It’s Going to Be a Very Different Fourth of July

Trump and Biden announce June fund-raising hauls, and the College Democrats of America face pressure on equity. It’s Thursday, and this is your politics tip sheet.

  • If you’re not in a celebratory mind-set this Fourth of July, you probably won’t be alone. As we wrote here yesterday, 83 percent of Americans in a new Pew Research Center survey said they did not feel proud of the state of the country right now. And with the coronavirus spreading rapidly — particularly in Southern and Western states — local health officials have been issuing advice that fits the less-than-jolly mood: Stay home on Independence Day, and save the partying for another time.

  • In Los Angeles County, the public health department ordered beaches closed and fireworks shows canceled. Gavin Newsom, the Democratic governor of California, said that “patriotism in a Covid-19 environment can be expressed a little bit differently.” In Oregon, the state health authority was explicit. “The safest choice this holiday is to celebrate at home,” the agency warned.

  • In South Carolina, even as the governor moves ahead with plans to reopen, the Department of Health and Environmental Control recommended that residents engage in “home-based festivities” for Independence Day.

  • Even President Trump said yesterday that he was “all for masks,” pivoting after months of anti-mask statements. He told Fox Business that he would wear one in a crowded room, bending to pressure as wide majorities of Americans continue to say in public opinion polls that they think Trump should be wearing a mask.

  • The president has never worn a mask before news cameras, arguing that he and those around him were being tested frequently enough that he didn’t need one. But just because he has now embraced the mask doesn’t mean he has stopped focusing on his appearance. “I sort of liked the way I looked,” he said, adding that he thought wearing a mask made him look like the Lone Ranger.

  • The College Democrats of America are undergoing a major leadership change after the only Black member of the group’s executive board said he had experienced racism and classism from those in the organization’s leadership. In an open letter, 41 of the group’s 47 state-level federations expressed solidarity with him and demanded the resignation of the president and a commitment from board members not to run for re-election.

  • Yesterday, the group’s president and board acceded to those demands, with a swiftness that reflected the power of public appeals — even ultimatums — in a change-minded age.

  • Primary elections weren’t the only thing on the ballot on Tuesday. In Oklahoma, voters narrowly passed a measure expanding Medicaid to nearly 200,000 low-income adults after the state’s Republican governor declined to do so. That makes Oklahoma the fifth state to overrule its Republican executive and embrace a key element of the Affordable Care Act.

  • Years after the Supreme Court and the Senate each rejected efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the Trump administration is still trying to undo the law. It submitted a brief last week asking the high court to throw out the law. But the Oklahoma vote also signified another milestone: Most Republicans in Congress now represent states that have accepted the Medicaid expansion.

  • With the pandemic sharply cutting in-person appearances by the presidential candidates, the general election is creeping up quietly. But with just over four months to go, there’s one area in which things have not slowed down: fund-raising.

  • Trump and Joe Biden both released their June fund-raising numbers yesterday, and the totals were impressive. Together with the Democratic National Committee, Biden’s campaign raised a staggering $141 million, by far its best month yet, and better than the Trump campaign for the second month in a row.

  • Trump’s team announced that it had raised an also enormous $131 million in June, by far the largest monthly haul of its campaign. Between its own donors and the Republican National Committee’s, the campaign has $295 million in the bank, giving the president a sizable wealth advantage over Biden.

  • Trump is banging the drum loudly against Black Lives Matter, another signal that he plans to put racial hostilities at the center of his presidential campaign.

  • On Twitter yesterday, he assailed a recently passed New York City budget bill that shifts $1 billion in funding away from the Police Department. And he wrote that by painting the words “Black Lives Matter” on Fifth Avenue, New York would be “denigrating this luxury Avenue.”

  • The night before, he tweeted that he would veto a bill to fund the military if it included provisions to remove Confederate leaders’ names from U.S. bases. Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, had previously indicated that he would be open to considering such a provision.

Credit…Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

The authorities in Seattle yesterday cleared out the area around a police station on Capitol Hill where protesters had created their own autonomous zone.


At a fund-raiser on Wednesday, Joe Biden described the threats to the voting process his team was preparing for nearly four months out from Election Day, remarks that come as the former vice president has repeatedly suggested President Trump may try to disrupt the election.

The first step, Biden said, was “to shout from the rooftops: ‘be careful — he’s coming.’”

Republicans have denied Trump will seek to disrupt the election, though he has made dozens of false claims about mail balloting and has sought to stoke doubts about the election system.

According to a pool report from the fund-raiser, Biden said that his campaign had assembled 600 lawyers and others across the country who are prepared to go into the states “to try to figure out why the chicanery is likely to take place.”

Asked to elaborate on the initiative Biden mentioned, a campaign official provided a statement that said the coordinated effort between the Biden camp and the Democratic National Committee was “building a voter protection infrastructure to protect Americans’ right to participate in a fair election — including funding voter protection positions in battleground states, a national voter resource hub, and voter assistance hotline, as well as litigation, education, advocacy and organizing resources.”

“It’s going to be hard,” Biden said at the fund-raiser. “And if it’s close, watch out.”

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