The TAKE with Rick Klein
President Donald Trump has sought out new enemies just about daily this week: China, the World Health Organization, Democratic governors, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Voice of America and even principles, like federalism and the separation of powers.
Now, as stay-at-home orders draw angry protests, and potential clashes between governors and Trump loom, the push to reopen America could be shaded red versus blue. But there’s ample reason to think it won’t be even that simple.
White House task forces are being formed haphazardly, with conflicts built into their missions and confusion among members about their roles. There’s concern among business leaders about opening too quickly, but also pressure from conservative lawmakers and interest groups to get things moving already.
Michigan — a battleground that has a Democratic governor in veepstakes contention, and with whom Trump has already been feuding — has emerged as the epicenter of protests against lockdown orders.
New ABC News/Ipsos polling out Friday shows stark political divides in how the COVID-19 crisis is being perceived. Fifty-one percent of Republicans but only 17% of Democrats expect their lives to return to relative normal by June 1, as everything down to who is wearing face coverings in public breaks along party lines.
This may, in part, be a function of geography, but it also tracks closely with approval of the president. On that point, perceptions of Trump’s handling of the crisis have held steady — consistently negative, that is — for the past three weeks.
Overall, Americans appear less concerned about getting sick themselves, but also less convinced that things are close to being normal again.
“This is not about parties. This is about our country,” the president declared Thursday, as he outlined plans to reopen a country he said is ready to reopen.
Decision points ahead will test the president’s commitment to those phrases — from multiple directions.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
New fundraising numbers out Thursday, show that during the first quarter of 2020, several battleground state Democratic Senate candidates raised more money than their incumbent Republican opponents.
Coast to coast — even in places like Kansas and South Carolina — Democratic challengers are raking it in — in some cases outraising Republicans by large margins, according to new filings with the Federal Election Commission.
In Arizona, the Democratic candidate Mark Kelly has outraised Sen. Martha McSally for five straight quarters in a row and last quarter raised $11 million alone.
In Maine, Sara Gideon outraised Sen. Susan Collins for the third straight quarter.
Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s challenger, Amy McGrath, reported raising over $5 million more than he did the last few months.
Of course, at this moment with so little traditional campaigning, money may be worth less. On the other hand, expensive bucket items like TV ads might be extra valuable, if in-person campaigning is limited.
The TIP with Kendall Karson
The dual August conventions appear on opposing paths. Earlier this week, Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez told Politico in a virtual interview he’s “completely committed to Milwaukee and to Wisconsin,” signaling their preference to move forward as planned. By Thursday, the Milwaukee host committee for the Democratic Convention announced it was suddenly shedding its staff by more than half — a troubling sign for organizers who are seeking to “remain steadfast” in their commitment to prepare for the quadrennial event and keep the event on track.
“In this climate of uncertainty, we must adjust our plans to match the new reality we’re facing as a nation,” Raquel Filmanowicz, the CEO of the host committee, said.
But for the Republican National Convention, organizers in Charlotte, North Carolina, appear unfazed by the threat of the coronavirus possibly shutting down the four-day affair, or the prospect of the very arena housing the convention potentially being turned into a field hospital, saying they are moving “full-speed ahead.”
The only hints of the pandemic seeping into their planning are the admissions that convention-goers might be wearing masks or practicing social distancing. “I’m very happy about playing Tetris with the seats,” Marcia Lee Kelly, the CEO of the convention committee, said of the arena, which holds about 19,000.
ONE MORE THING
The country is growing more pessimistic about a timeframe for a return to normalcy, with ideological allegiance extending to nearly every aspect of the crisis, including how soon Americans believe they will resume some level of regular activities post-coronavirus, according to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll released Friday.
ABC News’ “Start Here” Podcast.Friday morning’s episode features ABC News White House correspondent Karen Travers, who explains the new federal guidelines for reopening the economy, and tells us if individual states are likely to comply. ABC News’ Juju Chang takes us inside a COVID-19 cluster in South Dakota. And, ABC News Senior Investigative reporter Aaron Katersky explains “contact tracing” and how it could help contain future spread. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
ABC News “Powerhouse Politics” podcast. Gov. Phil Murphy would be “the happiest guy” if he was able to start reopening New Jersey on June 1, but he listed multiple steps that have to be taken first, and ultimately, they need to “have broken the back of the” novel coronavirus, he told ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl and Political Director Rick Klein. http://bit.ly/2kI0pXP
FiveThirtyEight Politics Podcast. The COVID-19 pandemic has turned election administration upside down. Sixteen presidential primary contests have been postponed and Wisconsin, which held its election as planned, saw large-scale polling place closures and unfulfilled requests for mail ballots. In this installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, we look at voting during times of crisis from two perspectives. First, FiveThirtyEight’s Geoffrey Skelley describes how the country has gone about holding elections during historical crises like the Civil War and Spanish Flu. Then, Wendy Weiser of the Brennan Center discusses a plan she’s proposing to help ensure this fall’s election runs smoothly. https://apple.co/23r5y7w
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