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The UtahPolicy.com daily newsletter gets you up to speed on the top local and national news about politics and public policy. Send news tips or feedback to bschott@utahpolicy.com, or message us on Twitter.

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Situational awareness - August 17, 2020

Good Monday morning from Salt Lake City

State of the presidential race

With less than 3 months to go until Election Day, here's where the various presidential race projections stand as of today:

Princeton Election Consortium: 93 percent probability Biden wins. Electoral votes - Biden 356, Trump 182

Economist: 89 percent probability Biden wins. Electoral votes - Biden 350, Trump 188.

FiveThirtyEight: 72 percent probability Biden wins. Electoral votes - Biden 325, Trump 213.


3 days to the 6th special session (8/20/2020)

38 days to the 1st Congressional District debate (9/24/2020)

43 days to the Utah gubernatorial debate (9/28/2020)

45 days to the Utah Attorney General debate (10/01/2020)

51 days to the Vice Presidential debate at the University of Utah (10/07/2020)

56 days to the 4th Congressional District debate (10/12/2020)

59 days to the 3rd Congressional District debate (10/15/2020)

63 days to the 2nd Congressional District debate (10/19/2020)

78 days to the 2020 election (11/3/2020)

156 days to inauguration day (01/20/2021)

161 days to the start of the 2021 Utah Legislature (1/25/2021)

Here are the stories you need to pay attention to this morning:

  • The Democratic National Convention begins tonight. 
  • Democrats heading back to Washington to block Postal Service changes. 
  • The race in Utah's 4th Congressional District shifts toward the GOP.


Ten political entities legally share sovereignty within the boundaries of the State of Utah. Utah and the United States are two of the ten. Name four of the remaining eight entities.

The remaining eight are:

  • Confederated Tribes of Goshute Indians
  • Navajo Nation
  • Northern Ute Tribe
  • Northwestern Band of Shoshone
  • Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah
  • San Juan Southern Paiute
  • Skull Valley Band of Goshute
  • White Mesa Band of the Ute Mountain Ute

Congratulations to Charlie Roberts who was selected at random from all of the correct answers. As a bonus, Charlie points out there's one more entity we forgot. The Republic of Zaqistant, a micronation in Box Elder County. It was created in 2005 by self-declared president Zaq Landsberg.

Thanks for subscribing to Utah's must-read daily political news rundown.

