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The evangelical vote is more diverse than you think. Meet the evangelicals who aren't voting for Trump - ABC News

Jerushah Duford is the granddaughter of Billy Graham, a prominent evangelical icon who preached the gospel to millions of people in packed stadiums around the world — and a man whose name has become synonymous with conservative politics.

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But when Ms Duford recently hosted a family gathering, and guests broached the topic of the 2020 US election, she immediately shut it down saying, "No, this is my house and we are not doing this."

The saying goes that you should never talk about religion or politics at the dinner table, but that takes on an additional dimension in Ms Duford's household where politics and faith have coalesced and strongly divided opinion in her family.

Ms Duford recently published scathing op-ed calling evangelical support of Mr Trump an insult to her grandfather’s legacy. On the same day her cousin, Cissie Graham Lynch, addressed the Republican National Convention and called Mr Trump a “fierce advocate” for people of faith.

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If you’re an evangelical in the US, it does matter if you're black or white

White evangelicals form a formidable voting bloc in the US, with a 2019 Pew Research report estimating they make up 16 per cent of the nation's adult population.

Traditionally, evangelical was a religious descriptor for Protestant, born-again Christians. Now, evangelicals — specifically white evangelicals — are strongly aligned with conservative politics and have become a reliably pro-Republican voting bloc.

They even have their own exit poll category, and in 2016 more than 80 per cent of white evangelicals who voted cast their ballot for Mr Trump.

This is likely to happen again in 2020, but this group's support for the President has slipped slightly in the lead-up to the 2020 election.

Democratic presidential candidate and former vice-president Joe Biden has the backing of other religious voting groups, including 90 per cent of black evangelical voters and a majority of Jewish and Hispanic Catholic voters.

'I was told that I needed to become a Republican if I was going to be a Christian'

Lisa Sharon Harper and Kamala Harris smile for the camera.
Lisa Sharon Harper and Democratic vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris.(Facebook: Lisa Sharon Harper)

Lisa Sharon Harper outed herself as a Democrat in her 2008 book, Evangelical Does Not Equal Republican … or Democrat, but she hasn't always been one.

"The people who introduced me to God and Jesus and faith were white evangelicals," said the 51-year-old Christian author and speaker, and founder of a social justice organisation in the US.

It was the early 80s, around the same time Moral Majority — a political organisation in the US with strong ties to the religious right and Republican Party — was gaining momentum.

The group opposed movements they believed undermined traditional Christian moral values, such as civil rights, women's liberty, same-sex marriage, and the teaching of evolution.

Ms Harper was only 14 years old when she became a Christian, and not allowed to vote yet. But in 1984, she tried to convince her mum to vote for the Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan.

"There was no way she was going to do that," Ms Harper said.

"She was part of the civil rights movement, and she understood something I really did not understand then — the religious right actually came to be as a counter movement to the gains of people of colour."

How would Jesus vote?

Ms Harper is voting for Democrats up and down the ticket in the 2020 US election, starting with Biden-Harris.

"I am a black evangelical, and that makes all the difference," she said.

She believes Jesus's highest priority is caring for the "the poorest, the most thirsty, the most hungry, the least deserving immigrant, the least deserving prisoner, the sick".

Taylor Swift isn't the only white, southern, Christian woman not voting for Trump

Since the election of Donald Trump in 2016, several high-profile Christians and evangelical leaders have signalled a shift away from conservative political views.

At the end of 2019, the outgoing editor-in-chief of a popular evangelical magazine published an editorial on why Mr Trump should be removed from office.

It raised the ire of the President, who tweeted: "A far left magazine … would rather have a Radical Left nonbeliever, who wants to take your religion & your guns, than Donald Trump as your President."

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Megachurch pastors like Rick Warren and Judah Smith have supported the Black Lives Matter movement on social media, only to face backlash in the comments.

Even America's most famous Christian woman from Tennessee, Taylor Swift, has opened up about her political views, and her latest baking foray suggests she's voting for Vice President Joe Biden.

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"I knew from a pretty young age that Christians were supposed to be Republicans," said Kaitlyn Schiess, a 26-year-old Masters student at Dallas Theological Seminary.

Back in 2016, Ms Schiess was an undergraduate student at Liberty College, one of the most conservative Christian institutions in America.

Mr Trump delivered the school's opening convocation that year to a crowd of more than 10,000 students, where he mispronounced a book of the Bible during his speech.

Ms Schiess, whose book The Liturgy of Politics is about how young Christians can engage with politics, said evangelical support for Mr Trump was deeply concerning to her because much of his character seems to run counter to the Church's teachings.

"In all sorts of ways — sexual morality, the amount of divorces he had, the way that he talked about other people, the concern he had for building a big, rich business — [he] did not uphold the things that I had been taught were important values in a leader," she said.

Ms Schiess will not be voting for Mr Trump in 2020, and while her political views may differ from many Christians in America, she feels a responsibility to stay in the evangelical church.

"I love these people and I have seen the way that some of their political involvement has been deeply destructive to not only their communities but to their souls and I want to see that change," she said.

White, evangelical men are voting for Biden too

Polling data suggests men like Jim Ball should be voting for Mr Trump in the 2020 US election.

Mr Ball is about as evangelical as they come. He became a Christian at 13, graduated from Baylor, a nationally ranked Southern Baptist university in Texas, and went to a seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

But he "wasn't shaped by a strong push to be included in the Republican party", the 59-year-old said.

Mr Ball left his 20-year career in a Christian environmental organisation in 2019 to start Evangelicals for Biden, which encourages American Christians to "make sure our words and actions match our core Christian values of love, service, justice and grace".

To Mr Ball, that means voting for Mr Biden in the 2020 US presidential election.

