US election 2020: Trump campaigning in five states as Biden heads to Philadelphia – live updates

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “US election 2020: Trump campaigning in five states as Biden heads to Philadelphia – live updates” was written by Bryan Armen Graham in New York (now) and Martin Belam (earlier), for theguardian.com on Sunday 1st November 2020 16.35 UTC

Pollsters from either side of the political spectrum gave their takes on Tuesday’s election during a panel discussion on NBC’s Meet the Press.

Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt said “it’s going to be very hard” for Donald Trump to overcome Joe Biden’s six-point battleground state lead.

“It’s going to be very hard for a couple of reasons,” Horwitt said. “One, is unlike 2016, this is really a referendum on Donald Trump. We’ve had four years of the Trump presidency. We know what it is like, we’ve seen it, we’ve lived through it. And for the first three years, we wondered what an unconventional president, how he would address a crisis not of his own making. And in his fourth year of his presidency, we know, and the verdict is not, not good when we have 40%, who can approve of the job he’s doing in handling Covid-19.

“And then, you know, the other thing is that the numbers really have been stable in terms of the trial lead at 10 points now. It was 11 and 14 in debates. There’s been no movement to really suggest that Donald Trump is making, making ground. And the last point is Joe Biden. Joe Biden is net positive, his personal ratings have improved over time, which was not the case in 2016, while Donald Trump remains net negative.”

Republican pollster Bill McInturff said the outcome will come down to states with “huge numbers of white, non-college who’ve not yet voted”.

“Look, they’re a volatile group, but I think the other thing to look at is who has not voted,” McInturff said. “Among the roughly three out of 10 people who say they have not voted yet, they’re voting for Donald Trump by almost 30 points. And the states to look at – and you focused on the right thing, which is white, non-college – look at the states with huge numbers of white, non-college who’ve not yet voted: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. And this election is going to come down to those states again.

“And just like we’ve seen historic early vote, I think we’re going to see a historic vote. I think another thing to remember is like ’04, like 2012, those are two incumbent races, Bush and Obama, where you give smart people a lot of time, a lot of money to change the composition of the electorate. The Republican Party’s done a good job of registering new people in these states and they have devoted a year to try to increase turnout in rural and with white, non-college in these states, and I think these states are going to get very, very close.”

A CBS News/YouGov poll finds Joe Biden is entering Tuesday’s election as the clear favorite of voters who have already cast their ballots early, while Donald Trump is leading among those who plan to vote on the day.

CBS News
CBS News estimates Trump is doing, on average, over 30 percentage points better among likely election day voters than early voters.
Photograph: CBS News

Some other key findings from CBS News:

• So we took our baseline state model estimates from our initial polling, which sums to Biden holding an Electoral College lead heading into Election Day, and also estimated what it would take for each candidate to ultimately win.

• We estimate from our polling that Mr. Trump is doing, on average, over 30 percentage points better among likely Election-Day voters than early voters. We know the approximate size of the early vote so far, and we vary the potential size of the Election-Day vote to explore two scenarios.

• In our Republican-surge scenario, the size of the Election-Day vote is relatively large, so given that these voters break for Mr. Trump, it mitigates Biden’s early-vote edge, and Mr. Trump inches out close wins in enough states to go over 270. (We increased the size of the Election-Day vote by an average of seven points in this scenario, while keeping vote preference among early voters and Election-Day voters fixed.)

• But it doesn’t take much for this to break big the other way. If some of the people planning to vote on Tuesday decide not to show up, and the size of the Election-Day vote decreases by an average of three points from our initial estimates, the net result is pretty dramatic. Given Biden’s overall preference leads, nearly all the competitive states either flip to Biden or stay in his column, giving him a comfortable win.

• In our baseline scenario, Biden has a narrow Electoral College edge with many states toss ups.

In an appearance on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller refuses to be pinned down when asked to answer for the US president’s assertion that doctors are inflating Covid-19 deaths for personal enrichment.

“I’m not going to get into the – the billing aspects, of which there have been many reports on. There have been all sorts of independent things pointing to that,” Miller said. “But the fact of the matter is people want to get their life back to normal. They’re tired of the lockdowns. You look at these Democrat-run states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin. We’re seeing this on the campaign trail with the rallies. People are tired of these lockdowns. They want to safely re-open.”

When asked about the campaign’s clearest path to 270 electoral votes, Miller points back to the so-called Democratic blue wall in the Rust Belt that Trump crumbled four years ago.

“Well, we feel very good,” Miller said. “We think that President Trump is going to hold all of the Sun Belt states that he won previously. And as you look to the upper Midwest, Joe Biden has to stop President Trump in four out of four states; Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota. If President Trump wins just won of those in three of the four that he won last time, he will be a re-elected president.”

Donald Trump is plotting a second-term purge of his cabinet if he prevails in Tuesday’s election, according to a very normal story on Politico this morning.

Administration officials are already vetting names of health care experts for the top jobs at the Centers for Disease Control, Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and National Institutes of Health, according to two Republicans close to the White House.