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Today At Utah Policy

images/1000px_Mugs/McAdams_Owens_01.jpgMcAdams/Owens matchup shifts slightly toward the GOP
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Freshman Democrat Ben McAdams' re-election prospects are looking a little dicier with less than three months to go before the election. 
images/1000px_Screenshots/20200814_Love_CNN.jpgLove: Trump promoting birther lie about Kamala Harris is 'harmful to the American people'
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Former Utah Rep. Mia Love criticized President Donald Trump on Friday for promoting a baseless, racist conspiracy theory about Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris. 
images/1000px_Logos/Bernick_Schott_Cover_01_Small.pngBernick and Schott on politics podcast: 'The inexorable march of death'
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Bryan Schott and Bob Bernick discuss the latest news from around the Utah political universe.
images/Resized_Logos/Utah_Foundation_Logo_01.jpgUtah Foundation finds health care is the No. 1 concern of Utah voters
By Utah Foundation
Utah Foundation releases the first in a series of Utah Priorities Project briefs looking at Utah voters' top concerns. Health care (costs and accessibility) ranked first in July 2020, maintaining its top spot since the 2016 Utah Priorities Project.
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_05.jpgLegislative Republicans back away from 'backdoor voucher' plan
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
Utah lawmakers will not consider a bill in next week's special legislative session that would give tax cuts/credits to parents whose children are home-taught instead of attending in-person K-12 classes when public schools open later this month, UtahPolicy.com has been told.
images/1000px_Article_Photos/Granite_Schools_01.pngTeachers in the Granite School District say they're afraid to return to the classroom, but union officials say there's not a 'critical mass' of support for a strike yet
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
More than half of teachers surveyed in the Granite School District say there's no amount of sanitation or personal protective equipment that would protect them from being infected with the coronavirus when in-person classes resume a week from Monday. 
images/1000px_Mugs/Mitt_Romney_12.jpgAnatomy of a smear. Right-wing conspiracy site pushes false story targeting Mitt Romney
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
On Wednesday, right-wing social media exploded with the news that Utah Sen. Mitt Romney was reportedly leading an effort to block the issuing of subpoenas to former FBI Director James Comey and former CIA Director John Brennan as part of an investigation into the origins of special counsel Robert Muller's probe into Russian contacts with Donald Trump's campaign. The problem is, none of that is true. 
images/1000px_Article_Photos/GOP_Cash_01.jpgRepublican candidates for governor spent nearly $4 million on advertising ahead of the primary
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
The Republican candidates for governor spent more than $3.7 million on advertising ahead of the party's June primary.
images/1000px_Article_Photos/20200812_Rigged_Book.pngPodcast: Understanding the threat from Russian election interference with David Shimer
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
America is still trying to come to grips with the story of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Russia's efforts to undermine Democrat Hillary Clinton, and later how they helped Republican Donald Trump win, is something Americans need to understand if only to keep it from happening again.
images/1000px_Article_Photos/20200812_Rich_States.pngUtah ranked #1 in new economic competitiveness outlook
By News release
The American Legislative Exchange Council released the thirteenth edition of Rich States, Poor States its newest publication in an annual series illustrating each states' competitiveness and economic outlook using 15 equally weighted policy variables and examining trends from past decades. This publication examines the policy choices made across the 50 states in 2019 and whether those choices have improved economic competitiveness.

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Deseret News

Salt Lake Tribune


Democrats rush to rescue the postal service

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is calling the House back to Washington for an emergency session to block Postal Service changes that Democrats fear could hamper efforts to use mail-in voting for November's election [WaPo].

Democrats also want new Postal Service chief Louis Dejoy to testify at an emergency House Oversight Committee hearing on Aug. 24 [CNBC].

Several states are considering legal action against the Trump administration to stop changes that could slow mail service ahead of November's election [CNN].


The Democratic National Convention kicks off tonight. The four-night event will take place virtually with speakers joining from around the country [WaPo].

You can see the full schedule of speakers here.

President Donald Trump will participate in every night of next week's Republican National Convention [Fox News].


The FDA approved a saliva test for Covid-19, which could make testing cheaper and more widely available [StatNews].

Scientists say they are seeing "strong, lasting immunity" in people who have caught the coronavirus [NYT].

Forty percent of Covid-19 tests in the U.S take too long, which is not helpful in slowing the spread of the virus [CNBC].

Here we go again. President Trump is pushing an unproven plant extract as a treatment for Covid-19 [Axios].


Retail sales rose for the third straight month, but the jump in consumer spending was not as big as expected [CNBC].

Russia investigation

A former FBI lawyer will plead guilty to making a false statement as part of U.S. Attorney John Durham's probe into ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign [AP].


Death Valley hit 130 degrees on Sunday afternoon. That could be the hottest temperature ever reliably recorded on the planet [WaPo].