A couple takes a selfie in front of a Biden-Harris lawn sign before the US election.
Older evangelicals like Jim Ball and wife Kara are traditionally Trump voters.(Supplied: Jim Ball)

"Mr Biden is the man that we need right now," Mr Ball said.

"He is the antidote to all the Trump mess, and he can help our country move in the right direction at the scale that we need to for issues like climate change, COVID and the economic recovery, justice, and health care."

He knows not all evangelicals can be convinced to vote for Mr Biden, so he's focusing his efforts on crucial states and is aiming to swing 5 to 7 per cent of white evangelicals to vote Democrat.

The Republican Party still has a carrot up its sleeve for evangelical voters — abortion

Ms Duford said abortion is the key issue the evangelical vote hinges on and calls the Republican Party's support of the pro-life position a "carrot they dangle in front of the evangelical community, and they've done it for decades".

She is pro-life, but it means more to her than being anti-abortion. She and her husband have fostered eight children in their home, and adopted one child through the foster system.

A woman kisses a young girl on the cheek.
Jerushah Duford, pictured with her adopted child, believes being pro-life is about more than being anti-abortion.(Supplied)

"In order to be pro-life, you need to be pro-adoption, you need to be pro-foster care, you need to be anti-death penalty, you need to worry about feeding the homeless, you need to worry about poverty, you need to worry about healthcare, you need to worry about racism — all of these things point to the dignity of life."

A die-hard Republican who didn't vote for Trump in 2016, but will in 2020 because he's pro-life

Being pro-life is a priority for Ruth Malhotra, the daughter of Hindu, Indian immigrants who converted to Christianity after moving to the US.

"That ties directly into my faith," the Southern Baptist from Georgia said

"The Christian worldview of life beginning at conception, and life being precious, and every life being valuable, worthy of dignity and respect."

Like Ms Duford, Ms Malhotra is not fixated on an anti-abortion message.

"Pro-life also means how do we create and foster systems whereby as a society we can support the vulnerable women who make the brave decision to choose life for their child," she said.

A man and woman pose for a photo next to a flag against a blue background.
Ruth Malhotra with Republican senator and presidential candidate Mitt Romney.(Supplied)

But abortion policy is where it all begins for the 36-year-old.

Mr Trump has shown support of the pro-life movement with the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court and his administration's support of the heartbeat bills passed in several states in 2019.

So, while she has deep concerns about Mr Trump's character, she's still leaning towards voting for him in this election.

A house divided, but still standing

For many evangelicals in the US, this election has divided families and friends, churches and communities. But diversity in this voting bloc isn't necessarily a bad thing.

"My grandmother always said that if two people agreed on everything, then one of them wasn't necessary," Ms Duford said.

"So we're just all doing a good job of all being necessary."

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https://news.google.com/__i/rss/rd/articles/CBMiZGh0dHBzOi8vd3d3LmFiYy5uZXQuYXUvbmV3cy8yMDIwLTExLTAxL3VzLXByZXNpZGVudGlhbC1lbGVjdGlvbi1ldmFuZ2VsaWNhbC12b3RlLWlzLWRpdmVyc2UvMTI4MzQxMjbSASdodHRwczovL2FtcC5hYmMubmV0LmF1L2FydGljbGUvMTI4MzQxMjY?oc=5

2020-11-01 02:48:00Z
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The next 100 days are the most crucial for Australia since the Cold War - NEWS.com.au

In the next 100 days, two massive threats will develop that could – if things go bad – change the course of history. First is the American election and its aftermath. Second is the pandemic winter.

On November 3, next Tuesday (Wednesday morning our time), President Donald Trump is tipped to be voted out of the White House. Polling gives Joe Biden a nine-point lead – that’s a big lead. Prediction website FiveThirtyEight gives Biden an 89 per cent chance of winning. The Economist magazine gives Biden a 95 per cent chance. Betting markets also have him as the favourite, albeit more narrowly.

However, there is a risk to America that, like last time, the election result is not as clear. Polls were wrong at the last election – they said Clinton would win. It could be close, and that could mean Mr Trump doesn’t leave office. He’s due to vacate office by January, if he loses.

RELATED: Biden’s long fight to take on Trump

Mr Trump has been asked to confirm he will leave office if he loses, and declined to confirm that. He may be able to find ways – using court decisions to stop vote counts, for example – for him to stay. That would create a mess in America.

Mr Trump has been softening up voters by saying the election is rigged and suggesting mail-in ballots are fake. People hope he won’t follow through on the implication that the election result won’t be worth respecting. But what if he does?

RELATED: America’s confusing voting system explained

RELATED: How mail voting works in the US

America has had constitutional crises before. But never in the context of rising competition with China. China provides an example to the world of a successful country without democracy. America is the best example of democracy – it’s supposed to be a shining beacon of freedom. But if America has a messy, contested, disputed election, with violence on the streets and fights in the courtrooms, China will see weakness.

The sense of impending doom is doubled by the virus.

CORONAVIRUS CRISIS

The Northern Hemisphere matters. It has 90 per cent of the world’s population and 92 per cent of its GDP. While we look forward to summer, winter is coming for most of the world.

Last northern winter, the virus had the element of surprise. It popped up in January and spread around the world in February and we were unprepared. This winter we know it’s coming. But last time warmer weather intervened after only a few months, in time to help Europe and America curb the spread by July and August. Now the virus is surging across the cold parts of the world and it is only October.

Winter exacerbates the spread of the virus because people are indoors more with windows and doors closed. The closer together people are, the longer they spend together and the lower the ventilation – basically the more cosy the situation – the easier it is for the coronavirus to spread. Coronavirus thrives on cosy.

If you look at a map of America, the spread is generally worse in the coldest parts – the north, further from the sea. Luckily most of those states are sparsely populated. Wisconsin, right in the north of America, near Canada, has some big cities and has one of the worst spreads. But the really big cities in America are not cold yet.

