If you were hoping to take a break from work and politics this Fourth of July, I have some bad news on the latter front. President Trump is orchestrating and starring in a massive (and expensive) celebration on the Mall on Thursday that has inevitably politicized the holiday. There will be speeches. There will be protests.
Here’s what Trump’s up to, plus a rundown of other political questions you will inevitably get asked at your Fourth of July holiday now that, apparently, it’s all politics.
What is Trump doing this Fourth of July?
He’s going big. Like, fighter jets, stealth bombers, Air Force One, Blue Angel flyovers and tanks big.
This isn’t typical. Presidents don’t normally make a big deal out of national holidays — especially this national holiday — because they know they’ll be perceived as politicizing it.
And it will cost taxpayers money.
The Washington Post has uncovered that Trump’s additions to the regular Fourth of July celebrations in Washington, D.C., will cost other, smaller parks $2.5 million. That’s more than double what the original fireworks and holiday celebration on the Mall normally costs.
One thing to watch for: Will Trump get political in the remarks he’s scheduled to give? If so, a campaign law expert told The Post this could be considered a campaign event, and his campaign may have to reimburse taxpayers for his part in it.
Who’s going to win the 2020 democratic primary?
I have absolutely no idea. But we can tell you who is ahead after the first debates. That’s still former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). But Sen Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) seems to have catapulted herself into the top tier of candidates after targeting Biden over issues of race during the debate. Some polls show Biden and Sanders still leading but losing ground.
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll asked Democrats who their first and second choices are — a crucial question since the field could change by the time the primaries get beyond the early states and people may have to vote for their second choice. Here’s what respondents said:
No other candidate tops 10 percent.
One thing to watch for: In other polls, especially one in Iowa, Sanders looks especially weak. He nearly won Iowa against Hillary Clinton in 2016; now a post-debate poll shows him languishing in the single-digits there, writes The Fix’s Aaron Blake.
It’s four weeks until the next debate and 215 days until the Iowa caucuses.
Should we decriminalize crossing the border?
A number of 2020 candidates think so. Led by former housing secretary Julián Castro, they argue that making it a civil infraction rather than a criminal one would stop the problem of having the government detain migrants in what watchdogs say are “dangerous” conditions.
Bad idea, from a policy perspective and from a “Beat-Donald-Trump” perspective, say other Democrats.
Here’s what Jeh Johnson, who was Homeland Security secretary during the Obama administration, told my Washington Post colleagues about Castro’s proposal: “That is tantamount to declaring publicly that we have open borders. That is unworkable, unwise and does not have the support of a majority of American people or the Congress, and if we had such a policy, instead of 100,000 apprehensions a month, it will be multiples of that.”
One thing to watch for: Both sides in the 2020 race are going to the poles on immigration. Which side has more public support? That gut-wrenching photo of a drowned father and his daughter may have made Americans more open to softening the country’s approach to immigrants crossing illegally, a Democratic pollster said.
Why is everyone fighting about a Nike shoe and the Betsy Ross flag?
Good question, and the answer is probably unsatisfying to those who don’t feel strongly about an 18th-century flag on the heel of a sneaker: It’s good politics. At least in conservative circles, it’s good politics to be mad at Nike for pulling the flag shoe after former NFL star Colin Kaepernick warned Nike the flag harked back to slavery.
Trump made a big thing about the Kaepernick-led protest by (mostly black) NFL players kneeling during the national anthem. Trump and his supporters asked, then and now, what’s so wrong with being patriotic and supporting the flag?
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) took that sentiment to a new level this week when he said he was ending subsidies for Nike to build a plant in Arizona. It’s not clear what will happen to the plant, but 500 Arizona jobs hang in the balance.
One thing to watch for: It may be good politics for conservatives to oppose Nike, but it may be good business for Nike to heed Kaepernick’s wishes. Since Nike put him in an ad last year, the Wall Street Journal reports its sales have gone up.