Mid-year reality checks temper Democrats' hopes: The Note

The middle of 2021 has felt like 2020, with news leading in multiple directions.

The TAKE with Rick Klein

A Democrat of a certain optimistic bent could emerge from this frenetic week feeling pretty good.

Fourth of July celebrations will approximate normalcy. A committee examining the events of Jan. 6 is in place -- and will be bipartisan whether or not Republican leaders want to play. The Trump Organization and one of its top executives stand indicted on criminal charges.

Yet that 70% vaccination target hasn't been reached, while worries about another COVID spread grow again.

As for the emerging issue set of 2022, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll out Friday offers another sobering sign for Democrats. Concern about crime as a serious problem stands at 59% -- a high going back at least two decades.

President Joe Biden's approval rating on the issue of crime is 10 points underwater, with 38% approving and 48% disapproving. GOP efforts to tie Democrats to safety and immigration concerns don't need the Trump megaphone to resonate, but that's happening as well.

This middle part of 2021 has felt a bit like 2020, with a torrent of news leading in multiple potential directions. For better or worse, Trump has even been front and center -- with more of that to come.

The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper

The 6-3 Supreme Court decision to uphold what Democrats would call suppressive voting tactics in Arizona has dealt a blow to Democrats in the fight against Republican-led efforts to restrict access to the ballot box.

The decision came down along ideological lines with the liberals on the court penning the dissent. In it, Justice Elena Kagan called the decision "tragic" and an affront to what Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act was designed to do -- prevent voting practices and procedures that would discriminate on the basis of race.

"This Court has no right to remake Section 2. Maybe some think that vote suppression is a relic of history -- and so the need for a potent Section 2 has come and gone. But Congress gets to make that call," Kagan wrote in her dissent. "Because it has not done so, this Court's duty is to apply the law as it is written."

The decision will undoubtedly impact how Democrats and voting advocates counter Republican-backed restrictive voting legislation in states across the country.

It will also likely revive calls to eliminate the filibuster to pass voting legislation that has been stonewalled by Senate Republicans.

Democrats wary of changing filibuster rules for the sake of protecting a legislative body will be forced to square that with the desire to protect the rights of American voters -- the heart of the democracy they profess to hold dear.

The TIP with Alisa Wiersema

The official beginning of the end is in sight for the California gubernatorial recall election process.

After months of speculation, on Thursday, the state's Democratic Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis announced the contest will take place on Sept. 14. More than 1.7 million signatures have been certified backing the election, which will be only the second of its kind in the state's history -- the first happened in 2003 and resulted in Arnold Schwarzenegger winning the governorship.

Candidates looking to replace sitting Gov. Gavin Newsom have a little over two weeks to file to run, but recent polling appears to indicate the task could be an uphill battle. According to the Public Policy Institute of California's May statewide survey, a majority of Californians approve of Newsom's overall handling of his job, as well as his approach to the coronavirus.

According to the California Department of Finance, the recall will cost $276 million, which could also offer candidates a convenient talking point of wondering out loud if the money could be spent on other pressing issues facing the state.

ONE MORE THING

The number of Americans seeing crime as an extremely serious problem in the United States is at a more than 20-year high, President Joe Biden is underwater in trust to handle it and broad majorities in an ABC News/Washington Post poll favor alternative crime-fighting strategies to address it.

THE PLAYLIST

ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Friday morning's episode features ABC News Senior National Correspondent Terry Moran with his takeaways from the Supreme Court's ruling on voting rights. Then, ABC News Congressional Correspondent Rachel Scott reports on Republican Rep. Liz Cheney's decision to join the House select committee investigating Jan. 6. And, ABC News Senior Investigative Reporter Aaron Katersky breaks down the indictments against the Trump Organization and the company's CFO. http://apple.co/2HPocUL

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS WEEKEND

  • President Joe Biden receives the president's daily brief at 9:30 a.m. He delivers remarks on the June jobs report at 10:15 a.m. The president and Vice President Kamala Harris welcome the Los Angeles Dodgers to the White House in honor of their 2020 World Series Championship. Biden and Harris have lunch at 12:30 p.m. Biden participates in a naturalization ceremony with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services acting Director Tracy Renaud at 2:30 p.m. The president and first lady Jill Biden deliver remarks at the National Education Association's annual meeting and representative assembly at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington at 5 p.m.
  • White House press secretary Jen Psaki holds a briefing at 12:30 p.m.
  • Second gentleman Douglas Emhoff travels to Bryce Canyon, Utah, as part of the administration's nationwide "America's Back Together" tour.
  • Former President Donald Trump holds a rally Saturday at 8 p.m. in Sarasota, Florida, followed by fireworks at 9 p.m.
  • Sunday on ABC's "This Week": Co-anchor Martha Raddatz speaks with White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients. Plus, Commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan and NATO Resolute Support Gen. Austin "Scott" Miller and Gov. Jim Justice, R-W.Va., join "This Week" Sunday. And the Powerhouse Roundtable discusses all the week's politics with ABC News Deputy Political Director Averi Harper, Host of ABC News' 'Life Out Loud with LZ Granderson' podcast, Los Angeles Times Columnist and ABC News Contributor LZ Granderson, Washington Post National Political Correspondent Mary Jordan and TIME National Political Correspondent Molly Ball.
  • Download the ABC News app and select "The Note" as an item of interest to receive the day's sharpest political analysis.

    The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back Tuesday for the latest.

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