The average maximum temperature in New York City in October is 18 degrees Celsius. In December the average maximum temperature is 7 degrees Celsius. That’s when New Yorkers will be huddling inside and spreading the virus.

Europe is at massive risk. France waited far too long to lockdown. France had 50,000 new virus cases in one day last week, as the next graph shows.

Soon they will be overwhelmed, even with a tough national lockdown. As Victoria learned, even after you announce restrictions, things continue to get worse for a while. France was in denial because people had pandemic fatigue. Nobody wants to go back into lockdown.

Pandemic fatigue might be the main enemy this northern hemisphere winter. Last winter, the virus only showed up right at the end, February. This year it’s picking up in autumn. The salvation of some warm sunny days is a long way off.

ECONOMIC SHOCKWAVE

The viral spread and the lockdowns that will follow will likely crunch European and American economies. That’s bad news for the whole world. In the short run it could harm confidence via crashing stock markets and negative headlines. Australian stockmarkets follow global markets these days, and that leaks into the real economy. Our confidence will crash alongside theirs.

The long-run effect will also matter. A big lockdown scars an economy, making some people unemployed forever and leaving the economy worse off. That harms people directly and also has political effects.

Poor angry people vote for disruptive angry politicians. Just look at Europe. Germany, where unemployment was round 3 per cent, has had the same boring Chancellor now for 15 years. She was elected back when John Howard was Australian Prime Minister. But Italy, where unemployment has been more than 10 per cent, they elected a new anti-Establishment party called the five star movement. China is also very much aware that economic stability creates political stability.

THE WEST IS AT RISK

Both the threat of COVID and political uncertainty in the US will peak in the next 100 days. They threaten Europe and America – the core of the west.

This threat to Europe and America comes at a time when a clash of cultures is brewing. China’s way of government and way of life, vs. the west. Democracy and freedom vs. dictatorship and censorship. China’s model works very well. We might like to think it doesn’t, but it has made a lot of Chinese people richer and very patriotic.

I don’t pretend the next 100 days can deal a fatal blow to freedom. Europe and America are stronger than that. But it can wound the ideas of the west at the dawn of a century where they will need all the strength they can get.

Jason Murphy is an economist | @jasemurphy. He is the author of the book Incentivology.

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2020-11-01 02:18:41Z
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US Election 2020 LIVE updates: Joe Biden, Barack Obama campaign in Michigan, Donald Trump chases Pennsylvania - The Sydney Morning Herald

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Watch: Biden/Obama speak in Detroit, Trump rallies in Pennsylvania

Former vice-president Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama (plus musical legend Stevie Wonder and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer) appeared at a drive-in rally in Detroit, Michigan today.

President Donald Trump spoke at a mass rally in Pennsylvania this morning.

Latest updates

Record 90 million Americans have voted early

By Trevor Hunnicutt and Jeff Mason

A record 90 million Americans have voted early in the US presidential election, data on Saturday showed, as President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden campaigned across the country to try to sway the few remaining undecided voters.

The high number of early voters, about 65 per cent of the total turnout in 2016, reflects intense interest in the contest, with three days of campaigning left.

Concerns about exposure to the coronavirus at busy Election Day voting places on Tuesday have also pushed up the numbers of people voting by mail or at early in-person polling sites.

The Republican president is spending the closing days of his re-election campaign criticising public officials and medical professionals who are trying to combat the coronavirus pandemic even as it surges back across the United States.

Opinion polls show Trump trailing former vice president Biden nationally, but with a closer contest in the most competitive states that will decide the election. Voters say the coronavirus is their top concern.

Trump has repeatedly claimed without evidence that mail-in ballots are susceptible to fraud and has more recently argued that only the results available on election night should count. In a flurry of legal motions, his campaign has sought to restrict absentee balloting.

"I don’t care how hard Donald Trump tries. There’s nothing – let me say that again – there’s nothing that he can do to stop the people of this nation from voting in overwhelming numbers and taking back this democracy,” Biden said at a rally in Flint, Michigan, where he was joined by former President Barack Obama for their first 2020 campaign event together.

Trump held four rallies on Saturday in the battleground state of Pennsylvania, where the campaigns are seeking to win over undecided voters in areas like the suburbs of Philadelphia and the "Rust Belt" west of the state.

“If we win Pennsylvania, it’s over,” Trump told a large rally in Reading before moving to another big gathering in Butler.

Officials in several states, including Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, say it could take several days to count all of the mail ballots, possibly leading to days of uncertainty if the outcome hinges on those states.

Reuters

DFAT issues 'do not travel' warning for USA citing 'possible civil unrest'

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is warning Australians not to travel to the United States due to concerns about possible civil unrest connected to the US Election.

There are already restrictions on leaving Australia due to COVID-19 but this still makes difficult reading.

In a warning issued on Friday, the department said:

"Protests and demonstrations continue in several US cities. Avoid areas where protests are occurring due to the ongoing potential for violence. Monitor the media for information and updates. Follow the instructions of local authorities. COVID-19 remains a serious health risk. Various restrictions and public health measures are in place and vary by location. Follow the instructions of local authorities, including those related to quarantine, self-isolation, social-distancing and the wearing of masks. The 2020 Presidential Election will be held on Tuesday November 3, with the presidential inauguration taking place on January 20 2021. Monitor the Embassy website for further COVID-19 related information (see Local Contacts)."

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US judge to hear Republican bid to void 100,000 votes in Texas

By Jan Wolfe

A federal judge in Texas scheduled an emergency hearing for Monday on whether Houston officials unlawfully allowed drive-through voting and should toss more than 100,000 votes in the Democratic-leaning area.

In a brief order, US District Judge Andrew Hanen in Houston on Friday agreed to hear arguments by a Republican state legislator and others that votes already cast at drive-through voting sites in the Houston area should be rejected.

