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Kraichgauer
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29 Mar 2020, 2:41 am

Pepe wrote:
Kraichgauer wrote:
Pepe wrote:
Kraichgauer wrote:
Sweetleaf wrote:
Tim_Tex wrote:
I can picture Trump doing this, so he can be dictator for life.


Doing what exactly though?

The whole problem is he basically did nothing, and is doing nothing in regards to this crisis.

A travel ban of europe, while excluding the U.K isn't doing something about the crisis...he's still just trying to send a message of disapproval to the EU even in a time like this. Its already in the U.K how is a travel ban from europe excluding the U.K supposed to do anything?

I just don't see any part of this being his plot to become dictator, if anything he probably really hoped the travel ban of china would prevent it spreading here, even downplayed it early and well now the pandemic is here...and kinda seems he just has no idea what to do now.


Let's see if Trump will use the virus as an excuse to "postpone" the Presidential election.


Would *you* want to vote amongst hundreds of others that won't maintain their social distance?
If I had to vote, in Australia, I will either be doing a postal vote or cop the fine.
I won't be standing in line in any case.
Bugger that. :wink: The Queensland government over here in Oz is being criticised for going ahead with their election.
Like many over here, I see it as unbelievably irresponsible.


As voting is a right, I could care less if anyone keeps their distance or not. Besides, I vote by mail, so it's a mute point.


So you are saying most people in Amerika vote by mail?
Not the same over here by a long shot.


Depends on which state you live in. In my own state of Washington, where the local government doesn't try disenfranchising voters, everyone has the option - and encouragement - of voting by mail. That's not the case with all states, though.


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01 Apr 2020, 3:09 am

Dr. Fauci is predicting a second wave in the fall but with a lot less stringent measures needed because of better testing and available treatments. For argument’s sake lets say with contract tracing and treatments restrictions will be limited to localized targeted lockdowns. You can still have a situation whereby in a battleground state holding the election on time will be problematic.

IMHO after so many deaths from the first wave governments and individuals will be frightened by the second wave enough to restrict more than is recommended. Even if there is no second wave I can't envision people being comfortable with the thought of waiting on line for a few hours then going in a voting booth where hundreds have been before.


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03 Apr 2020, 9:32 am

Democratic National Convention pushed back to August

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The Democratic National Convention has been pushed back to the week of August 17 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the committee tasked with planning the event announced on Thursday.

The change represents a dramatic shift for the party, which has worked for months to host a convention in Milwaukee in mid-July. While officials began planning for contingencies in the face of the spreading coronavirus, many had remained hopeful that the virus would abate and allow Democrats to host the supremely important event.

Representatives for former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' campaigns were consulted on the decision to move the Democratic National Convention from July to August, two Democratic officials tell CNN. Biden currently holds a significant lead over Sanders in the nomination fight and is the party's frontrunner.

Democrats had initially picked the mid-July date as a way to hold their convention before the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. But when the Olympics were delayed by a year due to the coronavirus, the three weeks spanning July and August were open for what Democrats hope will be a major media moment.

The Democratic convention will now happen the week immediately before the Republican convention in Charlotte.
"In our current climate of uncertainty, we believe the smartest approach is to take additional time to monitor how this situation unfolds so we can best position our party for a safe and successful convention," Joe Solmonese, CEO of the convention, said Thursday. "During this critical time, when the scope and scale of the pandemic and its impact remain unknown, we will continue to monitor the situation and follow the advice of health care professionals and emergency responders."

Top Democrats began actively considering a range of contingency plans for the party's convention last month, including changing the date, shortening the in-person portion of the gathering or going entirely digital.

Those efforts sped up in recent days as former Vice President Joe Biden, who is leading in the delegate count, began to publicly call for changes to the convention planning, including saying on Wednesday that he thinks the convention will "have to move into August."

The change does create a series of problems for the planning committee, which has already locked in the convention venue and needed hotels for the influx of visitors.
Convention planners said on Thursday that the venue, the Fiserv Forum, and hotel accommodations in area are all still available in August.

Pressure was mounting on organizers as similar summer events, like the Olympics, began to be postponed or canceled. There was also an acknowledgment that conventions are not nimble organizations and any significant changes would take at least four weeks for organizers to fully implement.

