What the McCloskeys Have to Say About Black Lives Matter and Their Mixed-Race Neighborhood

Patricia and Mark McCloskey, the St. Louis attorneys who famously pointed guns at Black Lives Matter protesters during this summer’s racial unrest in an effort to protect their property, sat for a revealing interview with OZY’s co-founder and CEO on The Carlos Watson Show. You can find some of the best cuts here from the full interview, which you can find on the show’s podcast feed.

A Second Scary Night

Carlos Watson: How do you guys think back about that night as you stand here today in January?

Mark McCloskey: The interesting thing to us is that only that first night, only June 28 ever gets reported by the media. And that was the easier of the two events. The mob came back on July 3 with the express intent of killing us and burning down the house. And now this mob was estimated between 500 and 1,000. And that was the scary night. That was the time when we really thought the end had come. We had a long time trying to get some security and the people we normally hire — in our business from time to time we hire secondary employment cops — nobody wanted to get involved because of the bad press we attract. We were referred to a high-end global security firm that’s based about 50 miles from here.

They’ve gotten bad press over the Ferguson incident and they didn’t want to get involved. The guy finally tells me: “What I’d do is just take whatever you can’t live without, put it in your cars, drive away and just abandon your house.” And I said, “Well, no effing way in heck I’m going to do that. We’re going to go down with this ship if we have to.”

I’ve gotten a call from the White House earlier in the week. And one of the guys at the White House said the president wanted to express his support. If there’s ever anything we can do for you, give us a call, let us know. So now it’s Thursday night before that Friday, July the third, we had every belief that we were going to die. And our daughter who was staying with us came and gave us a hug and a kiss and took her favorite stuffed animal from when she was 3 years old and left thinking she’d never see us again.

And I got back from the White House on the phone and I said, well, you said that there’s ever anything you can do give us a call. So it’s a heck of a good time. And so he gave me Mark Meadows’ cellphone number. I called up Mark Meadows and tell him the story. And then the next call I made was to Tucker Carlson. And I was sitting on the bench in the kitchen and Patty was sitting beside me, sobbing because we thought we were going to die. We had not been to sleep since that previous Sunday night. We’d spent the whole week hiding valuables and stuffing things in walls and under beds and stuff. And Tucker put us on the air and said, “I’m talking to Mark McCloskey,” and I hear Patty sobbing in the background and told the story. When that Friday came, we were pretty certain we were going to die. But it all came together. We had tremendous support at the end. We had some SEALs came up from Texas and from one guy, fourth-generation cattle farmer. A Navy SEAL drove in from Kansas, just put his gear in his truck and drove here. We have support from from the government. As result of Tucker Carlson’s call, there were maybe 10 or so secondary employment cops from rural jurisdictions that weren’t afraid to have their name on the press if they had to.

No Regrets

CW: So, if someone were to say to you, “I hear that, and I hear some of what you’re saying.” They may say, “I don’t agree with all of it. I don’t agree with your characterization of it, but I understand that if you’re outside and there are lots of people out there and there’s noise and there’s concern, and there’s lots of stress all around, I understand how someone could come to that place. But that if you’d stayed in the house, if you’d not pulled guns out, that they would not have come in and that they likely would have just moved on and kept walking through the neighborhood.” You say what to that?

MM: Am I supposed to interview each person as they breached that gate and say, “Are you the good protester or are you the violent mobster? Are you a person who just wants to make some noise so you get on TV, or are you one of those people that shot police officers and burn 7-Eleven’s and kill [police officer] David Dorn?” Am I supposed to individually assess each of these people as they walk through the gate? It’s ridiculous.

I mean, we were terrified, legitimately so, and look what did happen. No shot got fired. Nobody got hurt. Not even a sidewalk got painted. The only casualty that day, other than our psyches, was an iron gate that had been there since 1888. What happened when they leave here? They go to the Mayor Krewson’s house. They shoot fireworks through a window trying to set it on fire. They accost news reporters with semi-automatic weapons. This was not a crowd which you could trust to be harmless, and every indication was that they had no intention of being harmless.

