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Democrats are on verge of the unthinkable: Losing a swing district in California – POLITICO

Posted: May 10, 2020 at 5:49 am

Their battle plan: Hope for the best next week, then try again in six months in the rematch, when Democrats expect their voters will show up with the presidential election on the ballot.

We dont underestimate how much of a Republican-leaning district this could be in May, but that will be a different electorate in November, Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) said, noting that the winner will serve only a limited time in Congress. We dont get in this to lose a race, but I do think that in November, Christy will be successful.

Yet a victory by Republican Mike Garcia, a 44-year-old former Naval aviator and defense contractor, would provide a jolt of energy to the GOPs efforts to reclaim some of its lost suburban territory even as the partys chances of recapturing the House majority appear to be dwindling.

The close race is remarkable, in part, because voters in the district, which spans the northern Los Angeles suburbs, backed Hillary Clinton by 7 points two years prior. And President Donald Trump is still highly unpopular there; one Democratic survey found his favorability ratings underwater by double digits. Those same conditions could be present in several key seats that Republicans hope to flip back.

State Assemblywoman Christy Smith. | Rich Pedroncelli/AP Photo

It is not a unique district. It is similar to many of the districts that we won in the fall, said one Democratic consultant who works on House races. This was an anti-Trump response district, and if were ebbing in those districts we need to find out why. We cant just brush it off.

Trump gave Garcia his "complete & total endorsement" in a series of tweets Saturday.

Because of the coronavirus outbreak, the election will be conducted almost entirely by mail, and ballot return tallies thus far ballots must be postmarked by Tuesday and received by Friday in order to be counted have only contributed to Democrats fears.

The electorate so far is older, less diverse and more likely to favor the GOP. Of more than 118,000 returned ballots counted as of Friday, 44 percent are from registered Republicans, and just 36 percent are from Democrats, according to Paul Mitchell, the vice president of Political Data Inc., a bipartisan company that analyzes voter data.

Look at the age breakdown, Mitchell said in an interview, pointing to turnout rates that showed that 15 percent of voters under 35 years old have returned their ballots thus far, compared to 49 percent of those 65 and older. "Thats a big deal. The Latino population is pretty significant here," he added, "but theyre turning out at half the rate of white voters.

Privately, Democrats are pessimistic about their odds. The DCCC has spent over $1 million on TV ads boosting Smith after the March 3 primary, but the cavalry of outside groups that typically drop millions in special elections has largely sat out the race.

Both House Majority PAC and EMILYs List, which endorsed Smith, concluded the May electorate skewed too heavily toward Republicans and the cost of running ads in the pricey Los Angeles market was too high to justify a major investment when the winner would serve for only a few months before facing voters again, according to sources with knowledge of their spending decisions.

Democrats maintain that the GOP advantage will evaporate in November, when turnout will return to normal levels. Democrats have a voter registration advantage of nearly 30,000 in the district.

I think thats why a lot of groups are kind of pushing the pause button, said Aguilar, who co-chairs the DCCCs program for top offensive targets. And I think its a realization that the dynamics in this race in November are going to just be very different and lean our way significantly.

Yet some worry a Republican victory in the suburbs could set a concerning narrative, spur a surge in donations and energy in other Clinton-won districts that the GOP needs if they have any chance of taking back the House. Plus, Garcia could get a boost from his win, offering him a limited power of incumbency and a solid fundraising perch.

I mean, it wouldnt be good, Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) said of a potential loss on Tuesday. This is the only election, and this is a seat we won. So any time you lose a seat thats concerning. You dont take that for granted.

But Bass said she believes Smith will win and predicted that polls trying to gauge an all-mail election during a global crisis were portraying the race to be closer than it is.

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In an interview, Smith, a 50-year-old former school board member who flipped a red state Assembly seat in 2018, said she understood the need to allocate resources wisely and conceded her path to victory would be easier in November. But she also framed this election in dire terms.

The reason Im running is because my constituents cant afford to wait, especially in this Covid recovery moment, she said. We need a seat at the table for all of these decisions that are going to be made and someone who is there stridently fighting for what our community needs.

The race will be the first substantive test of how the pandemic affects federal elections. Both Smith and Garcia have been forced to wage largely virtual campaigns from their homes.

Garcia is running heavily on his bio as a former Naval aviator who returned to the district to work for Raytheon, a defense contractor.

He landed a Twitter endorsement from Trump but is also hoping to pick up independents turned off by the president. He has avoided many recent requests for media interviews, including for this story. And Democrats complain that has allowed him to avoid taking positions on key issues, including the administrations Covid-19 response.

Democrats dominate the congressional delegation in California, holding 46 of the state's 53 seats after netting 7 seats in 2018, including the 25th District. Republicans haven't flipped a House seat in California since 1998, when the GOP won two open seats that were held by Democrats.

After Hill resigned from the seat last fall, former Rep. Steve Knight (R-Calif.) announced a comeback bid. The DCCC and HMP, eager to face a foe they had easily dispatched, spent over $1 million to try and knock him into the runoff with Smith. But Knight (17 percent) finished a distant third place behind Smith (36 percent) and Garcia (25 percent) in the all-party election.

Privately, some Democrats have questioned the efficacy of expending precious resources trying to choose Smiths opponent in the runoff.

Republicans have hammered Smith as a Sacramento politician with a weak track record on education. And they seized on a gaffe she made on a livestream in which she appeared to mock Garcias time in the Navy. (She has since apologized.)

Christy Smith is a horribly flawed candidate who spit in the face of Mike Garcias military service and the public school teachers she voted to fire, NRCC Chairman Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) said in a statement. These issues are going to sink her campaign next Tuesday, and they will keep her sunk in November.

Democratic strategists believe the fall election will be more of a referendum on the president, and that the shadow of Hills resignation will have subsided. Private Democratic polling from December found Hill's unfavorable rating exceeded her favorable rating by double digits, according to a source familiar with the survey.

Hill waded into the race in April with her new PAC, cutting a direct-to-camera TV ad aimed at juicing Democratic turnout. Her $200,000 expenditure caught the DCCC by surprise, according to a source familiar with spending in the race.

In an interview late last month, Hill said she believed she was still popular with Democrats in the district and hoped her familiar face would boost turnout among her partys low-propensity voters.

I was hoping that the race would be much easier to win, right? she said. And we want to be smart about how we spend the money. Do you spend it now, or do you spend it in November?

