HOLD THE PRESSES!!
Democrats around the country, especially politicos like Kevin Cate and Steve Schale here in Florida, are sounding awfully confident that former Vice President Joe Biden will defeat President Donald Trump next week.
Not so fast.
Where have we read this script before?
That’s right, just for years ago, the same sentiment was shared when Trump lagged behind Hillary Clinton in every single public opinion poll.
Now, things are different this year, and Trump’s negatives are higher considering the COVID-19 pandemic, so there is hope for Democrats.
The race will be close.
Biden has more cash than Trump, but according to all the latest polls, Trump is creeping up while Biden is trending down just a bit.
GOP registration is higher than Democrats, but Democrats are winning in early voting turnout, but not by much.
BUT, remember Republicans historically crush Democrats on election day.
Like 2016, it’s really hard to predict who will win, but we can all take a stab at the challenge of predicting the winner.
Here is a map of what I feel will be the results on election night. Trump can lose Wisconsin and Michigan, but needs to win Pennsylvania. He can even lose Georgia and still win reelection.
Trump squeaks it out.
Rep. Matt Gaetz @RepMattGaetz-From packing the Supreme Court to abolishing the Electoral College, Democrats have shown they are willing to throw the American people and our institutions under the bus when they can’t get their way
“Deutch Says Rubio “Legitimately Lied” on Court Stance” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – The result of Justice Amy Coney Barret’s confirmation has led to further division in the political arena, and now lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are involving themselves in conversations that could have lasting results in the upcoming general election. The conversation surrounding Justice Amy Coney Barret’s nomination and subsequent confirmation has been regarding whether or not it’s legitimate, seeing that Democratic lawmakers have argued that, with the upcoming November election close by, Americans should elect the next president and have said president make the appointment after the general election. Taking to Twitter to share his thoughts on the confirmation, Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R) commented that “last night 50 legitimately elected U.S. Senators cast 52 legitimate votes to confirm a legitimately elected President’s highly qualified nominee to the Supreme Court of the United States.” In response, Florida Rep. Ted Deutch (D), who’s rumored to be eyeing Senator Rubio’s seat when Rubio is up for reelection, argued that Rubio “legitimately lied,” explaining that “4 years ago you legitimately said you would not support moving forward with a Supreme Court nominee in the last year of a president’s term, even if the president was Republican.” This follows in line with a number of Florida Democrats that have launched political jabs at the Florida lawmaker, calling him a hypocrite for showing support for Justice Barrett. Rubio’s comments are in reference to an interview on March 17th, 2016 when Senator Rubio noted that whether the president was Republican or Democrat, he did not believe that the Senate “should be moving on a nominee” if it was the President’s last year in his or her term.
“Biden Urges Americans to Vote after Barrett’s Confirmation” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – After yesterday’s confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, as expected, the response was divided among politicians. While Republicans praised the new Justice as a strong addition to the Supreme Court, Democrats slammed Republicans for Justice Barrett’s confirmation, and one Democrat who was vocal in his disapproval is Vice President Joe Biden (D). In an Instagram post, Biden expressed that “the rushed and unprecedented confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett as Associate Justice to the Supreme Court, in the middle of an ongoing election, should be a stark reminder to every American that your vote matters.” The Presidential hopeful added that “just a few days after Election Day next week, the Supreme Court will hear the case on the Affordable Care Act,” noting that “while panicked and erratic in mishandling the pandemic, Donald Trump has been crystal clear on one thing – for the past four years, and again just last night on 60 Minutes – he wants to tear down the Affordable Care Act in its entirety and take away your health care and protections for pre-existing conditions.” In response, Biden pleaded with the American public, saying that “if you want to protect your health care, if you want your voice to be heard in Washington, if you want to say no, this abuse of power doesn’t represent you – then turn out and vote.” And, in making a distinction between himself and the President, Biden asserted that Americans should “vote for a president, for Members of Congress, and for candidates up and down the ticket who actually have a plan for health care, and who will build on the Affordable Care Act to expand coverage, bring down costs, and give you more choices.”
“Florida Democrats expand push to fix flawed mail-in ballots” by Politico’s Matt Dixon – Florida Democrats have launched an offensive to track and quickly fix rejected vote-by-mail ballots as they work to seize every last vote in the swing state a week ahead of Election Day. The raw number of rejected ballots that Democrats can hope to cure is small, maybe in the thousands, but in a state where races are decided on the thinnest of margins, they could be enough to sway the outcome. “The curing process could play a huge role in how this whole thing shakes out,” said incoming House Democratic Leader Evan Jenne, who is helping coordinate his party’s state house races. “We will leave no stone unturned, and these types of things are a really important part of that strategy.” It’s not unusual for political parties to complement efforts by local election officials to notify voters whose mailed ballots are rejected and allow the person to fix — or “cure” — any problems so the vote is counted. But this year, President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are on the ballot and the stakes, for many voters, have never been higher. With the coronavirus pandemic, massive turnout, and Trump’s assaults on mailed ballots threatening to complicate the vote count, the Democratic curing effort has ramped up in size and scale. It’s a case of every vote counting, literally. “We have always done cure work, but most years it starts later in the election cycle,” said Josh Geise, a Democratic consultant and Florida director for America Votes, a non-profit that is running one of the state’s largest vote-by-mail cure efforts. “We have started earlier than we ever have before, calling, texting, and sending mail telling people what they need to do to fix their ballots.”
“The Memo: Florida and Pennsylvania hold keys to victory” by The Hill’s Nial Stanage – The 2020 election, after all its drama and controversy, is likely to hinge on two traditional battlegrounds: Florida and Pennsylvania. President Trump badly lags his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, in national polls, but if he can repeat his 2016 victories in those two large swing states, he would have a strong chance of reelection. Such an outcome is not implausible even though Trump is behind in polls in both states. Trump has higher hopes in Florida where Biden leads by under 2 percentage points in the RealClearPolitics polling average. In Pennsylvania, Biden’s lead is around 5 points. If Trump were to carry both Florida and Pennsylvania, he could afford to lose Wisconsin and Michigan yet still win a second term — so long as he repeated his victories in the other states he won in 2016. Trump is further behind in Wisconsin and Michigan than he is in Pennsylvania. The importance of Pennsylvania was seen plainly on Monday. Trump held three rallies in the state, where he bashed Biden, especially on the economy. The Trump campaign has sought to reap political dividends from confusion about Biden’s position on fracking, an industry which is particularly important in southwestern Pennsylvania. “Biden’s plan is an economic death sentence on Pennsylvania’s energy sector,” Trump told a large crowd at his first stop in Allentown, Pa. “He will eradicate your energy and send Pennsylvania into a crippling depression.” Biden made an unscheduled 15-mile trip from his home in Delaware to speak in Chester, Pa., on Monday afternoon. Biden said that by hosting such large rallies Trump was “putting on superspreaders.”
“Florida’s top prosecutor once sued Trump. Now she’s fighting for his reelection.” by Politico’s Gary Fineout – lorida Attorney General Ashley Moody ran on a promise to keep her office out of politics. Two years later, she’s become one of Donald Trump’s biggest surrogates in the nation’s biggest swing state. Moody, a former college Democrat whose family once sued Trump over a condominium dispute, has jumped into conservative causes with gusto, attending presidential campaign rallies and stepping out as a defender for the GOP president. She’s making appearances on right-wing media and has become a voice for the Republican Attorneys General Association. In the run-up to the election, the former judge has taken on billionaire Michael Bloomberg and joined 10 other Republican attorneys general backing the Justice Department’s lawsuit against Google. And she could be at the center of the post-election fallout if the results in Florida are called into question. Moody, until now a low-profile figure nationally, has quietly and quickly become a major Republican player in must-win Florida, proving to top GOP leaders across the country that she’s willing to leverage her office in an election year. And Moody stands to benefit whether Trump wins or loses: She could prove to be a formidable foe to Joe Biden, becoming a voice of opposition to a newly liberal Washington, or take advantage of being a key White House supporter in coming years. “She’s incredibly talented and she’s exceptionally helpful as a political figure,” said Brian Ballard, a Republican fundraiser and lobbyist who once represented Trump. She’s a “huge asset” and has developed a good relationship with U.S. Attorney General William Barr, he said. A senior adviser for the Florida Trump campaign called Moody “one of the best surrogates we have.” This doesn’t mean that Moody, who was backed in the 2018 Republican primary by outgoing Attorney General Pam Bondi, has embraced the demonstrative passionate defense of Trump like her predecessor.
