The biggest divide within the Republican party is as much over style as substance ““ whether conservatives should be more confrontational or seek to achieve their goals more quietly and strategically. It’s more of a cultural divide as it as an ideological one.
— That divide is playing itself out in an Alabama Republican runoff for the Mobile-based seat of former GOP Rep. Jo Bonner. Republicans, conservative and establishment alike, have rallied behind Bradley Byrne, who is as credentialed as they come. He’s a former gubernatorial frontrunner, state community college chancellor, and attorney. His opponent, Dean Young, eked out a second-place finish in the primary, thanks to a socially-conservative message targeted to evangelical Christians.
— Just check out this Guardian (UK) Q&A with the two candidates. Byrne’s political idol is Winston Churchill. Young’s is Roy Moore, the Alabama Supreme Court Justice who fought to keep a monument of the 10 Commandments on government property. Young said he’s not a “big world traveler” when asked what county he admired. Byrne said President Obama‘s birthplace was Hawaii; Young called it the “$64,000 question.”
— And Young, despite being outspent and outendorsed, is running neck-and-neck with the prohibitive favorite. (One GOP robo-poll showed him with a within-the-margin lead.) Despite only having one campaign staffer, his comparisons to Ted Cruz and outspoken social conservatism are drawing grassroots conservatives to his side in a low-turnout election.
Remember: Bonner’s old district isn’t a tea-party hotbed; it’s the business epicenter of the state. The Cook Political Report wrote: “A Young victory would send shock waves throughout the House GOP.” As if the party needed any more reminders.
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Hillary Clinton hopes that television ratings for the candidates' acceptance speeches at their respective conventions aren't foreshadowing of similar results at the polls in November. Preliminary results from the networks and cable channels show that 34.9 million people tuned in for Donald Trump's acceptance speech while 33.3 million watched Clinton accept the Democratic nomination. However, it is still possible that the numbers are closer than these ratings suggest: the numbers don't include ratings from PBS or CSPAN, which tend to attract more Democratic viewers.
The US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday overturned North Carolina's 2013 voter ID law, saying it was passed with “discriminatory intent." The decision sends the case back to the district judge who initially dismissed challenges to the law. "The ruling prohibits North Carolina from requiring photo identification from voters in future elections, including the November 2016 general election, restores a week of early voting and preregistration for 16- and 17-year-olds, and ensures that same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting will remain in effect."
An oil pipeline almost as long as the much-debated Keystone XL has won final approval to transport crude from North Dakota to Illinois, traveling through South Dakota and Iowa along the way. "The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gave the final blessing to the Dakota Access pipeline on Tuesday. Developers now have the last set of permits they need to build through the small portion of federal land the line crosses, which includes major waterways like the Mississippi and the Missouri rivers. The so-called Bakken pipeline goes through mostly state and private land."
The U.S. economy grew at an anemic 1.2% in the second quarter, "well below the 2.6% growth economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had forecast." Consumer spending was "robust," but it was offset by "cautious" business investment. "Since the recession ended seven years ago, the expansion has failed to achieve the breakout growth seen in past recoveries. "The average annual growth rate during the current business cycle, 2.1%, remains the weakest of any expansion since at least 1949."