Sep 5, 2018

The Kavanaugh headache for red-state Dems

Illustration:Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The red-state Democrats who are up for re-election in November are in a no-win situation over Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination — and Tuesday's protests at his confirmation hearing didn't help.

Why it matters: The progressive base is demanding that Democratic senators vote no on Kavanaugh. But Republicans say support for his nomination is highest in four Trump states with Democratic senators: Montana, West Virginia, North Dakota and Missouri.

Driving the news: Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris interrupted Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing seconds after it started. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Cory Booker followed. Protestors were ushered out of the room.

Be smart: This is a high-profile vote right before the election that will show voters where these Democratic senators stand — and that will become baggage, whichever way they vote.

  • Republicans are determined to make this a midterm election issue by tying vulnerable moderate Dems to their "far-left," "obstructionist" colleagues like Booker and Harris.
  • Just look at the latest ad from Matt Rosendale, the Republican challenging Democratic Sen. Jon Tester in Montana. "Tester opposed Justice Neil Gorsuch, Trump's pick, but Tester voted 99% of the time for Obama's judges."

The bottom line: Red-state Democrats are stuck between support for Kavanaugh in their home states and pressure from their party to oppose Trump nominees at all costs. Opposing Kavanaugh might be an easy call for the rest of the Democrats, but it's not an easy call for them.

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U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll surpasses 14,800

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 2,000 people for the second day in a row, and it's infected more than 432,000 others, per Johns Hopkins data.

Where it stands: More than 14,800 people have died of COVID-19 in the U.S. — including over 4,500 in New York. The state's death toll surged to its highest one-day total on Wednesday — beating the previous day's record. 779 people died in New York in 24 hours. N.Y. has reported more cases than the most-affected countries in Europe.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 54 mins ago - Health

World coronavirus updates: U.K. PM "stable, improving" in intensive care

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is "stable, improving, sat up and engaged with medical staff" in the intensive care unit of London's St. Thomas' Hospital, where he is being treated for the coronavirus, Culture Minister Oliver Dowden told the BBC Thursday.

Zoom in: The update comes as ministers meet to discuss whether to extend the United Kingdom's lockdown and after the country's health officials reported Wednesday the highest daily rise in COVID-19 deaths — 938, taking the total to over 7,300. London Mayor said Wednesday the U.K. is "nowhere near lifting the lockdown," with the virus not expected to peak there until next week.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 1,484,811 — Total deaths: 88,538 — Total recoveries: 329,876Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 432,132 — Total deaths: 14,817 — Total recoveries: 23,906Map.
  3. Federal government latest: Top Trump administration officials had been developing a plan to give cloth masks to huge numbers of Americans, but the idea lost traction amid heavy internal skepticism.
  4. States latest: New York has reported more cases than the most-affected countries in Europe. Chicago's Cook County jail is largest-known source of coronavirus in U.S.
  5. Business: One-third of U.S. jobs are at risk of disappearing, mostly affecting low-income workers.
  6. World: WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged countries to put politics aside "if you don’t want to have many more body bags.”
  7. Environment: COVID-19 is underscoring the connection between air pollution and dire outcomes from respiratory diseases.
  8. Tech: A new report recommends stimulus spending to help close the digital divide revealed by social distancing.
  9. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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