The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

The Daily 202: Biden’s lead is tighter than it seems

with Mariana Alfaro

The presidential campaign remains closer than top-line polling numbers suggest.

Joe Biden leads President Trump by 15 points among registered voters, 55 percent to 40 percent, in a Washington Post-ABC News poll released Sunday, up from 10 points in May and two points in March. 

Among those who say they are certain to vote, the presumptive Democratic nominee’s lead shrinks to 11 points. 

Among those who say they voted in 2016 and are certain to do so again in 2020, Biden’s lead narrows to seven points.

The Post-ABC poll, conducted July 12-15 among a random national sample of 1,006 adults, has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

The percentage of adults who back the president and say they are certain to vote stands at 81 percent, up from 78 percent in May. Among adults supporting Biden, 77 percent say they are certain to vote, up from 67 percent in May.

Democrat Hillary Clinton won the national popular vote four years ago but lost in the electoral college because of narrow defeats across the industrial Midwestern states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Operatives involved in the contest agree the race is tighter in these battlegrounds than nationally.

Though Biden finds himself in an undeniably enviable position for a challenger, Clinton also led Trump in every national poll four summers ago. Democratic nominees John Kerry and Michael Dukakis both led in polls conducted during the summers of 2004 and 1988, respectively, only to lose in the fall.

Moreover, the advantages of incumbency are significant. It has been 28 years since a president lost his bid for a second term.

The country remains deeply polarized. The political environment has proven volatile. What will happen 100-plus days from now is unpredictable. What if a Supreme Court vacancy unexpectedly opens? What if Biden flubs in the debates? What if he picks a running mate who struggles to withstand the spotlight of national scrutiny?

Our poll finds a lot of interest in the election: 86 percent of registered voters say they are certain to vote in November, higher at this point in any of the past three elections.

But the novel coronavirus injects layers of uncertainty related to forecasting turnout, with open questions about how millions will cast their ballots and whether mail-in voting might deter some people from participating. The poll finds that 59 percent of Americans say they prefer to vote in person, compared to 38 percent who say they would rather vote by mail. 

“Trump has repeatedly attacked voting by mail as subject to fraud, and the new survey shows that slightly more Americans say they think mail-in voting is vulnerable to significant levels of fraud, with 49 percent agreeing with that statement compared with 43 percent who say there are adequate protections to prevent significant fraud,” Dan Balz and Scott Clement report. “But those percentages are driven by Trump’s own party, with 73 percent of Republicans saying mail-in voting is subject to significant levels of fraud and 66 percent of Democrats saying there are adequate levels of protection against such problems.”

There are two other caution flags for Biden, who failed in his first two bids for the presidency. Despite the myriad of deeply reported blunders in the president’s response to the cascade of crises enveloping the country, Trump and Biden are tied at 45 percent when respondents were asked who they think is the stronger leader.

Trump still retains a narrow advantage on the economy, with 47 percent saying they trust him more and 45 percent saying they trust Biden more. That is down from an eight-point edge in March.

Notably, Biden has a 20-point lead on who is more trusted to deal with the coronavirus, a 25-point advantage on race relations and a nine-point advantage on crime and public safety.

Perhaps the best dynamic for Biden right now, though, is that voters across the ideological spectrum see this year’s election mainly as a referendum on Trump’s performance in office, whether they love or hate him. The president’s overall job approval rating has dropped to 39 percent, with 57 percent disapproving – and 48 percent of Americans strongly disapproving.

The Biden campaign plans to step up outreach to disillusioned Republicans. The Associated Press reports that former Ohio governor John Kasich, a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, is expected to speak at the Democratic National Convention on Biden’s behalf next month.

Trump has struggled to define his challenger, prompting him to change up his messaging and even his campaign team in recent weeks. Last Wednesday, he demoted campaign manager Brad Parscale to a digital-focused role and put Bill Stepien in charge. Trump has largely shifted from trying to cast the former vice president as “Sleepy Joe,” with declining mental capacity, to portraying him as a far-left agent of chaos and destruction. White House senior adviser Stephen Miller has circulated dozens of bullet-pointed attacks on Biden that are at odds with reality and deeply ingrained public perceptions of Biden. 

