It appears the Republican Party is preparing a bounty of October Surprises. There are plans for an accelerated antitrust case against Google, as well as for a coronavirus vaccine that could come well ahead of schedule.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump clarifies that when he told people in North Carolina to vote twice, he meant that they should vote twice. If he was soliciting voter fraud, that’s actually illegal in and of itself.
And lastly, the polls remain encouraging for Joe Biden. Both national and battleground state surveys show him holding a strong lead over Trump, with both parties’ nominating conventions now in the rear-view.
THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Google facing antitrust investigation
The US Department of Justice plans to bring an antitrust case against one of the world’s largest technology companies, Google, as early as this month. That’s according to the New York Times, which broke the story yesterday.
And there’s a twist: the lawyers who were investigating Google on behalf of the Department aren’t happy about the case moving forward. They reportedly felt rushed after higher ups at the DOJ told them to wrap up their inquiry by the end of September. Several lawyers on the forty-odd person team left over the summer. Others said they’d refuse to sign the antitrust complaint against Google’s parent company, Alphabet.
There is, apparently, some concern that the end-of-month deadline is arbitrary and politically motivated. Donald Trump has accused Google of being biased against him, and Attorney General Bill Barr may wish to bring the case to a conclusion in order to give Trump something to brag about on the campaign trail.
Separately, Health and Human Services secretary Alex Azar yesterday told CBS News that a recently announced November 1 timeline for a coronavirus vaccine has QUOTE nothing to do with the election ENDQUOTE. The Centers for Disease Control told state governors in a letter
last week to be ready to distribute a vaccine by that date. Three potential vaccines are in the third and final stage of clinical trials in the US, well ahead of what experts originally said was a reasonable timeline. Azar attributed the success of the so-called Warp Speed vaccine research effort to President Trump’s leadership. No politics at play in that department, no sir.
Trump says vote twice
As the Washington Post and the New York Times so delicately put it, Trump yesterday sought to clarify remarks he made late the previous day, in which he told supporters in North Carolina to vote twice. Which is very much against the law. By clarify, they must have meant repeat. Because what he told supporters yesterday on Twitter was to vote twice, first by mail and then in person. Just to make sure their postal vote got counted, you see.
Twitter put a warning label on Trump’s posts, saying they violated the company’s policies around election integrity. But they left the post up because they said doing so was QUOTE in the public interest ENDQUOTE. Facebook said it would delete a video of Trump’s original comments telling people to vote twice, unless it was shared in order to correct the record.
Forgive me if I’m repeating myself here, but it sure seems like when Trump complains about the upcoming election being rigged, it’s because he’s doing his damndest to make it so. The executive director of North Carolina’s board of elections said in a statement yesterday that checks would be in place to prevent double voting, which is illegal. It’s also illegal to solicit someone to vote twice, but who will dare bring charges against Trump for this? Finally, the board urged people not to follow Trump’s instructions and line up on election day to check that their mail-in ballots had been counted, for two reasons. One, it’s not necessary. And two, it could spread coronavirus. What a mess, cripes.
Biden maintains polling lead
Joe Biden maintains a strong lead in the polls over Donald Trump, NBC News reported yesterday. The party conventions held over the past couple of weeks did not seem to sway many people one way or the other.
National polls show Biden with a lead of anywhere between seven and eleven percentage points over Trump. And Biden continues to perform better than Hillary Clinton did at the same
point in 2016. That year, Trump held a fifteen-point lead over Clinton on the question of which candidate was more honest and trustworthy in a CNN poll. Now, Biden leads Trump on the same question by seventeen percentage points.
Signs are good for Biden in state polls, as well. Fox News polls show Biden beating Trump by eight percentage points in Wisconsin, by nine points in Arizona and by four points in North Carolina. The race appears closer in Pennsylvania, however, especially with models that predict lower turnout.
If his polling lead holds true, NBC reported, Biden could defeat Trump with similar margins as Barack Obama’s victory over the late Arizona Senator John McCain. Democratic voters can’t rest on their laurels, but despair would be premature at this stage.
AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:
Americans can expect more extreme weather this Labor Day weekend. Over twenty million people in the mid-Atlantic states face a severe storm warning. Four million people in the South and Midwest are under flash flood watches. And forty-four million people in the West and Southwest will be warned to watch out for record-setting heat and dry conditions that could exacerbate the threat of wildfires. So it might be a nice weekend to stay inside, unless of course you are being told to evacuate.
At least five mayors in Democratic cities around the US have temporarily moved out of their homes on account of ongoing protests on their doorsteps. Those cities are, according to the Washington Post: Portland, Oregon; Chicago; Seattle; Pittsburgh and St. Louis. The protests, generally speaking, decry police violence and call for justice for Black lives. Do the right thing, folks. Leave no mayor behind!
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed yesterday that her private, maskless visit to a San Francisco hair salon, in violation of city pandemic restrictions, was QUOTE clearly a setup ENDQUOTE. At a press conference, the White House played security camera footage of Pelosi’s salon visit on a loop. The stylist Pelosi visited also released a statement supporting Pelosi’s account and accusing the salon owner of forcing stylists to work in violation of public health orders. Now you’re up to speed.
Best wishes to the family and friends of David Graeber, an anthropologist and writer best known for his books Bullshit Jobs and Debt_: The First Five Thousand Years_. As an activist with Occupy Wall Street, Graeber coined the slogan We Are The Ninety-Nine Percent. Denied tenure at Yale for supporting a graduate student union, Graeber went on to join the London School of Economics as a professor. According to his widow, Nika Dubrovsky, he died in a hospital in Venice. May he rest in peace.
That’s all for the AM Quickie. Join us this afternoon on the Majority Report.
SEPT 4, 2020 - AM Quickie
HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner
WRITER - Corey Pein
PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn