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2024 Race

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Excluded from 2024 Presidential Debate: Should He Have Been Included?

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Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has failed to qualify for next week’s debate in Atlanta, hosted by CNN. Falling short of the benchmarks for state ballot qualification and necessary polling, Kennedy will not participate in the June 27 debate, which will feature Democratic President Joe Biden and presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump. The exclusion of Kennedy raises questions about the fairness and inclusivity of the debate criteria and whether he should have been given a platform alongside the leading candidates.

Criteria for Debate Inclusion

CNN’s criteria for debate participation required candidates to secure a place on the ballot in states totaling at least 270 electoral votes, the minimum needed to win the presidency. Additionally, candidates needed to meet specific polling thresholds. While Biden and Trump easily cleared the polling thresholds, they won’t be officially certified for the ballot until their parties formally nominate them later this summer.

Kennedy’s Exclusion: A Missed Opportunity

Kennedy’s failure to meet these criteria denies him a significant opportunity to stand alongside Biden and Trump, lending legitimacy to his campaign and demonstrating to potential supporters that he is a viable candidate. Debates are crucial for candidates, especially those from third parties or independent backgrounds, as they provide a national platform to present their ideas, policies, and vision for the country.

Arguments for Inclusion

  1. Democratic Fairness: Including Kennedy in the debate would enhance democratic fairness by giving voters a broader range of choices. The presence of independent and third-party candidates can invigorate political discourse and introduce fresh perspectives.
  2. Voter Representation: Kennedy has a following and has garnered support from voters who feel disenfranchised by the traditional two-party system. Excluding him from the debate limits the representation of these voters and their viewpoints.
  3. Spoiler Effect: Both the Biden and Trump campaigns fear that Kennedy could play spoiler in a closely contested general election. Including him in the debate could provide voters with a clearer understanding of his platform and policies, enabling them to make more informed choices.
  4. Electoral Integrity: Ensuring that all serious candidates have a platform promotes electoral integrity. By providing equal opportunities for all qualified candidates, the democratic process is strengthened, and public trust in the electoral system is bolstered.

Counterarguments

  1. Established Criteria: The debate criteria are set to ensure that only candidates with a realistic path to the presidency are included. This helps to focus the debate on viable candidates and avoid diluting the discussion with fringe contenders.
  2. Resource Allocation: Debates with too many participants can become unwieldy, making it difficult for any candidate to effectively communicate their message. Limiting the number of participants allows for a more focused and substantive debate.
  3. Polling and Ballot Access: Meeting polling and ballot access thresholds demonstrates a candidate’s ability to build a credible campaign. If a candidate cannot meet these benchmarks, it questions their viability and organizational strength.

The exclusion of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. from the upcoming presidential debate highlights the ongoing debate over the inclusivity and fairness of electoral processes. While CNN’s criteria aim to ensure that only viable candidates participate, the decision to exclude Kennedy denies him a crucial platform to present his case to the American public. Including him in the debate could enhance democratic fairness, represent disenfranchised voters, and provide a comprehensive view of the candidates running for the highest office. As the debate over debate inclusion continues, it remains essential to balance the need for stringent criteria with the principles of democratic representation and electoral integrity.

2024 Race

Wisconsin Supreme Court Reinstates Unstaffed Drop Boxes Ahead of 2024 Election

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In a significant ruling on July 5, the Wisconsin Supreme Court decided to reinstate the use of unstaffed drop boxes for absentee ballots, reversing the prohibition that had been in effect since 2022. The court’s 4–3 decision marks a pivotal change in Wisconsin’s election procedures ahead of the 2024 elections.

In 2022, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that state law did not allow for absentee drop boxes to be placed anywhere other than in election clerk offices. This decision effectively banned the use of unmanned drop boxes, which had been widely utilized in previous elections to facilitate absentee voting.

The reversal of the 2022 ruling was influenced by a change in the court’s composition. A new justice was elected in 2023, which led to a re-evaluation of the previous decision. During the arguments in May, Justice Jill Karofsky questioned the validity of the 2022 ruling, suggesting that it may have been a mistake. “What if we just got it wrong? What if we made a mistake? Are we now supposed to just perpetuate that mistake into the future?” Karofsky asked during the proceedings.

The court heard arguments three months before the August 13 primary and six months ahead of the November presidential election. Attorneys representing Republican backers of the 2022 ruling contended that there had been no changes in the facts or the law to justify overturning a decision that was less than two years old. Misha Tseytlin, at torney for the Republican-controlled Legislature, argued that overturning the ruling could lead to future instability, as the court might have to revisit the issue whenever its composition changes.

However, Justice Karofsky countered this by pointing out the potential flaws in the 2022 decision, questioning whether the court should continue to uphold a ruling that was “egregiously wrong from the start” with “exceptionally weak” reasoning and damaging consequences.

Democrats and voting rights advocates argued that the 2022 ruling misinterpreted the law by concluding that absentee ballots could only be returned to a clerk’s office and not to a drop box controlled by the clerk. David Fox, attorney for the groups challenging the prohibition, described the current law as unworkable and unclear about where ballots can be returned.

Several justices expressed concerns about revisiting the previous ruling, with Justice Rebecca Bradley cautioning against the court acting as a “super Legislature” and giving municipal clerks excessive discretion in conducting elections.

