Jul 24, 2020

Axios AM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Happy Friday! Today's Smart Brevity™ count ... 954 words, < 4 minutes.

Situational awareness: Rep. John Lewis' body will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol, the Alabama capitol and the Georgia capitol, with a funeral Thursday at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, which the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once led.

🇨🇳 New overnight: China ordered the U.S. to close its consulate in the western city of Chengdu, as relations sink to their lowest level in decades. AP

1 big thing: Virus makes schools even less equal

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

No matter what's going on at home, schools have always been something of an equalizer — with all the neighborhood kids, richer and poorer, sitting behind the same desks in the same classrooms.

  • Pandemic-era remote learning is doing away with that, Axios' Erica Pandey writes.

When you don't have kids from different backgrounds learning together, all of their differences become magnified — particularly when they can see into each other's homes, and especially when online learning shortchanges some students more than others.

  • We didn't get the pandemic under control over the summer, and a number of school districts — including big ones like Los Angeles and Maryland's Montgomery County — have announced plans to go online for the fall.

Home conditions and family dynamics will be on display as kids attend classes over video calls.

  • Socioeconomic differences among classmates are even more pronounced when everyone can see what the inside of everyone else's home looks like.
  • And children who live in households steeped in pandemic chaos, where parents are too busy to get them ready for the day or set up their workstations, may show up for online school unkempt or in a messy environment.

For many young students, school was a safe space away from an unstable home.

  • Millions of kids have lost family members to the virus, or worry about a parent who is an essential worker or lost their job.
  • Food insecurity will also become a bigger issue.

Share this story.

2. Exclusive poll: Virus sinks GOP governors in hard-hit states
Data: SurveyMonkey poll conducted every other week from mid-May to mid-July. Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The governors in four states hit hardest by the coronavirus have taken a massive hit in polls for their handling of the pandemic, managing editor David Nather writes from SurveyMonkey poll data shared exclusively with Axios.

  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp — all Republicans — saw their ratings nosedive this month as cases skyrocketed in their states.

The key to the sharp declines was a softening in their support among Republicans, according to SurveyMonkey chief research officer Jon Cohen.

  • In Texas, 69% of Republicans approve of Abbott's handling of the virus, down from 89% after Memorial Day.
  • By contrast, California Gov. Gavin Newsom still has the support of 82% of Democrats.

The bottom line: The political damage from the coronavirus won't just be a factor in the presidential election. It's going to shape governors' legacies.

3. Stunning stat
Screenshot via CNN

It took the U.S. a little more than three months to get to 1 million coronavirus cases, then two weeks to add the most recent 1 million.

4. Pic du jour
Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Speaker Pelosi signs the Great American Outdoors Act, which directs billions to national parks and outdoor recreation.

  • Why it matters: Supporters call it the most significant conservation legislation in nearly 50 years.
5. The natural
Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

President Trump, hosting Little Leaguers on the South Lawn yesterday, catches a ball thrown by Yankees Hall of Fame pitcher Mariano Rivera.

  • Trump announced he'll throw out the first pitch Aug. 15 at Yankee Stadium.
Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Photo: Evan Vucci/AP
6. Twitter to experiment with subscriptions

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Twitter has hit a rough patch, Axios' Scott Rosenberg and Sara Fischer write:

  • First, there was last week's brutal hack of high-profile accounts. As of earlier this year, more than 1,000 Twitter employees had access to the kind of administrative controls that hackers hijacked, per Reuters.
  • Yesterday's earnings report was disappointing, and the company admitted it needs new sources of revenue.

Twitter said it's considering a subscription product to help offset losses in advertising during the pandemic.

  • CEO Jack Dorsey told analysts on the company's earnings call that it will experiment with some approaches this year, but didn't give details.

Share this story.

7. Why Trump canceled Jacksonville convention

In Oval Office meetings about the Republican convention over the past few weeks, aides warned President Trump that he'd get three days of horrendous coverage if he went ahead with the Jacksonville celebration, Axios' Jonathan Swan reports.

  • An adviser who was in the meetings said Trump was told that the dominant story would be the potential for Jacksonville to be a super-spreader event.

Trump announced at the top of his coronavirus briefing yesterday that Jacksonville is off, although delegates will gather in Charlotte for one day of official proceedings.

  • "I'll still do a convention speech in a different form, but we won’t do a big, crowded convention per se. It's just not the right time for that."
  • "I could see the media saying, 'Oh this is very unsafe. ... It's safety — not because of the media, but that’s what they would say."
8. Hollywood's lost summer

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer. Photo: David Livingston/GC Images

Nearly five months after Hollywood first began to shutter, the prospect of a reopening of theaters and production sets still seems distant, Axios' Sara Fischer writes.

  • Disney pulled its live action remake of "Mulan" from its release calendar Thursday, marking the fourth time the entertainment giant has delayed the movie's theatrical debut.
  • "Star Wars" and "Avatar" sequels have also been delayed by a year, Disney said.
  • "Tenet," the highly-anticipated Christopher Nolan film, was also pulled by Warner Bros. from its release schedule indefinitely after being delayed from its original July 17 debut.

Theater chains have suffered tremendously from Hollywood's pandemic pause.

  • Unlike big movie studios, which can delay releases or send movies to streaming, theater chains — AMC, Regal and Cinemark — are beholden to health officials and studios to decide when and how they can reopen.
  • AMC said yesterday that it's pushing back reopening of most U.S. theaters until mid- to late-August.
  • Actors, writers, directors and production staff are struggling to find work.

The bottom line: Hollywood is on track to face its worst year since the '70s.

9. Baseball's back: East Coast edition
Photo: Alex Brandon/AP

A lightning bolt strikes over Nats Park during the sixth inning of the first Opening Day game — a rain-shortened 4-1 Yankees victory over the Nationals.

Courtesy N.Y. Post
10. Baseball's back: West Coast edition
Photo: Harry How/Getty Images

With empty stands, the L.A. Dodgers (left) and S.F. Giants kneel in solidarity at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers won, 8-1.

  • Below, a cameraman walks among cardboard cutouts of fans at the game.
Photo: Mark J. Terrill/AP
Mike Allen

📱 Thanks for reading Axios AM. Please invite your friends to sign up here.