Situational awareness – May 8, 2018

Good Tuesday morning from Salt Lake City.

Can McAdams beat Love? Stewart says Trump would be justified in pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal. It’s primary election day in four states. 

Take some time off! A new study shows the average American worker puts in more hours than a medieval peasant. The average American works 1,811 hours annually, while an adult male peasant worked approximately 1,620 hours.


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  • 21 days until the last day to register to vote by mail for the 2018 primary election (5/29/2018)
  • 22 days until the last day to change your party affiliation before the primary election (5/30/2018)
  • 28 days until primary election mail-in ballots are sent to voters (6/5/2018)
  • 35 days until in-person early primary voting begins (6/12/2018)
  • 42 days until the final day to register to vote online or in person before the primary election (6/19/2018)
  • 45 days until in-person early primary voting ends (6/22/2018)
  • 49 days until the 2018 Primary Election (6/26/2018)
  • 182 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 265 days until the first day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (1/28/2019)
  • 910 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)


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4th District showdown

The 4th District contest between Republican Mia Love and Democrat Ben McAdams is one of the most hotly anticipated matchups of the 2018 midterms. But, right now, the numbers show McAdams has a big hill to climb [Utah Policy].

Iran nuclear deal

Rep. Chris Stewart says President Trump would be justified walking away from the Iran nuclear deal because it was fatally flawed from the beginning, but he hopes the administration continues to engage with Iran even if the agreement is scrapped [Utah Policy].

You can download the podcast of our conversation with Rep. Stewart. We discuss whether the government can do anything to prevent Russian election hacking, the Iran nuclear deal, and Gina Haspel’s nomination to be CIA director [Utah Policy].

Final wishes

Sen. John McCain has made it known he does not want President Donald Trump to attend his funeral. However, Sen. Orrin Hatch calls that request “ridiculous” [Utah Policy].

Mitt at The Met

Mitt Romney surprises attendees at the annual Met Gala when he showed up with his wife, Ann, at the annual high-society event [Utah Policy].

It’s debate time

The Utah Debate Commission announces three primary election debates, all taking place on May 29 [Utah Policy].


  • The FEC says former Rep. Jason Chaffetz may have broken campaign finance law when he transferred the remaining money from his campaign fund to a PAC he controls [Tribune (paywall)].
  • Utah County’s housing crisis is likely to get worse according to a new report [Daily Herald].
  • The Tooele School Board votes to give teachers a flat $5,000 raise next year [Tribune (paywall)].
  • Supporters of the ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana release a video of a worker trying to get Utahns to remove their names from the petition. They say the video shows opponents are using deceptive tactics [Fox 13].


  • New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman suddenly resigns following accusations against him of physical abuse by four women [New York Times]. The original accusations against Schneiderman were published Monday evening [New Yorker].
  • Tuesday, President Trump will announce his decision on whether to scrap the Iran nuclear deal. All signs point to the president withdrawing from the deal [New York Times].
  • Four states will hold primary elections on Tuesday. The marquee matchup is in the West Virginia Republican Senate primary where establishment Republicans are worried former coal executive Don Blankenship could win the party’s nomination there. Blankenship was sent to prison for conspiring to violate mine safety regulations and has been using the same playbook of racially charged language that President Trump used during the 2016 campaign [Washington Post].
  • Republicans in key congressional races this year are shying away from the GOP tax cuts as a campaign issue [Reuters].
  • President Trump is trying to win conservative support by pushing a $15 billion cut to federal spending, including a $7 billion cut to the Children’s Health Insurance program. The measure is expected to pass the House but does not have much support in the Senate [Politico].
  • White House aides are urging President Trump to fire embattled EPA head Scott Pruitt [New York Times].
  • Trade talks between the U.S. and China continue as China’s top economic adviser plans to visit Washington [Bloomberg].
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions announces the Justice Department will prosecute every person who illegally crosses into the United States from Mexico. The policy shift includes separating children from parents crossing the border [Washington Post]. 
  • The Pentagon is grappling with how to implement President Trump’s decision to deploy the National Guard to the border with Mexico [The Hill].
  • Oliver North, who was sentenced to prison as part of the Iran-Contra arms trafficking scandal during the Reagan administration, has been named the president of the National Rifle Association [Associated Press].
  • The Congressional Budget Office says tax collections for the federal government hit $515 billion last month, while the government spent $297 billion. That means a record monthly budget surplus of $218 billion [Washington Times].


  • 1541 – Hernando de Soto reaches the Mississippi River.
  • 1846 – Mexican-American War: Zachary Taylor defeats a Mexican force north of the Rio Grande in the first major battle of the war.
  • 1886 – Pharmacist John Pemberton first sells a carbonated beverage named “Coca-Cola” as a patent medicine.
  • 1945 – President Harry S. Truman officially declared V-E Day, the end of World War II in Europe.
  • 1972 – Vietnam War: President Richard Nixon announces his order to place naval mines in major North Vietnamese ports in order to stem the flow of weapons and goods to that nation.
  • 1980 – The World Health Organization confirms the eradication of smallpox.
  • 1984 – The Soviet Union declared it wouldn’t take part in the Los Angeles Olympics, citing fears about safety for its athletes. The decision came four years after the United States team boycotted the Games in Moscow.