Republican strategist Chris Prudhome and Democratic political analyst Kelly Hyman join the debate.
**Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**
On the roster: Progressives face high stakes in Tuesday primaries – Dems demand talks on GOP police bill – Trump’s need, not want, for an Arizona victory – Fauci ‘cautiously optimistic’ for vaccine by late 2020, early 2021 – Darn kids
PROGRESSIVES FACE HIGH STAKES IN TUESDAY PRIMARIES
Fox News: “The progressive wing of the Democratic Party hasn’t had much to celebrate at the ballot box since populist Sen. Bernie Sanders suspended his presidential campaign two-and-a-half months ago. But the left appears to be storming back, giving more moderate Democratic candidates some serious competition in newly competitive primaries in Kentucky and New York, two of the states holding contests on Tuesday. The premier showdowns grabbing the national spotlight are the Democratic Senate primary in Kentucky, where establishment-backed Amy McGrath … is facing a serious threat from progressive candidate and state Rep. Charles Booker. The other big contest is in New York, where longtime Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel is fighting for his political life against liberal challenger Jamaal Bowman. Both Bowman and Booker were boosted in recent weeks after landing endorsements from the biggest names on the left – Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and first-term Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.”
Members of the ‘Squad’ face first reelection test Tuesday – USA Today: “Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez claimed her seat in the House of Representatives after challenging a long-time incumbent with a message of shaking up the status quo. Now, she faces her own outsider challenger in the first electoral test of her congressional tenure. … But the primary Tuesday marks the first test for the freshman and fellow members of the Squad. Three out of the group of four women of color, who over their first two years in office have become some of the most sought-after voices in the progressive wing, are facing primary challenges ahead of the November election. Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan is on the ballot Aug. 4, and Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota is on the ballot Aug. 10. … [Ocasio-Cortez], like fellow members of the Squad facing primaries, has been painted by challengers as more concerned with her newfound fame and quarrels with the president than she is focused on constituents in the Bronx and Queens.”
Results from primaries may not be known Tuesday – NYT: “New York, Kentucky and Virginia are holding primary elections on Tuesday. There are also congressional runoff elections in North Carolina and Mississippi and runoff elections for legislative races in South Carolina. The Kentucky Senate Democratic primary is highly competitive, as are several House races in New York. Polls in Kentucky close at 6 p.m. local time; in New York, they’ll close at 9 p.m. local time. The number of voters casting absentee ballots has risen sharply because of the coronavirus pandemic, and the results of key races may not be known on Tuesday night as a result. We may have to wait for winners Whatever happens in races from Kentucky to New York on Tuesday may not be immediately known. Because of the high number of voters casting absentee ballots, the final results will not be tabulated for days. So, in a close race, it may not be clear who won on Tuesday night or even Wednesday.”
All eyes on Kentucky’s one city, one voting location situation – AP: “With only one polling place designated Tuesday for Louisville, a city of 600,000 people, voters who didn’t cast mail-in ballots or show up early could face long lines in Kentucky’s primary, the latest to unfold as the pandemic triggers unprecedented election disruptions across the country. The outcome of a competitive Democratic U.S. Senate primary could hang in the balance if Election Day turnout is hampered in Louisville — the hometown of Charles Booker, who’s mounted a strong late challenge against presumed front-runner Amy McGrath. ‘If Charles Booker barely loses, I think the integrity of that election is in question,’ Republican state Rep. Jason Nemes said Monday.”
But so far Kentucky is on pace for record voter turnout – Louisville Courier Journal: “While national Democrats, athletes and celebrities are saying Kentucky’s rescheduled primary is an attempt at voter suppression, the Bluegrass State is on its way to a possible record turnout in Tuesday’s primary election. Kentucky received high marks months ago when Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear and Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams agreed to allow registered voters to mail in absentee ballots to avoid in-person voting during the coronavirus pandemic. Under the plan, Kentuckians have also been allowed to vote in-person since June 15, a week ahead of the new primary date. ‘If the governor and I are both suppressors, we’re doing a terrible job because we’ve got the highest turnout we’ve ever seen — and that’s the bottom line,’ Adams told The Courier Journal on Monday. … Adams said as of Monday morning, nearly 1 million Kentuckians — 973,807 — have either requested an absentee ballot or voted early before Tuesday’s primary.”
THE RULEBOOK: IMPORTANT STUFF
“There is hardly any part of the system which could have been attended with greater difficulty in the arrangement of it than [the executive department]; and there is, perhaps, none which has been inveighed against with less candor or criticised with less judgment.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 67
TIME OUT: TO THE BIG SCREEN, BATMAN!
