Friday, August 21, 2020

-Delaware's own Tom Carper, voice of the people

“A home run in the bottom of the ninth!” “A very good speech!” “Enormously effective!” “The best he’s been!” And that’s just how a bunch of Fox News Republicans thought Joe Biden did last night.

  • The 2020 DNC convention came to a close Thursday after Biden accepted the Democratic presidential nomination and delivered a speech about why the country needs new political leadership (had you noticed?) and how he’d bring the country back from this despairing moment. Some of us only found out he’d be delivering the speech live a few minutes before it began and had a minor panic attack, but as you can see from the Fox News roundtable response, even people who are normally reliable Trump propagandists thought he did a great job. 
  • Biden began his address by acknowledging the terrible crises the country faces, which fed into an airtight case that President Trump (who went unnamed) had failed and should be denied a second term, followed by an explanation of how he’d lead in Trump’s wake: First, do what Trump has failed to do by arresting the spread of coronavirus, and rescuing the economy from collapse, then set about implementing a post-coronavirus agenda. “I will be an ally of the light not of the darkness,” he said, which seems like it’d be a nice change of pace. You can watch the whole thing here
  • Prior to Biden’s speech, the event featured a reunion of a bunch of the people that Biden beat in the primary, talking about how Biden will make a great president and about how they’re not mad and, actually, they’re laughing. Tammys Baldwin and Duckworth delivered back-to-back speeches where they spoke to Biden’s strength on healthcare and capacity to not ignore Russian bounties on U.S. troops, and in the most moving segment of the evening, a 13 year old boy named Brayden Harrington recounted how Biden had helped him gain confidence despite speaking with a stutter. Michael Bloomberg was also there.

Having watched Democrats produce a widely hailed, politically effective, and technically smooth virtual convention (thank you Glenn), Trump graciously offered a preview of the paranoid, racist, lie-drenched festival Republicans have planned for next week!

  • Trump counter-programmed the Dem convention on Sean Hannity’s show, where he announced his plan to turn the entire U.S. law enforcement community into partisan “poll watchers” (many of whom happen to be armed) to menace people who look like they might vote for Democrats. “We’re going to have sheriffs and we’re going to have law enforcement and we’re going to have hopefully U.S. Attorneys and we’re going to have everybody, and attorney generals,” he said. Inspiring words from a confident incumbent. 
  • A familiar cast of Trump dead-enders will deliver speeches in some capacity ahead of Trump’s renomination. What remains unclear is whether the Republican convention will also provide a platform for QAnon cultists, or whether it will simply pander to them with allusions to their deranged conspiracy theories. On Thursday the New York Times published this alarming report on how the Republican Party has begun to fuse with QAnon, and not just by nominating QAnon adherents to run for elected office. Trump routinely retweets QAnon theorists and has given their cult his hearty thanks for supporting him, and the Texas GOP has adopted a QAnon slogan as its own.

Apart from his promises to fix the crises Trump has created, Biden’s most basic appeal this week was that Trump has made America a crueler place, and he would make it better simply by being a kind, empathic, generous person. That shows just how low Trump has set the bar for American leadership. But it’s also a step the country needs to take on its road to recovery, or it’ll never recover. Ready to do your part?

On this week's Campaign Experts React to Good and Bad 2020 Ads (you love it), Dan Pfeiffer and former Obama senior advisor David Axelrod react to a Biden ad targeting seniors in Florida, a negative spot from the Trump campaign, and an ad from Governor Roy Cooper's re-election campaign in North Carolina. Don't forget to smash that subscribe button 

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testified before a GOP-led Senate committee today, insisting that the USPS is “fully capable and committed to delivering the nation's election mail securely and on time.” That commitment does not, apparently, extend to reinstalling mailboxes and sorting machines ahead of the election. Kamala Harris was on the panel, but opted to submit questions to DeJoy in writing rather than participate in the hearing—a surprising choice, given that flaying Republican hacks is one of Harris’s top strengths. Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin denied having anything to do with Trump’s selection of DeJoy for the job, while the former USPS inspector general told the Congressional Progressive Caucus that Mnuchin had politicized the agency, and specifically wanted mailboxes removed. The House is set to vote on a bill that would provide $25 billion to the post office on Saturday, and DeJoy will appear before the House oversight committee on Monday.

Doctors have cleared opposition leader Alexey Navalny to be transported to Germany for treatment, after initially blocking his family’s attempts to move him. Navalny is in a coma after falling ill on a return flight to Moscow from Siberia in a suspected poisoning. The deputy head physician at the Siberian hospital where Navalny was initially treated said that no poisons were found in his system, contradicting reports from police, who said they’d identified an “industrial chemical substance.” The hospital’s chief doctor suggested that Navalny fell into a coma because of low blood sugar, a very reasonable diagnosis in a land where doctors are known to mysteriously fall out of windows.

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This is a great piece on the political power of Joe Biden’s kindness.

Relatedly, if you’ve got a minute for a cry, here’s a video of the first time Biden met Brayden Harrington. 

The New York chapter of the ACLU won an appeals court's consent to publish records of NYPD complaints dating back to the '80's, leading a federal judge to lift a restraining order on the release of NYPD disciplinary records. 

Taylor Swift donated signed Folklore CDs to support indie record stores across the U.S., and also has been very cool about encouraging her fans to vote early. (Go on the pod, Taylor.)

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