FRI brief 7.3.20

Abbott goes all Oprah on masks

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Today's stories

GREG ABBOTT issued a statewide facemask mandate yesterday afternoon. The move came just two weeks after the governor said it would be an "infringement on individual liberty" to issue such an order.

But there's more. Abbott announcing his mask edict stated:

“COVID19 is not going away. In fact, it’s getting worse [inaccurate]. Now more than ever, action by everyone is needed until treatments are available for COVID”

This seems to suggest that Abbott will keep Texas in varying degrees of lockdown until there is a vaccine for the coronavirus.

Texans and Americans complied with lockdowns and mask use to flatten the curve. Once the flattened, there was a lag in reopening, and elected officials lost the consent of the governed.

Local law enforcement officials around the state have begun to say they will not enforce Abbott's order.

Related: Abbott will be sued over mask mandate

COVID19 has changed and so has reporting on a treatment touted by Trump.

A recent study shows that the mutated variant of coronavirus most prevalent today spreads faster but doesn't make people sicker, and there's a live possibility it's weaker [read: not getting worse].

Dr. Robin Armstrong, a prominent Republican, and physician mentioned the latter observation on an SREC call to discuss the upcoming state convention. Also mentioned by Armstrong, successfully treating cases with hydroxychloroquine.

Related: Suicides likely to rise [1 | 2 | 3]

THE TEXAS GOP, in theory, is moving forward with its in-person convention in Houston after the party's governing board voted 40-20 on a resolution to proceed.

It's a good thing too. Last night members of the SREC meet via Zoom, and it was sort of a disaster.

There were issues with getting things up and running, voting, order of comments, and decorum. Multiply yesterday by thousands, and the cat-herding of a typical convention boggles the mind.

In defense of the meeting, there was only one utterance of "that's horse sh*t."

Still, Chairman Dickey has an outside shot at hosting the virtual convention he's been covertly planning with a cabal of SREC members.

There'll be a call on Sunday to set a contingency plan designed/rigged to have one conclusion, a virtual convention. This "ultimate" plan would be deployed if Governor Abbott or Harris Co. Judge Lina Hidalgo cancels the event or issues a cryptical executive order with the same net effect.

One item to note, Dickey squashed the idea of a hybrid convention because of the rules, but the question was not put to the vote, and there is a distinction that should be made.

Hybrid on the Zoom call was a bifurcated/networked event with a hub in Houston and satellite events in Senate Districts. This type of virtual and in-person convention would present unequal outcomes in participation.

Don't conflate this variant with the second more secure contingency option of holding a dispersed convention (standard SD and CD meetings) and a virtual meeting for the entire body, which would provide equal access.

Disparities in internet service access and capabilities around Texas ensure that there will not be equal participation in an all-virtual convention, and the variable is multiplied by the number of delegates.

In the case of a Senate District-based in-person convention with virtual general sessions, there are fewer connections to make and manage (31 not 254 or 63).

UT AUSTIN has started to trickle out its latest poll.

Yesterday, the poll highlighted Trump's four-point lead over Biden. Around the same time in 2016, Trump had an eight-point margin head to head with Hillary Clinton, with Gary Johnson included that margin shrank by one-point.

Polling of Trump voters, this cycle has been said to include social desirability bias.

The university has released roughly three polls a year, dating back to 2008. The next drop, if the pattern holds, will be in October. The current survey was in the field between June 19-29.

Related: Texans were more concerned about COVID in April (33% ) than June (18%)

Hit the links

SCOTUS grants Alabama's request to restore voting rules ($)

Court not fast-tracking Democrat mail-in ballot lawsuit

CBO: Coronavirus to scar U.S. labor market for next decade ($)

Rep. Drew Springer measuring curtains?

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Coming up

7/7: Texas Observer

7/15: FEC reports due

7/31: PFS filings due

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