2020 US Elections: Top 5 Stories To Watch This Week


5. Trump and Pence on the move

Tulsa’s rally was not according to plan, and there are no official in-person events on the campaign schedule this week. But President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are still leaving Washington.

Over the next week, Pence will travel through Arizona and Florida (plus Sunday’s visit to Texas). Technically, stops are made in Pence’s role as vice president, so he can “get a report on the spot” from the three states that are most recovering from the pandemic right now. There are signs that things are slowing down (because, you know, the pandemic): Pence’s adjacent campaign events in Arizona and Florida have now been canceled.

Bonus: Trump receives his fireworks

On Friday, Trump makes his long-awaited trip to Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota for a military flyover and fireworks on July 3. It is not an indoor rally, but there are still reasons to worry about the spread of the coronavirus: there is a ticket raffle for 7,500 attendees and there will be no social distancing protocols.

4. Russia is back

An explosive report by The New York Times, that the Russians had tried to bribe Taliban fighters to kill US troops, has brought Russia into the political conversation.

US intelligence concluded months ago that Russian military intelligence offered the rewards amid peace talks. Trump received information on the intelligence findings and the White House National Security Council held a meeting on the matter in late March, according to the Times, citing informed officials on the matter.

Trump denies being informed about it, but there is already setback on both sides of the aisle. Liz Cheney, third-place Republican in the House of Representatives, demands answers from the White House, while Democrats say this is consistent with Trump’s pattern of behavior towards Russia.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday that Congress is seeking a report on the situation and that top “Band of Eight” intelligence lawmakers on Capitol Hill were not informed.

Consider what Joe Biden tweeted on Sunday afternoon: “The entire Donald Trump presidency has been a gift to Putin, but this is beyond nothing.”

3. The coronavirus is still here.

With the increase in coronavirus cases in almost all states, the control of the pandemic is being tightened. And without a vaccine, the nation’s resources to combat it are limited to two tried and true things: the use of masks and social distancing.

Biden last week said he would require masks by law, and criticized Trump’s handling of the pandemic.

“He hasn’t done anything that needs to be done,” Biden said during a virtual fundraiser on Saturday night. “And now she is sending more people to work without a plan to reopen safely, hanging the open sign on the economy, crossing her fingers, and asking her staff to slow down the speed of testing.”

Pelosi also doubled wearing masks (and Trump’s reluctance to see himself wearing one) on Sunday, calling a federal mask mandate “long overdue.”

Trump and Pence have consistently imposed mask regulations on cities and states, rather than issuing a federal mandate. On Sunday in Texas, Pence encouraged Americans to wear masks, but again postponed local ordinances on mask requirements.

Trump has long been reluctant to wear a mask in public even as efforts to protect the President’s health increase. But don’t hold your breath at Trump’s change of course … even if other Republicans say “it would help” if he wore a mask.

2. Another choice of health care?

The President Trump administration is advancing its efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, a measure that would eliminate healthcare for Americans in the midst of a pandemic.

The Republican-led battle against the ACA is a decade old, but even more Americans are turning to health care amid job losses and the coronavirus. New federal data shows that nearly half a million Americans turned to Obamacare’s federal exchanges after losing health insurance coverage this year.
President Trump is investigating, tweeting Saturday that “Obamacare is a joke” and “I WILL ALWAYS PROTECT PEOPLE WITH EXPECTED CONDITIONS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS !!!”

As a result, healthcare is once again proving to be a central struggle of the presidential race. Priorities USA Action, a top Democratic super-CAP that supports Biden, is already airing a television ad in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan arguing that Trump is “failing in healthcare” by highlighting both the impact of the pandemic and the effort of administration to override the ACA.

1. Things are looking really bad right now for Trump

Right now, almost every poll paints the same picture for Trump: If voters went to the polls today, he would lose. Significantly. Like, loss of landslides.

Biden leads at the national level and, essentially, every decisive state that matters.

And consider the backdrop: the economy is down, the pandemic is at its peak, many Americans face how insidious and deep the racism that exists in this country really is.

The president focuses on responding in his own way. That includes issuing an executive order to protect the monuments and retweeting a video of a man driving a golf cart with Trump campaign posters chanting “white power” against protesters in Florida. The president thanked the “great people” shown in the video. He later deleted the tweet.
Of course, there are still five months left until Election Day. That means there are likely to be at least 128 news cycles so far, and Trump has faced unpopularity before. I just … never like this.

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