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Essential Politics: Chaos and consequences at the first debate – Los Angeles Times



This week began with heightened stakes for President Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden. After their raucous first presidential debate Tuesday, who knows how it will shake out.

In what’s been a remarkably stable race despite tumultuous times, Trump has been stuck for months on a losing trajectory, amid mounting COVID-19 deaths and new, bombshell revelations about his taxes and the extent of his debt. And while Biden has enjoyed the lead in polls both nationally and in swing states, it’s not a solid one, as reporter Brian Contreras wrote this week. The Trump campaign has spent months sowing doubts about Biden’s mental fitness.

Then they finally met, at the first of the three debates of 2020 — the stage for all that brewing electoral drama to play out. It got loud. It got ugly. At times, it devolved into chaos — provoked, not surprisingly, by the disrupter president.

Political strategists often say debates are overrated and rarely change a race, David Lauter and Janet Hook wrote this week. But this time? An unconventional debate in an unconventional year could yield unconventional results.


The Times’ staff, of course, was watching. Here are the big takeaways.


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All the world’s a debate stage

Maskless but socially distant, the candidates met onstage for the first time this year. There were no handshakes, no large audience — mostly just a few family members and guests of each candidate — and so no partisan cheering for the applause lines.

Trump immediately began the debate on a biting, disruptive note that set the tone for the next 90 minutes. His frequent interruptions and the candidates’ heated exchanges led to all three men — Biden, Trump and moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News — attempting to speak over one another for minutes at a time.


But if it wasn’t always clear what the candidates were saying, clear themes did emerge, offering a glimpse of where the race might be headed. Election reporters Mark Z. Barabak and Melanie Mason broke down the most important takeaways.

It was a vintage Trump performance. The bullying, the blustering, the lack of regard for timekeeping, rules and moderators are classic Trump, they write. But while the performance played to his supporters, it’s questionable whether he attracted much-needed new ones with his old tricks.

Joe was not so sleepy. Trump has attempted to cast Biden as “Sleepy Joe,” growing senile and unfit for office. Biden has in the past struggled on the debate stage, but he held his own on Tuesday. He had no major awkward moments, and several effective ones when he turned directly to the camera to address voters.

The pandemic isn’t going away. Wallace didn’t even have to ask before the coronavirus entered the conversation. Biden laid into Trump early and often, holding him personally responsible for the more than 200,0000 Americans who have died, Barabak and Mason write. Trump defended himself with unfounded claims that China unleashed the virus and argued Biden would have done worse in his position.


Taxes, taxes, taxes. Trump’s taxes have been a source of speculation and litigation for years, and a New York Times report this week based on leaked tax returns confirmed that he’s paid little or no income taxes in many years over the last two decades. During the debate, Trump denied the report he’d paid just $750 a year in federal income tax in two recent years, instead claiming he’d paid “millions.” Prove it, Biden challenged him: Release the returns.

Courting voters through the court. The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg opened a new political front. Trump boasted of his recently announced nominee, appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett, and defended his right to name someone even as the voting for president has begun. The pending confirmation process is a rallying point for Republicans as well as Democrats. In opposing Barrett, Biden focused on healthcare, highlighting the threat he says she poses to abortion rights and the Affordable Care Act — an appeal likely to resonate with liberals and independents who are wary of an ultra-conservative high court, Barabak and Mason write.

Here’s what else you should know about the debate:

— Trump needed the debate to change a race he’s losing; instead, he doubled down and Biden shot back, Janet Hook writes in her analysis.


— From China to healthcare to the economy, many of Trump’s talking points and a few of Biden’s weren’t quite right. White House reporter Chris Megerian fact-checked the debate.

— Chris Wallace, the debate moderator, became a referee, breaking up tense squabbles between the candidates and chastising Trump for his frequent interruptions. Here’s what to know about the veteran Fox News anchor.

— Asked to condemn white supremacists, Trump instead told the far-right hate group Proud Boys to “stand by.”

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The latest from the campaign trail

— From Hook and Megerian: Biden’s campaign is capitalizing on the revelations that Trump has paid little or no federal income taxes for years, amplifying the Democratic nominee’s message that the 2020 election is a choice between the working class he came from and the wealthy elite the president personifies.

— Biden and his running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, released their latest tax returns ahead of the debate, 2020 reporters Matt Pearce and Michael Finnegan write. The Democratic candidates and their spouses paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes to the federal government in 2019.

— Biden and Trump are offering Latino voters different visions of America and of each other. Melissa Gomez, Vanessa Martínez and Rahul Mukherjee looked at the Spanish-language ads the campaigns are spending millions to run in states including Arizona and Florida.

The view from Washington

— The U.S. Postal Service must prioritize election mail and immediately reverse changes that resulted in widespread delays in California and several other states, a federal judge ruled Monday.


— On the healthcare beat, Noam Levey reports that U.S. employers are increasingly open to a bigger government role in healthcare, including regulating prices and expanding Medicare to more working Americans.

