The United States presidential election is in 3 days.
Here is a summary of the top 5 political issues making headlines today.
1. Trump in Pennsylvania, Biden with Obama in Michigan
U.S. President Donald Trump made Pennsylvania and its 20 electoral votes the focus of his final Saturday campaigning before the November 3 elections while Democratic nominee Joe Biden made his first joint appearances of the campaign with former President Barack Obama in the Michigan cities of Detroit and Flint. Michigan has 16 electoral votes.
Both states are still seen as possible wins for either side in the battle to gain the needed 270 electoral votes to win the presidency. In each U.S. state, except for Maine and Nebraska, the winner of the popular vote gets all the electoral votes, which are apportioned by its total number of representatives in the House and Senate.
Biden leads Trump in Pennsylvania by 3.6 percentage points, according to a RealClearPolitics average of recent polls. In Michigan, Biden is up by 8.7 percentage points, according to RealClearPolitics,
“There just hasn’t been any real sign that the race is tightening. If anything, Joe Biden’s margins are expanding slightly in the Upper Midwest. And there isn’t any particular reason to expect the race to tighten when more than 90 million people have already voted and the most important news story — that the United States just set a record for the number of covid-19 cases in a day — is a negative one for Trump,” Nate Silver wrote on October 31 on his FiveThirtyEight website.
Trump predicted on Saturday that the presidential election would not be decided on Tuesday, saying: “November 3 is going to come and go, and we’re not going to know. And you’re going to have bedlam in our country.”
Both sides are expected to mount court challenges in any state with close results.
a. 2020 Election Live Updates: Obama Joins Biden as Campaigns Trade Attacks in Final Push – The New York Times
2. Trump makes last-minute appeal to African-American voters
U.S. President Donald Trump found a publisher or two for a last-minute opinion piece appeal to African Americans in his campaign to be reelected on November 3.
Considering that Trump lost the Black American vote by 85 points to Hillary Clinton in 2016 and his administration’s limited response to the concerns of Black Lives Matter protests that roiled parts of the United States this year, his appeal might seem way too little, way too late.
“The unemployment and poverty rates for Black Americans hit record lows just before we were attacked by the China Virus,” Trump wrote in the column published on the Dallas Weekly website on Friday.
Other websites have posted the president’s appeal as well.
“Wages are now growing faster than they have in over a decade, especially for blue-collar workers,” Trump wrote.
According to the latest Fox News poll, 80% of African Americans support Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden over Trump.
“We’ve unveiled my second-term agenda called the ‘Platinum Plan‘ for Black Economic Empowerment, to ensure even more Black Americans have the opportunity to succeed over the next four years,” the U.S. president wrote.
“I’ve committed to adding 3 million new jobs for the Black community, creating 500,000 new Black-owned businesses and increasing access to capital in Black communities by almost $500 Billion to create an era of new prosperity and to finally close the wealth gap.”
Critics say Trump’s policies, including his handling of the covid-19 pandemic, have been especially detrimental to African Americans.
They envision a large vote across the country for Biden.
a. Does Biden have a problem with African American voters? – Washington Post
b. Black People Reveal If They’re Voting For Donald Trump On ‘Jimmy Kimmel’ – HuffPost News
3. Trump rally goers were at risk, one study finds
Attending a Donald Trump campaign rally did come with a health risk in the time of covid-19.
According to a study by Stanford University economists, the U.S. president’s rallies between June and September may have caused as many as 30,000 coronavirus infections and more than 700 deaths.
The study released Friday looked at the spread of the virus after each Trump rally during the time period to parts of the country that didn’t host rallies then.
“The communities in which Trump rallies took place paid a high price in terms of disease and death,” the study’s authors wrote.
Trump, who was treated for covid-19 in early October and has waffled on the wearing of face masks to prevent the spread of the virus, has defended his often large, tightly packed crowds in states experiencing outbreaks.
Joe Biden’s campaign jumped on the Stanford study’s findings on Saturday.
Trump is “even costing hundreds of lives and sparking thousands of cases with super-spreader rallies that only serve his own ego,” Biden spokesman Andrew Bates said.
Trump campaign spokesperson Courtney Parella said attendees at the rallies have their temperature checked and are given masks that they are instructed to wear.
“Americans have the right to gather under the First Amendment to hear from the president of the United States, and we take strong precautions for our campaign events,” Parella said.
Some experts have cautioned against drawing sweeping conclusions from the Stanford study. This late in the U.S. presidential race it is unlikely to have an impact on the vote.
4. Four more U.S. states could legalize marijuana use
While voters across the United States will be voting on their next president, members of the U.S. House of Representatives and, in some cases, U.S. senators, those in four states will also decide on November 3 whether smoking a joint should be legal.
Eleven states and Washington, D.C., have already legalized marijuana use for adults.
Polls show that the pot initiatives have support in Arizona, Montana and New Jersey.
“It’s really showing the kind of breadth of acceptance that we’re seeing around the country with respect to cannabis,” Steven Hawkins, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, told CNN.
Should voters approve the measures state legislatures normally would need to set up regulatory structures in each state.
a. Marijuana Legalization: Should Cannabis Be Legalized? – WeedWeek
b. The case against legalization and decriminalization of marijuana – Washington Examiner
5. Democrats vying for not one, but two Senate seats in Georgia
U.S. President Donald Trump is not the only Republican in office at risk of losing in the usually red state of Georgia. The state’s two U.S. senators are also in tough battles in the November 3 elections.
First-term Senator David Perdue pulled out of a debate scheduled for Sunday against 33-year-old Democrat Jon Ossoff, hoping to campaign with the president when he visits the state will help lead him to victory in a race the polls have as even going into the final weekend of campaigning.
The contest has at times echoed the battle between Trump and his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden.
“Perhaps Senator Perdue would have been able to respond properly to the covid-19 pandemic if you hadn’t been fending off multiple federal investigations for insider trading,” said Ossoff, regarding probes into Perdue’s stock trades, during a debate on Wednesday night. Perdue has been cleared of any wrongdoing, The Washington Post reported.
Perdue said of Ossoff, a former media executive, that he had worked for “the mouthpiece of terrorism and Communist China,” claims Ossoff called “ridiculous.”
The other Senate race in Georgia involves appointed Senator Kelly Loeffler against Democrat Raphael Warnock, a 51-year-old pastor, and conservative Republican Representative Doug Collins, who is running to Loeffler’s right.
The top two finishers could battle it out again in a January runoff.
Loeffler had no prior political experience at any level before Governor Brian Kemp tapped her for the position in January when incumbent Johnny Isakson stepped down due to health reasons.
Warnock has a comfortable lead in the latest polls.
Ossoff told CNN that “the whole world is watching Georgia.”
“This is the top battleground state in the country,” he said.