Jul 4, 2020

Axios AM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

🧨 Happy Fourth! Thank you for what you do to make America, America!

1 big thing: A Fourth like no other

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Amateur fireworks and backyard cookouts are winning the weekend as the virus takes the flash out of the Fourth of July, Stef Kight and Sarah Grillo report:

  • Some backyard celebrations will come with social distancing rules. Family cookouts will have shorter guest lists. Guests may be asked to bring their own food or to stay the night in tents outside. Events may get scrapped rather than moved indoors if the weather turns.

Fireworks sales for backyard launches could break records, Julie Heckman, executive director of the American Pyrotechnics Association, tells Axios.

  • Some retailers are reporting sales of double or triple last year.

Many cities are banning big, public firework displays:

  • Others are trying to find creative ways to minimize large gatherings. New York City is having five nights of fireworks shows, without announcing the location ahead of time, so people don't gather.
  • PBS' "A Capitol Fourth" concert, the annual Essence Festival in New Orleans, and Nathan's Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest will all be virtual.
  • In D.C., 35 minutes of fireworks are scheduled to light up the Mall and three miles around, from 9:07 to 9:42 p.m. Go deeper.

The big picture: This July 4 is being shaped by deep cultural shifts as Americans re-evaluate the nation’s history in the context of centuries of racial inequality.

  • As America celebrates independence from Britain, the European Union bans American travel because of the former colonies' handling of the virus.

American pride has fallen to an all-time low, according to Gallup.

  • 87% of Americans say they're dissatisfied with the way things are going in the U.S. — a trend that has grown across party lines, according to Pew Research Center.
  • 71% said they feel angry about the state of the union.

Share this story.

2. Trump warns of "far-left fascism"

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The "Today" show called it "rage." The N.Y. Times called it "dark and divisive." National Review's Rich Lowry called it "Trump's best since Warsaw."

Whatever you call it, President Trump's speech on Fourth of July eve — with Mount Rushmore as his unmatchably majestic backdrop — spoke to the shrinking demographic of his own voters and rebuffed America's rising voices:

  • "Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our Founders, deface our most sacred memorials, and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities," Trump said. "They think the American people are weak and soft and submissive."

Audience members, many wearing red Trump caps but few wearing masks, responded: "USA! USA! USA!"

  • "One of their political weapons is 'Cancel Culture,'" Trump continued. "This is the very definition of totalitarianism. ... We will expose this dangerous movement."
  • "In our schools, our newsrooms, even our corporate boardrooms, there is a new far-left fascism that demands absolute allegiance. ... This left-wing cultural revolution is designed to overthrow the American Revolution."
Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

What's next: Trump announced he'll sign an executive order "to establish the National Garden of American Heroes, a vast outdoor park that will feature the statues of the greatest Americans to ever live."

  • The bottom line: It's called "the base" because you build on it. The president is gambling that the ancient rules of politics don't apply to him.

The Trump campaign confirmed during the speech that Kimberly Guilfoyle, a top fundraiser for the campaign and girlfriend of Don Jr., tested positive for the coronavirus while in South Dakota. Don tested negative. Both are isolating. AP

3. New crowd tally: Biggest protest movement in U.S. history

A protester confronts a line of police in riot gear in Tucson, Ariz., on May 30. Photo: Josh Galemore/Arizona Daily Star via AP

"The recent Black Lives Matter protests peaked on June 6, when half a million people turned out in nearly 550 places across the United States," the N.Y. Times reports (subscription).

  • "That was a single day in more than a month of protests that still continue."

"Four recent polls ... suggest that about 15 million to 26 million people in the United States have participated in demonstrations over the death of George Floyd and others in recent weeks," The Times adds.

  • Why it matters: "These figures would make the recent protests the largest movement in the country’s history, according to ... scholars and crowd-counting experts."
4. Pics du jour: Spring training in summer
Photo: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

Boston Red Sox players during summer workouts at Fenway Park yesterday.

