The United States presidential election is in 14 days.
Here is a summary of the top 5 political issues making headlines today.
1. Analysts see a sweep for Democrats more and more likely
Two weeks away from the U.S. elections, many analysts and pollsters are sensing a clean sweep for the Democrats with Joe Biden defeating Donald Trump for the presidency, the party holding onto the House and taking control of the Senate.
Thirty-five seats, 23 of them currently held by Republicans, are up for grabs in the Senate. Republicans now hold a 53-seat majority in the body. Of those 35, at least 10 of the Senate seats are in play, but analysis from The Economist to the Cook Political Report to Nate Silver’s highly respected FiveThirtyEight predict overall victory for the Democrats.
They can also continue to count on the two independents, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine, to caucus with them and most often vote on their side in the Senate. Neither one is facing the voters this time.
The Economist forecast has the Democrats with 74% chance of winning at least 51 Senate seats. The Cook Political Report said the Democrats could pick up as many as seven Senate seats. FiveThirtyEight gives the Democrats a 73% chance of taking control of the Senate.
If Biden wins the presidency and the Senate ends up with 50 Republicans, 48 Democrats and two independents, Kamala Harris, who would be Biden’s vice president, would cast a tie-breaking vote regarding any legislation.
a. This Is the Future That Liberals Want – The Atlantic
b. McConnell to keep grip on GOP even if Republicans lose Senate – The Atlantic
2. Three Senate races worth watching
Of the U.S. Senate races expected to be close on November 3, the contests in South Carolina, Tennessee and Montana are among those observers are paying particular attention to.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who is seeking a fourth term, is facing a surprisingly strong challenge in South Carolina, a state that U.S. President Donald Trump won in 2016 by 14 percentage points.
Polls show Jaime Harrison, a former lobbyist and the first African-American to head South Carolina’s Democratic Party, practically tied with Graham as the race heads into its final days.
No Democrat has won a U.S. Senate election in Tennessee since incumbent Al Gore Jr. beat his Republican opponent, William Hawkins, in 1990.
This time around, Democrat Marquita Bradshaw, an African-American environmentalist, is facing Republican Bill Hagerty, a former U.S. ambassador to Japan, in the race to fill the seat of the retiring Lamar Alexander.
In Montana, the battle between Democratic Governor Steve Bullock and incumbent Republican Senator Steve Daines pits two popular politicians against each other in a race that could determine which party controls the Senate.
a. We think control of the Senate is too close to call. – Politico
3. Biden criticizes Trump for lashing out at public health experts
Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden stayed home in Delaware on Monday but said in a statement that U.S. President Donald Trump was lashing out at public health experts “instead of laying out a plan to beat this virus.”
His comments about the coronavirus, which has claimed at least 219,000 lives in the United States, came after another attack by the U.S. president on Dr. Anthony Fauci, America’s top infectious-disease official.
Biden leads by 11 percentage points nationally, 54 percent to 43 percent, according to an average of national polls since October 4, The Washington Post reported.
The newspaper also reported that Biden’s campaign has built a multimillion-dollar operation designed to combat Trump campaign and other misinformation online while “bracing for any information warfare that could take place in the aftermath of the election.”
Trump held rallies in Arizona, a state he carried four years ago, Monday, as he maintains a full schedule ahead of his final debate with Biden on Thursday.
a. Team Biden’s new strategy: Run out the clock – The Hill
b. Trump’s come-from-behind strategy: Go everywhere, fast – Politico
4. Trump takes aim at Fauci again
Once again, U.S. President Donald Trump has dissed the highly respected Dr. Anthony Fauci, America’s top infectious disease specialist, with whom he has been feuding over the country’s covid-19 response.
Saying Fauci was a “disaster,” who has been around for “500 years” in a call with campaign workers made from Las Vegas, Trump suggested the only reason he has not fired the popular doctor was because of the public blowback he would have received.
“Fauci is a disaster. If I listened to him, we’d have 500,000 deaths,” Trump said on the call, which reporters were allowed to listen to.
“People are saying whatever. Just leave us alone. They’re tired of it. People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots,” Trump said.
Trump’s handling of the health crisis has weakened his bid for re-election on November 3.
Fauci has been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984 and is a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
a. Coronavirus update: Global cases top 40 million; White House task force reported to be hive of infighting over new adviser – Market Watch
b. Trump Still Feuding With Dr. Fauci, Lashes Out At Pandemic Expert In Dispute Over Campaign Ad – International Business Times
5. Trump campaign wants foreign policy the debate focus
U.S. President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign has protested in a letter the topics of the final presidential debate to be held on Thursday in Nashville, Tennessee, at Belmont University.
The letter, signed by Trump’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien, and addressed to the Commission on Presidential Debates, claims that final debate focus is supposed to be on foreign policy and that an agreement on the issue between Trump’s campaign and that of Democrat Joe Biden had been reached months ago.
The commission announced on Friday that the coronavirus pandemic, race and national security, leadership and American families would be the topics of the final debate between the two candidates.
“It is completely irresponsible for the Commission to alter the focus of this final debate just days before the event, solely to insulate Biden from his own history,” Stepien’s letter said.
a. Presidential Debates in History – Bill of Rights Institute
b. 6 takeaways from the off-the-rails first debate between Biden and Trump – CNN