Major overhauls are also expected in intelligence and national security posts at the FBI, CIA and Pentagon.

More from Politico:

The shift would amount to a purge of any Cabinet member who has crossed the president, refused to mount investigations he has demanded, or urged him to take a different, more strict tack on the coronavirus response.

The evictions could run the gamut from senior health officials to much of the national security leadership. Already, the White House and administration officials have started to vet names of health care experts who could take over the agencies running many elements of the government’s pandemic response and overseeing the country’s health insurance system, according to two Republicans close to the White House. And the president is eying a remake of leadership at the FBI, CIA and Pentagon, exasperated with what he perceives as unwillingness to investigate his preferred subjects or take on the government’s “deep state.”

This personnel overhaul of the Trump Cabinet at the start of a second term would mirror the turnover his administration has already experienced during his first four years. Of the 23 Cabinet-level posts in the Trump White House, only seven officials lasted all four years. Many, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, had public and contentious departures. And it would represent a fully unencumbered Trump, no longer constrained by political considerations or pushback from Congress.

“I can only imagine the score-settling Trump would undertake if he won,” said one Republican close to the White House about the potential Cabinet shakeup.

And that’s it from me in London. I will leave you with this clip of Barack Obama’s basketball skills, and hand you over to Bryan Armen Graham in the US…

 

North Carolina police pepper sprayed and arrested attendees at a get-out-the vote rally

North Carolina police pepper sprayed and arrested attendees at a get-out-the vote rally because participants blocked the roadway without authorization, authorities said on Saturday.

The “I Am Change” march to the polls was organized by the Reverend Greg Drumwright and began as a march from a local church to the courthouse. Drumwright said the group was permitted to stand in the square outside the Alamance county courthouse and was escorted through the streets by the police. He also said that the group had “no intention” of having the rally in the street.

“We are fed up with this kind of treatment in Alamance county and in Graham city,” Drumwright said in a Facebook live video following the altercation. “Both of those law entities … colluded to suppress peaceful organizers, who were here not only to vote today, but to call an end to system oppression and racial disparages.”

A woman’s eyes are washed from pepper spray deployed by police at a Get Out The Vote march in Graham, North Carolina.
A woman’s eyes are washed from pepper spray deployed by police at a Get Out The Vote march in Graham, North Carolina.
Photograph: Anthony Crider/Reuters

Lindsay Ayling, a graduate student and anti-racism activist who participated in the rally, said police used teargas indiscriminately and without reason on the crowd, including on children.

“The police were looking for excuses to use pepper spray and arrest members of the crowd,“ she said.

Read more here: North Carolina police pepper spray protesters at get-out-the-vote march

One thing you can do in the aftermath of the election is join in our election results special on Wednesday 4 November. It is an online event that starts at 2pm if you are in New York, or 7pm if like me you are in London.

Guardian journalists Jonathan Freedland, Kenya Evelyn, David Smith and Sarah Churchwell will be discissing the results – or possibly the lack of them. You can find out more about the event and book tickets here.

Jim VandeHei brings us his zen-like plans for having a calm and relaxing election night on Axios. His key points include:

  • Vote and then chill, it’s going to be ages until you get the result.
  • Brace for the possibility of the “Red Mirage”Tom McCarthy wrote about this for us yesterday.
  • Don’t share social-media posts that aren’t from a source you trust and know well. It isn’t clear if this recommendation is also directed towards at least one of the candidates.
  • Expect that President Trump may refuse to accept results.
  • Don’t hyperventilate about court cases – wait until there are verdicts and appeals to appraise their significance.
  • Brace yourself for 78 days of drama and turmoil from 4 November through the inauguration.

Hmmmm, I had been hoping for some time off after the election…

Read more here: Axios – A safe, sane way to navigate election night — and beyond

One notable feature of the campaign has been several publications breaking with tradition to either back a Democratic nominee when you usually expect them to lean to the Republican ticket – or to indeed make presidential endorsements when they usually don’t. But the Trump campaign are making a lot of noise this morning about the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette opting for a Republican for the first time since 1972.

It is not always the most flattering of endorsements, it must be said:

We share the embarrassment of millions of Americans who are disturbed by the president’s unpresidential manners and character — his rudeness and put-downs and bragging and bending of the truth.

None of this can be justified. The president’s behavior often has diminished his presidency, and the presidency. Most Americans want a president who makes them proud.

However they are bullish about his economic and trade record, and extremely scathing of his opponent.

The Biden-Harris ticket offers us higher taxes and a nanny state that will bow to the bullies and the woke who would tear down history rather than learning from history and building up the country.

It offers an end to fracking and other Cuckoo California dreams that will cost the economy and the people who most need work right now. “Good-paying green jobs” are probably not jobs for Pittsburgh, or Cleveland, or Toledo, or Youngstown.

It offers softness on China, which Mr. Trump understands is our enemy.

Mr. Biden is too old for the job, and fragile. There is a very real chance he will not make it through the term.

Read it here: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – The man and the record

Nina Lakhani has been in Allentown, Pennsylvania for us. Biden campaigns in the state today and Monday, and Trump drops by Scranton tomorrow as part of his last day of campaigning too. She’s been finding that the levels of hunger in the state have hit thier highest level since the pandemic’s start:

Charles Bennicoff hasn’t worked since last winter. He’s an experienced landscape gardener but the mom-and-pop business he worked for in Allentown, Pennsylvania, cut its staff after losing most of their contracts during the pandemic.

Bennicoff, 50, now relies on a food pantry for a few bags of groceries every couple of weeks to supplement the food stamps and social security his mentally ill wife receives. He still picks up the occasional odd job but doesn’t qualify for unemployment benefits because the landscaping job was cash in hand.

It’s the first time the couple have needed food aid since recovering from drug addiction and homelessness about 20 years ago, and Bennicoff is struggling to stay positive.

“Covid has taken a toll, emotionally and financially. There’s a thousand people dying every day because of the president’s lies, and I can’t just shrug that off. I have tears in my eyes every night,” said Bennicoff.

Hunger is rising in Pennsylvania, with the demand for food aid at its highest level since the start of the pandemic, according to new figures obtained by the Guardian.

Read more here: ‘The numbers floored me’: hunger in Pennsylvania hits highest level since pandemic’s start

With two days to go, Joe Biden holds a commanding national lead over Donald Trump in the polls. But it isn’t national poll leads that decide who ends up in the White House – it is the electoral college votes of swing states.

Chris Kahn and John Whitesides note for Reuters that Biden’s national lead over the Republican president has stayed relatively steady in recent months as the public health crisis has persisted. He is ahead 51% to 43% in the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll taken 27-29 October.

And in a new national poll from NBC News today while Biden’s lead has narrowed slightly by their reckoning – down from 11 points to 10 points since two weeks ago.

But Trump is still close to Biden in enough state battlegrounds to win the grand prize.

“This is the most competitive election I could imagine if you’re down 10 points nationally,” Republican pollster Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies told NBC News.

In polls, Biden repeatedly earns higher marks than Trump on his ability to handle the coronavirus pandemic, and about 30% of Americans say their vote this year is primarily driven by their perception of who would be better at handling the crisis.

But will that be enough to hand in the electoral college votes?

Today’s NYT/Siena College numbers have Biden leading by 11 points in Wisconsin, six in Arizona and Pennsylvania, and by three points in Florida. Three points is well within a polling margin of error, moving Florida into toss-up territory.

A separate ABC/Washington Post poll out today gives Biden a similar seven point lead in Pennsylvania, a state where he will be campaigning today and tomorrow. They give Trump a slight edge in Florida, 50-48.

Not looking so good for Biden is Iowa, where any hopes the Democratic nominee had that he could make that race competitive look to have faded. The Des Moines Register report that:

Trump has taken over the lead in Iowa as Biden has faded. The president now leads by 7 percentage points over Biden, 48% to 41%. In September’s Iowa Poll, the candidates were tied at 47% to 47%.

Turn-out is looking extremely high – although whether that’s a blue wave building to sweep Trump out of office and the Democrats into power across all branches of government, or it’s a silent endorsement of Trump that the polls haven’t measured is anybody’s guess.

You can keep your eagle-eye on the latest numbers in eight crucial swing states with our US elections poll tracker.

Donald Trump has made the claim that former James Bond actor Sean Connery assisted him in getting planning applications passed in Scotland. It was announced yesterday that Connery had died, aged 90.

In a series of tweets, two days prior to the US election, Trump paid tribute to the much-loved actor, saying that he was “highly regarded and respected in Scotland and beyond”.

However, it is the eye-opening claim that Connery stepped in and shouted “Let him build the damn thing” about a big development that is likely to raise eyebrows in Connery’s homeland.

The president claims that “everything went swimmingly” with his development plans after initially “having a very hard time getting approvals”.

The pair did know each other. Connery and Trump were photographed together at several events in New York, including the Johnnie Walker Dressed to Kilt fashion show in the early 2000s.

Updated

The founding editor of Jacobin magazine and Guardian US columnist Bhaskar Sunkara writes for us this morning, saying that America is a failing state and establishment politics can’t solve the crisis.

In 2020, America has shown itself to be exceptional in the worst possible ways. No other rich country has such a poor public health infrastructure or such a tattered social safety net. America’s levels of both police violence and violent crime find their closest peers in countries like Venezuela and South Africa, not Canada and Germany. And even Cuba and Bosnia and Herzegovina beat the world’s only superpower in infant mortality and other key social indicators.

In the most powerful country on Earth, 29.3 million people say that they “sometimes” or “often” do not have enough to eat. Forty million Americans are impoverished, according to the UN. Half a million are homeless. And all this was true before the full brunt of the pandemic’s economic recession hit.

