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On the roster: A nominee all but certain, Dems still face deep doubts - Trump invokes Cold War powers to battle virus - One of the last pro-life Dems falls in primary - Humanity check
A NOMINEE ALL BUT CERTAIN, DEMS STILL FACE DEEP DOUBTS
WaPo: “The Democratic presidential race passed a point of no return Tuesday, with former vice president Joe Biden firmly in control of his party’s nomination over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). But politics more broadly entered into the unknown as the spreading coronavirus continued to radically disrupt the political life of the country. This combination of certainty and uncertainty was highlighted on a day when three states — Arizona, Florida and Illinois — held primaries and another — Ohio — that was scheduled to do so abruptly shut down its polling places for reasons of health safety. Nothing better described a new normal than the rapidly changing face of American politics in the age of a pandemic. … The final primaries now could come only weeks before the Democratic National Convention is scheduled to convene in Milwaukee — if it is held as planned. Squabbles among state and local officials, some partisan and some territorial, highlighted the tensions facing all government leaders as they attempt to preserve the sacred process of voting amid fears that the traditional methods of casting ballots now endanger voters and poll workers alike.”
Tuesday voter turnout maintained by early, mail voting - FiveThirtyEight: “The turnout drop may have been especially stark in Illinois because it is more reliant on in-person voting than Florida is. Indeed, both states saw an increase in the number of early or mail votes but a decrease in the number of in-person Election Day votes… Meanwhile, in Florida, 658,234 Democrats had returned their mail ballots as of Tuesday morning — already an increase of 27 percent from 2016. And 438,949 Florida Democrats voted early, which was up 19 percent from 2016. However, it looks like Democrats cast only about 500,000 votes on Election Day itself, which would be down 40 percent from 2016. Basically, the data from yesterday’s elections suggests that, in the face of the coronavirus threat, many voters simply traded voting in person for voting early or by mail. As long as the pandemic lingers, this could become a new normal for elections.”
Time is on Sanders’ side - NYT: “The breadth of Mr. Biden’s advantage denies Mr. Sanders any realistic opportunity for a comeback. Perhaps Mr. Sanders will win a party-run primary or caucus… [But] without victories, Mr. Sanders will be deprived of opportunities to claim the momentum and favorable news coverage to change the trajectory of the race. … The likelihood of any potential game-changing event becomes likelier with time. By this measure, the new delays in the Democratic primary schedule as a result of the coronavirus slightly widen whatever narrow path might still exist for Mr. Sanders. He would have faced an even greater deficit if Ohio had voted on Tuesday as originally scheduled, based on results so far. … And Mr. Biden might have won an outright majority of delegates and wrapped up the nomination by late April. Now it is hard to say when he will clinch it.”
DNC warns of delegate penalty to states delaying primaries past June 9 - The Guardian: “A new memo from the Democratic National Committee panel that handles delegate selection for the presidential nomination warns that states that hastily change the ‘first determining step’ of their own process could be subject to penalties – including a 50% reduction in delegates – if they hold primaries after a June cut-off date. The memo also says the panel is looking at ways to adjust how delegates are selected in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Three states will hold primaries on Tuesday. A fourth, Ohio, postponed its vote on Monday, due to Covid-19 and its drastic effect on public life. Louisiana, Kentucky, Georgia and Maryland have also postponed their votes. As in virtually every part of US society, election officials at every level have been discussing ways to safely administer elections without spreading the coronavirus. The new DNC memo, obtained by the Guardian, was sent to members of the rules and bylaws committee on Wednesday night.”
Looking ahead to Georgia primary - AJC: “Joe Biden was poised for a big victory over Bernie Sanders in Georgia before the state’s presidential preference primary was postponed two months, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution survey released Tuesday that gave the former vice president a 44-point lead over his chief Democratic adversary. The former vice president led Sanders 66% to 22% in the poll released Tuesday, which showed only 11% of Georgia Democratic voters were undecided. The vote was delayed from March 24 to May 19 because of growing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.”
THE RULEBOOK: BY THE PEOPLE, OF THE PEOPLE
“It is ESSENTIAL to such a government that it be derived from the great body of the society, not from an inconsiderable proportion, or a favored class of it; otherwise a handful of tyrannical nobles, exercising their oppressions by a delegation of their powers, might aspire to the rank of republicans, and claim for their government the honorable title of republic.” – James Madison, Federalist No. 39
TIME OUT: PLAY (POK-TA-POK) BALL
Smithsonian: “The ball game pok-ta-pok was nearly ubiquitous in pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica, but today, its origins remain a matter of debate among archaeologists. Though a version of the activity appears in the Maya creation myth, many modern researchers suspect it actually originated near the Gulf Coast. Now, however, a newly discovered pok-ta-pok court nestled in the highlands of Oaxaca, Mexico, is challenging that theory. The court, found at the Etlatongo archaeological site, dates to between 1400 and 1300 B.C., according to research published in the journal Science Advances. In use for about 175 years, the space is the second-oldest Mesoamerican ball court found to date—the oldest is located in Paso de la Amada and was built around 1650 B.C., reports Science magazine’s Lizzie Wade. The Etlatongo court dates to a pivotal period in the region’s history, when political and religious factions, trade, and a clear social hierarchy were starting to emerge.”
