Governor nixes Wisconsin’s Tuesday primary

Governor nixes Wisconsin’s Tuesday primary

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On the roster: Governor nixes Wisconsin’s Tuesday primary – Trump may tap econ team to mirror virus squad – Fired I.G. says it was Trump’s retribution – Biden says he’ll be the masked candidate – A wild fire, indeed

GOVERNOR NIXES WISCONSIN’S TUESDAY PRIMARY
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: “In a historic move less than 24 hours before polls were set to open, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers shut down Tuesday’s election to avoid causing more illness and deaths in Wisconsin as the number of coronavirus infections surges. Evers on Monday issued an executive order that bars in-person voting Tuesday and moves the state’s spring election to June 9. It also calls lawmakers back into session this week to decide whether the election should be held at a different date. But the move is expected to immediately be challenged by Republican lawmakers who want to keep polls open and adjourned the Legislature on Monday without taking up measures to delay the election that Evers called for on Friday. … Evers’ order is likely the last move he can make to try to stop in-person voting Tuesday. In issuing the order, Evers is arguing he has the power to suspend voting even without legislative action, a position he has not previously held.”

How did they screw things up? – FiveThirtyEight: “Well, it was harder for Wisconsin than other states because it is also holding general elections for several local offices — judges, mayors, county executives — including some whose terms begin on April 20 (so the election had to take place before then). In addition, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers probably did not have the power to alter the election without the consent of the Republican legislature, and that was always unlikely given the bad blood between the two. In fact, not only did Evers and the legislature not change the date of the election, but they have also been unable to agree on any statutory changes to the state’s election procedures in the face of restrictions on gatherings because of the coronavirus.”

Coronavirus response sharply partisan in Wisconsin – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Assembly Republicans are calling on Gov. Tony Evers to allow in-person services for Easter and Passover amid the deadly coronavirus pandemic. ‘It is more important than ever that we allow Wisconsinites to observe their individual faiths,’ Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and the other members of the Assembly GOP caucus wrote in a Friday letter to Evers. … Evers declined the request. … The Republicans’ request came one day before Republicans in the Assembly and Senate stalled Evers’ move to push back Tuesday’s election due to the coronavirus pandemic ravaging countries around the world. On Saturday, they quickly adjourned a special legislative session about the matter. During Saturday’s proceedings, the state Assembly and state Senate each gaveled in and out within seconds and recessed until Monday.”

What to expect – FiveThirtyEight: “As of Sunday, 1,268,587 absentee ballots had been requested for the election — far more than election officials are equipped to handle. Not only is that almost six times as many as were cast in Wisconsin’s 2016 presidential primary, but it’s also probably a higher volume of absentee ballots than Wisconsin has ever handled. In the 2016 general election, for instance, only 819,316 absentee ballots were counted. In addition to the avalanche of ballots arriving by mail, polling places may also be overwhelmed on Tuesday due to a dire shortage of poll workers. As of last Tuesday, almost 60 percent of municipalities in Wisconsin did not have enough poll workers, and more than 100 did not have any. The situation was critical enough that Evers has asked members of the Wisconsin Army National Guard to staff some precincts, but it is still not expected to be enough.”

Biden says Milwaukee convention may be ‘virtual’ – ABC News: “Former Vice President Joe Biden said Sunday on ABC’s ‘This Week’ that the recently delayed Democratic Convention will have to happen, but conceded that it may need to be held virtually if the novel coronavirus continues to pose a public health threat by mid-August. ‘Well, we’re going to have to do a convention. We may have to do a virtual convention. I think we should be thinking about that right now. The idea of holding the convention is going to be necessary. We may not be able to put 10, 20, 30,000 people in one place and that’s very possible. Again let’s see where it is — and what we do between now and then is going to dictate a lot of that as well. But my point is that I think you just got to follow the science,’ Biden told ABC News’ Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos.”

THE RULEBOOK: TOUGH ENOUGH NOT TO FIGHT 
“The rights of neutrality will only be respected when they are defended by an adequate power. A nation, despicable by its weakness, forfeits even the privilege of being neutral.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 11

TIME OUT: MORE MUSIC FOR MUSIC CITY 
Garden & Gun: “The National Museum of African American Music will open this year in Nashville amid the glow of neon-lit honky-tonks. But given the African roots of country music, such as the introduction of the banjo, the placement makes sense. Music City, after all, gets its moniker not from country alone, but from the history of diverse music made in town, from the Fisk Jubilee Singers to R&B along Jefferson Street to, of course, rock and roll. ‘There’s music everywhere in Nashville,’ says Darius Rucker, who has signed on to be one of the museum’s national chairs. … Rucker himself knows about playing across genres, making the leap from being the lead singer and guitarist for the multiplatinum Hootie & the Blowfish to a chart-topping country artist and the first African American with a number-one country song since Charley Pride. … As the National Museum of African American Music builds programming for younger generations, Rucker’s causes for children and music history will likely converge—yet another reason to sing.”

