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Republicans are on the verge of a spectacular upside-down achievement

27.10.2020 5:57


President Trump and congressional Republicans could be headed to a stinging, possibly historic defeat on November 3. With the president down nearly 10 points in national polling averages and looking up at Democratic nominee Joe Biden in every critical battleground state, five incumbent Republican senators trailing their Democratic challengers, another handful tied or barely ahead, and Republicans likely to lose at least a few seats in the House, too, it looks as though the verdict voters hand down about the last four years of our history will be sharp and, by the standards of our polarized, partisan era, incontrovertible.The president, due largely to his bottomless repertoire of repulsive antics and divisive hyper-partisanship, was on track to lose the election even before the COVID-19 nightmare upended the lives of everyone on Earth. His sociopathic indifference to our suffering caused his political standing to crater even further, whereas a simple determination to try to do the right thing — even had he failed — probably could have saved both him and his party. And his commitment since the summer to making it all so much worse by gallivanting around the country holding superspreader rallies full of unmasked, heedless acolytes bent on throwing their recklessness in the faces of everyone who has sacrificed so much for the past eight miserable months has almost certainly sealed his political fate and that of his party.If it happens, a Republican wipeout will also be close to a unique achievement in American history. It's been almost 130 years since a presidential candidate captured the office back from the other party, brought both houses of Congress with him, and then frittered it all away in four short years. The last person to notch this dubious achievement was Grover Cleveland, still the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms in office. In his second, disastrous spin through the White House, he brought a Democratic House and Senate with him after defeating the incumbent Republican President Benjamin Harrison. The panic of 1893 set in almost immediately after his inauguration (as did oral cancer, which he kept secret), and the ensuing economic depression dragged down his popularity.The Democrats were also — like the GOP today — swimming against a heavy partisan current. Cleveland was the only Democrat elected president between 1860 and 1912, and Republicans controlled Congress for the majority of those 52 years too. While Cleveland declined to run for a third term, the party's nominee in 1896, William Jennings Bryan, lost the election to Republican William McKinley after Republicans had seized both houses of Congress in the 1894 midterms. Due in part to Cleveland's mess of a presidency, it would be another 16 years before a Democrat would again win a presidential election. In hindsight, Cleveland's tenure looks like a blip in a long period of GOP dominance.The Republicans might be staring at a similar prognosis in the near future. Jimmy Carter might even live long enough to see an incumbent president lose by a larger popular vote margin than he did (9.7 points) to Ronald Reagan. What makes the political disaster of Trumpism a more monumental upside-down accomplishment than, say, Herbert Hoover losing the presidency and both chambers of Congress to FDR and the Democrats in 1932 is that like Cleveland, Trump and the Republicans were given a fresh mandate by voters in 2016, while Hoover's four years came on the heels of two-term Republican president Calvin Coolidge. No party has won a third consecutive presidential term since George H. W. Bush and the Republicans in 1988, but it is nevertheless rare for the public to turn this quickly and decisively against a party that so recently won total control of the government. To be sure, Trump lost the popular vote, and Republicans received fewer votes in the Senate, and won the House vote by just a point, but they still swept victoriously into Washington in January 2017, believing their stay in power would be lengthy.It doesn't look good for them anymore.Is a total Democratic takeover on Tuesday a slam dunk? Certainly not. While Trump himself looks like an almost certain loser based on today's polling, and while Republicans have almost no chance of retaking the House of Representatives, it is the Senate where