Jun 22, 2020

Axios PM

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 555 words, a 2-minute read.

Situational awareness: Florida passed 100K confirmed coronavirus cases today, and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott warned that COVID-19 is spreading at an "unacceptable rate" in his state.

1 big thing: Black candidates rise

Clockwise from top left: Mike Espy, Joy Reid, Jaime Harrison, Royce West, Raphael Warnock, Charles Booker. Screenshot: MSNBC

There are five black men running for U.S. Senate in the South as Democrats who could not only make history, but are using this unique moment to have difficult, intimate conversations about being black in America, Alexi McCammond reports.

Why it matters: There have only been 10 black senators in U.S. history, and it wasn't until 2013 that two black Americans simultaneously served in the Senate.

  • Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) currently serve.

The big picture: For the country, this moment isn’t just about addressing and rectifying the issue of police brutality against black Americans; it’s about rethinking and reforming the very institutions and systems that have come to define our country through the racial inequities they impose.

  • It's that calculus that's changing who's running and who the country thinks is the right type of person to fill these roles and work on these long-term issues.

The Southern 5:

  • Mississippi: Former Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy
  • South Carolina: Former SC Democratic Party chair Jaime Harrison
  • Kentucky: State Rep. Charles Booker
  • Georgia: The Rev. Raphael Warnock, who gave the eulogy at the private funeral service for Rayshard Brooks. Warnock is the senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King Jr. was a pastor.
  • Texas: State Sen. Royce West

And in Michigan, businessman and veteran John James is running as a Republican.

  • “We need the first-hand lived experience of somebody who understands what it’s like to walk around in black skin and recognizes the urgency of the situation demands action, not more talk,” he told MLive.

Between the lines: America's lack of black senators is particularly jarring in the South.

  • Mississippi is 38% black
  • Louisiana is 33%
  • Georgia is 32%
  • Alabama and South Carolina are at 27%
  • North Carolina is 22%
  • Tennessee and Florida are 17%
  • Arkansas is 16%
  • Texas is 13%
  • Kentucky is 8%

The bottom line: “In a country that has never had two black senators from the same state serve at the same time, hope is right here standing before you," Harrison said this year at an MLK Day event in Columbia, South Carolina.

2. Pic du jour
Photo: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

NASCAR drivers push Bubba Wallace's #43 Victory Junction Chevrolet to the front of the grid as a sign of solidarity prior to the NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega.

  • A noose was found in Wallace's garage stall at Talladega a week after the organization banned the Confederate flag at its facilities.
3. Catch up quick
  1. Apple formally announced its transition to homegrown chips for the Mac, supplanting Intel, which has powered Apple's computer line for the past decade. Go deeper.
  2. President Trump said he would only meet with Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro "to discuss one thing: a peaceful exit from power." This is a backtrack from his interview with Axios' Jonathan Swan. Go deeper.
  3. The Golden Globes have been pushed back to Feb. 28, the original date for the Oscars, due to uncertainty in TV and movie production. Go deeper.
  4. The Trump administration will ban entry into the U.S. for foreigners on certain temporary work visas — including high-skilled H-1B visas — through the end of the year. Go deeper.
  5. Andrew Yang was on today's "Axios Re:Cap" to discuss whether the stimulus can be seen as a test run for universal basic income. Go deeper.
4. 1 helpful thing

This combination photo shows, from left, Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker and rapper Nelly, who will participate in Live Nation's “Live from the Drive-In,” concert series taking place July 10–12. Photo: AP

Tour promoter Live Nation has announced its first-ever drive-in concert series in the U.S. for July, AP reports.

  • Brad Paisley will headline shows in all three cities, while Darius Rucker and Jon Pardi will also perform in Nashville at Nissan Stadium. Nelly will perform in Maryland Heights, near St. Louis.

How it works: Concertgoers will be able to drive into the parking lots of the amphitheaters — a maximum of four people per car — with two empty parking lot spaces in between each vehicle.

  • Attendees are encouraged to bring their own food, drinks and chairs.