Mixed Neighborhood

Patty McCloskey: Well, the interesting thing is uninformed people, I see it in the paper, I’ve seen it in a lot of things, saying that this street was chosen because it’s a bastion of white supremacy or white imperialism or something. They don’t know. The neighbor right across the street from me is Black and his father was Black. They’ve been living there since 1972. Next-door to me, a mixed couple, Black and white, with mixed children. I have…

MM: Gay guys across the street next-door.

PM: … gay guys, white guys, Chinese people. I mean, everybody. I mean…

MM: There are 42 houses in this street. As of right now, I think that there are probably what, five? That are African American. Mostly they’re, well, not mostly, I hate to characterize, lots of mixed couples, gay couples, and it’s been that way for the whole 33 years we’ve been there. This has always been about as diverse a neighborhood as you’re going to find in St. Louis.

PM: And liberal.

MM: And liberal. St. Louis, as you may know, is one of the most racially divided cities in the country. I knew that south St. Louis was almost all white, north St. Louis is almost all Black, and there’s very little interchange between the races here with the exception of this specific neighborhood, where it’s always been a mixed neighborhood and no one’s ever had any problem with it.

PM: But I see newspaper articles written saying no Black person would ever be allowed to live there. In fact, “They weren’t allowed to live there,” they say, “under the restrictions.” That was never under our restrictions. That never happened. There have been people here and happily. We’re all happy. It’s kind of shocking that they can say these things. I think that the people that maybe that decided, “Hey, let’s stop in on this particular street because they are all those things you might’ve heard about in the paper,” they’re just uninformed and the paper’s at fault for that.

Impact of Trump

CW: Do you think on race relations he’s been a good president?

PM: Yeah, I believe so. Because when I see the mainstream news, they’re putting those things together, saying that race relations and prison reform are the same thing. Because we’re putting people in prison, African Americans in prison, for things that you wouldn’t for white-collar crime. So I put those things together, but I think there were opportunity zones, I think he’s set up like in St. Louis. There’s a zone here where he’s bringing in extra help for police to help an African American community. I don’t know any African American that wants fewer cops. He says, I’ll give you more cops because they need help. They’re afraid. I would say 85 percent of our clients are African American and have been for 15 years. And we become very close. We’re not these kinds of people that just say, you know, “Sign you up and we’ll see you. We don’t even know who you are.” We come in and talk to them daily. And I know what they’re like, and I…

CW: Sorry, you said 85 percent. So 85 percent of your clients are African American?

PM: Yes.

CW: And what has happened since this? Have they stayed? Have African Americans continued to be your clients or have they said, “I don’t like what I saw. I don’t like what I heard. I like you as a person, but I don’t respect the choices you’ve made.” And have they chosen other lawyers?

PM: Everyone has said, “I would have done the same thing as you. I talked to my friends that would have done the same thing as you.” One was the girl that I told you about that called and said, “I still love you. And I know that’s not you. And I know that they want you to pay for it.” But not one has left and not one has said. And we’ve gotten calls from clients from way back saying, “I know you people, and I would have done the same thing and I understand it. And so not a one.”

On Black Lives Matter

CW: Now, I was surprised in some of the interviews that I thought I heard you say that you supported Black Lives Matter. Is that true? I don’t want to put words in your mouth. Is that true?

MM: My lawyer said it in those words one time and I corrected him, and I’ve corrected it on every media event that’s asked me that question. I support equal justice under the law. I support equal rights for all people. I’m a big believer in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I recognize the Black Lives Matter organization as a Marxist organization. That’s antithetical to everything I believe in. I believe that amongst other things, the biggest impediment to success in the African American community is degradation of family values and the lack of cohesive family organization and Black Lives Matter disavows traditional families, Black Lives Matter disavows…

CW: Mark, Mark, Mark, sorry. You think that’s a bigger impediment to Black success than systemic racism?