— The Trump administration is strengthening U.S. military and diplomatic ties with Greece. Tracy Wilkinson writes that it’s an unsubtle warning to Turkey, which is taking on what U.S. officials see as a more combative role in the eastern Mediterranean and Middle East.

What’s happening in California

— Detainees at California’s for-profit ICE detention centers will soon be able to sue over abuse and harm after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill backed by immigrant-rights advocates, writes Times immigration reporter Andrea Castillo.

— A new poll from UC Berkeley finds Newsom’s response to the pandemic has put him in the good graces of California voters, with an approval rating among the highest of any governor in the last 50 years at the same point in office. But he’s also facing intense dissatisfaction over his handling of homelessness and housing costs, Phil Willon writes.


— Newsom vetoed a bill that would have authorized California to give low-income immigrants $600 to buy groceries. He said he could not sign it because of its “significant General Fund impact.”

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Week In Politics: Breaking Down Trump And Biden's Last Presidential Debate – NPR



With the election fast approaching we discuss the implications of this week’s debate between President Trump and Joe Biden.


Ten days until the most contentious presidential election in recent memory will be over – maybe. Of course, millions of Americans have already cast their ballots. The two candidates met this week for a debate, which, at times, actually resembled one. We’re joined now by NPR’s Ron Elving. Ron, thanks so much for being with us.

RON ELVING, BYLINE: Good to be with you, Scott.

SIMON: Debate No. 2 – maybe less to talk about because it was a bit more civil, would you say?

ELVING: A bit more, more than a little. It reminded us quite a bit of a presidential debate or what they were once supposed to be. It probably didn’t change many minds. But for those still undecided, there was some substantive information to be had along with the impressions and the exaggerations and, of course, outright falsehoods. This was probably the last opportunity for either of these two candidates to address a national audience before Election Day. And we should remember, something like 50 million Americans have already voted. And that’s perhaps only a third of the record total of votes we expect to see by the end of this process. Estimates are the turnout rate will be the highest in more than a century.

SIMON: And how are these two candidates going to spend these few precious days until November 3?

ELVING: You know, Joe Biden’s going to be hitting the key swing states of Florida and Pennsylvania. That’s where he is today. He’ll be wearing his mask, holding pandemic-style events like we’ve seen. He also has former President Obama out there. We saw him just this last week. He was in Pennsylvania. And he’s out there on the stump rallying Democrats.

Meanwhile, on the other side, the president is locked into a frenzied round of rallies in his coming days – five this weekend alone. And despite the pandemic, his often mask-less crowds can be expected to pack together to hear him. Just today, I saw a poll from Pew Research that says only 1 Trump voter in 4 thinks that the COVID is even an important voting issue.

So these events showcase the enthusiasm of Trump’s strongest supporters. And he believes they show him as a winner. Here we have this 74-year-old man just recently recovered from COVID. He’s out there performing, drawing on whatever sources of energy he may have, projecting his closing message, a victory over the virus. He says we’ve turned the corner. He says it’s going away. But, Scott, 1,000 Americans died of COVID on the day of that debate. And yesterday, we had 85,000 new cases – a new single-day record.

SIMON: And, Ron, still no new relief bill for those suffering from the pandemic. Do both parties think there’s some kind of political advantage they can gain in not passing something before Election Day?

ELVING: This is less about the presidential campaigns and more about Congress, where there’s a mix of principle and cold-eyed election calculus at work here. Lots of Democrats want a big package of relief, and they think a skinny one is counterproductive. And they want to help cities and states that are going bankrupt right now. Generally, Republicans oppose that. But Republicans, especially in the Senate, are divided over how much to do right now. At least half the Senate Republicans think we have to stop. Let’s look at the numbers. They point out that the federal budget last year just ended with a record $3 trillion – $3 trillion – in the red. That’s a lot of new debt in one year. You know, when Ronald Reagan ran for president in 1980, he called it a major scandal that the federal debt, going all the way back to George Washington up to Ronald Reagan, was approaching $1 trillion. Well, now we have $3 trillion in new debt in just 12 months.

SIMON: Let me follow up on something you said earlier, Ron. Projections, if they’re on target, show this could be the highest turnout in more than a century.

ELVING: That’s right. 1908 was the highest turnout rate. And, of course, since then, the franchise has been greatly expanded. Just a century ago, we added women to the list of people who were qualified to vote in America. And then, of course, about 50 years ago, we added people 18 years old. So it’s a much, much larger group of people. So when we get a turnout rate as high as it was in 1908, it’s going to blow the doors off and be 150 million people.

SIMON: Well, NPR’s Ron Elving, thanks so much for being with us. We have a lot to look forward to, don’t we?

ELVING: Yes, we do. And thank you, Scott.

Copyright © 2020 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

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'Escape the politics': B.C. clinics headhunt Alberta doctors – Calgary Herald



Article content continued

The move led some doctors to publicly consider leaving Alberta, with the provincial government having identified more than 200 rural doctors reconsidering their practices in April. In some communities, doctors have followed through with the decision, with five Stettler physicians announcing in September their plans to leave Alberta.

