WXXI AM News

Coming up on Connections: Friday, December 4

Dec 4, 2020

Credit Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Dennis Cantrell/ Creative Commons License / U.S. Navy

First hour: Discussing changes to the U.S. citizenship test

Second hour: How can Democrats win more rural voters?

The U.S. citizenship test is getting harder. Last week, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced changes to the naturalization test that immigrants must pass. The old test came from a bank of 100 possible questions; applicants were given ten of those questions, and had to answer six correctly to pass. The new test includes 128 possible questions; applicants are given twenty of those questions, and must get twelve correct to pass. And some of the acceptable answers have narrowed. The Trump administration has said that it's important for immigrants to face high standards before earning citizenship. Critics say the new test is consistent with the administration's goal of reducing legal immigration. Our guests:

  • Michael Leroy Oberg, distinguished professor of history at SUNY Geneseo, and director of the Geneseo Center for Local and Municipal History¬†
  • Mari Tsuchiya, Rochester resident who immigrated to the United States from Japan

Then in our second hour, in the past forty years, the American political landscape has largely flipped. In 1980, Democrats won only nine out of the 100 highest income counties. Now they win a strong majority of the wealthiest areas. But Republicans dominate in rural America, and as Derek Thompson writes in a new piece for The Atlantic, big-city dominance has become a problem for Democrats. That's because the electoral rules make it very hard for Democrats to wield legislative power, despite winning a majority of voter support. So how can Democrats win back some of the rural support they once held? What are the issues that will change votes and minds? Our guests discuss it. This is the first of two conversations on the political map; next we'll discuss how Republicans can start to win in larger cities again.

  • Leslie Danks Burke, regional public advocate, and former candidate for New York State Senate
  • Shawn Hogan, former mayor of Hornell, and current chair of the Steuben County Democratic Committee
  • Jerri Lynn Sparks, former Congressional press secretary, and founder of the Riga Democratic Committee