Democrats plunge Monday into the uncharted waters for the first of two weeks of virtual conventions to nominate their presidential candidates and grapple with ways to energize their supporters without the traditional crowds or pageantry.
Former Vice President Joe Biden will receive the Democratic mantle this week and Republicans will formally back President Donald Trump next week.
But for the first time ever, Democratic speeches will be delivered remotely, from across 50 states and seven territories, rather than in an arena filled with thousands of cheering supporters. A preview of the sound of silence arrived Wednesday, at Biden’s first joint appearance with Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate in a high school gym in Wilmington, Delaware. The eerie quiet risks dampening the excitement for everyone from the party’s rising stars to the nominees as they introduce themselves to a national audience.
The bigger threat is viewers tuning out. To
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QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Well, it’s not the hardest test. They have a picture and it says ‘what’s that’ and it’s an elephant,” — Chris Wallace of Fox News, interviewing President Trump about the mental acuity test that the President brags about acing.
Dave Killen/The Oregonian via Associated Press
Congress is taking up a new emergency relief bill. House Democrats have passed a $3 trillion bill, but Senate Republicans and the President say they want to spend less than $1 trillion. Extra unemployment benefits helping more than 30 million families will expire at the end of July if Congress doesn’t act.
The son of a federal judge was murdered and her husband was wounded. A gunman disguised as
Democrats and unions are stepping up pressure on the National Labor Relations Board to conduct its elections electronically to avoid the risks of in-person voting during the pandemic but are clashing with conservatives warning about fraud — mirroring the debate in the presidential race.
The NLRB, which oversees the elections that determine whether workers may form unions, is forbidden from collecting votes electronically by language included in every congressional appropriations bill since 2012. Now, as social distancing requirements continue to jeopardize in-person voting, labor groups want Congress to delete that language from fiscal 2021 spending packages and direct the agency to form its own electronic election system.
Republicans and right-to-work groups counter that conducting elections electronically opens the door to fraud and coercion on the part of labor organizations, echoing a charge that President Donald Trump has leveled at efforts to expand mail-in voting in the November election.
Democrats and many others are determined to defeat a toxic president and win governing power to beat back the pandemic, root out institutional racism, and build a robust, equitable economic recovery. Four months out, this all looks possible. Most Americans have never liked Donald Trump or the Republican agenda, and even fewer approve after their bungling efforts to limit damage from the pandemic. But mid-summer polls are not votes.
Nothing matters more right now for presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s campaign and its party and civic allies than taking specific steps to make sure that disillusioned Americans can actually vote this fall. Unfortunately, there are worrying signs of premature triumphalism. Too many liberals and progressives are debating policy details or diverting into battles about statues and implausible slogans. Even those concerned with ballot access are investing too much in lawsuits, long after conservative Supreme Court Justices (ruling from home) have