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Democrats are on verge of the unthinkable: Losing a swing district in California - POLITICO

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The Southern Democrat with the power to shut down Trump’s convention – POLITICO

Posted: at 5:49 am

Between the governor and the mayor of Charlotte, who is also a Democrat, they really do control whether or not [the Republican convention] will happen, said David McLennan, director of the Meredith Poll, a statewide public opinion poll of North Carolina voters.

As one of a handful of Democratic governors in a Trump-friendly state, Coopers handling of the coronavirus is a test of his leadership and political savvy. So far, his wait-and-see approach to reopening North Carolina has boded well for him: A late April Meredith Poll showed two-thirds of North Carolinians including a plurality of Republicans approve of his job performance.

Those numbers have made Cooper a slight favorite to win a second term. But his popularity surge could be short-lived if the health crisis grinds on for months. Some Republicans have pushed Cooper to accelerate statewide reopening measures as other Southern states such as Georgia, Tennessee and neighboring South Carolina are doing in the face of skyrocketing unemployment and economic stress.

But what makes Coopers situation unique is the authority he wields over the other partys national convention. Trump has been adamant about having a full-scale in-person convention, but as those plans forge ahead, Cooper will have to walk a fine line between protecting and alienating his constituents.

The governor could ban such a large gathering outright. Or he could limit the number of people allowed to gather in any given place. But any moves to curb the convention could inflame Trump and his base and prove politically costly to Cooper in November.

It would be horrible for the governor to get out and try to clamp down on a nominating convention, said Daniel Barry, the former chairman of the Union County Republican Party. It would take something very dramatic for the state or the City of Charlotte to react in such a fashion and pull the plug.

The Republican National Committee is still scheduled to hold its convention in Charlotte, N.C., in late August. | Chuck Burton, File/AP Photo

Cooper has steered clear of predictions about the fate of the convention. Aides and Democrats in the state who work closely with him say he sees the event, which was expected to inject $200 million into the states economy, as a boon to North Carolina. If hes forced to call it off or scale it back, they said, it will be because public health officials whose advice he has heeded say it's too dangerous.

Republican officials said they havent had extensive discussions with Cooper about the convention; most of the talks have been between Charlotte's Mayor Vi Lyles, a Democrat, and GOP brass. But they said theyre not concerned that Cooper will pump the brakes on their convention plans.

On April 28, Charlottes Democratic-dominated city council voted 6-5 to accept a $50 million grant from the Justice Department to cover insurance and security costs for the convention, marking an important step forward. Opponents said holding a 50,000-person convention would be impossible to pull off and dangerous to public health.

During an April 3 Twitter town hall, Lyles hesitated to echo the GOPs full-speed-ahead message but said the city is "proceeding in that direction" [of hosting the convention] and has a contractual agreement with the Republican National Committee to do so.

Lyles addressed growing concerns during a second online forum on April 17, saying, I dont have an answer to say yes or no [about whether the convention will occur]. I have an answer to say we will be guided by the best decisions for our residents.

Democrats in the state who want the convention mainly point to the economic lift it would provide. Republicans see it as a needed boost for Trumps base and means of propelling Coopers challenger, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, in the fall governors race.

North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest. | Chuck Burton, File/AP Photo

According to a report from the governors office, North Carolina is flattening its coronavirus curve. But if North Carolina sees a second wave of infections close to August, Cooper will have to make a decision on whether or not Trumps show will go on.

Neighboring states like South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee relaxed stay-at-home orders as early as April 30, allowing residents to begin dining in restaurants and shopping in retail stores.

Cooper, by contrast, has taken a more measured approach. Hes employed a three-phase reopening strategy that allows nonessential businesses to reopen as early as Saturday but keeps a stay-at-home order in place for two to three more weeks, well beyond the edicts of other Deep South states.

I know people want their lives and their livelihoods back, Cooper said at an April 23 news conference at which he unveiled his reopening plans. And I have a plan to do that. But first, we need to hit certain metrics because the health and safety of North Carolinians is our No. 1 priority.

Cooper declined an interview request. But a senior political adviser, Morgan Jackson, said the governor "is not making any decisions based on Facebook comments and angry tweets, or signs that people are walking around carrying. Hes making them on health experts, data, science and also in consultation with business leaders and economists.

Cooper, 62, has been a fixture in North Carolina for more than three decades, including four terms as state attorney general. In 2007, he made national news in the infamous Duke lacrosse case, declaring that three players accused of sexual assault were victims of a tragic rush to accuse. In 2016, Cooper defeated Republican Gov. Pat McCrory after an uproar over the states bathroom law, becoming the first person to defeat a sitting governor in modern state history.

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The Southern Democrat with the power to shut down Trump's convention - POLITICO

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How Never Trumpers Crashed The Democratic Party – FiveThirtyEight

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Anti-Donald Trump activism among conservatives known informally as the #NeverTrump movement started in early 2016 as a way to stop the businessman from winning the GOP nomination. It failed.

Even by the slightly broader standard of influencing Republican politics, #NeverTrump has been largely unsuccessful. Trump won around 90 percent of self-identified Republican voters in 2016, similar to past GOP presidential nominees. About 90 percent of Republicans have approved of Trump throughout his first term, similar to George W. Bushs standing in his first four years in office. And with Trump as the face of the party, Republican congressional candidates won around 90 percent of the GOP vote in the 2018 midterms, just as in recent midterm elections. There is really only one anti-Trump figure among the 249 Republicans on Capitol Hill: Sen. Mitt Romney.

Never Trumpers tried to draft a high-profile Republican like Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan to run against Trump for the GOP nomination. That didnt pan out either. Facing fairly weak opponents, Trump easily won the GOP primaries that occurred earlier this year. Polls also suggest most Republicans will be strongly behind Trump this November too he is getting about 90 percent of the Republican vote in head-to-head match-ups with the presumptive Democratic nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden.

But Never Trumpers are increasingly involved in the Democratic Party and have gradually shifted their tactics in that direction effectively becoming a Never Trump and Never Bernie Sanders coalition. And they appear to be having more success shaping their new party than the one that many of them had been associated with for much of their lives. Heres how that shift has happened.

