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Senin, 02 November 2020

US election LIVE updates: Donald Trump, Joe Biden hit the last day of the campaign trail in swing states - The Sydney Morning Herald

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'We better ask Ben': The quiet architect of Biden’s plan to rescue the US economy

In recent months, Joe Biden's campaign developed a virtual road show to reassure executives, investment fund managers and financiers who were nervous that the Democratic candidate's plans to increase taxes could hurt the US economic recovery.

Penny Pritzker, the billionaire former commerce secretary under President Barack Obama, would lead off with an overview of Biden's plans. But the worried capitalists always wanted details, and for that, Pritzker would turn over the video calls to the little-known fulcrum of the Biden campaigns economic policymaking: a 43-year-old tax and budget specialist named Ben Harris.

Joe Biden's economic advisor Ben Harris

Joe Biden's economic advisor Ben HarrisCredit:C-Span

Biden has a sprawling and secretive orbit of economists offering him policy advice as he seeks to pacify an insurgent liberal wing of economic thinkers within the Democratic Party and the business leaders who still feel mistreated by the Obama-Biden administration. Harris, an economist who is relatively anonymous even to other economists, has taken a starring role in both efforts.

A former chief economist for Biden in the White House, Harris helped fashion a campaign agenda from the work of a small inner circle and hundreds of outside economists and sell it to the donors, executives, labor unions and activists that Biden needs behind him to win the election. He has two other jobs but works up to 50 hours a week for Biden, unpaid.

The economy will present an immediate challenge for whoever wins the presidency. The nation is rebounding from its pandemic recession, but economic indicators show that the improvement has slowed or stopped in key areas. Economists are pushing Biden to quickly rally support for the type of trillion-dollar economic stimulus plan that Congress and the White House have yet to agree on, while also pressing him to bring about the kind of economic equality that Democrats say will require a big rethinking about tax and spending policies.

Widely shared photo of Biden without mask was taken in 2019

And here's some more fake news from the Trump camp, who have seized on a photo circulating on Twitter since late Sunday that shows Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden not wearing a mask while he talks to a campaign staffer on a plane.

Why wasn't Biden, who has made a point to put on a facial covering throughout the campaign, wearing a mask? Because the photo was taken in November 2019, before the first case of the new coronavirus was reported, and months before global health officials began urging people to wear masks in order to stop the spread of the virus.

The image was shared on Twitter by Trump's former acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, where it was liked and shared from his account more than 50,000 times. Grenell, who currently serves as special presidential envoy for Serbia and Kosovo peace negotiations, was a US ambassador to Germany for two years before resigning in June.

When contacted by The Associated Press, Grenell did not answer questions about whether he knew the image was old before sharing it with his 671,000 followers.

Mask wearing has become a political issue on the campaign trail, with Biden frequently putting one on in public and Trump rarely doing so, and even mocking Biden for wearing a mask so often.

AP

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The other presidential candidates

Of course, all of the focus this week will be on President Donald Trump and Democrat candidate Joe Biden, but there are more than two names on the respective state presidential ballots.

Most state ballots have four candidates on the ballot: Trump, Biden and the alliterative duo of Libertarian Jo Jorgensen and Green Howie Hawkins.

Are Jorgensen or Hawkins in contention? Of course not. But an interesting difference between the US and Australian electoral systems is there is only preferential voting in one US state – Maine, and only since 2016 – so these other candidates can take votes away from the main players.

There are also seven other candidates who have made it onto at least five of the states' presidential ballots, they are Don Blankenship, Brian T Carroll, Roque De La Fuente, Alyson Kennedy, Gloria La Riva, Brock Pierce and, yes, Kanye West, who is encouraging people to write his name in on ballots where it does not appear.

Two candidates, two different messages

These two tweets, posted seconds apart, by the two presidential candidates indicate something of the difference in their approach: Trump's tightly packed crowd, Biden's succinct pandemic policy statement.

Trump is now on a plane to Michigan, his third state of the day after his Florida rally ran into the early hours of Monday morning.

Biden will be staying in Pennsylvania until this evening: he will have a drive-in event for the black community in Pittsburgh about 9.40am AEDT before his Gaga concert Monday night, US time (about 11am AEDT for us).

Speaking of Twitter, here's their plan to stop fake news on election day

Twitter has outlined a plan for placing warning labels on tweets from US election candidates and campaigns that claim victory in advance of official results.

The move comes as the social network braces for what it has called an unusual election due to a high number of mail-in ballots that may cause a delay in final results.

Beginning on election night through to the inauguration, Twitter said it would place warning labels such as "official sources called this election differently", or "official sources may not have called the race when this was tweeted".

