The presidential election is tomorrow. The Texas Supreme Court threw out a GOP plan to invalidate ballots, and new polls show Joe Biden with a decent lead in several battleground states, but there’s still plenty that could go wrong between now and whenever this thing is over.
Meanwhile, the President’s supporters are ramping up tension by harassing opponents and everyday drivers alike, forming massive truck motorcades in several states, including one in Texas that surrounded a Biden campaign bus and rammed a car into another lane, forcing the campaign to cancel events.
And lastly, the coronavirus pandemic is once again surging almost everywhere in the country, as many other nations head into new lockdowns. New cases are up 43 percent over the past week compared to the previous period.
THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:
It’s Monday, the last day before the general election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. But you knew that already. We all know it. It’s all come to this.
All right, now that the arbitrary cable-news stakes-setting is out of the way, here’s where we’re at. New polls show Biden ahead in several battleground states. A New York Times/ Siena poll released Sunday has Biden ahead by 6 points in Arizona, 6 in Pennsylvania, 3 in Florida, and a whopping 11 in Wisconsin.
This isn’t a huge change from what we’ve seen for weeks. Biden is way ahead in all the ways the numbers-nerds at every publication and cable news network can measure. He’s even further ahead by most metrics than Hillary was in 2016.
So what the GOP is doing now is looking for ways to steal this thing. In Texas, for example, a conservative lawsuit sought to invalidate 120,000 ballots delivered in curbside driver-through voting, all in Harris County, where the Democratic stronghold of Austin is. This would have basically put Texas out of reach, because if Democrats do flip the state it’ll be by the narrowest of margins.
Fortunately, the State Supreme Court ruled on Sunday against the GOP’s legal team, throwing out the lawsuit without comment. There’s a similar lawsuit at the federal level though, which will be overseen on Monday morning by a notoriously conservative judge appointed by George W. Bush.
Trump, for his part, has said that he plans to declare victory if he’s ahead at the end of Election night, according to a new report by Axios. He’ll then be doing everything he can to make sure legal challenges stop letting absentee ballots come in, and try to take the election that way. Even if Biden’s on top tomorrow night, we could still be in for a long battle with a hostile court. We’ll have more as the week develops, and of course be with you all night tomorrow.
Trump Caravan Slams Biden Bus and Car
Meanwhile, outside of the polls and lawsuits, Trump supporters are taking to the streets, or rather highways, in an attempt to intimidate and project strength across the country.
In multiple states, Trump supporters have taken the truck caravan tactic popularized by right wing responses to the summer Black Lives Matter protests. Caravans took over highways and bridges in New Jersey, New York, Texas, Minnesota and several others.
But the most threatening incident happened in Texas on Friday, where a Trump caravan swarmed Joe Biden’s campaign bus on a highway, driving recklessly through traffic. One truck appears to have collided with a car on the road, forcing it into another lane.
The Biden campaign canceled events in the state on Friday in response.
Trump, of course, is egging this behavior along. After news broke that the FBI had opened an investigation into the Texas incident, Trump tweeted quote:
“In my opinion, these patriots did nothing wrong. Instead, the FBI & Justice should be investigating the terrorists, anarchists, and agitators of ANTIFA, who run around burning down our Democrat run cities and hurting our people!”
If we were covering this kind of rhetoric in a foreign country, the line would go something like this: head of state encourages supporters and government security services to attack and persecute political opponents. But because this is America, we’re woefully unequipped to really respond to threats like this. Whatever happens on Tuesday, it’s looking less and less likely that a clean break from the Trump administration is in our future.
COVID Cases Spike All Over
And while all of this is happening, the U.S. is weathering a massive, nationwide spike in coronavirus cases. According to the New York Times, the past week’s average of 80,755 cases per day, is an increase of 43 percent from the average two weeks ago. In other words, we’re deep in it, and it’s unclear what the government is doing to help get us out.
If the spike continues, we’re going to easily crack 10 million cases within the next couple weeks. Case numbers are particularly bad in the Dakotas, Wisconsin, Montana, and Iowa, although they’re spiking basically everywhere.
Some states are considering new lockdowns. Parts of Illinois and New Jersey passed down new rules for businesses. This would match most of Europe, which is starting to slowly shut down again. In England, Prime Minister Boris Johnson re-closed most pubs, shops and restaurant to cope with surging numbers.
Our problem is, we’ve got a chaotic system of state and local jurisdictions and, if Trump does lose the election, probably zero motivation at the Federal level to make things better, considering how hard it is to get things through the GOP-strangled Senate. It’s likely the Biden administration would act fast once it takes office, but that’s not till January. And a lot of people could get sick before then.
AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:
Super Typhoon Goni struck the Philippines on Sunday as the strongest landfalling tropical cyclone on record, causing havoc in many communities and killing at least 10. The death toll is a far cry from the immensely destructive Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, which killed thousands, but wild storms are still an all-too-common blow that the island nation has to weather thanks to climate change.
One bright spot: in the House, Rep. AOC and Rashida Tlaib are showing what a fully-Democratic government might be able to accomplish. The two reps introduced a bill that would set up state and locally administered public banks to offset some of the economic devastation handed down to regular working people when financial crises hit.
The postal service under Trump lackey Louis DeJoy is at it again, this time saying that mail-in ballots posted in Detroit, Greater Michigan and Central PA -- all places the Democrats need to win in those battleground states -- is delayed due to quote “COVID 19 and employee availability.” Michigan stops counting ballots after election day, and Pennsylvania only has until the 6th.
And finally, Trump’s overt disdain for his own supporters has reached a strange and cruel endpoint recently: after major rallies in freezing cold Pennsylvania and Nebraska, hundreds of supporters were left stranded with no shuttle buses back to their transit. At a rally in Tampa, the opposite happened, as multiple supporters passed out from heat stroke.
That’s it for the Majority Repot’s AM Quickie today. Sam will be with you in a few hours.
NOV 2, 2020 - AM QUICKIE
HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner
WRITER - Jack Crosbie
PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn