The United States presidential election is in 10 days.
Here is a summary of the top 5 political issues making headlines today.
1. Biden vows to work on coronavirus bill during transition
Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden said Friday that if elected, he would start reaching out to state and local leaders during the transition to the White House to draft a coronavirus relief bill that he could sign by the end of January.
“As many as 210,000 avoidable deaths, but there’s not much you would do differently?” Biden had asked U.S. President Donald Trump during Thursday night’s debate in Nashville, Tennessee. “If this is a success, what’s a failure look like?”
During a rally in The Villages in Florida on Friday, Trump continued to paint an optimistic picture about his administration’s handling of the pandemic at a time when a new surge in cases has led to the highest one day total of infections with at least 82,600 on Friday.
“We’re going to quickly end this pandemic, this horrible plague that came in from China,” Trump said. “Normal life will fully resume. We had the greatest economy in our history and next year will be the greatest economic year in the history of our country.”
Nate Silver’s well-respected FiveThirtyEight has Biden with an almost 10 percentage point lead in national polling averages heading into the last weekend in October.
a. https://www.politico.com/news/2020/10/20/bloomberg-trump-florida-spending-430236 – Bloomberg knocks Trump back on his heels in Florida
b. https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/usappblog/2020/10/21/with-less-than-two-weeks-to-go-the-2020-election-is-joe-bidens-to-lose/ – With less than two weeks to go, the 2020 election is Joe Biden’s to lose.
2. Thousands of volunteers monitoring voting for fraud
U.S. President Donald |Trump has frequently attacked the integrity of America’s voting system and ballot counting over the last few months. “Those attacks — along with sudden shifts in state voting rules to deal with the coronavirus pandemic — have ignited a partisan ground war in swing states over the election process,” Reuters reported.
The news agency highlighted that the strains are acute in the battleground state of Pennsylvania whose 20 Electoral College votes could be key to victory for both Trump and his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden.
Both sides plan to deploy hundreds of volunteers to monitor ballot drop boxes, precincts and mobile voting centers across the state for possible fraud.
Charles Wells, a retired Florida Supreme Court justice who presided over the George W. Bush-Al Gore recount case in 2000, wrote in an email in September seen by Reuters: “A fundamental lesson I learned is that the law in respect to ‘contested’ elections is very confusing, outdated and fragile.”
Barring a landslide, some analysts say Americans best brace themselves for such possibilities, unlikely though it may seem now.
a. https://prospect.org/justice/will-the-supreme-court-decide-the-election/ – Will the Supreme Court Decide the Election?
b. https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/09/trump-plan-supreme-court-stop-election-vote-count.html – I’ve Never Been More Worried About American Democracy Than I Am Right Now
3. Viewers split on who won but agree 2nd debate was better
U.S. political analysts seemed to agree overall that U.S. President Donald Trump was much more effective in Thursday’s night debate in Nashville, Tennessee, against his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, than he was in the first debate on September 29 in Cleveland. They were mixed on who made the best arguments but tended to give the edge to Biden.
CNN, Fox News and other news organizations asked viewers their thoughts on Thursday’s final debate between the two presidential candidates.
Here’s what a few of them said:
“I know what Trump is going to do. As for Biden, he is all over the place on what he is going to do, he says one thing then denies he said it… I can’t vote for anyone that tells the American people that we don’t deserve to know what he is doing with the courts. Trump isn’t perfect but he does get things done and he will get my vote.”
Michael, Columbus, Ohio
“I thought Trump was an EMBARRASSMENT when he said that only those with the ‘lowest IQ’s’ show up back to court when seeking asylum. How absolutely disgusting and ignorant to say of people who fought for better lives for themselves and their families. Trump was disrespectful, outright lied multiple times, and just a nightmare to watch. I screamed at my phone. Cried once.”
Abigail DiMatteo, Stamford, Connecticut
“I think Trump was more effective, Biden was articulate but came across as weak.”
Pedro Buenas, Miami, Florida
“Trump won. He needed to stay calm and presidential. He accomplished both goals!”
4. In Maine, Senator Collins in the fight of her political life
With a 24-year tenure in the U.S. Senate on the line, Republican Susan Collins is in the fight of her political life against Sara Gideon, the speaker of the Maine House of Representatives with multicultural star power.
Polls over the last month have shown Gideon, whose father is a pediatrician from India and mother a second-generation Armenian-American, with a consistent, but not insurmountable lead. She has made affordable medications and healthcare her primary issues. She had sponsored legislation to expand access to abortion in the state legislature.
Collins had long enjoyed high approval ratings from her constituents for her strong bipartisan record in the Senate.
With Donald Trump in the White House, Collins has broken with the president and her party and said she does not support a vote on a Supreme Court nominee before the election.
Judge Amy Coney Barrett is expected to be confirmed by the full Senate on Monday.
As for giving Collins another term in office, a letter writer in the Bangor Daily News said: “I don’t agree with her all the time, but I do not think anyone in Congress puts more thought into the decisions they make than she does, and I end up agreeing with most of her positions on those issues.”
a. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/10/09/maine-senate-race-susan-collins-brett-kavanaugh-vote.html – Susan Collins struggles to change the subject from Brett Kavanaugh in Maine Senate race
b. https://apnews.com/article/election-2020-donald-trump-politics-senate-elections-susan-collins-da5998ffbeb4944ee0e438c1e69c6eaf – ‘Call them out’: In Maine, Gideon asks voters to punish GOP
5. Biden crushing Trump in late-stage fundraising
Leading in the national polls and the majority of key battleground states, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden also has a cash advantage of more than $107 million over U.S. President Donald Trump as the campaigns enter their final stretch, according to the latest filings with the Federal Election Commission.
Biden’s campaign brought in $130 million during the first two weeks of October and spent more than $145 million, the reports show.
Biden’s campaign has spent more than $582 million on television advertising since launching his campaign last year, according to data from the nonpartisan firm Advertising Analytics, The Hill newspaper reported
Trump raised nearly $43.6 million between October 1 and October 14 and spent $63.1 million, according to filings Thursday night with the Federal Election Commission.
Despite the large difference in money raised, Trump insists he has enough funds to win on November 3.
“We don’t need money,” Trump said during Thursday night’s debate with Biden in Nashville, Tennessee. “We have plenty of money. In fact, we beat Hillary Clinton with a tiny fraction of the money that she was able” to raise.
On a positive side for the Republican coffers, its top super political action committee raised nearly $50 million in the first two weeks of October, money that will primarily be used in the battle to retain control of the U.S. Senate, where Republicans currently hold a 53-47 majority, Politico reported.
Also, American First Action SuperPac told Fox News that it will spend $10 million to run commercials in battleground states Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Georgia during the remaining days until the Nov. 3 election.
a. https://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/ct-ent-beach-boys-brian-wilson-trump-fundraiser-20201020-3gxgsirjxvgs5cy76x53eftz44-story.html – Brian Wilson repudiates Trump fundraiser that featured Beach Boys performance
b. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/09/29/election-money-coronavirus-impact-biden-trump.html – Coronavirus changed the 2020 money race — and helped Biden erase Trump’s massive cash advantage