Given these stark figures, the relative stability of the United States is a wonder. The country has maintained popular suffrage and democratic institutions (for white males, at least) for two centuries and married that form of government with a dynamic capitalist economy capable of creating vast wealth. In fact, American business owners have managed to avoid even the rise of a major social-democratic or labor party; in the US, demands for economic justice are filtered through – and watered down by – a centrist Democratic party and a byzantine system of government deliberately designed to limit popular passions. But perhaps that muzzling is reaching its limit.

Read more here: Bhaskar Sunkara – America is a failing state. And establishment politics can’t solve the crisis

Secretary of state Mike Pompeo has tweeted out this morning in defence of journalists, saying “they often face threats, attacks, or murders that often go unpunished”. He goes on to “call on all governments to investigate and redress these crimes.”

There might be more than a few journalists with questions for him about the behaviour of the president of the US in this regard.

A report earlier this year found that Donald Trump and his administration’s attack on the press “dangerously undermined truth and consensus in a deeply divided country.”

The report is based on interviews with nearly 40 journalists, academics, media lawyers, and press freedom advocates. [It] cited a long list of examples of Trump demeaning the press. These include Trump belittling reporter’s questions on the Justice Department investigating journalists’ sources, calls for changes in libel laws to punish reporting he dislikes, and ending the White House daily press briefings for more than a year.

“Trump devoted increasing amounts of time to angrily denouncing the press at his large rallies of ardent supporters around the country, encouraging the boisterous crowds to react. He regularly pointed to the mass of reporters, photographers, and videographers penned up in the raised press section behind the crowd, prompting people to turn around, boo, and shout things like, ‘CNN sucks,’” the report reads.

It additionally highlights journalists and news organizations he dislikes receiving threats, like when CNN was sent a package-bomb by a supporter.

And of course, Republican congressman Greg Gianforte was fined just $385 and spared jail after pleading guilty to assaulting the then-Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs in 2017.

It looks like Scott Atlas took Fauci’s criticism’s of his views on the coronavirus task force really well overnight.

Speaking of the Trump administration response to coronavirus, the president has just baselessly tweeted that Joe Biden wants to lockdown the country for years.

It has not gone without notice that while there has been good progress on some vaccines, the administration has not hit its promise of having 100 million doses of Coronavirus vaccine ready to go by the end of October.

‘We’re in for a whole lot of hurt’ – Dr Anthony Fauci predicts 100,000 Covid cases a day in winter and rising death tolls

“We’re in for a whole lot of hurt,” Dr Anthony Fauci told the Washington Post in a hard-hitting interview published on Saturday night, three days out from election day, immediately angering the Trump White House.

“It’s not a good situation. All the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into the fall and winter season, with people congregating at home indoors. You could not possibly be positioned more poorly.”

More than 9.1m cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in the US and more than 230,000 people have died. Daily case counts vary but agree that on Friday the US set a world record for cases in a single day, at between 99,000 and 100,000.

Donald Trump has been regularly claiming the US is “rounding the corner”. On Friday he made the baseless claim that doctors were rewarded financially if people died of Covid. His challenger, Joe Biden, who leads most national and battleground state polls, is staging fewer events and, unlike Trump, observing Covid protocols.

Fauci told the Post Biden was “taking it seriously from a public health perspective”. Trump, he said, was “looking at it from a different perspective … the economy and reopening the country.”

Fauci, 79 and the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, serving six presidents, is immensely popular with the public and largely seen as safe from being fired. But the Post also reported that “at one point during the interview, Fauci said he needed to be careful with his words because he would be blocked from doing appearances in the future”.

Fauci was critical of a controversial outsider brought into the coronavirus taskforce by Trump. Scott Atlas, a Stanford neuroradiologist and Fox News contributor, favours ending public health restrictions and pursuing “herd immunity”.

“I have real problems with that guy,” Fauci said. “He’s a smart guy who’s talking about things that I believe he doesn’t have any real insight or knowledge or experience in. He keeps talking about things that when you dissect it out and parse it out, it doesn’t make any sense.”

Updated

Back to the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said at the weekend that the spread of coronavirus is out of control in New Mexico, as she urged residents to stay home and avoid gathering with others.

“Please do your part to protect yourself and your fellow New Mexicans by celebrating a COVID-SAFE Halloween,” the Democratic governor’s office said in a Facebook post. “Stay home. Do not gather with others.”

State officials on Saturday reported 592 additional known virus cases and 11 additional deaths but said the case data for the day was incomplete due to a technical problem.

“Due to a technical disruption of the electronic laboratory reporting system, the following data reflects only a partial total for today’s case update,” state officials said in a statement. “The delayed results will be included in the state’s reporting as soon as they are received and confirmed.”

The additional cases and deaths reported Saturday increased the state’s totals to 46,490 cases and 1,018 deaths.

Here’s the latest nationwide figures according to the Johns Hopkins University, as of this morning. Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota and Alaska continue to be the states showing the most alarming rises in cases.

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Rachel Bitecofer, one of Project Lincoln’s senior advisers and a sometime contributor to this website, is letting her election nerves show.