the Democrats' dreams of unified government might still die.Thanks to a dreadful Senate map in 2018 that saw Democrats defending seats in red states like North Dakota, Missouri, and Indiana, the GOP actually increased its slim majority to 53 despite an extremely difficult national environment in which Democrats won the popular vote for the House by more than 8 points. The defeat of incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson in Florida was particularly consequential, because he led Republican Rick Scott throughout the campaign, and his loss made this year's math much tougher.This year's map might not be as hostile as 2018's, but Democrats still have their work cut out for them. Republicans are defending just two seats in states that Hillary Clinton won — Cory Gardner's in Colorado and Susan Collins' in Maine. Therefore the path to a Democratic Senate would have to run through at least two states won by Trump in 2016. And Collins, who was re-elected by 37 points in 2014, is not a complete goner like Gardner and should not be underestimated.Thanks to the ongoing leftward shift in Arizona and incumbent Sen. Martha McSally's self-inflicted unpopularity, Democrats have what looks to be a high-likelihood pickup there with former astronaut Mark Kelly (and the husband of sympathetic shooting victim and former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords) as their nominee. McSally would be the first person in American history to lose both of her state's Senate seats to the other party in the span of two years. She would make three flips, but Democrats have yet another red state senator facing nearly insurmountable headwinds in Doug Jones (Ala.), who is down double digits in most polls to his challenger, former college football coach Tommy Tuberville.That means that even if Gardner, Collins, and McSally go down, Democrats will almost certainly need one more pickup to get to 50 seats — where Kamala Harris would break the tie as vice president, should Biden win. Democratic candidates lead polling averages in two more races: in North Carolina, where incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis has not led a single poll against challenger Cal Cunningham since June, and in Iowa, where Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield holds the narrowest of leads against incumbent and onetime rising GOP star Sen. Joni Ernst.If the polls are 100 percent accurate — and they won't be, especially not in Senate races — that is 51 seats for Democrats. To expand their majority from there, Democrats would have to win some races where they are tied, as in the two Georgia races, or trail ever-so-slightly, as in South Carolina, Montana, Alaska, and Kansas.If surveys are biased against the GOP by a few points, as they were in 2014, 2016, and in several red state Senate races in 2018, Democrats are not guaranteed to win the Senate at all. But there is some tantalizing evidence that this might be a year, like 2012, where the polls underestimate Democrats across the board. The extraordinary early voting turnout combined with the unprecedented number of heavily-Democratic leaning 18- to 29-year-olds saying they will definitely turn out to vote could be a perfect storm leading to a Biden win of 12 points or more and even longer coattails down-ballot than he already has. And if that's the case, Republicans could lose anywhere from 5 to 10 seats in the Senate.They certainly have it coming. On Monday night they confirmed hard-right Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court a mere eight days before November 3 after inventing a new principle to deny Barack Obama's nominee to the court, Merrick Garland, the courtesy of a hearing eight months before the 2016 election, Republicans will now have to face the consequences of their cynical, alienating, hardball political maneuvering. While anything is still statistically possible, it looks increasingly likely that voters have had enough — of McConnell, of Trump, and of minority rule whose only guiding principle is giving the middle finger to people who disagree.Want more essential commentary and analysis like this delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for The Week's "Today's best articles" newsletter here.More stories from theweek.com The very different emotional lives of Trump and Biden voters The 19 greatest and worst presidential campaign ads of the 2020 election The Trump administration has surrendered to the pandemic