By pure numbers, the anti-Trump conservative bloc is both fairly small and not that remarkable. The group of Republican voters who disapprove of Trump is similar (but slightly smaller) than Democrats who disapproved of then-President Barack Obama during his first term. Conservatives who really hate Trump probably no longer identify as Republicans 11 percent of Republicans switched their party affiliation between December 2015 and March 2017, according to Pew. But surveys suggest that the share of Democrats switching affiliation in that same period is about the same. Its hard to be precise about this: Data suggests at most 10 percent of American voters overall are anti-Trump but generally lean Republican. Thats not nothing, but between 40 and 50 percent of Americans are likely to vote for Trump in November.

But while this hard to prove conclusively, anti-Trump conservatives are arguably way overrepresented in elite media, at least compared to their numbers in the general population. The New York Times, for example, has three conservative-leaning but Trump-skeptical opinion columnists David Brooks, Ross Douthat, Bret Stephens and no columnists who regularly align with the president. MSNBC has programs fronted by two anti-Trump hosts once closely aligned with the GOP establishment ex-Rep. Joe Scarborough and Nicolle Wallace, a former communications director for President George W. Bush and no explicitly pro-Trump hosts. Among the 53 Washington Post opinion writers highlighted on the papers website, seven are people who have identified with conservatives and/or the Republican Party in the past but regularly attack Trump. Just four are conservatives who regularly defend the president. Numerous anti-Trump conservatives are also featured prominently on CNN.

How did this happen? Well, from the media perspective, the prominence of Never Trump conservatives makes perfect sense. The readers and watchers of The Post, The Times and MSNBC in particular are disproportionately left-leaning. So these audiences probably dont want too much explicitly pro-Trump commentary. At the same time, news outlets usually like to present themselves as both offering a diverse set of voices and not too closely aligned with one party or the other. So by featuring, for example, George Conway, a conservative lawyer turned Never Trump leader who sharply criticizes the president in his cable news appearances and columns in The Washington Post, the press can essentially suggest, Its not just the liberal media, even Republicans were angry when Trump did X.

But its not simply as if the media has hired every Republican who says that they dont like Trump. Many of the conservatives in high-profile media slots (like Brooks) were there before Trumps rise. Robert Saldin, a political science professor at the University of Montana and co-author of a new book on anti-Trump conservatives, said the kind of conservatives who get jobs at places like CNN were predisposed to dislike a Trump-style GOP politician.

Many prominent Never Trumpers, Saldin said, operate and make a living in liberal institutions. They think of their jobs as translating conservative ideas to liberals. They had invested in the idea that conservatism was respectable, he said. In particular, Saldin said, these figures had worked hard to suggest that racism was not a major feature of conservatism.

So they were particularly horrified by Trump because he embodied what they had spent their careers saying was not conservatism, he added.

In my interviews with several prominent Never Trump conservatives, they not only suggested the groups high-media profile was somewhat accidental, but were kind of defensive about it.

Tim Miller, a prominent Never Trump activist who worked on Sen. John McCain and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bushs presidential campaigns, dismissed the notion that Never Trumpers are only in green rooms.

But getting into media consumed by liberals is in some ways the only game in town for anti-Trump conservatives, since Fox News is very pro-Trump and features few critics of the president. And that platform to reach Democrats has been particularly useful for Never Trump conservatives because

The core argument of Never Trump Republicans goes something like this:

This argument may not be totally true. And the Never Trump narrative is clearly self-serving of course a group of conservatives who feel like they dont fit in the current Republican Party prefer a more conservative Democratic Party that they can align with.

But true or not, this narrative matters because it has mirrored and likely influenced the Democratic Partys post-Trump strategy. Since Trumps victory, Democrats have done a lot of soul-searching. Is the party too left? Or is it too establishment and centrist? Are Democrats ignorant of the concerns of the Americans who dont live on the coasts? Are they too focused on nonwhite voters or not focused on them enough?

Faced with these complicated questions in 2017 and 2018, Democrats took an approach that was broadly similar to the Never Trumpers attacking Trump as a uniquely dangerous threat to American democracy while resisting more liberal policy ideas and recruiting fairly centrist candidates in key congressional races. This approach led some Never Trumpers to get behind Democrats in the midterms moving beyond simply opposing Trump to fighting the Republican Party more broadly.

By at least early 2018, if not late 2017, there was general understanding that we needed to build a cross-partisan pro-democracy coalition that could prevail over Trumpism, which meant helping to unite Democrats, independents and principled conservatives, said Evan McMullin, the anti-Trump conservative who ran for president in 2016 and now runs a group called Stand Up Republic that focuses on defending democratic values.

Fortunately, Democratic leadership and many candidates in competitive districts naturally understood this opportunity and what it required, he added. Unifying candidates like Ben McAdams in Utah and Abigail Spanberger in Virginia were examples of those who attracted the support of principled conservatives and Republicans.

Its hard to quantify exactly how many anti-Trump conservatives backed Democrats in 2018 and how big a role they played in Democrats taking the House and winning many key governors races. But that temporary alliance between Never Trump Republicans and Democrats was strengthened in 2019 for two reasons. First, Never Trump Republicans found there was little appetite in the GOP for a primary challenge to Trump another illustration of their declining influence within the party. And second, in a final blow for some of them, Republicans largely stood by Trump even as details emerged about his efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.

I was so sure there was going to be a handful of Republicans who were going to say it was clearly wrong, said Sarah Longwell, a longtime Republican strategist who was heavily involved in the effort to recruit a challenger to Trump. She added, Its been a slow realization that there isnt anybody left who is going to say anything.

In response, many of the Never Trumpers decided to get even deeper into Democratic politics, injecting themselves into the partys fractious presidential primary. And they had an obvious path to take: While Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren were pushing Democrats to take more liberal policy stands, several candidates were echoing the views of the Never Trumpers. Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg was arguing that a Democratic candidate with fairly moderate policy ideas could win over Republicans in a general election, emphasizing his potential appeal to future former Republicans. Sen. Amy Klobuchar made similar arguments. Biden was publicly noting how much he likes the writings of The New York Timess Brooks, who was calling for Democrats to avoid going too far left.

When Sanders did well in the early primaries and seemed like he could win the Democratic nomination, Never Trump conservatives turned into a Never Bernie coalition. The Never Trumpers argument that Sanders couldnt win the general election, in part because anti-Trump Republicans (like themselves) wouldnt vote for him was compelling, particularly for a Democratic Party obsessed with beating Trump. And the Never Trumpers were already in the ideal positions to make these arguments and reach Democratic Party elites and primary voters the web pages of The Atlantic, The New York Times and The Washington Post and on MSNBC. Miller, in an anti-Trump publication called The Bulwark, described how he and other Republicans had failed to mobilize effectively against Trump in the 2016 GOP primary and laid out a step-by-step guide for how Democrats could avoid the same fate. (The piece was widely circulated on Twitter.)