Donald Trump has often referenced his ‘beautiful’ wall on the US-Mexico border, but I don’t imagine he was thinking of it being decorated like this when he said it.

Aerial view of demonstrators preparing to burn a pinata depicting US president Donald Trump.
Aerial view of demonstrators preparing to burn a pinata depicting US president Donald Trump.
Photograph: Guillermo Arias/AFP/Getty Images

Reuters report that protesters in Mexico burned effigies of Donald Trump and a border patrol agent yesterday while condemning the administration’s immigration policies and urging Americans to reject Trump at the ballot box on Tuesday.

Aerial view of a protest Playas de Tijuana, Baja California state, on the border with the US.
Aerial view of a protest Playas de Tijuana, Baja California state, on the border with the US.
Photograph: Guillermo Arias/AFP/Getty Images

A few dozen migrant activists marched to the beach fence separating Mexico from the United States at the border city of Tijuana chanting, “Trump, we won’t pay for your wall,” then set fire to a crude, besuited effigy of the president on a stick.

An effigy of Trump is burned during the protests.
An effigy of Trump is burned during the protests.
Photograph: Joebeth Terríquez/EPA

“We’re calling on people to vote against Trump and in favor of hope. Biden has promised us a humanitarian migration reform, we’ll be watching to ensure the promises are kept this time,” said Hugo Castro, a Mexican-American migrant activist.

Lauren Boebert, who has generated plenty of column inches as she runs for Congress, has been having a slow motion spat on Twitter with her Democratic opponent for Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, Diane Mitsch Bush.

Boebert yesterday boasted that she had been endorsed by South Dakota’s Gov. Kristi Noem.

Bush made a joke in a familiar online meme-format, suggesting that perhaps Boebert was confused about the geography of where she was standing for election.

Boebert has made it clear this morning that she didn’t find it particularly funny.

Which is slightly surprising, as given that Boebert is one of the Congressional candidates who have given some credence to the QAnon conspiracy theory, you’d think she’d be more in favor of internet memeology.

The Trump team has ten rallies planned in the next 48 hours. Facing what appears to be a narrow path to re-election, the president is to make stops in seven states likely to prove pivotal in deciding if he will remain in the White House for four more years, or whether he will become the first president since the senior George Bush failed in a bid for a second term in 1992.

It is his campaign’s busiest stretch, reports Steve Holland for Reuters. The Republican incumbent aims to generate enough momentum to drive an overwhelming turnout by his supporters. He will finish the two-day blitz with a late-night rally on Monday in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the same location where he finished his campaign in 2016.

Weighing down Trump is a rising number of coronavirus infections. Trump has continually played down the virus and says his opponents are using it against him. He’s even gone on the attack against the very doctors who have been trying to save the lives of the Americans who have been hospitalised with Covid.

At a rally on Saturday in Newtown, Pennsylvania, Trump seemed to lament his close race with Biden, who he considers a weak opponent.
“This could only happen to me,” Trump said. “How could we be tied?”

Some Republicans are pessimistic about Trump’s chances, believing he has too many states where his back is up against the wall, fearing the 90 million who have cast ballots early suggest a wave building against the president.

But Trump and his team believe polls undersell the Republican’s level of support, arguing many of his backers do not want to admit as much to pollsters and that, thanks to a strong Republican get-out-the-vote effort, the incumbent will win.

ABC/Washington Post poll: Florida remains toss-up, Biden leads slightly in Pennsylvania

Gary Langer at ABC News brings us more on the final few polls of election season. He says there’s been little change from September in the two critical swing states of Florida and Pennsylvania.

The pandemic versus the economy defines the presidential contest in two key battlegrounds, with Florida holding firm to its toss-up status while Joe Biden leads slightly in Pennsylvania in the season’s final ABC News/Washington Post polls.

There’s little change in either state. In Florida, Donald Trump has 50% support among likely voters to Biden’s 48%; it was 51%-47% in an ABC/Post poll Sept. 20. Trump won the state by 112,911 votes out of more than 9.4 million cast in 2016.

In Pennsylvania, the race stands at 51%-44%, Biden-Trump, a 7-point advantage for the Democrat; that compares with a 9-point margin late last month. Here, Trump’s 2016 win was even narrower: 44,292 votes out of nearly 6.2 million cast.

The president finishes his busy day with an 11pm rally in Florida today. Biden is on the campaign trail in Pennsylvania both Sunday and Monday.

Read more here: ABC News – Florida maintains toss-up status while Biden leads slightly in Pennsylvania

A slightly left field pitch for the presidency from the Joe Biden team here…

Newsweek bring us a report on events outside Attorney General William Barr’s house last night, where it seems that pro-Trump demonstrators rocked up to protest that Barr hasn’t done enough to lock up Joe Biden in the run-up to the election.

Protesters carrying Trump flags picketed Attorney General William Barr’s home on Saturday because they believe he isn’t doing enough to bring former Vice President Joe Biden to justice.

