8 min read

Wake Up To Politics - July 19, 2022

Wake Up To Politics: Primary season returns
Wake Up To Politics - July 19, 2022

by Gabe Fleisher

Good morning! It’s Tuesday, July 19, 2022. Election Day 2022 is 112 days away. Election Day 2024 is 840 days away.

Primary races to watch today

After a summertime lull, America’s primary season will return today as voters in Maryland cast ballots in a slew of competitive statewide and congressional primaries.  

Maryland is the only state holding primary elections in July, a brief interlude before intraparty contests wrap up in August and September and the march to November begins. Here are today’s contests worth watching:

Maryland Governor (D): It may be a deep-blue state in presidential years, but the governor’s mansion in Maryland has been occupied by a Republican — the popular, moderate Larry Hogan — for the past seven years. Hogan is now term-limited, and Democrats are hungry to retake the governorship for themselves: a crowded field has emerged, all seeking to replace him.

The limited polling available shows a split race between four interesting candidates, including two onetime members of the Obama Cabinet: former Education Secretary John King Jr. and former Labor Secretary Tom Perez, who also served as chairman of the national Democratic Party during the Trump years.

Rounding out the field are State Comptroller Peter Franchot and Wes Moore, the best-selling author of “The Other Wes Moore,” a 2010 tome describing the divergent life paths taken by him and an imprisoned drug dealer with his name who grew up not far away. Moore has notched the endorsement of Oprah Winfrey, but he’s also faced allegations of exaggerating his biography.

Maryland Governor (R): Meanwhile, the Republican race to succeed Hogan has — like many GOP contests this year — turned into a proxy battle revolving around former President Donald Trump.

Hogan’s choice is Kelly Schulz, who served both as the state’s Labor Secretary and then as Commerce Secretary earlier in the Hogan administration. If elected, she would be Maryland’s first female governor.

Trump, meanwhile, is promoting Daniel Cox, a member of the state House of Delegates who has backed the former president’s false election fraud theories and chartered three buses to take Trump supporters to Washington on January 6, 2021.

The race is seen as an early test of strength between Trump and Hogan, who could find themselves competing for the Republican presidential nod in 2024. One added component: Democrats have poured $1.2 million in the race to try to boost Cox, continuing their risky strategy of promoting far-right GOP primary candidates. Democrats view Schulz, a candidate in Hogan’s mold, as a more formidable general election opponent.

Former Democratic Party chairman Tom Perez is seeking the Maryland governorship. (Gage Skidmore)

Maryland’s 4th congressional district (D): Democratic Rep. Anthony Brown is retiring to run for state Attorney General, creating a competitive campaign to replace him. The Democratic primary, between former Rep. Donna Edwards — who held the seat until 2017 — and former state’s attorney Glenn Ivey has grown into an unexpectedly expensive battle over Israel policy.

A super PAC tied to AIPAC, a prominent pro-Israel organization, has spent $5.9 million to promote Ivey, its largest sum in any race this year. The group opposes Edwards due to stances she took while in Congress the first time, including a 2009 vote abstaining on a resolution “recognizing Israel’s right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza.”

Edwards boats the support of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as well as an Israel advocacy group of her own: the more liberal J Street. The primary is one of several Democratic contests this year where groups like AIPAC have spent heavily to try to push the party in a more pro-Israel direction, as some left-wing Democrats have grown more vocal in criticizing the Jewish state.

Maryland’s 6th congressional district (R): This is the only House race in Maryland seen as remotely competitive in November, after redistricting made the seat — held by Democratic Rep. David Trone, a wealthy businessman who has spent millions on his own races — more comfortable territory for Republicans.

Attention in the GOP primary to face Trone has revolved around Matthew Foldi, a 25-year-old former conservative journalist who has united both Trump and Hogan behind him.

But Trone’s national chops might not be enough for him to win: per Politico, many local Republican leaders are sticking with a more seasoned alternative, state legislator Neil Parrott, Trone’s 2020 rival.

More news you should know

👨‍⚕️ Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, told Politico that he plans to retire by the end of President Biden’s current term, as Covid’s most transmissible variant spreads and new vaccines languish.

🏳️‍🌈 A federal judge has temporarily blocked the Biden administration from expanding federal anti-discrimination protections to LGBT Americans in schools and workplaces.

🗳️ Former VP Mike Pence endorsed Karrin Taylor Robson in the Arizona Republican gubernatorial primary, creating a proxy battle with former President Trump and his election-denying candidate, Kari Lake.

🏫 A Democratic poll found nationwide support for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ education agenda, including barring young students from being taught about sexual orientation and transgender athletes from competing in girls’ sports.  

📱 The Department of Homeland Security has paid millions of dollars since 2017 to purchase cellphone location data for Americans citizens and foreigners alike, all without obtaining warrants, an ACLU report revealed.

Dr. Anthony Fauci announced Monday that he intends to retire by 2025. (Tia Dufour / White House)

Numbers to know

So far in 2022, 188 all-time high-temperature records have been broken across the globe and just 18 low-temperature records, CNN reports based on NOAA data.