The delay in the convention also puts off any consideration of changing the convention rules to allow delegates to cast their votes remotely. Current convention rules dictate that delegates have to appear in person to nominate a candidate, so a rule change would be needed in order to allow votes to be cast digitally.

Biden and Sanders' campaigns were notified of the plan to move the convention date on Thursday morning, a Democratic official tells CNN.

"The convention team has been contingency planning in light of the developing health crisis for the past couple of weeks. We notified both campaigns this morning of our decision to move," the official said.

The same official tells CNN that both Biden and Sanders' campaigns supported the decision to move the convention.

"They agreed it was the best decision in light of the health crisis facing the country," the official said.

One key issue in moving the convention was the venue -- the Fiserv Forum, the new home of the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks. Alex Lasry, senior vice president for the Bucks and chair of the Milwaukee's bid for the convention, tells CNN that the arena is available for the week.

Members of the party's powerful Rules & Bylaws Committee had begun to look at possible contingency plans, but had not actively begun talking about rules changes.

"Are we talking about rule changes right now? No, we are not. Will be two months from now? Maybe," Maria Cardona, a longtime Democratic operative and member of the committee, told CNN last week. "Are we looking for possible contingency plans about what something like that will look like? Yes, there are people looking at what that would entail."

Republicans, too, have been under pressure to consider changes to their convention, but benefited from the fact that they had initially picked late August for their meeting.

"The RNC is working closely with state parties, ensuring that they have the resources needed to get their presidential nomination processes done, and offering incredible flexibility in these circumstances," Mandi Merritt, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, said on Thursday. "We are fully committed to holding the Republican convention in Charlotte as planned and re-nominating President Trump."


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03 Apr 2020, 11:08 am

Well, we could go to a vote-by-mail system, like what California has, which would maintain and even increase turnout. But, because Republicans would be more likely to lose elections with the higher turnout, no can do:

Quote:
Georgia state House Speaker David Ralston (R) is coming out against a recent effort taken by Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) to mail absentee ballot request forms to all voters in the state amid the coronavirus pandemic, saying the move could be “devastating” for Republican candidates.

Last week, Raffensperger announced the state would be mailing absentee ballot request forms to its nearly 7 million voters “in an effort to allow as many Georgia voters as possible to exercise their right to vote without leaving their homes.”

The move came a week after the state postponed its presidential primary from March 24 until May 19, as officials nationwide have urged the public to stay indoors as much as possible and to avoid large gatherings in a bid to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

“So, here, you know, the process keeps going up and up and up and so a multitude of reasons why vote by mail in my view is not acceptable,” Ralston went on, before adding “the president said it best, this will be extremely devastating to Republicans and conservatives in Georgia.”

“Could it jeopardize Republican control the House and Senate in the state? Could it jeopardize, you know, other races up and down the ballot in 2020?" FetchYourNews host BKP asked the state leader.

Ralston said one of his main problems with the mass-scale voting effort were the possibility of fraud. He also pointed to concerns he thinks voters may have about “breaches of security systems and data systems.”

“And then another concern,” Ralston said, “and this comes under the category of you can't ever do too much, because now I read that, you know, members of these groups are not just [concerned] with voting by mail but they want the state to give them a stamp.”

According to The Atlanta Journal Constitution, local Democrats have called on the government to cover the cost for postage to help some of those voting by mail.

Ralston was referring to comments Trump made earlier this week about the vote-by-mail proposal that was included in the original House version of the coronavirus relief legislation that was backed by Democrats.

"The things they had in there were crazy. They had things, levels of voting that if you ever agreed to, you would never have a Republican elected in this country again," Trump said in an interview on "Fox & Friends” on Monday. "They had things in there about election days and what you do and all sorts of drawbacks. They had things that were just totally crazy."

When discussing the vote-by-mail effort in Georgia, Ralston said, “This will be the first time we have had this and it's going to be every registered voter in Georgia.”


https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watc ... evastating


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03 Apr 2020, 11:10 am

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When discussing the vote-by-mail effort in Georgia, Ralston said, “This will be the first time we have had this and it's going to be every registered voter in Georgia.”

“Let me emphasize,” he continued. “Let me say that again, every registered voter is going to get one of these. Now, I ask you, because I know you keep up with this, what was the turnout in the primary back in to 2018 or 2016?”

“Was it 100 percent?” Ralston asked. “No. It’s way, way, way lower and so, you know, this is going to, this will certainly drive up turnout.”

