March didn’t really come “in” like a lion or a lamb — more like a mildly-irritating raccoon. It’s time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.
TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► Super Tuesday got a whole lot more interesting over the weekend. Former Vice President Joe Biden won a decisive victory in the South Carolina Primary on Saturday; Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg subsequently suspended his Presidential campaign (as did businessman Tom Steyer).
Biden is certainly riding the momentum wave at the moment, picking up notable endorsements (including from Denver Mayor Michael Hancock) and raising big money since his South Carolina victory. Sanders, meanwhile, continues to throw down monster fundraising numbers. As for Elizabeth Warren…she’s not dead yet and is rolling out new endorsements of her own. Finally, Amy Klobuchar will make a last pre-Tuesday campaign stop in Colorado today.
Colorado is among 14 states that will count ballots on Tuesday in a Democratic race that might have become a Bernie Sanders/ Joe Biden battle. For more on the local race to the polls, check out this story from The Denver Post. Here’s a look at the latest ballot return numbers in Colorado.
REMEMBER: If you still have a ballot at home, or in your purse, or wherever, DO NOT PUT IT IN THE MAIL. Ballots must be RECEIVED by 7:00 on Tuesday; go to GoVoteColorado.com for more information on where to find a ballot drop-off location.
Trump’s earlier rambling, contentious and widely criticized first public appearance on the issue last week as well as inflammatory remarks on the virus and Democrats at a campaign rally Friday night threatened to overshadow its mitigation efforts. His previous comments that the number of US cases could soon disappear and that his administration had made “tremendous” efforts to thwart the virus arriving in the US now look premature.
On Sunday night, the President crowed about a poll that he said showed 77% of adults were confident the government could handle the situation.
“Gallup Poll numbers on the handling of this situation are outstanding, the best. Thank you!”
The poll that he was referring to, however, appeared to be one conducted between February 3-16 — well before the deaths on US soil, the spike of new cases and the stock market routs last week that exemplified growing panic about the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, Trumpistas continue to insist that mean Democrats and those journalist jerks are at fault for politicizing the fact that President Trump is screwing up:
Vice President Pence defended the President’s son, Donald Trump Jr., for saying that Democrats were rooting for “millions” of Americans to die so the coronavirus could hurt Trump politically. And he complained that the President — who has done more to coarsen public life than any other modern politician — had been the target of “very strong rhetoric” from his opponents and the media.
Over the weekend, The Washington Post reported on the Trump administration’s panicked attempts to get control of a coronavirus narrative.
Here in Colorado, COVID-19 is starting to impact larger events.
► The U.S. Supreme Court announced today that it will take up two cases that could decide the ultimate fate of Obamacare…but probably not before the 2020 election. From Vox.com:
The Republican legal arguments against Obamacare in this case are widely viewed as ridiculous, even by many lawyers and scholars who spent much of the last decade trying to convince the courts to repeal President Obama’s signature achievement…
…And yet, the lawsuit has received very favorable treatment from Republican federal judges. Judge Reed O’Connor, a former Republican Senate staffer turned district judge, ordered the whole Affordable Care Act repealed in its entirety. Two Republican federal appeals court judges reached a somewhat more mild conclusion — striking down a small portion of the law and then sending the case back down to O’Connor to reconsider which other provisions should fall. But, while that holding creates more work for Judge O’Connor, he remains likely to kill as much of the law as he can.
In addition to weighing the merits of the plaintiffs’ arguments, the Supreme Court will need to consider whether any federal court has jurisdiction to hear this case. As a general rule, no one is allowed to challenge a law in federal court unless they can show they were injured by that law. Because the zeroed-out mandate does nothing, it’s highly doubtful that anyone is allowed to challenge it.
In the meantime, Colorado isn’t waiting around to push forward on health care changes.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► If you read anything today, make it this Op-Ed penned by Coni Sanders, whose father, Dave Sanders, was killed in the Columbine High School shooting in 1999.
I’m thinking of Mitch McConnell for a very different reason: one year ago today, H.R. 8 –– a bill that would require background checks on all gun sales –– passed through the House of Representatives with bipartisan support and landed on his desk. It has sat there ever since, untouched because McConnell has refused to give it a vote in the Senate. During that time, an estimated 36,000 Americans have been killed by gun violence. Twice that many have been wounded. People have been killed in Dayton and El Paso, in movie theaters and schools, en masse and all alone. Still, Mitch McConnell lacks the courage to act.
I’m thinking of Cory Gardner because he has failed us, too…
…My dad risked his life by running into an active shooter situation, but Mitch McConnell won’t even allow the Senate to cast a simple vote. My dad screamed warnings from the top of a cafeteria table, but Cory Gardner won’t even answer constituents’ questions about gun safety. My dad died to save hundreds of lives, but McConnell and Gardner haven’t lifted a finger to pass common-sense gun laws that could save thousands.
Fortunately, this November, we have a chance to hold them accountable for their failure.
► As Philip Bump writes for The Washington Post, President Trump’s go-to political tactics don’t really work in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak:
Those assurances don’t mean much when considering the tail risks, the less likely but more frightening possibilities of infection. Like someone who’s afraid to fly buying a plane ticket, the rational understanding of the low likelihood of a crash can’t compete with the emotional fear of the worst-case possibility. It’s a moment when Americans want to know that the government is, in fact, on top of things.
That’s not aided by Trump’s trademark indifference to using precise language in sharing information.
“Healthy individuals should be able to fully recover,” Trump said at a news briefing Saturday. “And we think that will be a statement that we can make with great surety now that we’ve gotten familiar with this problem. They should be able to recover should they contract the virus. So, healthy people, if you’re healthy, you will probably go through a process and you’ll be fine.”
That’s … not entirely reassuring.
► State Rep. Dave Williams (R-Colorado Springs) is
always rarely never a class act.
► As Politico reports, President Trump probably needs a new acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services director:
A D.C.-based federal judge ruled Sunday that President Donald Trump’s appointment of Ken Cuccinelli as acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services director violated the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, a decision that suspends two policies Cuccinelli implemented while leading the agency.
Cuccinelli, an immigration hard-liner who was previously attorney general in Virginia, became acting head of USCIS in June, assuming the newly created role of “principal deputy director.” In November, Cuccinelli also assumed the position of “senior official performing the duties of the deputy secretary” at USCIS’ parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security…
…The order strikes down directives from Cuccinelli that sped up asylum-seekers’ initial screenings limited extensions of those hearings, on the grounds that Cuccinelli lacked authority to issue them. [Pols emphasis]
► If you already cast a ballot for Pete Buttigieg, Colorado Public Radio tries to break the news gently.
► Utah Sen. Mitt Romney received a standing ovation during a visit to Denver because of his vote to convict President Trump on one of two impeachment charges.
► Only one candidate can capture Colorado on Super Tuesday, but we’re all winners thanks to big spending in our state.
“I’ve never actually seen something like this before, where, in the eleventh hour, right before a bill is introduced, sponsors jump ship,” House Majority Leader Alec Garnett, D-Denver, said on a podcast this week.
“There is a process in this building for when you feel like something is going in the wrong direction,” he said. “Jumping off at the eleventh hour is not actually one of the boxes on that card.”
► Legislation to tighten requirements for vaccinations in Colorado is headed to the State House after passing through the State Senate.
► State lawmakers are trying to revive Colorado’s film industry.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► The iconic hip-hop group Public Enemy is fighting for their right to disagree about supporting Bernie Sanders for President.
► At least you didn’t have this middle seat on a cross-country flight.
► Does the metaphor still work if the artwork looks more like a bear in sheep’s clothing?
► Don’t miss the latest episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast.