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What's the endgame? Both parties face similar questions on a range of thorny topics

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: Democratic members of the Texas House, who are boycotting a special session of the legislature in an effort to block Republican-backed voting restrictions, arrive at Dulles airport in Sterling
Representative Nicole Collier speaks to the press in Sterling, Va., on July 12, 2021.Evelyn Hockstein / Reuters

WASHINGTON — It’s a busy midsummer day in American politics.

President Biden is set to deliver a speech on voting rights in Philadelphia at 2:50 p.m, ET.

Texas Democrats are in D.C. after fleeing the state legislature to deny Republicans a quorum to pass their voting restrictions.

The U.S. Senate is back at work on infrastructure and a reconciliation package.

And in the marquee race of 2021, Virginia GOP gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin won’t attend this month’s debate with Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe, which was going to be moderated by PBS’ Judy Woodruff.

These different stories pose the same question for both parties: How can you win in a situation where success ranges from the nearly impossible to the incredibly difficult?

On voting rights, can Democrats pass anything given the Senate math and the GOP filibuster? Or is the better approach, as the Biden White House seems to think, to win on the issue in 2022 and 2024?

On those Texas Democrats, are they only delaying inevitable defeat in the GOP-controlled state legislature? (Remember, when Texas Democrats fled the state back in 2003 protesting a GOP redistricting plan, Republicans eventually passed that redistricting plan.)

On infrastructure and reconciliation, can Biden and the Democrats walk the tightrope of holding on to GOP support, while also keeping Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., on the same page?

And in Virginia, can Youngkin really avoid questions from national reporters and anchors — especially on the topic of Donald Trump — when the former president keeps on involving himself in the contest?

All are difficult questions, where the most likely answer may be unsatisfying.

What Biden is expected to say in Philly

Speaking of Biden’s speech today in Philadelphia, NBC’s Mike Memoli gets a preview from a White House official.

“The president will highlight that the greatest irony of the 28 voter suppression laws that have been passed across 17 states this year alone is that the 2020 election took place in extraordinarily difficult circumstances and it stands as a model for the trustworthiness and precision of our system, given that over 80 judges — including judges appointed by his predecessor — threw out every challenge to it.”

More: “The president will give Democrats credit for unanimously voting to advance the For the People Act, and decry Republican obstruction of its path. And he will reiterate that the work to pass it and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act are only beginning.”

But don’t miss this from Memoli’s reporting: “[O]fficials have been careful about how he uses his political capital, seeing a better use in mobilizing Democrats to put voting rights front and center in next year's midterm elections.”

Tweet of the day

Data Download: The numbers you need to know today

34,001,707: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 19,910 more than yesterday morning.)

610,529: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far, per the most recent data from NBC News. (That’s 29 more since yesterday morning.)

334,600,770: The number of vaccine doses administered in the U.S., per the CDC.

48 percent: The share of all Americans who are fully vaccinated, per the CDC.

58.9 percent: The share of all American adults at least 18 years of age who are fully vaccinated, per CDC.

100: The number of Guillain-Barré syndrome cases reported in those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, prompting an FDA warning.

5 percent: The estimated increase in the consumer-price index in June, per a Wall Street Journal survey of economists.

Party off

In California’s upcoming recall, “California's Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, cannot identify his political affiliation on the ballot during the coming recall election, a judge ruled Monday,” per NBC News.

“State Superior Court Judge James Arguellas denied Newsom's request that his party be listed on the ballot after he failed to identify his political preference by a filing deadline.”

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

First Lady Jill Biden will lead the U.S. Olympic delegation to Tokyo.

After a meeting with Pfizer, U.S. health agency reiterates that Covid vaccine booster not necessary.

Trump was wrong about officer who shot Jan. 6 rioter Ashli Babbitt, law enforcement official says.

Indicted Trump Organization executive Allen Weisselberg is removed from top roles at subsidiaries.

There’s a slew of new reporting this week about Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election.