“Yeah, we’ll be trying to explain why turnout was so high,” BKP responded, laughing. “I got it. I think I picked that one up.”


I don't think they're concerned about fraud so much as they're concerned that if every voter gets a fair chance to vote, they'll lose the election.


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03 Apr 2020, 4:44 pm

beneficii wrote:
I don't think they're concerned about fraud so much as they're concerned that if every voter gets a fair chance to vote, they'll lose the election.

Trump admitted it, when objecting to funding measures to increase voter turnout:
Donald Trump wrote:
The things they had in there were crazy. They had things, levels of voting that if you’d ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again

Source:https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/mar/30/trump-republican-party-voting-reform-coronavirus



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09 Apr 2020, 5:30 am

Murphy officially delays New Jersey primary to July 7: ‘I don’t want a Wisconsin’

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Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday officially postponed New Jersey’s primary election from June 2 to July 7 because of the coronavirus pandemic, declaring, “I don’t want a Wisconsin, where folks have to pick between exercising their right to vote on the one hand and protecting their own personal health.”

Murphy said he signed an executive order to delay the primary for two reasons.

First, we want to preserve the possibility that improvements in the public health situation will allow for in-person voting, and delaying the primary by five weeks increases the likelihood of that,” Murphy said during his daily briefing. “If, failing that, we eventually have to make the move to a statewide all vote-by-mail election … we have to make sure our systems are able to handle that.”

The deadline for candidates to file for the June 2 primary has already passed, and Murphy’s executive order doesn’t reopen it. It delays all deadlines after April 11 to be pushed back. Thursday’s deadline for voters to change party affiliation will also be delayed to May 13.

The state got more flexibility to move its primary date after the Democratic National Committee moved its national convention from July to August, allowing the state to delay its primary and not have to forgo sending delegates to the convention. The Republican National Convention was already scheduled for late August.


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30 Apr 2020, 6:57 pm

The Nightmare Scenario’: How Coronavirus Could Make the 2020 Vote a Disaster

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For a certain segment of the American electorate, the onset of the coronavirus pandemic birthed a 2020 nightmare scenario, with an embattled President Donald Trump delaying the November election.

But the prospect that terrifies election experts isn’t the idea that Trump moves the election (something he lacks the power to do); it’s something altogether more plausible: Despite an ongoing pandemic, the 2020 election takes place as planned, and America is totally unprepared.

The nightmare scenario goes something like this: Large numbers of voters become disenfranchised because they’re worried it’s not safe to vote and that participating makes it more likely they catch the coronavirus. Voter-registration efforts, almost always geared toward in-person sign-ups, bring in very few new voters. A surge of demand for absentee ballots overwhelms election administrators, who haven’t printed enough ballots. In some states, like Texas, where fear of coronavirus isn’t a valid reason to request an absentee ballot, turnout drops as Americans are forced to choose between voting in person (and risking contact with the coronavirus) or not voting at all.
At the same time, confidence in the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service — whose coronavirus funding President Donald Trump has already threatened to block — teeters, and its involvement in handling so many absentee votes causes concern. Much as happened during the Wisconsin primary, a flood of mailed-in ballots makes it impossible to get full returns on election night, with heavily blue Democratic cities being, as usual, among the slowest to count. Trump declares victory based on those early returns, and again claims that the yet-to-be-counted absentees are tainted with fraud. Days later, with those votes counted, Joe Biden is declared the victor. Across the political spectrum, faith in the democratic process disintegrates as Americans question both the validity of the election and the ability of the government to respond to challenges it should have seen coming.

In surveying this scenario, what’s especially frightening is that it’s not far-fetched — at least according to University of California, Irvine professor Rick Hasen, one of the nation’s top experts in election law and the author of “Election Meltdown.” While much of the hand-wringing for the past month of more has been forward-looking — how coronavirus will change life at some point in the future — Hasen says the coronavirus is already changing American democracy, and that unless we adapt swiftly we’re headed for a world of pain in November.

Late last week, I interviewed Hasen and walked through what the coronavirus pandemic will actually mean for the 2020 election — not in terms of its impact on the Trump or Biden campaigns, but on American democracy itself. What follows is a transcript of that conversation, edited for length and readability.

Zack Stanton: More or less since the start of the stay-at-home orders in March, one of the things people have fretted about is whether Donald Trump can postpone the November election. And the answer is that he cannot, correct?

