Around the world, disruption is beating out stability

First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
Image: Anti-Brexit demonstrators protest outside of Parliament in London on Sept. 4, 2019.
Anti-Brexit demonstrators protest outside of Parliament in London on Sept. 4, 2019.Alberto Pezzali / AP

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By Chuck Todd, Mark Murray and Carrie Dann

WASHINGTON — Disruption, not stability, has become the new norm, whether here in the United States or across the world.

Think about it: Trump and everything he represents. The Democratic resistance. Boris Johnson and Brexit. The rebel Conservative Party members who forced Johnson to lose a key vote yesterday. The Hong Kong protests that just extracted a key concession from the government. The trade wars.

If you’re looking for an example of stability in the world, good luck.

What we’ve learned the last three years since the 2016 election and original Brexit vote is that disruption tactics work, especially for political parties and movements that appear to be at a crossroads.

What we don’t know is how disruption movements end.

Do voters around the world crave for stability? Or do they prefer to fight disruption with more disruption?

That, in fact, is one of the essential debates in the 2020 Democratic presidential race, with Joe Biden campaigning on stability and Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren calling for revolution/structural change.

Data Download: The number of the day is …21

21.

That’s the number of Conservative Members of Parliament who broke from Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday to back the first stage of legislation meant to stop a “no deal” Brexit.

The defections meant that Johnson lost a crucial vote, 328 to 301, which could force him to seek an extension to Brexit from the European Union beyond an Oct. 31 deadline.

It’s now increasingly likely that the government will call a snap election in the U.K. in October.

Walmart responds to recent shootings

Speaking of disrupting forces, Walmart yesterday said it would stop selling ammunition used for military-style weapons, and it asked its customers not to openly carry firearms in its stores.

“The news follows mass shootings across the country, including 22 people who were killed last month in a Walmart and the surrounding area in El Paso, Texas,” per NBC News. “In July, a ‘disgruntled’ Walmart employee in Mississippi killed two colleagues and wounded a responding officer.”

The NRA fired back at the company. “It is shameful to see Walmart succumb to the pressure of the anti-gun elites. Lines at Walmart will soon be replaced by lines at other retailers who are more supportive of America’s fundamental freedoms. The truth is Walmart’s actions today will not make us any safer. Rather than place the blame on the criminal, Walmart has chosen to victimize law-abiding Americans.”

Still, you see where the needle is moving in corporate America…

North Carolina judges order new state legislative maps

Meanwhile, in North Carolina yesterday, a panel of three judges “threw out the state’s legislative district maps on Tuesday, ruling that the maps were such an extreme partisan gerrymander that they violated the state constitution,” NBC’s Jane Timm writes.

And: “New maps must be completed in two weeks, the judges said. The court also said it reserved the right to move the 2020 primary election if needed.”

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So how can North Carolina judges rule that new maps for the state’s legislative districts are an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander, when the U.S. Supreme Court said in June that it’s not an issue the federal courts can resolve?

The answer is simple from yesterday’s ruling, per NBC’s Pete Williams: This result is based on the STATE constitution, not the federal one.

2020 Vision: A seven-hour candidate forum

Buckle up, political world.

Ten Democratic presidential candidates — the same ones who’ll be participating at the upcoming debate in Houston — will speak at a CNN forum on climate change.

It starts at 5:00 pm ET, and each candidate gets 40 minutes. So the forum, in total, will last almost seven hours.

And ahead of the forum, several of the candidates — Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg and Julian Castro — released their climate plans.

Given all of these plans, however, here’s our question: Which of the candidates will make climate their first or second priority?

Plans are one thing; priorities are another.

On the campaign trail today

Ten of the 2020 Democrats speak at a CNN forum on climate change beginning at 5:00 pm ET. The order, with each candidate speaking for 40 minutes: Julian Castro, Andrew Yang, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Beto O’Rourke and Cory Booker.

Dispatches from NBC’s embeds

John Delaney held a town hall yesterday in New Hampshire, where he tied President Trump’s trade war with China to the fires in the Amazon rainforest. NBC’s Julia Jester reports, “Delaney argued that since China is the largest buyer of soybeans in the world, farmers are burning trees to clear cut farmland. ‘Because we’re engaged in this trade war, suddenly farmers around the world believe they actually have an opportunity to sell soybeans to China, so they’re burning trees to do this… So in a way, this terrible event is tied to an action that the POTUS is taking with respect to our trade deficit with China.’”

Tweet of the day

The Lid: Day job

Don’t miss the pod from yesterday, when we looked at Sen. Joe Manchin’s decision to forgo a run for governor.

ICYMI: News clips you shouldn’t miss

Cory Booker’s past work with Betsy DeVos is dogging him on the campaign trail.

Ted Cruz and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot are in a back-and-forth over gun laws.

Mitch McConnell says he’s waiting on Trump before pushing new gun legislation on the Hill.

And the Washington Post’s editorial page asks: “How many more names will be added to the list before Mitch McConnell acts on guns?”

Trump Agenda: Master of disaster

Trump said that he granted a disaster declaration at the request of Thom Tillis, but it actually came from the state’s Democratic governor.

Newsy looks at a group of young conservatives who are trying to change how Republicans talk about climate change.

The president says China is the one suffering from the trade war, but data shows the U.S. getting hurt.

The Trump administration is pulling funds out of military construction projects to build the border wall.

Secret Service veterans say that Trump’s properties aren’t actually easier to secure.

2020: Climate-palooza

Don’t miss our campaign embeds’ reports on the climate change plans from Julian Castro, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg.

Democrats are hoping that a big pro-Obamacare push will help them win the Virginia statehouse.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is helping to raise bail for counterprotestors arrested at a “Straight Pride” parade.

The leading fundraiser in the Democratic Senate primary in Colorado is out now that John Hickenlooper is in.