Thursday News: Good luck, Jacksonville

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RNC VOTES FOR SCALED-DOWN CHARLOTTE CONVENTION, TRUMP RALLY ELSEWHERE: An event that once was projected to attract more than 50,000 people to Charlotte — including delegates, party officials, media and others — has been reduced to a bare minimum by the Republican National Committee’s executive committee. A fraction of the expected delegates will now attend the event, which begins Aug. 24. President Donald Trump’s acceptance speech, the centerpiece event, will be moved to another state after N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper said he could not guarantee that the full attendance of 19,000 people would be allowed at the Spectrum Center due to the coronavirus pandemic. Jacksonville, Fla. is the current front-runner to host the speech, RNC chairman Ronna McDaniel said Wednesday morning.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article243446616.html

VOTER ID PROVISION IS PUTTING BI-PARTISAN ELECTIONS BILL IN JEOPARDY: House Bill 1169 makes it easier to request an absentee ballot and to vote that ballot, relaxing a state requirement that voters get two people or a notary public to sign their paperwork if they want to vote by mail. The bill would also create a new online portal voters can use to request ballots, and it has millions of dollars in it to help election officials prepare for the November general election. This bill cleared the North Carolina House last month 116-3, a rare bipartisan vote for a major elections bill. But Tuesday evening, a handful of progressive advocacy groups sounded the alarm, urging people to oppose the bill. The apparent problem lay in language that would add a new type of photo ID to the list of IDs accepted at the polls: Cards issued to people on various public assistance programs. Democrats fear the addition of public assistance IDs now was a last-minute attempt to clear voter ID with the courts in time for the November elections.
https://www.wral.com/bipartisan-voting-bill-sparks-partisan-argument/19138942/

BE CAREFUL, INVALID ABSENTEE BALLOT REQUEST FORMS WERE MAILED OUT: The issues stem from mailers sent by a liberal-leaning Washington, D.C. group called The Center for Voter Information, whose goal is to increase voter participation among minorities, young people and single women. According to state elections officials, the 80,000 absentee ballot request forms that group mailed to voters across North Carolina had some information already filled out. That’s a problem. The N.C. General Assembly passed a law last year banning elections officials from accepting any such pre-filled forms. Karen Brinson Bell, the executive director of the state elections board, said officials will try to respond to any such invalid forms they receive by mailing the voter back with a letter explaining what happened, plus a blank absentee ballot request form. That form will be valid if they fill it out and send it back in. Brinson Bell said that after state officials informed The Center for Voter Information about the legal problems with their mailers, the group stopped sending out the pre-filled versions. The group now plans to send out an additional 400,000 mailers with blank request forms that will be valid, Brinson Bell said.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article243431061.html

TRUMP REFUSES TO EVEN CONSIDER RENAMING MILITARY BASES NAMED AFTER CONFEDERATES: President Trump on Wednesday rejected the idea of renaming military bases whose names honor Confederate military figures who fought on behalf of preserving the institution of slavery, sounding another divisive note amid a convulsive and painful national reckoning over police mistreatment of African Americans. Trump said he would “not even consider” changing the names of U.S. military bases named for Confederate generals, even as his own defense secretary, Mark T. Esper, has said he would consider such proposals and as prominent former military figures, including retired Army Gen. David Petraeus, have suggested that such a step is overdue. The declaration marked another effort by Trump to align himself with conservatives on divisive racial issues, even as much of the rest of the country appears to be moving in the other direction in significant ways. The contrast underscores the risks that the president faces in emphasizing such positions amid ongoing protests, an economic crisis and the novel coronavirus pandemic. Shortly after Trump laid down his marker on the Confederate names, NASCAR — the racing circuit that includes many Trump voters among its fans — announced it was banning the display of the Confederate battle flag from “all NASCAR events and properties.” The mayor of Birmingham, Ala., also ordered the removal of a Confederate statue from a public park on Wednesday, while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called for the removal of Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-rejects-calls-to-rename-military-bases-honoring-confed...