Democratic vice presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris speaks at a campaign in Fort Worth, Texas.

Democratic vice presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris speaks at a campaign in Fort Worth, Texas. Credit:AP

The lawsuit was brought on Wednesday by plaintiffs including Steve Hotze, a conservative activist, and state Representative Steve Toth. They accused Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins, a Democrat, of exceeding his constitutional authority by allowing drive-through voting as an alternative to walk-in voting during the coronavirus pandemic.

Harris County, home to about 4.7 million people, is the third most populous county in the United States. It currently has 10 drive-through polling sites, which are available to all voters.

The lawsuit came after the Texas Supreme Court, one of the most conservative state courts in the United States, rejected similar bids to halt drive-through voting in Harris County.

The plaintiffs ask the court to "reject any votes it finds were cast in violation of the Texas Election Code" and "require all memory cards from the 10 drive-thru voting locations be secured and not entered or downloaded into the tally machine until this court issues an order on this complaint."

Hanen was appointed by President George W. Bush, a Republican.

The request is "wholly unreasonable," Democratic groups, including the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said on Friday in a motion asking to intervene in the case.

"Plaintiffs ask this Court to throw Texas’s election into chaos by invalidating the votes of more than 100,000 eligible Texas voters who cast their ballots at drive-thru voting locations at the invitation of county officials and in reliance on the Texas Supreme Court’s decision to allow drive-thru voting to proceed," the groups said.

Michael Morley, a professor of election law at Florida State University, called the lawsuit meritless and said it proposes an "extreme remedy."

"I think the county has a strong legal basis under state law for implementing these voting alternatives during a pandemic," Morley said.

"Even if the court disagreed, however, a remedy would most likely be purely prospective - prohibiting continued use of these mechanisms while still counting votes already cast."

Texas, the second largest U.S. state, is a traditionally Republican state, but polls show President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden close, with more than 9 million ballots already cast, eclipsing total turnout from 2016.

Reuters

'When we vote, they lose': O'Rourke says Republicans desperate about Texas

By Roy Ward

Former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke says Republicans are ‘desperate’ to suppress voters in their state.

O’Rourke, who ran in the Democratic Presidential primary, compared the lawsuit trying to throw out 127,000 drive-in votes in Harris County, Houston and Trump supporters chasing the Biden-Harris bus in Texas as signs of their desperation.

Beto O'Rourke.

Beto O'Rourke.Credit:AP

“When we vote, they lose,” O’Rourke told CNN on Sunday AEDT.

“This is very much connected to the lawsuit trying to throw out 127,000 votes in Harris County.

“When you can’t win by the rules you either try to change the rules after the fact, like in Harris County, or you go beyond the peaceful exercise of your right to vote and use intimidation, the threat of violence or actual violence as captured on video of Trump supporters trying to run the Biden bus off the road and engaging with another vehicle.

“Thankfully no one was seriously hurt.”

O’Rourke said tireless work over many years had seen Texas voting turnout rise from last in the United States to being among the best and he also said 9.6 million early votes had already been cast in the state.

Former vice-president Joe Biden hasn’t campaigned in Texas in the run-up to the poll but the rise in voters has made the state competitive for Democrats for the first time since the 1970s.

Vice-presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris made several appearances in Texas on Saturday AEDT.

“I’m really happy Sen Harris came down. We would love to see Joe Biden in Texas, it would be absolutely catalytic,” O’Rourke said.

O’Rourke added that if the Biden wins Texas, which would be an upset, then it will be the product of decades of local activism.

“This isn’t a fluke. It’s something that has been building for a while,” O’Rourke told CNN.

“If Biden wins [Texas] on November 3, it will be less about the top of the ticket than about the down ballot candidates who are energising voters and sending them to the top of the ticket.”

Trump pulls away in Iowa: Des Moines Register poll

A Des Moines Register poll showed Donald Trump with a seven-point lead over Joe Biden in Iowa, 48 per cent to 41 per cent, after the two were tied in the same series in September with 47 per cent each.

The survey's an outlier after several recent polls showed the Iowa race too close to call. Biden's campaign has targeted the state aggressively with advertising.

The survey of 814 likely voters was taken October 26-29. It had a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.

"The president is holding demographic groups that he won in Iowa four years ago," said J. Ann Selzer, president of the polling company Selzer & Co.

Since September Trump's standing has improved among independent voters, while his support has slipped among women, according to the poll.

The Real Clear Politics average of recent Iowa polls, updated to include the Des Moines Register survey, shows Trump up by 0.5 points.

Bloomberg

Watch: Donald Trump speaks at his fourth rally of the day in Pennsylvania

US President Donald Trump is speaking at his fourth rally in Pennsylvania today as he appears in Montoursville.

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Trump calls on government to find fracking's impact on economy, cost of banning oil, gas

President Donald Trump says he’s issued a memorandum that calls on government agencies to determine fracking’s impact on the economy and trade and the costs of banning the oil and gas extraction through fracking.

The president has repeatedly charged that Biden will end fracking — a big industry in Pennsylvania and other states — even as the former vice president has said that he does not support such a ban.

Donald Trump may be staging a late comeback in Pennsylvania.

Donald Trump may be staging a late comeback in Pennsylvania.Credit:AP

Biden’s more liberal Democratic primary opponents, including his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris, have said they supported imposing restrictions on the industry.

“In other words, if one of these maniacs come along and they say we’re gonna end fracking we’re gonna destroy the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” Trump said in announcing his memorandum at rally in Butler, Pennsylvania. “You can say ‘sorry about that.’”

Trump told the crowd he signed the memorandum while on Marine One after landing in Butler.

AP

I’d rather have what I have!”: Biden calls out Trump's hair

Former vice-president Joe Biden is letting loose against President Donald Trump in the final days of the presidential campaign.

