President Donald Trump has decided to postpone his first post-coronavirus lockdown election rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, so it does not fall on Juneteenth, the holiday commemorating the end of US slavery.
He tweeted that the June 19 rally would be held a day later out of respect for Juneteenth.
The choice of date had drawn criticism amid nationwide anti-racism protests.
The location was also controversial, as Tulsa saw one of the worst massacres of black people in US history in 1921.
Up to 300 people died when a white mob attacked the prosperous black neighborhood of Greenwood, known as the “Black Wall Street”, with guns and explosives. About 1,000 businesses and homes were also destroyed.
Juneteenth is not a federal holiday, but is widely celebrated by African Americans.
It celebrates the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation to enslaved African Americans in Texas.
Texas was the last state of the Confederacy – the slaveholding southern states that seceded, triggering the Civil War – to receive the proclamation, on June 19, 1865, months after the end of the war.
President Trump initially defended the timing of his rally, telling Fox News: “Think about it as a celebration. My rally is a celebration. In the history of politics, I think I can say there’s never been any group or any person that’s had rallies like I do.”
However, critics accused the president of disrespecting the date and the significance of Tulsa to US history.
Explaining the decision to move his rally, President Trump tweeted: “Many of my African American friends and supporters have reached out to suggest that we consider changing the date out of respect for this Holiday, and in observance of this important occasion and all that it represents. I have therefore decided to move our rally to Saturday, June 20th, in order to honor their requests…”
The “Make America Great Again” rally in Tulsa will be Donald Trump’s first campaign event since March 2, when the coronavirus pandemic put a halt to mass gatherings.
President Trump is seeking re-election in November 2020, but polls show him lagging behind his Democratic rival, Joe Biden.
Campaign rallies are seen as a key method of energizing his base, and Oklahoma is traditionally a Republican-voting state.
The event will proceed against a backdrop of ongoing protests against racial inequality and police brutality, triggered by the death of African American man George Floyd on May 25. George Floyd, who was unarmed, died in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota after a policeman knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes.
The rally is being held in a 19,000-seat indoor arena, and concerns have been raised about the potential risks.
Oklahoma has one of the US lowest infection rates, and businesses are reopening – but the state’s Governor Kevin Stitt has urged residents to keep social distancing and to “minimize time spent in crowded environments”.
People buying tickets for the Tulsa rally online have to click on a waiver confirming that they “voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to Covid-19” and will not hold the president’s campaign responsible for “any illness or injury”.
President Trump has announced he plans to hold further events in Florida, Texas, North Carolina and Arizona.
Donald Trump, impeached by the House of Representatives for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, was acquitted after a two-week trial in the Republican-controlled Senate.
During the House intelligence briefing, President Trump’s supporters argued that he had taken a hard stance with Russia, and that European ties and security had been strengthened as a result, the newspaper added.
Adam Schiff later tweeted that if Donald Trump was in any way “interfering” with the sharing of information between US intelligence agencies and Congress regarding foreign interference in the election process, the president was “jeopardizing” attempts to stop it.
Joseph Maguire was a favorite to be nominated for the permanent Director of National Intelligence (DNI) post, the Washington Post said.
However, the publication said President Trump changed his mind when he found out about the briefing, and what he called the “disloyalty” of his staff.
The president announced this week that Joseph Maguire would be replaced by Richard Grenell, the US ambassador to Germany and a Trump loyalist.
Two Trump administration officials told the New York Times that the replacement of Joseph Maguire, so soon after the contentious briefing, was a coincidence.
US intelligence officials say Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election to boost Donald Trump’s campaign and cause chaos within the US electoral process.
Democrats criticized the president for appointing Richard Grenell, who has previously played down the extent of Russian interference in the last election, and has celebrated the rise of far-right politicians in Europe.
Ned Price, a former aide to President Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, said the president had “dropped the charade that he has any use for intelligence”.
The presidential nominees will be chosen through a series of primaries and caucuses in every state and territory that began in Iowa on February 3 and ends in Puerto Rico in early June.
Short of a big shock, the Republican nominee will be Donald Trump. Even though technically he has two challengers, he is so popular among Republicans, he has a clear run ahead of him. With that in mind, the Democratic primaries are the only ones worth watching.
Step one: The start line
A whole year before the primaries, the first candidates emerged from hibernation. Over the year, others woke up and eventually 28 people announced they were running to become the Democratic nominee for president.
But dwindling funds, luke-warm or (ice-cold) public reaction and campaign infighting have, to varying degrees, led to 16 candidates pulling out of the race.
At the start of primary season, 11 people remained in the running. In theory, any one of them could become the nominee. In reality, only a few have a chance.
Step two: The Iowa caucuses
The first event of the primary season isn’t a primary at all – it’s a series of caucuses, in Iowa. These took place on February 3, in somewhat chaotic fashion.
What are caucuses?
A caucus involves people attending a meeting – maybe for a few hours – before they vote on their preferred candidate, perhaps via a head count or a show of hands. Those meetings might be in just a few select locations – you can’t just turn up at a polling station.
If any candidate gets under 15% of the vote in any caucus, their supporters then get to pick a second choice from among the candidates who did get more than 15%, or they can just choose to sit out the second vote.
Why Iowa caucuses matter?
A win there for any candidate can help give them momentum and propel them to victory in the primaries.
Why is Iowa first in the primary calendar? You can blame Jimmy Carter, sort of. Iowa became first in 1972, for various technical electoral reasons too boring to go into here. But when Carter ran for president in 1976, his team realized they could grab the momentum by campaigning early in Iowa. He won there, then surprisingly won the presidency, and Iowa’s fate was sealed.
