And what else you need to know today.
- Oct. 30, 2020
Image Senator Kamala Harris in Tuscon, Ariz., on Wednesday.Credit…Gabriella Angotti-Jones for The New York Times
American politics can sometimes feel static. For the last two decades, the two parties have each won at least 45 percent of the vote in every presidential election, and a small number of swing states have determined the outcome.
But that surface stability has hidden a lot of churn: American politics has actually changed a lot lately.
Consider that Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice-presidential candidate, will be campaigning today in Texas, a state that President Trump won by nine percentage points four years ago and that Barack Obama lost by 16 points in 2012. This year, however, Texas is a swing state. “It’s a real race,” Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, told my colleague Jonathan Martin.
One of Harris’s three stops adds to the intrigue. In addition to Fort Worth and Houston, she will be visiting the smaller city of McAllen, in South Texas, where Joe Biden is struggling to do as well with Latino voters as Hillary Clinton did in 2016. If somebody had told you a few years ago that Trump would be doing better with Latino and Black voters in 2020 than in 2016 and yet still losing his re-election race, would you have believed it?
It’s happened because voters have become less polarized by race during Trump’s presidency. His appeals to white nationalism haven’t worked with most white voters. Since 2016, white voters, both with and without college degrees, have shifted toward the Democrats.
But Trump’s white nationalism hasn’t driven away many voters of color who didn’t already oppose him. Instead, his confrontational style and tough talk on crime and national security seem to have appealed to some Latino and Black voters, as The Times’s Nate Cohn notes. This data, Nate writes, “suggests a widening gap between the views of progressive activists and the rank-and-file of nonwhite voters.”
A large national poll released yesterday showed Trump winning 9 percent of Black voters this year, up from 8 percent in 2016, and 35 percent of Latino voters, up from 29 percent. If Trump manages to win re-election, support from a slice of Latino voters will probably be a key reason.
Of course, four days before Election Day, Trump is a substantial underdog, thanks to Biden’s broad strength: He’s winning women, younger voters and voters of color and holding his own among men, older voters and white voters.
Biden can win in an orthodox way, by flipping the three industrial states that were known as the blue wall until Trump won them in 2016: Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
Or Biden can prevail by winning one or more Sun Belt states that no Democratic presidential candidate has won in more than two decades, like Arizona, Georgia and Texas. He could also all but clinch the presidency by winning Florida. And in a very close race, the two states that award electoral votes based partly on congressional-district results — Maine and Nebraska — may also matter.
Credit…By The New York Times | Source: Upshot polling averages
The biggest takeaway is that you shouldn’t assume the future course of American politics is predetermined. After all, a Democrat could win Georgia and Texas this year, while a Republican wins part of the so-called blue wall. Imagine how much more could change in the next four or eight years.
For more: The Times’s Richard Fausset explains how Georgia turned into a battleground state.
THE LATEST NEWS
The 2020 Campaign
Trump supporters in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times
Biden and Trump were both in Florida yesterday. Trump attacked Biden’s mental acuity, while Biden appealed to Latino voters by critiquing Trump’s record on Cuba and Venezuela.
A federal appeals court ruled that election officials in Minnesota have to set aside ballots that arrive after 8 p.m. on Election Day, reversing the state’s seven-day grace period that had been in place for ballots postmarked by Election Day.
Postal Service delivery rates have improved since the summer in much of the country. But slowdowns in Philadelphia, Detroit and other battleground areas have left some voters scrambling to make sure their absentee ballots will be counted.
Biden said he would create a federal task force to locate the missing parents of 545 migrant children who were separated at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Walmart has temporarily pulled guns and ammunition off the shelves of its U.S. stores, citing concerns about potential unrest.
Senator David Perdue of Georgia withdrew from the final scheduled debate with his Democratic challenger, Jon Ossoff, after Ossoff accused him of trying to profit from the pandemic.
Daily polling diary: Biden has a modest lead in Florida, according to two new polls. But Florida is notoriously tough for pollsters to get right.
Paramedics assisted a Covid-19 patient in Glen Burnie, Md., this week.Credit…Alex Edelman/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
The U.S. recorded more than 90,000 new coronavirus cases yesterday, a new daily high. That’s more than one new case every second, The Times’s Mike Baker notes.
The growth is worst in the Midwest and Southeast, as this map shows.
