First Read is a morning briefing from Meet the Press and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
2016 Race Hits Rock Bottom With Trump vs. Ginsburg Spat
The state of our politics -- and especially discourse in this 2016 presidential race -- has hit rock bottom when a Supreme Court justice is trading insults with the Republican Party's presumptive presidential nominee. It all started when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told the New York Times, "I can't imagine what the country would be with Donald Trump as our president." She then doubled down in a later interview: "He is a faker… He says whatever comes into his head at the moment… How has he gotten away with not turning over his tax returns?"
They were stunning comments by a sitting Supreme Court justice. Sure, the justices are political animals (just look at their rulings and frequent split decisions), but those black robes are supposed to make them different than a member of Congress or a presidential candidate. But Donald Trump then went one step further, tweeting after midnight last night that Ginsburg's "mind is shot" and calling for her to resign.
This 2016 campaign has eroded many of the norms of our politics, whether it was Trump earlier attacking a federal judge overseeing a lawsuit against him; Trump and Clinton not congratulating each other for winning their respective nominating races; or Bernie Sanders still not technically conceding to Hillary Clinton. But let's be blunt: It isn't healthy for our democracy when a current Supreme Court justice is battling with someone who might become president.
Clinton Will Talk About Trying to Unite the Country
Given this erosion in discourse, Hillary Clinton will today give a speech at the Old State House in Springfield, IL -- where Lincoln gave his "house divided" speech and also where President Obama announced his 2008 presidential bid -- on uniting the country. "Clinton will talk about healing our country after the tragic shootings in Dallas, Minnesota and Louisiana," a Clinton campaign official says. "Clinton will cast the divisions facing our country as broader than these incidents alone and talk about what we need to heal the divisions in our politics and our culture. She will argue that our nation is 'stronger together.'" The speech is at 11:45 am ET.
New NBC/WSJ/Marist polls of Iowa, Ohio, and Pennsylvania to be Released at 5:00 pm ET
Quinnipiac is out with new polls this morning showing Donald Trump up by three points in Florida (42%-39%), up two points in Pennsylvania (43%-41%), and tied in Ohio (41%-41%). Are they real or outliers given Clinton's consistent lead in national polling? We'll find out when we release brand-new NBC/WSJ/Marist polls of Iowa, Ohio, and Pennsylvania at 5:00 pm ET. And we'll be coming out with Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia polls later this week. Buckle up.
Team Clinton is Outspending Team Trump Over the Airwaves, $57 million to $4 million
Some context on the battleground polls we'll be seeing: They come as Team Clinton (campaign + Super PACs) enjoys a 15-to-1 advantage over Team Trump over the advertising airwaves. Team Clinton has spent $57 million on ads so far in the general election -- $25 million coming from the campaign and another $32 million from pro-Clinton Super PACs. By comparison, Team Trump has aired $3.6 million in ads, with all of the spending from two outside groups, the National Rifle Association ($2.3 million) and Rebuilding America Now ($1.3 million). The Trump campaign has yet to spend a single cent on ads so far in the general election. Clinton's advantage is even more pronounced in the battlegrounds, where Team Clinton has spent a combined $46.2 million in nine states to Team Trump's $1.2 million. That's nearly a 40-to-1 margin.
Don't miss the latest installment of VP Watch, the latest on the veepstakes from our NBC News team… Mike Pence auditioned with Trump last night in Indiana… And earlier, he demurred when asked about possible disagreements with Trump… Paul Ryan weighed in about what he'd like to see in a Trump VP… Newt Gingrich is "suspending" his relationship as a contributor on FOX… Christie's taking a different approach to VP speculation than he did in 2012, NBC's Andrew Rafferty writes… POLITIO calls Jeff Sessions "Trump before Trump" … Elizabeth Warren has been invited to speak on the first night of the Democratic National Convention… And NBC confirms that Clinton's team is vetting retired admiral James Stavridis.
How the Racial Divide is Reinforced by Partisanship
An important reminder from NBC's Perry Bacon: "Americans' views on issues of racial inequality and policing heavily depend upon what party they belong to, potentially complicating any effort by President Obama and other figures to unify the country and create new policies in the wake of officer-involved shootings of black men in Minnesota and Louisiana and the killing of five officers in Dallas last week. 'You have really stark differences in perceptions of this basic phenomenon. And the solutions really depend on which reality are you seeing. Are you seeing these as one-offs (the officer-involved shootings) or do you think it is epidemic? That is where we really hit a political impasse," said Daniel Cox, research director at the Public Religion Research Institute, which studies cultural, religious and racial trends in the U.S.'"
On the Trail
Hillary Clinton speaks in Springfield, IL at 11:45 am ET. Don't forget to check out the political unit's rolling minute-to-minute coverage of all the latest 2016 developments at the On the Trail liveblog at NBCNews.com.
Countdown to Rules Committee showdown in Cleveland: 1 day
Countdown to GOP convention: 5 days
Countdown to Dem convention: 12 days