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Kansas City has seen nearly 100 homicides this year, on track for deadliest year on record

Kansas City, Mo., is on track to be have the deadliest year on record for the city with nearly 100 homicides so far this year.
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White House economic adviser Kudlow says 4th round of stimulus relief coming
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said it’s “increasingly clear” there will be a fourth stimulus package as the country attempts to recover after the financial devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he has been in discussion with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on the next phase and said...
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Arizona lake 'electrocution incident' kills 2 brothers, girlfriend left with 'burn marks' on feet, legs
Two brothers have died and a girlfriend of one was left with burn marks after a possible electrocution incident at a lake in Arizona, officials and family members revealed Monday.
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Texas ER doctor says Houston hospitals stretched to their limits: 'It's been very terrifying'
Texas emergency rooms and intensive care units are "bulging at the seams," bombarded by a tsunami of new coronavirus cases, Dr. Natasha Kathuria reported Tuesday. 
foxnews.com
How Kelly Preston spent her final years while privately battling cancer
Kelly Preston died at age 57 from breast cancer on Sunday after a private two-year battle. 
foxnews.com
Bill Nye demonstrates why wearing masks protects people from COVID-19
Scientist Bill Nye is urging everyone to wear a mask in the fight to stop the coronavirus. He says it is "literally a matter of life and death." Nye joins "CBS This Morning" to give a live demonstration of why masks work.
cbsnews.com
Delta to appoint more Black board members 'over the next couple of years,' CEO says
Delta CEO Ed Bastian says he is "ashamed" that he has not paid more attention to fostering diversity within the airline's executive leadership roles and will look at adding more Black members to its board of directors "over the next couple of years."
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Bizarre 'Captain Hook' dinosaur with long claws discovered in Montana Badlands
Researchers have discovered a new species of dinosaur, known as Trirarchuncus prairiensis, in the Montana Badlands with a unique hooked claw at the end of its arms.
foxnews.com
Zappos is now selling single shoes and mixed size pairs
You can now buy a single sandal or sneaker from Zappos, or even mixed size pairs of running shoes.
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Josh Hawley's message to ESPN: Don't apologize, ask NBA tough questions about China
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., said on Monday that ESPN should ask tough questions to the NBA about China’s misdeeds, instead of apologizing about a reporter’s insult. 
foxnews.com
Cops arrest man who attacked Post reporter with wooden board
Daniel Mayo, 32, was hauled into custody Monday night, a day after he was caught on camera whacking the journalist, Kevin Sheehan.
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Minka Kelly urging balding tiger at zoo Carole Baskin is after be placed in sanctuary
In a letter obtained exclusively by Page Six, Kelly asks Waccatee Zoo to release Lila.
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HBO documentary 'Showbiz Kids' depicts dark side of childhood fame, from abuse to self-doubt
"People were like, 'Oh, my God, it's the kid from 'E.T.'!" Henry Thomas remembers in "Showbiz Kids." "I wasn't set up for that at 10 or 11."        
usatoday.com
‘X-Men’ Forced Superhero Movies to Evolve 20 Years Ago Today
We're still living in the shadow of X-Men.