Recently proposed rules by Alberta’s regulatory college for doctors would prevent doctors from quitting en masse, requiring physicians to stagger their departures.

Yearwood said the fractured relationship between doctors and the government presents a significant opportunity for other jurisdictions looking to bring in more physicians.

“These doctors are talking about leaving, and I’m in the business of supporting doctors, so if they’re going to leave I would like them to come to us,” Yearwood said. “With the news out of Alberta, with all the disenchanted doctors, I chose to take this approach to get right to the heart of the matter.”

The campaign hasn’t resulted in considerable uptake yet, Yearwood said, but traffic to his company’s website has surged. He said he expects to be in touch with more doctors in the upcoming weeks and months.

Calgary has been B.C.’s main competition in recruiting doctors over the past decade, said Yearwood. He called it the “destination of choice” for many, with factors like a better billing system, lower taxes and lower property costs central to the city’s success. But the tide now seems to be turning.

“We were behind the eight-ball financially for a long time but recent changes have more or less levelled the playing field,” he said.

Though part of the Denning Health Group campaign takes a political angle, Yearwood said the company is also looking to lure doctors with warmer weather and competitive compensation.

The Alberta government has said that despite a spotlight on doctors leaving the province, this year has seen a net gain in physicians in Alberta.

Twitter: @jasonfherring

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Elizabeth May's comment on NDP's women candidates 'sexist' says women-in-politics advocate – CTV News Vancouver



As B.C. wraps up its provincial election, federal MP Elizabeth May is attracting heat for a comment condemning the NDP’s women candidates.

On Oct. 23, May posted to Twitter saying, “Be kind. Don’t elect any idealistic climate concerned women to an NDP government to whip their votes and crush their dreams. Vote Green.”

Her comment was a come-back to another user’s tweet encouraging people to vote for the NDP’s Kelly Greene of Richmond-Steveston. The tweet in support of the NDP includes a video of Greene speaking with the NDP’s Bowinn Ma.

Ellen Woodsworth, an advocate for women in politics, says May’s comments are sexist and disappointing.

“You’re saying if a woman is running … that she’s going to automatically do what that party does without having a mind of her own,” said Woodsworth, a former Vancouver city councillor and the current co-chair of the non-partisan Women Transforming Cities.

“I think that’s really sad. I think it’s not doing what we need to do, which is to motivate, encourage and support women to run, and as they decide to run to really be there for them and give them as much support as you have because it’s a really grueling path,” she said.

Woodsworth said she thinks May’s comments are in reference to frustration from some voters and candidates that the NDP has not cancelled the Site C dam project.

“There was strong hope that (the NDP and its candidates) would be speaking out,” she said.

“(But) there’s a lot of good women (running) who’ve got strong records on environmental issues, and some of them are running for the NDP and some run for the Green Party,” Woodsworth added.

Ma took to social media and replied to May, calling her comment “crushing.”

“Portraying (us) … as naive, helpless, delicate women who need to be saved from the Legislature is not kind. It’s patronizing and holds women back,” reads Ma’s tweet.

A leader like May, who is the former leader of the Green Party of Canada, needs to be encouraging other women to run, Woodsworth said.

“I think it’s really critical for women in a leadership position, like Elizabeth May … (she) would want to be encouraging women to run for any party and I know that some of the women running … are outstanding.”

Other women, some of them frequent commenters on B.C. politics, also weighed in, calling the comment “awful,” bad modelling of feminism, and pointing out that there’s no B.C. Green candidate running in Richmond-Steveston.

May’s comments come at the bitter end of an election marred by several incidents of sexist and racist comments, including BC Liberal candidate Jane Thornthwaite’s comments about NDP candidate Bowinn Ma, which made national headlines.

May’s comments, as well as Thornthwaite’s, show that women can enact sexism as well, Woodsworth said.

“I’ve got many scars on my back from being attacked by women,” she said.

“Our society is very sexist, it’s racist, and anybody who goes into the political fray has to try to stand in a very principled place and … recognize how difficult it is for other women, other diverse women, to put themselves forward and to run and give them that support,” Woodsworth added.

“If you disagree with them politically, fine, state your disagreements, but don’t undermine them.”

However, at least one person commented on Twitter in apparent agreement with May, saying that they were disappointed with what they see as Ma’s lack of criticism on the Site C dam project.

Women Transforming Cities is trying to encourage more women to run for municipal government in B.C.’s 2022 municipal elections.

Only 16 per cent of mayors in Canada are women, Woodsworth said, and of elected councillors, women only make up 25 per cent.

“We encourage women and encourage diverse women to think seriously about coming forward and running for political office,” Woodsworth said.

In a recent tweet, the organization encouraged women to start planning their run several years in advance.

“Think you want to run for school board, council, or mayor in your city in B.C. in 2022? Start now. Talk about it with your friends and family. Make a plan. Now is a great time,” it reads.

CTV News Vancouver has reached out to May for comment.

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