Dem Notes

  • Latino outreach update: The Biden campaign has hired Latino Decisions, a national polling firm to further engage Latino voters. One priority: the Puerto Rican community in central Florida, whose turnout in 2018 was less than robust.
  • “We’re not taking anything for granted in this election.”—Jennifer Molina, Joe Biden’s Latino Media director.
  • This week Biden also addressed the nation’s largest Muslim American PAC, Emgage Action, at its online Million Muslim Votes Summit. Biden is the first presidential nominee to address the group, which has active chapters in Florida, Pennsylvania and Michigan.
  • Biden is now receiving intelligence briefings—just like the president. Word is, however, that Biden pays attention and reads the reports.
  • It’s still shy of the Green New Deal, but Biden’s $2 trillion climate-change plan—with a goal for entirely carbon pollution-free power by 2035 has gotten progressives’ attention. It would combat climate change and spur economic growth. Yes, tax hikes on the wealthy and corporations would be in the mix, as would deficit spending aimed at stimulating the economy. But, no, fracking hasn’t been mentioned.
  • “It’s almost self-defeating. People are exhausted. The president, with every tweet, every insult, will move himself out of favor with the demographic that he needs the most, which is the independent.”—Ron Christie, former adviser to President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

Show Biz Reminder

Before attaining Fox “king maker” status and becoming the host of the highest-rated cable news show in the U.S., Tucker Carlson had previous TV incarnations. He used to be on the other side of the spectrum with CNN (2000-05)and MSNBC (2005-08).He was also a contestant on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.” It’s yet another reminder that cable punditry and commentary is show business. It’s about conflict, partisanship, bumper-sticker sound bites and appealing to a loyal base that produces sponsor-impressing ratings via 4 million viewers.

Pragmatics Matter

Note to activists protesting police brutality that especially imperils black Americans: No unforced errors. Everything matters—not just dictates of conscience and guilt. The righteous cause of justice too long deferred is too important to jeopardize in a complex, politically polarized society.

That means policing, as it were, the ranks. Don’t make it easier for the racists and bigots to demonize the movement and disparage idealists, because some fringe elements harassed onlookers, diners or motorists. Or worse yet, give Fox News and Trump inflammatory protestor optics that are grist for the anti-anarchist mill that has no problem with militarized, minority-targeting police forces. In short, be strong, be proud, be outspoken, be united–and be smart.

DuhSantis Priorities

Amid “pandemic playground” ridicule in the national media, Gov. Rick DuhSantis has shown that his misguided, politically-motivated priorities are hardly limited to Florida’s chaotic, counterproductive reopenings. No, DuhSantis has been leading the state’s efforts in urging the U.S. Supreme Court to side with Florida efforts to reject Amendment Four that restores the voting rights of former felons. SCOTUS decided not to weigh in–and let stand for now the 11th Circuit appeals court’s decision to keep hundreds of thousands of poor ex-felons from voting.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in her dissent, underscored the bottom line. “The Court’s inaction continues a trend of condoning disfranchisement,” said Sotomayor. BTW, there are an estimated 774,000 disenfranchised former felons in Florida. DuhSantis knows that—as does Trump.

Pandemic Bowl?

Remember when we circled Feb. 7, 2021? That’s when Super Bowl LV was coming back to Tampa. It’s big for the local economy. It’s international media and a marketing coup no chamber of commerce or tourist board could afford. Then the Bucs went all in with Tom Brady and even brought back former All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski. Some NFL media types have even projected the Bucs to be playing on their own RayJay turf. The synergistic planets were aligning.

But as we look at America’s shambolic, re-open/shutdown handling of COVID, especially in Florida, we also notice the viral elephant in the room. Football is a sweat-swapping contact sport. What kind of NFL season will this turn out to be—or not to be? In a pandemic year when an Olympics is called off, some college football conferences have already canceled seasons, some NFL players have complained about protocols and a presidential convention is forced to go virtual, the Super Bowl is hardly invulnerable.