Here in the United States, 92 heat records and just 5 cool records have been set this year.

This new data comes amid scorching, airport runway-melting temperatures in Europe and parts of the U.S., with 68.7 million Americans living in areas expected to have dangerous heat levels today.

One expert has estimated that this week’s heat wave could lead to 2,000 deaths in the United Kingdom alone; already, more than 1,110 people have died in the past week from heat-related causes in Spain and Portugal. In France, more than 31,000 people have had to relocate amid raging wildfires caused by the heat wave.

Scientists are united in the consensus that temperatures are being driven higher by human-induced climate change. President Biden has promised to take “strong executive action” on climate soon, after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) tanked a Democratic climate change package late last week.

Per the Washington Post, Biden is considering declaring a “national climate emergency” as early as this week, a move that could empower him to take new steps to curb planet-warming emissions.

Temperatures in the UK on Monday. For context: the country had never before experienced 40°C heat, which is 104°F. (World Meteorological Organization)

As I was saying...

In yesterday’s newsletter, I wrote about President Biden’s sinking approval ratings and offered one theory to explain them: a dynamic I referred to as Biden’s “hands-off presidency.” You can read that analysis piece here.

Here are a few data points from Monday that further illuminate the political crisis Biden faces. These numbers come from a new poll by CNN:

  • Biden’s approval rating stands at 38%, his lowest level yet in CNN’s polling. 62% of Americans disapprove of his job performance.
  • His approval ratings for handling the economy (30%) and inflation (25%) are even lower.
  • Among people of color, who make up much of his political base, Biden’s approval rating has dipped to 45%.
  • 79% of Americans say things in the country are going “pretty” or “very” badly, more than at any point since February 2009.
  • 82% say U.S. economic conditions are “somewhat” or “very” poor, more than at any point since November 2011.

Plus, most directly addressing the thrust of my Monday thesis:

  • 68% of Americans say Biden has not paid enough attention to the country’s most important problems — the most that have ever said that about a U.S. president in CNN’s polling.
President Biden faces a deepening political crisis. (Adam Schultz / White House)

What’s going on in politics today

All times Eastern.

President Biden will receive his daily intelligence briefing (10 am). For the second day in a row, he has nothing else on his public schedule.

Vice President Harris will join Biden for the briefing. She has nothing else on her public schedule either.

First Lady Biden will meet with Olena Zelenska, the first lady of Ukraine, at the White House (1:30 pm).

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre will hold her daily press briefing (3 pm).
The Senate will convene (10 am) and hold votes to confirm Nina Wang as a U.S. district judge in Colorado and advance Nancy Maldonado’s nomination to be a U.S. district judge in Illinois.

The chamber will also hold its weekly caucus lunches, and will likely hold votes in the afternoon to confirm Michelle Childs as a U.S. appeals court judge on the powerful D.C. Circuit and to advance the bipartisan CHIPS for America Act, which would provide tax breaks and $52 billion in subsidies for U.S. manufacturers of semiconductor chips.

Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska during her visit to Washington, D.C. on Monday. (State Department)

The House will convene (10 am) and vote on the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 and codify the 2015 Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges that required all U.S. states to legalize same-sex marriage.

The vote comes in response to Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion last month calling for Obergefell to be overturned. Per Punchbowl News, “dozens” of House Republicans are expected to side with Democrats on the measure.

Later, the House will begin consideration of H.R. 8294, the Fiscal Year 2023 spending package for programs related to: transportation, housing, agriculture, rural development, energy, water development, financial services, interior, environment, military construction, and veterans affairs.

The chamber will begin making its way through the 190 amendments that have been offered to the package.

Congressional committees will hold hearings on KleptoCapture, the government’s efforts to aid Ukraine by seizing Russian oligarchs’ assets (10 am); understanding long Covid (10 am); the reversal of Roe v. Wade (10:30 am); the economic impact of mass shootings (2 pm); and the DISCLOSE Act, which would require “dark money” groups to reveal their major donors (3 pm).

The Supreme Court is out until October.

Plus: Polls are open in Maryland from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and opening arguments are set to begin in the contempt-of-Congress trial of former Trump strategist Steve Bannon.

Links to watch for yourself: FLOTUS x ZelenskaWH briefingSenate sessionHouse sessionKleptoCapture hearingLong Covid hearingAbortion hearingMass shooting hearingDISCLOSE Act hearing

Before I go...

I always try to end on a hopeful note.

Today, I want to share a recent Associated Press story that comes out of a horrific event — the July 4 shooting in Highland Park, Illinois — but shines a spotlight on the heroes of the day, those who sprung quickly into action to to help their fellow community members.

The story is a reminder of the fundamental goodness of humanity, even in the darkest of moments.

Here it is, via the AP.

That’s it for today. If you enjoy Wake Up To Politics, it’s always appreciated if you donate to support the newsletter or buy some merch. Or if you tell your friends and family to sign up at wakeuptopolitics.com.

If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to email me: my inbox is always open.

Thanks for waking up to politics! Have a great day.

— Gabe