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Democrats still at square one
In wake of debates, party is largely status quo in its presidential contest

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., got a bump from the Miami debate in June, but became a target in the July debate in Detroit. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — With two debates down and too many more still to go, Democrats are pretty much where they were before the June debates in Miami and the July debates in Detroit.

That shouldn’t surprise you. The Iowa caucuses are still almost six months away, and voters are just starting to tune into the campaign. They know full well they don’t have to embrace one hopeful now.

Scalia, skilled at upending rules, may soon write them at Labor
Trump’s Labor secretary choice, Eugene Scalia, built his reputation by upending regulations on behalf of business

Eugene Scalia, left, pictured with then-Sen. Christopher S. Bond, R-Mo., at his 2001 confirmation hearing to be solicitor of the Labor Department, has a record of defeating labor regulations in court. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

With three major regulations on the launching pad at the Labor Department, the Trump administration may have found the man with the right stuff to issue air-tight rules that can withstand legal challenges.

The president’s new choice for Labor secretary, Eugene Scalia, built a reputation as a skilled litigator by upending regulations on behalf of the business community, from worker injury cases under 1990 disabilities legislation to an Obama-era rule requiring financial advisers to put clients’ interests first.

3 things to watch: Trump returns to trail after racist ‘send her back!’ chant
President holds rally days after saying he expects to face ‘Sleepy Joe’ Biden in general election

A supporter of President Donald Trump displays a campaign flag before his “Salute to America” celebration in front of the Lincoln Memorial on July 4. Trump goes to the swing state of Ohio for a rally Thursday night. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump returns to the campaign trail Thursday night in Cincinnati with his first political rally since his supporters in North Carolina chanted “send her back!” about a Somali-born House Democrat.

That chant was directed at Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar — who has been critical of U.S. policy, Israel and Trump — by a crowd in Greenville. It prompted a rare instance of the president criticizing, though lightly, his conservative base, saying the next day he disagreed with the chant. He also falsely claimed he quickly tried to shut down the chant, a contention that was undone by video showing him standing silent behind his podium for more than 10 seconds.

Sherrod Brown uses stock buyback bill announcement to give fellow Dems campaign advice

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, wants Democratic presidential candidates to talk about the dignity of work in their campaign messaging. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio wants his Democratic colleagues running for president to plagiarize his favorite line.

“I want our presidential candidates to talk more about the dignity of work,” he said at a press conference Wednesday to announce a new bill to force public companies to pay workers a special “dividend” whenever they increase the amounts returned to shareholders.

Lawmakers hint at regulatory models for Facebook cryptocurrency
Libra: ‘Which is it, fish or fowl?’

“This looks exactly like an exchange-traded fund,” said Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., (File photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House members suggested Wednesday that Facebook Inc.‘s proposed cryptocurrency could be deemed an exchange-traded fund, a currency or a commodity, all of which could require some degree of regulatory oversight.

“What we’re struggling with is: What are you?” said Democratic Colorado Rep. Ed Perlmutter summing up a four-hour House Financial Services Committee grilling of a company executive about the proposed cryptocurrency known as Libra.

N.C. crowd chants ‘Send her back’ as Trump criticizes Omar and House ‘squad’
President also mocks Buttigieg’s last name, painting South Bend mayor as foreign policy lightweight

President Donald Trump greets Blake Marnell of San Diego during a rally at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Pa., on May 20. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Wednesday night criticized the House Democratic women known as “the squad,” zeroing in on Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota as his supporters at a rally in Greenville, North Carolina, chanted “Send her back!”

He contended that Omar “blamed” the United States for the 9/11 attacks and “smeared” U.S. soldiers involved in the so-called Black Hawk Down incident in Somalia in 1993.

With racist tweets and comments, Trump signals bare-knuckle reelection fight
“He’s willing to go as far as he wants and needs,” GOP strategist says

President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media over the roar of Marine One's engines on the South Lawn of the White House on Friday. (Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

“Quiet! Quiet! Quiet! Quiet!” With those four words, President Donald Trump threw onto the 2020 canvas the political boxing gloves he ripped off Sunday with two racist tweets.

An animated-then-aggressive Trump was demanding silence of a reporter, under an intense July sun during an impromptu Monday press conference. The reporter had agitated the president by asking if he was “OK” with people viewing his tweets about four Democratic freshmen — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts — as “racist.”

Nearly $10 billion will be spent on political ads in 2020
U.S. spending is expected to rise a whopping 59 percent to about $10 billion in 2020

Before voters return to the ballot box in 2020, groups and candidates will have spent nearly $10 billion on political ads, according to estimates by media agency GroupM. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Political ad spending in the U.S. is expected to rise a whopping 59 percent to about $10 billion in 2020 compared to the 2016 presidential election year, according to estimates by media agency GroupM. That sounds like a lot, and it is.

About $6.3 billion was spent on political ads in the 2016 U.S. election. That’s more than double what was spent in the 2004 campaign.

Tom Steyer launches presidential run, but also pledges $50 million to outside groups
Billionaire makes corporate influence and climate change central themes in campaign

Billionaire activist Tom Steyer speaks to supporters in Des Moines, Iowa, in January. (Steve Pope/Getty Images file photo)

Billionaire Democrat Tom Steyer jumped into the presidential race Tuesday, but he still plans to spend millions through outside groups that influenced 2018 elections for House and Senate and could do so again in 2020.

Steyer said he is resigning from groups he founded and financed, NextGen America and Need to Impeach, but is still committing $50 million to both. That could give him a unique position as a late entrant in a field of two dozen candidates as he tries to build support in states where the organizations he funds are airing ads and organizing activists.

Former Illinois Rep. Bobby Schilling announces he’s running in Iowa
Former congressman moved across the river from his old district in 2017

Former Illinois Rep. Bobby Schilling, who lost to DCCC Chairwoman Cheri Bustos after district lines were redrawn, is running for the seat that Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack is retiring from in Iowa . (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Illinois Rep. Bobby Schilling announced that he’s running for the open seat in Iowa’s 2nd District, across the Mississippi River from his old district.

Iowa Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack announced in April that he would retire at the end of his seventh term next year. The race could be competitive: President Donald Trump carried the district in 2016.