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On the roster: Dems try to elevate rising stars… But not too much – Trump attacks Biden’s fitness ahead of big speech – Under pressure, postmaster cancels cuts – Senate panel rules Russia interfered in 2016 U.S. election – Nanny state
DEMS TRY TO ELEVATE RISING STARS… BUT NOT TOO MUCH
Bloomberg: “The second night of the Democratic National Convention will look to the party’s future with a unique joint keynote address by 17 rising stars, including voting rights activist Stacey Abrams and Representative Conor Lamb, a Democrat who won election in a Republican area. Progressive favorite Representative Alexandria Ocasico-Cortez will also get the chance to speak … Tonight is the delegate roll call. Unlike in previous years where state delegations would compete to see who could cheer the loudest as a representative announced their states’ tally, this year’s virtual version will feature Democrats videoconferencing in from all 57 states and territories to formally nominate the former vice president for the top job. Under the theme ‘Leadership Matters,’ Tuesday is centered on people within the Democratic party who have taken initiative at a time of crisis in the United States.”
A diminished role for the diminished legacy of Bill Clinton – NYT: “Bill Clinton was a prime-time star when Democrats gathered in 2012 to nominate President Barack Obama for a second term, delivering a 48-minute speech that stretched way past his allotted time and all but stole the show from the incumbent. The crowd loved it. But as Democrats hold their virtual nominating convention this week, Mr. Clinton… will speak for less than five minutes [tonight], well before the 10 p.m. prime-time hour, in an address that he prerecorded from his home in Chappaqua, N.Y. … Mr. Clinton’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-him moment before a party that once revered him is testimony to how his influence has faded, a reflection of time and age, to be sure – he is turning 74 on Wednesday – but also of the baggage he carries with the re-examination of allegations of sexual assault and harassment over his years in public life in the wake of the #MeToo movement.”
Jill Biden takes her star turn in down-home digs – USA Today: “As Jill Biden steps into the spotlight for the second night of the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, she’ll be in a familiar setting: Room 232 of Brandywine High School in Wilmington, Delaware. The former second lady taught English at Brandywine during former Vice President Joe Biden‘s time in the Senate. Jill Biden announced she’d be speaking from her old classroom in a Tuesday morning tweet, saying, ‘Teaching is not what I do. It’s who I am.’ Jill Biden kept teaching during her eight years as second lady, working at Northern Virginia Community College. … During her husband’s time in the Senate, Biden taught and simultaneously worked in a local psychiatric facility and at Delaware Technical Community College. She later earned her master’s degree in education and an Ed.D. in educational leadership.”
Progressives grouchy – Time: “Welcome to the Democratic National Convention, where you’ll meet the most exciting new voices in the Democratic party. Like Secretary of State John Kerry, your Democratic nominee from 16 years ago! Or former President Bill Clinton, clocking in for his fifth convention since he was President in the 1990s! Or Michael Bloomberg, who spent a cool $1 billion on his failed presidential bid to eke out a big win in American Samoa! … ‘They’re going with a ‘biggest names’ strategy, and our biggest names are all about the past, not about the future. Which I just think is a really bad message right now,’ says Democratic strategist Jess Morales Rocketto. … The focus on returning to familiar names and demonstrating bipartisan support over elevating fresh faces has contributed to quiet grumbling across the party.”
Michelle Obama delivered, Sanders kept his bargain – AP: “Michelle Obama delivered a passionate condemnation of President Donald Trump during the opening night of the Democratic National Convention, declaring him ‘in over his head’ and warning that the nation’s mounting crises would only get worse if he’s reelected over Joe Biden. … The former first lady was the headliner at the first presidential nominating convention of the coronavirus era. There was no central meeting place or cheering throng during the all-virtual affair Monday night. But it was an opportunity for Democrats — and some Republicans — to rally behind Biden, the party’s presidential nominee. Bernie Sanders, the progressive Vermont senator who was Biden’s last standing rival during the primary, encouraged his loyal supporters to vote for the former vice president in November, arguing the nation can’t survive another four years of Trump. … But it was Michelle Obama, making her fourth convention appearance, who once again delivered an electrifying moment.”
This message was pre-recorded… – Fox News: “Former first lady Michelle Obama raised eyebrows Monday night when her remarks to conclude the first night of the Democratic National Convention made no mention of Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., the first Black woman to appear on a major party ticket. However, a Biden campaign official told Fox News late Monday that Obama’s speech was recorded before the former vice president announced on Aug. 11 he had chosen Harris as his running mate. Former Democratic National Committee interim chairwoman Donna Brazile, a Fox News contributor, said she was ‘disappointed’ that there was no mention of Harris in the former first lady’s remarks.”
