Can Banning ‘Revenge Porn’ Win Muriel Bowser the Millennial Vote?

Among other things.

National Journal
Lucia Graves
See more stories about...
Lucia Graves
April 9, 2014, 12:33 p.m.

Mur­i­el Bow­ser, the Demo­crat­ic may­or­al nom­in­ee who beat cur­rent D.C. May­or Vin­cent Gray in the primary last week, may have just so­lid­i­fied her cre­den­tials among wo­men and young voters — or at least, made a vali­ant ef­fort.

The Ward 4 City Coun­cil mem­ber on Tues­day in­tro­duced le­gis­la­tion tar­get­ing any­one who will­fully dis­trib­utes sexu­ally com­prom­ising im­ages without an in­di­vidu­al’s con­sent, something that’s come to be known as “re­venge porn.”

Bow­ser, for one, is hip to the lingo. Her pro­pos­al, termed “The Re­la­tion­ship Pri­vacy Pro­tec­tion Act,” would make dis­trib­ut­ing such im­ages a mis­de­mean­or pun­ish­able by up to a year in pris­on and a $2,500 fine. (Cali­for­nia and New Jer­sey have already passed laws crim­in­al­iz­ing the act.)

That re­venge porn mostly tar­gets wo­men (and of­ten young wo­men) shouldn’t come as a sur­prise. “There aren’t pop­u­lar re­venge-porn sites with pic­tures of na­ked men,” The Guard­i­an‘s Jill Filiopvic ex­plained, “be­cause, as a so­ci­ety we don’t think it’s in­her­ently de­grad­ing or hu­mi­li­at­ing for men to have sex.” Young wo­men, in par­tic­u­lar, are less likely to be in a com­mit­ted re­la­tion­ship and by ex­ten­sion, most vul­ner­able.

“Re­venge porn is the kind of ab­hor­rent be­ha­vi­or on the In­ter­net that we must do all we can to stop,” Bow­ser said in a press re­lease. “Pro­tect­ing our res­id­ents from ser­i­ous harm and main­tain­ing their pri­vacy on the Web is an im­port­ant pri­or­ity of mine. This bill provides sig­ni­fic­ant pen­al­ties that we hope will de­ter this of­fens­ive prac­tice. I look for­ward to work­ing with my col­leagues for its swift pas­sage.”

The an­nounce­ment comes on the heels of Bow­ser’s de­feat of Gray. She will face Dav­id Catania, a Re­pub­lic­an-turned-in­de­pend­ent, in the Novem­ber gen­er­al elec­tion. Al­though the Demo­crat­ic primary win­ner has gone on to tri­umph in every gen­er­al elec­tion since the Dis­trict began elect­ing a may­or, Bow­ser will face a cred­ible chal­lenger in Catania, a 16-year vet­er­an of the D.C. Coun­cil.

Roughly a quarter of Demo­crat­ic voters who’ve re­gistered since Septem­ber 2010 have for­gone party af­fil­i­ation, with 29,055 re­gis­ter­ing as in­de­pend­ents. Those re­cently ad­ded voters are thought to be part of the wave of young people mov­ing to the Dis­trict, and they com­prise a par­tic­u­larly de­sir­able con­stitu­ency for Bow­ser.

“I think the reas­on we are see­ing an up­tick in new in­de­pend­ent voter re­gis­tra­tion is be­cause so many young mil­len­ni­als are mov­ing in­to the city,” Michelle Diggles, a seni­or polit­ic­al ana­lyst for the D.C.-based cent­rist think tank Third Way re­cently told The Wash­ing­ton Times. “This has be­come an in­cred­ibly young city.”

What We're Following See More »
STAFF PICKS
These (Supposed) Iowa and NH Escorts Tell All
6 hours ago
NATIONAL JOURNAL AFTER DARK

Before we get to the specifics of this exposé about escorts working the Iowa and New Hampshire primary crowds, let’s get three things out of the way: 1.) It’s from Cosmopolitan; 2.) most of the women quoted use fake (if colorful) names; and 3.) again, it’s from Cosmopolitan. That said, here’s what we learned:

  • Business was booming: one escort who says she typically gets two inquiries a weekend got 15 requests in the pre-primary weekend.
  • Their primary season clientele is a bit older than normal—”40s through mid-60s, compared with mostly twentysomething regulars” and “they’ve clearly done this before.”
  • They seemed more nervous than other clients, because “the stakes are higher when you’re working for a possible future president” but “all practiced impeccable manners.”
  • One escort “typically enjoy[s] the company of Democrats more, just because I feel like our views line up a lot more.”
Source:
STATE VS. FEDERAL
Restoring Some Sanity to Encryption
6 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

No matter where you stand on mandating companies to include a backdoor in encryption technologies, it doesn’t make sense to allow that decision to be made on a state level. “The problem with state-level legislation of this nature is that it manages to be both wildly impractical and entirely unenforceable,” writes Brian Barrett at Wired. There is a solution to this problem. “California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the ‘Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,’ which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.”

Source:
STAFF PICKS
What the Current Crop of Candidates Could Learn from JFK
6 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Hillary Is Running Against the Bill of 1992
6 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

The New Covenant. The Third Way. The Democratic Leadership Council style. Call it what you will, but whatever centrist triangulation Bill Clinton embraced in 1992, Hillary Clinton wants no part of it in 2016. Writing for Bloomberg, Sasha Issenberg and Margaret Talev explore how Hillary’s campaign has “diverged pointedly” from what made Bill so successful: “For Hillary to survive, Clintonism had to die.” Bill’s positions in 1992—from capital punishment to free trade—“represented a carefully calibrated diversion from the liberal orthodoxy of the previous decade.” But in New Hampshire, Hillary “worked to juggle nostalgia for past Clinton primary campaigns in the state with the fact that the Bill of 1992 or the Hillary of 2008 would likely be a marginal figure within today’s Democratic politics.”

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Trevor Noah Needs to Find His Voice. And Fast.
7 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

At first, “it was pleasant” to see Trevor Noah “smiling away and deeply dimpling in the Stewart seat, the seat that had lately grown gray hairs,” writes The Atlantic‘s James Parker in assessing the new host of the once-indispensable Daily Show. But where Jon Stewart was a heavyweight, Noah is “a very able lightweight, [who] needs time too. But he won’t get any. As a culture, we’re not about to nurture this talent, to give it room to grow. Our patience was exhausted long ago, by some other guy. We’re going to pass judgment and move on. There’s a reason Simon Cowell is so rich. Impress us today or get thee hence. So it comes to this: It’s now or never, Trevor.”

Source:
×