“The Libertarian National Convention on Sunday chose a pair of former Republican governors as their presidential and vice presidential nominees, putting forward the most-experienced election ticket in the party’s four-decade history … the party is now looking to make inroads into the class of donors that usually bankrolls Republican candidates,” and capitalize off voter discontent with Clinton and Trump. The ticket will likely be the only third-party option on the ballot in all 50 states. (Wall Street Journal )
However, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson (L) was criticized “for his vice presidential pick,” former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld (R). Weld “has had a difficult time pitching himself to the Libertarian convention. Many have been skeptical over Weld’s libertarian credentials, especially his record on gun control and support for Republican politicians. Prior to teaming up with Johnson, Weld had endorsed” John Kasich. (CNN)
“Johnson and Weld now head a deeply divided party, and many of the Libertarian faithful gathered in Orlando were resistant to being dragged anywhere near the mainstream.” (Politico)
UPHILL BATTLE AHEAD. “Republicans enter the general election at a hefty disadvantage: Since the 1992 campaign, 18 states have voted consistently for Democrats in presidential elections, giving their party a firm foundation of 242 electoral votes to build upon. And in the four regions likely to decide the presidency — Florida, the upper Southeast, the Rust Belt and the interior West — real estate mogul Donald Trump (R) “faces daunting obstacles, according to interviews last week with elected officials, political strategists and voters.” (New York Times )
But for Democrats, anxiety remains. “[E]arly optimism that this would be an easy race is evaporating. In the corridors of Congress, on airplane shuttles between New York and Washington, at donor gatherings and on conference calls, anxiety is spreading through the Democratic Party that” former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) “is struggling to find her footing.” (New York Times)
LOOKING UP. There’s some evidence to suggest Clinton’s lead over Trump will grow once Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) leaves the race. A new poll by NBC News/Wall Street Journal shows Clinton leading Trump 46-43 percent, but that lead becomes 51-43 percent once Sanders drops out. (NBC News)
“[A]ny trial heat between Trump and Clinton today is like comparing apples and oranges. Trump’s nomination fight is over while Clinton’s contest is still at a messy stage. … By contrast, many of Bernie Sanders’s supporters still seem be in the denial and anger stages. Feelings are still raw, and the healing process has not yet begun.” (National Journal)
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"Its remaining two staffers, each working half-time or less, would be reassigned as of that date. The Trump administration, which has yet to name an envoy to head the office, would not comment on the staffing change. At full staffing, the office employs a full-time envoy and the equivalent of three full-time staffers."
"The Supreme Court decided Monday to hear a case involving a Colorado baker's refusal to design and make a cake for a same-sex marriage. The baker, Jake Phillips, declined to make the custom cake and said it conflicted with his religious beliefs. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission decided that Phillips' actions amounted to sexual orientation discrimination under the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act." Separately, the Court will not hear Peruta v. California, on "whether the Second Amendment gives people the right to carry handguns outside the home for self-defense, including concealed carry when open carry is forbidden by state law."
"Ending one the most turbulent tenures of a Washington-based ambassador in recent memory, the Kremlin has decided to recall Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak, three individuals familiar with the decision told BuzzFeed News. The decision to bring Kislyak back to Russia rather than appoint him to a senior position at the United Nations in New York, as several outlets previously reported, comes amid investigations by the FBI and Congress into the 66-year-old diplomat’s contacts with President Donald Trump’s top aides during the 2016 presidential campaign."