Democratic convention begins –> As Democrats gather in Philadelphia today to open their nominating convention, Trump rides higher in the polls, feeling the bounce from last week’s Republican spectacle. Two other major developments will be shaping this week’s narrative for the Democrats, with Bernie Sanders supporters still challenging presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton and threatening party unity.
Clinton’s VP pick –> On Friday night, Clinton tweeted to supporters that she had picked Tim Kaine, a moderate Democratic senator and former governor of Virginia, to be her running mate. In part, he seems to have been selected to appeal to moderate Republicans disenchanted with Trump. Many progressives are frustrated with Kaine’s efforts to change parts of the Dodd-Frank banking reforms and his past support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the free trade deal loaded with favors to corporate lobbyists that is anathema to the left. On Friday, he told The Huffington Post he would flip and come out against the deal.
The big email leak –> Emails released by WikiLeaks — and quite possibly obtained through Russia, following a hack of Democratic Party email servers — show that staff at the Democratic National Committee, which is supposed to remain neutral, were frustrated by Sanders’ run and at times strategized to undermine him. In one message, a staffer asked another if, while Sanders was campaigning in heavily evangelical Appalachia, the committee could “get someone to ask his belief. Does he believe in a God… This could make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.” You can sift through the emails yourself here.
So: With the email content just the latest and most damning of recent allegations related to her job performance, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is stepping down as head of the Democratic National Committee.
And: An effort by Sanders supporters to get rid of convention superdelegates was not a complete failure. Zaid Jilani at The Intercept: “The rule-making body of the Democratic National Committee on Saturday defeated an amendment brought by Bernie Sanders delegates to abolish superdelegates — the unelected party elites who make up 15 percent of all delegates and are allowed to cast a vote for the presidential candidate of their choice, unbound by the popular vote. But the rules committee did approve a compromise measure that binds some superdelegates to the results of their state primaries.”
Bloomberg endorses –> The New York Times: “Michael R. Bloomberg, who bypassed his own run for the presidency this election cycle, will endorse Hillary Clinton in a prime-time address at the Democratic National Convention and make the case for Mrs. Clinton as the best choice for moderate voters in 2016, an adviser to Mr. Bloomberg said. The news is an unexpected move from Mr. Bloomberg, who has not been a member of the Democratic Party since 2000; was elected the mayor of New York City as a Republican; and later became an independent.”
Next steps for Texas –> David Saleh Rauf for the Houston Chronicle: “Texas will have to engage in a ‘meaningful’ education campaign about its beleaguered voter ID law and some people lacking required photo identification may be allowed to once again use voter registration cards to cast ballots in the November election, a federal judge said Thursday. In a two-page order, US District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos in Corpus Christi provided the first blueprint for potential fixes for Texas’ voter-ID measure — one day after a federal appeals court said the law violates federal protections against discrimination at the ballot box.”
The next climate pact –> Coral Davenport at The New York Times: “When negotiators from nearly 200 countries gathered outside Paris in December for the United Nations summit meeting on climate change, they reached the first agreement to take action on curbing their planet-warming pollution. This weekend in Vienna, with far less attention, negotiators from those same countries neared a deal that many environmentalists have called the most significant action this year to reduce global warming.
“While the Paris agreement aims to reduce the use of coal and oil, which produce the carbon dioxide emissions that are the chief cause of global warming, negotiators in Vienna pushed ahead on a deal to ban the use of hydrofluorocarbons, chemicals used in air conditioners and refrigerators. Although they contribute only a small percentage of the world’s greenhouse gases, these chemicals, known as HFCs, can trap heat in the atmosphere at levels a thousand times higher than carbon dioxide can, according to published scientific studies.”
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