nypost.com
This week in TikTok: Every influencer wants a reality show
Plus, Chinese street style fancams! Hello from The Goods’ twice-weekly newsletter! On Tuesdays, internet culture reporter Rebecca Jennings uses this space to update you all on what’s been going on in the world of TikTok. Is there something you want to see more of? Less of? Different of? Email rebecca.jennings@vox.com, and subscribe to The Goods’ newsletter here. Famous TikTok teens are always squabbling with each other — that’s part of the point! — but last week our nation’s top creators of negligible scandals were so angry with each other that the event was given its own nickname: the TikTokalypse. I won’t go into extreme detail because it’s all very byzantine and also I feel weird about speculating on high schooler’s personal lives; plus, plenty of other outlets have already published helpful rundowns. Basically, it revolves around two former couples — Chase “Lil Huddy” Hudson and Charli D’Amelio, and the Sway House’s Josh Richards and Nessa Barrett. Apparently, Lil Huddy kissed Nessa at one point, and then when a bunch of people started unfollowing him, he posted a Notes App accusing several other TikTokers of cheating on their respective girlfriends. There’s more, but you get it. If you’re thinking, “This sounds like Laguna Beach,” ding ding ding! You clearly have the mind of a TikTok talent manager, because every single one of them is currently shopping a reality show about their respective collab house. Pitching has been ongoing since pre-quarantine, but it’s actually a lot more difficult to get a TikTok reality show greenlit than you might think. According to Taylor Lorenz’s latest, management companies are trying to sell shows about the business deals that go on behind the camera (boring!), but producers are far more interested in the relationships between its stars (the reason people watch reality shows!). When the stars are still minors, though, it becomes a bit of an issue. Teenagers aren’t typically cast for reality shows because it can feel “sensational,” according to one production head, and the lack of an existing model for how a show about a content house might work is itself a hurdle when pitching to networks. The linear narrative TV drama is also pretty different from how followers currently track their favorite creators’ personal arcs, which is usually a collage of Instagram Lives, drama accounts, and YouTube apology videos. Said one talent manager, “In many ways, fans are already watching the TV show, just not on TV.” So do we need a TikTok reality show? On one hand, no, because the people who care about them are already following their every move. On the other, as The Cut points out, social media allows kids to be the executive producers of their own lives. With stars this savvy about what plays and what doesn’t, what might a seasoned reality TV producer be able to craft out of fame-hungry teens with millions of fans? My actual thought, though, is that a reality show about TikTokers will either be very dark and totally mesmerizing or so surface-level that nobody will even bother watching. I’m not sure the world needs either one. TikTok in the news “What are you going to write about when TikTok gets banned?” is the question I was asked most this weekend, and the answer is that I do not think the US will actually ban TikTok. The Verge has a great explainer on why it would be very, very difficult for the Trump administration to do so. (The answer to the original question is probably meandering blog posts about sexy fruits.) Amazon sent out, then retracted, an email demanding that its employees delete TikTok due to “security risks.” These supposed risks, which virtually all TikTok bans are ostensibly about, have stemmed from TikTok’s parent company ByteDance’s relationship with the Chinese government. Over the past year, TikTok has distanced itself from ByteDance and China in general, opening headquarters in the US and London and insisting that it does not and will not share any user data with the Chinese government. To prove it, TikTok removed itself from Hong Kong app stores after a Beijing law went into effect stating that the Chinese government would no longer require a warrant to request user data from internet companies. A temporary glitch last week dropped every TikTok user’s follower and view counts down to zero, and everyone reacted very calmly. Just kidding, people freaked out and thought the end was nigh. Jason Derulo makes $75,000 per TikTok. Do with that information what you will. Meme watch Last week I tweeted an example of a video genre that’s been all over my For You page, which is this: paparazzi-style videos, sometimes in slow motion, of impossibly attractive and stylish people in China. There is no “deeper meaning” to them; they only exist to make viewers feel ugly and jealous and I love every second of it. every time I think I look cute I think about chinese streetstyle fancams and realize that actually im a goblin pic.twitter.com/lelJkXlgzU— Rebecca Jennings (@rebexxxxa) July 9, 2020 While they’ve been around for years — you can easily find examples on YouTube and Instagram — on TikTok they’re more visible than ever, and many users are posting about their love of scrolling through Douyin, the TikTok app in China, to find more of them. The million-dollar question, though, is whether these videos are staged or just some guy with a camera filming random beautiful people, which would feel sort of creepy. When I asked on Twitter, multiple people told me that they’re typically plandids, or mock-candid films shot with friends. If so, this needs to become a thing in the US too. Normalize dressing amazingly and making your friend film you like a celebrity!!! One Last Thing Imagine if TikTok existed in 2003 and you and your friends made a dorky music video for “Heaven” by DJ Sammy. That’s what this video is. @lindseystirling #aheadofitstime ♬ original sound - lindseystirling Support Vox’s explanatory journalism Every day at Vox, we aim to answer your most important questions and provide you, and our audience around the world, with information that has the power to save lives. Our mission has never been more vital than it is in this moment: to empower you through understanding. Vox’s work is reaching more people than ever, but our distinctive brand of explanatory journalism takes resources — particularly during a pandemic and an economic downturn. Your financial contribution will not constitute a donation, but it will enable our staff to continue to offer free articles, videos, and podcasts at the quality and volume that this moment requires. Please consider making a contribution to Vox today.