“The author of many of Trump’s most pugilistic public statements, Miller has raised concerns to other White House aides that the campaign’s messaging has not been tough enough on Biden … and a cadre of White House officials have begun working on campaign issues through their private email accounts and text message chains” Michael Scherer and Josh Dawsey report. “In the talking points he distributed, Biden’s elevation to the White House was described as an event that would ‘surrender America and its citizens to the violent left-wing mob,’ ‘import terrorists,’ and ‘allow left-wing fascists to destroy America.’ … (Biden launched his campaign with a video quoting the Declaration of Independence and has condemned the removal of statues that do not commemorate the Confederacy.)”

In a pre-taped interview for “Fox News Sunday,” Trump claimed that Biden wants to defund the police. In fact, the Democratic candidate has said he disagrees with that idea and even proposed increasing funding to departments that meet certain standards. Trump promised to produce proof for his assertion, which the campaign also levels in attack ads. “The White House has never sent us evidence,” anchor Chris Wallace said as he aired the interview, “because there is none.” 

I’m back from vacation.

I had a lovely time hiking, biking, kayaking, sailing and reading in Acadia National Park. Ordinarily I would bring blueberry pies back from Maine to thank each of my terrific colleagues who anchored the 202 in my absence. But because covid-19 forces us to work remotely, my virtual thanks here will need to suffice for now. I’m grateful for the smart Big Ideas by Dan Balz, Robert Barnes, Juliet Eilperin, Carol Leonnig, Tom Hamburger, Chelsea Janes, Aaron Blake, Paul Kane, Mariana Alfaro and Rachel Van Dongen.

More on the coronavirus

In an interview that aired July 19, "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace asked President Trump about the coronavirus, upcoming elections and civil unrest. (Video: The Washington Post)
During his Fox appearance, the president struggled to defend his handling of the pandemic. 

Trump said the rising number of U.S. deaths “is what it is,” defended his fumbled management of the pandemic with a barrage of dubious and false claims, and revealed his lack of understanding about the fundamental science of how the virus spreads and infects people. “Trump was visibly rattled and at times hostile as he struggled to answer for his administration’s failure to contain the coronavirus, which has claimed more than 137,000 lives in the United States," Philip Rucker and Felicia Sonmez report. "[He also] suggested he might not accept the results of November’s general election should he lose because he predicted without evidence that ‘mail-in voting is going to rig the election.’ … 

Trump — who aides say no longer attends coronavirus task force meetings because he does not have time — showed himself to be particularly misinformed about the basics of the virus that has been ravaging the nation for more than four months. Confronted by Wallace with a chart showing that the number of coronavirus cases last week more than doubled from the spring peak in April, Trump replied: ‘If we didn’t test, you wouldn’t be able to show that chart. If we tested half as much, those numbers would be down.’ By the president’s logic, that assumes people contract the virus only if they test positive, ignoring the fact that many people are asymptomatic carriers and unknowingly spread the contagion without taking a test or being reported. Wallace later explained to Trump that the number of tests has increased by 37 percent but the number of cases has shot up by 194 percent. … 

Trump and his aides recently have sought to divert attention from the soaring number of coronavirus cases by focusing on the rate of deaths. In the Fox interview, Trump falsely asserted, ‘I think we have one of the lowest mortality rates in the world.’ ‘It’s not true, sir,’ Wallace replied. ‘We had 900 deaths on a single day just this week.’ Trump shouted to aides hovering nearby: ‘Can you please get the mortality rates?’ White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany quickly presented Trump with data she said was from Deborah Birx, a physician and the White House coronavirus response coordinator, backing up his claim. ‘Number one low mortality fatality rates,’ Trump claimed. At that point, Fox interrupted the taped interview for Wallace to explain to his viewers that according to data from Johns Hopkins University, the United States ranked seventh among 20 countries in mortality rate, worse than Brazil and Russia. … 

The president called Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, ‘a little bit of an alarmist.’ Trump also challenged the assessment of Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who again warned last week that the pandemic could worsen this fall when flu season begins, reflecting widespread scientific consensus. ‘I don’t think he knows,’ Trump said of Redfield." Trump reiterated that the virus will just disappear at some point. “You know why? Because I’ve been right probably more than anybody else,” he said.

Quote of the day

“The president got bored with it,” said GOP strategist Dave Carney, a top adviser to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), about Trump and the contagion. (NYT)

Endangered GOP senators are under pressure as the Senate considers a new relief package.

