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On the roster: Mourners flock to Floyd memorial – Precinct problems snarl Georgia vote – Break out the MAGA masks, Trump rallies to resume – Stubborn crime problem
MOURNERS FLOCK TO FLOYD MEMORIAL
USA Today: “A horse-drawn carriage will transport the remains of George Floyd to his gravesite Tuesday following a private funeral in Houston, the final episode in a series of memorials celebrating the life of a man whose death has shaken the world. About 500 friends, family, political leaders and entertainers streamed into The Fountain of Praise church for what co-pastor Mia Wright called, ‘a homegoing celebration of brother George Floyd’s life.’ Invited guests included Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Rep. Al Green and rap stars Paul Wall and Slim Thug. ‘If he was told he would have to sacrifice his life to bring the world together, knowing him, I know he would have,’ Floyd’s brother Rodney said before the service began. More than 6,000 people lined up in blazing heat to pay their respects at Floyd’s viewing Monday. The funeral is being livestreamed from the church in Houston, Floyd’s hometown. Activist Al Sharpton anchors a lineup of speakers that includes civil rights leaders and family members.”
Greg Abbott: ‘George Floyd has not died in vain’ – Texas Tribune: “Gov. Greg Abbott traveled to Houston on Monday to attend the public visitation of George Floyd… Abbott told reporters afterward that Floyd’s death was ‘the most horrific tragedy I’ve ever personally observed’ and signaled an openness to pursuing policing reforms in the future. Abbott also told reporters that he was heading to meet with Floyd’s family privately. … ‘Today is a sad day. Ever since his death has been a sad day,’ Abbott said, adding that he would express his condolences to Floyd’s family members and give them a flag flown over the Texas Capitol in his honor. ‘George Floyd has not died in vain,’ Abbott said. … Abbott said that ‘discussions about the pathway forward’ would not be taken over by lawmakers, but would be spearheaded by family members, victims and others ‘who have suffered because of racism for far too long.’”
Americans across the political spectrum shift views on police and race – WaPo: “Americans overwhelmingly support the nationwide protests that have taken place since the killing of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis, and they say police forces have not done enough to ensure that blacks are treated equally to whites, according to a Washington Post-Schar School poll. President Trump receives negative marks for his handling of the protests, with 61 percent saying they disapprove and 35 percent saying they approve. Much of the opposition to Trump is vehement, as 47 percent of Americans say they strongly disapprove of the way the president has responded to the protests. The poll highlights how attitudes about police treatment of black Americans are changing dramatically. More than 2 in 3 Americans (69 percent) say the killing of Floyd represents a broader problem within law enforcement, compared with fewer than 1 in 3 (29 percent) who say the Minneapolis killing is an isolated incident. That finding marks a significant shift when compared with the reactions in 2014 to police killings of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Mo., and New York. Six years ago, 43 percent described those deaths as indicative of broader problems in policing while 51 percent saw them as isolated incidents.”
Senate Republicans look for police bill to counter House measure – Politico: “Sen. Mitt Romney announced plans on Monday to introduce a bipartisan police reform bill in the wake of the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, slamming congressional Democrats for their sweeping legislation that has yet to draw Republican support. The Utah Republican, who marched with Black Lives Matter protesters in Washington on Sunday, is working with a handful of GOP senators on a bill aimed at garnering broad support from members of both parties and both chambers. … [Romney] said he had talked with Tim Scott of South Carolina, the only African American Republican senator, among other GOP lawmakers. The plan is in its early stages and has yet to be written into legislative text, but Romney said he’s aiming to create ‘supervisory’ boards to determine whether unnecessary force or racial profiling was employed by a police officer, in addition to new training programs aimed at combating racial bias.”
Thomas Chatterton Williams: When ‘follow the science’ fails – The Guardian: “Less than two weeks after Floyd’s killing, the American death toll from the novel coronavirus has surpassed 100,000. Rates of infection, domestically and worldwide, are rising. But one of the few things it seems possible to say without qualification is that the country has indeed reopened. For 13 days straight, in cities across the nation, tens of thousands of men and women have massed in tight-knit proximity, with and without personal protective equipment, often clashing with armed forces, chanting, singing and inevitably increasing the chances of the spread of contagion. Scenes of outright pandemonium unfold daily. Anyone claiming to have a precise understanding of what is happening, and what the likely risks and consequences may be, should be regarded with the utmost skepticism. We are all living in a techno-dystopian fantasy, the internet-connected portals we rely on rendering the world in all its granular detail and absurdity like Borges’s Aleph. Yet we know very little about what it is we are watching.”
Walter Russell Mead: Enemies See a Weak and Divided U.S. – WSJ: “The intoxicating scent of American weakness can bring out impulsiveness in foreign leaders. During the Civil War, Emperor Napoleon III took the opportunity to install the Archduke Maximilian as emperor of Mexico and dreamed of a vast American empire under French control. In the 1930s, Germany, Italy and Japan all took advantage of U.S. isolationism. Russia attacked Georgia in 2008 as the financial crisis hit America, and Mr. Putin’s advances since then have followed his calculations of weakening U.S. focus and will. China’s transition from peaceful rise to threatening bully followed similar assessments of American feebleness.”
THE RULEBOOK: HAPPY INDEED
“Happy will it be if our choice should be directed by a judicious estimate of our true interests, unperplexed and unbiased by considerations not connected with the public good.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 1
TIME OUT: PRE-POUTINE
History: “[On this day in 1534] French navigator Jacques Cartier becomes the first European explorer to discover the St. Lawrence River in present-day Quebec, Canada. …Cartier was commissioned by King Francis I of France to explore the northern American lands in search of riches and the rumored Northwest Passage to Asia. That year, Cartier entered the Gulf of St. Lawrence by the Strait of Belle Isle, explored its barren north coast for a distance, and then traveled down the west shore of Newfoundland to Cape Anguille. From there, he discovered Magdalen and Prince Edward islands, explored Chaleur Bay, and claimed Quebec’s Gaspe Peninsula for France. He then discovered the inlet of the St. Lawrence River, sailed north to Anticosti Island, and then returned to Europe. Previously thought to be a barren and inhospitable region, Cartier’s discoveries of the warm and fertile lands around the Gulf of St. Lawrence inspired Francis I to dispatch him on a second expedition in 1535.”
Flag on the play? – Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.
NATIONAL HEAD-TO-HEAD AVERAGE
Trump: 41.8 percent
Biden: 50.2 percent
Size of lead: Biden by 8.4 points
Change from one week ago: First week of average
[Average includes: CNN: Trump 41% – Biden 55%; NBC News/WSJ: Trump 42% – Biden 49%; NPR/PBS/Marist: Trump 43% – Biden 50%; IBD: Trump 42% – Biden 49%; Monmouth University: Trump 41% – Biden 52%.]
BATTLEGROUND POWER RANKINGS
(270 electoral votes needed to win)
Toss-up: (103 electoral votes): Wisconsin (10), Ohio (18), Florida (29), Arizona (11), Pennsylvania (20), North Carolina (15)
Lean R/Likely R: (186 electoral votes)
Lean D/Likely D: (249 electoral votes)
[Full rankings here.]
TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE
Average approval: 41.8 percent
Average disapproval: 54.2 percent
Net Score: -12.4 points
Change from one week ago: ↓ 2.2 points
[Average includes: CNN: 40% approve – 57% disapprove; NBC News/WSJ: 45% approve – 53% disapprove; NPR/PBS/Marist: 42% approve – 55% disapprove; IBD: 42% approve – 52% disapprove; CBS News: 40% approve – 54% disapprove.]
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PRECINCT PROBLEMS SNARL GEORGIA VOTE
NYT: “Georgia election officials, poll workers and voters reported major trouble with voting in Atlanta and elsewhere on Tuesday as the state’s primaries got underway, most critically a series of problems with new voting machines that forced many people across the state to wait in long lines and cast provisional ballots. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said on Twitter that voting machines were not working in many parts of the city, and pleaded with voters to stay in line. Poll workers in several locations were having difficulty operating the machines, which were new models. … More than one million Georgia voters had already cast ballots before Tuesday, most of them by mail, after Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger sent absentee ballot applications to all active voters. But those who had voted in person before Tuesday at early-voting sites had already reported long waits — in some cases up to seven hours. New rules for social distancing and disinfecting voting machines had caused many of those delays.”