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ER doctors and nurses describe fear on the front lines during COVID-19 uptick
Front-line workers in ERs across the South and the West are seeing upticks in coronavirus cases in their hospitals and communities. They spoke with senior medical correspondent Dr. Tara Narula about their concerns watching the growing number of people getting sick.
cbsnews.com
Prices rose in June as gas got more expensive
Consumer prices rose in June after three straight months of declines, as the cost of gas and food increased.
edition.cnn.com
House Democrats restarting effort to obtain Trump’s tax returns
Douglas Letter, the top lawyer for the House of Representatives, urged the court in a filing Monday to immediately put its July 9 ruling into effect so lawmakers could bring the issue back to the original US District Court judge who oversaw the case for renewed consideration.
nypost.com
Dior partners with Ghanaian artist Amoako Boafo for a stunning new collection
Dior Men's creative director Kim Jones collaborated with Ghanian painter Amoako Boafo to create one of the most talked-about collections of the Spring-Summer 2021 menswear season.
edition.cnn.com
Tougher rules, new lockdowns around the world as COVID spreads
Australia threatens to jail quarantine violators for months, Hong Kong shutters Disneyland, and one Indian state is back on lockdown.
cbsnews.com
UK orders Chinese telecom giant Huawei to be removed from its 5G network
LONDON – Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered Huawei equipment to be purged completely from Britain’s 5G network by 2027, risking the ire of China by signaling that the world’s biggest telecoms equipment maker is no longer welcome in the West. The seven-year lag will please British telecoms operators such as BT, Vodafone and Three, which...
nypost.com
Daniel Lewis Lee's execution part of first wave of federal executions since 2003
A former white supremacist convicted of murdering a family of three was executed Tuesday morning -- the first federal execution since 2003 and part of a new wave of such executions by the Department of Justice.
foxnews.com
Delta CEO says zero layoffs a possibility, promises empty middle seats beyond September
Delta said more than 17,000 of its 90,000 employees are taking early retirement, thousands more unpaid leave as the airline shrinks due to pandemic.       
usatoday.com
New Jersey elementary school unveils plan to have students safely return to the classroom
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to worsen, school districts across the country are grappling with how best to safely have children return to class. Some districts are choosing to have smaller class sizes, limit movement within the school and restrict visitors. Meg Oliver gets an inside look at how one New Jersey elementary school is facing this challenge.
cbsnews.com
Joe Biden Quotes Mao Zedong; Senior Adviser Called Mao 'Favorite Political Philosopher'
Former Vice President Joe Biden used a quote made famous by the late Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong in an online fundraiser.
breitbart.com
Grant Imahara, ‘Mythbusters’ Host, Dies at 49
The electrical engineer and roboticist passed away suddenly following a brain aneurysm.
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Official UFC 252 poster revealed as Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier feature, 'Face/Off' style
The official poster for UFC 252 features the trilogy bout between heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier.       Related StoriesSportsbook gives 'bad beat refunds' to anyone who bet on Max Holloway winning at UFC 251UFC 251 reactions: Winning and losing fighters on social mediaUFC on ESPN 13: Cody Stamann thinks 'one-dimensional' Jimmie Rivera hasn't evolved 
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Ghislaine Maxwell should be denied bail after alleged attempt to flee from FBI agents: Prosecutors
Jeffrey Epstein's former girlfriend -- a purported associate in his alleged sex trafficking ring -- will appear in front of a judge via video feed Tuesday after prosecutors revealed startling new details about her arrest earlier in July. The arraignment will determine whether or not Ghislaine Maxwell is released on bail pending a trial. Jericka Duncan reports.
cbsnews.com
California shutters businesses, makes some schools remote due to COVID-19 spike
A spike in COVID-19 cases in California is forcing the governor to shut down businesses once again. The skyrocketing rates there and around the country are forcing governors to rethink their strategies for reopening, especially as students are set to return to school. Jonathan Vigliotti reports.
cbsnews.com
Lori Loughlin asks judge to reduce $1 million bond, arguing there's 'no indication' she'll flee
Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli are asking a federal judge to reduce their bond in the college admissions scandal case from $1 million to $100,000, arguing that they are not flight risks. 
foxnews.com
Maryland rapper IDK yields 'Colbert' spotlight to Black Lives Matter
For young artists, their debut on late-night television is a time to show off their catchiest song and draw more fans to their catalog. Not IDK.
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Delta lost $5.7 billion in last quarter as recovery stalls
CEO Ed Bastian predicts it will take years for the airline to rebound, with passenger counts down more than 90%.
cbsnews.com
Tom Bergeron, Erin Andrews out as ‘Dancing With the Stars’ hosts
The "Dancing With the Stars" ballroom is going to look vastly different for Season 29.
nypost.com
Passenger claims American Airlines flight attendant 'violently' shook her, accused her of stealing: suit
Nathalie Sorensen is claiming a flight attendant named “Thor” grabbed her arm and shook her “violently” while accusing her of stealing a blanket.
foxnews.com
Washington name change is complicated by one frustrated trademark expert
A Virginia man who owns 44 trademarks relating to potential new names for the Washington Redskins is begging the franchise to take one of them off his hands. “@NFL @nflcommish Take my trademarks please! You can put that in all caps,” 61-year-old actuary Martin McCaulay tweeted Monday. “I sent you an email on 7/4/2020 and...
nypost.com
Wells Fargo lost $2.4 billion last quarter, setting the stage for its first dividend cut since the Great Recession
Wells Fargo swung to its first quarterly loss since the Great Recession, forcing the struggling bank to signal an 80% drop in its dividend.
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Burger King launches Whopper made from cows on a green diet
Introducing the new and improved Whopper — now with fewer cow farts. Burger King is serving a version of its signature sandwich made from cows that spew less methane, a nasty greenhouse gas that’s contributing to climate change. The cows that produce the special patties — which go on sale in five cities Tuesday —...
nypost.com
Chicago mayor deploys 'Census Cowboy' to boost participation, in bizarre scene: 'Time to giddy-up'
The city of Chicago has been under a shadow cast by the coronavirus pandemic and a surge in violence. But Mayor Lori Lightfoot is calling in a hero to tackle a different problem -- low response rates for the U.S. Census.
foxnews.com
The Nintendo Entertainment System gets the Lego treatment complete with a Super Mario Bros Game Pack
On Aug. 1 you'll be able to build your own Lego version of the Nintendo Entertainment System console. And it's not just the NES console, but the controller, Super Mario Bros. game cartridge and a 1980s style TV.
edition.cnn.com
At least 17 shot in New York City as gun violence continues to soar
Brooklyn saw the most violence with 10 shooting incidents and a total of 12 victims, sources said.
foxnews.com
The Daily 202: Trump’s coronavirus blame game is part of a pattern from the White House
Anthony S. Fauci is the latest fall guy in a worsening pandemic, and response.
washingtonpost.com
Federal Government Executes 1st Prisoner In 17 Years After Overnight Court Rulings
Daniel Lee, 47, was put to death on Tuesday morning in the federal death chamber in the first federal execution since 2003. Other inmates are scheduled for death this week.
npr.org
Young conservative women who went viral for standing up to liberal mob say they've received death threats
Savanah Hernandez, who was targeted by Black Lives Matter protesters when she showed up to a rally with a sign that read “Police Lives Matter,” said she was “viciously attacked” and has “gotten death threats from people on the left” because they don’t like her message.
foxnews.com
U.S. carries out the first federal execution in 17 years
The execution of Daniel Lewis Lee came over the objection of the victims' family.
cbsnews.com
US carries out first federal execution in 17 years after Supreme Court clears the way
Daniel Lee Lewis became the first federal death row inmate to be put to death in 17 years.       
usatoday.com
The Energy 202: More than a dozen states unite to boost electric trucks
The Democratic-controlled states say they will try to have every new medium- and heavy-duty vehicle sold within their borders be electric by 2050.
washingtonpost.com
Trump administration carries out first federal execution since 2003 after late-night Supreme Court intervention
The execution had prompted a flurry of court battles, including between the government and relatives of the victims.
washingtonpost.com
‘Expecting Amy’ Should Be Required Viewing in All Health Classes
The comedian resented that there hadn't been an open and honest look at pregnancy, so she made one herself.
