MADISON, Wis. — Republicans on Friday unanimously chose Milwaukee in swing state Wisconsin for the 2024 national convention, a win for the city on the shores of Lake Michigan after its hosting of the Democratic convention in 2020 was upended by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision in favor of Milwaukee over Nashville, announced at the Republican National Committee’s summer meeting in Chicago, was anticlimactic after Nashville essentially took itself out of the running when the City Council on Tuesday rejected a draft agreement for hosting the event. That came after Democratic opposition sunk that city’s chances and the RNC’s site selection committee picked Milwaukee last month.
Milwaukee’s Democratic mayor, Cavalier Johnson, joined with Reince Priebus, a former chief of staff to then-president Trump, to praise the decision after it was announced in Chicago. Johnson thanked Priebus for his work in helping land the convention and said it was an example of bipartisanship that is much needed in the country.
Johnson pitched Milwaukee, known for the Brewers baseball team, Bucks basketball team, brats, and beer, as a city “full of unexpected gems.” He also made clear why he and so many other Democrats were eager to land the convention hosted by their political rivals.
“I want you to take all your money to Milwaukee, spend it that week, and leave it in Milwaukee," Johnson said.
Wisconsin could determine who wins in 2024, while Tennessee has not backed a Democrat for president since 1996. But choosing Milwaukee is in line with recent Republican choices for the convention. For two decades, Republicans have placed their nominating convention in swing states — North Carolina, Ohio, and Florida.
Trump narrowly won Wisconsin in 2016, but lost to President Biden by a nearly identical margin in 2020.
Biden heading to Kentucky to see flood damage, meet families
WASHINGTON — President Biden and first lady Jill Biden will travel to Eastern Kentucky on Monday to survey the damage from last week’s devastating floods and meet with those affected.
The White House announced Friday that the Bidens would join Gov. Andy Beshear and his wife, Britainy, at a Federal Emergency Management Agency State Disaster Recovery Center. At least 37 people lost their lives in the flooding after 8 to 10 1/2 inches of rain fell in just 48 hours last week in the Appalachian mountain region. The flooding also hit areas just across the state line in Virginia and West Virginia.
More than 1,300 people were rescued in the days after the storm as teams searched in boats and combed debris-clogged creekbanks. Work crews were still trying to restore power and water connections to homes, as residents look to repair their homes and lives after the floods.
Thunderstorms on Friday brought a renewed threat of flooding to parts of Kentucky ravaged by high water a week ago.
Kari Lake, backed by Trump, wins Arizona’s GOP governor primary
Kari Lake, who in the span of two years transformed herself from a veteran local television news anchor into a tribune of the far-right political movement, won Arizona’s Republican primary for governor, according to The Associated Press.
Lake prevailed over a field that included Karrin Taylor Robson — an ally of Governor Doug Ducey, a Republican who defied former President Donald Trump by defending the results of Arizona’s 2020 election — and two other candidates.
Lake will face Katie Hobbs, Arizona’s Democratic secretary of state, in the general election. Ducey is prohibited by term limits from seeking reelection.
In a statement Thursday night after her race was called, Lake took a jab at the election process and Hobbs as she claimed victory. “Though the results took longer than they should have, Arizonans who have been forgotten by the establishment just delivered a political earthquake,” she said.
Nearly as soon as she left her Phoenix TV station in spring 2021, Lake began repeatedly proclaiming that Trump, who endorsed her that fall, had been cheated out of a second term in office. After spending 25 years in local television, she attacked the news media as corrupt.
The contest was the latest primary for governor to become a proxy war between Trump and establishment Republican power brokers.
NEW YORK TIMES
Meta quieter on election misinformation as midterms loom
WASHINGTON — Facebook owner Meta is quietly curtailing some of the safeguards designed to thwart voting misinformation or foreign interference in US elections as the November midterm vote approaches.
It’s a sharp departure from the social media giant’s multibillion-dollar efforts to enhance the accuracy of posts about US elections and regain trust from lawmakers and the public after their outrage over learning the company had exploited people’s data and allowed falsehoods to overrun its site during the 2016 campaign.
The pivot is raising alarm about Meta’s priorities and about how some might exploit the world’s most popular social media platforms to spread misleading claims, launch fake accounts and rile up partisan extremists.
“They’re not talking about it,” said former Facebook policy director Katie Harbath, now the CEO of the tech and policy firm Anchor Change. “Best case scenario: They’re still doing a lot behind the scenes. Worst case scenario: They pull back, and we don’t know how that’s going to manifest itself for the midterms on the platforms.”
Since last year, Meta has shut down an examination into how falsehoods are amplified in political ads on Facebook by indefinitely banishing the researchers from the site.
CrowdTangle, the online tool that the company offered to hundreds of newsrooms and researchers so they could identify trending posts and misinformation across Facebook or Instagram, is now inoperable on some days.
Public communication about the company’s response to election misinformation has gone decidedly quiet. Between 2018 and 2020, the company released more than 30 statements that laid out specifics about how it would stifle US election misinformation, prevent foreign adversaries from running ads or posts around the vote, and subdue divisive hate speech.
Top executives hosted question and answer sessions with reporters about new policies. CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote Facebook posts promising to take down false voting information and authored opinion articles calling for more regulations to tackle foreign interference in US elections via social media.
But this year, Meta has only released a one-page document outlining plans for the fall elections, even as potential threats to the vote remain clear. Several Republican candidates are pushing false claims about the US election across social media. In addition, Russia and China continue to wage aggressive social media propaganda campaigns aimed at further political divides among American audiences.