At a drive-in rally in Detroit on Saturday night, Biden made fun of Trump for everything from his hairdo to his cozy relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin to Trump’s description of himself as a “perfect physical specimen.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama speak in Michigan on Sunday AEDT.

Former Vice President Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama speak in Michigan on Sunday AEDT.Credit:AP

Biden noted the president “likes to portray himself as a tough guy,” but noted Trump was laughed at by United Nations leaders.

“Tough guy, my — my word,” Biden said, pausing just short of finishing the quip with a vulgar word.

Noting Trump has called himself a “perfect physical specimen,” Biden, a devout Catholic, jokingly made the sign of the cross.

And referencing a New York Times report that Trump took $70,000 in tax deductions for hair care, Biden quipped, “I hardly have any hair, but I’ll tell you what man, I’d rather have what I have!”

While the Democratic presidential candidate often takes jabs at Trump, on Saturday night, campaigning alongside former President Barack Obama — who also roundly mocked Trump — Biden seemed to be having more fun than usual with his attacks.

AP

North Carolina voter rally ends with pepper spray, arrests

GRAHAM, NORTH CAROLINA: A get-out-the vote rally in swing state North Carolina on Saturday ended with police using pepper spray on some participants and making several arrests.

Multiple people were arrested outside Alamance County's courthouse and police used pepper spray to disperse the crowd, news outlets reported.

Lindsay Ayling, a graduate student and anti-racism activist who participated in the rally, told The Associated Press police used tear gas indiscriminately and without reason on the crowd, including on children.

“The police were looking for excuses to use pepper spray and arrest members of the crowd," she said.

Police did not immediately comment, but the department said it would hold a news conference Saturday afternoon to discuss the arrests.

Saturday is the last day to vote early in North Carolina, a key battleground President Donald Trump needs to win to boost his prospects of defeating Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein called the events “troubling." He said election officials told him that polling places stayed open and people continued to vote.

“All eligible voters in North Carolina have a constitutional right to cast their vote safely and securely, without threats or intimidation,” said Stein, a Democrat.

Alamance County sheriff’s deputies began dismantling a sound system and telling the crowd to disperse as people were giving speeches, the Raleigh News & Observer reported.

The “I Am Change” march to the polls was organised by activist Rev. Greg Drumwright, and began as a march from a local church to the courthouse.

A Confederate monument outside the courthouse has been a local target for demonstrations since the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police in May.

Floyd, a Black man, died after a white officer pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck for several minutes.

AP

Biden expands Wisconsin lead

Former vice-president Joe Biden expanded his lead over President Donald Trump in Wisconsin over the last month, according to a new poll by Emerson College, their last one before the election on Wednesday AEDT.

The Wisconsin Emerson College poll, conducted October 29-30, had a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points. It showed Biden leading Trump 53 per cent to 45 per cent. Biden's lead over Trump increased by one point from the same poll last month.

US President Donald Trump dances to YMCA during a rally in Janesville, Wisconsin in October.

US President Donald Trump dances to YMCA during a rally in Janesville, Wisconsin in October.Credit:AP

In the past week both candidates have campaigned in Wisconsin, which along with Michigan and Pennsylvania is seen as key to winning the White House. Trump won all three states in 2016, the first time a Republican candidate had managed to do so since 1984, and Biden will need to take some of them back to win.

Independent voters in Wisconsin favoured Biden over Trump by 54 per cent to 39 per cent. While Biden has a 16-point lead among suburban voters in Wisconsin and a 17-point lead with urban voters, Trump holds an edge among rural voters, 52 per cent to 45 per cent. The economy ranked as the most important issue for voters, and Trump's approval rating was at 45 per cent.

In Vigo County, Indiana, whose voters have chosen the winning candidate in all but two presidential elections since 1888, it's a dead heat. Biden and Trump each have 48 per cent support. Indiana is usually a heavily Republican state; Trump won the county handily in 2016.

Bloomberg

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2020-11-01 02:09:00Z
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Covid: What will the England lockdown achieve? - BBC News

Covid: What will the England lockdown achieve?

By James Gallagher
Health and science correspondent

Published
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  • Coronavirus pandemic
Shoppers wearing face masks
image copyrightPA Media

Here we go again.

Lockdown is the measure nobody "wanted", but now multiple European countries have decided they "need".

Some people predicted this moment was inevitable even before the summer. Others hoped the second wave was not a significant threat, the rise in cases was only due to more tests being carried out, and that because cases were concentrated in the young it didn't really matter.

But on Saturday, the prime minister told the nation that without locking down there would be a medical disaster, the NHS would be overwhelmed and for the first time in our lives it would not be there for us.

And yet, while lockdowns can be effective in suppressing the virus for a while, they do not solve the problem of Covid-19 and can create a whole new set of problems.

So, what is the government trying to achieve - will it save Christmas, what happens after lockdown is lifted, and could we be trapped in a permanent cycle of lockdowns?

What is the point?

The aim is simple - to avoid hospitals buckling under the weight of Covid patients and to stop people dying.

While your chance of surviving Covid has been transformed with better treatment, that still requires a hospital bed and staff.

The government says that on current trends, hospitals in some parts of the country could run out of space in weeks and the NHS as a whole, including the extra Nightingales, by Christmas.

If that happens then deaths, from Covid and other diseases, would soar with doctors unable to treat everyone.

Will lockdown drive cases down?

The answer is almost certainly yes, but by how much is a tricky question.

We cannot expect the same results as the first lockdown because this is not the same as the first lockdown. The role of schools in particular remains a major unknown.

Millions of children were banished from the classrooms in March and this will not be repeated in Lockdown 2.0.

But the Office for National Statistics has reported infections are "steeply increasing" in secondary school children. What exactly this means is still debated.

There are predictions that the four-week lockdown could drive infections down significantly - possibly to just a quarter of their current level.