Kasich’s outreach to Republicans took a different path – Fox News: “Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich — one of President Trump’s most vocal Republican critics — took aim at the president during a speech on the first night of the Democratic National Convention and urged other Republicans to join him in voting for the Democratic ticket in November. Kasich – a Trump rival during the 2016 GOP presidential primaries who never endorsed his party’s eventual nominee – on Monday offered his support to presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and called on fellow Republicans ‘to take off our partisan hats and put our nation first for ourselves and of course for our children.’ Criticizing the president, Kasich argued that ‘many of us have been deeply concerned about the current path we’ve been following for the past four years. It’s a path that’s led to division, disfunction, irresponsibility and growing vitriol between our citizens.’”
THE RULEBOOK: POWER CHECK
“So far as might concern the misbehavior of the Executive in perverting the instructions or contravening the views of the Senate, we need not be apprehensive of the want of a disposition in that body to punish the abuse of their confidence or to vindicate their own authority.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 66
TIME OUT: SUFFRAGETTE CITY
American Experience: “After the United States entered the [First World War], American suffragists strongly felt that if America could defend democracy abroad, they deserved it at home, in the form of votes for women. Beginning in early 1917, a small but determined group of militant suffragists led by Alice Paul had been picketing the White House, urging Woodrow Wilson to support a Constitutional amendment to give women the right to vote. … At first, Wilson seemed bemused by the picketers. … But as time went on, his attitude changed. In late June 1917, six women were arrested. Eleven more were detained on July 4. Ten days later, a third group was taken into custody. … In August, scuffles broke out right in front of the White House gates. For three days suffragists were dragged, punched and choked by angry crowds. … Despite a history of hostility to their cause, Wilson soon saw the political handwriting on the wall. Gradually, he began modifying his position.”
Flag on the play? – Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.
NATIONAL HEAD-TO-HEAD AVERAGE
Trump: 43 percent
Biden: 51.2 percent
Size of lead: Biden by 8.2 points
Change from one week ago: Biden ↓ 0.2 points, Trump ↑ 2.4 points
[Average includes: CNN: Trump 46% – Biden 50%; ABC News/WaPo: Trump 44% – Biden 54%; NBC News/WSJ: Trump 41% – Biden 50%; Fox News: Trump 42% – Biden 49%; NPR/PBS News/Marist: Trump 42% – Biden 53%.]
BATTLEGROUND POWER RANKINGS
(270 electoral votes needed to win)
Toss-up: (109 electoral votes): Wisconsin (10), Ohio (18), Florida (29), Arizona (11), Pennsylvania (20), North Carolina (15), Iowa (6)
Lean R/Likely R: (180 electoral votes)
Lean D/Likely D: (249 electoral votes)
TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE
Average approval: 43 percent
Average disapproval: 54.6 percent
Net Score: -11.6 points
Change from one week ago: ↑ 4.4 points
[Average includes: CNN: 43% approve – 54% disapprove; ABC News/WaPo: 42% approve – 57% disapprove; NBC News/WSJ: 44% approve – 53% disapprove; Fox News: 44% approve – 54% disapprove; Gallup: 42% approve – 55% disapprove.]
GOT A WILD PITCH? READY TO THROW A FASTBALL?
We’ve brought “From the Bleachers” to video on demand thanks to Fox Nation. Each Wednesday and Friday, Producer Brianna McClelland will put Politics Editor Chris Stirewalt to the test with your questions on everything about politics, government and American history – plus whatever else is on your mind. Sign up for the Fox Nation streaming service here and send your best questions to HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM.
TRUMP ATTACKS BIDEN’S FITNESS AHEAD OF BIG SPEECH
Axios: “President Trump‘s re-election campaign launched its most brutal ad of the 2020 election overnight, suggesting Joe Biden has experienced severe mental decline over the past four years. The digital ad, ‘What happened to Joe Biden,’ is timed to overlap with the Democratic National Convention and launches the Trump campaign’s four-day takeover of the YouTube masthead. That’s prime internet real estate the campaign has bought in what it calls a ‘high seven figures’ digital advertising effort to undercut the DNC’s messaging this week. The new ad splices footage of Biden speaking energetically and articulately in 2015 and 2016 alongside clips of him stumbling over his words and appearing to lose his train of thought during the 2020 campaign. It’s the harshest president campaign attack in what is shaping up to be an even uglier messaging year than 2016.”
RNC will target media next week – USA Today: “Speakers at the Republican National Convention next week include a St. Louis couple that brandished guns as protesters of police brutality marched through their gated community; the high school student maligned for his interaction with a Native American man; the father of a student killed in the Parkland, Florida, shooting of 2018; and at least one prominent anti-abortion activist. The lineup underscores the issues behind Trump’s attacks on former Vice President Joe Biden and the Democrats, who are holding their convention this week. Democrats want to ‘confiscate the guns of law abiding Americans,’ as well as ‘protect the criminals’ and ‘force taxpayers to fund extreme late-term abortion,’ Trump told supporters Monday in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, ‘We are in a fight for the survival of our nation and civilization itself,’ Trump said.”