Sanderss allies noticed all of this, of course, and started to publicly complain that MSNBC, in particular, was covering his candidacy too negatively. Its hard to prove that a lot of Democratic primary voters were Never Trumpers or that Democratic voters were particularly swayed by the groups warning about Sanders. But Never Trump conservatives were thrilled with Bidens victories on Super Tuesday and think they played a part in it.

One group that really mattered in the primaries were the high-information voters, the people who watch MSNBC, listen to The Daily, said Miller, referring to a popular New York Times podcast. A lot of these people went from Harris to Warren to Buttigieg and finally landed on Biden. For these voters, it was all an assessment of who could defeat Trump. For them, we [Never Trumpers] have a unique experience and insight.

Our message before and during the early primary elections was that principled conservatives and Republicans were a winnable bloc and could provide the decisive votes in general election swing states as long as Democrats didnt nominate a divisive, far-left candidate, McMullin said. Appropriately, Democratic voters prioritized replacing Trump in 2020 above other issues.

As I explained earlier, it is possible that 5 to 10 percent of the people who will vote for Biden in November backed either Romney in 2012 or Trump in 2016 and at some point identified as conservative or Republican. So while Never Trump conservatives are a smaller and less formal constituency in the Democratic Party than black voters, for example, some of them feel exiled from a Republican Party dominated by Trump, backed Democrats in the 2018 midterms and participated in the 2020 Democratic primaries. Michael Halle, a strategist on Buttigiegs campaign, said about 50 of the campaigns county precinct captains in Iowa were former Republicans who changed their party registration to become Democrats so they could participate in the caucuses and back the former mayor.

Those exiled Republicans are already mobilizing behind Biden in the general election. They are urging fellow conservatives not to support Rep. Justin Amash, who left the GOP in 2019 and last week announced an exploratory committee for a presidential run as the Libertarian candidate. They argue Amashs candidacy might increase Trumps chances of reelection.

So Never Trump conservatives can probably make some demands of Biden, just like any other constituency in the party, and he might feel some need to court them.

And that seems to be happening. The former vice president hinted recently that he might name some Republicans to his cabinet or transition team. Rumors of his consideration of Klobuchar for vice president is no doubt largely about her potential appeal to voters in the Midwest, but her more centrist politics also make her a favorite of some moderate Republicans.

I dont know that Biden needs a message for Never Trumpers most Never Trumpers are going to vote for Biden, Miller said. But, he added, I do think eventually the campaign should have a message for them.

Mostly, Never Trumpers simply want Biden to run a general election campaign similar to his primary run, emphasizing more moderate policies and appealing to more centrist voters.

I dont want him to make crazy sacrifices to the left that he doesnt need to make, Miller said.

The extent to which Never Trumpers become card-carrying members of the Democratic Party might have broad implications for the partys future. Are we seeing the birth of a new, ex-conservative faction in the Democratic Party or the resurgence of an existing one, with Never Trump conservatives joining with longtime Democratic moderates? Could that wing of the party become as strong as it was in the 1990s? The 2018 general elections and the 2020 primaries suggest more centrist Democratic candidates are winning among white, college-educated voters in the suburbs against both Trump Republicans but also Sanders Democrats. Thats an opportunity for Democrats to expand their coalition after all, white voters are the majority of American voters. Its also likely to be a challenge: The more liberal bloc of the Democratic Party increasingly favors big, transformative policies on economic issues that longtime moderate Democrats and ex-Republicans are unlikely to ever embrace.

On the other hand, the alliance between Never Trump conservatives and Democrats could be a fleeting one. If Trump loses badly in November, perhaps anti-Trump Republicans can regain influence in the party many of them still want to be in.

If he loses, there is a lot of room for a fight over the soul of the party, Longwell said.

If he wins, then its pretty definitive.

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Democrats fume over having to clean up Bloomberg’s mess – POLITICO

Posted: at 5:49 am

Its ridiculous, said one Democratic operative familiar with the dispute, who was granted anonymity to speak frankly about the situation. There were dozens of candidates [with qualified employees] and the parties are being asked to prioritize the rich guys staff over everyone elses.

David Bergstein, the DNCs director of communications for battleground states, did not dispute that the DNC is pushing some state parties to hire ex-Bloomberg aides. But he said that every potential staffer goes through a competitive hiring process.

Bergstein added that the Bloomberg campaign ended with a very large pool of available and talented staff in many battlegrounds, and were making sure they, along with others who are interested, have opportunities to apply to our state organizing programs."

The state parties' resistance has in turn irked Bloombergs team. If people don't want the money, they can return it and it will be put to use in alternative efforts to defeat President Trump," a Bloomberg spokesperson told POLITICO. The Bloomberg campaign made the largest transfer in DNC history, $18 million, to help boost the DNC's coordinated efforts, including by enabling them to hire field organizers of ours who wanted to continue through November. It is certainly our hope that effort not only continues, but accelerates.

The rancor has highlighted Bloombergs growing influence in the Democratic Party as a donor and power broker after his failed presidential campaign, which now extends to hiring and contracting decisions. The rift over Bloomberg staffers is not an academic matter for Democrats: As Joe Biden ramps up his digital operation and shifts increasingly to online campaigning, the battleground organizers are some of the only on-the-ground infrastructure Democrats have in swing states right now.

Bloombergs digital operation has also been a point of contention since he left the race. The digital firm he started, Hawkfish, is seeking to take over large parts of Bidens digital operation for the general election, a possibility that has caused a clash inside the campaign.

Part of the disagreement over the staffers seems to stem from differing expectations of what Bloombergs money would be used for. The Bloomberg team argued that $18 million is enough to hire 500 additional organizers, but the DNC said it is using that money to hire people faster and ahead of schedule rather than increasing the expected size of its battleground organizing teams.

The DNC has also been committing money to other areas, such as recently reserving $22 million in YouTube ads for the fall.

One of the three senior state party aides said some of the Bloomberg staffers were underqualified and overpaid on his presidential campaign, and had outsized expectations. Entry-level organizing staffers on the Bloomberg campaign were paid at a rate of $72,000 a year, nearly double the salary of similar positions on other presidential campaigns.