“Incumbent Rep. Alex Andrade and Dianne Krumel face off for Florida House Dist. 2 seat” by WEAR TV’s Renee Beninate – Incumbent Representative Alex Andrade and Dianne Krumel are facing off for the Florida House District 2 spot. Both are meeting with constituents and campaigning across Northwest Florida. Both candidates say they’ve had to take a step back from their campaigns to help the community recover from Hurricane Sally. “I became very involved in the community at that time just trying to help folks recover and be out there,” says Krumel. Andrade says, “Making sure that with the Three Mile Bridge down that businesses on both ends of Pensacola Bay have the resources they need.” Rep. Andrade is an attorney who has held this seat for the last two years. “I’m confident that my record, you know, tells the story of what I say I want to continue doing,” he adds. Andrade is a conservative republican who opposes abortion, fights for second amendment rights and is pushing for tax cuts. “Making sure we as a community make a statement that no we don’t want to defund police, we want to support our police officers, we support our men and women in the military – our veterans,” Andrade says. Locally, Andrade’s goal is making sure the Three Mile Bridge is prepared as quickly as possible. “I am totally invested lifelong, so I know the needs better than this community, better than he does,” Krumel says. Krumel was born and raised in Northwest Florida – attending high school, graduating from University of West Florida and runs a business here.
“DeSantis drafts Orlando exec to run Florida Lottery” by News Service of Florida Jim Turner – Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday named John Davis, the executive vice president of the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce, to fill the long-vacant position of secretary of the Florida Lottery. Davis, a standout safety in the early 1990s when the Florida State Seminoles were annually in the hunt for the national football championship, has also served as president of the African American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida and once held a leadership role at the Republican Party of Florida. DeSantis pointed to Davis’ public, private and educational experience in making the appointment, which requires Senate confirmation. “His business focus and passion for student success will serve him well as he takes over this important department,” DeSantis said in a prepared statement. The secretary position has been vacant since January, when Randall Hunt resigned abruptly after less than two months in the job that paid $142,000 a year. The Orlando Sentinel reported a background check turned up an allegation of domestic violence. Davis will take over an agency that has more than 400 employees and produces more than $6 billion in sales a year. Because of the coronavirus, the agency recently reopened to the public but only through appointments. The agency has also recently raised the price of Florida Lotto tickets from $1 to $2 as part of a rebranding that includes increased non-jackpot cash prizes. In a news release from the governor’s office, Davis focused on the lottery’s ties to funding public education through ticket sales.
“Florida man facing over 80 counts of child molestation found dead in jail” by WPEC’s Kyle Spinner – A man who was facing 83 charges on child molestation was found dead in his jail cell Monday morning. The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office said 48-year-old James Palmucci was found by jail staff with fabric around his neck. Authorities said they found videos on his phone of him with the victims. Palmucci was due to appear in court Monday morning. Detectives are currently investigating.
