The United States presidential election is in 4 days.
Here is a summary of the top 5 political issues making headlines today.
1. Biden, Trump in Wisconsin vying for electoral votes
Wisconsin has only 10 electoral votes of the 270 a candidate needs to be elected U.S. president.
But both current Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden campaigned in the state on Friday, emphasizing how close the race might be in the Electoral College, a system in which the winner of the popular vote in each state, other than Maine and Nebraska, wins all its electoral votes.
Trump’s visit, just a few days before the November 3 election, came as the daily number of COVID-19 cases in the United States had reached a record high nationally.
The U.S. president said of the polls that show him trailing Biden in Wisconsin: “It’s called suppression polls. You know what it does? It suppresses the vote.”
Trump is expected to campaign again in the state on Monday, the day before the election.
Before heading to Wisconsin Friday night, Biden took aim at Trump’s handling of the virus, at a drive-in rally at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.
Biden mentioned that the Iowa State Fair had been canceled this year for the first time since World War II and charged that “Trump has given up” on winning the battle against the novel coronavirus, which has killed more than 228,000 Americans.
Biden pledged to enact a plan to halt the spread of the virus and told supporters: “Unlike Donald Trump, we will not surrender to the virus.”
“We’ve now hit 9 million cases nationwide, a tragic milestone,” Biden said. “And millions of people are out of work, on the edge, and they can’t see the light. It just looks dark right now for them.”
b. Op-Ed: Why Farmers Should Elect Biden – Ag Web
2. ‘War room’ aimed at protecting integrity of U.S. elections
A geopolitical power game on the world map?
No, a very costly worry about safeguarding the integrity of the U.S. elections on November 3.
According to The Washington Post, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity division will launch a 24/7 virtual war room on Election Day to which election officials across the nation “can dial in at any time to share notes about suspicious activity and work together to respond.”
“I anticipate possibly thousands of local election officials coming in to share information in real time, to coordinate, to track down what’s real and what’s not, separate fact from fiction on the ground,” Matt Masterson, an agency cybersecurity adviser, told The Post. “We’ll be able to sort through what’s happening and identify: Is this a typical election event or is this something larger?”
The newspaper reports “that the operation will run for days or weeks until winners are clear in most races — and potentially until the election is formally certified in December.
“We’ll remain stood up until the [election] community tells us, ‘Okay, we’re good, you can stand down,’ ” Masterson said.
a. How We’ll Know the Election Wasn’t Rigged – Wired
3. Expect tougher immigration policies in a second Trump term
Expect efforts to expand a controversial travel ban if U.S. President Donald Trump is reelected.
Miller, a close Trump aide who has been accused of advocating white nationalism, told NBC News in a phone interview this week that one priority would be “building on and expanding the framework that we’ve created with the travel ban, in terms of raising the standard for screening and vetting for admission to the United States.”
Miller said the enhanced screening methods would include vetting the “ideological sympathies or leanings” of those applying for visas.
“That’s going to be a major priority,” Miller said. “It’s going to require a whole government effort. It’s going to require building a very elaborate and very complex screening mechanism.”
Critics have called Miller’s policies racist, and he has been tied to the U.S.-Mexican border controversy in which thousands of children were taken away from their parents to deter would-be migrants.
Three years later, more than 500 children are still yet to be reunited with their parents.
Journalist Jean Guerrero, the author of the Miller biography “Hatemonger,” told the UK’s the Guardian: “There’s a number of things they have been cautious about because of the legal and political risks in the first term and I think that in a second term you would see Stephen Miller get much freer rein when it comes to his wishlist of items.”
a. Why a Second Trump Term Would Be Even Worse for Immigrants – Mother Jones
b. Why Trump’s Immigration Policies Will Be So Hard to Undo – Rolling Stone
4. Vote counting to continue past elections in some states
When it comes to counting the ballots in the upcoming U.S. elections a flurry of last-minute court filings and decisions means the tally might be still going in one swing state while it has stopped in others.
In North Carolina, ballots can arrive up to nine days after Election Day on November 3 and be counted. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has of late consistently maintained a slight lead over Republican President Donald Trump in a state in which Barack Obama’s 2008 victory was the only time a Democratic presidential candidate has won in the last 44 years.
Both Biden and Trump have made multiple appearances in Pennsylvania in recent weeks in effort to win the states’s 20 electoral votes. The U.S. Supreme Court has let stand a ruling that ballots can arrive up to three days late and be counted in Pennsylvania.
Biden has maintained a solid 5-7 point lead in the polls, but FiveThirtyEight, which focuses on opinion polls in a non-political way, said on October 29: “We’re watching Pennsylvania especially closely, as any movement here matters a lot in our forecast, as it’s the state currently most likely to decide the Electoral College. And the margin as it currently stands leaves room for Trump to win on Nov. 3 — or after, as it might take a bit to get the final result there.”
A federal district court in Wisconsin had allowed ballots to be received up to six days after the election, but a federal appeals court blocked the order. The Supreme Court upheld that block in a 5-3 ruling on Monday. So a late ballot won’t be counted in Wisconsin.
An ABC/Washington Post poll released earlier this week has Biden leading by a surprisingly large margin of 17 points in a state Trump won by 22,748 votes over Hillary Clinton in 2016.
a. Counting votes on Election Day has always been complex—and it may be more so in 2020 – National Geographic
5. NBA legend calls for a leader to bring people together
Shaquille O’Neal is no longer intimidating opponents on the basketball court. But the 15-time National Basketball Association All-Star, who had previously admitted that he was casting his first-ever vote in this year’s elections, told CNBC that the next U.S. president must bring people together.
“You would never think in 2020 we would be as divided as we are… But whatever is broke, we just have to fix it,” said O’Neal, who did not disclose whom he voted for.
The basketball legend, who now works as a basketball TV analyst and runs a foundation supporting underserved youth, said: “I always wanted to be a guy that just makes people smile, because whenever I see people, it doesn’t matter your race, creed, religion, this is what I do. It’s what life is all about… I smile and I say, ‘Peace my brother, or Peace mam…’ It’s all about peace.”
O’Neal also told NBC that in wake of the civil unrest in the United States over police brutality issues during the past few months: “We probably need police reform, we need prison reform. A lot of attitudes need to change.”