Trump campaigns at border in bid to revive Arizona chances – KTAR: “President Donald Trump headed back to Arizona on Tuesday, where he plans to deliver remarks on immigration in Yuma. It’s the president’s second campaign trip to the border town since June and third to the state during the coronavirus pandemic. He is expected to talk about Democratic challenger Joe Biden’s record on immigration and border security. Those issues were a key to Trump capturing the state in 2016 but ‘the world has changed a lot since then,’ political analyst Emily Ryan of CopperState Consulting told KTAR News 92.3 FM. … Arizona isn’t the only swing state Trump is traveling to this week. He hosted events Monday in Wisconsin, where Milwaukee hosted the opening night of the virtual Democratic National Convention, and Minnesota.”
Mishkin: They’re not shy, they’re just undecided – Fox News: “Still, four out of 10 of ‘persuadables’ call themselves Independent, not aligned with either Democrats or Republicans, and a similar number say they’re politically moderate. Those moderates and Independents are likely to be the focus of the last two and a half months of this campaign. … The bottom line: combining the results of the polling to date and a look at the ‘persuadables,’ Trump is clearly at a real disadvantage. That said, a close look at those voters suggests there are clear opportunities for Trump to close the gap with Biden, and even, potentially to eke out another Electoral College win in November. Are there many ‘shy Trump voters’ – folks who know they’re voting for Trump and just aren’t saying. I doubt it. But there may be a pool of voters who are very likely to vote for him but haven’t decided for sure just yet.”
UNDER PRESSURE, POSTMASTER CANCELS CUTS
WSJ: “Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said the U.S. Postal Service is suspending operational changes, like removing mail processing equipment and collection boxes, until after the November election, as the agency tries to reassure Americans that it can handle the anticipated surge in mail-in voting. Mr. DeJoy also said the agency won’t change retail hours at post offices across the country or close any mail-sorting facilities. He said overtime hours will continue to be approved as needed to process mail. The about-face comes as Mr. DeJoy and the Postal Service have come under heightened scrutiny since the Republican Party fundraiser and logistics executive took the role in June. He has implemented changes, like controlling overtime and reducing extra trips, which some postal-union representatives and customers said caused delays. Mr. DeJoy is set to testify before Congress this week.”
House to vote Saturday on big bucks for Post Office – Roll Call: “The House will vote Saturday morning on a bill that would include $25 billion in new funding for the U.S. Postal Service and reverse changes implemented in recent weeks to mail delivery and operations. House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer informed Democrats about the schedule update in a private caucus call Monday, adding that the bill text was still being finalized. The $25 billion funding boost for the Postal Service will be added to a bill introduced by Oversight and Reform Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., according to a senior Democratic aide. The House was not scheduled to return for votes until Sept. 14, but growing alarm over significant mail service and operational changes ahead of an election that is expected to see record use of mail-in voting prompted Speaker Nancy Pelosi to interrupt the August recess to take action.”
SENATE PANEL RULES RUSSIA INTERFERED IN 2016 U.S. ELECTION
AP: “Russia launched an aggressive effort to interfere in the 2016 presidential election on behalf of Donald Trump, and associates of the Republican candidate who were in regular touch with Russians throughout the campaign were eager to benefit from the help, a Senate panel concluded Tuesday in the fifth and final report in its investigation. Though the report from the Senate intelligence committee does not reach a conclusion about whether the Trump campaign and Russia criminally conspired to sway the election, it nonetheless describes the eagerness of Trump associates to exploit the Kremlin’s aid, particularly Democratic emails that were hacked by Russian military intelligence officers and disclosed by the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks in the run-up to the election. The report from the Republican-led panel lays out significant contacts between Trump associates and Russians, describing for instance a close professional relationship between Trump campaign chairman Paul Mananfort and Konstantin Kilimnik, whom the committee describes without equivocation as a Russian intelligence officer.”
IT’S PRIMARY DAY IN ALASKA, FLORIDA AND WYOMING
Roll Call: “Some of the last competitive primaries of this cycle take place Tuesday, as three states — Wyoming, Florida and Alaska — choose nominees for fall matchups. Two Senate races will be on the ballot, with both parties in Wyoming picking their favorites to replace retiring Republican Michael B. Enzi and four candidates vying for the Democratic nomination to take on Republican Dan Sullivan in Alaska. But the majority of the attention will be on Florida, where both parties are targeting a handful of House seats in the perennial swing state. Outside spending is also flowing into crowded Republican primaries for two open seats, and embattled freshman GOP Rep. Ross Spano faces a primary challenge. The election will also serve as one of the last tests of mail-in ballots before November. Again, the focus will be on Florida, where as of Friday, 1.9 million votes had been cast by mail but 2.4 million of the ballots that have been requested had yet to be returned, according to the Miami Herald.”