Some good news: Survival rates among severe virus patients are improving. At N.Y.U.’s hospital system, the death rate dropped to 8 percent in August, from 26 percent in March.
other big stories
Halkbank, a state-owned Turkish bank.Credit…The New York Times
After pressure from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, the Trump administration tried to stop federal prosecutors in Manhattan from bringing charges against a Turkish state-owned bank, a Times investigation found.
The French authorities placed the country on its highest terrorism threat level after a knife-wielding man killed three people in Nice.
The Justice Department has effectively shut down its civil-rights investigation into the killing of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old Black boy shot by a police officer in 2014.
On Thursday, Amazon, Apple, Alphabet and Facebook reported a blockbuster quarter, earning a combined net profit of $38 billion.
The wine industry has a sexual harassment problem: Twenty-one women told The Times that male master sommeliers who were supposed to provide mentorship instead harassed or assaulted them.
A Morning read: As the $150 billion global cruise industry continues to struggle, companies are downsizing their fleets and selling the ships for scrap. At a shipyard in Turkey, hundreds of workers are chipping away at the enormous boats’ hulls and bows.
Lives Lived: Bob Biggs sensed opportunity in the Mohawk-filled mosh pits of the Los Angeles punk movement in the late 1970s. He founded Slash Records, one of the most successful independent record labels of its era. He has died at 74.
The Times can help you navigate the election — to separate fact from fiction, make sense of the polls and be sure your ballot counts. To support our efforts, please consider subscribing today.
IDEA OF THE DAY: The daylight-savings debate
Early Sunday morning, clocks will fall back one hour when daylight saving time ends in most of the U.S. and Canada. But there is a movement to abolish the time changes in the future: More than 30 states considered legislation this year to make daylight saving time permanent, which would cause both sunrise and sunset to occur later in the colder months.
Advocates of making daylight saving permanent argue that the current arrangement pushes too much winter daylight to the early-morning when many people are asleep. They cite studies showing a rise in car crashes, medical errors and suicides related to the shifting time.
Supporters of the status quo respond: Winter mornings would become miserable. As two California state lawmakers wrote, “You’ll be getting your family ready for the day in the dark; your kids will be walking to school or waiting for the school bus before the sun rises.”
If you want to read more, we recommend this piece about New York City’s official clock master, who changes some of the city’s grandest clocks each year.
PLAY, WATCH, EAT, SCARE
Trick-or-treaters had their temperature checked last weekend in Chicago.Credit…Taylor Glascock for The New York Times
Halloween will not look traditional this year. But there are still ways to celebrate safely. Guidelines vary from place to place: Some cities are discouraging cruising neighborhoods for candy, while towns in New Jersey, Massachusetts and Texas have banned door-to-door trick or treating altogether. Salem, Mass., where Halloween draws hundreds of thousands of tourists, has already canceled many festivities..
In general, the C.D.C. recommends avoiding higher-risk activities like regular trick-or-treating or indoor costume parties.
Depending on the rate of infection in your community, experts say safer strategies include leaving baskets of candy outside your home and having kids wear gloves and carry hand sanitizer. Gatherings should be outdoors and socially distanced. And while you don’t need to sanitize every single candy wrapper, make sure your hands are clean before digging in.
“Costumes and candy may seem frivolous, but joy and social connection are essential and can help reduce the pandemic fatigue many people are feeling,” Julia Marcus, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School, told us.
Credit…Yossy Arefi for The New York Times
While they look like traditional chocolate chip cookies, this dessert packs some surprises with the addition of honey-roasted almonds and a generous dusting of chile flake-spiked sugar.
Those blood-curdling screams in horror movies? They’re probably the sound of a voice actor. It’s an art.
The late-night hosts are nervous about the election.
The pangram from yesterday’s Spelling Bee was towline. Today’s puzzle is above — or you can play online if you have a Games subscription.
Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: In the future (five letters).
Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you Monday. — David
P.S. The word “whalesuckers” — a nickname for the fish that attach themselves to large marine animals — appeared for the first time in The Times yesterday, as noted by the Twitter bot @NYT_first_said.
You can see today’s print front page here.
Lalena Fisher, Claire Moses, Ian Prasad Philbrick and Sanam Yar contributed to The Morning. You can reach the team at email@example.com.