Rick Hasen: That's right. The Constitution gives Congress the power to set the date for presidential elections. And Congress set it in a statute that dates back to, I believe, 1845. So it would take an act of Congress to change the date of the election. But that doesn't mean that there aren't things that Trump could do that could affect the outcome of the election. And there are two at the top of my list, which I can tell you about if you're interested.

Stanton: Please do.

Hasen: Sure. So one is that the president tries to use some kind of emergency power or something to shut down cities on Election Day in the name of promoting health and preventing the spread of disease. And of course, if you stop people in Detroit and Philadelphia from voting, that would affect election outcomes. The other is that — and this really gets into the technical weeds, but it's constitutionally possible — the Constitution gives each state legislature the power to set the rules for choosing that state’s presidential electors for the Electoral College. Every state has said, "Well, we're going to let the voters choose." But in the 2000 case of Bush v. Gore, the Supreme Court said that state legislatures can always take that power back to themselves.

So you can imagine a situation where Trump tries to get the [Republican-controlled] Wisconsin Legislature, for example, to choose the electors itself. Now, I think if that happened, there would be rioting in the streets. This would be a profoundly anti-democratic move, but I think under the Constitution, this would be permissible. The wrinkle there is whether the state legislature could do this without the approval of the governor — Wisconsin’s governor being a Democrat who would obviously block it if his approval was required. Same situation in North Carolina, same situation in Pennsylvania…

Stanton: And Michigan.

Hasen: … but not Florida.

Stanton: That's interesting. So, the Constitution is vague on the question of whether or not a governor would be needed for that?

Hasen: The Constitution says that state legislatures set the rules for choosing electors. But there have been a number of cases where the court has tried to figure out whether “legislature,” in different contexts, means the legislative body that we call the legislature, or whether it means the legislative process, which would include, for example, the governor. There is some conflicting Supreme Court authority on this question, including a 5-4 case that depended on Justice Anthony Kennedy's vote, and Kennedy is now gone. This is at least a theoretical possibility — and it worries me much more than postponing the election.

Stanton: What does precedent say?

Hasen: The weight of the authority is that ordinary legislation would be required — which would mean a governor would be involved. But it’s not clear that the current majority of the Supreme Court, which takes a more originalist view, would actually agree with that. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote a very strong dissent — one of the strongest he's ever written — in the most recent case where the court considered an analogous question. This was in an Arizona redistricting case, where the question was whether the voters could take away the power of the state legislature to draw districts, and instead give it to [an independent] commission. And the majority, which was made up of the four liberals and Justice Kennedy, said that "legislature," in this context, means the legislative process, which includes the initiative process in Arizona. Roberts read the word "legislature" much more narrowly: “No, ‘legislature’ has to have at least a role for the legislature.”

So, it would be a real constitutional mess if it came down to that issue. But it would be much more of a political earthquake. I mean, imagine the voters of a state being told, "You don't get to vote for president; the legislature is going to do it."

Stanton: In the scenario of the president declaring a state of emergency over coronavirus and depressing turnout, is that anything a governor has the ability to do on their own? Could, say, the Republican governor of Georgia do that to depress turnout in Atlanta?

Hasen: Sure! I mean, that would depend on what state law says the governor can do. Remember, the governor of Ohio got the health director to declare that polling places had to be closed for the primary, which led the secretary of state to reschedule the primary. That was a controversial move, and I was very troubled by it even though I thought it was right. Governor Tony Evers tried a similar move in Wisconsin. I think if something like that happened, you'd have people running to court claiming that this is a violation of people’s rights, especially if it happened just for Election Day. It would be, again, a kind of constitutionally questionable hardball move, and I think even the most self-interested of politicians is going to realize that the political backlash to something like that could be enormous.

Stanton: It seems like part of the complexity here is that though the actual date of a federal election is set at the national level — "the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November" — the actual administration of the elections themselves varies widely by state.

Hasen: That's correct.

Stanton: So, we have a national pandemic, which states are responding to quite differently. And we have a federal election, which states will administer quite differently. And all of this is colliding. What is, in your mind, the nightmare scenario?

Hasen: I'm worried about large numbers of voters being disenfranchised, through no fault of their own, because it's not safe to vote. That's my No. 1 concern. And so I've been working with an ad hoc committee of leaders in law, tech, media and politics, we've come up with a set of recommendations for how to avoid an election meltdown. States have not done enough "plan B" emergency planning.