Georgia on Dems’ minds – NYT: “But now, with two Senate seats in play and Mr. Trump on the ballot in November, Georgia Democrats are telling anyone who will listen: This time, it’s real. State elected officials are urging national Democrats, including Joseph R. Biden Jr., the presumptive presidential nominee, to make a big investment in the state, pumping the type of staffing and advertising money into Georgia that is usually reserved for the Wisconsins and Michigans. The dream scenario, which would include presidential and Senate victories but also wins in the state Legislature, could upend the balance of power in Washington and provide a road map for other Southern Democrats, who are seeking to make gains after years of being shut out.”
Who else is voting today? – Reuters: “The other states voting are Nevada, South Carolina, North Dakota and West Virginia. Georgia and West Virginia also have presidential primaries, though former Vice President Joe Biden has secured enough votes to take on Republican President Donald Trump in November. The spread of the coronavirus forced several changes in procedures. Nevada sent ballots to voters for an all-mail election, while North Dakota, Georgia and West Virginia sent applications for absentee ballots to voters to provide the option of voting by mail. South Carolina voters can get the application online. In South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, the first female graduate of The Citadel military college is vying with three other Republicans for the nomination to challenge freshman Democratic Representative Joe Cunningham. In 2018 he was the first Democrat to win the coastal district in decades.”
BREAK OUT THE MAGA MASKS, TRUMP RALLIES TO RESUME
Fox News: “President Trump will resume hosting campaign rallies sometime in the next two weeks, returning one of the president’s most potent weapons to his arsenal as the 2020 campaign season enters a pivotal stretch, Fox News is told. Trump had suspended the rallies, which energize his base and allow his team to collect a treasure trove of voter data, in early March amid the coronavirus pandemic. ‘Americans are ready to get back to action and so is President Trump,’ Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale told Fox News. ‘The Great American Comeback is real and the rallies will be tremendous. You’ll again see the kind of crowds and enthusiasm that Sleepy Joe Biden can only dream of.’”
Chaos erodes Trump’s base – NYT: “The coronavirus pandemic, a severe economic downturn and the widespread demonstrations in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd in police custody would pose a serious political challenge to any president seeking re-election. They are certainly posing one to President Trump. His approval rating has fallen to negative 12.7 percentage points among registered or likely voters, down from negative 6.7 points on April 15, according to FiveThirtyEight estimates. And now a wave of new polls shows Joe Biden with a significant national lead, placing him in a stronger position to oust an incumbent president than any challenger since Bill Clinton in the summer of 1992. He leads the president by around 10 percentage points in an average of recent live-interview telephone surveys of registered voters. It’s a four-point improvement over the six-point lead he held in a similar series of polls in late March and early April. Since then, Bernie Sanders has left the Democratic race, the severity of the coronavirus pandemic has became fully evident, and the president’s standing has gradually eroded.”
Brings back 2016 stalwarts – Politico: “President Donald Trump, increasingly nervous about the direction of his campaign as he struggles in general election polls, is considering bringing back more loyal aides from his successful campaign in 2016, according to five Republicans who speak to the president. He wants lobbyist David Urban, a former senior adviser who was pivotal in helping him win Pennsylvania, to play a more prominent role. He is considering rehiring Susie Wiles, who managed his Florida campaign but was unceremoniously fired last year, to help him win the nation’s largest swing state for a second time. The campaign just hired senior advisers Jason Miller to focus on overall strategy and coordinate between the campaign and White House and Boris Epshteyn to be strategic adviser for coalitions. And officials have mentioned bringing back lobbyist Bryan Lanza, who was former deputy communications director, too.”
