COVID-19 and the Campaign Trail

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Biden’s Basement Broadcasts

Stay-at-home orders and social distancing are necessitating a studio in Joe Biden’s basement, where the Democratic delegate leader is delivering broadcasts in front of a backdrop of books and Americana for a press briefing.

Biden’s increased presence online and on TV over the last two weeks also has answered skepticism from adversaries. “Where Is Joe Biden?” emerged as a pressure point meant to raise suspicion or criticism over his retreat from the public eye.

On Thursday, Biden weighed in on the devastating new of 6.6 million additional first-time unemployment claims last week, bringing the total to nearly 10 million new claims over the last two weeks. Biden responded to the White House’s invitation to talk to the president) by pointing out that, on March 12, the Democratic front-runner put out a plan for fighting the coronavirus, which he invited Trump to borrow.

Bernie Sees a Path

Pledging to stay in the race, Bernie Sanders touted his strong grassroots movement and said there is a path for him to come back and defeat  Biden for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Behind 1215-909 in the delegate count, Sanders told host Seth Meyers in an appearance on "Late Night with Seth Meyers" why he’s staying in the race, “We’re about 300 delegates behind. Biden has 1,200. We have 900. There is a path.”

Sanders maintains he has broad support. “There are a lot of people who are supporting me. We have a strong grassroots movement, who believe that we have got to stay in order to continue the fight to make the world know that we need 'Medicare-for-all,' that we need to raise the minimum wage to a living wage, that we need paid family and medical leave.”

Sanders, in his late-night appearance from his home in Burlington, Vt. , noted that “we have put over the years, as a U.S. senator and as a candidate, a whole lot of effort into social media and into livestreaming. And we have, given the fact that I can’t be out on the campaign trail, the rallies, etc., we have been using our livestream and we usually get, you know, sometimes a million sometimes two million viewers. So we have put a lot of resources into that. We do it pretty well, and you know, I think we do have an advantage over other folks in that regard.”

Remaining Primary Dates in Flux

New York has delayed its 2020 presidential primary until June 23 due to coronavirus concerns, a delay that the Democratic party said could result in the state losing delegates at the national convention in July. New York is just the latest of more than a dozen states figuring out how to balance public health concerns with concluding a Democratic primary.

But the choice to delay the Democratic contest could come be dire. Democratic National Committee rules mandate states that push their primaries to a date after June 9 have their delegates reduced by 50 percent. The rules also say any candidate campaigning in a state with a contest outside of the DNC’s designated primary calendar will not be awarded any delegates from that state. including to New York, Louisiana, and Kentucky — all states that now have post-June 9 primaries.

In light of these rules, most states rescheduling their primaries set new dates just ahead of this June 9 cutoff. Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Ohio, for example, joined a growing list of states holding primaries on June 2. Other places, like Puerto Rico, cut things a little closer: Its primary will be on June 7. It is not yet clear whether these rules will be enforced, particularly now that the most delegate-rich state left on the calendar, New York, has chosen a delay.

What those next steps are remains to be seen. In the meantime, however, the DNC is making it plain that it doesn’t want states postponing primaries at all - though 15 states have already made the call.

DNC: Mail-in Voting is the Solution

DNC chairman Tom Perez said in a statement, “States that have not yet held primary elections should focus on implementing measures to make it easier and safer for voters to exercise their constitutional right to vote, instead of moving primaries to later in the cycle when timing around the virus remains unpredictable.”

In a USA Today op-ed by Perez and six other Democratic Party leaders, the party expounded upon this point, argued that states should automatically mail ballots to registered voters; voters should be able to mail back those ballots for free or with prepaid postage by the date of the primary; and voters should also be able to drop off ballots at predesignated locations. The DNC is now committing to helping states pay for these reforms, with the leaders writing, “any state that voluntarily complies with such reforms will receive payments equal to the costs they’ve incurred.”

Ahead of November, Perez and his colleagues further pressed Congress and the White House to embrace a proposal by Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Ron Wyden that “if 25 percent of US states declare an emergency ... would trigger a requirement to allow any voter to vote from home via a mail-in ballot.” All states have done so, which would place the bill in effect if it were to become law as written.

Cuomo, Newsom take the Dem spotlight

As Joe Biden is sidelined without a bully pulpit, Andrew Cuomo and Gavin Newsom take the lead on coronavirus - they have become the Democrats' foil to President Trump.

The two men are well-known Democrats with presidential ambitions who could someday face each other as rivals. With COVID-19 spreading throughout the United States, Cuomo’s and Newsom’s profiles have grown exponentially across the country as their demands for action, pleas for aid and calls for shared sacrifice defined the Democratic response to the pandemic.

Dem Convention Delayed

Democrats have been forced to delay naming their nominee to face Donald Trump in the November presidential election amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Citing an "unprecedented health crisis," officials said the Democratic National Convention (DNC), where the party nominee is officially elected, will be moved back a month to August. Tom Perez, DNC chairman, said "the health and safety of our convention attendees and the people of Milwaukee is our top priority."

The DNC will now take place the week of 17 August in Milwaukee, Wisconsin - a Midwestern state that has never hosted a national convention before and is expected to be a key battleground in the general election.



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