One of the answers has got to be that you have a variety of mechanisms for voting. So you have expanded vote-by-mail for people afraid to vote in public. But what if the mail system collapses? You know, the postal service not being funded, the pandemic spreading throughout the postal system, and mail becoming unreliable — there's all kinds of things that could happen. So we need to have in-person voting, and that needs to be safe, or as safe as possible.

The other thing I'm worried about — and this is a very specific scenario — is that even before coronavirus, Michigan and Pennsylvania, two very key swing states, announced that they were moving to no-excuse absentee balloting — which, I think, is a great thing. People should be able to have their choice of how to vote so long as it can be done securely. And I was already worried that places like Detroit and Philadelphia are going to be overwhelmed with absentee ballots. Now, it's going to be many times magnified, as we saw in Wisconsin.

It's possible that there'll be partial returns released on election night. You can imagine it's the cities that are slowest in the count, as usual. Trump declares victory and says that voter fraud is endemic in absentee ballots — especially from cities like Philadelphia, which he's claimed is full of voter fraud in the past. And then, five days later, Biden is declared the winner. And the election turns on this. You have two competing candidates claiming victory, potentially two competing slates of electors sent to the Electoral College, and just a huge mess. So that's one of my nightmare scenarios. One of the ways we need to deal with that is that the media has a very important role in educating the public about election delays not meaning that something nefarious is going on, but [instead] that a count is being done carefully. Like a fine wine, good election results take time; you have to be patient. And the American people are not going to be patient about the results of November's election.

Stanton: We're less than 200 days out from the general election. In a normal cycle, what is going on at this point in terms of preparing for administering an election — and how is that different with coronavirus?

Hasen: Normally, polling places would be secured. Orders for printing ballots would be put in. Machines need to be procured; it's a little too early to program them. It's a little early to start hiring for poll workers. But all of the activity that takes place before the election would happen, except in those states that are still going to run primaries.

Preparations need to happen right now. If you're expecting five times the number of absentee-ballot applications — like Wisconsin saw — you’re going to need to have a printer set up for that, and you're gonna need to have a procedure set up to mail those ballots out. And if people have to apply for absentee ballots individually, those are all going to have to be processed. Lots needs to happen now that wouldn't ordinarily have to happen quite so early.

All of our models about how many people will vote in person or vote by mail, we've got to throw out the window in the context of the pandemic. And I think the prudent thing to do now is to expect that there's going to be a surge of vote-by-mail in every state, and to prepare for that.

Stanton: Are there any states that you see as a sort of model for how to hold an election during a pandemic?

Hasen: Ohio is an example where they seem to be proactively working to make sure voters have easy access to vote-by-mail if they want it. And although I didn't like the way in which Ohio postponed its [primary] election, I thought it was the right thing. And that gave more time for people to be able to apply to vote by mail and to be able to register to vote.

The other thing we haven't touched on, but which is so important right now, is that normally, as the general election period takes off, there would be heavy voter-registration efforts — a lot of it in-person, [where you] go to the park and get people to fill out registration forms. I think there are 10 states that don't allow online voter registration, that require you to go somewhere in-person to register. And with government offices closed, I think there are going to be a lot of people who are not going to be able to vote in November because they're not going to be registered in time.

One of the hottest issues now in litigation, which was not on the radar until about two months ago, is that in the one-third of states which require an excuse to be able to vote by mail, what counts as a valid excuse? Some states have said that if you're worried about getting the coronavirus and you don't want to be out in public, that's a good enough excuse. Others, like Texas, are fighting that. Their attorney general is threatening criminal prosecution against people who would claim fear of the coronavirus as a reason to want to vote by mail. So that's being litigated now. I actually think litigation is a good thing now, because it's better to have clarity about what the rules are well in advance.

Stanton: Vote-by-mail is pretty familiar to most people, but also seems newly partisan in an odd way. But my understanding is that the origins of absentee voting, or at least where it became widespread, was with the Republican Party in California.

Hasen: I mean, absentee voting goes back to the Civil War as a way of giving soldiers a chance to be able to vote. But you're right that California was one of the places that pioneered vote-by-mail, and California Republicans were much faster in advocating for it than Democrats. Now, putting [the] Wisconsin [primary] aside, which I think was an unusual race because of the pandemic and the Republican legislature's response to it, there's no good evidence that vote-by-mail favors Democrats over Republicans. It is true that Democrats have, in recent years, caught up with Republicans, but in many states, like Florida and California, Republicans have a long history of using vote-by-mail as a way of getting out the vote.

Stanton: But there are concerns about fraud and “ballot harvesting” with absentee votes. On what scale does that happen? How widespread is it?

Hasen: Election fraud in the United States in modern times is very rare. When it does happen, it tends to happen more with absentee ballots than with other forms of voting. There's a very good database of all election prosecutions that researchers could track from 2000 to 2012. And 24 percent of the cases involved absentee-ballot fraud in one form or another — sometimes it had nothing to do with actual voting. But that 24 percent of cases made up only 491 prosecutions nationwide during a period when billions of ballots were cast; the rate of absentee-ballot crime appears quite low as an absolute matter. In fact, the five states that use mostly mail-in balloting for their elections have not seen significant cases of crime. Now, of course, the calculation is different [because of coronavirus]: The benefits of voting by mail are greatly increased because now it's not just the convenience, it's the safety that comes from not having to interact with as many people when you're voting in person.

Stanton: President Trump recently attacked voting by mail, calling it “ripe for fraud.” The ability to believe in the sanctity of an election and the accuracy of its outcome is pretty central to a functioning democracy. Are you concerned at all that the cat is out of the bag a little bit — that distrust is sown about mail-in ballots, and there's not necessarily an easy way to come back from that?

Hasen: I've always been concerned that [Trump] would claim that fraud was the reason he might lose an election. And I still think that might happen, should he lose — which brings up the Election Administrators’ Prayer: "Lord, let this not be close." If you have a real blowout, it's hard to claim that fraud is the result.

How do we ensure that elections are not only conducted fairly, but that people have confidence in them, when recent public opinion polling shows up to 40 percent of the public is not convinced that elections are conducted fairly? I think there's a role to play for elected leaders, social media companies, traditional media companies, lawyers, members of Congress, state and local election officials — there are steps that all can take to try to minimize the chances of a meltdown. And that's really where we have to focus our efforts, especially now in this Covid-19 era.


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24 Jul 2020, 9:19 am

Trump announces he's canceling Jacksonville portion of GOP convention

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President Trump announced Thursday he's canceling the Jacksonville, Florida, portion of the Republican National Convention next month, citing the raging coronavirus crisis.

Speaking from the White House briefing room, Mr. Trump said delegates will formally nominate him in Charlotte, North Carolina, but he did not announce where his speech will take place. Much of the convention had already been moved from its original site in Charlotte to Jacksonville.

But coronavirus cases continue to climb in Florida, which on Thursday reported 173 deaths, a daily record for the state.

It's just not the right time for that," the president said of having a large Republican gathering in Florida. Mr. Trump said he felt it was wrong to have people travel to a COVID hot spot for the convention. "We didn't want to take any chances," he told reporters.

"I care deeply about the people of Florida and everywhere else frankly in this country and even in the world. Would be coming into the state and I don't want to do anything to upset it, they'll be doing very well," the president said.

Bill Stepien, the new chairman of the Trump campaign, said the president is "leading by example."


How Trump went from a massive convention bash to no party at all
Quote:
On Wednesday evening, President Donald Trump convened his top political advisers, including campaign manager Bill Stepien and Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, for a conference call to consider a move that would have been unthinkable just a few weeks ago: Cancel his party’s upcoming convention in Jacksonville, Fla.

By Thursday afternoon, with coronavirus raging in the state, the president who all year envisioned a boisterous send-off to the final months of his reelection campaign, had made up his mind: It was a no-go.

It was a stunning reversal for an optics-obsessed president, who'd been so adamant about a massive convention that he moved it from Charlotte, N.C. to Florida to ensure it would happen.

But for Trump, who for months has resisted pleas to take the virus seriously, the decision reflected a sudden shift in posture. Over the past week, the president has resuscitated his coronavirus briefings, urged people to wear masks and conceded that the virus would “probably, unfortunately, get worse before it gets better.”

Indeed, by Thursday the president had come to terms with pulling the plug, not betraying anger or irritation at being forced to retreat, according to a person familiar with his dealings on the matter.

Deliberations about canceling the convention accelerated in the 36 hours prior to Trump’s announcement in the White House briefing room Thursday, a person familiar with the discussions said. The president told reporters covering the latest of his just-revived coronavirus briefings that it wasn’t “the right time" to hold a "big, crowded convention."

But behind the scenes, senior Republicans had been considering the possibility of forgoing an in-person event for the months. Even before deciding to move the convention from Charlotte to Jacksonville last month, party officials considered the prospect of scrapping it. As coronavirus cases spiked around the country, they considered an array of options for how to stage Trump’s coronation safely, even as the president and the party plowed ahead with fundraising and planning for Jacksonville.

Pulling it off even in the best of times would be a staggering task. Normally, a party spends years planning a convention; Republicans had just two months to collect the $20 to $25 million needed, and tapped a veteran party fundraiser, Jeff Miller, to help them do it. But money would turn out to be the easy part compared to figuring out the sheer logistics of holding a convention during a pandemic.

After huddling with Trump in the White House last week, organizers settled on a plan to shrink the event. Only delegates and a guest of their choosing would be allowed to attend Trump’s Aug. 27 nomination speech, McDaniel wrote in a letter to RNC members.

McDaniel made four trips to Jacksonville to chart plans, most recently two weeks ago. Her staff would shuttle to Florida weekly.

Tony Sayegh, a former Treasury Department official helped to steer the White House impeachment defense, was tapped to help with programming for the four-day event.

But as planning intensified, so were discussions about shutting down the celebration. Coronavirus cases were spiking in the Jacksonville area. And by this week, convention officials were confronting another growing problem: Security.

“As we're talking today, we are still not close to having some kind of plan that we can work with that makes me comfortable that we're going to keep that event and the community safe,” Duval County Sheriff Mike Williams told POLITICO Monday explaining his reasons for not providing law enforcement.

Republican officials remained confident they could pull the convention off and raise the money needed. But Trump was growing warmer to the possibility of putting the kibosh on it. He hinted at his forthcoming decision Tuesday, telling reporters that “Florida is in a little tough, or a big tough, position.”

By Wednesday evening, he was placing calls to confidantes raising the idea of canceling. He finally pulled the trigger Thursday afternoon and began informing close associates of his decision.

The tipping point, aides said, was an acknowledgment of the overwhelming health risks. Florida has surpassed 10,000 new coronavirus cases nearly every day for at least two weeks. On Thursday, the state Department of Health reported a record 173 new deaths. The state’s positivity rate, which hasn't dipped below 10 percent for a month and hit more than 12 percent Thursday.

Hoping to keep the news from leaking and knowing Trump wanted to break the news himself, aides kept a tight circle of people involved in the deliberations. Organizers on the ground in Florida said they first heard of the decision when Trump went on TV Thursday. Donors were also caught off guard.

Senior Republicans were plainly relieved. They no longer have to scramble to put a massive event together in the face of a pandemic.

But more importantly, the announcement showed that Trump finally understood that his blasé approach to the pandemic was dragging down his reelection hopes.

Organizers say they're weighing alternative plans for the late-August convention, including whether it will be in an all-virtual format. Like Democrats, they are planning to have four nights of programming.

Regardless of his decision to scrap the convention, Democrats signaled they intend to make Trump’s coronavirus response central to their general election message.


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26 Jul 2020, 12:43 am

FiveThirtyEight Politics Podcast: The U.S. Isn’t Prepared For A Pandemic Election


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26 Jul 2020, 4:57 am

I dont support either but i might have to vote trump this time, hes a jerk but is more functional man than Biden who has dementia, half the time he doesnt know who he is.



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26 Jul 2020, 5:44 am

Vegeta wrote:
I dont support either but i might have to vote trump this time, hes a jerk but is more functional man than Biden who has dementia, half the time he doesnt know who he is.


The idea the Biden has dementia has been way overblown. The fact is, he had always had a tendency to ramble on, even in his younger years, but even today, there's always been a point to it all. More recently, he's gotten his act together with his oratory.
Trump is hardly functional. Most of what he says is nothing but an incoherent word salad. His more responsible White House staff used to take papers off of Trump's desk - out of sight, out of mind - in order to keep him from doing anything too insane. On top of that, Trump is considered to be barely literate by those around him, and has demonstrated to have almost no grasp of national and international concerns.


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