“As the Senate returns this week for a three-week sprint before the August break, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is facing competing demands from President Trump and Republican senators, including some who are up for reelection in states hit hard by the virus and are coming under withering attacks by Democratic challengers over the pandemic,” Seung Min Kim, Rachael Bade and Erica Werner report. “In particular, the expiration of an additional $600-per-week in unemployment insurance by July 31 is adding pressure on vulnerable GOP senators as 20 million to 30 million people remain out of work. McConnell and many other Republicans adamantly oppose extending the enhanced benefit at its current level, saying it discourages some from returning to work because they make more money by staying home. … 

[Republican Sen. Cory] Gardner said his constituents are pressing him for more federal assistance and said he supports extending the enhanced unemployment benefit, although he is open to an amount less than the additional $600 per week. He said he is also open to Democrats’ demands for more aid for states and localities … The first-term Republican senator, who is facing former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper (D) on Nov. 3, said he conveyed his request to McConnell in a call. … Another at-risk Republican senator, Susan Collins of Maine, told reporters in her state last week that she is seeking more state and local aid … and a fresh round of aid for small businesses and education funding to help schools reopen. …

McConnell is expected to unveil a pandemic relief proposal as early as Tuesday with a target value of $1 trillion, although some Republicans speculate that the figure could be larger. Extra attention is likely to be paid to the demands of vulnerable Republican senators, GOP officials said. … Trump is insisting on a cut in payroll taxes, which fund Social Security, as part of the next package, although few Republicans are warm to the idea and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has repeatedly expressed opposition. …

"The prime red line for Senate leaders has been liability protections. McConnell has a plan that offers schools, charities, businesses and medical workers a legal shield from being held responsible in coronavirus-related lawsuits unless there was gross negligence or intentional misconduct, according to a draft viewed by The Washington Post. The proposal has been shared with White House officials, who are reviewing it.

Meanwhile, the states that have had the most dramatic spike in cases include Arizona, Georgia and Texas, all of which have Senate races in varying levels of competitiveness and where Democratic opponents have made the pandemic a central theme in their campaigns. … In Arizona, where case numbers are surging dramatically, polls have shown GOP Sen. Martha McSally well behind Mark Kelly, her Democratic challenger. Kelly, a former astronaut, has begun targeting ads toward Native American communities in the state, arguing that the federal government is ignoring their needs in the pandemic. He is calling for extending the enhanced unemployment benefit; McSally has not taken a position on the issue, according to a spokeswoman.”

McConnell’s draft plan leaves out many priorities for Democrats. The Kentuckian and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) will meet with Trump today to discuss the package before it’s unveiled. “The administration and Senate Republicans have been clashing on some issues — including whether to include billions of dollars for coronavirus testing, contact tracing and other health-care priorities the administration opposes — and they are trying to form a unified front before starting talks with Democrats,” Erica and Jeff Stein report. “The House passed a wide-ranging $3 trillion bill in May called the Heroes Act that Democrats insist represents their unity position, but Trump threatened to veto it and McConnell ignored it.”

America’s mishandling of the pandemic has defied most experts’ predictions.

“Isabelle Papadimitriou, 64, a respiratory therapist in Dallas, had been treating a surge of patients as the Texas economy reopened. She developed covid-19 symptoms June 27 and tested positive two days later. The disease was swift and brutal. She died the morning of the Fourth of July,” Joel Achenbach, William Wan, Karin Brulliard and Chelsea Janes report“The holiday had always been her daughter’s favorite. Fiana Tulip loved the family cookouts, the fireworks, the feeling of America united. Now, she wonders whether she’ll ever be able to celebrate it again. In mourning, she’s furious. Tulip, 40, had seen her country fail to control the novel coronavirus. … ‘I feel like her death was a hundred percent preventable. I’m angry at the Trump administration. I’m angry with the state of our politics. I’m angry at the people who even now refuse to wear masks,’ she said. … 

“In October, not long before the novel coronavirus began sickening people in China, a comprehensive review ranked the pandemic preparedness of 195 countries. The project … assigned scores to countries as a way to warn them of the rising threat of infectious-disease outbreaks. With a score of 83.5 out of 100, the United States ranked No. 1. How did the nation get caught so flat-footed? By not really trying, said Beth Cameron, who helped lead the project for the Nuclear Threat Initiative. The federal government punted the coronavirus response to the states, counties and cities, said Cameron, who was senior director for global health security and biodefense on the White House National Security Council and helped write a pandemic response plan under President Barack Obama. The team Cameron led was disbanded after Donald Trump took office. … 