MM: I don’t… I can’t answer that question. I can tell you from personal experience of living in the murder capital of the world for most of my life, St. Louis is a remarkably dangerous place if you’re an African American, and that’s because of Black-on-Black violence. So we had 262 murders in the city of St. Louis last year, highest murder rate in 50 years, almost exclusively Black-on-Black violence, and no one wishes to address that issue. And certainly Black Lives Matter does not wish to address that issue.

Who Would Be Swizz Beatz and Timbaland’s Dream Verzuz Matchup?

The hip-hop producers behind the pandemic sensation Verzuz, Timbaland and Swizz Beats join The Carlos Watson Show to talk about their adjustments to the COVID-19 world and to break down their show’s best moments. Read on for some of the highlights from the full interview, which you can find on the show’s podcast feed.

Origin Story

Carlos Watson: How did it start? Whose idea was it? Was this a new thing, literally just came in the moment you knew that people needed something and you guys came up with it, or had you been thinking about it before?

Timbaland: Yes, it’s been on the radar for about three and a half, four years. How it started, we started it, we set the temperature when we did Summer Jam in New York. Swizz brought me out and we battled right there, and it was a great response. And from there, times changed and we was in the pandemic, and I started antagonizing Swizz on Instagram and poking little beefs, and like, “What’s up?” And I called him, I said, “Man, we should do what we started right now.” And then it took off from there.

Swizz Beatz: One hour later.

CW: Now, did you guys know it was going to be as much of a hit? I realize that’s almost an obvious question to ask, but what did you think? Did you think you were going to do this one time and you would see, or did you already have in your mind, given Tim, that you said that this was three or four years in the making, that you were going to turn this into a whole thing?

T: I just believe that the energy that we put out, it was something given back. It was a very crucial time in the world and it brought a lot of light. I didn’t know it would be . . . I don’t think nobody knew it would take off the way it took off, but we knew the energy that we was putting out in the universe, that nothing but good could come from it.

Peacemakers

CW: What was the most beautiful moment, because you guys had so many interesting moments in the midst of it. Swizz, do it however you want to do it, what was the most beautiful moment in your mind?

SB: I’m going to be honest. The last one with Jeezy and Gucci was probably my most beautiful moment because that show broke the record for those brothers. People showed up for them to go into destruction, they wanted to see destruction with those guys. And they gave them destruction during the Verzuz, but at the end, the brothers gave everybody love. People showed up for destruction and got love.

And I just loved to see the maturity and in our culture, I just love to see the maturity in guys that may have not been perfect when they was growing up, but willing to use our platform and their platform to send out a positive message to the youth. And that right there, that was a very, very touching moment. And it’s a lot of touching moments in Verzuz by the way, but this one right here particularly was special because we was dealing with real issues that a lot of people don’t get to talk about. So the audience got to see this thing play out from A to Z, and we commend Gucci and we commend Jeezy for their excellence, and we got to give them their praise because if they would . . . If something would’ve went wrong, and they would’ve did something negative that night, it would have been all over the place, right? So, I want us to celebrate them for the positivity they did that night.

Season Two Preview

CW: Where do we go from here? Or I shouldn’t put me in it because you guys created it, but where are you going with it in season two? Because you have built something special. And I could imagine you thinking international. I could imagine you thinking different kinds of artists. I could imagine that even some of the comedians or some of the other folks are coming to you and saying why couldn’t Verzuz be applied in my backyard as well as in music’s backyard. Where are you guys thinking about taking this?

SB: Well, we have global in mind, definitely. We have Verzuz Sports already. We have Verzuz Comedy already. We have Verzuz Universe, right? So, the sky is not the limit, it’s just the view. But we’re also taking our time. We’re not rushing into things that are not well thought out. Myself and Tim and our team, we have a lot on our table. A lot of people bringing a lot of greatness to the table with Verzuz, and we’re looking at everything and deciding from there. But remember, this is only season two. We only one in, in season two. We got a big season coming. Take this season’s greetings.

CW: Give me a preview. Tim, who are you excited about bringing in season two?

