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Wake Up To Politics - August 6, 2020

It’s Thursday, August 6, 2020. Election Day is 89 days away. Have questions, comments, or tips? Email me.

A scrambled campaign calendar

With the historic coronavirus pandemic raging in the background, little about the 2020 presidential election is normal, from the lack of campaign rallies to the changes in on-the-ground organizing.

And, it has come to light in the past 24 hours, the campaign calendar — the list of traditional election events that dominate the political world between now and November — will be no exception.

Perhaps the biggest quadrennial events leading up to Election Day are the party conventions in July and August, followed by the presidential debates in September and October. Both events are being significantly scrambled in 2020.

But the Democratic Party announced Wednesday that their convention — originally slated to take place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in mid-July, then moved to mid-August — will be almost completely virtual. Former Vice President Joe Biden will now accept his party’s nomination from his home state of Delaware; all convention speakers will forgo trips to Milwaukee and deliver virtual addresses.

“This convention will look different than any previous convention in history,” Joe Solmonese, CEO of the 2020 Democratic National Convention, said in a statement. “It will reach more people than ever before, and truly be a convention across America for all Americans, regardless of which party you belong to or who you’ve voted for in previous elections. This “unconventional” convention will launch Joe Biden to victory in November.”

Republicans have also been grappling with how to put on a convention in the coroanvirus era: the GOP confab had originally been scheduled to take place in Charlotte, North Carolina, although President Donald Trump announced in June that he would accept the nomination in Jacksonville, Florida, after clashing with North Carolina’s Democratic governor. The Jacksonville portion was canceled last month, although Republicans are still set to convene in Charlotte to conduct the business of the convention.

According to CNN, the scaled-down Charlotte convention will be closed to the press, meaning no television cameras will be on hand as delegates formally renominate President Trump, a change from the usual TV live theater that ensues. Additionally, per the Washington Post, the president is considering another major step: delivering his acceptance speech from the South Lawn of the White House, “the latest break by Trump in presidential norms, which have historically drawn clear lines between official business of the president and campaign events.”

It is not just the conventions that may play out much differently. The general election debates have also emerged as a point of contention in this unorthodox election year. The Trump campaign penned a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates on Wednesday calling for a fourth debate to be added to the traditional three, or alternatively for the first debate to be pushed up to the first week of September, since “as many as eight million Americans in 16 states will have already started voting” by mail by the time of the first debate on September 29.

The CPD has yet to respond to the request; the Biden campaign said that the Democrat will “appear on the dates that the commission selected and in the locations they chose.”

Already, the settings of the showdowns have undergone changes, as two venues have canceled plans to host debates in light of the pandemic, forcing the CPD to announce new locations.

The Trump campaign also explicitly tied their request to shake up the debate schedule to the voting changes brought about by the pandemic. “For a nation already deprived of a traditional campaign schedule because of the COVID-19 global pandemic,” Trump campaign attorney Rudy Giulaini, the former New York City mayor, wrote, “it makes no sense to also deprive so many Americans of the opportunity to see and hear the two competing visions for our country’s future before millions of votes have been cast.”

The Rundown

Congressional negotiators seeking to ink a deal on another coronavirus stimulus package have set a deadline for themselves: the end of the week. However, the two sides remain “trillions of dollars apart,” according to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. “I feel optimistic that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but how long that tunnel is remains to be seen,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Meadows also told reporters Wednesday that if no deal was struck by Friday, Preisdent Trump would take action on his own. According to the Washington Post, he is considering moving unilaterally to “extend an eviction moratorium, suspend collection of the payroll tax and boost unemployment benefits,” although it is unclear if he is able to take such steps via executive action.  

The Trump campaign outraised the Biden campaign in July, reversing a two-month fundraising trend. Trump and the RNC announced Wednesday that they raised $165 million last month, compared to $140 million by Biden and the DNC. The $25 million advantage for the GOP side comes after Biden outraised Trump in May and June.

Both hauls far outpace the sums raised by the 2016 presidential campaigns in July: $89 millions by the Clinton campaign and $80 million by the Trump campaign. In fact, the amount raised by the Trump team in July — normally a slow month for fundraising — was greater than they raised in any single month in all of 2016.

A total of 1.19 million people filed jobless claims last week, the 20th straight week that the claims exceeded 1 million. According to Labor Department data released this morning, last week’s jobless filings were down from 1.43 million in the previous week, but they remain historically high.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the single-week record for jobless claims was 695,000 in 1982. This year, claims peaked in March with more than six million.

Reading List

“One death every 80 seconds: The grim new toll of COVID-19 in America” NBC News

“Trump’s campaign knocks on a million doors a week. Biden’s knocks on zero.” Politico

“Supreme Court sees approval rating increase after consequential term” Washington Post


All times Eastern.

President Donald Trump will travel to Ohio to deliver remarks on economic prosperity in Cleveland at 1:15 p.m., tour Whirlpool Corporation Manufacturing Plant in Clyde at 2:45 p.m., deliver remarks at the plant at 3:15 p.m., and attend a pair of fundraisers in Bratenahl at 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

He will then travel to his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

The Senate will convene at 9:30 a.m., vote to advance the nomination of John Peter Cronan to be a U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York at 11:30 a.m., and vote on confirmation of Cronan’s nomination at 1:30 p.m.

The House is not in session.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer will hold a press conference at 10:45 a.m.

Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf will testify before the Senate Homeland Security Committee at 10 a.m. on the deployment of DHS personnel to recent protests.

Tennessee will holds its congressional primaries today. The highest-profile race is the open Senate Republican primary, in which businessman Bill Hagerty faces off against orthopedic surgeon Manny Sethi. Hagerty, who served as Ambassador to Japan under President Trump, is backed by the president and other Republican officials, but Sethi has gained support from Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. The intraparty feud has turned bitter in recent days, as polls have shown an increasingly tight race.

The Supreme Court is on summer recess.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden will deliver remarks at a virtual conference hosted by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) at 4 p.m.

New York Attorney General Letitia James will make a “major national announcement” at 11:30 a.m.

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