Theyve been frickin spoiled, the person said. The two trends we noticed: They overshot what they were applying for and some felt as though they should have been compensated more than we were willing to go.

[The DNC] did make it clear it was a priority for them, the state party aide added. It was clearly a priority that they be able to show that they hired a lot more ex-Bloomberg [staffers] than they had to that date.

Other state party officials expressed gratitude to the DNC and Bloomberg for the large infusion of resources.

These early investments have helped us dramatically grow our organizing programs and ensure we have the folks we need to connect with voters early and across the Commonwealth, Lauren Reyes, Virginias Democratic Coordinated Campaign Director, said in a statement through a DNC spokesperson.

Even state party officials who were frustrated by the pressure to hire Bloomberg staffers, however, said they ultimately blamed Bloomberg for the problem. In order to ramp up his campaign quickly, Bloomberg enticed employees with a pledge that they would have jobs through November. After he lost the primary, Bloomberg abruptly fired most of the 2,400 members of the staff, leaving them unemployed and without health insurance amid an economy in freefall. The former New York City mayor, who is estimated to be one of the richest 10 people in the world, is facing two class-action lawsuits from former aides over the situation.

After a barrage of criticism, Bloomberg relented last week and offered to pay for health care coverage for his former campaign staff through COBRA until November, citing these extraordinary circumstances.

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Democrats Vote-By-Mail Effort Won in Wisconsin: Will It Work Elsewhere? – The New York Times

Posted: at 5:49 am

It was a shocking margin of victory in what was expected to be a close race: an 11-point blowout by a liberal judge over a conservative incumbent for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Now Wisconsin Democrats are working to export their template for success intense digital outreach and a well-coordinated vote-by-mail operation to other states in the hope that it will improve the partys chances in local and statewide elections and in the quest to unseat President Trump in November.

Their top officials have gone on a virtual nationwide tour, extolling the virtues of their digital campaign efforts in hopes Democrats and liberal activists elsewhere can replicate their victory, when Jill Karofsky, a liberal judge, ousted State Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly.

The first chance comes Tuesday in a special election for a Republican-heavy House district that covers the northern third of the state. It is the nations first partisan contest since Wisconsins April 7 election, and it will provide more evidence as to whether Democratic vote-by-mail success in that race is repeatable.

State party officials have spoken regularly with counterparts in other states, addressed a national virtual gathering of union activists and wrote a public memo with Stacey Abramss Fair Fight Action detailing lessons learned that can be applied elsewhere.

You do get to learn from these things, said Ramsey Reid, the battleground states director for the Democratic National Committee, who has facilitated calls between Wisconsin officials and their counterparts in other states. You get to train more volunteers, you get to build habits around voters and apply lessons learned to states that have challenges.

While officials are publicly bragging about tactics like video calls with voters who need hand-holding to navigate often-cumbersome absentee ballot request forms, theyve been more circumspect about efforts theyve employed in the event of a narrow defeat.

In Wisconsin, Georgia, Pennsylvania and other states with upcoming June primary elections, state parties, along with Ms. Abramss organization, are collecting hundreds of legal affidavits from Democratic voters who have trouble acquiring and casting a ballot. The documents are intended to be used for court battles ahead of the November general election and in Wisconsin that tactic would have been employed to challenge the results of the Supreme Court race had the conservative candidate prevailed.

Like in Wisconsin, Democrats in other battleground states with virtually no history of mail voting have for now shifted overnight to an all-mail get-out-the-vote effort. President Trump, on the other hand, has repeatedly attacked mail voting, and Republicans have said they would push ahead with plans to limit its expansion in Michigan, Minnesota and other key states.

In Georgia, more than 1.2 million people have requested absentee ballots for the states June 9 primary compared to just 36,200 requests for the 2016 presidential primary. Nearly as many Georgians have applied to vote by mail in the Democratic primary as cast ballots in the partys 2016 contest, when there were still competitive races for both parties nominations.

New Hampshire has no history of significant numbers of voting by mail. The state has no online portal to request an absentee ballot some municipal clerks accept requests via email while others do not. Democratic Party officials have been warned by their Wisconsin counterparts that, if hundreds of thousands of voters seek to vote by mail, local clerks will quickly become overwhelmed by the volume.

The New Hampshire Democratic Party has always run a voter protection hotline on Election Day and the few days before, but we are going to need to have that running for a much longer period of time, said Liz Wester, the director of the New Hampshire Democrats coordinated campaign, who has spoken extensively with officials in Wisconsin since April 7. It will be for months.

And Pennsylvania Democrats have found themselves struggling to convince wary voters that sending ballots through the mail is safe.

There is something about voting on Election Day, said Sincer Harris, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. Its something theyve known, theyre comfortable doing it, especially in the African-American community, you can count on it. Theres a little hesitancy when it comes to the mail system.

Last month in Wisconsin, a New York Times analysis found that Ms. Karofsky, the liberal candidate in the states nonpartisan Supreme Court race, performed about 10 percentage points better in mail voting than she did at the polls, suggesting Democratic voters were more likely than Republicans to request and return absentee ballots.

Republicans who control the state legislature have refused to allow all-mail elections, despite the pandemic. Health officials in Milwaukee said this week that 26 voters may have contracted the coronavirus while voting in April though the study said it was unclear precisely how they became infected.

The first test of whether Wisconsin Democrats April 7 methods can be repeated comes Tuesday, in the special House election that pits the Democrat Tricia Zunker, a school board president from Wausau who is an associate justice on the Ho-Chunk Nation Supreme Court, against Tom Tiffany, a two-term Republican state senator who has campaigned as a supporter of President Trump.

Officials say the contest is less about which candidate will hold the seat for eight months the two candidates are expected to face off again in November for a full two-year term than it is an exercise in training volunteers and voters in how to vote by mail. Each of the 110,000 voters who requested an absentee ballot for the Tuesday election had the chance to opt in to receive a mail ballot for the November general election. Its not known how many Wisconsin voters have already requested ballots for November, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Elections Commission said.

Our county only had four cases of Covid-19 and I think they are recovered by now, said Jim Kurz, the Democratic Party chairman in Rusk County. Most other counties in this district also had few cases, so I dont think fear of disease will keep voter turnout down.

Neither party considers the Wisconsin congressional election to be one Democrats have much chance of winning both Democratic and Republican internal polling shows Mr. Tiffany with a double-digit advantage but the margin between the two candidates could serve as an indicator of the state of the two parties enthusiasm.

