Monday, August 24, 2020

-Vice President Mike Pence, admitting too much

Will the Republican convention be defined by pathetic displays of loyalty to President Trump? By self-promotion opportunities for members of Trump’s family? By lies and conspiracies about everything from voting by mail to coronavirus, all piped into millions of American households? The answer, my friends, is all three!

  • It’s hard to know in advance what the most leader-worshipy aspect of the convention will be, but the GOP offered a half-embarrassing, half-terrifying preview this weekend when it announced that it would forego drafting an official party platform beyond “the Party’s strong support for President Donald Trump and his Administration.” Under normal circumstances, the two parties’ presidential nominees have a lot of influence over the party platforms that must nevertheless be negotiated among party members. In Donald Trump’s GOP, the party exists to support whatever it is Donald Trump says he wants at any given moment, including such inspiring policies as “Return to normal in 2021,” which absolutely makes you think of something you’d get by voting for...Donald Trump.
  • Not content with the promised obedience of the entire party establishment, Trump has insisted overdosing convention viewers with endless rambling speeches. At a typical convention, the nominee gives one address. By the time you read this (the minute it lands in your inbox naturally) Trump will already have spent one full hour addressing the convention, which he intends to do at least once every single day until the event ends on Thursday. 
  • In the event that you were in the market for more Trump content, fear not: Between the president’s own propaganda speeches, the convention will also hear from Trump’s oldest son, second son, oldest daughter, second daughter, and wife. None of Trump’s former campaign rivals will speak, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will address the convention from Jerusalem, in a gross effort to suggest that the governments of both Israel and the United States stand with the Republican Party.

If that doesn’t sound like a fun way to spend the week, the good news is that the Biden campaign is still trucking.

  • On Monday, Biden rolled out a list of over two dozen former GOP elected officials who have launched “Republicans for Biden.” The most prominent of these Republicans is former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) who was one of the most reliably conservative members of Congress until he got drummed out of the Senate for criticizing Trump (see above). As with former Gov. John Kasich (R-OH), the hope is that these prominent Republican statewide officials will encourage Trump-skeptical Republicans and former Republicans in crucial swing states not just to sit out the election, but to vote for Biden.
  • Biden himself may have cornered Republicans into advocating the view that the federal government shouldn’t do any more than its current “nothing” to slow the spread of the virus. In his first national media interview since accepting the Democratic nomination, Biden said he’d follow the advice of scientists, even if they recommended reimposing stricter public-health restrictions. Republicans rushed to condemn Biden perhaps before consulting the polls, which show that the public overwhelmingly supports Biden’s position over the GOP position.

Trump remains in the running despite presiding over hundreds of thousands of U.S. deaths, in large part by convincing a majority Republican voters that his deadly coronavirus failures are actually acceptable. This week will be all about building on that appalling strategy.  The good news is that Biden’s approach of “trying to help and appeal to people” has given him a substantial lead over Trump. But the Republicans will have an entire week to chip away at Biden’s favorability ratings, and Trump will continue to do whatever he can to steal the election. Let’s make sure he doesn’t.


If you want to hate-watch whatever the hell is going on at the RNC with us, we’ll be on our groupthread Monday through Thursday starting at 5:30pm PT/8:30 pm ET. Find it on and subscribe to our YouTube channel at and turn on your post notifications to make sure you don’t miss a single second.

Louis DeJoy didn’t quite say, “My ‘Not involved in election stealing’ T-shirt has people asking a lot of questions already answered by my shirt." But that was the gist of the postmaster general’s testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Monday. DeJoy did little to assure Democratic lawmakers that the changes he’s instituted at the USPS, which have been responsible for severe service interruptions, aren’t intended to make timely delivery of absentee ballots impossible, other than assert, “I am not engaged in sabotaging the election.” Despite acknowledging service interruptions, he continued to refuse to reinstall mail-sorting equipment he ordered dismantled—a change which has contributed to the chaos—but declined to say why. The most pointed questions came from first-term Democrats, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) who asked DeJoy to turn his work calendars over to the committee, and asked the committee chairwoman, Carolyn Maloney, to subpoena them if he declines. Maloney threatened to subpoena documents DeJoy has already withheld from the committee if the USPS doesn’t produce them by Wednesday.