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SCOREBOARD
ESTIMATED DELEGATES FOR DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION
Biden: 1,217
Sanders: 914
[Ed. note: 1,991 delegates needed to win]

TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE 
Average approval: 48.4 percent
Average disapproval: 47.8 percent
Net Score: 0.6 percent
Change from one week ago: ↑ 1.4 points
[Average includes: Grinnell/Selzer: 48% approve – 48% disapprove; ABC News/WaPo: 49% approve – 47% disapprove; Fox News: 48% approve – 51% disapprove; Gallup: 49% approve – 45% disapprove; Monmouth University: 48% approve – 48% disapprove.]

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Listeners to the “Perino and Stirewalt: I’ll Tell You What” podcast know the show’s long-running joke about reading reviews in the next episode. But given the nature of the news these days and to help us all feel closer together while we’re apart, Dana and Chris are asking you to submit your reviews on Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen, for a special edition this Wednesday. And if you’d like, you can share it in your own voice. Just go to “voice memos” on your phone, record your quick review, email it to
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TRUMP MAY TAP ECON TEAM TO MIRROR VIRUS SQUAD 
Bloomberg: “President Donald Trump said he’s ‘thinking about’ forming a panel to examine how best to restart the country’s economy, which he earlier termed a ‘good idea.’ ‘I’m thinking about it,’ Trump said Saturday at a White House Press conference. ‘I continue to say, the cure cannot be worse than the problem itself.’ … Trump early tweeted an endorsement of a plan offered by Dana Perino, former press secretary to President George W. Bush. Perino, now [the anchor of “The Daily Briefing” on Fox News, suggested assembling ‘a nonpartisan/bipartisan mix of experts across industry sectors’ who could advise the president about overcoming the economic difficulties stemming from harsh social districting measures suggested by the federal government. Perino said this group would complement the team led by Vice President Mike Pence, which includes health, national security and emergency preparedness officials. ‘Let 1st task force focus on crisis at the moment,’ Perino tweeted.”

Dems divided on how to target Trump over economic implosion – Politico: “For most of the presidential campaign… many Democrats acknowledged they had no cohesive economic message of their own. But now that the coronavirus has laid waste to the surging stock market and low unemployment, Democrats are discovering another obstacle — framing a coherent economic argument that all the party’s factions can rally around. It’s already become a source of friction within the Democratic Party, even as some major Democratic outside groups begin pummeling Trump for the economic fallout of the pandemic. It’s a message Democrats plan to amplify in coming months, long after the immediate health effects of the crisis subside. The left flank is increasing pressure on Joe Biden, the party’s likely nominee, to adopt more progressive economic policies. Activists accuse Trump of prioritizing corporate America over low-wage workers, while many moderate Democrats are leery of drawing such distinctions, training their criticism of Trump solely on his initial mishandling of the pandemic.”

Vernon Smith: Economy will bounce back, but beware inflation – WSJ: “A more common postcrisis question may be whether policy makers overreacted when fear and uncertainty were at their height. We will never know the answer, but the current anxiety of economic doom will surely pass along with the pandemic. In fact, with more money chasing goods in stretched production schedules, inflation is a real possibility. Inflation disrupts and distorts the ability of the pricing system to coordinate and direct economic productivity. When everyone rushes to spend for fear that prices will rise, we observe the destructive opposite of what happens when everyone is stuck at home. Witness the nightmare inflation rates in Zimbabwe and Venezuela.”

Crisis offers Rubio an opportunity – Politico: “As chairman of the usually sleepy Small Business Committee, [Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.] has a key position in the country’s response and recovery from the pandemic. His panel’s $377 billion lifeline for small businesses is a linchpin of Congress’ $2 trillion economic rescue package, and Rubio’s efforts are winning praise from Republicans and Democrats alike even as implementation of the program remains deeply uncertain. … In the span of a decade, he’s gone from tea party rising star to immigration deal-cutter and top-tier presidential contender to foot soldier in Trump’s Republican Party. Now, Rubio’s emergence as a leading responder to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus is fueling talk among his colleagues that he, like a handful of prominent Senate Republicans, is keeping an eye on where his party goes in 2024, when Trump is no longer the GOP’s standard-bearer.”