President Donald Trump has referred to Biden as a criminal and said he and his son, Hunter Biden, are part of an “organized crime family.” This is due in part to unsubstantiated allegations about the Bidens’ business dealings with foreign countries.

Social media users also shared photos of the scene, with one picture featuring a white horse. AP journalist Mike Balsamo reported that the Department of Justice had said Barr went out to speak to the picketers.

“Let me tell you something, Joe Biden is a criminal and he’s been a criminal for a long time, and you’re a criminal and the media for not reporting it,” Trump told reporters on 20 October.

Read more here: Newsweek – Protesters with Trump flags swarm William Barr’s home demanding he ‘lock up Joe Biden’

It was a grey autumn Saturday earlier this month at a Republican rally just outside Youngstown, Ohio – a once prosperous city in the heart of America’s rustbelt, embedded in a region that flipped to Donald Trump in 2016.

What started as a casual political gathering, however, descended into a full-throated confrontation that encapsulated the stark divisions that underscore this seminal election, and perhaps the state of the country as a whole.

A bashed up red Chevy pickup daubed in handmade “Dump Trump” signs pulled up slowly. And a lone protester, Chuckie Denison, a former factory worker at a local General Motors plant that closed last year, jumped out to berate the assembled crowd.

“Two-hundred-and-twenty-thousand Americans have died under Trump. And our jobs have gone.” he shouted. “And all we ask is for somebody to represent all of us.”

I’d come to Youngstown because Donald Trump had made direct promises to the people living here; to restore a failing economy and bring back manufacturing jobs after years of decay. But poverty and jobless rates continue to soar here.

In that crowd of Trump supporters were people who had worked at the same plant as Denison, and others who had lost their jobs during the pandemic. And yet they still believed Trump would bring stability to their lives.

“He’s probably paid,” said one Trump supporter – dismissing Denison, who had been accosted by a number of the flag wavers. Within minutes, Denison’s signs were ripped from his truck and he was sent away in a whirlwind of abusive language.

You can read more of Oliver Laughland’s Anywhere But Washington conclusions here: On my travels, I saw a vision of two Americas – but which one will triumph?

Ever since the 15th amendment granted Black men the right to vote, southern states have found myriad ways to walk back this basic tenet of democracy. From white primaries to poll taxes, to literacy tests and recent voter roll purges, voter suppression has always been a defining characteristic of American elections. Roopa Gogineni brings us today this incredible gallery of photography documenting voter suppression in Georgia.

Very different tenors in the opening social media salvos from each campaign this morning…

Here’s a reminder that the election system in the US is incredibly decentralised, and there’s a huge state-by-state variation in whether mail-in ballots that arrive after Election Day are counted if they are postmarked that they were sent on 3 November or before.

In some cases, a long deadline for them to arrive, like until 20 November in California or 23 November in Washington, is not that important. It’s unlikely that a late flurry of mail-in ballots is going to tip the result in those solidly Democratic states.

However, this year Iowa, North Carolina and Ohio could be interesting, as the election may be very tight there. And there’s going to be a legal question mark hanging over the count in Pennsylvania and Minnesota, where as mentioned earlier, legal action could yet disqualify mail-in ballots that arrive after Election Day.

Here’s a quick run-down of the deadlines for each state that does allow ballots to arrive after 3 November.

  • Texas (4 November)
  • Virginia (Noon on 6 November)
  • Kansas (6 November)
  • Kentucky (6 November)
  • Massachusetts (6 November)
  • Pennsylvania (6 November – subject to legal challenge)
  • Iowa (9 November)
  • North Dakota (9 November)
  • West Virginia (9 November)
  • Minnesota (10 November – subject to legal challenge)
  • Mississippi (10 November)
  • Nevada (10 November)
  • New Jersey (10 November)
  • New York (10 November)
  • North Carolina (12 November)
  • Alaska (by 13 November)
  • District of Columbia (13 November)
  • Maryland (13 November)
  • Ohio (13 November, result not announced til 28 November)
  • Illinois (17 November)
  • Utah (17 November)
  • California (20 November)
  • Washington (23 November)

As a journalist you always love it when someone gives you a cracking quote, and Amie Parnes must have been thrilled when a Democratic strategist told her that “We’re all fucking nervous as shit” about the election. But columnist Bill Nemitz writes for the Portland Press Herald this morning that he feels strangely less anxious the closer the election approaches – thanks to “the pendulum effect”.

As surely as the pendulum had swung toward what was once unthinkable – a Black family occupying the White House – it swung back. The racism that still festers across this land, coupled with the anger across blue-collar America that it had been taken for granted and left behind long enough, gave us first the tea party and then, alas, Donald Trump.

These are perilous times. We’ve had violence in the streets. We’ve had political paralysis. We have a president whose utterances grow more bizarre, more detached from reality, by the day. And yes, we have a resurgent pandemic.

Yet, as we hurtle toward this climactic moment, I’m more excited than exhausted. I believe in my gut that the pendulum is moving once again, away from the hate and animosity that have defined the past four years and toward an essential goodness that has always guided this country in theory if not always in practice.

Read it here: Portland Press Herald – Bill Nemitz: It’s almost here – a banner day for the USA

Jan Wolfe and Makini Brice at Reuters bring us this quick run-through of some of the key lawsuits fought over how to run Tuesday’s election. They highlight – some of which remain to be resolved with two days to go:

Texas drive-through voting: US District Judge Andrew Hanen in Houston on Monday will consider whether votes already cast at 10 drive-through voting sites in the Houston area should be rejected. The lawsuit was brought by conservative Steve Hotze and state Representative Steve Toth. They accused the county clerk of exceeding his constitutional authority by allowing drive-through voting as an alternative to walk-in voting during the coronavirus pandemic.

Texas ballot drop-off sites: Republican officials and Trump’s campaign have argued, without evidence, that the boxes could enable voting fraud. The state’s highest court ruled that Governor Greg Abbott could limit drop-off sites for ballots. “The plaintiffs complain that limiting early hand-deliveries of mail-in ballots to one office per county requires more travel time for some voters. But this ignores the other options for casting their ballots that these voters have,” the court wrote. The three justices who issued the decision are Republicans.

Minnesota ballot deadline extension: A federal appeals court said Minnesota’s plan to count absentee ballots received after Election Day was illegal, siding with Republicans. “However well-intentioned and appropriate from a policy perspective in the context of a pandemic during a presidential election, it is not the province of a state executive official to re-write the state’s election code,” the majority wrote. The court instructed Minnesota election officials to identify and “segregate” absentee ballots received after 3 November. Those ballots would not be counted if a final judgment is entered in the Republicans’ favor.

Wisconsin mail-in ballot count: Wisconsin election officials cannot count mail-in ballots that arrive after Election Day, a conservative majority of the supreme court ruled on 26 October. Liberal Justice Elena Kagan dissented, saying the majority’s decision would “disenfranchise large numbers of responsible voters in the midst of hazardous pandemic conditions.”

Florida restrictions on ex-felons: A court ruled in September that Florida could require felons to pay fines, restitution and legal fees they owe before they regain their right to vote. By a 6-4 vote, it reversed a lower court ruling that the measure amounted to an unconstitutional poll tax. Five of the six judges in the majority were appointed by Trump. Nearly 900,000 Floridians with felony convictions will be unable to vote in the election because of the decision

North Carolina ballot extension: The supreme court on Thursday left in place North Carolina’s extension of the deadline to receive mail-in ballots. The state election board opted to allow absentee ballots postmarked by Election Day to be counted if they arrived up to nine days later. The justices denied a request from Republican state lawmakers to put on hold the agreement.

Pennsylvania mail-in ballot extension: The Pennsylvania supreme court ruled in September that officials could accept mail-in ballots three days after the election, as long as they were postmarked by Election Day. The supreme court denied a request from Pennsylvania Republicans to review the decision on an expedited basis – but could still revisit the dispute and rule on it after the election.

Pennsylvania “naked ballots”: Republicans prevailed on one issue at Pennsylvania’s high court. Interpreting a state law, the court said officials must throw out “naked ballots” that arrive without inner “secrecy envelopes.” Democrats have warned the ruling could lead to more than 100,000 votes being thrown out.

There’s an argument that the climate crisis has not been high enough up the agenda during the US election, with the extreme weather that the country has already suffered this year. And when it does get mentioned, it is often in terms of a negative economic impact on jobs, rather than as a positive to avoid disasters.

While it isn’t heading for the US, tropical storm Eta formed in the Caribbean on Saturday evening, headed toward the coast of Nicaragua and Honduras, which it is expected to lash with heavy rain and hurricane-strength winds in the coming days. It is expected to gather to hurricane strength on Monday.

Eta is the 28th named Atlantic storm this season, tying the 2005 record for named storms – and hurricane season still has a month to go.

Authorities in Louisiana are still in the process of clearing up after hurricane Zeta, which hit this week, causing what Gov. John Bel Edwards says was “catastrophic” damage.

Crews work on restoring power in Louisiana.
Crews work on restoring power in Louisiana.
Photograph: Matthew Hinton/AP

Some background on that Trump tweet I mentioned earlier, where he had called for Facebook to reinstate a group which had 23,000 members called ‘N.J. Women for Trump’. NJ.com reported about it yesterday:

Priscilla Confrey, co-director of New Jersey Women For Trump, says Facebook did not send her any notifications about the removal or explain why the group was removed [on Saturday morning].

Facebook does affix warning labels on posts they deem problematic, and Confrey says in the last two weeks Facebook had flagged certain posts, including those related to Covid-19. When that happens, Confrey said she simply deletes those post rather than have them appear.

“People are really, really mad,” Confrey says. “When you have that many people and they’re shut down, they feel silenced.”