But in a worst case, four weeks of pain might lead to just a 10% drop and we would still be in a sticky situation.

It will take around two weeks into the lockdown before we can tell how well it is working.

People inside a pub in Westminster watching Boris Johnson announce new lockdown measures
image copyrightReuters

Why will lockdown cut infections?

Lockdowns stop us spending time with other people.

The coronavirus thrives on the fact that we are social and the only tool we have for stopping the virus is to cut the number of people we meet in our daily lives.

Everything we are doing is making an impact. The R number - the number of people each infected person passes the virus on to on average - was around 3 in March.

Now it is around 1.2, but anything above one means the number of cases will continue to grow exponentially. Lockdown should push the R number below one.

Will lockdown save lives?

Cutting infections would cut the number of deaths with Covid, but there would be a lag before the effect kicks in.

It is likely that deaths with Covid will continue to rise throughout the lockdown due to the long delay between people catching the virus, needing hospital treatment and dying.

The people who die with Covid at the end of November probably already have the virus today.

But lockdown will cost lives too. Last time some people who needed emergency care, including those having a stroke, did not seek help.

And there will be an economic hit that will make people poorer and affect long-term mental and physical health.

Will cases rise when lockdown is lifted?

If nothing else changes and we return to the restrictions we have today, then yes.

The point of locking down is fewer people get infected, but this means fewer build up immunity to the virus, although this remains a heavily debated area.

It means a high proportion of the population would remain vulnerable to the infection and is why some scientists expect a third or more waves of the virus that are managed by repeat lockdowns.

It's this issue that means some groups argue a completely different approach is needed.

But it buys time

Only buying time might sound pointless and like delaying the inevitable, but it allows for scientific progress.

The first lockdown gave UK researchers the opportunity to discover the first drug that saves lives from Covid-19, dexamethasone. We are in a better position now than we were.

It has also brought us, hopefully, to the cusp of a vaccine. Data on the first trials are expected imminently.

The government also says mass testing is on the horizon. The details are not yet clear, but China has been using it to test entire cities of millions in order to root out the virus.

It also gets us closer to spring. The seasons are turning against as the moment.

The virus persists more easily in the cold, we tend to meet indoors rather than outside and even shutting the windows because it's chilly makes it easier for the virus to spread. All that swings in our favour once the weather starts warming up.

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Lower cases make it easier to control the virus, in theory.

The government's Test and Trace programme is struggling badly.

It is like a stool that needs three legs to stay standing up. It needs testing capacity, the ability to rapidly trace contacts and for people to isolate in order to work.

One leg is fine as the UK has dramatically increased testing capacity. The problem is the other two are busted - contact tracing is far too slow and not everyone is isolating - so the programme is on the floor.

It should perform better when cases are low, but there are no guarantees the lockdown will get cases low enough and even Germany's widely-praised testing programme has not been able to stay on top of the virus.

Will all this save Christmas?

We simply do not know.

The lower the levels of the virus are the closer we might get, but the government is planning for the whole of winter not just for one day.

It is notable that Boris Johnson, who in the past has promised "normality by Christmas" acknowledge this year may in fact be "very different".

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2020-11-01 00:22:00Z
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US Election 2020 LIVE updates: Joe Biden, Barack Obama campaign in Michigan, Donald Trump chases Pennsylvania - The Sydney Morning Herald

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Watch: Biden/Obama speak in Detroit, Trump rallies in Pennsylvania

Former vice-president Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama (plus musical legend Stevie Wonder and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer) appeared at a drive-in rally in Detroit, Michigan today.

President Donald Trump spoke at a mass rally in Pennsylvania this morning.

Latest updates

Biden expands Wisconsin lead

Former vice-president Joe Biden expanded his lead over President Donald Trump in Wisconsin over the last month, according to a new poll by Emerson College, their last one before the election on Wednesday AEDT.

The Wisconsin Emerson College poll, conducted October 29-30, had a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points. It showed Biden leading Trump 53 per cent to 45 per cent. Biden's lead over Trump increased by one point from the same poll last month.

US President Donald Trump dances to YMCA during a rally in Janesville, Wisconsin in October.

US President Donald Trump dances to YMCA during a rally in Janesville, Wisconsin in October.Credit:AP

In the past week both candidates have campaigned in Wisconsin, which along with Michigan and Pennsylvania is seen as key to winning the White House. Trump won all three states in 2016, the first time a Republican candidate had managed to do so since 1984, and Biden will need to take some of them back to win.

Independent voters in Wisconsin favoured Biden over Trump by 54 per cent to 39 per cent. While Biden has a 16-point lead among suburban voters in Wisconsin and a 17-point lead with urban voters, Trump holds an edge among rural voters, 52 per cent to 45 per cent. The economy ranked as the most important issue for voters, and Trump's approval rating was at 45 per cent.

In Vigo County, Indiana, whose voters have chosen the winning candidate in all but two presidential elections since 1888, it's a dead heat. Biden and Trump each have 48 per cent support. Indiana is usually a heavily Republican state; Trump won the county handily in 2016.

Bloomberg

Trump closing out election criticising those fighting COVID-19

By Jeff Mason

PENNSYLVANIA: President Donald Trump is spending the closing days of his re-election campaign criticising public officials and medical professionals who are trying to combat the coronavirus pandemic even as it surges back across the United States.

Trump was to hold four election rallies in the battleground state of Pennsylvania on Saturday, as he tries to close ground with Democratic rival Joe Biden before Tuesday's election.

At a small, in-person rally in Newtown, Pennsylvania, Trump mocked Biden for his criticism of the Republican's record of fighting COVID-19, which has killed more people in the United States than in any other country.

"I watched Joe Biden speak yesterday. All he talks about is COVID, COVID. He's got nothing else to say. COVID, COVID," Trump told the crowd, some of whom did not wear masks.

