The United States presidential election is in 11 days.
Here is a summary of the top 5 political issues making headlines today.
1. Trump rails at CBS, releases ‘60 Minutes’ tape
Hours before his final debate with Joe Biden, U.S. President Donald Trump released a White House video of a “60 Minutes” interview, which is supposed to air Sunday. In releasing a tape of a contentious interview with correspondent Lesley Stahl, Trump tweeted: “Look at the bias, hatred and rudeness on behalf of 60 Minutes and CBS.”
When Stahl lamented the tone of the interview, which included questions on the covid-19 pandemic, the economy, Biden and Trump’s relationship with top U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci, the president said: “You brought up a lot of subjects that were inappropriately brought up.”
Stahl replied that she brought up “tough questions.”
Trump later told Stahl, “You’re discrediting yourself, Lesley.”
“No,” she said, “you are.”
In a statement, CBS News said Trump and the White House made an “unprecedented decision” to disregard an agreement with the network and release footage of the interview. Still, that “will not deter 60 Minutes from providing its full, fair and contexted reporting which presidents have participated in for decades.”
The program is scheduled to air taped interviews with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, as well as with Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris.
a. 60 Minutes calls Trump’s decision to release early footage of Lesley Stahl interview ‘unprecedented’ – Entertainment Weekly
2. ‘Surreal’ scene as Barrett nomination moves forward
Texas U.S. Senator John Cornyn called it “surreal” as he and his 11 fellow Republican Judiciary Committee members voted to approve the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett Thursday to the Supreme Court, while the 10 Democrats on the committee boycotted the proceedings.
Instead, they held a press conference and placed photos of people they said were beneficiaries of the Obama-era Affordable Care Act on their chairs in the committee meeting room.
They view the conservative Barrett, 48, as a potential vote to overturn the landmark health-care legislation and a judicial roadblock to their causes for possibly decades to come.
“This has been a sham process from the beginning,” said the Senate Democrats in a statement. “Amidst a global pandemic and ongoing election, Republicans are rushing to confirm a Supreme Court Justice to take away health care from millions and execute the extreme and deeply unpopular agenda that they’ve been unable to get through Congress.”
The full Senate, with Republicans holding a 53-47 majority, is likely to vote to confirm Barrett for the court on Monday, giving it a 6-3 conservative tilt.
The court is expected to hear arguments in a case regarding the Affordable Care Act a week after the November 3 U.S. elections.
a. How Would Amy Coney Barrett Rule as a Supreme Court Justice? – The New Yorker
b. How A Conservative 6-3 Majority Would Reshape The Supreme Court – FiveThirtyEight
c. Another Republican distances himself from Trump – Daily Mail
3. Biden’s lead up in Michigan, Pennsylvania but tightening in Iowa
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has been posting double-digit leads in some polls in recent days in Michigan and Pennsylvania, key swing states that both U.S. President Donald Trump and Biden are fighting hard to win as the race heads into the home stretch.
A Politico review of the polls covering 13 battleground states, including Michigan and Pennsylvania, “details Biden’s advantage in the Midwest and his drive to break new ground in the Sun Belt.”
Calling Florida, the “quintessential swing state,” Politico’s reports said it was leaning slightly toward Biden before Thursday night’s presidential debate in Nashville, Tennessee.
“There are reasons to be skeptical of any poll that shows either candidate winning this state in a runaway,” Politico says.
Of the 13 states, Trump leads slightly in polls in Texas and Ohio, with a combined 56 electoral votes, and trails in the rest.
But Politico’s survey of the latest polls has Biden leading by only about one percentage point in both Iowa and Georgia.
For those who think the race is over, Politico cautions:
“A Trump rebound — or another polling miss in the Rust Belt — could blaze a trail for Trump to repeat his victory four years ago, especially as surveys show close contests across the Sun Belt, including all-important Florida.”
b. What’s the State of the Presidential Race Two Weeks Out? – The New Yorker
4. Could law-and-order message win for Trump in Minnesota?
Minnesota has voted Democratic in presidential races for more than 45 years, and polls have it going that way again on November 3.
But U.S. President Donald Trump has long said the state could be a win for him this year.
Videos captured Derek Chauvin, a white police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for several minutes after he was handcuffed and lying face down in late May.
Despite the police actions and the national Black Lives Matter movement to end police use of excessive force on African Americans, Max Rymer who owns a business in Minneapolis and is committeeman for the Republican National Committee, told Fox News:
“Trump’s law and order message will appeal to voters who want strong police departments come Nov. 3.”
b. How the BLM Movement Can Affect the General Election – Spectrum News 1
5. 47 million votes already cast in U.S. presidential election
More than 47 million votes have already been cast in the November 3 U.S. presidential election, already eclipsing total early voting from the 2016 race, according to data compiled by the U.S. Elections Project.
Reuters reports that the increase in early voting “comes after many states have expanded mail-in voting and in-person early voting as a safe way to vote during the coronavirus pandemic and amid voter eagerness to weigh in on the political future of Republican President Donald Trump, who is facing a stiff challenge from Democrat Joe Biden.”
Michael McDonald, a University of Florida professor who administers the U.S. Elections Project, predicts a record turnout of about 150 million, representing 65% of eligible voters, the highest rate since 1908.
Democrats have about doubled the number of returned mail-in ballots by Republicans in states that report voter registration data by party, according to the Elections Project.
Trump has frequently blasted a vote-by-mail system as being inherently corrupt.
“GET RID OF BALLOT HARVESTING, IT IS RAMPANT WITH FRAUD,” he tweeted in April.
b. Early Voting: What Works – Brennan Center for Justice