“Fight For Florida Sees Republican, Democratic Campaigns Send Big Guns To Sunshine State” by CBS Miami – With Florida being a hotly contested battleground state in the upcoming presidential election, both campaigns have their eyes on South Florida. On Tuesday, Ivanka Trump made a campaign stop in Downtown Miami. The “Make America Great Again” event started at 5:30 p.m. at Bayfront Park. It was a crowd of some who wore masks and others who didn’t during this pandemic. “President Trump will always protect Social Security, Medicare, and patients with preexisting conditions,” the president’s daughter said. She also serves as an advisor to President Trump. She’s trying to help gain support among seniors by discussing healthcare. Before Miami, she campaigned in Sarasota. Experts say her father needs Florida to help his chances on staying in the White House. “There aren’t many paths to 270 that don’t include Florida for President Trump. If you’re the Democrats, boy if you can take Florida, you can win the election,” said Zelden. The CBS News Election Battleground Tracker shows the Sunshine State is still a tossup. In most polls, presidential candidate Joe Biden is leading slightly. “The president’s early and aggressive action to stop travel from Europe saved up to 2 million lives compared to scientists’ best estimates,” Ivanka Trump said during her Sarasota stop. The visits from the president’s daughter is the first of many this week as both campaigns look to secure a Florida win on November 3rd.
“Florida receives $5 million grant for opioid fight” by CBS Miami’s Gary Detman – Gov. DeSantis announced Tuesday the state received a $5 million grant to create a new pilot program in the fight against the opioid crisis. The new program will be called “Support to Communities: Fostering Opioid Recovery through Workforce Development.” The main goal is to provide services from recovery and support, to career training and employment. “The opioid crisis continues to be a public health concern in Florida,” said Governor DeSantis, who added the program will help “create a talent pipeline for unfilled positions, offer opportunities to prepare those working in these fields to better identify and respond to individuals with a substance misuse disorders and prepare individuals in recovery to become peer counselors.” Florida will work with a number of community partners including CareerSource Central Florida, local medical treatment facilities, and community-based organizations.
“Bloomberg News issues correction after falsely reporting that Trump campaign pulled ads from Florida” by Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn – Bloomberg News was forced to walk back a report on Tuesday indicating that the Trump campaign was throwing in the towel in the crucial swing state of Florida. With just seven days until the presidential election, Bloomberg News ran the headline “Trump Pulls Florida Ads as Cash-Poor Campaign Enters Final Week.” “President Donald Trump’s campaign has all but pulled its advertising out of Florida, as it stakes its relatively small bank account on the industrial northern states that carried him to victory in 2016,” the report began. “Trump is now placing his final bet on just four battleground states: Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Polls show he’s down in all those states but Ohio, where it’s effectively even.” Except that wasn’t the case. Several members of the Trump campaign flooded Twitter pushing back against Bloomberg News’ “false” report. The Trump campaign also claimed Bloomberg News never reached out for comment. “The Bloomberg story is horribly wrong and should never have been written. The campaign, with the RNC coordinated buy, is up with a seven figure buy in Florida on broadcast TV alone,” Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said in a statement to Fox News. “In addition in Florida, we are up with six figures in local cable, six figures in Spanish language, and six figures on radio. Our ad buying week by week in the state has been consistent, and the reporting on this issue demonstrates a clear misunderstanding of how ad buying works (and in some cases a misunderstanding of simple addition and subtraction).” Murtaugh continued, “Last week we announced a $55 million buy over the final two weeks, which is a 40 percent increase over our previous levels. Just yesterday we added $6 million on top of that for the final week. Including Florida, the Trump campaign is on television in 12 states and also nationally. This is sloppy reporting at the highest level.”
“Florida likely to pass total early votes cast in 2016 with days out from election” by CBS 12’s Jay O’Brien – A week away from Election Day, Florida is close to surpassing the total number of early votes and votes by mail cast in 2016. More than 6,440,993 combined vote-by-mail and early votes have been cast, as of the latest available date from the Florida Secretary of State website. In 2016, a combined 6,607,004 vote-by-mail and early votes were cast. Floridians are continuing to vote by mail and early in record numbers as Election Day approaches. Democrats are outvoting Republicans by mail and more Republicans are voting early than Democrats. In 2016, that was reversed. When all was said and done, more Republicans votes by mail and more than 100,000 Democrats voted early, compared to Republicans in the Sunshine State. The United States Postal Service recommends that voters mail back their ballot roughly a week before Election Day to ensure it gets counted. In Florida, if a ballot is not in to the designated Supervisor of Elections Office by 7p.m. on Election Night, it does not count. Voters can typically track their ballots using their county’s Supervisor of Elections website. Voters can also deposit mail in ballots at secure drop off boxes, designated by the Supervisor of Elections. In Palm Beach County, for example, voters can drop off their ballots in boxes at early votes sites and outside the Supervisor of Elections Office. “I can do it in the comfort of my own home and I also don’t want to wait in those crazy long lines,” said Alyson Shaw, a mom in Boca Raton who voted by mail for the first time in 2016. “It’s given me more time to research and also in a relaxed environment because I’m not trying to rush and there’s another voter behind me.”