2020 Watch: Is Biden remaking the Democratic coalition?

26.10.2020 19:22


On paper, Democrat Joe Biden continues to lead President Donald Trump by a significant margin nationally, but polling suggests the race is tight in key battlegrounds like Florida, Arizona and North Carolina. Meanwhile, Trump is racing across America to reach as many voters as possible — the pandemic and public health guidance notwithstanding — while Biden sticks close to home, relying on surrogates like former President Barack Obama to energize targeted groups of Democratic voters.

Michelle Obama looks identical to daughters Sasha and Malia in unearthed school photo

26.10.2020 16:37

Michelle Obama's genes are strong! In an unearthed photo from Barack Obama's...

From: www.hellomagazine.com

Obama reveals birther conspiracy left him wondering if he could still 'connect' with voters

26.10.2020 15:41


Barack Obama has described how relentless personal attacks during his presidency, such as the "birther" conspiracy spread by Donald Trump, made him wonder if he could still "connect" with voters. In an extract from his new memoir, the former US president recalled the impact of the populist Tea Party movement on the country and revealed he resisted calls from his supporters to define the attacks as racist. The "birther" conspiracy was a claim that Mr Obama was a Muslim who was born in Kenya, and therefore constitutionally ineligible to serve as president. Mr Obama, who has made clear he is a Christian, was born in Hawaii. In the extract, published on Monday by the New Yorker, Mr Obama writes: “As a matter of principle, I didn’t believe a president should ever publicly whine about criticism from voters – it’s what you signed up for in taking the job – and I was quick to remind both reporters and friends that my white predecessors had all endured their share of vicious personal attacks and obstructionism.”