The case was brought by voter mobilization group Priorities USA and the Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Voters. Governor Tony Evers and the Wisconsin Elections Commission, which oversees the state’s elections, supported the use of drop boxes. Election officials from four counties, including the state’s two largest, also filed briefs in support of overturning the prohibition, arguing that drop boxes had been used securely for decades.

The plaintiffs’ attorneys highlighted the practical impact of the 2022 ruling, noting that over 1,600 absentee ballots arrived late and were not counted in the 2022 election when drop boxes were not in use. By contrast, in the 2020 election, when drop boxes were available, only 689 ballots arrived after Election Day, despite a significantly higher number of absentee voters.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision to reinstate unstaffed drop boxes is a crucial development in the state’s election laws, potentially increasing accessibility and convenience for absentee voters. As the 2024 elections approach, this ruling may have significant implications for voter turnout and the administration of elections in Wisconsin.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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2024 Race

CNN Abruptly Cuts Off Trump Campaign Spokeswoman Live on Air Ahead of First Presidential Debate

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CNN abruptly cut off Trump campaign spokeswoman Karoline Leavitt during a live interview on Monday morning. The incident occurred just days before the network is set to host the first presidential debate between former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden.

The interview began with anchor Kasie Hunt asking Leavitt about Trump’s strategy for the upcoming debate in Atlanta, Georgia. Leavitt started by asserting that Trump is well-prepared and doesn’t need to rely on advisors for what to say, contrasting this with her depiction of Biden’s approach.

“President Trump is well-prepared ahead of Thursday’s debates. Unlike Joe Biden, he doesn’t have to hide away and have his advisors tell him what to say. President Trump knows what he wants to say,” Leavitt stated.

Leavitt then shifted the conversation to the debate environment, expressing concerns about potential bias from CNN’s moderators, Jake Tapper and Dana Bash.

“That’s why President Trump is knowingly going into a hostile environment on this very network on CNN with debate moderators who have made their opinions about him very well-known over the past eight years in their biased coverage of him,” she said.

Hunt quickly responded, defending her colleagues as “professionals” and proceeded to play a series of clips showing Trump’s previous comments about debate moderators. As Leavitt attempted to interject, reiterating her point about bias, Hunt repeatedly interrupted her.

“Ma’am, we’re going to stop right there if you’re going to keep attacking my colleagues,” Hunt said firmly. “I would like to talk about Joe Biden and Donald Trump, who you work for.”

Shortly after, Hunt abruptly ended the interview. “I’m sorry guys … Karoline thank you very much for your time. You’re welcome to come back at any time,” she declared before cutting the feed.

Hunt later defended her decision on social media, writing on X, “You come on my show, you respect my colleagues. Period. I don’t care what side of the aisle you stand on, as my track record clearly shows.”

This incident has added fuel to the already intense anticipation surrounding the upcoming presidential debate. Both Trump and Biden are scheduled to take the stage in Atlanta on Thursday, with CNN’s moderators expected to play a pivotal role in guiding the discussion.

Leavitt’s abrupt cut-off has drawn mixed reactions from viewers and political commentators. Some criticized CNN for silencing a campaign spokesperson, while others supported Hunt’s stance on maintaining respect for her colleagues.

The debate on Thursday is expected to be a crucial moment in the 2024 presidential race, with both candidates facing off on various pressing issues. The incident on Monday has set the stage for what promises to be a highly charged and closely watched event.

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2024 Race

Trump Leads Biden by 10 Points in New National Poll

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In a surprising turn of events, former President Donald Trump is leading President Joe Biden by 10 points in the 2024 White House race, according to a new national poll. The Rasmussen Reports survey, released on Friday, shows that 46% of likely voters support the 78-year-old presumptive Republican nominee, while 36% back the 81-year-old incumbent.

Trump’s Lead Extends Beyond Head-to-Head Matchup

The poll also includes third-party candidates, further highlighting Trump’s lead. Independent candidates Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Cornel West received 9% and 2% support, respectively, while Green Party candidate Jill Stein garnered 1% support. Even in a head-to-head matchup without third-party contenders, Trump leads Biden with 49% support to Biden’s 40%. Additionally, 7% of voters indicated they would vote for another candidate, and 4% remain undecided.

Divergence from Other Polls

Despite the striking numbers from the Rasmussen Reports survey, it remains an outlier compared to other polls. According to a FiveThirtyEight average of recent polls, the race is much closer, with Biden at 40.7% and Trump at 40.4%. Similarly, a RealClearPolitics average of surveys shows Trump leading Biden by less than 1 point in a head-to-head race, with Trump at 46.1% and Biden at 45.2%. In a five-way race, Trump’s lead expands slightly to 1.9 points, standing at 42.1% compared to Biden’s 40.2%.

Voter Disapproval of Biden’s Performance

The Rasmussen poll also highlights a significant disapproval of Biden’s performance in office. A majority of voters (54%) disapprove of Biden’s job as president. Additionally, 59% of respondents believe that the government is not doing enough to combat illegal border crossings and visitor overstays.

Former President Trump celebrated the Rasmussen poll results on Truth Social, sharing a graphic that read, “Trump crushes Biden big with 10-point lead.” He pinned this post to the top of his timeline, emphasizing his significant lead in the survey.

As the 2024 presidential race heats up, the Rasmussen Reports survey injects new dynamics into the political landscape. While it stands as an outlier compared to other polls, it highlights the volatility and unpredictability of the current political environment. The coming months will reveal whether this substantial lead for Trump will hold or if other polls will show a closer race between the two candidates.

SOURCE: RASMUSSEN POLL

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