Trump said to have soured on son in law – Vanity Fair: “In Donald Trump’s West Wing, being a member of the Trump family has historically been the ultimate job security. But that truism is being stress-tested after a run of polls consistently show Trump losing to Joe Biden at this stage of the race—a CNN poll this morning has him down 14 points. According to a source close to the White House, Trump has mulled taking oversight of the campaign away from his son-in-law Jared Kushner. ‘Trump is malignantly crazy about the bad poll numbers,’ a former West Wing official said. ‘He’s going to broom Kushner and [Brad] Parscale—the numbers are not getting better,’ a Republican close to the campaign said. Long before the reelection campaign went sideways, Trump frequently blew up at Kushner. For instance, former West Wing officials recall how Trump hated when Kushner received too much positive press (In January, Trump was rankled when Kushner’s portrait graced the cover of Time). ‘Any time Jared is in the papers, Trump complains, ‘We have to get Jared back to New York!’’ said a Republican who heard Trump make the comment.”
Barr contradicts Trump on trip to bunker during protests last week – CBS News
GOP senators punt next coronavirus bill to next month – Politico
AUDIBLE: OUR PLACE IN SPACE
“We must use our time and our space on this little planet that we call Earth to make a lasting contribution.” – Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., talking with the WaPo.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“Your reply to Mr. Herzog about giving presidential candidates’ words their due weight was priceless. If I might twist the connotation of the phrase for a moment, you provided an excellent wet blanket that is sorely needed for the entire country. (For myself as well, I’m sorry to say.) I’ve printed it and posted on my wall. (My walls may lack adequate space as time progresses.) Interviews with Walter Cronkite indicated to me that he used his place to get listeners to think, or maybe lean, ‘correctly.’ Your work is helping us to think clearly. Thanks!” – Tom Parks, Rogers, Ark.
[Ed. note: I’ll take it! A wet blanket may not be much fun at a party, but if your britches were on fire, it would sure be appealing! As for leaning, I don’t want anybody to lean any which way. I just want our readers to feel free to be enthusiastically thoughtful participants in this great republic. That requires keeping politics and politicians in their correct proportions to real life.]
“Many of your writers to ‘From the Bleachers’ seem to share my own state, which I would describe as befuddlement, when it comes to describing the present national conversation. That last term may be too broad, but it seems appropriate. My confusion is caused by not grasping the reason for all the hate. And I’m not using hate here as progressives often use it: ‘anything we don’t like.’ I mean real hate, as in ‘you need to die’ hate. I’ve thought long and hard on this. My conclusion is the problem is in a phrase that has become a sort of term of art in political debate. I met it first decades ago in reading Sartre and I recall it being co-opted by First Wave Feminists, but it has really gained steam in the last couple of decades. That term is ‘bad faith.’ If you are arguing any issue of political or social significance, you simply accuse your opponent of bad faith and from then on everything devolves into ‘take no prisoners!’ My confusion, and my question for your comment is, why would anyone look at a fellow citizen and immediately attribute malice or ill-will to their reasoned position? Is it intellectual laziness, or ignorance or cynicism? Isn’t the most absolute act of bad faith to consistently attribute bad faith to your fellow human beings?” – Bill Rhoades, Tierra Amarilla, N.M.
[Ed. note: Indeed, which is why it is so crucial for us to get out and see for ourselves. Bad faith arguments are as old as argumentation itself. This typically takes on a couple of different forms. First, there are insincere critics aka “concern trolls” who are looking to exploit the other side’s internal divisions or norm. Republicans who sought to have Joe Biden held to the same standard for sexual assault allegations as the ones they decried against President Trump fit this one neatly. This has a reverse, too: Those who say that any disagreement constitutes bad faith and renders one’s opponent unworthy. We saw this with the NYT freak-out over an op-ed from a senator arguing for the military’s role in quelling urban unrest. This often takes the style of tu quoque argument — literally “you also.” When faced with a concern or criticism, the subject says, basically, “who are you to judge?” It’s a type of ad hominem attack intended to disqualify even the most reasonable critique. It’s common now to act in bad faith in both rhetorical offense and defense. And it should not be surprising. Politicians have increasingly relied on negative partisanship and fear over the past 30 years. And every issue, every realm of human activity must be now exploited for its political utility. Once politicians could con voters into believing that every election was a matter of life or death, it set the stage for wilder and wilder abuses of decency in the name of saving the world. Appeals to humanity and ring hollow in the ears of those who have convinced themselves that every fight is a struggle for survival.]