Susan B. Anthony to get posthumous pardon – Fox News
Census data can prevent a repeat of 2016 state poll problems – Pew Research Center
Perez says caucuses should be no more for 2024 – AP
AUDIBLE: SO WE’LL PUT YOU DOWN AS A ‘MAYBE’
“I think he’d rather set himself on fire than get involved in the election.” – A spokesperson for former House Speaker John Boehner on speculation that the Ohio Republican will be endorsing Biden.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“As I watch the DNC … multiple speakers have brought up the fact that Donald Trump lost the popular vote and it reminds me there is this effort to get rid of the Electoral College and make this a straight democracy instead of a republic. I was wondering if you had any suggestions for books or articles that are good reading to better understand the reasons our system was set up to have the Electoral College and a continued defense of it. I believe you’ve talked about on the podcast that we should get rid of presidential primaries (or maybe primaries in general) and I honestly think you hit the nail on the head with that assessment as more of the issue. Candidates go so far to their base to get through it’s hard to go back to the middle for the general. I always appreciate all of your insight and thoughts alongside Dana. You two are a beacon of sanity and light in this crazy world we’re living in!” – Derek Merten, Milwaukee, Wis.
[Ed. note: And you can bet that if a Democrat wins the Electoral College but loses the popular vote, Republicans will harp on that, too. The Electoral College is in dangerously low esteem among our fellow citizens, Mr. Merten. Its principal virtues are obvious: It requires candidates to build geographically and culturally diverse coalitions and reduces the threat of tyrannical majoritarianism. It supports our federal system of decentralized power. And, maybe best of all these days, it makes presidential elections much harder to corrupt. Mischief in one place is isolated from the other 50 units. Just imagine the nightmare of a nationwide recount. But these virtues are seldom mentioned, even by proponents who mostly make an argument for the value of empowering states with small populations. I recommend Tara Ross’ book “Why We Need the Electoral College” for a concise, practical explanation. She really nailed it.]
“Add my name to the list of who’d like to see Electoral votes mostly counted by Congressional districts won. But how would we get there from here? Would a Constitutional Amendment be required? If not and it’s up to each state to decide for themselves, how do you get New York, California and the other biggest states to join that bandwagon? I can’t imagine people in our most populous cities wanting their power diluted by their same-state brethren.” – Mark Hoffman, Des Moines, Iowa
[Ed. note: We’ll never know unless you try, Mr. Hoffman. There have been efforts backed by millions of dollars for decades trying to get to a national popular vote by hook or by crook. They have fortunately so far failed. Perhaps Mr. Madison’s compromise might be appealing to a larger number since it might gain the support of those who understand the value of the Electoral College. And yes, you could seek a constitutional amendment, but the state route seems like the better way to go. Let us know how it’s going!]
“I noted your brief mention of the Democrat Senate primary in MA. The dirty secret here is that there’s scarcely a whit of difference between the positions of Ed Markey and The Impatient Young Kennedy (TM). As a former Republican, now Unenrolled, I’ll choose a Democrat ballot in the primary and vote for Kennedy on the grounds that he’s not endorsed by AOC and that with less seniority he’d do less damage. Such is life in a functionally one-party state.” – Frank Townley, Dover, Mass.
[Ed. note: As a West Virginian, I know all about one-party states and their own perverse incentive structures, Mr. Townley. And while Kennedy and Markey certainly are talking a lot alike in the primary as they suck up to the party base, I imagine the two would be very different kinds of senators. Kennedy strikes me as one far more willing to compromise. And as one-party states go, Massachusetts isn’t the worst. Though heavily Democratic, your commonwealth has only had one governor of the blue persuasion. Ask the folks across the border in Rhode Island how that sounds for political competition.]
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM
and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
AP: “An Arizona city official making $107,000 a year resigned after an investigation found he used city workers for an outside job involving an attempt to secure irrigation water for farmers who paid him with a goat. The investigation found that the possibility of cash down the road also was discussed by Frank Stevens, the now-former former water resource portfolio manager for the city of Surprise, the Arizona Republic reported. … The farmers hired Stevens as a consultant to help them get irrigation water from a property association, paying him with a goat for his work and agreeing to provide additional compensation if he was successful, according to the investigation. One of the farmers told the investigator that they gave Stevens the goat because ‘he liked the animal and it would keep his kids happy when they came home from school,’ Stevens said.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“How exactly to father? I don’t really know. The women’s movement, to which the idea owes its currency, is right to insist that the father do more.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on June 28, 1985.
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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