Opinion
July 29, 2020

Nearly four years later, Hillary Clinton's loss to Donald Trump in Michigan remains the most surprising outcome of the 2016 election. It should not have been, though. Clinton willfully neglected the Great Lakes State, which had not gone for a Republican since 1988.

Which is why it's so weird that Trump now appears to be repeating Clinton's mistake. If a report in The New York Times is any indication, the president's campaign has decided that Michigan is not in the cards. Since June, the campaign has been steadily decreasing how much it spends on television advertising there. That amount has now trickled down to zero.

Does this mean Trump is throwing in the towel? He shouldn't be. While Joe Biden's eight-point polling lead in Michigan is impressive, it's actually smaller than the lead some polls showed for Clinton at this point four years ago. Nor did the margins ever really disappear last time: only one 2016 poll, conducted on the eve of the election, ever showed Trump beating Clinton in Michigan. If years of theatrical congressional hearings, impeachment, lockdown, and a serious economic crisis can't move the needle firmly toward Biden, it doesn't make sense to give up on a state worth 16 electoral votes, one in which the president's major campaign themes continue to resonate with many voters. Meanwhile, a recent focus group suggests that swing voters in the state have serious doubts about the former vice president's ability to lead. Other polling suggests that Michigan voters are less concerned about coronavirus despite increases in the number of positive tests, which should be another positive sign for the president.

That's not to say that Trump and his team should not get creative. One of the biggest advantages he had in 2016 was the popularity of Jill Stein. The Green Party candidate won a larger share of the vote in Michigan than Trump's eventual margin of victory. Maybe the big-time GOP donors should consider investing in Howie Hawkins, the Green Party's co-founder and 2020 presidential nominee, instead. Matthew Walther

12:13 a.m.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex is concerned that the country is going "the wrong way" when it comes to the coronavirus, as the number of new cases has almost doubled in the last 24 hours.

Since Monday, 1,397 new infections have been reported by France's health ministry and 14 people have died. During a press conference in Montpellier on Tuesday, Castex said the "epidemiological situation . . . is deteriorating," as "about 25 new clusters are identified every day compared to five three weeks ago."

A ban on gatherings of more than 5,000 people has been extended to Oct. 30, and Castex called on local authorities to also lengthen mask requirements. Nationwide, people must wear face coverings while inside government offices, stores, and on public transportation. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 30,000 people have died of the coronavirus in France. Catherine Garcia

August 11, 2020

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's pick of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) as his running mate got a positive reception from Democrats. But what about the Republicans hoping to defeat President Trump this fall? Well, the GOP operatives behind the Lincoln Project approve, they signaled in a new ad released just hours after Biden announced his pick.

"Joe Biden is the president for this moment," the ad's female narrator says. "Standing with him, Kamala Harris, a strong voice for a better America. Daughter of immigrants, a passion for justice, a happy warrior in the battle for the soul of America. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris is the America we believe in, where hard work means more than family wealth, where compassion and kindness are strengths, not weaknesses. This is the America of our better angles. ... Joe Biden and Kamala Harris — it's time."

You can disagree with the Lincoln Project's politics — or not even really understand their politics — but you have to admire their speed. Peter Weber

August 11, 2020

Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar won Tuesday's primary in Minnesota's 5th Congressional District, defeating four challengers, including one who received millions in donations.

Her closest challenger was Antone Melton-Meaux, a mediation lawyer who used the millions he raised to outspend Omar by a two-to-one margin on TV ads, Politico reports. The website Open Secrets, which tracks campaign donations, said more than $2.5 million was spent by outside interests in an attempt to defeat Omar.

Omar was first elected in 2018, along with three other progressive women of color — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), and Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) — dubbed "The Squad." She faced criticism in 2019 from members of the left and right when she made comments about Israel that some called anti-Semitic; Omar later apologized. Catherine Garcia

August 11, 2020

Marjorie Taylor Greene, an adherent of the right-wing QAnon conspiracy theory who has previously expressed racist views in videos, won Tuesday's Republican primary runoff in Georgia's 14th Congressional District.

Greene, the owner of a construction company, defeated John Cowan, a neurosurgeon. She will face off against Democrat Kevin Van Ausdal, an IT specialist, in November. The district is considered a Republican stronghold.

In June, Politico reported that Greene uploaded videos to her Facebook page in which she made derogatory comments about Black people, Muslims, and the Jewish philanthropist and investor George Soros. Her remarks were condemned by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), but he did not take sides in the House race. Catherine Garcia

August 11, 2020

There are a few things Sarah Palin wants Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) to know about life as a vice presidential candidate.

On Instagram, Palin said she learned a lot of lessons when she was the late Sen. John McCain's running mate in 2008. Her first piece of advice? "Out of the chute, trust no one new," she said, adding, "Fight mightily to keep your own team with you — they know you, know your voice, and most importantly are trustworthy." Palin also suggested Harris "connect with media and voters in your own unique way. Some yahoos running campaigns will suffocate you with their own self-centered agenda, so remember, YOU were chosen for who YOU are."

Palin said when she was on the campaign trail, her favorite thing was the "ropeline," which allowed her to shake hands with and hug supporters. Each interaction, she said, "melted my heart, energized my soul, and gave me the utmost hope in the greatest country on Earth!" These were pre-pandemic times, so it's not likely that Harris will be able to greet people the way Palin did, but if she does she must "be sincere in looking in their eyes, understanding why they're there, never forgetting they represent the innumerable Americans putting their trust in you to serve for the right reasons." Catherine Garcia

August 11, 2020

The Colorado attorney general's office on Tuesday announced it has launched a civil rights investigation into the Aurora Police Department's "patterns and practices," following several high-profile cases of alleged excessive force and misconduct.

This review began several weeks ago, a spokesperson said, and is separate from an investigation into the 2019 death of 23-year-old Elijah McClain, an unarmed Black man who died after officers used a chokehold on him. Earlier Tuesday, McClain's family filed a lawsuit against the Aurora Police Department and paramedics who injected him with ketamine.

Last week, a video went viral showing Aurora officers holding a Black family at gunpoint, after the officers mistakenly thought the family was in a stolen car. As they all lay face down on the pavement, one of the children is heard sobbing and screaming, "I want my mother!" The department later apologized, and interim Chief of Police Vanessa Wilson said there will be a review of how officers are trained to conduct high-risk stops. Catherine Garcia

August 11, 2020

President Trump hasn't gotten over the way Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) grilled Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his 2018 Senate confirmation hearing, saying on Tuesday she was "nasty" to Kavanaugh.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden announced Harris as his running mate Tuesday afternoon, and Trump was asked about this during his evening coronavirus briefing. Harris was Trump's own "No. 1 pick" for Biden's ticket, he said, but Biden is still "handing over the reins to Kamala while they jointly embrace the radical left." He criticized her for supporting the expansion of government health care.

Trump then brought up Harris' pointed questioning of Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing. "She was nasty to a level that was just a horrible thing, the way she was, the way she treated now-Justice Kavanaugh," he said. "And I won't forget that soon." When asked if he thinks Harris will boost Biden's appeal to voters, Trump responded: "Well, I like Vice President Mike Pence much better, he is solid as a rock. I will take him over Kamala and the horrible way she again treated Justice Kavanaugh. That was a horrible event. I thought it was terrible for her. I thought it was terrible for our nation. I thought she was the meanest, the most horrible, the most disrespectful of anybody in the U.S. Senate." Catherine Garcia

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