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Essential Politics: And away we go to the general election – Los Angeles Times

I’m Christina Bellantoni, and Essential Politics is here to kick off your week in politics. 

WEEKEND CAMPAIGNING WITH LESS THAN 100 DAYS TO GO

Hillary Clinton set off on a three-day bus tour through Pennsylvania and Ohio after accepting the Democratic nomination, trying to drive a wedge between Donald Trump and the white, working-class voters he needs to win the election.

Chris Megerian was traveling with her over the weekend, and writes she eagerly seized the history-making moment as the first female candidate from a major political party.

Along the way, Clinton was joined by Bill Clinton and her running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine. The former played an unusual role on the trail — he stayed almost completely silent. Meanwhile, Kaine jumped into the role as Clinton’s most enthusiastic promoter, vouching for her character and shredding Donald Trump.

(Reporting from across the country, our team took a look at what Kaine’s Spanish fluency means to Latino voters.

And Seema Mehta writes about how Trump and his running mate Mike Pence are a study of contrasts on the stump.

But it was Trump who generated the biggest headlines of the weekend with two days’ worth of news about his response to grieving parents who made a high-profile appearance at the Democratic National Convention. The Republican nominee’s comments about Khizr and Ghazala Khan thrust his plans to ban Muslim immigration back into the spotlight, and led to top GOP leaders distancing themselves from Trump — again.

He also declared in Colorado he was “taking the gloves off” against Clinton. But he spent most of his time at the swing state rally revisiting past controversies from the primary.

This weekend Trump claimed he rebuffed a meeting with conservative mega-donors Charles and David Koch. But top officials to the Koch donor network told Melanie Mason they had no knowledge of any such request.

Also this weekend, Mark Cuban kept up his attacks on Trump, billionaire to billionaire.

Get the latest from the campaign trail on Trail Guide and follow @latimespolitics. Check our daily USC/Los Angeles Times tracking poll at the top of the politics page.

YOUR QUICK CONVENTION CLOSEOUT CATCHUP

Our best work on the conventions can be found here and a handful of headlines you might have missed are below.

21 thoughts about the Republican and Democratic conventions from Cathleen Decker

Here’s how Democrats are trying to reclaim patriotism from Republicans — and how Trump helps

TV viewership for Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech is smaller than Donald Trump’s

Watch: The ultimate side-by-side convention comparison of Clinton and Trump on the issues

Watch: The RNC vs. DNC political insult supercut

The final day of the Democratic National Convention in less than 4 minutes

The Toastmasters evaluation of Hillary Clinton’s speech

Clinton’s speech, annotated by the Los Angeles Times (We also annotated Trump’s the week before)

GUESS WHO’S BACK?

After a month of recess, the California Legislature reconvenes this morning in Sacramento. And they return to begin what’s one of the most intense political and policy sprints this session has seen: the final month of deliberations before adjourning for the year.

From climate change to the state’s housing crisis, revising the rules for elections to legalizing online poker, we’ve got a rundown of the biggest issues to watch over the next four weeks. And as always, keep an eye on our Essential Politics news feed for the latest from Sacramento.

FEINSTEIN’S HUSBAND UNDERGOING CANCER TREATMENT

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) skipped the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia because she was caring for her husband, who has been diagnosed with lung cancer. Rumors had circulated at the convention that perhaps the 83-year-old senior senator from the Golden State was ill.

Richard Blum, 80, went to the doctor thinking he had pneumonia, but learned he has lung cancer, Feinstein spokesman Tom Mentzer told The Times.

THE BATTLE OVER POT

Nearly a half-century after tobacco ads were kicked off television in the United States, an initiative in California would take a first step toward allowing TV commercials that promote a different kind of smoking — marijuana.

If it passes Nov. 8, Proposition 64 would allow people age 21 and older to possess and use up to an ounce of marijuana and would allow pot shops to sell cannabis for recreational use. Patrick McGreevy reports that the initiative also includes a provision that could someday allow cannabis sellers to advertise their products in print ads and on digital sites and radio and television stations.

As the ballot battle shapes up, former Rep. Patrick Kennedy plans to spend $ 2 million to fight initiatives in five states, including California’s Prop 64.

DEBATE OVER DRONES

California has become a central battleground over drone industry policy, as the technology continues to quickly evolve and debate rages over just how much power the federal government has to regulate the skies.

Jazmine Ulloa reports that at the state Capitol this legislative session, drone manufacturers and associations boosted their politicking, successfully beating back several bills they said would create a patchwork of laws that would hinder innovation.

HOLLYWOOD SKYSCRAPERS ON THE FAST TRACK

Big proposed buildings in Los Angeles could get built a lot faster if state lawmakers pass legislation designed to speed up environmental lawsuits against mega-projects statewide.

Four projects in Los Angeles, including a $ 1-billion redevelopment of the Crossroads of the World complex in Hollywood, would likely qualify to get any environmental litigation wrapped up against them within nine months, a timeframe that could shave years off the development process. But as Liam Dillon reports, a previous version of the law hasn’t proven very effective and critics are raising questions about why only large projects are getting this perk.

TODAY’S ESSENTIALS

— How George Takei’s East L.A. boyhood made him take on Trump in Spanish.

— Many GOP foreign policy experts see Trump as unfit to be president.

— Who will win the November election? Give our Electoral College map a spin.

LOGISTICS

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