T: The sky is just a view. You know what I think? I don’t have a wish list because everything that . . . We don’t force nothing on Verzuz, and everything comes to us. But lately I’ve been riding, and I feel like I just want to show the world about just love and slow songs and that feel-good music that touch your soul. And I was thinking just a lot of Anita Baker. I’m just like, “Man, we got to give Anita her flowers.” So much that . . . Not because of Verzuz. Verzuz is the platform to tell this woman how much her music done just for me. You know what I’m saying? I feel like we can’t leave this world without Anita Baker or celebrating Sade. Like those moments in life. I feel like I don’t have to tell them how I felt and what their music done for me as a producer, just as a human, just for situations, and decisions in relationships. I use their music to guide me. You know what I’m saying? And it’s like that’s what I would like to see.

CW: I think, Tim, it’s. . . Oh, sorry. Swizz, go ahead.

SB: Yeah. I’m going to say what I want to see, and then I stopped saying it because sometimes it makes the artists nervous, but this one, they just going to have to be nervous. I’m putting it out there. I want to see another reggae one and I want to see Super Cat vs. Shabba.

T: I want to see that too.

Life Changes

CW: Tim, how do you think . . . because I know when I hear Swizz talking, I talk about both of you, and that curiosity and that hustle. I know life hasn’t always though, even after your success, worked out exactly as you wanted. I admire the way people have come back. Talk to me a little bit about that. If you don’t mind me bringing her up, but where were you after Aaliyah passed, and what happened that allowed you, in my mind, to get that energy going again in a different way and reimagine yourself, body and soul?

T: I think it’s a little bit more events after Aaliyah. I think it was Aaliyah, I had got married, had a kid, had children and got divorced. I believe when you go through trial and error in life, some people stay down. I’m always trying to look at me, and evolve and become a better version of me, from every experience. For me, going forward, I just know I didn’t want to go into my second phase or second chapter of life doing the same things I did in my first half of life. So I just made a conscious decision just to live better, eat better, be a better person, just be conscious of what I do. With the pandemic, just really made me just evaluate who I am and what I want to give to the world, what I want to put out. Yeah, just evolving.

CW: How has the pandemic changed you, when you watched what happened? I feel like both of you have a really interesting vantage point, because you not only have your own life. You probably have heard from people one-off and in groups, about where people are. What do you take away from this year, 2020? What are your big lessons, and where are you planning on going yourself, personally?

T: My takeaway from this is people . . . It was like if I would have told you that the world is going to stop, you would probably have looked at me crazy. You know what I’m saying? So I think that a lot of things that we take for granted, we shouldn’t. I was telling Swizz, I think that’s how this whole Verzuz really started, is because I just value our friendship. I just had time to think about who was there, really just people that we spend a lot of time, but we don’t communicate enough.

Because death was happening. It was just a bad 2020. So I just started, just for me, just paying attention to how I can be better as a person. Just talking to Swizz, talking to him, and I believe that’s how Verzuz got started, because it was a love, just showing gratitude and being thankful for allowing . . . for us meeting, sharing the same vision in life. I just thought that’s how we’re here today with Verzuz, but 2020 has been a life-changing experience.

CW: Swizz, what about you? What about this last year, or really in some ways, I even think about your last couple of years, how have you changed?

SB: I’m more conscious about my time, especially my family time. Because I thought that I was spending a lot of time with my family, but during this whole pandemic, I really spent time with my family and got to know my kids even more, got to know my wife even more. I feel like the most I’ve been a father ever, the most I’ve been a husband ever, just because we had that time to actually be together instead of traveling every month, three and four times.

Although you connected on the phone and we connect when we see each other, and it doesn’t feel like we’re that far, but this let me know that everybody was really far. My relationship with my kids, my relationship with my family, it was really far. It’s like, OK, how do I maintain this as we get back up into 2021, moving forward? How do I keep this same energy? How do I carve out the time? Because you have to make time for these things.

You have to make time for your loved ones. You have to make time for yourself. Right? I think that the world was just moving too fast. 2020 showed us how to actually slow down. We had no choice but to slow down and reflect within ourself, and really get to actually hear our thoughts. Because sometimes we move so fast, we don’t even get to listen to ourself, or digest what somebody else told us that could be a great gem. So I think that 2020 has definitely taught me patience and discipline.