Why Iowa caucuses don’t matter?
Iowa doesn’t represent the entire US – it’s largely white, so the way people vote there is very, very different than in other states.
The sate’s record on picking the eventual nominees is a bit rubbish too, at least when it comes to Republicans – when there’s an open Republican race, Iowa hasn’t opted for the eventual nominee since 2000. Such names as Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and Ted Cruz have won there in recent years.
Step three: The New Hampshire primary
Eight days after Iowa on February 11, is the first primary, in New Hampshire. The tiny north-eastern state of only 1.3 million people will once again become an unlikely hotbed of political activity.
What is a primary?
Unlike a caucus, where voters are expected to turn up at a few limited locations at certain times and stick around for a while, primary voters can just turn up at a polling booth and vote in secret. Then leave.
How does a primary work?
The more votes a candidate gets in a caucus or primary, the more “delegates” they are awarded, and all candidates will be hoping to win an unbeatable majority of delegates.
The number of delegates differs in each state, and is decided by a convoluted series of criteria. In California’s primary, for example, there are 415 Democratic delegates up for grabs this year. In New Hampshire, there are only 24.
This year is a bit different. Any candidate would need to get at least 15% of the vote in any primary or caucus to be awarded delegates. There are still 11 candidates in the running – an unusually large number – so there’s a risk the vote share will be spread out and some of the candidates may struggle to reach 15%.
After New Hampshire, we could get a clear picture of who is struggling, but whoever has claimed the most delegates at this stage is still far from guaranteed to be the nominee.
Even those who are struggling may not drop out right after New Hampshire, because there is so much at stake on…
Step four: Super Tuesday
A few other states vote in between New Hampshire and the end of February, but this is when things really start to warm up: Super Tuesday, on March 3.
What is Super Tuesday?
It is the big date in the primary calendar, when 16 states, territories or groups vote for their preferred candidate in primaries or caucuses. A third of all the delegates available in the entire primary season are up for grabs on Super Tuesday. By the end of the day it could be much clearer who the Democratic candidate will be. The two states with the most delegates are voting on Super Tuesday – California (with 415 Democratic delegates) and Texas (228). California is voting three months earlier than in 2016, making Super Tuesday even more super than normal.
California and Texas are two states with very diverse populations, so we may see them going for very different candidates than those chosen in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Step five: The rest of the race
After hectic Super Tuesday, everyone gets to cool down for a week, before another busy day on March 10, when six states vote, with 352 delegates available.
After that, the primary season still has three months left to run, and at the end, the role of those delegates will become clear…
Step six: The conventions
Donald Trump will almost certainly be sworn in as the Republican nominee at the party convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, between August 24 and 27. The Democrats will confirm their candidate at their own convention between July 13 and 16 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
What happens in a convention?
Here’s where those delegates come in.
Let’s say that during primary season, candidate A wins 10 delegates. During the convention, those 10 delegates would vote for candidate A to become the Democratic nominee. (Any party member can apply to be a delegate – they tend to be party activists or local political leaders.)
All through the Democratic primaries, there are 3,979 delegates available. If any one candidate wins more than 50% of those delegates during primary season (that’s 1,990 delegates), then they become the nominee in a vote at the convention.
But if we get to the Democratic convention and no-one has more than 50% of the delegates, it becomes what’s known as a “contested” or “brokered” convention. This could well happen this year. There are so many candidates that no one frontrunner emerges in the primaries, and they split the delegates between them. In that circumstance, a second vote would follow.
In that second vote, all the 3,979 delegates would vote again, except this time they would be joined by an estimated 771 “superdelegates”. These are senior party officials past and present (former president Bill Clinton is one, as is current Vermont senator and presidential contender Bernie Sanders), and they’re free to vote for whomever they wish.
If a candidate wins 50% or more in that vote – 2,376 delegates – then they become the nominee.
This is all thanks to a rule change in 2020: last time around, the superdelegates voted at the start of the convention, with the delegates. But many had pledged their support to Hillary Clinton even before the convention, leading her rival Bernie Sanders to suggest the deck was stacked against him.
Bernie Sanders is the one who campaigned for the change – and it may benefit him in 2020.
Step seven: The presidency
After inching past Iowa, negotiated New Hampshire, survived Super Tuesday and come through the convention, there is only one step left for the nominee: the presidential election, on November 3.
Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders are taking the lead in the Iowa caucuses, the first vote to choose the Democratic candidate to run against President Donald Trump in November’s election.
The vote has been chaotic, beset by technical problems and delays in reporting results.
According to Iowa’s Democratic Party, data from 71% of precincts showed Pete Buttigieg on 26.8%, with Bernie Sanders on 25.2%.
Elizabeth Warren was third on 18.4% and Joe Biden fourth on 15.4%.
According to the other preliminary results released on February 4 from all of Iowa’s 99 counties, Amy Klobuchar was on 12.6%, and Andrew Yang on 1%. Tom Steyer and Tulsi Gabbard were on less than 1%.
However, the state party has still not declared a winner from February 3 vote. Democrats have blamed the delay on a coding error with an app being used for the first time to report the votes.
Iowa was the first contest in a string of nationwide state-by-state votes, known as primaries and caucuses, that will culminate in the crowning of a Democratic nominee at the party convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in July.
Eleven candidates remain in a Democratic field that has already been whittled down from more than two dozen.
The results represent the share of delegates needed to clinch the party nomination under America’s quirky political system. Iowa awards only 41 of the 1,991 delegates required to become the Democratic White House nominee.