The TAKE with Rick Klein
It’s just another Tuesday of voting when absolutely nothing is normal.
Republicans are looking to take a House seat from Democrats in California — while President Donald Trump already warns, without evidence, of a Democratic-led “scam.” Democrats are looking to take a House seat from Republicans in Wisconsin — a big rural chunk of which is, yes, voting again, just weeks after the state’s chaotic and even dangerous primary voting went forward.
In Nebraska, a whole state has the option of voting in person in primaries for the first time in more than a month, with a progressive-versus-moderate matchup in an Omaha-area congressional district drawing national attention.
One theme uniting these contests is uncertainty about who will vote and how. Jurisdictions voting Tuesday will have limited in-person balloting, with social-distancing adjustments, on top of expanded vote-by-mail and absentee options.
What that means for turnout is uncertain across states with vastly different histories and voting infrastructures in place before the pandemic struck.
Another through-line is how the elections will test enthusiasm. In a stretch where politics hasn’t necessarily been top of mind, Democrats hope victories earned and lessons learned from Wisconsin can swing the seat previously held by former Rep. Sean Duffy back their way.
The dynamics are politically reversed further west. The Los Angeles-area seat that was held by former Rep. Katie Hill could fall to Republicans, in what would mark the first red-to-blue flip in a congressional race in California in 22 years.
It’s a down-ballot test for Trump’s messaging, and the president added a complication that hints at political battles that could rage over the next six months. Trump tweeted over the weekend that the addition of a polling site in a heavily minority area of the California district amounts to Democrats “trying to steal another election,” adding, “These votes must not count.”
All indications are that those votes will count, though they could take days or weeks to count fully. When that’s done, the traditional over-reading of special-election results will take on greater importance, as strategists in both parties try to learn how voting can and will take place in the age of COVID-19.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
Senators will host Dr. Fauci and other administration officials Tuesday for a largely virtual hearing on reopening the country. To date, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has blasted his Republican counterparts for not holding more oversight hearings related to the coronavirus or introducing new legislation specifically related to fighting the pandemic in the last few weeks.
“We are living in the alternative reality of the Republican Leader McConnell’s making,” Schumer said Monday.
He described the upcoming hearing as one of the first opportunities for Dr. Anthony Fauci to talk without Trump ” lurking over his shoulder” and urged him to tell all.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell meanwhile told reporters Monday that he is hoping the hearing will offer insights on how best to use funding dollars and implement protections to keep hospital workers and companies from future liability.
“It is crucial that as we continue to fight he pandemic itself we ensure it is not followed up by a job-killing epidemic of frivolous lawsuits,” McConnell said.
Expect plenty of discussion at the hearing about the possibility of mandating paid leave for workers or other programs to guide and inform employers looking to bring workers back safely, especially as high-profile companies like Tesla fight with government officials to open up assembly lines.
The TIP with Kendall Karson
In public, Democrats might appear steadfast in their commitment to hold an in-person convention, but the influential body charged with setting the party’s rules is tipping their hand in the other direction.
The Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee is expected to hand down formal approval of the party’s response to the chaos imposed by the coronavirus on Tuesday in an effort to smoothly finish out a settled primary race and prepare for the national convention bookending the season.
The committee is poised to vote on a resolution that could fold in some remote elements into the convention, by allowing party insiders to partake even if they don’t attend the event in-person. The resolution calls for allowing delegates to the convention “to participate in the Convention in person or by means that allow for appropriate social distancing” — potentially moving the convention closer to a virtual format.
The resolution for the national convention also calls for formally adopting the new date, which is set for the week of Aug. 17 and affording the convention committee the “full authority” to make changes in the future to format, size, date, timing, voting mechanisms, structures or other aspects of the signature event without additional approvals from the DNC, according to a party official, giving planners the flexibility to make any and all adjustments on the fly and up to the last minute.
BRINGING AMERICA BACK
After two staffers tested positive for the coronavirus last week, the White House is stepping up its social distancing. West Wing staff must now wear masks at all times and keep a six-foot distance during meetings, including ones with President Donald Trump. Read this story and more by checking out Bringing America Back, an ABC News feature that highlights the day’s top stories in economic recovery and medical preparedness amid the coronavirus pandemic.
ABC News’ “Start Here” Podcast. Tuesday morning’s episode features ABC News Chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl, who tells us about the Trump administration’s messaging around testing as the West Wing implements new safety precautions. Then, ABC News Senior Washington reporter Devin Dwyer previews Tuesday’s Supreme Court arguments over President Donald Trump’s financial records. And, ABC News’ Maggie Rulli checks in from Paris as France slowly reopens. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
FiveThirtyEight’s Politics Podcast. All but a dozen states are in some phase of reopening from COVID-19 related shutdowns, and forecasts of the pandemic’s toll in the U.S. have correspondingly increased death projections due to the coronavirus. The crew discusses whether there is an overarching plan for this stage of the crisis and how Americans are behaving regardless. They also look at the latest data suggesting a competitive race for control of the U.S. Senate this fall and consider a poll showing that American men are possibly deluding themselves about their role in childrearing during the pandemic. https://53eig.ht/2M0rQx6
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