“Kristin Urquiza, 39, said she tried warning her father, Mark — a lifelong Republican — against going out and risking infection. In their home state of Arizona, as leaders including Gov. Doug Ducey (R) sprinted to reopen in May and June, Urquiza could tell she was losing the argument. ‘When the president, the governor and people on cable news are all saying one thing, how do you compete with that?’ she said. ‘He would push back. ‘I hear what you’re saying, but why would the governor say it’s safe to go out if it’s not true?’’ Her father died of the virus June 30. In the obituary she wrote, she lashed out at government leaders. ‘He was a huge supporter of Trump and [Ducey]. He believed what they said. And they betrayed him,’ she said in an interview.”

  • Arizona reported 147 coronavirus deaths on Sunday, a new daily record, and 2,742 new cases. (AP)
  • Florida announced 12,478 new cases on Sunday. (Miami Herald)
  • D.C., Maryland and Virginia reported 2,049 new infections yesterday, the highest single-day increase since late May. The seven-day average in cases for the region has been trending upward for nearly two weeks. The region also added 11 deaths. (Rebecca Tan)
  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) said his city opened too quickly and warned that he may soon impose a new stay-at-home order. (LAT)
  • Eighty-five of the 119 crew members on a seafood trawler that traveled from Oregon to the remote Alaska fishing community of Unalaska have tested positive for the virus. While awaiting the results, the crew was kept in isolation, with most remaining on the trawler. The community has only one health clinic, so the crew is being relocated to Anchorage. (Antonia Farzan)
  • A Kentucky couple is under house arrest after one of them tested positive for the virus and refused to sign self-quarantine papers. They were ordered to wear ankle monitors. If they travel more than 200 feet away from their home, law enforcement will know. (ABC7)
  • Louisiana is suspending its rent assistance program due to overwhelming demand. The state had set aside $24 million in federal funds to help about 10,000 tenants, but more than 40,000 people started the application process. (Teo Armus)
  • Some of the NFL’s biggest stars are questioning the league’s covid-19 protocols, including Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson. Drew Brees, the New Orleans Saints quarterback, said the “NFL’s unwillingness to follow the recommendations of their own medical experts will prevent” football from returning this season. (Mark Maske)
  • Golf legend Jack Nicklaus revealed that he and his wife, Barbara, both 80, had the virus. (Des Bieler)
Citing soaring infection numbers, the Bahamas banned commercial flights from the United States.

Commercial flights from Canada, Britain and the E.U. will be allowed to land, but all visitors must show proof that they tested negative for the virus at an accredited lab in the past 10 days. (Farzan)

  • The Nationals do not know where they will play the Blue Jays because Canada is not allowing the team to play in Toronto. Washington’s first road trip is to face the Blue Jays on July 29. That team is scrambling to pick between Buffalo and Dunedin, Fla., for the coming season. And that leaves the Nationals unsure of where they will head for the sixth and seventh games of their schedule. (Jesse Dougherty)
  • Delta Air Lines passengers who refuse to wear masks will be required to complete a screening at the airport before boarding. (Armus)
  • Masks are now mandatory in all public enclosed spaces across France. Masks were already required in some public spaces, such as public transport, but now they’ll be mandatory in shops, supermarkets and banks. Those who don’t comply could face fines of more than $150. (Siobhán O’Grady)
  • Synairgen, a British biotechnology company, said that a potential new treatment for covid-19 could slash the number of people needing intensive care by 79 percent. The company said the inhaled drug SNG001, which is a formulation of a protein that our bodies use to fight infections, had a dramatic effect on patients hospitalized with the virus. (Karla Adam)
China is using forced labor from Uighur concentration camps to produce masks.

“Uighurs are a largely Muslim ethnic minority primarily from the Xinjiang region of northwest China. The program sends Uighurs and other ethnic minorities into factory and service jobs. Now, their labor is part of the P.P.E. supply chain. According to China’s National Medical Products Administration, only four companies in Xinjiang produced medical grade protective equipment before the pandemic. As of June 30, that number was 51. After reviewing state media reports and public records, The Times found that at least 17 of those companies participate in the labor transfer program,” the New York Times reports. Reporters “traced a shipment of face masks to a medical supply company in the U.S. state of Georgia from a factory in China’s Hubei Province, where more than 100 Uighur workers had been sent. The workers are required to learn Mandarin and pledge their loyalty to China at weekly flag-raising ceremonies.”