“Here’s what we know about Florida’s plan to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine” by Click Orlando’s Adrienne Cutway – Although we still don’t know when a COVID-19 vaccine will be made available to the general public, the Florida Department of Health is already making plans to administer those injections to residents across the state. A draft vaccine plan from the FDOH, dated Oct. 16, outlines a possible three-phased approach to distribution that would ensure that the most vulnerable populations, including the elderly, are the first in line to receive the shots. The department is still waiting on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify those groups but they are expected to be:
· Health care personnel likely to be exposed to or treat people with COVID-19
· Those at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, including those with underlying medical conditions
· Essential workers
· Those 65 and older
· Long-term care residents and staff
· The state will work with doctors, the Agency for Health Care Administration, the State Emergency Response Team, the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and other similar agencies to identify members of at-risk populations who would be a priority for vaccination during phase one.
Phases two is when the public could expect to see the vaccine more widely available at places such as pharmacies, hospitals, pediatrician offices, general physician offices and community-based sites that could operate using a drive-thru model like the one being used to offer coronavirus testing at the Orange County Convention Center and other locations across the state.
“Florida State Student Leader, Tainted by Past Antisemitic Remarks, Ousted After Court Ruling” by The Agemeiner’s Jon Victor – Ahmad Daraldik, a student government leader at Florida State University who had been criticized for making antisemitic statements, has been removed as Senate president after the Student Supreme Court voted to reinstate his predecessor in a ruling unrelated to Daraldik’s remarks. Daraldik’s predecessor, Jack Denton, has been reinstated as Senate president as of Monday, following the student court’s finding that a June no-confidence vote in his leadership violated his rights under FSU’s regulations and the US Constitution. Daraldik has appealed the decision to FSU’s Division of Student Affairs, he told the Tallahassee Democrat on Monday. Denton had drawn ire from students after criticizing groups such Black Lives Matter and the American Civil Liberties Union in private comments to members of FSU’s Catholic Student Union. Denton sued Florida State University in federal court over his removal, alleging that the university failed to protect his First Amendment rights. A federal judge ruled earlier this month that FSU did not need to reinstate Denton as Senate president, but had to continue paying him for the remainder of what would have been his term in office. Daraldik had been serving as Senate president since Denton’s ouster. He has been harshly criticized by Jewish groups on campus and throughout the South Florida Jewish community for past antisemitic comments.
“Why packing the Supreme Court would not be easy for Democrats” by Fox News’ Chad Pergram – The size of the Supreme Court isn’t dictated by the Constitution. It’s set by statute. That’s why the high court has had as few as five justices and as many as 10. The size of the Court has remained locked at nine justices after a dispute over justices in the 1860s. Liberal Democrats are making lots of noise now about growing the size of the Supreme Court to tilt the now conservative advantage back in their favor. And Republicans are more than happy to deploy Democratic threats as a wedge issue, one week before the election. GOPers warn of what Democrats may try to do if Joe Biden wins the White House and Democrats flip the Senate. Such chatter is great, pre-election fodder. It electrifies the base of both parties. That’s why Democrats and Republicans alike are willing to dump as much gasoline as possible on these scenarios. Which brings us back to how one would change the size of the Supreme Court: In one sense, it’s easy. Pass a bill. But that’s why debates about changing the size of the Supreme Court are inextricably coupled with another conversation about eliminating the legislative filibuster. They go hand in glove. And even if the election goes the way Democrats want, there is no way they can potentially pack the Supreme Court without terminating the filibuster. Let’s say Biden becomes President and Democrats prevail in the Senate with 52 or 53 seats. They decide to increase the size of the Supreme Court.