nypost.com
How the pandemic scrambled Democrats’ campaign to retake statehouses
Angela Beauchamp fills out an absentee ballot in Garden City, Michigan on May 5. | Paul Sancya/AP Viral videos, virtual 5ks, and mask-making: Local candidates have gotten creative to reach voters. When she decided to run for state representative in the 98th District of Michigan, Democrat Sarah Schulz began putting together a traditional campaign infrastructure. She had unsuccessfully run for the same seat — which represents a portion of northeastern Michigan centered on the city of Midland— in 2018, and had a strategy for winning the traditionally conservative district this fall. So she built a list of volunteers and made plans for door-knocking campaigns and in-person events, the cornerstones of “retail politicking.” But everything changed when the coronavirus pandemic hit. “We had a Zoom meeting the Sunday after the schools started closing, and I said, ‘What are we going to do for our community right now?’” Schulz told Vox. Her idea, she said, was to mobilize her small army of volunteers to assist those most at risk of Covid-19. Up first was establishing a delivery service for folks who were homebound, but it wasn’t long before Schulz realized that, as in much of the United States, personal protective equipment (PPE) was a scarce resource in the 98th District. So she and her volunteers started making homemade masks. “I have about 70 or so folks who are in their homes right now, just making masks. And we’ve provided close to 5,000 masks in our community so far,” Schulz told Vox in mid-April. “First of all, it’s a community service. But from a campaign perspective, it’s like, what we’re doing is showing instead of telling. What does it look like when you have a people-centered leader?” Rachel Woolf for the Washington Post via Getty Images Sarah Schulz at a Women’s Convention in Detroit, Michigan, on October 28, 2017. This is just one example of how candidates are looking for creative ways to campaign in a high-stakes election cycle that offers Democrats a chance not just to retake the White House and Senate, but to take control over statehouses as well. Since 2020 is a census year, whichever party controls the statehouse following the elections will control how districting will work for the next decade. Republicans swept into power in 2010, and subsequently used gerrymandering to stay in power in states like Wisconsin and North Carolina — even in elections in which they won a minority of statewide voters. Democrats hope to use new census data to their advantage, and are counting on candidates like Schulz to do so. The pandemic has complicated the party’s plans, however. State-level candidates who depend on retail campaigning — knocking on doors, meeting voters face to face in their community — have been forced to abandon some of the cornerstones of local campaigning and have thrown themselves into more digital campaigning. “Normally the gold standard is face-to-face interaction to build relationships,” said Kelly Dietrich, CEO and founder of the Democratic Training Committee. “Now you can’t do that gold-standard face to face, but the goal is still the same. You still have to build a relationship with people to convince them to vote for you.” According to Dietrich, state and local campaigns have had to adapt by launching texting initiatives and ramping up phone-calling measures in order to reach voters. Some others, like Schulz and her mask-making operation, have found creative ways to campaign and catch the attention of voters without having to go door to door. Republicans have ramped up their digital operations, too. “State Republicans all over the country are adapting to the challenging circumstances evolving around us — we’re proud of their work and we’re here to help however we can,” said RSLC national press secretary Lenze Morris in a statement to Vox. “We have encouraged candidates to use innovative techniques, including videoconferencing, scheduling tele-town halls, and even bolstering their paid digital content to ensure key messages are still reaching intended audiences. These are uncertain times, but the mission remains the same: win.” Literally running for office in North Carolina Sarah Crawford, a Democrat campaigning for state Senate in North Carolina’s District 18 (which covers parts of Raleigh), is, by her own admission, not the greatest runner. Nonetheless, she says she’s found it to be a wonderful outlet for her energy, as well as a way to connect with family. She started running to spend more time with her dad, who is a runner. In 2017, they ran together in the “Dopey Challenge,” a grueling four-day, 46.8-mile set of races at Disney World. When the pandemic hit, Crawford was forced to abandon her traditional in-person campaigning and fundraising. “We typically host house parties with hors d’oeuvres and beverages and with a special guest ... and of course I go out and knock doors,” she told Vox. But “during this pandemic, all of those things are off the table.” While she was thinking through some ideas for digital campaigning, a new one struck her: a virtual 5-kilometer race. “I’m in a lot of different run groups on Facebook, and everybody was talking about all of the races being canceled. The races that I had signed up for myself were being canceled,” she said. “I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, I