From: news.yahoo.com

Sasha Obama Proves She's Living Her Best Life in Viral TikTok

26.10.2020 12:30

What has Sasha Obama been up to since her dad, former President Barack Obama, left the White House? She's hanging with her girls on TikTok, of course. On Oct. 25, the 19-year-old set...

Severed families, raided workplaces and a climate of fear: Assessing Trump's immigration crackdown

26.10.2020 7:59


Donald Trump was on the defensive about his immigration policies in the final presidential debate, with a question about 545 migrant children taken by the U.S. government who may never be reunited with their parents. Immigration authorities say they cannot find the children’s families, many of whom have been deported to Central America. Taking children away from their families at the border was part of a broader strategy aimed at discouraging immigrants from coming. The cruelty of the family-separation policy traumatized migrant children and spurred nationwide protests. A federal judge ordered the government to reunite the separated families on June 26, 2018.Four years ago, candidate Trump was on the offensive about enforcement, portraying immigration as a threat to American security. Trump laid out his platform in an Aug. 31, 2016, campaign speech. This overview examines President Trump’s record on three big promises made in that speech. 1: The ban“[I]mmigration will be suspended [from] places like Syria and Libya.”In a 2017 executive proclamation, the Trump administration indefinitely barred immigrants from Iran, Syria, North Korea, Chad, Libya, Yemen and Somalia from entering the U.S. The rule, a revised version of the “Muslim ban” previously struck down as discriminatory, was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2018. Though the specific countries included in the ban have changed since then, the ban has dramatically limited immigration from several Muslim-majority countries. Immigrant visas to people from war-torn Yemen dropped from over 1,000 per month in 2016 to less than 100 per month in 2018. Student and tourist visas from the banned countries also plummeted.The Trump administration reduced refugee admissions allowed into the U.S. by capping the number who may be resettled in the country at 15,000 in 2020, down from 85,000 in 2016. This also disproportionately affected those from Muslim-majority regions. 2: Extreme enforcement“All immigration laws will be enforced.”This promise was, perhaps, doomed from the start. The federal government lacks capacity and popular support to fully enforce U.S. immigration laws, which one federal court called “a maze of hyper-technical statutes and regulations.” Doing so would also require surveillance and militarization that most Americans would find unacceptable.Under Trump, a system prioritizing the removal of people found guilty of a crime was replaced with instructions to deport “all removable aliens,” including those who had been allowed to stay in the U.S. by discretion of an immigration judge.To this end, the administration pledged to hire an additional 10,000 enforcement agents. Hiring has fallen short – both Border Patrol and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have fewer agents now than they did in 2016. Two numbers that have grown under Trump are the number of child migrants held in state custody and the daily total of immigrants imprisoned in prisonlike detention centers. The U.S. detains more migrants than any other country, a trend that has been growing since the Clinton administration. The daily average hit a historic peak of over 50,000 in October 2019. That population has since declined during the pandemic. 3: The wall“We will build a great wall … and Mexico will pay.”Despite an executive order signed just days into his term calling for securitizing the border, Trump has fortified less new mileage along the U.S.-Mexico border than his two predecessors. George W. Bush added about 450 miles along all four southern border states – California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas – under a bipartisan 2006 congressional agreement called the Secure Fence Act. Around 100 more miles of the border were fenced under Barack Obama. As of August 2020 Trump had covered just 5 previously unfenced miles along the U.S.-Mexico border. Double barriers or replacement fencing have also been constructed on several hundred miles since 2016.The government does not fully disclose the length or location of border walls on its website, making these figures difficult to pin down. But Trump’s 5 new miles bring the total length of fenced U.S.-Mexico border to around 660 miles. The Mexican government has refused to bankroll any of this project. So has Congress, which in 2018 rejected Trump’s request of US$18 billion to build 864 miles of border wall. Trump’s subsequent diversion of funds from the defense budget for a border wall by declaring a “state of emergency” was ruled improper by a federal appeals court earlier this month. Crackdown through criminalizationLargely stymied by the courts and Congress in implementing some of his promised anti-immigration policies, Trump and his administration advanced a strategy of harsh law enforcement and regulatory changes to crack down on immigrants.ICE regularly conducts dramatic SWAT-style raids in migrant-heavy workplaces like poultry plants and occasionally detains people near “sensitive locations” like churches, something ICE’s own guidelines recommend against. When immigrants go for a routine ICE check-in, they may be apprehended and deported. “Zero tolerance” rules expose even legal permanent residents to removal by making a long list of actions into deportable offenses, including using welfare services, admitting to addiction problems or failing to inform the government quickly of a change of address. By the numbers, President Barack Obama still removed more people each year, partly because unauthorized border crossing by Mexican nationals across the southern border was higher during the Obama years. But Trump’s immigration enforcement is more random and punitive, vastly increasing criminal prosecutions for immigration-related offenses and removing people who have been in the U.S. longer. Trump has also tried repeatedly to end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. The Trump administration has also dramatically restricted the federal system allowing migrants to apply for asylum under international and domestic law and has treated asylum seekers as if they were criminals. The administration finally shut it down entirely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many such actions have been challenged as unconstitutional, among them family separation and sending asylum seekers to Mexico to wait while their claims are processed, and the cases will be heard by the Supreme Court next year. The balanceAll told, Trump has made over 400 changes to immigration policy, largely fulfilling his 2016 promises and creating a climate of fear even among immigrants who are legal residents and citizens.However, because these changes happened almost entirely through executive ordersr – not legislative action – they can be undone by a future president, even without congressional support. But the human cost to migrant parents and children cannot so easily be reversed.This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. It was written by: Miranda Cady Hallett, University of Dayton. * Thousands of asylum seekers left waiting at the US-Mexico border * Migrant caravans restart as pandemic deepens the humanitarian crisis at the US-Mexico borderMiranda Cady Hallett does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