  • Police in Kenosha, WI, shot Jacob Blake, an unarmed black man, repeatedly in the back, on camera, in front of his children, as he attempted to enter his car after breaking up a fight. The shooting reignited protests against brutality and racist policing. The department has placed the two officers involved on leave. Gov. Tony Evers (D-WI) and Lt. Gov Mandela Barnes (D-WI) have called the state legislature back into emergency session to address police transparency and accountability. Blake is reportedly fighting for his life.
  • The Trump administration stands in open defiance of a Supreme Court ruling requiring the government to resume DACA as the Obama administration implemented it, saying it “will reject all initial DACA requests from aliens who have never previously received DACA and return all fees."
  • Hurricane Marco quickly fizzled after making landfall in New Orleans, LA, but meteorologists worry that Tropical Storm Laura, now approaching New Orleans in Marco’s wake, will become a major hurricane before striking the gulf coast on Wednesday or Thursday.
  • In other natural disasters, two of the literally hundreds of wildfires raging across California are among the 10 largest in the state’s history.
  • When Attorney General Bill Barr met with Rupert Murdoch in October of last year, it was reportedly to pressure him to muzzle Judge Andrew Napolitano, one of the lone Fox News personalities to accurately describe Trump’s Ukraine shakedown as impeachable and criminal. Nice cable network you’ve got there, etc. 
  • Donald Trump’s niece secretly recorded Donald Trump’s sister calling Donald Trump an unprincipled liar who abused children at the border. Donald Trump’s wife’s former friend and adviser secretly recorded Donald Trump’s wife Melania making disparaging remarks about her husband, Donald Trump. This concludes today’s installment of “People close to Donald Trump recording other people close to Donald Trump shit talking Donald Trump.” 
  • Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance agreed to not enforce a subpoena for Trump’s tax returns even though a federal court declined to prohibit him from doing so...why?
  • From the annals of corrupt nonsequiturs, Mark Zuckerberg told President Trump at a private dinner that he should direct his regulatory powers at Chinese internet companies like TikTok and let Facebook keep doing its ‘advance propaganda for right-wing regimes around the world’ thing unencumbered. 
  • Claudia Conway spilled a little too much tea on Twitter, and within hours her parents Kellyanne and George had both quit their respective jobs.
  • A judge has ordered Trump to pay Stormy Daniels’s legal fees, which may be the best news Michael Avenatti has received in years. 
  • Please just set aside time to read this

The Trump administration’s transparent attempts to sabotage the Census, in ways designed to entrench the political power of rural white voters, has raised an unprecedented question: What if the Census data is unusably bad? When coronavirus reached the U.S. earlier this year, the Census Bureau asked Congress for an extension, anticipating that the pandemic would make it harder for the Bureau to count every person in the country. But Trump’s political officials stepped in to cut the process short by a month and then to remove undocumented immigrants from the count for purposes of reapportioning congressional representation—both efforts to achieve an undercount of immigrants and ethnic minorities after the Supreme Court rejected Trump’s effort to add a citizenship question to the survey. Now, with tens of millions of households still uncounted, one in three Census takers has quit or failed to show up for the job. If the courts don’t step in to stop Trump plan to get a partisan and racially discriminatory Census completed before inauguration day, Congress will be the final failsafe to prevent a sabotaged Census from controlling representation in this country for a decade. But even if the next Congress is determined to thwart Trump’s scheme, it will be working without a roadmap.


A Trump-appointed federal judge has shelved a Trump campaign lawsuit aimed at preventing the state of Pennsylvania from making it easier for voters to return absentee ballots. 

Priorities USA Action and Senate Majority PAC will spend over $7 million on ads encouraging voters to request absentee ballots. 

Priorities will also team up with Everytown for Gun Safety on a $6 million ad campaign to increase awareness of Trump’s coziness with the gun lobby and failure to address the state’s gun-violence crisis.\

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