“Texas Supreme Court sides with governor on rule requiring one ballot drop box per county” by CNN’s Ashley Killough and Caroline Kelly – The Texas Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled in favor of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s order to limit mail-in ballot drop box locations to one site per county, a decision that largely affects the Houston and Austin areas. The court ruled that Abbott’s order “provides Texas voters more ways to vote in the November 3 election than does the Election Code” and that it doesn’t “disenfranchise anyone.” Opponents of Abbott’s order had argued it exceeded the governor’s authority and also created an unjust burden on voters in larger counties to travel far distances to drop off their ballots. Critics also argued it increased voters’ risk of contracting Covid-19. The court did not agree with the plaintiffs’ argument that the governor’s order had exceeded his authority, nor that the order “severely” burdened voters and their right to vote. “The plaintiffs complain that limiting early hand-deliveries of mail-in ballots to one office per county requires more travel time for some voters. But this ignores the other options for casting their ballots that these voters have,” the opinion read. It noted that voters can also vote in person for an expanded period of time than usual, drop off their mail-in ballot in a 45-day window before Election Day rather than on November 3 only, and also mail in their ballots. The court also argued the risk of mailing the ballot is “small,” and “voters who are worried about it can mail their ballots in plenty of time before Election Day to eliminate the chance of untimely delivery.” In a statement Tuesday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office cheered the ruling as having “correctly stopped the district court’s unlawful injunction and preserved election integrity.”
“Facebook Warns of Foreign Operators Exaggerating Their Election-Interference Abilities” by WSJ’s Jeff Horwitz and Dustin Volz – Facebook Inc. said it took down a small network of fake accounts and pages tied to the Iranian government, while also warning that foreign actors are attempting to exaggerate their ability to influence the U.S. election in a way that itself could affect the vote. Tuesday’s announcement about the Iranian network is the latest of several in which Facebook said it removed pages and accounts that were limited in scope and had made little headway in their efforts to sow disinformation. The company said it removed 12 Facebook accounts, six pages and 11 Instagram accounts tied to the Iranian government that were focused on the U.S. and Israel. The network had only 820 followers total, and many of the accounts involved were dormant. At the same time, Facebook officials said they were increasingly on the alert for foreign actors attempting to hype their own impact on the U.S. election in an attempt to “weaponize uncertainty to sow distrust and division” about the vote—a strategy the company called “perception hacking.” “Overstating the importance of these campaigns plays into the hands of malicious actors, whether foreign or domestic, and we should not take the bait,” said Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, in a conference call with reporters. Mr. Gleicher said that there are no guarantees that more significant foreign manipulation efforts were not escaping Facebook’s detection, but the apparent shift away from large-scale automated networks of accounts suggests that the people behind such efforts are having less success.
“Trump denounces White supremacy ’38 times’ in new campaign video, amid Biden-Harris criticisms” by Fox News’ Brooke Singman – The Trump campaign on Tuesday released a video compiling more than three dozen times President Trump has denounced White supremacy, as his Democratic rival Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris of California continue to claim this week on the campaign trail that he has failed to do so. The Trump campaign rolled out a nearly 5-minute-long video of the president, featuring video clips from as recently as this month, to his 2016 presidential campaign, and dating all the way back to an interview Trump gave to Matt Lauer in the early 2000s, where he denounced White supremacy and “disavowed” White supremacist groups. The video comes after Biden and Harris have criticized Trump, casting him as a racist and claiming he has not denounced White supremacy, and also comes as part of the Trump campaign’s final pitch to win over Black voters ahead of Election Day. “President Trump wants to prosecute the KKK as a terrorist organization and has condemned White supremacy at least 38 times. 38 times!” a senior Trump campaign official told Fox News. “The Biden campaign continues to sow division and inflame racial tension by spreading this false narrative,” the Trump campaign official added. “Enough is enough.” The official called it a “dead issue” and said that “anyone who continues to ask about it is using a question to disguise their accusations and smear the president.” The president has been questioned on his stance toward White supuremacy since 2017, when he said that there were good people on “both sides” after violence broke out between White nationalists and counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Va.