could host a 5k. How cool would that be?’” The rules of the race, which she named the “Run, Vote, Win 5k,” were simple: There was no set route, you could go at your own pace, and, most importantly, you could do it while socially distancing. “It’s virtual. You can run it, you can walk it, you can do it on the treadmill. My husband says you can even drive it if you want. I kind of think that’s cheating,” she said. While the race helped Crawford advertise her campaign, it also allowed her to get her message out to folks who maybe weren’t yet paying attention to local politics, especially in the middle of a pandemic. In addition to the race, Crawford has also adapted to doing more digital and phone campaigning. And she notes doing so has allowed for conversations she may not have otherwise had, particularly around the issue of child care: “I’m having really rich conversations about what people are going through and what they’re experiencing and how they’re managing working from home and their children,” she said. Should Crawford win her state Senate race, she’d be one of the five pickups Democrats need to retake the chamber. The party would also need to flip six state House seats to retake control of the statehouse. Flipping 11 seats won’t be easy, but Democrats hope to pull it off this fall. “There is certainly optimism among North Carolina Democrats that the party can continue to build on the gains it made in 2018. For starters, the previously used state-legislative map that was drawn to the advantage of Republicans is no more. The newly drawn map offers a few additional opportunities for Democratic gains in 2020,” Peter Francia, director of the Center for Survey Research and professor of political science at East Carolina University, told Vox in an email. And giving some North Carolina Democrats hope is the fact that,besides the redrawn map, national politics are expected to play a role in the state as well. Trump’s approval rating has been below 50 percent there throughout 2020, and many polls show presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden leading in the presidential race. If those polls hold, Democratic candidates like Crawford may see their campaigns boosted by Biden’s popularity. Despite that, Francia still thinks retaking the statehouse is an uphill battle for Democrats. “Democrats could certainly pick up some more seats in both the State House and State Senate. But can they win big enough to capture a majority? It’s not impossible, but probably unlikely,” he said. Michigan politics has become part of a national battle about Covid-19 Michigan Democrats similarly hope to take full control of their state — but the effort has been complicated not just by the pandemic’s effect of campaigning, but the fact that the state has become a microcosm of the pandemic politics playing out at the national level. Detroit was one of the earliest cities in the US to see an outbreak, and as of July 13, more than 6,000 people have died of Covid-19 statewide — with more than 69,000 confirmed cases overall, according to Michigan state data. Rapidly rising case counts in March led Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) to swiftly implement a statewide lockdown. That lockdown — and Whitmer herself — was protested by armed citizens, who were allowed into the statehouse in April demonstrations. President Trump cheered on the protesters from afar, tweeting encouragement to “Liberate Michigan,” along with several other states led by Democratic governors. LIBERATE MICHIGAN!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 17, 2020 All that may suggest that Democrats — including one who organized a mask-making operation — face an uphill struggle in their efforts to win the state. But according to Michigan pollster Bernie Porn, president of Epic-MRA, that’s not the case. And those anti-lockdown protesters are a decided minority in the state. “The polling that we did [shows Whitmer] in the 60 to 70 percent [range] in her positive job rating, and she’s even higher in terms of her handling of the coronavirus,” Porn told Vox. But that hasn’t stopped Republicans in the state legislature — including Annette Glenn, Schulz’s opponent — from embracing the spirit of those protests. The Republican-held legislature ultimately voted torevoke Whitmer’s emergency declaration on April 30 as protesters looked on. Republican state legislators are now preparing to sue the governor over her shelter-at-home order, despite a state court ruling Wednesday that said the order was constitutional. Michigan Democrats see a stark divide between what Porn’s polling shows the public wants and what its lawmakers are delivering. They also note that the economic resurgence Republican officials touted in their push to reopen nonessential businesses hasn’t materialized — and they see opportunity in both. Democrats in Michigan need just four seats to pick up the majority in the state House, and six on the Senate side. According to Porn, the presidential election factors heavily into which party controls the Michigan statehouse. According to Epic-MRA’s latest poll of 600 likely voters in Michigan, Biden leads Trump by 14 percentage points (the poll has a 4percentage point margin of error). The presidential election is expected to boost voter participation, and if Biden is able to boost the