Tuesday's primaries give progressives opportunities to make inroads

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Image: Charles Booker a Democratic candidate for the U.S Senate raises before voting at the Kentucky Expo Center
Charles Booker, Democratic candidate for the U.S Senate, before voting at the Kentucky Expo Center in Louisville on June 19. Pat McDonogh / Louisville Courier-Journal via AP

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By Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, Ben Kamisar and Melissa Holzberg

WASHINGTON — After the first three presidential nominating contests, Joe Biden and the pragmatic wing of the Democratic Party easily beat Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and the progressives pushing for big, structural change.

But on Tuesday, progressives have the opportunity to strike back with some wins of their own.

That’s when progressive candidates — from New York to Kentucky — have chances to score victories over establishment/moderate/pragmatic Democrats, including the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

In Kentucky, progressive African-American state Rep. Charles Booker — who supports Medicare for All, the Green New Deal and Universal Basic Income — appears to have the momentum over well-funded Amy McGrath in the Democratic Senate primary for the right to take on Mitch McConnell in the fall.

The big question, however, is whether enough Kentucky Democrats already submitted their mail-in ballots before Booker’s campaign started to take off, especially after the shooting death of Breonna Taylor in Louisville.

In NY-16, progressive challenger Jamaal Bowman, a middle school principal, is trying to defeat longtime incumbent Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

In NY-17, former Obama DOJ official Mondaire Jones — who backs Medicare for All — is running in a crowded primary to fill the congressional seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y. Also running for the seat is former Obama Defense official Evelyn Farkas, as well as state Sen. David Carlucci.

And in NY-9, longtime Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., is facing a handful of challengers, including progressive Adem Bunkeddeko, who narrowly lost to Clarke in 2018.

What we’ll be watching for on Tuesday night is whether the party that’s about to nominate Joe Biden as its presidential candidate to face President Trump in November has more hunger for progressive politics after the coronavirus and after the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Rayshard Brooks.

It also shouldn’t be lost here that Booker, Bowman, Jones and Bunkeddeko are all progressives of color, and a question going forward is whether they might fare better than white progressives in Democratic primaries.

But also don’t forget that none of these races will be competitive in November. No matter who wins between Booker and McGrath in Kentucky, McConnell will be the big favorite in this presidential year.

And in New York, all of the primary races we’re watching on Tuesday are in safe Democratic seats.

Was the Tulsa rally really worth it?

Tulsa’s health director urged President Trump not to come.

Ditto the leading members of his coronavirus task force.

But Trump went ahead with rally any way on Saturday, and here’s what he got in return:

So now that the rally has come and gone, who is better off for it? We’d be hard-pressed to say anyone except the Democrats, who got a whole lot of new ad material.

Data Download: The numbers you need to know today

2,290,639: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 84,839 more cases than Friday morning.)

120,635: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far. (That’s 1,448 more than Friday morning.)

More than 183,000: The number of new coronavirus cases in the world on Sunday, the largest-ever single-day increase in cases reported by the World Health Organization.

22 percent: The share of ICU beds available in Washington D.C. hospitals as of Saturday, as the city is slated to move to Phase Two of reopening on Monday (76 beds of 345 total).

6,200: The number of attendees at the Trump rally in Tulsa, according to the Tulsa fire marshal.

101 minutes: The length of President Trump’s Saturday night remarks in Tulsa.

14 minutes: How long the president spoke on Saturday about his frustration with the coverage of his use of a ramp and how he drank water at a recent West Point address.

Tweet of the day

2020 Vision: Hickenlooper gets some help

Today we take a peek at a new development in Colorado’s Senate Democratic primary, where John Hickenlooper has been on the defensive in recent days.

With the June 30 primary around the corner, a new outside group is coming to the former governor’s aid: Let’s Turn Colorado Blue.

The group, which formed last week, is already running an ad hitting Hickenlooper’s primary opponent, Andrew Romanoff. And with almost $800,000 booked between now and the primary, it’s part of the big outside push coming in for Hickenlooper down the stretch — the Senate Majority PAC, which has backed Hickenlooper, has about $1.4 million in TV and radio time booked through June 30.

Plus, thanks to the group’s convenient decision to wait until so late to open its doors, it won’t have to disclose its donors until after the primary.

The Lid: Narrowing it down

Don’t miss the pod from Friday, when we made the case how Joe Biden’s VP pick could now be down to a two-woman race.

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

Coronavirus-related stimulus and economic aid has curbed the increase in poverty in America, with one study finding the poverty rate dropping in April and May.

President Trump told Axios his trade negotiations with China have prompted him to pump the breaks on sanctions against the country in retribution for the detention of Uighurs and others.

The president is expected to extend his recent immigration executive order, blocking many from obtaining green cards.

Coronavirus has had a devastating effect on street markets like the Central de Abasto in Mexico.

A dispatch from South Carolina’s primaries show how the pandemic is making it harder for voters, particularly in minority communities.

South Korea is facing a second wave of coronavirus infections.