In 2016, President Trump carried the district by 20 percentage points. But in last months Supreme Court race, the conservative candidate won the district by just 6 points while losing statewide by 11, according to an analysis by the University of Virginias Center for Politics.

Like the April 7 election, Tuesdays special election will take place with polling places open across the districts 700 municipalities in 26 counties. The Wisconsin National Guard will once again dispatch its members to help communities staff poll sites.

Mr. Tiffany, a two-term state senator who works as a dam tender on the Willow Flowage in northern Wisconsin, served as a poll worker during the April 7 election and said voters across the congressional district are less afraid of contracting and spreading the coronavirus than their counterparts in the states urban centers to the south.

People in the cities and suburban areas tend to vote more absentee, he said. With this being a more rural district, youll probably see fewer absentees than you did in the April 7 election.

Ms. Zunker had put thousands of miles on her car driving across the 26-county district before travel and public gatherings were restricted. Her campaign manager only moved to Wausau three days before Gov. Tony Evers of Wisconsin implemented the states Safer at Home ordinance that effectively ended all in-person campaigning.

She painted her race Tuesday as the first step toward former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. carrying Wisconsin in November.

When we put this seat back to blue, the state is blue again. The pathway to winning the presidential race starts on May 12, Ms. Zunker said in an interview last week.

Anything less than a double-digit victory for Mr. Tiffany will be seen as yet another indicator of Democratic momentum in what is certain to be among the most contested states on the presidential map.

The district is loaded with people who became tired of being looked down upon by urban people and so that has been exploitable by the Republican candidates in the past three elections or so, said David R. Obey, a Democrat who represented northern Wisconsin in Congress for 42 years before retiring after the 2010 election. Trump, he turns the dial a little bit, and I just dont know how much.

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Fixing inequities worsened by pandemic main issue for 5th Congressional District Democratic candidates – Roanoke Times

Posted: at 5:49 am

Addressing the inequalities in the United States exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic served as a major motivational force for Democrats running for Congress in central Virginia.

Political campaigns have had to adjust how they get the word out to voters while maintaining social distancing. So instead of a forum held at a high school or community center before a crowd of voters, the four Democrats participated in an online forum on Saturday.

The candidates all brought the issues they discussed, from health care to voting rights, back to the coronavirus pandemic as a reason to make bold improvements to policy at the federal level.

The four candidates are:

n Roger Dean Huffstetler, Marine veteran and Charlottesville entrepreneur who lost the Democratic nomination for the same seat two years ago

n John Lesinski, Marine veteran and former Rappahannock County supervisor who works in commercial real estate

n Claire Russo, Marine veteran and Albemarle County resident

n Cameron Webb, director of health policy and equity at University of Virginia

Voters will choose their nominee June 23. The Democrat will face Rep. Denver Riggleman, R-Nelson, or Bob Good, who are competing in a heated convention that will take place in the next several weeks at a date still to be determined. While the district is favorable to Republicans, House Democrats are targeting the seat.

The 5th Congressional District is Virginias largest district, stretching from Fauquier County to the North Carolina border and including Franklin County and part of Bedford County.

Health care and economic inequality emerged as two of the most pressing issues during the forum, moderated by Del. Elizabeth Guzman, D-Prince William.

This coronavirus pandemic has told us one thing: 2020 will be the health care election, said Webb, who has made fixing the health care system the main focus of his campaign.

Webb, an internal medicine doctor, said making sure people can access affordable health care is more complicated than a three-word slogan. He worked on a White House health care team during the Obama administration to help implement the Affordable Care Act. He said the country can do better than having health insurance tied to employers, and there should be a public option.

Weve got to fix private insurance so were putting people over profits, Webb said.

Huffstetler and Russo both supported a proposal U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., has reintroduced before called Medicare X, which would create a new public option for health insurance. Lesinksi also supported a public option.

This pandemic has clearly demonstrated to all of us that every American must have access to health care, Russo said.

The candidates said the pandemic has fueled a large growth in telemedicine. But Lesinski said people in rural areas dont have that same access because they lack broadband.

He said that as the country emerges from the coronavirus crisis and tries to rebuild its economy, rural America will fall behind unless it has the broadband needed to attract employers and to allow for people to work from home.

Its the rural electrification issue of our time, Lesinski said.

Huffstetler emphasized his familys working class roots and said his campaign is focused addressing economic inequality. He said the economy has been changing, and people dont always keep the same job for more than 30 years, and workers need to upgrade their skills. Hed like to work on developing a program so community colleges and industries partner together to maintain a skilled workforce.

My legislative priorities are making sure that when people work hard in this country, the country has their back, Huffstetler said.

Russo said the federal government did not prepare for the pandemic as it should have done. Citing her own background as a Marine officer training Marines and an intelligence officer learning lessons from past wars and applying them to the future, she said shes equipped to work on steering the country out of the crisis and preparing for future ones.

Its never been more clear that its going to take bold leadership to guide this country out of this crisis in a fair and just manner, Russo said.

Lesinski connected the poor planning for a viral outbreak to the lack of bold action on climate change. Climate change is a legislative priority for Lesinski, who said reducing the countrys carbon footprint and shifting to renewable energy will create new jobs.

Its a canary in the coal mine for fighting climate change, because if we dont get on this now, were going to lose a lot more lives, he said.

The candidates all agreed that the pandemic has highlighted the need to expand voting rights. Huffstetler said there should be automatic voter registration when people get their drivers license. He said working people cant always make it to the polls on Election Day, so he said being able to vote absentee without providing an excuse is essential.

There is no reason under the sun we should be making it harder to vote, Huffstetler said.

Lesinki said that even though states are making progress in expanding voting rights, more needs to be done at the federal level. He referenced the federal court decision this week to waive the witness requirement to cast absentee ballots in the June primaries in Virginia.

Republicans tried to retain the witness requirement, citing the risk of voter fraud. There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud with voting by mail.

The strategy here clearly is voter suppression, voter suppression of those individuals the Republican Party feels is going to be a continued threat to them winning or gaining a majority, Lesinski said.

During the last election, Riggleman defeated Democrat Leslie Cockburn by about 20,000 votes. Webb raised the issue of 38,000 black residents who arent registered to vote in the district, and more than 30,000 registered black voters didnt vote in the last election.

I think when we field the full team as Democrats, when we expand the electorate, we win, Webb said.