Quoteworthy

  • “Find a way to get in the way.”—The late civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga.
  • “Considering his enormous impact on the history of this country, what always struck those who met John (Lewis) was his gentleness and humanity.”—Former President Barack Obama.
  • “Today, if you are Iran, why compromise with an (American) Administration which may only have a few months left?”—Karim Sadjadpour, senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
  • “When somebody is the president of the United States, the authority is total, and that’s the way it’s got to be.”—Donald Trump.
  • “In our judicial system, ‘the public has a right to every man’s evidence. Since the earliest days of the Republic, ‘every man’ has included the president of the United States.”—U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.
  • “This term, most justices—and John Roberts, in particular—modeled centrist, nonpartisan behavior for the country.”—Lee Epstein, law professor and political scientist at Washington University in St. Louis.
  • “Admit nothing, deny everything, launch counter attacks.”—Roger Stone.
  • “(Roger) Stone was prosecuted and convicted because he committed federal crimes. He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so.”—Robert Mueller.
  • “Unprecedented, historic corruption: An American president commutes the sentence of a person convicted by a jury of lying to shield that very president.”—Sen. Mitt Romney, R- Utah.
  • “If the election were held today, it would be a big win for Biden, and while Trump is unlikely to undergo a believable personality transformation and the coronavirus pandemic might possibly … be less terrible than now, it is also possible Trump has not hit rock bottom yet.”—Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post.
  • “There is a singular view that strength is mean, that any kind of ability to collaborate, or not be angry is a weakness.”—Elaine C. Duke, former acting secretary of homeland security, describing the Cabinet dynamics of the Trump Administration.
  • “There’s nothing in the data that suggest that kids being in school is in any way dangerous.”—Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
  • “No major new evidence has emerged that suggests the (police violence) protests were superspreader events.”—Mark Lurie, professor of epidemiology at Brown University.
  • “I never thought in my wildest dreams that I’d be telling tourists, ‘Don’t come to our beaches.’”—Joe McComb, mayor of Corpus Christi, Texas.
  • “I am compelled to express my significant concerns with the viability of this event.”—Duvall County Republican Sheriff Mike Williams on safety and security issues at the GOP national convention in Jacksonville.
  • “One thing is clear: President Trump could not care less about clean air, clean water or the climate. … He’s willing to risk the health of our children and the well-being of our communities so polluters can turn a profit.”—Congresswoman Kathy Castor, who chairs the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, in response to reports that President Trump would be gutting the public health protections in the National Environmental Policy Act in the middle of a public health crisis.
  • “Gov. DeSantis believes in a bottom up, decision-making process and not from the top down.”—DeSantis’ communications director Helen Aguirre Ferre.
  • “The governor needs to do his damn job.”—Florida Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
  • “I just don’t think it’s safe. I don’t want blood on my hands.”—Tampa City Council Chairman Guido Maniscalco, in calling off a scheduled in-person city council meeting at the Convention Center.
  • “Impossible to do.”—Hillsborough School Superintendent Addison Davis, on the reality of social distancing on a school bus.
  • “It’s a shame that the recklessness of a few have put a strain on so many businesses who are going about reopening responsibly. … Please note, we know who you are.”—Mayor Jane Castor on certain alcohol-serving violators.

Dismounting Rushmore

 “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

* When you are an uninformed, Russia-fawning authoritarian and you lose military credibility, your prospects are under siege and likely under water.

* President Donald Trump has stated that he will veto the $740 billion annual defense bill if military bases are renamed. It’s beyond ironic and cluelessly counterproductive that commander bone spurs would leverage the military budget to try and retain statues of traitors.

* It was, alas, vintage Trump at the foot of Mount Rushmore on the eve of Independence Day. It was an occasion to ponder America’s flawed but intrepid journey to a democratic republic. It came with an iconic backdrop and forum to address patriotic Americans blindsided by a pandemic and racial unrest. Then he delivered a discordant, “cancel culture” message that focused on disaffected white voters, his base. So much for unifying a dangerously divisive country.

“We will not be terrorized, we will not be demeaned, and we will not be intimidated by bad, evil people,” proclaimed the demeaner-in-chief to the crowd of mainly maskless supporters. It’s what you get when Trump is president, and Stephen Miller is his go-to speechwriter: hateful histrionics over history. At least “carnage” wasn’t referenced.

Speaking of unmasked supporters, how karmic, if not Faustian, that Donald Trump Jr’s Foxygirlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, tested positive for opportunism, political harlotry and the coronavirus. Guilfoyle, a former Fox News personality, chairs the Trump Victory Finance Committee.

* “The Russian Bounty story is … all a made up Fake News Media Hoax started to slander me and the Republican Party.” Slanderer-in-Chief Trump.

* “The fact is the president himself is a hoax.”–House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

* 2020: Doesn’t November seem more like an intervention than an election?

* “Denigrating this luxury Avenue.” That was the denigrator-in-chief’s reaction to New York City’s plan to paint a Black Lives Matter mural on Fifth Street outside Trump Tower.

