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Good morning. New Jersey moves toward a millionaires tax. New polls show Democrats leading Senate races. And the president continues to enjoy significant Latino support.
President Trump famously won the 2016 election thanks to a surge of support from white voters. This year, Trump is trailing Joe Biden largely because some of those voters have swung back to the Democrats. In several recent swing-state polls, Biden is even winning a narrow majority of white voters.
What’s going on? In large part, Biden continues to struggle with Hispanic voters. Trump, despite making repeated appeals to white nationalism and castigating immigrants, has a chance to do better among Hispanic voters than he did in 2016, and win more than a third of them, even as he does worse with white voters.
One possible explanation — a worrisome one for Democrats in the long run — is that Hispanics are following a path not so different from earlier European immigrant groups, like Italian and Irish Americans. As they assimilated, they became less reliably Democratic. To oversimplify, they voted for F.D.R. and then for Reagan.
Ross Douthat, a Times columnist, argues that Trump’s relative strength among Hispanic Americans is a sign that Democrats are misreading the politics of race. Liberals often draw a bright line between whites and people of color (as the acronym BIPOC — for Black, Indigenous and people of color — suggests). But this binary breakdown doesn’t reflect reality, Ross argues.
For starters, about 53 percent of Latinos identify as white, Andrea González-Ramírez of Medium notes. Others do not but are conservative — on abortion, taxes, Cuba or other issues. In some states, Hispanic men appear to be especially open to supporting Trump, Stephanie Valencia of Equis Research, a polling firm, told my colleague Ian Prasad Philbrick.
A recent Times poll of four battleground states captured some of these dynamics. Most Hispanic voters said Biden had not done enough to condemn rioting, said he supported cutting police funding (which is not true) and said they themselves opposed police funding cuts. For that matter, most Black voters also opposed such funding cuts.
It’s a reminder that well-educated progressive activists and writers — of all races — are well to the left of most Black, Hispanic and Asian voters on major issues. These groups, in fact, are among the more moderate parts of the Democratic coalition in important respects. If Democrats don’t grapple with this reality, they risk losing some of those voters.
1. New Jersey moves to tax the richest
New Jersey is poised to become one of the first states to adopt a so-called millionaires tax, raising taxes on income over $1 million by nearly two percentage points. Phil Murphy, the state’s Democratic governor, and legislative leaders reached a deal on the tax as a way to alleviate a budget shortfall caused by the pandemic.
“We do not hold any grudge at all against those who have been successful in life,” Murphy, a former executive at Goldman Sachs, said. “But in this unprecedented time, when so many middle-class families and others have sacrificed so much, now is the time to ensure that the wealthiest among us are also called to sacrifice.”
Taxes on high incomes are likely to be central to the Democratic Party’s agenda if Biden wins the presidency. He has proposed raising tax rates on people who earn more than $400,000.
In other political news:
New polls by The Times and Siena College show Democratic Senate candidates with narrow to modest leads in Arizona, Maine and North Carolina. Winning those races would significantly increase the party’s chance of retaking Senate control.
At a CNN town-hall-style event last night, Biden played up his middle-class roots and criticized Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. “You lost your freedom because he didn’t act,” Biden said.
2. Subverting the C.D.C.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outraged many public health experts last month by discouraging people without coronavirus symptoms from being tested. It’s now clear that Trump administration officials — and not C.D.C. scientists — wrote the recommendation, as a story by The Times’s Apoorva Mandavilli documents.
In other virus developments:
Olivia Troye, a former aide to Vice President Mike Pence, endorsed Biden and accused Trump of badly mismanaging the coronavirus.
Schools in New York City again delayed the start of in-person classes for most students, just days before they were to begin.
Here’s what else is happening
Hurricane Sally left entire Gulf Coast neighborhoods waterlogged, and officials have attributed at least one death to the storm. (Here are some resources for helping those coping with recent disasters.)
Firefighters made progress against several big wildfires in the West on Thursday, though authorities warned that dry conditions could allow fires to strengthen again.
A rare Mediterranean cyclone known as a Medicane — a storm all but unknown until the 1990s — made landfall in Greece today.
Amy Dorris, a former model, told The Guardian that Trump sexually assaulted her at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in 1997. Trump, who has been accused of assault or harassment by more than a dozen other women, denied Dorris’s allegation.
The Trump administration said it was investigating whether Princeton had violated federal civil rights law, suggesting that a public expression of contrition for a history of “systemic racism” at the university was an acknowledgment of illegal behavior.