Climate at a crossroads as Trump and Biden point in different directions

26.10.2020 2:30


The two US presidential contenders offer starkly different approaches as the world tries to avoid catastrophic global heatingAmong the myriad reasons world leaders will closely watch the outcome of a fraught US presidential election, the climate crisis looms perhaps largest of all.The international effort to constrain dangerous global heating will hinge, in large part, on which of the dichotomous approaches of Donald Trump or Joe Biden prevails.On 4 November, the day after the election, the US will exit the Paris climate agreement, a global pact that has wobbled but not collapsed from nearly four years of disparagement and disengagement under Trump.Biden has vowed to immediately rejoin the Paris deal. The potential of a second Trump term, however, is foreboding for those whose anxiety has only escalated during the hottest summer ever recorded in the northern hemisphere, with huge wildfires scorching California and swaths of central South America, and extraordinary temperatures baking the Arctic.“It’s a decision of great consequence, to both the US and the world,” said Laurence Tubiana, a French diplomat and key architect of the Paris accords. “The rest of the world is moving to a low-carbon future, but we need to collectively start moving even faster, and the US still has a significant global role to play in marshaling this effort.”Few countries are on track to fulfill commitments made in Paris five years ago to slash their planet-heating emissions and keep the global temperature rise to “well below” 2C of warming beyond the pre-industrial era. The world has already warmed by about 1C since this time, helping set in motion a cascade of heatwaves, fierce storms and flooding around the planet.Progress might have been different had Trump not triggered US withdrawal from the fight in 2017, complaining from the White House’s Rose Garden that the Paris deal “handicaps the United States economy in order to win praise from the very foreign capitals and global activists that have long sought to gain wealth at our country’s expense. They don’t put America first. I do, and I always will.”Tubiana conceded the “Trump administration’s dangerous anti-climate stance has had a negative impact on international climate efforts”, pointing to backsliding by the rightwing governments of Australia and Brazil, which have variously sought to downplay or dismiss the need to cut emissions more rapidly.Scientists say the world needs to halve its greenhouse gas emissions within the coming decade and essentially eliminate them by 2050 to avoid the worst ravages of the climate crisis. The four years that make up the span of the next US presidential term will be a crucial window of time in which emissions will have to be forced sharply downwards by major economies.Trump has shown no inclination to use the US’s hefty influence to aid this effort, instead using a recent UN speech to attack “China’s rampant pollution”, just minutes before the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, used the same forum to announce the world’s largest carbon emitter would peak its emissions before 2030 and become carbon neutral by 2060. There needs to be a “green recovery of the world economy in the post-Covid era”, Xi said in a speech broadly welcomed by environmentalists.To avoid the more dire versions of climate breakdown, the world will need to cut its emissions by about 7% each year this decade – a task that will only be achieved in 2020 due to a paralysis wrought by the pandemic that has shut down restaurants, factories, retailers, offices and other businesses.The prospects of achieving this steep challenge would dim further with another Trump term, with the US and China now openly trading insults over each other’s climate policies. “It would be pretty much game over for the international system if he’s re-elected,” said John Podesta, who advised Barack Obama on climate policy. “China would feel zero pressure to do more and it would dampen ambition around the world. We’d miss the chance to avoid warming at a catastrophic level.”The European Union has attempted to take up some of the climate leadership mantle that was forged for the US by Obama and then dumped under Trump. But diplomats see US engagement as crucial if meaningful progress is made at UN climate talks in Glasgow, shunted to next year due to the pandemic, where countries are due to explain how they are ramping up their climate efforts.“Who wins between Trump and Biden will be hugely significant,” said Peter Betts, a former British government civil servant who acted as chief EU negotiator in the Paris talks. “If it’s Biden, he will convene an international summit to talk about climate, with the subtext that he’s there to talk to China. He will lean on all of the US’s allies around the world – Japan, Australia, Canada - while the EU and UK will raise their ambitions anyway. So a crucial element will be some sort of understanding with China.”A Trump win, conversely, won’t completely sink the global climate effort, Betts said, but will lock in a longer, more damaging and more expensive resolution to the crisis. “If it’s Mr Trump, it’s going to be a harder path,” Betts said. “It’ll be harder for the EU to build momentum and harder to get other countries to do more if the world’s second largest emitter isn’t.”The world will “breathe a sigh of relief” if Biden wins, Podesta said, but the tangible impact will be minor if the former vice-president isn’t able to implement an ambitious $2tn plan to create millions of new jobs in renewable energy and eliminate emissions by 2050. “When Donald Trump thinks about climate change, he thinks ‘hoax’,” Biden has said, referencing the president’s infamous dismissal of climate science. “I think ‘jobs’.”In a US where the green economy employs 10 times as many people as the fossil fuel industry, Tesla’s market value has overtaken ExxonMobil’s and a pandemic-driven downturn has caused mass joblessness, Biden’s agenda polls well. But it would still be blocked if the US Senate is retained by Republicans who are largely opposed to climate action and have accused Democrats, without basis, of attempting to deprive Americans of hamburgers and flights in order to reduce emissions.“The main thing Biden has to do is get the US’s own house in order,” said Podesta. “He would rejoin Paris on day one or day two, but the US wouldn’t have much credibility of he can’t make progress on getting to zero carbon. It’s not just about showing up, it’s about what you do.”A victorious Biden would be warmly welcomed by other national leaders alarmed by the climate crisis, Tubiana said, but not much time would be spent celebrating the US’s return from the wilderness. “There is no turning back, the sun is setting on the fossil fuel industry,” she said. “In a year of undeniable climate impacts, the urgency of keeping warming below 2C has never been more clear.”

From climate to China, how Joe Biden is plotting America’s restoration

25.10.2020 2:20

By any measure, Joe Biden is old in the ways of the world. As Barack Obama’s vice-president, he met all the big international actors. As chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, he helped direct US foreign policy. After four years of Donald Trump’s manic leadership, the Democrat offers a steady, dependable hand on the tiller. Biden’s grand aim: a glorious American restoration, at...

From: article.wn.com

Obama Roasts Trump in Miami, Likens Him to Wild 'Florida Man'

24.10.2020 21:22

Barack Obama really should consider taking up stand-up comedy in retirement, because the dude's got some great jokes about President Trump ... especially when he's in Florida. 44 was at a rally Saturday in Miami, where he was campaigning for Joe...

From: www.tmz.com

Obama stumps for Biden in Miami as both campaigns make final push for Florida

24.10.2020 20:28

Barack Obama made a surprise stop at a drive-in rally in Miami Saturday as both the Biden and Trump campaigns make a final push for Florida. 

From: feeds.foxnews.com

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