FIRED I.G. SAYS IT WAS TRUMP’S RETRIBUTION
Fox News: “Michael Atkinson broke his silence Sunday saying he’s ‘disappointed and saddened’ at President Trump’s late-night decision [Friday] to fire him from his watchdog post in the intelligence community. ‘It is hard not to think that the president’s loss of confidence in me derives from my having faithfully discharged my legal obligations as an independent and impartial inspector general, and from my commitment to continue to do so,’ Atkinson wrote in a two-page statement. The watchdog had alerted Congress to concerns about a Trump phone call with the president of Ukraine – a matter that led to the president’s impeachment last year. Atkinson stood by his decision to disclose a whistleblower’s complaint against Trump, adding: ‘Those of us who vowed to protect a whistleblower’s right to safely be heard must, to the end, do what we promised to do, no matter how difficult and no matter the personal consequences.’”

Trump not sorry – NYT: “Mr. Trump made no effort at a news briefing on Saturday to pretend that the dismissal was anything other than retribution for Mr. Atkinson’s action under a law requiring such complaints be disclosed to lawmakers. ‘I thought he did a terrible job, absolutely terrible,’ Mr. Trump said. ‘He took a fake report and he brought it to Congress.’ Capping a long, angry denunciation of the impeachment, he added, ‘The man is a disgrace to I.G.s. He’s a total disgrace.’ Mr. Trump’s hunt for informers and turncoats proceeds even while most Americans are focused on the coronavirus outbreak that has killed thousands and shut down most of the country. The president’s determination to wipe out perceived treachery underscores his intense distrust of the government that he oversees at a time when he is relying on career public health and emergency management officials to help guide him through one of the most dangerous periods in modern American history.”

BIDEN SAYS HE’LL BE THE MASKED CANDIDATE
Fox News: “Add personally wearing face masks to the already large list of areas where President Trump and Joe Biden disagree. The president – in announcing that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended Americans wear facial coverings made of cloth while out in public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic – repeatedly called the recommendation ‘voluntary’ and said he wouldn’t be wearing a mask himself. ‘You don’t have to do it,’ the president said on Friday. ‘I’m choosing not to do it, but some people may want to do it and that’s OK. It may be good. Probably will.’ … Biden, the former vice president and likely Democratic presidential nominee, said he would wear a mask in public when asked during an interview on ABC’s ‘This Week.’ … Biden added, ‘he may not like how he looks in a mask but the truth of the matter is that — follow the science.’”

Giuliani a big booster for Trump’s pet malaria drug – WaPo: “Rudolph W. Giuliani, who was in the center of the impeachment storm earlier this year as an unpaid private attorney for President Trump, has cast himself in a new role: as personal science adviser to a president eager to find ways to short-circuit the coronavirus pandemic. In one-on-one phone calls with Trump, Giuliani said, he has been touting the use of an anti-malarial drug combination that has shown some early promise in treating covid-19, the disease the novel coronavirus causes, but whose effectiveness has not yet been proved. He said he now spends his days on the phone with doctors, coronavirus patients and hospital executives promoting the treatment, which Trump has also publicly lauded. ‘I discussed it with the president after he talked about it,’ Giuliani said in an interview. ‘I told him what I had on the drugs.’”

Carney: ‘Dr. Fauci was correct — more importantly, he was humble.’ –  WashEx: “In certain political circles, it has apparently become important to knock Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. … So, no, Fauci wasn’t predicting a pandemic. But he also wasn’t saying there would be no pandemic. He was expressing uncertainty about a new and mysterious disease, and warning that it could become really bad. Everybody is wrong sometimes. The key is that when we speak about the future, especially, we should acknowledge the possibility we may be wrong.”

PLAY-BY-PLAY
How a history book got George W. Bush ahead of the curve on pandemics – ABC News

I’ll Tell You What Else: The Smell of 2016 – Fox News Radio

AUDIBLE: OOF
“The professionals did the models. I was never involved in a model… at least this kind of model.” – President Trump at his daily coronavirus announcements on Friday talking about epidemiologists’ statistical models that show tens or even hundreds of thousands of Americans dying from the disease.

FROM THE BLEACHERS
“Your question about what past leadership team would we choose to address today’s ills is an excellent and thought-provoking one. I was not alive during FDR’s terms, but believe his team had to confront challenges most similar to those that confront us today. That said, I don’t believe his team had to confront as deep political divides as we face today.  Am I current on that? I have great respect for Reagan, Baker and O’Neil as individuals and how they worked together to kill inflation (with Volker’s help) and address a very deep recession. The political divide between Tip and Ronald was huge, but they made it seem entirely manageable through their maturity, humanity and sense of humor. The contrast with today breaks my heart (and scares me deeply)!” – Matt Lincoln, Portola Valley, Calif.

[Ed. note: I’m afraid you’re quite right, Mr. Lincoln. The toxic negative partisanship that is our modern simulacrum for the politics of most of the previous century is pretty stupid. But there were certainly stupid times before and, God willing, there will be stupid times again in the future. Cooperative bipartisan leadership has always come at a cost, but America’s 40-year experiment with primary elections has been a leading driver in a rapid, dangerous level of inflation in that price. Sometimes we have Manichean struggles on policy points, but most of what we do, especially in times of crisis, is administrative and prudential.]