From The Times Magazine: Two men died of meth overdoses at the home of a West Hollywood political donor. Conspiracy theories abounded — but the truth is even stranger.
Lives Lived: Dr. John Najarian was a renowned transplant surgeon and chief of surgery at the University of Minnesota Hospitals known for taking on particularly difficult cases, including a successful liver transplant in a 64-year-old man. Dr. Najarian died at 92.
IDEA OF THE DAY: The real law-and-order problem
The writer Anand Giridharadas has written a fascinating response to my recent item on Biden’s vulnerability on so-called law and order issues. Giridharadas writes:
America does have a law-and-order problem, but it’s nothing new. And the nature of that law-and-order problem is being the most violent country in the rich world. And the genesis of that violence isn’t Black and brown communities rising up against friendly, overwhelmingly white suburbs of Minneapolis. It’s white America, from the founding days of the republic, committing to an economic and political model that made violence a daily, systemic necessity.
I’d add one point: It’s possible to agree with all of that and still think Biden is vulnerable. “Law and order” is indeed often a dog whistle for racism, but it can still be politically effective. And “law and order” issues aren’t only and always about racism. Just consider the views of Black and Hispanic voters about police funding (which are highlighted in the chart earlier in today’s newsletter).
Along with his response, Giridharadas includes an interview with Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut. He’s the author of a new book, “The Violence Inside Us: A Brief History of an Ongoing American Tragedy,” which delves into the racist roots of America’s propensity toward violence.
PLAY, WATCH, EAT, TIKTOK
Watch something … political
Our weekly suggestion from Gilbert Cruz, The Times’s Culture editor:
Less than two months before a presidential election, it might seem odd to recommend a series about politics, given that it’s everywhere. But I am locked into watching “Borgen,” now available on Netflix.
The three-season drama follows Birgitte Nyborg, a moderate Danish politician who becomes that nation’s first female prime minister. The tone falls somewhere between the often-too-idealistic “The West Wing” and the always-too-self-serious “House of Cards.” It’s a peek into a system in which compromise and deal-making between multiple political parties are often as necessary as pure power plays.
And, as our TV critic Margaret Lyons wrote recently in her Watching newsletter (subscribe!), “Alongside the political material, ‘Borgen’ is a grounded, rich domestic drama, and Birgitte’s seemingly #relationshipgoals marriage becomes something much messier and more fraught.”
Lessons from TikTok
The nature of fame on TikTok is inherently different from other platforms like Instagram: It has an algorithm that propels kids to stardom overnight, and entire fandoms are often built around creators of relatively mundane videos.
In The Atlantic, the writer Kaitlyn Tiffany explains how fame on TikTok serves as a reflection of what modern girlhood looks like. Videos often spotlight activities girls have been doing for decades, from dancing in their bedrooms to fighting with parents.
“TikTok is a massive network of girls talking primarily to one another,” she writes. “Every major cultural trend that has come from TikTok is a girl-culture trend: VSCO girls, e-girls, the dances created by girls and copied by other girls.”
It’s nearly fall. Here’s a guide to what plants you can bring inside.
In this week’s Modern Love, a walk on the beach prompts revelations about a mother’s secret desire.
The late-night comedy hosts reacted to Trump’s suggestion that the U.S. coronavirus death rate was low compared to the rest of the world’s, “if you take the blue states out.”
Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Birthplace of the Renaissance (five letters).
Or try this week’s news quiz.
Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you on Monday. — David
You can see today’s print front page here.
Pandemic politics: Biden shuns 'false promises' of fast fix – CTV News
BULLHEAD CITY, ARIZ. —
Focused firmly on COVID-19, Joe Biden vowed Wednesday not to campaign in the election homestretch “on the false promises of being able to end this pandemic by flipping a switch.” President Donald Trump, under attack for his handling of the worst health crisis in more than a century, breezily pledged on his final-week swing to “vanquish the virus.”
The Democratic presidential nominee also argued that a Supreme Court conservative majority stretched to 6-3 by newly confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barrett could dismantle the Obama administration’s signature health law and leave millions without insurance coverage during the pandemic. He called Trump’s handling of the coronavirus an “insult” to its victims, especially as cases spike dramatically around the country.
“Even if I win, it’s going to take a lot of hard work to end this pandemic,” Biden said during a speech in Wilmington, Delaware. “I do promise this: We will start on day one doing the right things.”
