Amy Coney Barrett joins the court as the conservative majority limits ballot-counting in Wisconsin. It’s Tuesday, and this is your politics tip sheet. Sign up here to get On Politics in your inbox every weekday.
Where things stand
Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed to the Supreme Court yesterday by a deeply divided Senate, with every Republican except Susan Collins supporting her nomination.
Democrats made a number of symbolic displays of objection, trying and failing to delay debate and force Republicans to wait until after the election. Instead, Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, jammed Barrett’s nomination through the Senate within 38 days of the death of her predecessor, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
President Trump held an evening swearing-in ceremony, wasting no time in putting Barrett on the bench as voting-related cases continue to reach the court. The roughly 200-person event, held at the White House, was reminiscent of the president’s nomination ceremony for Barrett last month, which experts consider a possible superspreader event.
Joe Biden is showing signs of confidence, and he’s planning to tour the country’s battleground states in the final week of the campaign with an urgency that he has not generally shown this year. Biden announced yesterday that he would head to Georgia and Iowa this week, making a bold play for two states that Trump won handily in 2016. And he said he would head to Florida, Wisconsin and possibly other states too.
In Iowa, where Trump won by almost 10 points four years ago, the large rural population was widely thought to give the president an immovable advantage. But its pro-Trump governor, Kim Reynolds, has been widely panned for her handling of the coronavirus, exacerbating voters’ frustration with the president’s own failure to confront it.
Biden also made an uncommonly candid pronouncement for a presidential candidate yesterday, declaring himself confident that he would win Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. “I am not overconfident about anything,” he said during a stop at a voter center in Chester, Pa. “I just want to make sure we can earn every vote possible.”
Both candidates were in Pennsylvania, a key battleground, as the state reported a spike in daily virus cases on Monday. Biden has maintained a sizable polling lead there for months.
Speaking in Allentown, Trump boasted about what he called his great standing among suburban women, immediately after rattling off insults toward several prominent women in politics and the news media, including Senator Kamala Harris.
A Times/Siena College poll of Texas found Trump maintaining a four-point edge in what is a do-or-die state for him. Biden failed to match Hillary Clinton’s margin among Latino voters, and was unable to cut into Trump’s wide lead among rural white voters, as he has managed to do in other parts of the country.
In early voting over the past two weeks, Texas may have upturned its reputation as a low-turnout state. More than seven million people — over 80 percent of total turnout four years ago — had voted by mail or in person as of Sunday.
Michael Bloomberg said yesterday that he would pour money into a last-minute TV ad spree in Texas and Ohio, helping Biden in two states that would represent powerful upsets if he won. The total donation amount is expected to equal close to $15 million.
The Supreme Court last night rejected a Democratic request to extend the deadline for counting mail-in ballots in Wisconsin, cutting off the collection of mailed ballots at 8:30 p.m. on election night.
The 5-to-3 decision, announced just minutes before Barrett’s confirmation vote, found the conservative wing united in its opposition to expanding enfranchisement after a string of voting-related decisions in which Chief Justice John Roberts had joined the liberal wing.
Democrats and civil rights groups had filed the lawsuit to extend the deadline for six days, arguing that the pandemic would drive up mail participation and that thousands of ballots were likely to be received after Election Day.
Photo of the day
A screen showed a video of the candidates’ final debate as President Trump spoke yesterday at a rally in Allentown, Pa.
Keep up with Election 2020
Minnesota: Early voting soars, including near the site of George Floyd’s killing.
ST. PAUL, Minn. — David Schultz, a professor at Hamline University here, recently gave the students in his introduction to American politics class a lecture on the history of voting rights.
In an interview outside class, he noted just how many Minnesotans were already exercising those rights — by Friday, more than 1.1 million early ballots had been accepted, far surpassing 2016 totals.
“Democrats have been heavily mobilizing to get out and vote this time,” Schultz said. “Republicans show up more on Election Day, but high turnout should bode well for Joe Biden.”
The divide in Minnesota between those Democrats who are voting early and Republicans who plan to vote on Nov. 3 matches what has been seen in other states. Rates of returned ballots have been particularly high in Hennepin and Ramsey Counties, home to the Democratic-leaning Twin Cities.
Jennifer Carnahan, the chairwoman of the Minnesota Republican Party, agreed in an interview that a large number of Republican voters would turn out on Election Day.
“For a lot of people it’s a matter of tradition,” she said. “I haven’t requested an absentee ballot. I’ve always voted in person. There are a lot of folks like me out there.”
Both parties hope a big turnout can help them in the state, which Hillary Clinton won by a surprisingly slim margin in 2016. “No one is taking anything for granted,” said Ken Martin, chairman of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, Minnesota’s version of the Democratic Party. “We are not resting on our laurels.”
Many voters here, where snow has already blanketed parts of the state, have decided to vote early or by mail to avoid crowds during the coronavirus pandemic. Election officials said turnout would be further aided by Minnesota’s voting rules, including early voting that began on Sept. 18, expanded numbers of ballot drop-off sites and same-day registration on Election Day that requires little more than the word of a neighbor for approval.
Colleen Moriarty, president of the Minneapolis chapter of the League of Women Voters, said she was hoping that younger voters would turn out in high numbers, which would be a good indication that get-out-the-vote advocacy was making an impact. “I’m in my 60s and I don’t remember an election where there have been so many messages to vote from so many different sources,” she said.
The organization has made a special point to encourage voting in the city’s Eighth and Ninth Wards, which converge at the intersection where George Floyd was pinned beneath a Minneapolis police officer’s knee before he died. In the three voting precincts immediately surrounding the site, which many now call the George Floyd memorial, 42 percent of roughly 6,000 registered voters had already cast ballots by Friday — 20 percentage points higher than the total early turnout rate in 2016.
“We are the community that led to the murder of George Floyd, and we want to make sure that everyone has a voice and that those voices are protected,” Moriarty said. “Right away at the George Floyd site, we had voter registration tables and we focused in on areas where there was a lot of civil unrest.”
In Schultz’s class, one student urged his classmates to cast their ballots.
“I cannot vote, but I would say that immigration is one of the top issues of this election,” said Bryan Rodriguez Andino, 21, an immigrant from Nicaragua who sat in the front row. He is trying to become a naturalized citizen so he can vote in future elections.
“I’m counting on you guys to make a good decision,” he told the class.
The New York Times Magazine
Win or lose, it’s Donald Trump’s Republican Party.
Republican voters are essentially the same people who voted Republican before Trump; the party’s politicians are still mostly the same people, hiring mostly the same strategists.
But their relationships to the party now flow through a single man, one who has never offered a clear vision for his political program beyond his immediate aggrandizement.
Whether Trump wins or loses in November, no one else in the party’s official ranks seems to have one, either.
Source : New York Times