“How about ‘Give ’em Hell’ Harry Truman, Speaker Sam Rayburn and Leader Alben Barkley. Harry was an honest person, straight shooter, who had to make tough decisions.” – Dick Cronin, Brookfield, Conn.

[Ed note: Good one, Mr. Cronin! Stay tuned this week as we approach the 75th anniversary of Truman’s presidency, which falls on Easter Sunday. We’ll have some goodies for Truman fans.]

“While reporting Queen Elizabeth’s address to the UK, you intimated that, perhaps, President Trump should adopt a less is more stance on his public speaking. Keep his Presidential powder dry…for really big occasions. I disagree for two reasons. First, although I’m a big a Trump supporter, I CAN’T STAND to listen when he reads off the teleprompter. The President is Gawd awful at the art of delivering impressively well written messages. Most importantly, Trump communicates best when he’s off the cuff. There is the annoying repetition and noise, but in these moments, he delivers absolute genius at times and we are all better for that.” – Steve Aue, Brock, Texas

[Ed. note: There’s a reason restaurants most commonly offer chocolate and vanilla ice creams. They may not be everybody’s favorites, but they are broadly acceptable to the largest numbers of people. I know you love the president’s “absolute genius” as a freestyle rapper and believe that he needs extended periods of verbal riffing to hit his stride. But leaders have to think about mainstream audiences at times like these. Now, it may not be possible for Trump to completely reinvent himself as a unifying voice who can engage a broad spectrum of the nation. But he has certainly accelerated the pace at which much of what he says has become sonic wallpaper. Pulling back – especially on ephemera – might give him a better chance to be heard by the Americans he most urgently needs to reach.]

“Why so many references from the NY Times? If we’ve learned anything from the past 20 years it’s that that rag can’t be trusted to tell the truth under any circumstances.” – Ron Lawrence, St. Cloud, Fla.

[Ed. note: I sincerely doubt, Mr. Lawrence, that your main takeaway from the first two decades of the 21st century is that the NYT never reports things truthfully. Many conservatives have a strong antipathy for the newspaper, one that reaches back far, far before 2000. I get it. But I also am confident in your abilities as a news consumer to tell the difference between straight reporting and opinion journalism. If this note is your cup of tea, you’re certainly attentive (and dare I say savvy) enough to read from sources far and wide.]

“Please check and correct, if necessary. While it sounds like [Barry Goldwater], it was actually Gerald Ford who said the words about ‘government big enough.’” – Stuart BarrDurham, N.C.

[Ed. note: Ford certainly used a similar line and is recorded having used a version of it as early as the 1950s, but most notably in a 1974 address to a joint session of Congress. The basic construction about a government’s capacity for want fulfillment juxtaposed with its capacity for authoritarianism, however, predates both Ford and Goldwater. While sometimes misattributed to Thomas Jefferson, the line has certainly been around for a while, even if it doesn’t have 18th century roots. In fact, what may be the first recorded example is from none other than radio legend Paul Harvey, who included the unattributed quote, “If your government is big enough to give you everything you want, it is big enough to take away from you everything you have” in a collection published in 1952. Suffice it to say that the aphorism had been making the rounds among conservatives for some time. But it was Goldwater’s 1964 campaign that made it a rallying cry. Harvey and many others certainly used it before Goldwater embraced it, but he was so strongly identified with it that I just referred to it as “Goldwater’s old line.” Good one-liners, like recipes, jokes and so much else in the pre-Internet era, had major variations and obscure provenances.]

Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.

A WILD FIRE, INDEED
KEZI: “A raging fire broke out late last night at the U-Haul on River Road [in Eugene, Ore.], but police say the story behind how the fire got started is even flashier than the flames themselves. Sgt. Stotts, with Eugene Police Department, said this all started with a dispute between a man and a woman in the U-Haul parking lot. Stotts said the man was in a vehicle and threw a lit firework at the woman standing outside the vehicle, while she ducked for cover, the firework burst into sparks and the man drove away. Unbeknownst to the man and woman, a thief was underneath one of the other U-Hauls stealing gas. Sparks from the fireworks flew near the gasoline and four of the U-Hauls burst into flames with the thief catching on fire as well. The gasoline thief and the woman both ran from the scene, with the thief running away with his pants and sleeve on fire. … Stotts said the footage was clear enough for them to see the license plate of the man who threw the firework, and they were able to arrest the man at his home nearby before the fire was completely cleared. … As for the gasoline thief, the police were not able to locate him.”

AND NOW A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Trump was elected to do politically incorrect — and needed — things like withdrawing from [the Paris agreement].” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on June 8, 2017.

Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.

Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as politics editor based in Washington, D.C.

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