The TAKE with Rick Klein
On a holiday weekend punctured by yet another numbing tragedy, midway through a year that carries enormous political implications, 2024 was everywhere.
Just in the last few days, Vice President Kamala Harris seemed to take President Joe Biden back a step on how quickly they’ll declare their plans for a second campaign (though the White House has long reiterated that Biden plans to seek a second term). And former President Donald Trump’s aides and associates took him a step closer to another run — teasing an announcement that could come sooner rather than later.
The Democratic governor of California, Gavin Newsom, took a pricy political shot at the Republican governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis. That was based on the assumption that the latter is basically already running for president — though it also fuels speculation that the former is interested in the job as well.
The most recent GOP nominee before Trump, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, wrote an essay for The Atlantic faulting Biden for not breaking through a “national malady of denial, deceit, and distrust” — and also warning that a Trump return to office “would feed the sickness, probably rendering it incurable.”
That came just after another leading Republican Trump critic — who, like Romney, carries a name familiar to national tickets — said in an interview that she will “make a decision about ’24 down the road,” with a new perspective on the challenges of the present.
“I think about it less in terms of a decision about running for office,” Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., told ABC News’ Jonathan Karl, “and more in terms of, as an American and as somebody who’s in a position of public trust now, how do I make sure that I’m doing everything I can to do the right thing? To do what I know is right for the country and to protect our Constitution?”
Cheney first faces primary voters next month back in Wyoming, to try to keep her House seat against a Trump-backed challenger.
That’s a big race that carries a small reminder: No matter how much midterm races rise and fall on their own dynamics, the next presidential campaign looms large over all of it. And while 2024 is a ways off, it’s already begun — carrying more question marks than perhaps any presidential race in modern times.
The RUNDOWN with Brittany Shepherd
Monday’s parade mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois, comes only days after a bipartisan anti-gun violence deal was negotiated through a divided Congress and signed into law by Biden at the end of June, in the first major federal effort on the issue in decades.
At least six people were killed and dozens more injured in the shooting at an Independence Day parade in the Chicago suburb, according to law enforcement. Authorities recovered a rifle and went on to launch a hunt for the suspected gunman.
The parade killings follow numerous other mass shootings in the U.S. this year, including the high-profile massacre of children at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and the shooting of Black patrons and employees at a Buffalo, New York, grocery store by a suspected white supremacist.
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat who won his party’s primary last week, said in a statement on Monday that “grief will not bring the victims back, and prayers alone will not put a stop to the terror of rampant gun violence in our country.”
His Republican challenger, Trump-endorsed state Sen. Darren Bailey, called for the state legislature to convene in a special session. Bailey once supported a now-failed fringe resolution that would have separated Chicago from the rest of Illinois.
“We need to demand law and order and prosecute criminals,” he said. “We need more police on our streets to keep our families safe. Public safety must be a top priority.”
The White House and Congress last month broke some three decades of stalled negotiations on gun safety with the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which paired funding for social services and school security with modest firearm reforms — including supporting more “red flag” laws, bolstering the federal background check system and restricting more domestic abusers from having weapons.
President Biden said in a statement on Monday after the parade shooting that the new law was valuable but that there is “much more work to do, and I’m not going to give up fighting the epidemic of gun violence.”
But the prospect is dim of the more sweeping changes Democrats seek, such as reinstating a ban on assault-style weapons.
Additional restrictions and regulations will be nearly impossible to implement without either a larger Democratic majority in Congress after the midterms — in a year where Biden’s approval has crumbled — or the support of at least a handful of Republican lawmakers, who are unlikely to bend on such a sensitive issue so close to election primaries and after long arguing such laws violate the Second Amendment.
Later Tuesday, Vice President Kamala Harris is set to travel to Chicago to give remarks at the National Education Association’s annual meeting, where she’s very likely to address the tragedy directly.
During a surprise visit on Monday to a Santa Monica, California, fire station, Harris told reporters that gun violence in the classroom had already been on her mind.
“I was just sharing with some of our heroes, our local firefighters, that part of what I’m preparing — sadly I was preparing it before, it’s resonant every day — is a whole section on what our teachers go through. They go to school to learn how to teach our children, to inspire their ambition, to create the future generations of leaders, and our teachers are also in training to deal with an active shooter,” Harris said. “Our teachers are having to learn how to put a tourniquet on a kid if they have been shot.”
The TIP with Hannah Demissie
In the first significant example this election cycle of a Republican candidate using election fraud claims in a primary, county officials in Nevada on Friday finished a statewide recount in the nominating contest for governor, reaffirming that GOP candidate Joey Gilbert lost to Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo.
Gilbert had requested and paid nearly $200,000 for a recount after losing to Lombardo by almost 26,000 votes.
Gilbert pushed false voter fraud claims following his loss to Lombardo in June. Then, on the day of the recount, Gilbert stood outside of the Clark County Election Department and continued to push lies about how ballots were being tabulated.
And while outside experts have warned of the dangers posed to electoral legitimacy of more politicians embracing the “big lie” and attacking the races they lose, it seems that some leaders in the Republican Party are trying to prevent that from happening.
According to the Associated Press, the Nevada GOP chair, Michael McDonald, who rejected the 2020 election results, said it was now time to unite behind Lombardo.
“The election is over. It’s been called. Joe Lombardo has won. We need to come together and unite,” McDonald said, calling Gilbert’s reaction “emotional.”
NUMBER OF THE DAY, powered by FiveThirtyEight
25. That’s the percentage of Americans, 66 or older, who identify as “very liberal,” “liberal” or “somewhat liberal,” according to the 2020 Cooperative Election Study; by contrast, roughly 50 percent of Americans in this age group identify as conservative. In other words, as FiveThirtyEight’s Alex Samuels writes, older progressives are political outliers. Read more from Alex about what this group cares the most about.
ABC News’ “Start Here” Podcast. “Start Here” begins Tuesday morning with the latest on the deadly Fourth of July parade shooting in Highland Park, Illinois. ABC’s Alex Perez leads us off. Then, ABC News Legal Analyst Channa Lloyd discusses the fatal police shooting of Jayland Walker in Akron, Ohio. And, a San Francisco doctor explains why the latest omicron subvariant is presenting one of the biggest challenges yet in the pandemic. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
- At 11:15 a.m. ET., President Biden will award the Medal of Honor to four Vietnam War Army veterans: Staff Sgt. Edward N. Kaneshiro (receiving it posthumously), Spc. Five Dwight W. Birdwell, Spc. Five Dennis M. Fujii and retired Maj. John J. Duffy.
- Vice President Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff travel to Chicago. Harris will speak at the National Education Association.
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The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the day’s top stories in politics. Please check back on Wednesday for the latest.