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ESTIMATED DELEGATES FOR DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION
[Ed. note: 1,991 delegates needed to win]
TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE
Average approval: 43.8 percent
Average disapproval: 51.8 percent
Net Score: -8 percent
Change from one week ago: ↑ 0.4 points
[Average includes: NPR/PBS News/Marist: 43% approve - 50% disapprove; NBC News/WSJ: 46% approve - 51% disapprove; Gallup: 44% approve - 52% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 41% approve - 54% disapprove; CNN: 45% approve - 52% disapprove.]
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TRUMP INVOKES COLD WAR POWERS TO BATTLE VIRUS
Fox News: “President Trump on Wednesday announced that he is invoking the Defense Production Act as part of the administration’s efforts to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. ‘It can do a lot of good things if we need it,’ he said at a White House press conference. ‘We'll have it all completed, signing it in just a little while.’ The act ensures the private sector can ramp-up manufacturing and distribution of emergency medical supplies and equipment. The move gives the White House the authority to increase production of masks, ventilators and respirators, as well as expand hospital capacity to combat the coronavirus. He made the announcement at a press conference along members of the coronavirus pandemic task force. The U.S. has largely shuttered many aspects of daily life in order to stem the rapid onset of the virus, echoing efforts across the globe. As of Wednesday morning, there were 6,519 cases and 114 deaths in the United States.”
Despite ‘shortcomings,’ Senate to pass coronavirus package - Politico: “The Senate is expected to pass a multi-billion dollar emergency aid package on Wednesday to confront the economic impacts of the coronavirus, as the Treasury Department calls for $250 billion in direct payments to Americans starting April 6. The Senate’s approval of the House-passed coronavirus bill paves the way for negotiations on a third, even larger stimulus package to address the pandemic. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reiterated his support Wednesday for the House package and vowed to address any ‘imperfections’ in the Senate’s subsequent bill — which McConnell promised to craft at ‘warp speed.’ … Despite ‘real shortcomings’ in the legislation, McConnell said, ‘in this case I do not believe we should let perfection be the enemy of something that will help even a subset of workers.’”
Treasury lays out plan for cash pump - AP: “The Treasury Department said Wednesday it wants to start issuing direct payments to Americans by early next month as the centerpiece of a $1 trillion plan to stabilize the economy as the coronavirus epidemic threatens a body slam to taxpayers and businesses. In a memorandum, Treasury proposed two $250 billion cash infusions to individuals: A first set of checks issued starting April 6, with a second wave in mid-May. The amounts would depend on income and family size. The Treasury plan, which requires approval by Congress, also recommends $50 billion to stabilize the airlines, $150 billion to issue loan guarantees to other struggling sectors, and $300 billion to for small businesses. The plan appears to anticipate that some of the loans would not be repaid.”
Dem super PAC to hit Trump over coronavirus response - WaPo: “A Democratic super PAC said Tuesday it would spend $5 million on digital advertising flaying President Trump for his response to the novel coronavirus, one of several groups that planned to devote resources to this type of messaging. The campaign from Pacronym — a political action committee affiliated with the nonprofit group Acronym — represents the first major pivot to coronavirus-related advertising fewer than 250 days from the election. It is a bet that the pandemic, which is also causing a deep economic downturn, will be the defining issue of the campaign. ‘This is a public health issue and a national security issue, but it’s also a public policy issue and thus a political one,’ said Tara McGowan, the founder and chief executive of Acronym, whose board includes veteran Democratic operatives like David Plouffe, who managed Barack Obama’s 2008 bid.”
Trump unapologetically uses phrase ‘Chinese Virus’ - Fox News: “The war of words between the Trump administration and China over the origin of coronavirus has escalated as President Trump is going out of his way to call it the ‘Chinese Virus’ and China has embarked on a propaganda campaign to shift blame for the pandemic away from the Chinese Communist Party's handling of the crisis. The escalation comes as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread in the United States, shutting down sporting events, restaurants, bars and elections across the country. ‘I always treated the Chinese Virus very seriously,’ Trump tweeted Wednesday morning, commenting on news coverage about his response to the pandemic -- one of three Wednesday morning tweets referencing the ‘Chinese Virus.’ Minutes earlier he tweeted: ‘I will be having a news conference today to discuss very important news from the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] concerning the Chinese Virus!’”