History: “On June 23, 1989, Tim Burton’s noir spin on the well-known story of the DC Comics hero Batman is released in theaters. Michael Keaton starred in the film as the multimillionaire Bruce Wayne, who has transformed himself into the crime-fighting Batman after witnessing his parents’ brutal murder as a child. As the film’s action begins, mob henchman Jack Napier (Jack Nicholson) is gruesomely disfigured after Batman inadvertently drops him in a vat of acid during a stand-off in a chemical factory. After killing his boss (Jack Palance), Napier–now known as the Joker–goes on the loose in Gotham City, wreaking havoc and trying to turn its people against the caped crusader. … In a new marketing strategy that would become a trend for movies featuring super heroes, Warner Brothers hyped Batman as a major summer ‘event’ long before its release. The results were stunning, as the film grossed some $100 million in its first ten days of release, including $82.8 million at the domestic box office alone.”
Flag on the play? – Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.
NATIONAL HEAD-TO-HEAD AVERAGE
Trump: 41 percent
Biden: 50.6 percent
Size of lead: Biden by 9.6 points
Change from one week ago: Biden ↑ 0.4 points; Trump ↓ 0.8 points
[Average includes: Fox News: Trump 38% – Biden 50%; Quinnipiac University: Trump 41% – Biden 49%; CNN: Trump 41% – Biden 55%; NBC News/WSJ: Trump 42% – Biden 49%; NPR/PBS/Marist: Trump 43% – Biden 50%.]
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: 42 percent
Average disapproval: 54.8 percent
Net Score: -12.8 points
Change from one week ago: ↑ 1.6 points
[Average includes: Fox News: 44% approve – 55% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 42% approve – 55% disapprove; CNN: 40% approve – 57% disapprove; NPR/PBS/Marist: 42% approve – 55% disapprove; IBD: 42% approve – 52% disapprove.]
WANT MORE HALFTIME REPORT?
You can join Chris and Brianna every day on Fox Nation. Go behind-the-scenes of your favorite political note as they go through the must-read headlines of the day right from their office – with plenty of personality. Click here to sign up and watch!
DEMS DEMAND TALKS ON GOP POLICE BILL
AP: “Top Senate Democrats said Tuesday the Republican policing bill is ‘not salvageable,’ as they demand negotiations on a new, more bipartisan package with more extensive law enforcement changes and accountability in response to the killing of Black Americans. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer signaled the Democrats intend to block the GOP package, which Democrats say does not go far enough to meet the moment that has galvanized the nation with massive demonstrations over police procedures. … The Republican legislation would create a national database of police use-of-force incidents, restrict police chokeholds and set up new training procedures. It is not as sweeping as a Democratic proposal, which mandates many of the changes. The standoff does not end the debate. Democrats are trying to force Republicans to the negotiating table to build a more robust package more aligned with their own bill, set to be approved by the House later this week. The House and Senate versions would ultimately need to be the same to become law.”
Poll finds nearly all Americans back criminal justice reform – AP: “Americans overwhelmingly want clear standards on when police officers may use force and consequences for officers who do so excessively, according to a new poll that finds nearly all Americans favor at least some level of change to the nation’s criminal justice system. The new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research also finds there is strong support for penalizing officers who engage in racially biased policing. … The survey of American adults took place after weeks of mass demonstrations against police violence and calls from some politicians and activists to ‘defund’ departments in response to the death of George Floyd… Americans are largely united behind the idea that action is required: 29% think the criminal justice system needs ‘a complete overhaul,’ 40% say it needs ‘major changes’ and 25% say it needs ‘minor changes.’ Just 5% believe no changes are necessary.”
TRUMP’S NEED, NOT WANT, FOR AN ARIZONA VICTORY
NYT: “At the start of 2020, optimistic Democrats already thought this might be the year when a presidential election turned Arizona blue again. Many suburban moderates were fed up with President Trump; in 2018, they sent a Democrat to the Senate from their state for the first time in more than three decades. Young Latino voters — who now make up 24 percent of eligible voters in Arizona — were casting ballots at record rates, angered by the president’s anti-immigrant rhetoric. And the party was fielding a strong candidate for November’s Senate race. Now, four months until Election Day, that optimism is hardening into sustained confidence. Mr. Trump is scheduled to campaign here on Tuesday, in a state whose 11 electoral votes he badly needs to hold to be re-elected, especially if he loses any of the three Midwestern states he flipped in 2016. Democratic officials believe that frustrations over Mr. Trump’s immigration policies and his handling of the pandemic, as well as polling trends, indicate that Joseph R. Biden Jr. has the best shot of any Democratic presidential candidate to win Arizona since Bill Clinton carried the state in 1996. And the Biden campaign sees winning Arizona as not just a path to victory, but also a confirmation that Latino and immigrant voters are a strong and dependable part of the party.”