“It was a lot of work over the past year for a private group to just be shut down without notification,” Confrey says. “Three days before Election Day? That is absolutely appalling. I just think these companies, these social media groups, have too much power. They offer to you to open up a group on their social media platform, and you could have 30,000 members, and they shut it down without telling you anything.”

Trump tweeted out the NJ.com story overnight, demanding that Facebook restore the group.

Our Guardian America editor John Mullholland writes for us this morning, saying that as welcome as it might be in some quarters, a win for Joe Biden would only scratch the surface of America’s afflictions

Getting rid of Trump might be one thing, fixing America is another. If the president loses, there will be much talk of a new normality and the need for a democratic reset. Hopes will be voiced for a return to constitutional norms. There will be calls for a return of civility in public discourse and a healing of the partisan divide that scars America. All of that is as it should be. But it ought to come with a recognition that America was broken long before it elected Trump and his departure would be no guarantee that the country will be mended. Many of the systemic issues that afflict the US predate Trump.

His ugly and dysfunctional presidency has distracted from many of the fundamentals that have beset America for decades, even centuries. But they remain stubbornly in place. If he does lose, America will no longer have Trump to blame. Two two-term Democratic presidents over the past 30 years have not significantly affected the structural issues that corrode US democracy and society, and race is always at their heart. The past few months have drawn further attention to the systemic racism and brutality that characterise much policing. But racism in the States is not confined to the police. In fact, it is not confined at all.

Read more here: John Mulholland – A win for Joe Biden would only scratch the surface of America’s afflictions

Biden leads latest polls in Wisconsin, Arizona, Pennsylvania & Florida

New polling numbers out today, and it is mostly a good outlook for the Biden campaign – to the extent that we are going to believe the polls, anyway.

Wisconsin appears out of reach for Trump and likely to return to the Democratic side of the ledger. Arizona and Pennsylvania each give Biden a solid but not solidified six-point lead. And Florida is, well, Florida. Leaning to Biden by three points, the Sunshine state is once again headed to a photo finish

That’s Don Levy, Director of the Siena College Research Institute, who have published the numbers in conjunction with the New York Times this morning.

Biden leads by 11 points in Wisconsin, six in Arizona and Pennsylvania, and by three points in Florida. Those were all Trump victories in 2016. The NYT/Siena College poll makes it as:

  • Arizona: Biden 49% – Trump 43%
  • Florida: Biden 47% – Trump 44%
  • Pennsylvania: Biden 49% – Trump 43%
  • Wisconsin: Biden 52% – Trump 41%

Here’s a bit more on that incident with the Democratic party campaign bus incident in Texas. The Washington Post reports:

Biden’s campaign said in a statement that cars with Trump signs and flags surrounded its bus on the way from San Antonio to Austin. The bus was on Interstate 35, it said, when cars pulled in front of the bus and slowed, attempting to “stop the bus in the middle of the highway.” Campaign staff called 911, according to the statement, getting help from law enforcement to reach their destination. Video captures a white SUV and a truck colliding behind the Biden bus.

Donald Trump then appeared to add encouragement to this behavior. He tweeted a video of flag-bearing cars surrounding a Biden campaign bus on the road, with the message “I LOVE TEXAS!”.

Texas should be a resoundingly safe win for the Republicans, although Democrats seem to think that polling shows it may be in play, and Mike Bloomberg has pumped cash into an ad campaign in support of Joe Biden in the state. The number of early voters there has already exceeded 2016’s turn-out.

The cancelled event was due to be held in the parking lot of the Texas American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations building.

Tariq Thowfeek, the Biden campaign’s comms director in Texas, said:

Rather than engage in productive conversation about the drastically different visions that Joe Biden and Donald Trump have for our country, Trump supporters in Texas today instead decided to put our staff, surrogates, supporters, and others in harm’s way.

Here’s a bit more on where we can expect to see the candidates out and about on the last couple of days.

Today Donald Trump is visiting:

  • Washington, Michigan
  • Dubuque, Iowa
  • Hickory, North Carolina
  • Rome, Georgia
  • Miami, Florida

He’s then got a similarly busy schedule for Monday, where the president is planning to swing by:

  • Fayetteville, North Carolina
  • Scranton, Pennsylvania
  • Traverse City, Michigan
  • Kenosha, Wisconsin
  • Grand Rapids, Michigan

Mike Pence and Trump family members are also expected to be out and about campaigning in Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, New Hampshire and Ohio, over the next two days.

The Joe Biden campaign is at a slightly more staid pace. Today the Democratic nominee is visiting Philadelphia. His campaign have said he is expected to “discuss bringing Americans together and to address the crises facing the country”. Parts of Philadelphia were under curfew earlier in the week as the city saw protests over the police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr as he had a mental health crisis.

Biden will also campaign in Pennsylvania tomorrow.

Hi, and welcome to Sunday’s coverage of the US election – two days before election day arrives at last. Donald Trump will be in Michigan, Iowa, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida – his last rally doesn’t start until 11pm. Joe Biden targets one place: Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. Here’s a catch-up on where we are…

Updated

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