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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 4, 2020

Good Tuesday morning from Salt Lake City. Downtown is rather deserted. Since you can work from anywhere, we hope you're someplace fun.


91 Days to the 2020 election (11/3/2020)

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

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

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

  • UtahPolicy.com looks at vulnerable legislative incumbents. First up: Rep. Eric Hutchings.
  • Some key primary elections will be held today, one determining the fate of a "Squad" member.
  • NASA is on a roll after successful missions.
  • Utah is the 7th best state for racial equality in civic engagement, according to WalletHub.


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Today At Utah Policy

images/Maps/House_District_38.pngAfter a close race in 2018, House District 38 could be a fiercely contested battleground in 2020
By Bob Bernick and Bryan Schott
Editor's Note: UtahPolicy.com is reviewing several Utah legislative races this general election, with an eye toward those which have been close in the past in final vote counts.As Utah Democratic leaders look to win a few more Utah House races this election, perhaps the most vulnerable GOP incumbent is long-time representative Eric Hutchings, R-Kearns, who won re-election in 2018 by just 118 votes, 50.7-49.3 percent out of 8,610 cast.
images/1000px_Screenshots/20200803_Cox_PBS.jpgCox pushes back against Trump's attacks on mail-in voting
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox said Monday he's worried President Trump's constant attacks on mail-in voting will make voters question the election results. 
Utah Foundation 75th Anniversary Celebration
By Press Release
Utah Foundation will hold its Annual Luncheon and 75th Anniversary Celebration on Sept. 17 at the Grand America in Salt Lake City, as well as online for those who prefer to connect remotely. The event will run from noon to 1:30. This year's luncheon will be an action-packed event featuring the next governor of Utah, honoring one of the state's great civic leaders, and hearing from an enlightening speaker.
Post-Trump, will the nation be unified? Don't bet on it
By LaVarr Webb, Publisher
Last Saturday I attended a reunion for extended family members in a beautiful campground up Logan Canyon. It was great to reconnect with many nieces, nephews, cousins, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, aunts, uncles, etc., and get updates on their lives and many challenges.One topic of conversation we generally avoided at the reunion was politics. That's because a really fast way to mess up a reunion and alienate a beloved family member is to bring up Pres. Trump, Nancy Pelosi, Black Lives Matter, measures to mitigate COVID-19 (like wearing masks and socially distancing), and so forth.
Opinion Briefs: Dems will botch running the country if they win . . . debating the debates . . . Trump shenanigans . . . mail-in voting
By LaVarr Webb, Publisher
A little history gives hope. As a mainstream Republican, I could easily get depressed over the drubbing Republicans are likely to take in November. There's a reasonable chance we will lose the presidency, the U.S. Senate, and Democrats will be running the country.However, I have full confidence that Democrats will badly botch their opportunity to rule - like they did last time. Remember the Obama years? In many circles, they conjure up nostalgia and some fondness. But, in reality, Obama was a disaster for the Democratic Party. By the time he left office, Democrats had lost more than 1,000 seats in state legislatures, Congress and governorships.
images/1000px_Mugs/Erin_Mendenhall_03.jpgPodcast: Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall on responding to the coronavirus
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall joins the podcast to discuss how the city and state are responding to the coronavirus pandemic, the toll the virus is taking on the city's west side as well as the overall city budget, and the risks of re-opening public schools. 
images/1000px_Screenshots/20200802_Love_CNN.jpgFormer Rep. Mia Love calls President Trump's suggestion to delay the election 'insane'
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Former Utah Republican congresswoman Mia Love said Sunday that President Donald Trump's suggestion to postpone the November election was "insane."
images/1000px_Logos/Bernick_Schott_Cover_01_Small.pngBernick and Schott on politics podcast: Gesturing broadly at everything
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Managing Editor Bryan Schott and Contributing Editor Bob Bernick bring you up to speed on the latest Utah political news.

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Deseret News

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New coronavirus relief package

Debate over unemployment insurance provisions shows GOP divisions (The Hill). Trump says he's considering executive action to suspend evictions, payroll tax (The Hill).

COVID-19 update

Trump criticizes Dr. Deborah Birx over her Covid-19 pessimism (Politico). Virus cases in Midwest are climbing (Washington Post). Vaccine front-runners impress investors, but concerns exist (Wall Street Journal).

Election update

Five important primary races to watch on Tuesday (The Hill). House Democrats target Midwestern GOP seats (The Hill). Democratic senators want Biden to debate Trump despite risks (The Hill). Trump's bag of re-election tricks comes up empty against Biden (Politico).