He said the United States was "just weeks away" from mass distribution of a safe vaccine against COVID-19, which is pushing hospitals to capacity and killing up to 1,000 people in the United States each day. Trump gave no details to back up his remarks about an imminent vaccine.

Opinion polls show Trump trailing former Vice President Biden nationally, but with a closer contest in the most competitive states that will decide the election. Voters say the coronavirus is their top concern.

Campaigning in the Midwest on Friday, Trump falsely said doctors earn more money when their patients die of the disease, building on his past criticism of medical experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious diseases expert.

The president criticised Democratic officials in Minnesota for enforcing social-distancing rules that limited his rally to 250 people. "It's a small thing, but a horrible thing," he said.

Biden, for his part, has accused Trump of giving up in the fight against the disease, which has killed almost 229,000 people in the United States.

Stanford University economists on Saturday released an estimate that Trump rallies held from June to September led to more than 30,000 additional COVID-19 infections and possibly as many as 700 deaths. The study was based on a statistical model and not actual investigations of coronavirus cases. The paper, which did not cite disease experts among its authors, has not been peer-reviewed.

Public health officials have repeatedly warned that Trump campaign events could hasten the spread of the virus, particularly those held in places where infection rates were already on the rise. Determining the actual impact of those rallies on infection rates has been difficult due to the lack of robust contact tracing in many U.S. states.

Amesh Adalja, an infectious diseases expert at the Johns Hopkins Centre for Health Security, described the report as "suggestive."

“I would just say it’s suggestive but hard to completely isolate the specific impact of one event without robust contact trace data from the cases,” Adalja said.

Biden’s campaign, which has sharply limited crowd sizes at events or restricted supporters to their cars, quickly seized on the Stanford findings.

"Trump doesn't even care about the very lives of his strongest supporters," Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement. Trump's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.

Reuters

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Barricades and boarded-up windows near Trump Tower

By Megan Levy

NEW YORK: The section of Fifth Avenue near Trump Tower in Midtown Manhattan resembled a construction zone on Saturday morning as police began barricading off roads, and luxury retailers and hotels boarded up their windows in preparation for any potential election day turmoil.

Bergdorf Goodman was still welcoming customers into its high-end department store as workers stood on ladders and drilled plywood boards over its windows, an American flag attached to the building fluttering in the breeze above them.

Next door, the historic Paris Theatre - still shuttered like all of Manhattan’s movie theatres due to the coronavirus pandemic - was sealing its doors, while the red carpet welcoming guests at The Plaza Hotel near Central Park led up a set of stairs to an entrance hidden behind plywood panels.

It's a scene repeated all over Manhattan, and in cities across the country, as businesses brace for the possibility of civil unrest linked to the election.

The intersection of Fifth Avenue and 56th Street in front of Trump Tower has been surrounded by concrete barriers and metal barricades since Trump won the 2016 election, but on Saturday NYPD officers were extending the metal barricades along two surrounding blocks.

The already significant police presence around the tower is also expected to be boosted in the coming days.

It was four years ago on the campaign trail that then-presidential hopeful Donald Trump boasted that his supporters were so loyal he could "stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters".

On that very avenue, as the bitter 2020 presidential contest nears an end, extraordinary precautions are being taken to prevent any potential violence linked to the election.

'The mic needs ObamaCare': Obama's microphone drops out

By Roy Ward

Former US President Barack Obama was forced to wait on stage and joke around during a rally in Detroit, Michigan on Sunday AEST.

As Obama was hitting his stride while hitting out current President Donald Trump for his attacks on ObamaCare, also known as the Affordable Care Act, his microphone faded out with supporters at the drive-in event sounding their horns and yelling they couldn't hear him.

After being told that the microphones and speakers were being reset, a smiling, energised Obama joked with those closest to the stage.

A camera microphone picked up a crowd member yelling 'The mic needs ObamaCare' and another offering him a megaphone.

After a few minutes the speakers kicked in again and he continued his speech encouraging voters to turn out in huge numbers as Michigan is one of the key states in th election.

NBA coach Steve Kerr votes, volunteers at polling booth

By Janie McCauley

SAN FRANCISCO: Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr cast his vote, then spent some of his own time Saturday morning greeting others who visited the ballot drop-off location at Chase Centre, his team's home stadium.

Kerr handed out blue, Warriors-themed “I Voted” stickers to match the one on his gray sweatshirt.

“It's an easy way to vote, I just dropped my ballot off,” Kerr said.

“We're trying to remind everybody not only of the importance of voting, but we're trying to make it as easy as possible to exercise your vote. It's important for everybody to have that right and to have easy access."

He posed for photos with fans, stood in for selfies and talked some basketball, too, of course.

But most of all, Kerr wanted to support the early voters and encourage others to take to the polls as the election (Wednesday AEST) nears.

The Warriors' former practice facility in downtown Oakland — now used for their youth camp operations — will be a voting place on Wednesday AEST.

“It’s just a good way for us as a company, as a team, an organisation, to remind people we’re not just a basketball team. We’re hopefully an asset to the community and we want to be able to help people, and hopefully win a bunch of games in the process and keep everybody entertained, but we'd like to think that we're an important part of the community," Kerr said. “And we need to prove that by doing things like this.”

Members of Kerr's family also stopped by the first-year arena to turn in their ballots Saturday.

An outspoken NBA face on issues such as gun violence, police brutality and racial injustice, Kerr applauded the youth working to make positive change. He walked in an Oakland peace march this past spring.

His father, Malcolm, president of the American University of Beirut, was murdered in Beirut when Kerr was 18 and a freshman at the University of Arizona.

In March 2018, Kerr took part in the Oakland March for Our Lives.