“Melania Trump focuses on Covid and slams Democrats for politicizing pandemic in campaign speech” by CNN’s Allie Malloy and Kate Bennett – First lady Melania Trump focused on the Covid-19 pandemic in her first solo campaign event of 2020 and blasted Democrats for allegedly politicizing the pandemic. Melania directly attacked Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on the coronavirus, claiming: “Now he suggests that he could have done a better job. Well, the American people can look at Joe Biden’s 36 years in Congress and eight years in the vice presidency and determine whether they think he’ll finally be able to get something done for the American people.” The first lady also spoke about her family’s struggle with the virus and demonstrated compassion for those suffering the virus — something rarely done by President Donald Trump in rallies. “Like many of you, I have experienced the firsthand effects of Covid-19 — not only as a patient — but as a worried mother and wife. I know there are many people who have lost loved ones or know people who have been forever impacted by this silent enemy,” Melania Trump said in Pennsylvania. The first lady’s first solo campaign appearance comes with just one week to go before the election. Her up-to-now campaign trail absence has marked a historic break from precedent, especially in a race that finds her husband fighting for votes. Every modern first lady to hold the position before Melania Trump has proved an important and impactful surrogate on behalf of their husbands. The President is particularly hunting votes from suburban White woman, a group with which the first lady may hold some appeal. Melania Trump has largely proven herself a homebody without a taste for campaigning or giving political speeches, according to several sources. Her last appearance at a Trump campaign rally was June 2019, where she made brief remarks at the kickoff for her husband’s reelection efforts. Her last solo speaking event in support of Trump’s campaign was almost exactly four years ago, also in Pennsylvania, just days before the election.
“Justice Department Cites Treatment of Hunter Biden Articles in Call to Change Law Protecting Online Platforms” by WSJ’s Brent Kendall and Aruna Viswanatha – The Justice Department said it was concerned that Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. restricted access to recent New York Post stories about the son of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, telling lawmakers the department supported bipartisan interest in changing a law providing legal protections to online platforms. The department made the comments Tuesday in a letter to Capitol Hill leaders ahead of a high-profile Senate hearing Wednesday in which Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey will testify. The letter, signed by Stephen E. Boyd, the assistant attorney general for legislative affairs, said online platforms “hold tremendous power over information” and must “be honest and transparent with users about how they use that power. And when they are not, it is critical that they can be held accountable.” “For example, the decision by two social media companies to restrict access to news content of significant public interest from the New York Post, a widely distributed journalism publication, is quite concerning,” the department wrote. The letter didn’t mention Facebook, Twitter or the Biden family by name, but suggested the department didn’t believe such conduct is covered under the legal protections afforded online platforms and signaled a willingness to get involved in future litigation over the issue. The New York Post’s articles cited emails it said were written and received by Hunter Biden and had been provided by allies of President Trump, who trails the former vice president in polls. The Trump allies said they received the emails from a computer-repair person who found them on a laptop. One article included a copy of an email said to have been sent to Hunter Biden apparently describing a meeting between his father and an executive at Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian gas company on whose board Hunter Biden served. Efforts by Mr. Trump to have Ukraine investigate the Bidens and Burisma led to the president’s impeachment by the House last year.
“USPS recommends Tuesday as final day to mail in ballots before election” by Fox News’ Sam Dorman – According to U.S Postal Service (USPS) guidelines, voters should cast their early ballots by the end of Tuesday. “For domestic, nonmilitary voters who choose to use the mail to return a completed ballot, our general recommendation is, as a common-sense measure, to mail your completed ballot before Election Day, and at least one week prior to your state’s deadline,” the agency previously said. “Some states may recommend allowing even more time for mailing completed ballots.” In just a week, Americans will head to the polls in localities that have been hit by the coronavirus and restrictions imposed in response. Amid concerns about the virus, a record number of Americans are voting by mail. The practice has gained considerable popularity as an avenue for avoiding potential exposure, but some, like President Trump, have claimed that it could result in error. The USPS has indicated it’s taking extra precautions to ensure that mail-in ballots arrive on time. “Between October 26 and November 24, extraordinary measures including expedited handling, extra deliveries and special pickups will be used as in past elections to ensure Election Mail reaches its intended destination in a timely manner,” the Postal Service said last week. The agency previously came under fire for removing mail collection boxes just months before the election. Amid a series of state lawsuits, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said he would postpone scheduled changes until after Nov. 3. “The Postal Service is ready today to handle whatever volume of election mail it receives this fall,” DeJoy said in a statement from August.