* “He’s losing. And if he doesn’t change course, both in terms of the substance of what he’s discussing and the way he approaches the American people, then he will lose.”–Former New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

* “(Trump’s) really the campaign manager at the end of the day.”–Jared Kushner, underscoring the obvious.

* “It could easily be ‘election week’ rather than election day.”–John Lapinski, director of elections at NBC News, on the more time-consuming, ballot-counting process involved with mail-in voting.

* “Every nation gets the government it deserves.” We’ve all heard the adage, coined by 18th century French philosopher Joseph de Maistre, that typically applied to other countries.

* Kanye West for president? In the era of Trump precedent, nothing is unthinkable, including a West-Eminem ticket.

COVID Bits

#AloneTogether

* TIA projects an average of 280 daily (arriving and departing) flights this month. In June, the average was 175. In June 2019, the average was 506 flights per day.

* “There has to be a clear coherent sustained communication, and that has absolutely not happened. We’ve had just the opposite, and now it’s hard to unring a whole series of bells.”–Dr. William Schaffner, infectious diseases specialist at Vanderbilt University.

* According to the Agency for Health Care Administration, about 22 percent of hospital beds are open statewide.

* “There’s just more and more data showing that the use of face coverings and masks are an effective way to prevent transmission.”–Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC.

* The most recent (press time) 24-hour record of new Florida cases reported: 11,445.

* “If the Northeast looks like Europe, the South is starting to look like Brazil.”–Paul Krugman, New York Times.

Dem Notes

* Latino Magazine has given Joe Biden a zero-sum presidential endorsement: “The alternative to President Biden is unthinkable.” So much for Kanye West. But, seriously, it’s also a reminder that the Hispanic community has been hit especially hard by coronavirus–as well as by the Trump Administration’s less-than-adroit handling of the pandemic. Latinos make up more than a third of COVID cases nationwide, although only 18 percent of the population. Sheltering in place  hasn’t been possible for a number of Latino families with members who work in industries that never shut down–from farms and food-processing plants to hospital orderlies and food preparers. And Latinos are expected to be the largest non-white voting block–and a likely difference-maker in states such as Florida, North Carolina and Arizona.

With that in mind, the Biden campaign is doubling down on Spanish language ads that starkly contrast Biden and Trump–as in “Los cuentos no pagan las cuentas” (“Telling stories won’t pay the bills”). The micro-targeting includes different narrator accents for different battleground-state markets. To wit: Cuban in Miami, Puerto Rican in Orlando and Mexican in Phoenix.

BTW, America, as we know, has been evolving–if not morphing–demographically. In 1970, Latinos made up 4.7 percent of the U.S. population. In 2030, it’s estimated that nearly one in four Americans will be Hispanic.

* “Black people vote when they’re proud or angry. They were proud in 2008 and angry in 2012.” That was the Rev. Al Sharpton in 2012. His rationale still applies–actually more so–in 2020.

* Biden and the DNC raised $141 million in June, topping the campaign haul of Trump for the second straight month. Trump and the RNC raised $131 million.

* “We won’t lose because of money–I’m absolutely sure. Four months ago, I was worried.”–Ed Rendell, former Democratic governor of Pennsylvania, who recently co-hosted a Biden fundraiser.

* One big reason for the fundraising surge is that Biden is running against Trump–not just a cluster of competing, fellow Democrats spanning the left-of-center spectrum.

* The Biden campaign still trails badly on social media platforms. Biden averages about a half dozen daily posts to about 2 million Facebook followers. Trump doubles the number of posts to about 28 million followers. On Twitter, Trump has more than 80 million followers; Biden has 6.4 million.

* “It shouldn’t be surprising that with a candidate in a self-destructive spiral of failure and the other operating without controversy and a huge reservoir of good will, the race does not even appear competitive at this point.”–Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post.

Media Matters

* In 2008, Barack Obama had 118,000 followers on Twitter on election day and 2.5 million likes on his Facebook. That was then; this is not.

* It’s no secret who Fox News is backing in the election. But if it doesn’t get a re-elected Trump, a major consolation prize can still be had. The network generally enjoys higher ratings–and revenues–when there’s a Democratic president, and Fox goes on the all-out, Oval Office offensive.

* Finally got around to watching the movie “Richard Jewell,” the man outrageously convicted in the court of public opinion for being the 1996 Atlanta Olympic bomber–who turned out to be anti-government activist Eric Rudolph. For a journalist, it was as infuriating as it was embarrassing.