Trump has changed his tone on the virus - Politico: “President Donald Trump on Tuesday insisted that he had never underestimated or underappreciated the seriousness of coronavirus. But for two months he and some members of his administration downplayed the global threat even as world events and government and outside experts made clear that the health and economic impacts of this disease would be dire. Here are just some of those comments…”
Yang isn’t pleased about the use of his signature issue - Politico: “Andrew Yang takes no pleasure in looking prophetical. The tech entrepreneur and former candidate for president, who last month suspended his campaign after poor showings in Iowa and New Hampshire, built his candidacy around the idea of universal basic income — that Americans should receive $1,000 each month from the government. The proposal was not so much panned as it was ignored… In response to the economic threat posed by the spread of COVID-19 … the Trump administration on Tuesday announced its intention to mail checks to Americans as quickly as possible. … ‘My phone is blowing up,’ [Yang] tweeted shortly after the White House briefing, an observation that has won 56,000 likes and counting. For all the congratulatory notes, however, Yang is deeply unsettled about the current crisis, no matter the role it might play in advancing his signature issue.”
ONE OF THE LAST PRO-LIFE DEMS FALLS IN PRIMARY
Reuters: “Liberal Democrat Marie Newman beat incumbent Dan Lipinski in a U.S. House of Representatives primary race in Illinois on Tuesday, according to news reports. It was a rematch for Lipinski, a long-time congressman, and Newman, a progressive businesswoman, who first faced off for the Chicago-area seat in a 2018 primary that Lipinski narrowly won. Lipinski, a member and past co-chair of the moderate ‘Blue Dog’ coalition who has served in the U.S. Congress since 2004, has been criticized by abortion rights and gay rights groups for his socially conservative views and faced blowback for voting against former Democratic President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. The primary battles between Lipinski and Newman pitted Chicago’s Democratic machine against activist groups such as NARAL Pro-Choice America…”
Report: Americans think media doing fairly well covering coronavirus - Pew Research Center
AUDIBLE: IT’S DEFINITELY NOT GOOD
“This whole thing is so f***ed up.” – Andrew Yang in response to the current crisis over coronavirus, per Politico.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“Here in the United States we yearly we have about a 60-day carryout on grains (corn, wheat, soybeans etc.). That means we have about 60 days of supply from the year before the day we start harvest to the next. Or clearer stated about 60 days’ supply till we run out of food. This includes all meats, dairy and plant-based proteins. Like other essentials, because of the efficacy of the system, we have become complacent against events like Covid-19. One solution is to create a Strategic Food Reserve. We could take the next 10 years to build storage and supplies. This would solve two issues, 1) We can withstand future events with less disruptions. 2) Bolster the farm economy due to a demand market instead of supply.” – Jim Hain, Omaha, Neb.
[Ed. note: I had never even thought about such a thing, Mr. Hain. I imagine there would be a lot of questions, as there were with the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, about how much of what would go in how often. But given the likelihood of future supply chain disruptions, you may be on to something. Thank you for sharing it.]
“In 2010 approximately 12,400 people died from the Swine flu in the US. No sports, restaurants, or other venues were shut down. We have about 100 deaths in the US from the coronavirus to date. Why is the coronavirus being treated so differently and why is there such panic? Does this mean in about two years when we have another new virus we’re going to have fear and panic and ruined economy all over again?” – Mike Wiater, Colorado Springs, Colo.
[Ed. note: You are not alone in your resentment toward the scale of the response in this case, Mr. Wiater. Lots of Americans, including, until recently, the president, thought to minimize the dangers of the current crisis. But I urge you to read up on this subject and understand the unique threats this virus poses to Americans’ health and our way of life. The CDC’s resource page is very useful and will help you through the process. The rate of contagion and potential mortality rate here is quite concerning. Precautions that you take now will save lives, potentially including among friends, neighbors and loved ones. Now is the time for Americans to put their shoulders into this.]
“What’s the point of ‘calling’ an electoral race unless it’s winner take all? Isn’t it all about the delegates?” – Chris Sales, Christchurch, New Zealand
[Ed. note: Back when North Americans were still playing ice hockey, the NHL’s rules state that both teams in an overtime game get 1 point in the standings, while the winning team gets a total of 2 points. This may be a little like that. It’s true that Bernie Sanders won delegates in all three states that voted on Tuesday, but it’s also true that he did not win any of the states. When we project a winner before most of the votes have been counted it is a reflection, usually, of a decisive victory. Especially from a psychological and momentum stand point, that counts for a lot.]
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UPI: “An anonymous customer at a Houston restaurant left staff a $9,400 tip just hours after the county announced mandatory business closings. Irma's Southwest restaurant in downtown Houston said an anonymous customer left the $9,400 tip Monday, just a few hours after Harris County ordered bars and nightclubs to close amid the coronavirus outbreak. ‘Hold tip to pay your guys over the next few weeks,’ the customer wrote on the receipt. The restaurant said it is planning to remain operating as a take-out eatery, but some workers could be sent home if there isn't a high demand. The eatery said employees will split the tip equally, receiving about $300 each. The restaurant applauded the ‘act of kindness’ in a Facebook post.”
AND NOW A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“The way I see it, dogs had this big meeting, oh, maybe 20,000 years ago. A huge meeting — an international convention with delegates from everywhere. And that's when they decided that humans were the up-and-coming species and dogs were going to throw their lot in with them. The decision was obviously not unanimous. The wolves and dingoes walked out in protest.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in Time magazine on June 10, 2003.
Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.