“I truly enjoy your daily smack in the face coupled with the gentle political support your column offers. A pretty good blend of things that invigorate me intermixed with infuriating positions that have me beating my head against my fence outside. Here’s my thought: With all the dialog about defunding the police and diverting funds to other sources more beneficial to our black community, I would support/celebrate a top to bottom review of our city’s/state’s funding/approach to solving the challenges in our black/minority communities. Take a holistic look at education, family structure, gun control, police funding and every other community funding program. Which work? Which are corrupt? Which have lessons we all can learn? Which really matter? Long thought… it comes down to simply: our resources are limited/our hearts are huge… where is the balance??” – Gary J. Graupmann, San Marcos, Calif.
[Ed. note: This may indeed be an opportunity for America’s cities, large and small, to think about how they use their resources. Like with any organization, cities often lose track of their intentions. Things tend to roll on the way they’ve been rolling because it’s just always been that way. There are lots of cities that could benefit from a serious spring cleaning. But, unfortunately, much of what is broken in urban government is a result of political necessity. Unions, powerful council members, pressure groups, business interests and others may have individual interests that are at odds for best practices in general.]
“[T]hanks for continuing to be a safe harbor as we bob through life in 2020. Can I add another subject that deserves fruitful discussion? My gripe is only a political scrimmage, or at worst, a pre-season game. The first few words of our Pledge of Allegiance is a testimony to the success of rote learning and subliminal messaging… ‘I pledge allegiance to the flag’ … Conservatives take it to heart, but it doesn’t hold muster with the Constitution. A pretty piece of cloth should never trump our freedoms. Do you think Congress could debate this and fix this contradiction? I’m sure an essay contest for middle-schoolers could. Drew Brees got stuck in this web so maybe he could be one of the judges. I make light of this, but we could use a simple exercise to learn to listen.” – Don Fiori, Bessemer, Mich.
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[Ed. note: I think we can go a little easy on the pledge here because of its explicit symbolism — “and to the republic for which it stands.” The pledge was born in the turbulent times of the late 19th century when all manner of new “isms” imported from Europe were undercutting the American ideological consensus. Though its author was himself a socialist, his goal was to reaffirm the American Creed from the Declaration of Independence in the words “with liberty and justice for all.” And while this may reveal my true colors, I’m okay with a little character formation by rote learning when it comes to the patriotic virtues of the American founding and our duties to maintain them.]
“I read every day, love your prose. I collect quotes from all types of books, magazines and newsletters and have been compiling them for the last ten years (over 160 pages). They come in all forms but I have a dynamic top five. Your quote in today’s letter, ‘The same goes for Trump, who is the Paula Deen of political rhetoric. Everything can be buttered, battered, fried, rolled in Cool Ranch Doritos and sprinkled with bacon’ has been moved into that rare space. Thank you for what you do and stay safe.” – Gary Jackson,Memphis, Tenn.
[Ed. note: I have never been in a dynamic top five for anything, Mr. Jackson. I am very pleased to be included! Thank you and please keep yourself safe, too.]
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
STUBBORN CRIME PROBLEM
Hindustan Times: “In an unusual and bizarre incident, a donkey was arrested in Pakistan for ‘participating’ in gambling. Journalist Naila Inayat tweeted a video of the animal along with the other accused. In her post, she also shared a link of Samaa TV, a news organisation in Pakistan, detailing the entire incident. Turns out, during a raid in Raheem Yaar Khan, a city in the Punjab province of Pakistan, police arrested eight people along with the donkey. The authorities seized over [$1,324] from the perpetrators. According to the police, a case was filed against the accused and the animal’s name was also included. The SHO of the police station said that since the donkey’s name is also in the FIR, it cannot be released.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“‘Weapons of mass destruction’ is a bland euphemism. These are weapons of genocide.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in Time magazine on Oct. 28, 2001.
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.
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