Glynn Turman on How Chadwick Boseman ‘Spills His Guts’ on Screen

Actor Glynn Turman stopped by The Carlos Watson Show to talk about his remarkable six-decade run on stage and screen, where he’s encountered legends of all stripes. He’s now starring in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom on Netflix. Below you’ll find some of the best cuts from the full conversation, which you can hear on the show’s podcast feed.

On Underappreciated Black Actors

Carlos Watson: Tell me about Cooley High, because I think that was one of the first times that I remember you, and it’s so interesting when I get to see so many of your pieces of work lined up next to each other. It’s a little bit like some of your favorite musicians who you forgot all the hit songs they had, but did Cooley High mean as much to you as maybe it did to a viewer like me?

Glynn Turman: It has come to mean that much. Again, like with [Raisin in the Sun], we didn’t know we were making a landmark stride, a landmark production in the culture, but Cooley High has indeed become that signature piece in the culture of Black people in America, in filmmaking with Eric Monte, who wrote it. It’s a wonderful piece that there’s some insight as to what we as a Black people were doing and how our lives were shaped. And at the same time, then spearheaded by the great Michael Schultz, one of the finest directors in the business, Black directors in business.

And then, friendships came out of that, which have lasted all of these years — which is 45 years. I know that because we just celebrated not too long ago. Myself and my buddy Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Steven Williams and Garrett Morris.

CW: Was Garrett Morris in that?

GT: Yes, Garrett Morris was in that. Yeah, no, he was the teacher.

CW: Oh, my. Is that right?

GT: He was the one who saved us when we stole the car and the police, he was the one who stepped up and spoke for us and got us out. That was a young Garrett Morris. Yeah. We were all tight to this day, right here in California.

CW: I am struck by all. … It’s funny. I am struck by all of the talent that was there, and I’m not going to put this in the right words, but there were times when we felt like not enough of us got those opportunities on stage and screen, but at the same time, as I hear you say, Garrett Morris, I hear you say Ivan Dixon earlier, as I hear you say all of these interesting names, I say, you know what, Cicely Tyson. I used to try and hide to stay at home when they were playing her movies during the day on the independent TV station and all of these interesting actors were there.

And so, I’m trying to reconcile that in my mind. Do I say they were there, but maybe they didn’t get all of the acclaim and credit they should have, or how to think about that? But it’s interesting. You were making me realize that there are more of us who did really special distinctive work, maybe than I previously appreciated. Was there a richer set of Black actors in the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, maybe than now, or is that an overstatement?

GT: Probably partially because I’m of that era and knew these people personally, and yes, there are some fine talents today. Some young people who are coming up with some wonderful work that they’re doing. Having worked with one who’s Chad Boseman. He’s that caliber, a fine actor who was dedicated to the craft and wasn’t there for the glamour. He wasn’t taking it haphazardly. He was putting his blood into it. And so, there are some young people who are doing that same thing. And David Armando, Jordan, the field with his insight on things, creating a whole other genre for us to work in.

So these are people in front of and behind the camera, you know what I’m saying? That are filling the shoes of some of the people who were some of the giants that I came up with. So I wouldn’t say that there was a better anything, but it was a different time. And in those times, the pickings were scarcer, so to get a piece of that, you had to really be sharp. You know what I mean? You had to really be sharp because there wasn’t that much going around. You didn’t have that many options.

Honing the Craft

GT: One of the things that was wonderful about back then was there was certain theater companies started by Blacks, run by Blacks, did Black material. The Negro Ensemble Theater Company with the plays that they did. National Black Theatre Touring Company with the New Federal Theatre Company, my friend Woodie King Jr.

Who’s going to this day, we’re getting ready to celebrate its 50th year. And anyone that I have mentioned to you from Denzel to Sam Jackson, to anybody that I’ve mentioned, came through one of these outlets. One of these theater companies. One of these programs that had to shape and provide a space for actors to hone their craft and for playwrights to get their works done.

