Jul 26, 2020

Axios AM

Happy Sunday! Today's Smart Brevity™ count ... 1,065 words ... 4 minutes.

1 big thing: 2020's cultural collision

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

2020 is provoking a cultural awakening — a unique moment in history that Black Americans, immigrants, Latinos, women, people with disabilities and advocates for LGBTQ rights are all hoping to seize, Stef Kight and Sara Fischer write.

  • Why it matters: Converging crises are raising public awareness of issues that underrepresented communities have focused on for years.

What's happening: The coronavirus has laid bare gross inequities of the health care system, at the same time as massive protests spotlight systemic racism in policing and criminal justice.

  • The virus has also highlighted the need for more accessible absentee voting — something people with disabilities, especially those who are blind or visually impaired — have long fought for.

The bottom line: Sergio Gonzalez, deputy director at the Immigration Hub, said that in what has been a disastrous year in many ways, "I would like to look at one silver lining."

  • Major progress in social justice and civil rights, Gonzalez said, has come "when movements have been able to work together and across space."
  • "[T]hat's what we're seeing right now."

Share this story.

2. Riots declared in Portland, Seattle

Topless protester poses in front of federal agents in Portland. Photo: Ankur Dholakia/AFP via Getty Images

Police declared riots yesterday in Portland and Seattle as protests continued for the 58th straight day.

  • In Portland, protesters were met with tear gas after they breached a fence surrounding the courthouse where federal agents have been stationed.
  • In Seattle, organizers say reports of federal law enforcement deployed to the city may have intensified demonstrations, resulting in a trail of broken windows and at least 45 arrests.
Firecrackers go off near members of a police SWAT team in Seattle. Photo: David Ryder/Getty Images
3. What if THESE are the good old days?

Spotted in Hope Valley, Rhode Island. Photo: William J. Kole

As Axios AM readers know, I'm an optimist, personally and professionally.

  • I've helped start two companies, my faith brings me joy, and my three siblings' 11 amazing young people (3 girls, 8 boys!) bring the future to life.

But I'm also clear-eyed, and Axios always brings you a clinical view of reality.

  • So just to get you thinking — and mainly to help all of us appreciate what we have amid this storm — I wanted to share this thought-provoking story by AP New England editor Bill Kole, who argues that things could get much worse:

Some futurists fear a not-too-distant time when we'll look back with nostalgia at 2020 as days when many of us had plenty of food and wine, could get goods and services we needed, and could work from home at jobs that still paid us.

  • Why it matters: The pandemic continues to buffet the planet economically, dashing hopes that the worst of the joblessness might be behind us.

This time next year, we may well marvel at how swiftly this existential threat was vanquished. But many of the numbers are going in the wrong direction:

  • What if humanity's frantic efforts to produce a viable vaccine take longer than envisioned?
  • What if that coincides with a climate calamity that ruins crops and shatters supply chains, stripping supermarket shelves?
  • For all our kvetching about masks, could we one day don hazmat suits to leave the house?

🌞 Antidote ... To bring you back to this summer Sunday, here's a Nick Kristof column from earlier this month, "We Interrupt This Gloom to Offer … Hope":

The grim awareness of national failures — on the coronavirus, racism, health care and jobs — may be a necessary prelude to fixing our country.
The last time our economy was this troubled, Herbert Hoover’s failures led to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s election with a mandate to revitalize the nation. The result was the New Deal, Social Security, rural electrification, government jobs programs and a 35-year burst of inclusive growth that built the modern middle class and arguably made the United States the richest and most powerful country in the history of the world.

Keep reading (subscription).

Bonus: Pic du jour
Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters

This was a mourner as a week of remembrances for the civil rights hero, Rep. John Lewis, began yesterday with a socially distanced service in Troy, the Alabama town where Lewis was born and raised.

At 11 a.m. ET today, networks will break in with special coverage when Lewis travels across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Alabama for the final time.

  • The Selma bridge is named for a Confederate general and KKK leader.
  • Rep. Jim Clyburn is among those calling for the bridge to be named for Lewis.
  • But wait for it — there's opposition in Selma.
4. 🗳️ 100 days to election
One snapshot of the 2020 electoral map, from The Economist. See another map, from The Cook Political Report.

While arbitrary, a milestone like this gives us a sense of where we are: April 17 was 100 days ago.

  • So think about a month into the lockdown. That's the span to Election Day.

The N.Y. Times' Nate Cohn captures the trend: The last time a candidate sustained as big a national lead for as long as Joe Biden has over President Trump was 24 years ago, when Bill Clinton romped past Bob Dole.

But as a reminder of how many twists we have ahead, consider Oct. 7, 2016 — one month before Election Day.

  • On that single day, the "Access Hollywood" tape surfaced, WikiLeaks posted hacked Clinton campaign emails, and the Obama administration formally accused the Kremlin of hacking DNC emails.
  • Jim Comey's bombshell was three weeks away.

So sit tight! And remember ...

Via Twitter
5. "People are already beginning to flee"
Photo: Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

The N.Y. Times Magazine begins a series on global climate migration, in partnership with ProPublica:

  • "Today, 1% of the world is a barely livable hot zone."
  • "By 2070, that portion could go up to 19%."

That could put "one of every three people alive outside the climate niche where humans have thrived for thousands of years."

6. How Regis changed TV

Regis on the set of MSNBC's "Morning Joe." Photo via @JesseRodriguez

Regis Francis Xavier Philbin, who died Friday at 88, made himself a millionaire many times over with "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire." But his signature was his televised coffee talk, captured by another legend, the N.Y. Times' Bob McFadden:

Philbin was the indignant Everyman, under siege from all sides — by the damned computers, the horrible traffic, the inconsiderate people who were always late. There was no soap in the men’s room. Hailing a cab was hopeless. Losing a wallet in a rental car? Fuhgeddaboudit! Even his own family was down on him for buying a chain saw!

The heart of Philbin's syndicated morning show was the first 15 minutes, when he and co-host Kathie Lee Gifford — on "Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee" from 1985-2000, or Kelly Ripa on "Live! with Regis and Kelly" from 2001 until his 2011 retirement — bantered about the events of the day, AP's David Bauder writes:

  • On "Millionaire," Philbin's question to contestants, "Is that your final answer?" became a national catchphrase.
Via Twitter
7. Trump golfs with ironman
White House photo by Tia Dufour

The White House released this photo of President Trump golfing with legendary Packers QB Brett Favre at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J.

8. 1 smile to go
Photo: Pascal Rossignol/AP

Pianist Cecile Wouters and singer Evelyne Zou perform on a lake during a rehearsal of their show "Melting Flotte" (fleet), at the Chateau de Ricquebourg in Ricquebourg, France.

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