Earlier that same month, he joined Democratic Congressmen Ro Khanna and Mike Thompson — chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force — and students from throughout the South Bay during a town hall at Newark Memorial High School to discuss gun violence in schools and cheered the efforts of youth nationwide.

Kerr said it isn't hard to do double duty right now as a basketball coach and a voice as a public figure with a platform for those who don't have one.

“I think in some ways the balance is presented to us, given what's happening around the country,” Kerr said.

“I know that when I played, players and coaches were never — maybe not never — rarely asked about politics and voting."

“But the times are different. Our country is in turmoil and everybody plays a role,” he said. "If we're truly a democracy, then ‘We the People,' that's the key phrase, right, in the Constitution, ‘We the People.’ So, who's that? That's us. It's not somebody making decisions for us, it's us making decisions about who we're going to elect to help lead our country.”

Trump supporters force Democrats to cancel Texas events, court could throw out 100k votes

There are multiple reports and videos from Texas that Biden campaign events had to be cancelled on Saturday AEDT due to harassment from US President Donald Trump's supporters.

State representative Sheryl Cole tweeted that the Biden campaign was forced cancel an event in Pfugerville due to 'security reasons'.

There are also videos of Trump supporters following the Biden-Harris bus.

A report has also emerged that a Federal Court Judge Andrew Haden will hold an emergency hearing on Tuesday AEDT time (Monday US time) after Texas Republicans asked for 100,000 votes from Harris County in Houston to be tossed out.

Their argument is that only state legislatures can make laws about elections and that the 100,000 votes were cast via drive-in services that were set up by the Harris County Clerk due to COVID-19.

Slate legal writer Mark Joseph Stern tweeted in detail about the case and his concerns about Judge Haden.

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US sets new daily COVID-19 world record with 99,325 new cases on Saturday

The US reported 99,325 new cases Saturday AEDT, the most for any country in a single day as infections and hospitalizations surged in the lead-up to the presidential election.

With the US reporting almost 100,000 new cases on Friday just days ahead of the election, North Dakota led the increase in infections with a 6.8 per cent rise in cases to almost 43,916, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg.

Wyoming, South Dakota, Montana and Missouri had the next-biggest increases, ranging from 4.2 per cent to 3.1 per cent. Colorado, Kansas and Wisconsin all showed 2.4 per cent increases.

Texas reported the most new deaths with 109.

Bloomberg News

Trump rallies caused more than 30,000 COVID-19 cases and likely led to 700 deaths, study finds

By Dave Goldiner

President Donald Trump's massive campaign rallies led to more than 30,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and likely caused the death of 700 Americans, a new study says.

The Stanford University paper released Friday took a close look at 18 Trump rallies between June and September and followed subjects "up to ten post-rally weeks for each event".

A supporter waits for President Donald Trump to arrive and speak at a campaign rally on Saturday AEDT.

A supporter waits for President Donald Trump to arrive and speak at a campaign rally on Saturday AEDT.Credit:AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn

"The communities in which Trump rallies took place paid a high price in terms of disease and death," researchers concluded.

Rates of COVID-19 often rose notably in communities that hosted the events, compared with nearby towns where Trump stayed away, the study found.

"There are some indications that compliance with public health guidelines, such as the use of masks, improved at later rallies," researchers wrote. "While it would be worth evaluating the diminution of treatment effects resulting from greater compliance, we currently lack sufficient compliance data to conduct that investigation."

The Trump campaign has insisted that it offers participants masks and temperature checks at his rallies.

A Biden spokesman criticised the Trump rallies as "super spreader" events that violate common-sense public health rules.

Biden's rallies have featured smaller invitation-only crowds, with more masks and social distancing.

New York Daily News

Networks pledge caution for an election night like no other

By Michael M. Grynbaum

Batches of ballots that will be counted at different times, depending on the swing state. Twitter gadflies and foreign agents intent on sowing confusion. A president who has telegraphed for months that he may not accept results he deems unfavorable.

Television executives overseeing this year's election night broadcasts are facing big challenges. And the world will be watching.

People watch from their vehicle as President Donald Trump, on left of video screen, and Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speak during a Presidential Debate Watch Party at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco

People watch from their vehicle as President Donald Trump, on left of video screen, and Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speak during a Presidential Debate Watch Party at Fort Mason Center in San FranciscoCredit:AP

"Frankly, the well-being of the country depends on us being cautious, disciplined and unassailably correct," said Noah Oppenheim, the NBC News president. "We are committed to getting this right."

In interviews, the men and women in charge of network news coverage — the platform that tens of millions of Americans will turn to on Tuesday to make sense of a confusing vote count and learn the future of their country — made similar pledges.

Patience. Caution. And constant reassurance to viewers about the integrity of the results. "We have to be incredibly transparent all through the night with what we know and what we don't know," said George Stephanopoulos, who will anchor the proceedings for ABC News.

To accommodate the idiosyncrasies of this pandemic-era campaign, networks are planning tweaks to the way some election nights looked in the past.

Real-time results will be displayed in the context of the total expected vote, including the absentee and mail-in ballots that will account for a high proportion of it. The usual metric, "precincts reporting," is tied to in-person votes on Election Day, which producers expect to be potentially misleading.

The "decision desks," the teams of data experts at news organisations who project results, say they are not competing over who calls a race first. "We're preparing the audience that this might not be over in one night," said Susan Zirinsky, president of CBS News.

And combating misinformation — be it from online mischief-makers or falsehoods from the commander-in-chief — is a priority, particularly in educating Americans that any delays in declaring a victor stem from care, not chicanery.

"Just because a count may take longer does not mean that something is necessarily wrong," said Sam Feist, CNN's Washington bureau chief. "It may not even mean that it's a close race. We have to constantly remind the viewer that patience will be needed and this may take some time in critical states, and that doesn't mean anything is untoward."

The New York Times

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2020-10-31 23:46:00Z
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