“Trump administration set to announce Medicare and Medicaid will cover Covid vaccine” by CNN’s Kevin Liptak and Veronica Stracqualursi – The Trump administration is set to announce as early as this week that Medicare and Medicaid will cover out-of-pocket costs for a potential coronavirus vaccine that is granted emergency use authorization, according to a person familiar with the matter. Coming days before the election, the move could help President Donald Trump among seniors and lower-income Americans even though top medical experts don’t expect a vaccine to be approved before Election Day. In the run-up to the election, Trump has applied intense pressure on agencies to deliver policy wins that might help his reelection, aides said.
Officials have been working for several weeks on changing regulations to allow for Medicare and Medicaid recipients to receive free vaccines. It’s not clear whether Trump himself will make the announcement of the rule change in the final days of the election, though he is working to appeal to seniors during stops in Florida later this week. Politico first reported the coming changes. There are currently four US Phase 3 trials of coronavirus vaccines as part of the federal government’s Covid-19 vaccine program, Operation Warp Speed. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said Sunday that experts will know by early December whether a potential coronavirus vaccine is safe and effective, but widespread availability will likely not occur until several months into 2021. Operation Warp Speed aims to have Covid-19 vaccines moved to administration sites within 24 hours of an emergency use authorization or Food and Drug Administration license — with the goal of providing the vaccine free of charge. “In terms of a principle and an aspiration, it’ll be that no American has to pay a single dime out of pocket to get a vaccine,” Paul Mango, deputy chief of staff for policy at the US Department of Health Human Services, said back in September.
“Trump Weighs Executive Order to Show Support for Fracking” by WSJ’s Timothy Puko – President Trump is considering issuing an executive order mandating an economic analysis of fracking, according to senior administration officials, who say the initiative is aimed at highlighting his support for the energy industry in election battleground states such as Pennsylvania. The proposed order would ask government agencies to perform an analysis of fracking’s impact on the economy and trade and the consequences if the oil-and-gas extraction technique was banned, the officials said. It also would order those agencies to evaluate what more they can do to expand its use, possibly through land management or support of developing technology, they said. These people said details of the order were still under discussion, and a final decision on whether to even issue it hasn’t been made. White House spokesman Judd Deere declined comment on any potential executive action but said Mr. Trump “has prioritized all forms of domestic energy production which has led to America becoming energy independent.” If an order is issued, it would be unlikely to have any short-term impact on an energy industry struggling with an oil glut tied to the coronavirus pandemic. But the goal is to draw a political contrast between Mr. Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, his Democratic challenger in next Tuesday’s election. Mr. Biden has said he would oppose fracking on federal lands—a small part of U.S. production—but more broadly has called for the U.S. to move away from oil dependence to address the environmental harm of climate change. One aim of the proposed order would be to highlight the broader impact of fracking throughout a U.S.-based supply chain, especially in swing states critical to Mr. Trump’s victory, according to one of the senior officials and another person briefed on the plans.
Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump– Covid, Covid, Covid is the unified chant of the Fake News Lamestream Media. They will talk about nothing else until November 4th., when the Election will be (hopefully!) over. Then the talk will be how low the death rate is, plenty of hospital rooms, & many tests of young people.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz @DWStweets–US House candidate, FL-23 -Is Trump seriously trying to take credit for “ending” #COVID? The US saw its highest caseload EVER just last week. We are on track for hundreds of thousands of additional deaths this winter. How dumb does he think Americans are?