TRUMP WILL RESTART HIS RALLIES JUNE 19, DOESN'T WANT TO SEE MASKED FACES IN THE CROWD: President Trump will return to the campaign trail on June 19 with a rally in Tulsa, Okla., for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak forced most of the country into quarantine three months ago, a campaign official said Wednesday, as polls show former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. establishing a significant national lead over Mr. Trump and the president’s approval ratings plummeting. Oklahoma, a deep-red state Mr. Trump won four years ago by 36 percentage points, began lifting restrictions on businesses on April 24 and moved into Phase 3 of its reopening on June 1, allowing summer camps to open and workplaces to return with full staffing levels. Trump campaign officials are unlikely to put into place any social distancing measures for rally attendees, or require them to wear masks, people familiar with the decision-making process said, adding that it would be unnecessary because the state is so far along in its reopening. Mr. Trump has also made it clear he doesn’t want to speak in front of gatherings that look empty because of social distancing, or to look out on a sea of covered faces as he tries to project a positive message about the country returning to normal life and the economy roaring back, even as his top health advisers have warned the pandemic is far from over. “Oh my goodness,” Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the federal government’s top infectious disease expert, said Tuesday. “Where is it going to end? We’re still at the beginning of it.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/10/us/politics/trump-rally-tulsa-oklahoma.html?action=click&module=L...

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Idiot-In-Chief

Trying to drive his poll numbers up, regardless of how many people he has to kill to make it happen. What are they going to do, confiscate masks at the gate? Is he going to call out mask-wearers from the podium? "Take off that mask!"

Nothing he does surprises me anymore. It's like living in an asylum.

Burying the lede on the RNC convention

There's a little more to consider with the RNC story than the headline about Trump's death cult worshipfest in Jacksonville. From Newsweek:

"Since RNC leaders are only expecting around 336 of its roughly 2,550 national delegates to convene at the reduced convention. As such, the RNC won't be able to hold a full Platform Committee, essentially forcing the GOP to re-use its national political platform from 2016. Trump's acceptance speech is also expected to take place offsite."

Now, keep in mind that the DNC has been planning a virtual convention all along.

That means that we'll have one party with a convention that is just centered on some "behind the scenes" business and rubber-stamping the same platform they had four years ago.

The DNC will be able to own the news cycle with their convention, with remarks and news about their platform and how it responds to the Black Lives Matter movement and other aspects of Trump's incompetent and neo-fascist policies.

Not that the GOP is going to change...

in the age of Trump anyway, but you're right that it sure doesn't generate any real news or good images for them. The only thing they have is a glorified Trump rally and those already don't appeal to anyone but the dedicated base of Trumpists.The Dems, on the other hand, look exceptionally progressive (in every sense) and get a great set of news cycles out of their convention. You couldn't ask for a better contrast

The real news coming from the GOP Jerk Off

The real news is likely to be wall-to-wall coverage of carnage. Jacksonville, if they're stupid enough to host the orgy, will have fighting in the streets, jack boots, looting, and worse. And the RNC won't pay a nickel to cover the damage.

Tillis running away from a toxic virus

No, Tillis isn't social distancing from COVID-19. He's suddenly running away from Trump, dropping #TinyTwitterfingers from his advertising. The Daily Beast has the story:

Four months ago, Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) put out an ad defending President Donald Trump from impeachment, boasting about the White House’s trade deals, and triumphantly noting that the president would be on the ballot in November.

This past week, references to the president were entirely absent from the vulnerable North Carolina Republican’s latest campaign spot. In fact, the ad centered on his state’s economic pain at the precise moment that Trump’s re-election campaign was trying to sell a nascent economic recovery that it dubbed the “Great American Comeback.”

Tillis’ change in tone underscores a much larger trend that’s taking place among the Senate’s most vulnerable Republican members. While many are happy to tout Trump in email and social media fundraising appeals, the president has all but disappeared from the ads they’re airing in their home states.

The Daily Beast reviewed 15 publicly available ad spots created since March by Republican Senate campaigns in the competitive states of North Carolina, Maine, Colorado, Arizona, and Montana. Fourteen of them made no mention of Trump. The only one that did, an ad from Tillis’ campaign in late April, simply mentioned that he’d been appointed to a White House coronavirus task force. By contrast, Democrats in a number of competitive Senate contests have used their television ad time to attempt to tie Republican incumbents to the president.

At least one GOP pollster has been "stunned" by suddenness and depth of the shift in public opinions on race and the police, even among some key demographics the GOP will need this year. With a uniquely reviled President heading the party's ticket, and a party and figurehead unwilling and unable to respond to this shift, we could hopefully see some significant changes down-ticket this year.