US-based accounts with more than 100,000 followers and a significant engagement will also be considered for labelling, Twitter said.

The company said it would consider state election officials and national news outlets such as ABC News, Associated Press, CNN and Fox News that have independent election decision desks as official sources for results.

Twitter flags fake Biden video shared by Trump supporters

Twitter has flagged a fake video shared widely by Donald Trump supporters as "manipulated media" as social media services attempt to crack down on misinformation.

The video appeared to show Democrat candidate Joe Biden saying “Hello, Minnesota!”, despite signs behind him and a text line beneath him in the video indicated the video was taken in Florida. The trouble? The signs and text line had been doctored.

Several sources prove that Biden did not address the wrong state in his greeting and he was indeed in Minnesota.

The video had more than a million views on Twitter on Sunday and was spreading quickly.

On Monday, US time, Twitter marked the video as "manipulated media", but not after it had been shared by a number of Trump supporters with high follower counts.

with AP

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US virus death toll passes 230,000

As you can see from the pictures of that Trump rally, there are hundreds of people gathered standing shoulder to shoulder and some without masks.

It's a rather foreign sight for Australian readers, some of whom are not allowed to leave the house without a mask and most of whom are not allowed to gather in such numbers.

Supporters listen as President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at the Wilkes-Barre Scranton International Airport.

Supporters listen as President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at the Wilkes-Barre Scranton International Airport.Credit:AP

So, as the US death coronavirus death toll passes 230,000 – the CDC reported more than 77,000 new cases in its latest 24-hour reporting period – what is the coronavirus situation like in Pennsylvania?

Like many states in the US, Pennsylvania has seen an uptick in cases since September: a record high 2527 new cases were recorded on Friday, followed by 2009 on Saturday and 1755 on Sunday.

Confused Trump blames US Supreme Court for ballot ruling

President Donald Trump – whose rally is still going, nearly an hour after Biden's finished – is assailing a decision that allows Pennsylvania’s elections officials to count mailed ballots that are received in the three days after Tuesday’s election.

Trump falsely blamed the US Supreme Court when, in fact, Pennsylvania’s top court ordered the extension until November 6, even if the ballot doesn't have a clear postmark, as long as there is not proof it was mailed after the polls closed. The US Supreme Court then refused to block Pennsylvania’s decision.

President Donald Trump arrives for a campaign rally at Wilkes-Barre Scranton International Airport.

President Donald Trump arrives for a campaign rally at Wilkes-Barre Scranton International Airport.Credit:AP

Addressing a campaign rally Monday in battleground Pennsylvania, Trump called the situation "very dangerous, and I mean dangerous, physically dangerous".

He argued that "you can’t extend dates" and claimed — without evidence — that cheating goes on in the Democratic stronghold of Philadelphia.

Trump has previously said that once the polls close Tuesday, "we’re going in with our lawyers" to try to stop Pennsylvania from counting the mailed ballots received after the election.

AP

Texas drive-through votes will count, rules judge

By Jan Wolfe and Jennifer Hiller

A federal judge in Texas on Monday denied an attempt by Republicans to throw out about 127,000 votes already cast in the US presidential election at drive-through voting sites in Houston, a Democratic-leaning area.

The plaintiffs had accused County Clerk Chris Hollins, a Democrat, of acting illegally when he allowed drive-through voting as an alternative during the coronavirus pandemic.

US District Judge Andrew Hanen said the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the case.

The lawsuit was brought last Wednesday by plaintiffs including state Representative Steve Toth, conservative activist Steve Hotze, and judicial candidate Sharon Hemphill.

Harris County, home to the city of Houston and 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.

Reuters

Meanwhile, Trump brings Farage to Biden's hometown

Donald Trump is still speaking in Scranton, Pennsylvania, alongside unexpected hype man, British pro-Brexit, anti-lockdown politician Nigel Farage.

Scranton is, of course, Joe Biden's hometown (unless you ask Trump, who has accused Biden of leaning too heavily on coming from an area he left when he was 10). Our reporter Farrah Tomazin was there back in September and was told by some residents, after four years of Donald Trump, they’re desperately hoping their home town hero wins the White House in November.

"He comes to visit now and then," said shop assistant Alyssa Owens, whose family run the Hanks Hoagies sandwich shop where Biden’s cardboard image has pride of place near the main entrance.

"Whenever he’s here he always goes to visit his old house down on North Washington Avenue to say hello to the lady that lives there. It’s very sweet. We hope to see him again soon, though - before his big day!"

It is no coincidence that both Biden and Trump have found themselves in Pennsylvania on the last day of the campaign: the rust-belt state is a crucial part of their path to victory, along with the mid-west battlefields of Michigan and Wisconsin.

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2020-11-02 21:53:00Z
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