MLB announced the results of its intake COVID testing: 38 positives (31 players, 7 staff), or 1.2% of the 3,185 samples.

  • 19 clubs, out of the 30 total, had at least one positive. MLB.com
Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP

Notice the heart in center field as the Washington Nationals held their first summer training camp workout at Nats Park yesterday.

5. Redskins expected to change mascot by September
Redskins helmet circa 1970. Photo: Nate Fine/Getty Images

A source close to the negotiations tells me there is "no question" the Washington Redskins are expected to change their name before the first kickoff this fall, scheduled for Sept. 10.

  • Team owner Dan Snyder told USA Today in 2013: "We'll never change the name ... It's that simple. NEVER — you can use caps."

Well, "never" is ahead of schedule:

  • The review the team announced yesterday "is expected to result in a new team name and mascot," the WashPost reports.

P.S. The Cleveland Indians tweeted last night: "[W]e are committed to engaging our community and appropriate stakeholders to determine the best path forward with regard to our team name."

6. God bless all the health-care professionals working today
Photo: Go Nakamura/Getty Images

Members of the medical staff rest this week in front of air conditioners in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston.

Photo: Go Nakamura/Getty Images
7. 🇺🇸 This old house

Isabel Wilkerson — a Pulitzer winner who devoted 15 years to "The Warmth of Other Suns," her bestseller on the Great Migration of Black Americans, from the South to the North and West — writes for the N.Y. Times Magazine (subscription):

America is an old house. We can never declare the work over. Wind, flood, drought and human upheavals batter a structure that is already fighting whatever flaws were left unattended in the original foundation.
When you live in an old house, you may not want to go into the basement after a storm to see what the rains have wrought. Choose not to look, however, at your own peril.
The owner of an old house knows that whatever you are ignoring will never go away. Whatever is lurking will fester whether you choose to look or not.

Keep reading (subscription).

8. 🗞️ The test of time

This column by Roger Simon, "America's glorious failures," appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times on July 4, 1976, and has been reprinted annually for decades, including this 2012 rendition from Politico:

America was a country founded by failures who could not get along in the Old World ...
America was a country built by ... men and women who never attained the dream of owning their own business and being their own boss. Men and women whose lives were ruled by the alarm clock in the morning and the factory whistle in the evening.
Years and years of history books have taught us that America was shaped by the great deeds of great men and women. It was not. America was shaped by the great deeds of ordinary men and women.

Keep reading.

9. Be safe 'n' sane
People buy fireworks this week in Dublin, Calif. Photo: Ben Margot/AP

With hundreds of fireworks shows canceled, officials worry that more amateur pyrotechnicians mean greater danger of injuries and wildfires, AP's Suman Naishadham writes.

Dr. Erin Miller, a hand surgeon at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, said she amputated 42 fingers due to fireworks injuries last year.

  • Her advice: Don't use large fireworks like mortars and cherry bombs. And don't mix in alcohol.

AP sent this writethru: "Eds: UPDATES: Adds that California man lost hand."

10. D'oh! They missed the lead
Photo: Getty Images

Niala Boodhoohost of our 10-minute morning podcast, "Axios Today" — sent me this 2014 clipping from the Hartford Courant, by Erik Hesselberg:

America's most famous document, the Declaration of Independence, didn't make the front page of The Courant.
It appeared at the bottom of Page 2 on July 15, 1776, 11 days after independence was proclaimed in Philadelphia.
The Continental Congress had appealed to newspapers to publish the document, and 30 of the 42 newspapers throughout the Colonies complied. But news, by sailing ship and post rider, traveled only so fast. ...
Half a dozen newspapers scooped The Courant on the momentous event, including The Maryland Journal and The Baltimore Journal, run by Mary Katherine Goddard, one of 30 women printers in the American Colonies.

Happiest Fourth to you and yours. And don't miss your lead!

Mike Allen

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