Gabriel Sherman: Parscale and Kushner are on the top of Trump’s list – Vanity Fair: “Donald Trump’s exhausted trudge from Marine One toward the White House after his botched rally in Tulsa, his red tie undone, a grim look on his face, a crumpled MAGA hat in his hand, is now an iconic image of his presidency. And as always with Trump, he’s already looking for someone to blame. The most obvious candidate, according to sources, is his embattled campaign manager, Brad Parscale. … But one thing is for sure: The blame game has shifted into high gear. Trump insiders told me Trump was presented with five options of where to hold his rally. ‘The president chose Tulsa,’ a source said. Sources also told me that if Parscale is forced out, he likely won’t be the only casualty of the rally fiasco. Trump is debating revoking his son-in-law Jared Kushner’s control over the campaign, sources said. As I previously reported, Trump has been frustrated with Kushner’s oversight of the campaign in light of polling that consistently shows Trump losing to Joe Biden. Another source of friction has been campaign spending and reports Trump has gotten that Parscale is making millions of dollars. ‘Did Jared allow this?’ Trump asked advisers recently, according to a source. (Kushner declined to comment.)”
Michigan backs out of hosting 2nd presidential debate – AP: “The nonpartisan commission that sponsors the formal election year presidential debates announced Tuesday that an October debate that had been set for Michigan will now take place in Florida. The change comes after the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, determined it was no longer ‘feasible’ to host the Oct. 15 debate, the Commission on Presidential Debates said. The debate will instead be held at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County in Miami. In a letter shared with the Commission on Presidential Debates, University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel suggested the decision was influenced by the work needed to prepare the campus for the fall semester during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.”
FAUCI ‘CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC’ FOR VACCINE BY LATE 2020, EARLY 2021
AP: “The government’s top infectious disease expert said Tuesday he is cautiously optimistic that there will be a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year or early 2021, and warned that the next few weeks will be critical to tamping down coronavirus hot spots around the country. Dr. Anthony Fauci and other top health officials also said they have not been asked to slow down testing for coronavirus, an issue that became controversial after President Donald Trump said last weekend that he had asked them to do just that because it was uncovering too many infections. Trump said Wednesday that he wasn’t kidding when he said that. ‘We will be doing more testing,’ Fauci told a House committee. The U.S. has tested more than 27 million people, with about 2.3 million – or 8.4% — testing positive. The health officials returned to Capitol Hill at a fraught moment in the nation’s pandemic response, with coronavirus cases rising in about half the states and political polarization competing for attention with public health recommendations.”
Two Trump staffers test positive after Tulsa rally – NYT: “Two Trump campaign staff members who attended the president’s indoor rally in Tulsa, Okla., on Saturday night tested positive for the coronavirus, a spokesman said Monday, despite earlier assurances that a small outbreak among campaign workers had been contained and no staffers who had tested positive had entered the arena. The two workers, members of the campaign’s advance team, tested positive when ‘another round of testing’ was conducted after the rally, according to Tim Murtaugh, the campaign’s communications director. He said the staff members in question had attended the event, but had worn masks the entire time. … It was not immediately clear how many people the staff members interacted with inside the arena, or whether either of them had been in contact with President Trump or Vice President Mike Pence, who was also at the rally.”
Bolton, in FNC interview, calls Trump’s coronavirus response ‘incoherent’ – Fox News
Nadler prepares to subpoena Barr over firing of US attorney – Fox News
AUDIBLE: AND NOW A MESSAGE FROM THE C.I.A.
“Americans are consuming streaming content now more than ever, and we want to be part of what they’re seeing.” – Nicole de Haay, a C.I.A. spokeswoman, commenting on the agency’s advertising on streaming platforms.
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
MLive: “A youngster inadvertently earned his parents a citation when he told a Michigan DNR officer there were no lifejackets on their fishing boat. The unlucky encounter occurred over Memorial Day weekend when Josh Boudreaux, a conservation officer in DNR District 1, was patrolling the Dead River Basin and saw a child excitedly reel in a small walleye. After congratulating the kid on his catch and explaining what a conservation officer was, the kid excitedly exclaimed, ‘Mommy and daddy don’t have life jackets.’ CO Boudreaux laughed off the comment, assuming the child was referring to the fact that adults were not wearing them, unlike the kids. However, upon further inspection of their safety equipment, it was found that neither parent had a personal floatation device (PFD) for themselves. A citation was issued for failing to maintain/carry safety equipment on their vessel, according to the report.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“But what of international morality? Even if it is strategically important for the U.S. to prevent a Communist state in Central America, do not American values prevent us from overthrowing another government? In principle, no.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in Time magazine on June 24, 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.