Divided America

A federal judge’s son was killed in New Jersey, and her husband was shot.

“A gunman dressed as a delivery driver shot and killed the son of a federal judge and wounded her husband at their New Jersey home on Sunday,” Tim Elfrink and Devlin Barrett report. “U.S. District Judge Esther Salas was not injured in the shooting, which the FBI, U.S. Marshals and local authorities are investigating. … Both Mark Anderl, 63, a defense attorney and former Essex County assistant prosecutor, and Daniel Anderl, 20, a student at Catholic University in D.C., were shot after one of them opened the door for the gunman around 5 p.m. … Salas’s son died and her husband was rushed to the hospital for surgery … Mark Anderl is now in stable condition … Authorities have not given any indication of a motive in the shooting. … Salas, 51, was New Jersey’s first Hispanic woman to serve as a U.S. district judge … She’s been on the bench for recent cases involving the Grape Street Crips, according to NJ Advance Media, a gang charged with running a drug trafficking operation. Salas has more recently taken on a lawsuit brought by Deutsche Bank investors alleging the bank failed to follow its anti-money laundering policies by taking on ‘high-risk’ clients including Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted sex offender.”

Federal officials dismissed calls to leave Portland, Ore., as clashes continued. 

“Kenneth Cuccinelli, acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said the agency had deployed tactical units from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection to help defend federal buildings and officers in the Pacific Northwest city,” Marissa Lang, Maria Sacchetti and Emily Gillespie report. "DHS and Justice Department personnel have made about two dozen arrests since July 4 in the vicinity of the federal courthouse in Portland, not including short-term detentions of suspects whom agents want to question, according to a DHS official … Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler on Sunday implored the ‘dozens, if not hundreds’ of federal agents to leave the city, saying that unidentified Homeland Security officers were detaining residents in unmarked minivans. ‘Their presence is neither wanted nor is it helpful and we’re asking them to leave,’ Wheeler (D) said. … Cuccinelli said the agency isn’t naming the federal officers to protect them and their families from doxing and other harassment, but he said they are wearing patches identifying their agencies and numbers that can be traced to them in case someone wishes to file a complaint. … 

"Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum filed a federal lawsuit against Homeland Security and its subagencies Friday alleging the federal government had violated Oregonians’ civil rights by seizing and detaining them without probable cause during protests against police brutality in the past week. … [Cuccinelli] said the FPS is in charge on the ground, and the CBP and ICE support teams are reporting to them. He also discounted a New York Times report that an internal DHS memo said the teams were not trained for mass demonstrations or riot control.” 

A Navy veteran asked federal officers in Portland to remember their oaths. They broke his hand. “Christopher David had watched in horror as videos surfaced of federal officers in camouflage throwing Portland Ore., protesters into unmarked vans. The 53-year-old Portland resident had heard the stories: protesters injured, gassed, sprayed with chemicals that tugged at their nostrils and burned their eyes,” Marissa Lang reports. “David, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and former member of the Navy’s Civil Engineer Corps, said he wanted to know what the officers involved thought of the oath they had sworn to protect and defend the Constitution. So, he said, on Saturday evening, he headed to downtown Portland to ask them. … An officer trained his weapon on David’s chest as several agents pushed him, sending David stumbling backward. But he regained his center and tried again. Another agent raised his baton and began to beat David, who stood unwavering with his arms at his sides. Then another officer unloaded a canister of chemical irritant spray into David’s face. That was all he could handle, David said, he turned and walked away, flipping off the federal forces as he went. … At the hospital, he said, he learned his right hand had been broken in two places.” 

Three House Democratic committee chairs are demanding inspectors general investigate this crackdown. In a letter to Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson and House Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney said that the Portland news “make clear that this misuse of resources and personnel remains a growing threat.”

At least a dozen Seattle police officers were injured as multiple businesses were vandalized. “As a large, peaceful protest against police brutality and ICE marched through downtown Seattle on Sunday afternoon, police said a separate, bat-wielding group showed up and began vandalizing businesses and injuring officers with fireworks,” Timothy Bella reports. "Two protesters were arrested.”

Roger Stone is accused of using a racial slur in a radio interview. 

