Headlines: October 28, 2020
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Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump by a wide margin in a new poll of the battleground state of Wisconsin. The Washington Post/ABC poll also found Biden leading in Michigan but more narrowly. According to the Post, “Strong support among women powers Biden’s advantages in both states.” Trump is apparently failing to capture enough white voters to keep him in the White House. According to one analysis of the poll, “The Trumpian appeals that were supposed to work on Whites are failing, whether it’s his fanning of ‘populist’ rage against social distancing or his incitement of racial conflict.” A new Morning Consult poll released the same day as the Post/ABC poll found that 45% of voters blame Republicans and Trump for the stalled Congressional negotiations over economic Covid-related relief. About 40% blamed Democrats. Meanwhile Mr. Biden, who has outraised Trump’s campaign funding in the last weeks of the race, is blitzing voters with TV ads at a rate far higher than the incumbent.
The pace of early voting continues to break records in the U.S. with more than 70 million people having cast ballots 6 days before the election. That figure is equivalent to about 51% of all ballots cast in the 2016 election. About 40% of early voters this year have cast ballots in battleground states where residents have disproportionate power to select the President. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s Monday ruling that disqualifies Michigan’s mailed-in ballots if they arrive after 8 pm on election night, election officials in that state are now urging voters to send them in immediately in order to be counted. Voters are also being advised to simply drop off absentee ballots to an official drop-box instead of mailing them in. The state Supreme Court in Texas has just ruled in favor of Gov. Greg Abbott’s blatantly suppressive tactic of limiting ballot drop box locations to only one per county. Meanwhile the Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies released results of a poll showing widespread fears of election violence in the U.S. Specifically 44% of voters worry that there will be violence if the results are contested.
Michigan’s State Secretary had enacted a ban on displaying weapons within 100 feet of polling places on Election Day in light of such fears and after a kidnapping plot aimed at Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was foiled – but a judge has just overturned her rule. Whitmer just published a piece in The Atlantic saying, “Every time the president ramps up his violent rhetoric, every time he fires up Twitter to launch another broadside against me, my family and I see a surge of vicious attacks sent our way.” The Washington Post corroborated this trend in an entirely separate case of how a CIA Analyst targeted by Trump has received death threats. According to the Post, the CIA’s Security Protective Service found that, “Over time, a pattern emerged: Violent messages surged each time the analyst was targeted in tweets or public remarks by the president.”
Trump has been holding back-to-back rallies across the nation in a desperate bid to remain in power but at his latest event in Omaha, Nebraska, hundreds of his supporters were left shivering in the freezing cold after buses did not arrive to pick them up. The Trump campaign had apparently arranged for buses but for various reasons the transportation did not transpire and 30 people, including elderly Americans, ended up needing medical treatment. The President had long since disappeared on Air Force One.
In the final week before the election, former President Barack Obama who Trump has relentlessly demonized for four years, has been stumping hard for Joe Biden. At an outdoor speech in Orlando, the Democratic leader slammed Trump. The White House Science office just published a list of Trump’s accomplishments and in the list was the claim that the President was responsible for, “ending the COVID-19” pandemic. According to a White House press release Trump, “has taken decisive actions to engage scientists and health professionals in academia, industry, and government to understand, treat, and defeat the disease.” The laughable lie flies in the face of reality as Covid cases continue to surge to record-breaking levels around the U.S. Even Wall Street has noticed, with stocks sinking this week in anticipation of more lockdowns.
The White House failed to even test and trace its own outbreak after a Rose Garden ceremony celebrating Judge Amy Coney Barrett turned out to be a super-spreader event. And, a senior Trump administration official just tested positive for the virus after returning from travel to Europe. Meanwhile mask wearing among Trump supporters remains spotty as they take their cues from a President who has mocked those wearing protective face coverings. One analysis of counties in Tennessee where there are uneven mask mandates found a strong correlation between sharply rising Covid-19 cases and counties where it is not mandatory to wear a mask. In counties where mask wearing is required, the number of infections has remained flat. And, in Chicago, a security guard at a shoe store was viciously attacked by two sisters who repeatedly stabbed him after he asked them to wear masks. The two young women stabbed him 27 times sending him to the hospital. They now face first degree murder charges.
The videotaped police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr. in Philadelphia has provoked mass protests for several days now. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, has called in the National Guard to help quell protests. The victim’s father, Walter Sr. appealed for calm. The family’s lawyer said that the 9-11 call that was made over Wallace Jr.’s mental health crisis was a call for an ambulance. Instead they got police who shot and killed the young Black man as he waved a knife in the air. A solidarity protest in Brooklyn, New York resulted in 30 arrests. Meanwhile a woman who was shot by police along with her boyfriend in the Chicago-area says that officers simply allowed her 19-year old partner to die. Tafara Williams, who remains hospitalized, spoke with reporters about the incident where her boyfriend Marcellis Stinnette was killed. She said she begged police to allow him to be taken to a hospital.
And finally, the CEOs of the top tech companies have returned to Washington DC for Congressional hearings about the influence of their corporations on American democracy. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in particular faced accusations from Republican lawmakers over what they claim is anti-conservative bias – even though Twitter has actually enabled conservatives to flout its standards repeatedly without consequence. The President is a case in point. This is Republican Senator Ted Cruz.