more “anxiety and divisiveness in society.”

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American and German Veterans Reveal The True Horrors Of D-Day (HBO)

George Ciampa had never left the United States before being drafted into the army to fight Nazi Germany in 1944. But at 18-years-old, he was on the shores of Normandy in France, collecting the dead.

Paul Golz was a reluctant 19-year-old with the German army, sent to Normandy to try and block the Allied invasion. He was tasked with carrying ammunition for a machine gun crew.

Seventy-five years later, both men mark the living memory of one of the most significant moments of the 20th century. And as world leaders gathered in Normandy Thursday to mark the enduring legacy of D-Day, these men, both now in their 90s, recounted what it was like.

“The government didn’t want bodies lying around for other troops coming in to see,” Ciampa told VICE News from his home in Palm Springs. “We gathered them as quickly as we could.”

Before he could bury the dead, Ciampa had to survive landing at Utah Beach.

“You’re seeing guys getting hit. You’re seeing bodies,” he said. “I was scared to death, tell you the truth.”

Golz was 14 years old when he heard the German army had marched into Poland. By 19 he’d been drafted into that same army.

“I saw the American wounded,” he told VICE News from the village of Königswinter in Germany. “The German wounded, I didn’t really notice them until I heard them scream: ‘Comrade, help me.’ That’s when I understood ‘the hero’s’ death. Nobody wants to die a hero’s death. Those are all young kids who want to live.”

Ciampa and Golz represent the thinning ranks of soldiers from both sides of the war that are still alive to tell the story of the largest military invasion in history. They hope their legacy lives beyond their generation.

“I do think that we have to tell these stories,” said Golz. “These young people, who haven’t experienced it, they have to realize that because of this successful invasion, we have had 70 years of peace. They should always preserve that, preserve the democracy that we gained because of it.”

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What It’s Like To Chase A UFO (HBO)

WINDHAM, N.H. — In 2004, David Fravor, then a Lt. Commander and aviator in the U.S. Navy, saw something in the skies he’d never seen before. He wasn’t sure what it was, but he decided to follow it in his F/A-18 Super Hornet, and became convinced that the object’s maneuvering could not be explained by the existing capabilities of modern aircraft.

“It was far beyond the technology that we have,” he told VICE News.

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Rep. Eric Swalwell Is Doing Everything He Can to Stay in the 2020 Race

Eric Swalwell appears on television a lot- enough that people in Iowa tell him that as he’s getting coffee in cafes in Dubuque.

The California congressman has been one of the most vocal members of the House Intelligence Committee about holding the president and his administration accountable in the Russia investigations.

Now, Swalwell’s trying to use that notoriety in a bid for president. But in a field of 21 Democrats, he’s learning that being a cable news darling isn’t enough. He’s currently polling at just 1% but he says he’s getting comfortable sticking out his hand to say he’s running for president.

“It’s very, I would say intimidating to say you’re running for president,” he said in a car ride between events in eastern Iowa at the beginning of the month.

“Every chance I get, I’m gonna introduce myself like I’m not starting, you know, as Vice President Biden here,” he added of his chances of making it all the way.

VICE News spent 48 hours with Swalwell in Iowa, where he’s trying to prove he can appeal to a broad demographic of Americans. He’s the son of a sheriff, but Swalwell is making gun control and reform his signature issue, even hosting one of his campaign launch events in Parkland, Florida.

At a Bellevue house party on Friday, Swalwell told a gathering of the Jackson County Democrats about his experience in Congress trying to work on the divisive issue.

“I came to Congress right after Sandy Hook happened,” he said. “I had hoped that I could be a part of a Congress that would actually do something about what had happened. Nothing.”

But as he campaigns, Swalwell is also trying to assure voters that his coastal progressive views don’t blind him to the needs of Trump voters. Swalwell says that his life experiences- born in Iowa, educated in the south, and representing a diverse district in California -gives him credibility with all voters.

“My parents they’re both Republicans. I was reaching across the dinner table before I ever had to reach across the aisle to work with the Republicans,” he told a group of about 20 people at the Uptown Cafe in Jefferson, Iowa. He joked that he goes on Fox News so that his parents will see him on TV.

When asked by Vice News why he’s running in such a crowded field, Swalwell more or less described a fading American dream as his motivation.

“I see a lot of people who work really hard just like my parents did but they don’t see it adding up to what it added up for my parents which was their son was the first in the family to go to college. Instead, they’re just running in place. They’re living paycheck to paycheck. They see a Washington and gridlock and not doing anything about it.”

Jose Ibarra, a city councilman in Storm Lake, Iowa, hosted Swalwell for a “fight night” party at his parents’ house on Saturday evening. Swalwell arrived with a case of beer and tucked into tacos and chips before making his case to a small- but more diverse group than is typical- about why they should support him for president.

Ibarra said he thinks any Democrat has a chance right now of beating Trump- and included Swalwell in that category.

“I mean we look at the Democrats right and they’re actually very educated. They know how to communicate with people. They know what’s wrong with the country,” Ibarra told VICE News in the backyard. “They know that we’re divided. Donald Trump has really done nothing for them, for the small guys. So I believe that if any Democrat can connect with the 99 percent. And make it into a point that he’s going to bring the country back together I think that anybody can beat Donald Trump.”

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Anthony Scaramucci’s Return To Credibility (HBO)

This week, the Sin City calendar included the 10th Annual Skybridge Alternatives Conference, known as SALT.

It’s your standard rich-meet-powerful confab, the kind of thing you’d find in Davos or Aspen. With one notable exception: this one is run by Anthony Scaramucci.

Skybridge is The Mooch’s investment company. At its height, say in 2017, SALT was pretty mega: former heads of state and a-list entertainers appeared on stage. But then Scaramucci’s fortunes changed in July 2017 when he took a job as President Trump’s White House Communications Director. That resulted in one of the all-time great Washington faceplants. Eleven days into the job, Scaramucci was fired, and his brand was beclowned.

The Mooch was alone. There was no SALT conference in 2018.

But a year is a long time, and the finance world has once again opened its arms to Scaramucci. SALT 2019 lacked some of the star power of previous years, but the Mooch did get some heavy-hitters: former White House chief of staff John Kelly was the keynote guest. Other panels included Chris Christie and Jeff Sessions.

Some Democrats showed up, too — former Obama advisers Valerie Jarrett and Susan Rice were here. Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard stopped by, too.

At the center of it all was a man who many people in politics left for dead. But at SALT at least, The Mooch is very much alive.

“My issues with the president are not what he’s doing. He’s got some very very good policies actually working for average people,” Scaramucci told VICE News. “My issue with the president is how he’s doing it. It’s not what he’s doing.”​​

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Why Do Iowa Democrats Love Joe Biden So Much? (HBO)

Joe Biden arrived in Iowa for his first campaign swing Tuesday. It was a long time coming for Iowa Democrats, who have consistently put him at the top of the early polls.

“Elecatability” is the magic word that fuels a lot of this support. Biden, Iowans say, is best positioned to defeat President Trump and therefore is the safe bet.

Democrats in Iowa are still feeling PTSD over the 2016 election. They thought they would win, they were sure they were. But then Trump pulled off the upset, leaving some to question if anything other than an older white guy with working class white cred can take Democrats back to the White House.

Vice News talked to voters at Biden’s first Iowa campaign stops about why some of them are turning away from the new faces in the Democratic Party diverse field and towards a guy America has known for a long, long time.

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