During an interview with Morris O’Kelly, a black radio host, on KFI-AM (640) and iHeartRadio, “while Stone was apparently having trouble hearing the host, a voice that sounds like Stone mutters about ‘arguing with this negro.’ Stone denied using the word on the air, telling O’Kelly, ‘you’re out of your mind,’” Rachel Weiner and Manuel Roig-Franzia report. Stone told The Post that “it was O’Kelly’s ‘studio engineer’ who used the word. He also argued that ‘Negro’ is not offensive."

More on 2020

The Fix’s Aaron Blake analyzes who is on the vice presidential short list for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. (Video: The Washington Post)
Biden wants to be 'simpatico' with his running mate. Some fear that rules out most black women.

“As Biden enters the final stretch of a decidedly unconventional search process — he has promised to pick a woman, and is vetting several African American contenders who would make history amid a growing racial justice movement — the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee is facing growing pressure to break from an old playbook that has resulted in white men being tapped all but two times in the country’s history,” Vanessa Williams and Sean Sullivan report. “Few black women have had the opportunity to serve in the nation’s highest state and federal elected jobs, stymied by a history of systemic racism and sexism in U.S. politics. Only two black women have ever been elected to the Senate and none have ever won a governorship. … 

“Only one black woman on Biden’s reported list — Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) — has won statewide elections. … Other black women said to be in the running include Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.), who was one the managers of the House’s impeachment proceedings against Trump; Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and former speaker of the California State Assembly; Susan E. Rice, a former national security adviser and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D). … Georgia’s Stacey Abrams (D), the first black woman to win a major party nomination for governor, is said to have fallen off the list, with many citing the fact that the highest office she held was a Democratic leader of her state House chamber. … People with knowledge of the vice presidential process say that the fact that women like Rice, who has never held elected office, and Bottoms, who has no Washington experience, are being vetted indicates that the campaign is not following the old rule book about what makes a suitable vice president.” 

Trump is pouring millions into a plan to weaken Biden among voters of color, a tactic that worked in 2016. 

“Trump’s team is airing TV advertisements aimed at Black and Latino voters that attack the presumptive Democratic nominee over his past support of the 1994 crime bill, which led to increased incarceration, particularly among people of color, as well as his mental fitness in Spanish-language spots,” Politico reports. “In the past three weeks alone, the Trump team has spent more than $2 million on the advertisements in six swing states and nationally, according to Advertising Analytics. The blueprint is similar to the one they successfully executed against [Hillary] Clinton in 2016, when the campaign helped drive down turnout among African American voters in key battleground states by focusing on her past comments about ‘superpredators’ and advocacy for the crime bill.”

Democrats demanded an expansion of voting rights to honor the late John Lewis. 

“Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.), the House majority whip, urged Trump and [McConnell] to pass legislation that would expand voting rights in Lewis’s name,” Cat Zakrzewski and Haisten Willis report. “‘It should be the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of 2020,’ Clyburn said on CNN’s ‘State of the Union.’ … Clyburn also called for the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., to be renamed in honor of Lewis, a lifelong friend. The bridge, named after a former Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan leader, became a critical site during the civil rights movement. On Bloody Sunday in 1965, Alabama state troopers beat peaceful demonstrators there, including Lewis, who suffered a fractured skull.” (“John Lewis fought for voting rights. If you’re against that, you’re against him,” former attorney general Eric Holder writes in an op-ed for today’s paper.)

Former Florida congressman Allen West was elected chairman of the Texas GOP.

Early this morning, he defeated the incumbent chair, James Dickey, during a virtual convention. “West also appealed to some in the party who have grown frustrated with their own leaders — namely Gov. Greg Abbott — for how they have responded to the coronavirus pandemic. West rallied delegates against what he said was the ‘tyranny that we see in the great state of Texas, where we have executive orders and mandates, people telling us what we can and cannot do, who is essential, who is not essential,’” the Texas Tribune reports.

Social media speed read

Mothers joined the protests in Portland:

Many people noted the cognitive test Trump says he aced was not particularly hard:

And Biden celebrated one of his favorite days: 

Videos of the day

Rapper Kanye West held his first event since announcing plans to run for president: 

West – who has qualified to appear on Oklahoma's ballot – was vocal about his support for Trump until recently. He announced his candidacy on July 4. (Helena Andrews-Dyer

John Oliver dismantled some coronavirus conspiracy theories: