5. 48-ish days to the VP pick:
Former Vice President Joe Biden has said he would like to have picked his running mate by August 1 — which isn’t that long now!
Biden himself has retreated somewhat from his earlier armchair quarterbacking of who was under consideration and who, well, wasn’t.
While he still occasionally offers praise for the most-mentioned candidates — and his campaign has held virtual fundraisers with politicians like New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham — the former vice president tends to resist much political handicapping these days.
Which means things are getting more serious.
4. How do Democrats dance around ‘Defund the Police?’:
What Democrats in Congress want to spend this week talking about is the package of legislation they introduced last week aimed at reforming the police — from banning chokeholds to building a national database of police misconduct.
“Nobody is going to de-fund the police. We can restructure the police forces. Restructure, re-imagine policing. That is what we are going to do. The fact of the matter is that police have a role to play.”
Which is, politically speaking, the right place to be. Lots of people support reforming law enforcement. Far fewer back defunding it entirely.
The question before congressional Democrats is whether Clyburn’s stated position on Sunday is enough for the more activist wing of their party.
3. Trump and the ramp:
Twitter went bananas, suggesting Trump looked old and frail. Which is, of course, what Twitter does.
But then Trump decided to drastically amplify the profile of the moment — and ensure it became a MUCH bigger story.
It’s hard to overestimate the miscalculation here by Trump. Without his tweet, the video of him walking down the ramp is, maybe, a minor Sunday story. With the tweet, it’s a BIG story on Sunday, with the potential to leak into a week that the President wants to be focused on the restart of his reelection campaign.
It’s a disastrous political instinct.
2. The Trump campaign restart:
It’s been a disastrous last few weeks for Trump and his party. (See below). The President hopes this is the week where that all changes, with everything pointing toward Saturday’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
While that has been botched already (the rally was originally scheduled for Friday, June 19, which is known as Juneteenth, a day celebrating the end of slavery) Trump and his closest allies see a return to the campaign trail as perhaps the thing that can heal what ails the President’s political fortunes.
But with coronavirus surging — in the west and Southwest in particular — the week’s news coverage is likely to focus, at least in part, on the wisdom of Trump holding a large rally at all.
And yet, there are no current plans to enforce social distancing at the rally or mandate mask wearing.
So yes, Trump will likely get what he wants — a big crowd celebrating the country’s “transition to greatness.” But at what cost?
1. Push the panic button:
Late Saturday night, the Des Moines Register released a poll on the Iowa Senate race. And it was a shocker.
And that is t-r-o-u-b-l-e for Senate Republicans hoping to hold their narrow majority this fall.
Why? Because there are a whole lot of seats that independent handicappers see as at least as vulnerable as Iowa.
Do the math: That’s nine seats. By contrast, Cook rates only two Democratic seats — Alabama and Michigan — as competitive. And when you consider that Democrats only need to net three seats to win back the majority if Biden wins the presidential race (and four if he doesn’t), you can see why Republicans had a very bad Saturday night (and Sunday).