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Wake Up To Politics - August 11, 2020

It’s Tuesday, August 11, 2020. Election Day is 84 days away. Have questions, comments, or tips? Email me.

Biden nears VP pick as pressure builds

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s announcement of a running mate is imminent, multiple news outlets have reported.

According to the New York Times, Biden has interviewed every finalist and his four-member search committee has effectively disbanded — leaving the choice to the candidate alone. He could announce his choice as soon as today, “though more Democrats expect it to come on Wednesday,” the Times added.

As Biden’s search process nears its finish, public pressure continues to build for him to select a Black woman. (Biden, a former vice president himself, announced in March that his running mate would be a woman.)

More than 100 prominent Black men released an open letter to Biden on Monday, warning that “failing to select a Black woman in 2020 means you will lose the election.” Signatories included rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs, radio show host Lenard “Charlamagne tha God” McKelvey, and commentator Van Jones.

According to Politico, an “eleventh-hour campaign” to encourage Biden to choose a Black running mate launched after an Associated Press report this weekend that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) recently sat for an interview with Biden. Whitmer, who is white, had not previously been thought to be one of the vice-presidential finalists.  

The news of the Whitmer interview “was met with anger and frustration by many Black women strategists, activists, organizers and voters who have reached a point where they believe choosing a Black woman vice presidential nominee is no longer a recommendation, but a requirement,” according to The 19th, a new news organization focused on gender and politics.

Biden is likely to announce his highly-awaited choice in the coming days, before the Democratic National Convention begins on Monday. Here is a review of the  VP contenders, via contributor Prayag Gordy:

The Rundown

Russia has approved the world’s first coronavirus vaccine, although concerns about its safety remain. Russian President Vladimir Putin made the announcement this morning, emphasizing that one of his daughters had already received an injection. Putin’s announcement marked an attempt to claim a victory for Russia in the global vaccine race; however, the vaccine only underwent two phases of testing, as opposed to the usual three, leading many international scientists to express skepticism.

Democrats have announced the speaker lineup for next week’s virtual convention. Speakers include former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Gov. John Kasich (R-OH), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), former President Barack Obama, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), former First Lady Michelle Obama, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Republicans will hold their convention the following week; President Donald Trump tweeted Monday that he would deliver his acceptance speech either at the White House or in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Connecticut, Georgia, Minnesota, Vermont, Wisconsin are holding primary (or runoff) elections today. On the Democratic side, the highest-profile race is Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar’s re-election race: the controversial member of “The Squad” faces a serious challenge from lawyer Antone Melton-Meaux. On the Republican side, the primary runoff in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District is drawing the most attention: Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has appeared in racist videos and embraced the QAnon conspiracy theory, led neurosurgeon John Cowan in the first round of voting and could be annointed today as the party’s nominee.

More headlines:

  • “Trump races for political boost from executive actions before policy reality sets in” (NBC News)
  • “Republicans retrench in fight for the Senate” (Politico)
  • “GOP operatives want Kanye West on the presidential ballot. Will it really matter?” (Los Angeles Times)


All times Eastern.

President Donald Trump will participate in a phone call at 12:30 p.m. with sheriffs from across the country and hold a news conference at 5:30 p.m.

Vice President Mike Pence will travel to Arizona. He will speak at a “Cops for Trump” campaign event at 1:05 p.m. in Tucson, then at a “Latter-day Saints for Trump” Coalition launch at 4:35 p.m. in Mesa. Finally, Pence will participate in a COVID-19 briefing at 6:25 p.m. with Gov. Doug Ducey (R-AZ) before returning to Washington, D.C.

The Senate will convene at 11 a.m. No roll call votes are expected.

The House will meet at 12 p.m. for a pro forma session. No business will be conducted.

The Supreme Court is on summer recess.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has no public events scheduled.

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