NASA on a roll

NASA is basking in success after completing the first crewed space mission launched from U.S. soil in a decade, and after launching a new Mars rover. But can it keep the momentum going? (Washington Post).

Rough Weather

Isaias makes landfall in the Carolinas and brings major flooding as it moves up the East Coast (CNN).


The pandemic is a dress rehearsal, by Walter Russell Mead. The world is entering a transformative era. Prepare for more chaos and instability. (Wall Street Journal).


Policy News

Hinckley Journal of Politics Vol 21 has been published
We are thrilled to announce that this year's Hinckley Journal is complete! This year-long project was guided by co-editors Miranda Jones and Jacqueline Mumford with help from their editorial board of fellow students. Together this group read through all of the many submissions and ultimately selected five compelling pieces that range on topics from hate speech to immunization compliance. In addition, Pam S. Perlich and Mallory Bateman of the Gardner Policy Institute contributed their analysis of the 2020 census. The journal can be viewed here.
Mendenhall selected as 2020 ESA regional policy award winner
The Ecological Society of America (ESA) has named Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall as its 13th annual Regional Policy Award recipient. The ESA award recognizes an elected or appointed local policymaker whose record reflects the use of ecological science to inform policy decisions.The 2020 ESA Annual Meeting was originally scheduled to take place in Salt Lake City Aug. 3-6, but the meeting moved to an all-virtual format in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hinckley Report Season 5
Utah's political roundup returns for a fifth season on Friday, August 14th at 7:30pm. This unprecedented season will continue with host Jason Perry as he speaks with key decision-makers, policy experts, and journalists to provide Utahns with an unbiased look at the latest and most pressing political news. You can tune in on your local PBS Utah station (channel 7), or watch past episodes online. The show is also available to search and subscribe as a podcast on all major platforms (link to iTunes).
images/articles/Kate.jpgHinckley Institute alumni spotlight: Kate Rubalcava
Kate Rubalcava graduated from the University of Utah with her bachelor's degree in political science in 2005 and her master's degree from the Department of Education Leadership and Policy in 2011. Her path into non-profit and community organization work began with her Hinckley internship in Washington, DC. This trajectory led her to her current role as the Chief Executive Officer of the Utah Nonprofits Association. Read more about her story here.
Facebook is building a data center campus in Eagle Mountain
EDCUtah: Facebook and Eagle Mountain: Five Questions for William Marks of Facebook of FacebookA new EDCUtah investor and a past corporate expansion project, Facebook is building a data center campus in Eagle Mountain, Utah. We caught up with William Marks, Facebook's Community Development Manager in Utah, to ask about project progress, sustainability and solar, and the company's COVID-19 response. Read more.
Casual Friday: Weekend Events & Outdoors Report 7-31-20
Outdoors Report-- KSL.com: 3 tips for being more comfortable while camping-- KSL.com: Groups launch million-dollar campaign to protect Bears Ears artifacts

More National Headlines


1854 - Henry David Thoreau's "Walden" is published. The American transcendentalist writer's work is a first-person account of his experimental time of simple living at Walden Pond in Concord, MA. It explors Thoreau's views on nature, politics and philosophy.

1936 - Jesse Owens wins the long jump - and respect - at the Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany. It was the second of four gold medals Owns won in Berlin, as he firmly dispelled German Fuhrer Adolf Hitler's notion of the superiority of an Aryan "master race."

1944 - Jewish diarist Anne Frank, age 15, is captured, along with her family, by the Nazi Gestapo after spending 25 months in hiding in Amsterdam. She and others die in the Nazi death camps but her diary, kept over two years, survives the war and is renowned for its poignancy, humor and insight.

2012 - Oscar Pistorius of South Africa become the first amputee runner to compete in the Olympics by running an opening heat in the men's 400-meter race. The next year the athlete was arrested for the murder of his girlfriend and was found guilty in 2014.

1923 - Calvin Coolidge is sworn in as the 30th president of the U.S., hours after the death of Pres. Warren G. Harding. Coolidge was the son of a village storekeeper.

Wise Words

Liberty and Law

"The instrument by which it [government] must act are either the AUTHORITY of the laws or FORCE. If the first be destroyed, the last must be substituted; and where this becomes the ordinary instrument of government there is an end to liberty!" Alexander Hamilton: Tully, No. 3, August 28, 1794

Lighter Side

Voting Delay

"Americans were like, 'How long a delay are we talking about here? Months, like your response to Covid? Years, like your response to Putin? Or decades, like a hug for Don Jr.? Just give us a hint.'" - JIMMY FALLON

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