vote share of down-ballot Democrats — as polls suggest he could do — Porn said, November 3 will be a very good day for Michigan Democrats. “When there is a wave election, it’s a little bit like watching The Poseidon Adventure at that one point where the swell of water is about to envelop the SS Poseidon,” he said. “That’s probably a little bit like a lot of Republican candidates are starting to feel about the polling that they’re hearing about or seeing in their races.” Texas Democrats hope 2020 will be the year the state finally becomes competitive Like her counterparts in North Carolina and Michigan, Texas Democratic state House candidate Elizabeth Beck found her campaign thrown for a loop by the pandemic. She’s running for state representative in House District 97, which is a suburban district covering the southwest portion of Tarrant County, home to Fort Worth. Like Democratic candidates in other states, she had been preparing a traditional campaign before Covid-19 hit, and subsequently was left scrambling for ways to catch voters’ attention in the aftermath of the pandemic. After doing a little brainstorming, she teamed up with several other Democratic women running for office to produce a video based on the makeup brush video meme that had been popular this spring. But instead of showing the women transforming into beauty queens, they ended up in their campaign gear. “You have this campaign that you thought you knew exactly when and where you were going to do things, and all of that’s been upended,” she told Vox. “That has led to some sleepless nights, and one of those nights, I fell down a bit of a rabbit hole on Twitter watching these videos. ... And I thought, ‘That seems kind of fun.’” Woke up early feeling like I just may run for State Representative!!- @Lizzo... Shoutout to my girls running for the #txlege: @AkilahBacy @NataliforTexas @alisafortexas #FlipTheTexasHouse #RunLikeAGirl #StayAtHome pic.twitter.com/h07RhSI3Jc— Elizabeth Beck (@elizabethforTX) April 8, 2020 The tweet went low-key viral and garnered some much-needed early attention for Beck, whose district has gotten steadily more Democratic over the past decade. Many eyes will be on Texas on Election Day this year. Pundits have watched the deep-red state’s shifting demographics and wondered whether it’s a matter of when, not if, Texas finally goes blue. Former US Rep. Beto O’Rourke came closer than any Democrat in recent memory to winning a statewide race in 2018 when he faced off against Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, and Biden has held a lead or run close with Trump in many recent polls. Those polls have caught the attention of local political experts. “We used to say in the spirit of Tip O’Neill, ‘All politics are local,’” Texas Christian University political science professor Jim Riddlesperger told Vox. “The truth is that in 2020, in many ways, all politics have become national.” According to Riddlesperger, it’s unlikely though not impossible for Democrats to win the 13 seats they would need to take over the Texas state House. The state Senate is probably more out of reach for Democrats this year, however. The problem for Democrats in the state is that there are simply more Republican voters. But the fact that Texas is competitive is a political statement on its own. “It’s an exciting time to watch Texas politics because you can’t just simply put a red star over Texas as you’ve been able to do since 1980 and say that Texas is irrelevant in national politics,” said Riddlesperger. And as in North Carolina and Michigan, the pandemic is having a very real effect on those state politics: Covid-19 is a very immediate and personal political issue for folks who have had a loved one die or become seriously sick with it, noting case numbers have risen above 264,000, and more than 3,200Texans have died of the disease as of July 13, according to state data. Voters, Riddlesperger said, can’t just ignore that.A recent CBS News/YouGov poll in the state shows that 43 percent of 1,212 likely voters said Trump is doing a “very bad” job of handling the pandemic. State-level Republicans have seen this and have started to break with Trump on the issue. For instance, Texas’s Republican Gov. Greg Abbott instituted a mask mandate for most counties and suggested they may have to roll back their reopening. It’s this sort of reticence to mandate basic protective measures that has many Texas Democrats optimistic about their electoral chances — Beck said she sees it as dissolving the advantage incumbents normally enjoy. “If an incumbent is doing their job right and being a leader and using the position of their office to help people and to ease this burden for folks, I say it would probably be beneficial for an incumbent,” she said. In her district, “I don’t think that that’s necessarily the case.” Support Vox’s explanatory journalism Every day at Vox, we aim to answer your most important questions and provide you, and our audience around the world, with information that has the power to save lives. Our mission has never been more vital than it is in this moment: to empower you through understanding. Vox’s work is reaching more people than ever, but our distinctive brand of explanatory journalism takes resources — particularly during a pandemic and an economic downturn. 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