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The changing map

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American politics can sometimes seem static. Over the past two decades, the two parties have each won at least 45% of the vote in every presidential election, and a small number of alternative states have determined the outcome.

But this surface stability has hidden a lot of churn: American policy has actually changed a lot lately.

Consider Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice presidential candidate, will campaign today in Texas, a state President Trump won by nine percentage points four years ago and Barack Obama lost 16 points in 2012. This year, however, Texas is a swing state. “It’s a real race,” Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, told my colleague Jonathan Martin.

One of Harris’ three saves adds to the intrigue. In addition to Fort Worth and Houston, she will be visiting the small town of McAllen, in South Texas, where Joe Biden struggles to do as well with Latino voters as Hillary Clinton did in 2016. If anyone Told you a few years ago that Trump would do better with Latino and black voters in 2020 than in 2016 and that he would lose his run for reelection again, would you have believed it?

It happened because voters became less racially polarized during Trump’s presidency. His calls for white nationalism did not work with most white voters. Since 2016, white voters, with or without a college degree, have turned to Democrats.

But Trump’s white nationalism hasn’t driven out many voters of color who haven’t already opposed him. Instead, his confrontational style and harsh rhetoric about crime and national security seem to have won over some Latino and black voters, as The Times’ Nate Cohn notes. These data, Nate writes, “suggest a growing gap between the views of progressive activists and the non-white voter base.”

A large national poll published yesterday showed Trump won 9% of black voters this year, up from 8% in 2016, and 35% of Latino voters, up from 29%. If Trump does manage to win re-election, supporting a slice of Latino voters will likely be a key reason.

Of course, four days before Election Day Trump is a substantial underdog, thanks to Biden’s great strength: he wins women, younger voters, and voters of color and stands out among men, older voters. and white voters.

Biden can win the orthodox way, by reversing the three industrial states known as the the blue wall until Trump won them in 2016: Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

Or Biden can win by winning one or more Sun Belt states that no Democratic presidential candidate has won for more than two decades, like Arizona, Georgia, and Texas. He could also almost clinch the presidency by winning Florida. And in a very close race, the two states that award electoral votes based in part on the results of congressional districts – Maine and Nebraska – may also matter.

The most important thing to remember is that you shouldn’t assume that 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 what could change over the next four or eight years.

For more: Richard Fausset of The Times explains how Georgia became a battlefield state.

The 2020 campaign

  • Lives lived: Bob Biggs sensed an 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 his time. He died at 74.


The Times can help you navigate the election – to separate fact from fiction, understand polls, and make sure your ballot counts. To support our efforts, please consider subscribing today.

Early Sunday morning, clocks will move back one hour when daylight saving time ends in most of the United States and Canada. But there is a movement to abolish future time changes: more than 30 states have considered legislation this year to make daylight saving time permanent, which would cause both sunrise and sunset. later in the cooler months.

Proponents of daylight saving time make the point that the current arrangement pushes too much winter daylight into the early morning hours, when many people are sleeping. They cite studies showing an increase in car accidents, medical errors and suicides linked to transit time.

Supporters of the status quo respond: winter mornings would become miserable. As two California state lawmakers wrote: “You will prepare your family for the day in the dark; your children will walk to school or wait for the school bus before sunrise. “

If you want to learn more, we recommend this article on New York’s official clock master, who changes some of the city’s biggest clocks every year.

Halloween won’t look traditional this year. But there are still ways to celebrate safely. Guidelines vary from location to location: some cities discourage cruising neighborhoods for candy, while cities in New Jersey, Massachusetts and Texas have banned door-to-door tricks or treatments altogether. Salem, Mass., Where Halloween draws hundreds of thousands of tourists, has already canceled many festivities.

In general, the CDC recommends avoiding high-risk activities like regular parties or indoor costume parties.

Depending on the rate of infection in your community, experts say the safest strategies are to leave baskets of candy outside your home and ask children to wear gloves and carry hand sanitizer. Gatherings should be outdoors and socially distant. And while you don’t need to sanitize every candy wrapper, make sure your hands are clean before you dig.

“Costumes and candy can seem frivolous, but joy and social connection are essential and can help reduce the pandemic fatigue that many people feel,” Julia Marcus, a associate professor at Harvard Medical School, told us.

Although they look like traditional chocolate chip cookies, this dessert has a few surprises in store with the addition of honey toasted almonds and a generous dusting of chili sugar flakes.



Yesterday’s Spelling Bee pangram was tow rope. Today’s puzzle is above – or you can play it online if you have a Games membership.

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