His comments reflected an unwavering attempt to keep the political spotlight on the pandemic. That was a departure from the president, who downplayed the threat and spent his day in Arizona, where relaxed rules on social distancing made staging big rallies easier.
The pandemic’s consequences were escalating, with deaths climbing in 39 states and an average of 805 people dying daily nationwide — up from 714 two weeks ago. Overall, about 227,000 Americans have died. The sharp rise sent shockwaves through financial markets, causing the Dow Jones Industrial Average to drop 900-plus points.
Trump, who frequently lauds rising markets, failed to mention the decline. But he promised that economic growth figures for the summer quarter, due Thursday, would be strong, declaring during a rally in Bullhead City, Arizona, “This election is a choice between a Trump super-recovery and a Biden depression.”
As Trump spoke, an Air Force fighter thundered nearby and released a flare to get the attention of a non-responsive private aircraft that was flying in the restricted airspace. North American Aerospace Defence Command said the plane was escorted out by the F-16 “without further incident.” Trump was at first caught off guard but later cheered the fighter, proclaiming, “I love that sound” as it roared overhead.
The president also condemned violence that occurred during some protests in response to the police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr., a Black man, in Philadelphia saying Biden stands “with the rioters and the vandals.”
But Biden said in Wilmington, “There is no excuse whatsoever for the looting and the violence.”
Bullhead City is just across the border from Nevada, a state Trump is hoping to flip during Election Day next Tuesday. A Trump Nevada rally last month attracted thousands and led to the airport that hosted it being fined more than $5,500 for violating pandemic crowd restrictions.
Rather than curb his crowd, Trump moved just across the border and used his rally Wednesday to scoff at Democratic leaders in states like Nevada for trying to enforce social distancing rules. The event’s crowd looked to be mostly from Arizona, though there were attendees from Nevada. Few wore masks.
The weather was far milder than during a Tuesday night Trump rally in Omaha, Nebraska. After Trump left that one, hundreds of attendees at Eppley Airfield spent hours waiting in the cold for transportation to cars parked far away. Several people were taken to hospitals amid concerns about exposure.
“Because of the sheer size of the crowd, we deployed 40 shuttlebuses — double the normal allotment — but local road closures and resulting congestion caused delays,” Trump spokeswoman Samantha Zager said in a statement.
Trump is trailing Biden in most national polls. Biden also has an advantage, though narrower, in the key swing states that could decide the election.
Biden voted early in Wilmington on Wednesday and received a virtual briefing from health experts. One, Dr. David Kessler, director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, warned, “We are in the midst of the third wave, and I don’t think anyone can tell you how high this is going to get.”
Trump was nonetheless defiant, declaring, “We will vanquish the virus and emerge stronger than ever before.”
In a campaign sidelight, the president lashed out after news that Miles Taylor, former chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security, was revealed as the author of a scathing anti-Trump op-ed and book under the pen name “Anonymous.”
“This guy is a low-level lowlife that I don’t know,” he said. “I have no idea who he is.”
Trump views Nevada favourably, despite it not backing a Republican for president since 2004. Hillary Clinton won it by less than 2.5 percentage points in 2016.
And Biden wants to flip Arizona, which hasn’t voted Democratic for president since 1996. His running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, was in Arizona on Wednesday, meeting with Latina entrepreneurs and African American leaders as well as holding two drive-in rallies.
On Friday, Harris will visit Fort Worth, Houston and the U.S.-Mexico border town of McAllen in Texas — a state that hasn’t backed a Democrat for president since 1976 or even elected one to statewide office since 1994. Texas was long so reliably red that top national Democrats visited only to hold fundraisers.
“I am really grateful for the attention that they have given Texas because it has been so long since a presidential campaign gave this state a look,” said Beto O’Rourke a former Texas congressman and onetime presidential hopeful. But he declined to predict that Biden would win the state, saying only “There is a possibility,” contingent on turnout breaking records.
Biden heads later in the week to three more states Trump won in 2016, Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan, where he’ll hold a joint Saturday rally with former President Barack Obama.
Democrats point to a larger number of their party members returning absentee ballots — results that could be decisive since more people are likely to vote by mail during the pandemic. Trump’s campaign argues that enough of its supporters will vote on Election Day to overwhelm any early Biden advantage.
Around 71.5 million people nationwide have so far voted in advance, either by casting early, in-person ballots or voting by mail, according to an Associated Press analysis. That’s already far more than the total advance ballots cast before the 2016 presidential election.
“We’re talking to people everywhere,” Harris said. “And there’s no area that’s off limits.”
Weissert reported from Washington, Jaffe from Wilmington. Associated Press writers Michelle Price in Bull City, Arizona, Kathleen Ronayne in Las Vegas and Zeke Miller in Washington contributed to this report.
UNBC Alumni dipping their toes in politics atop Parliament Hill – CKPGToday.ca
Hughes graduated UNBC earlier this year with a joint major in Global and International Studies and Political Science.
“The jobs that I held as a research assistant, student assistant, and journal assistant at UNBC were invaluable for the development of critical research and writing skills necessary for a parliamentary intern.”—Hanna Hughes, UNBC Alumni
Hughes says that she applied for the internship in part to gain non-partisan experience to prepare her for a potential career in government.
For her, her most memorable moment, two months into the internship, was when she was able to Zoom with former Prime Minister Paul Martin where she was able to “ask questions about the formation of the G20, his role as Finance Minister, and how to operate in a minority government,” said Hughes.
Lukac is grateful for his time at UNBC and says that it prepared him with writing and analysis skills which he says have been crucial for him professionally, “and perhaps more importantly, nurtured my passion for politics and political philosophy,” he adds.
Two Religion Reporters Cover Where Faith and Politics Meet – The New York Times
Times Insider explains who we are and what we do, and delivers behind-the-scenes insights into how our journalism comes together.
The discourse surrounding the background of the Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett and the support of white evangelicals for President Trump has deepened political divisions in the country, and the conversations are two examples of why it’s important to understand conservative Christians and their impact. For our religion reporters, Ruth Graham and Elizabeth Dias, covering more political stories as the election draws nearer has become inevitable. We asked them a few questions about digging into the facts on the faith beat.
What challenges do you face covering religion in the United States?
RUTH GRAHAM One challenge in this particular moment is that the pandemic has made reporting so much harder. That’s true on every beat, of course, but religious observance in particular has so many sensory elements that really have to be experienced in person: music, prayers, food, décor, incense, emotion. Calling people up on the phone and asking direct questions about their beliefs will never capture it all.
ELIZABETH DIAS The polarized political climate has made reporters’ jobs harder all around. I’ve found conservatives are increasingly wary of talking with us no matter what the story is, from sexual abuse in evangelical churches to Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination. That means these important stories often take longer to do because access to accurate information is harder to get.
Religion and politics seem inseparable these days. Has that always been the case, or has something shifted?
GRAHAM I think they seem inseparable partly because it’s election season, and as journalists we tend to view things through that lens ourselves. For ordinary believers, the connection is not always so clear. Some people clearly draw a connection between their faith and their views on national politics; others definitely don’t. I try to keep that in mind as a reporter and not force every story into a political frame.
DIAS Religion and politics both reflect shared, larger questions. They are both about power. They are both about people. They are both about how people structure life together. For centuries religion was politics, and it still is today in many parts of the world — the Vatican is a city state. Each generation works out its own relationship to these bigger questions and to history, and the election is just one way we are seeing that play out now in the United States.
How is covering religion during the 2020 election different than in 2016?
DIAS So much was revealed in 2016: the political influence of prosperity gospel preachers, who connect faith with financial wealth; the complete marriage of white evangelicals to President Trump; the depth of the racial divides within Christianity. Four years later these themes are all present, but that does not necessarily mean the election outcome will be the same. When the votes are tallied we will learn how the president’s religious coalition has and hasn’t changed after four years.
Would QAnon ever cross into your beat? What would that look like?
GRAHAM Yes, I’m actually starting to work on a Q-adjacent story right now. It’s a movement that has really taken off among Christian conservatives, and some have argued that QAnon itself is best understood as a homegrown religious movement. So there’s a lot of natural overlap on the religion beat.
What considerations do you take when reporting on religious groups that feel distrust toward the media?
GRAHAM The rising distrust of the media among a lot of conservative religious people is a major challenge, and one that is not going away. My starting assumption these days is always that I will have to work to convince conservative believers to talk with me. I do my best to acknowledge their wariness and explain why I want to include their voice in the story. All I can do is try to build trust by continuing to produce work that takes religion and faith seriously.
DIAS Trust grows over time, so I try to build long-term relationships with people I interview and to think of the body of work I’m building, versus only one specific story. Deep listening happens slowly, and requires appropriate empathy. I also spend a lot of time talking with people off the record, even though it means I may need to do more interviews, because I want to learn from them however I can.
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