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Democrats on collision course with Trump and Republicans over Postal Service bailout – msnNOW

Posted: at 5:49 am

Provided by Washington Examiner

House Democrats want the next round of coronavirus aid to include a massive bailout of the U.S. Postal Service, which has, for years, experienced declining revenue exacerbated further by the coronavirus epidemic.

But Republicans and President Trump want significant reforms implemented before providing new funding.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, told reporters shell include a $25 billion bailout of the postal service in a massive economic aid package that is likely to top $1 trillion.

"We have to fight for the Postal Service," Pelosi said this week. "And people across the country are all tweeting and writing to me and stuff like that, saying we really protect our post office."

The post office bailout proposal is similar to a plan House Democrats proposed earlier this year. It was ultimately excluded from the $2.2 trillion spending bill passed by Congress on March 27.

House Democratic leaders are eager to get federal aid for the post office in the next round of economic aid.

It is an essential service that we need to maintain, and I think there is a consensus in the House of Representative's Democratic Party leadership and the members that that is necessary and appropriate, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, said. So, we want to see that included.

Republicans and Trump say the post office is in need of significant reforms needed to boost revenue and cut costs.

A Government Accountability Office report released this week reported the USPS suffered a net loss of $78 billion from 2007 to 2019.

USPSs current business model is not financially sustainable due to declining mail volumes, increased compensation and benefits costs, and increased unfunded liabilities and debt, the GAO reported. Absent congressional action on critical foundational elements of the USPS business model, USPSs mission and financial solvency are increasingly in peril.

The GAO called on Congress to consider new reforms to the Postal Service to improve operations and financial health. Congress last implemented post office reforms in 2006, but Republicans say new measures are needed.

Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in January asked Postmaster General Megan Brennan for a 10-year business plan to restore financial stability to the USPS. Brennan has yet to produce that plan.

The top Republican on Oversight who requested the plan, former Rep. Mark Meadows, is now Trumps chief of staff.

House Oversight Republicans issued a statement Friday, urging Brennan to finally provide the Committee with the USPS proposal for a sustainable, long-term business plan that was promised over a year ago.

Hoyer told reporters this week he talked to White House officials in March about providing money to the post office.

Brennan warned Friday it cannot keep operating without a bailout due to accelerated revenue loss caused by the pandemic. The USPS calculates it will lose $13 billion this year due to the coronavirus and $54.3 billion in additional losses over the next decade.

"Although the pandemic did not have significant impact on our financial condition in our second quarter, we anticipate that our business will suffer potentially dire consequences for the remainder of the year, and we are already feeling those impacts during the last half of March, Brennan said Friday. At a time when America needs the Postal Service more than ever, the pandemic is starting to have a significant effect on our business with mail volumes plummeting as a result of the pandemic.

In April, the Postal Service Board of Governors asked Congress to appropriate $25 billion to offset coronavirus-related losses, $25 billion to modernize the post office, and another $25 billion in unrestricted borrowing authority from the Treasury.

The White House has so far frowned on providing significant new revenue to the USPS without reforms.

Trump signaled last month he wants the Postal Service to find a way to increase revenue, suggesting they charge companies such as Amazon more money to deliver its packages.

Brennan is retiring next month. Trump has appointed Louis DeJoy, a North Carolina businessman and top Trump donor, to serve as the next postmaster general, beginning June 15.

The post office should raise the price of the packages to the companies, not to the people, Trump said on April 24. And if they did that, it would be a whole different story.

Trump added, If they dont raise the price, Im not signing anything.

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Risky Strategy Has Produced Wins for Democrats in Fights Over Pandemic Aid – The New York Times

Posted: April 24, 2020 at 2:56 pm

WASHINGTON In January 2018, Senate Democrats took a politically risky stand, shutting down the government to insist on protections for hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants. Gleeful Republicans saw the obstruction strategy as a huge blunder and pounded the Democrats, who caved after only a few days of sharp attacks and cut a deal to reopen.

Times and circumstances have changed.

Democrats have now blocked two consecutive coronavirus rescue packages pushed by Republicans and withstood withering criticism to win concessions and hundreds of billions of dollars they said were vital. At nearly $500 billion, the latest measure to move through Congress this week ended up being almost twice the size and much broader in scope than the original bill Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, tried to ram through two weeks earlier without negotiations.

It was a potentially dangerous strategy for Democrats, particularly in an election year, that left them open to accusations from President Trump and congressional Republicans that they were denying desperately needed money at a crucial moment for businesses trying to survive in the face of the pandemic. It may have also reduced their leverage in the next fight over a much larger stimulus measure that is likely to top $1 trillion.

But their willingness to take on those risks reflects Democrats confidence that the terrain of the current debate a public health crisis and economic disaster that will require the broadest government relief effort since the post-World War II era plays to their core strengths as a party. It is also based in part on their belief that Mr. Trump, whose re-election hopes are likely to rise or fall based on the public perception of his administrations response to the pandemic, has a strong incentive to compromise with them.

We think we are right, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, said in an interview explaining his partys stance. People were just united that this was a serious crisis, and it was sort of obvious what McConnell was trying to do.

The same was true last month, when Democrats twice voted to block a sweeping economic stimulus package that contained jobless aid, direct payments to Americans and business bailouts while they held out for their priorities, including stricter oversight requirements over how the Trump administration would spend the vast amounts of money. That $2.2 trillion measure passed unanimously.

My overall observation is its pretty hard to win a spending contest with a Democrat, Mr. McConnell said in a brief interview on Tuesday. They always want to spend more on everything.

Mr. McConnell has evidently had enough of a dynamic that seems to be empowering Democrats. After the latest aid bill passed the Senate on Tuesday, he cited mounting deficit spending Congress has now appropriated more than $2.7 trillion in only seven weeks to confront the pandemic and declared that Republicans would entertain no more coronavirus rescue packages until all lawmakers were back in Washington for a normal Senate session. That scenario could delay additional aid while allowing a fuller debate on emerging proposals, rather than negotiation and approval by a handful of top lawmakers in a nearly empty Capitol.

The Republican leader also sought to play down Democratic gains in the bill, emphasizing that they had failed to secure additional aid to state and local governments that they had aggressively sought.

Its unfortunate that it took our Democratic colleagues 12 days to agree to a deal that contains essentially nothing that Republicans ever opposed, Mr. McConnell said.