Policy News

images/1000px_Logos/CYBER_24_Logo.jpgCYBER24 episode 92: Apple security enhancements coming for iPhone, iPad
Apple recently held its annual Worldwide Developers Conference - this year with no in-person audience.
Casual Friday: Weekend Events & Outdoors Report 8-14-20
Outdoors Report-- The Salt Lake Tribune: The best places in northern Utah to beat the heat -- The Salt Lake Tribune: Feds yank oil and gas leases near Arches, Canyonlands parks from upcoming sale-- KSL.com: GottaGoUtah.Org offers tips on handling waste on Utah lands-- KSL.com: DWR temporarily suspends target shooting at 17 Utah locations amid active fire season-- KSL.com: From dumping ground to recreation opportunities, officials hope to continue to reshape Jordan River-- KSL.com: Work begins on new pedestrian bridge in Lehi aimed to further connect Wasatch Front trail systemsConcerts-- "Encore Concert," Music Theatre West, Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m., The Ellen Eccles Theatre, 43 South Main, Logan, $8-$10-- Geezerfest, Friday and Saturday, Orem City Center Park, 300 East Center Street, Orem, free-- Joshua Creek, Saturday, 7 p.m., Zermatt Resort, 784 West Resort Drive, MidwayTheater-- "Bright Star" through August 15, Hale Centre Theatre-- "Les Misrables School Edition" through August 15, Kensington Theatre-- "Seussical Jr." through August 15, High Valley Arts -- "Seussical Kids" through August 15, High Valley Arts -- "The Music Man" through August 21, SCERA Center-- "James Blonde License to Thrill" through August 22, Desert Star Playhouse-- "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" through August 22, Timpanogos Valley Theatre-- "Little Shop of Horrors" through August 22, Murray Arts in the Park-- "Mary Poppins" through September 5, Hale Centre Theatre-- "Window Seat Sessions" through September 5, Good Company Theatre-- "Finding the Fickle Fortune" through September 12, Pickleville Playhouse-- "Little Women" through September 12, Hale Center Theater Orem-- "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" through September 19, St. George Musical TheaterEt cetra-- Garfield County Fair, Friday and Saturday, Triple C Arena, 800 North Main Street, Panguitch-- Kane County Fair, Friday and Saturday, North Events Center, 475 East State Street, Orderville-- Rich County Fair and Rodeo, Friday and Saturday, Rich County Fairgrounds, Randolph-- Wayne County Fair, Friday and Saturday, Wayne County Fairgrounds, UT-24, Loa-- Western Legends Heritage and Music Festival, Friday and Saturday, 76 North Main, Kanab-- Downtown Farmer's Market, Saturdays, 8 a.m. 1 p.m., through October 24, Pioneer Park, 350 West Broadway, Salt Lake City
images/1000px_Logos/WTC_Utah_Logo.pngAccelerate your growth: Making global local with the U.S. Trade and Development Agency
Learn about working with the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), current trade opportunities, and how to bid on projects in our upcoming webinar with the USTDA.
State of Utah to host virtual employment workshops for veterans, military service members and spouses
In partnership with the Utah Veterans and Military Employment Coalition, the Utah Department of Workforce Services (DWS) is hosting a series of virtual employment workshops for Veterans, military members and their spouses.
NHMU to reopen Saturday, August 15 with an evolved museum experience
The Natural History Museum of Utah (NHMU) will reopen its doors on Saturday, August 15 and the community is invited to return and experience familiar exhibitions in new ways. Since an unexpected closure in March to fight the spread of COVID-19, the museum's staff, led by newly-appointed executive director Jason Cryan, has been innovating safe and enjoyable ways for guests to return and explore the exhibits. 

More National Headlines


1585 - The first group of colonists sent by Sir Walter Raleigh lands in the New World to create Roanoke Colony on Roanoke Island, off the coast of present-day North Carolina.

1807 - Robert Fulton began the first American steamboat trip between Albany, N.Y., and New York City.

1915 - A Category 4 hurricane hits Galveston, Texas killing 275 people.

1946Animal Farm by George Orwell is first published.

1969 - Category 5 hurricane CAmille hits the U.S. Gulf Coast, killing 256 and causing $1.42 billion in damage.

1988 - President Bill Clinton admits in taped testimony that he had an "improper physical relationship" with White House intern Monica Lewinski; later that same day he admits before the nation that he "misled people" about the relationship.

Wise Words

Liberal Trouble

"The trouble with our Liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so." Ronald Reagan

Lighter Side

An Idea I Guess

"'Sleepy Joe and the Mad Woman.' Sounds like the best indie band. It actually sounds like a band Morrissey would join after the Smiths." - JAMES CORDEN

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