But the measure did contain multiple things that Mr. McConnell initially rejected as he sought approval of a bare-bones infusion of $250 billion into a small-business loan program that had quickly run dry of funds. Instead, that program got $320 billion in new funds, including $60 billion secured by Democrats to be funneled through smaller community lenders to reach businesses that can struggle to get loans from big banks.

Also included were $60 billion to replenish exhausted Small Business Administration disaster relief accounts, $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion for Covid-19 testing, plus a mandate that the Trump administration establish a strategy to help states vastly step up the deployment of tests throughout the country a move Republicans had opposed.

Of the four major things we pushed for, we got three over Republican resistance, Mr. Schumer said. But they knew they needed us.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who early on warned Mr. McConnell that his proposal would not clear the Democratically controlled House, called the outcome a clear win for her partys priorities. She said the legislation would not have been delayed at all if Republicans had accepted a Democratic counteroffer two weeks ago.

They like to say, Oh, we held up, Ms. Pelosi told reporters. No, we didnt hold it up. They held up. And now we have prevailed.

We needed to make sure they were working for everybody, not just the most-connected businesses, said Senator Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of Maryland, who said the business owners he consulted wanted Democrats to institute changes in the loan effort, not rush to inject more funding into a flawed program.

Even after the final agreement was struck, Republicans continued to slam Democrats for the delay. Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, the chambers No. 3 Republican, called it disgraceful.

For Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi to hold up that money for these people and hold them all hostage to create leverage is unconscionable to me, he said. They seemed to have no sense of urgency or sense of the crisis that is hitting this country.

The Trump campaign released a scathing ad on Monday attacking Ms. Pelosi for blocking the funding, juxtaposing footage of poor Americans struggling in the pandemic with clips of an appearance the speaker made on late-night TV in which she showed off her favorite ice creams. Nancy Antoinette, it called her.

Even as congressional Democrats were celebrating their gains in the legislation, they were under fire from progressive lawmakers and advocacy groups who saw the package as insufficient. Some on the left faulted Democrats for not extracting more from the Republicans, particularly for states and cities that are being pushed to the financial brink by the pandemic, or winning more direct aid for beleaguered Americans wondering how to pay rent when they cannot expect another check from the government.

This is a win for McConnell and Trump, said Ezra Levin, an executive director of the group Indivisible. This Covid 3.5 package is nothing close to what families and workers need right now.

Mr. Schumer and Ms. Pelosi disputed that notion and promised a robust Phase 4 of the pandemic relief effort. They noted that the Trump administration was also already mapping plans for another bill that would include infrastructure investments and aid for states. Democrats said that action would become inevitable as states and cities face decisions on laying off emergency workers and cutting other services and as the public clamors for help.

Mr. McConnell appears to be digging in, telling the conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Wednesday that he wanted to push the pause button on coronavirus relief legislation, and that this whole business of additional assistance for state and local governments needs to be thoroughly evaluated.

But with the pandemic continuing to roil the economy and facing intense pressure to respond from Democrats, the White House, governors of both parties and some of his own lawmakers, Mr. McConnell may once again find himself in the unusual position of struggling to hold the line.

Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.

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AOC Only Democrat to Vote Against $484 Billion Coronavirus Relief Package – National Review

Posted: at 2:56 pm

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez questions Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan as he testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee, July 18, 2019. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the $484 billion coronavirus relief package to replenish the depleted small business loan program, with Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) being the only Democrat in both the House or Senate to oppose the bill.

The House passed the bill, which includes $310 billion for the governments phase-three Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), by a 388-5 margin sending it to President Trumps desk after the Senate passed the bill on Tuesday. Four House Republicans Andy Biggs of Arizona, Ken Buck of Colorado, Jody Hice of Georgia, and Thomas Massie of Kentucky along with former Republican Justin Amash (I., Mich.) joined Ocasio-Cortez in voting against the bill.

Speaking to CNNs Manu Raju, Ocasio-Cortez explained that her problem with the bill was giving Republicans what they want.

McConnell is already talking about the deficit the moment we talk about getting people relief, she said. . . . That to me is a signal that Republicans are done.

The new funding includes $60 billion $50 billion in loans and $10 billion in grants for companies with less than $50 billion in total assets, with $30 billion of that for firms with less than $10 billion. The bill also includes $75 billion in additional funding for hospitals and health care providers, and $25 billion to help fund the nationwide effort to expand coronavirus testing.

Republicans and Democrats have sparred over the draining of SBA funding, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) saying Wednesday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) delayed the bill, but admitted that Democrats did reject a simple reauthorization proposed by Republicans.

Democrats should never have made the Paycheck Protection Program lapse. The House must follow the Senates lead and vote today to re-open it, McConnell tweeted ahead of the House vote Thursday.

Ocasio-Cortez drew criticism earlier this week for tweeting, and then deleting, praise over the U.S. oil market reaching negative territory for the first time ever. Over four million Americans applied for unemployment last week, according to data released Thursday, bringing the number of coronavirus jobless claims to over 26 million since last month.

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Democratic Party still hopes to hold ‘in-person’ convention in August – New York Post

Posted: at 2:56 pm

The Democratic Party still expects to hold an in-person convention to nominate Joe Biden for president.

The event is currently scheduled to take place in Milwaukee during the week of Aug. 17. Exact dates are unclear since party brass scrapped the original plans to host the convention from July 13-16.

We expect to hold an in-person convention in Milwaukee. We are planning for that, Democratic Party Chairman Tom Perez told reporters Thursday. At the same time, we do not put our public health heads in the sand. We dont do that right now. We wont do that in the run-up.

Perez left open the idea that part of the convention would be conducted virtually but was hopeful that it will be safe to congregate at the designated venue, the Milwaukee Bucks basketball arena, by August.

Wisconsin has confirmed more than 5,000 coronavirus cases and more than 250 related deaths, with stay-at-home order running until May 26 under Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat.

Biden has been less optimistic, speculating the entire event might have to be virtual.

Party conventions can draw tens of thousands over the course of several days. Some Democrats have suggested that a limited crowd could attend, while the roughly 4,700 delegates would stick to an online gathering.

I am hopeful that we can have a very exciting convention in Milwaukee where we can highlight the vice president and his history-making running mate, whoever she turns out to be, Perez said, referring to Bidens pledge to select a woman running mate.

Republicans, meanwhile, have projected much more confidence that they will be able to host their party convention just a week later in Charlotte, North Carolina, from Aug. 24-27.

With Post wires

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