And so, nobody was fly-by-night. Nobody came with expecting just because they showed up that they deserve. No, you show up, but you better bring a game. You better have something to back you up, because you get blown off the stage.

CW: Right.

GT: Oh, yeah. No, no, no, no. You better know your craft. You better know the difference between upstage left and stage right. And downstage, and all of that jargon. You better know it.

And we had places to hone that. Some of which are still going on, and that’s what I look for in the young actors and actresses today. Do they know their craft? Are the honing their craft, or are they just trying to become movie stars or famous or tweaked successes. Success stories. I don’t have much time for that. I really lose my patience with them.

There’s too much blood on the boards. Because the stories that need to be told, need to be told by people who are ready to spill their guts on the boards, so that it makes a difference when the audience sees. And that’s what you’re going to see in Ma Rainey. Everyone who’s involved in … Chadwick Boseman spills his guts. Oh, my God, wait till you see this boy.

CW: Going to miss him. But, we’re not going to miss him because he didn’t go anywhere. He didn’t go anywhere. Not going to miss him because he didn’t go anywhere. Not going to miss him because he’s still with us.

GT: [Chokes up with emotion] Right.

CW: He’s still with us.

GT: He’s still with us.

Life Lessons

CW: If you were to reach back to young Glynn and whisper two or three things in his ear, what would you be telling him? What would you point out to him as he embarks on this, on this journey?

GT: Don’t overthink. Don’t overthink matters, trust your instincts. I would whisper to him, don’t sweat the small stuff. Pick your battles. And I think, again, trust your instincts.

CW: That “trust your instinct” is so powerful and that “pick your battles” is too. I think especially in a world in which often your heart is broken. Or the pot is boiling underneath you and to still have your wits about you to know that you still have to pick your battles. That’s a hard thing to do, but it, but it’s a critical thing to do, and I think that there’s power in that. Talk to me about love. What would you tell young Glynn about love? What have you learned about love?

GT: Treasure it. Treasure it and make it bigger than yourself. Your love has to be bigger than yourself, because your love has to cover the love you expect others to have. We always think that people love in the same manner that we love. And people don’t — they love in their own manner. But if you want that kind of love, you’ve got to be the one that brings that kind of love because only to what degree that is. You can’t judge it on somebody else’s degree of what love means to them.

Finding Perspective

CW: When you sit back and think about it and talk about it with good friends, how do you think about this journey?

GT: You’re looking at an overnight success right here. It has been a hell of a night.

25 Rising Stars to Track in 2021

Maybe it’s the inspiring vaccine news or just getting into holiday mode, but we’re feeling a lot more hopeful about 2021. The trauma of 2020 has kindled unparalleled disruptions in art, politics and social activism — not to mention science and health, which have been tested like never before. It’s in OZY’s DNA to look out for what’s new and next: We’ve been profiling Rising Stars since Day One. In that spirit, today’s Sunday Magazine brings you the 25 people we think will be making a real impact in what we hope and expect to be a sunnier 2021. It’s only a starting point, so we will need your help to add to this illustrious list: Tag us on Twitter or Instagram @ozy to let us know someone who we should keep our eye on in the new year.

politicians

Mandela Barnes. The Milwaukee native has risen to become the state’s first Black man elected to statewide office — despite being mistakenly declared dead and swapped out for a white candidate on local news. At age 33, the lieutenant governor now may have Washington on his mind. Barnes, who is named for South Africa’s first Black president and achieved national prominence as a thoughtful and strident voice during the Kenosha protests, is a rumored candidate for perhaps the hottest U.S. Senate election in 2022. If in the coming months he declares for the seat now held by conservative Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, he won’t have a cake walk in the Democratic primary, but he can likely count on national grassroots enthusiasm.

Josh Hawley. It was about as odd a couple as you could find: Hawley, 40, the populist conservative rookie GOP senator, next to the 79-year-old Democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders. But last week they appeared together to advocate for another round of direct payments to Americans as part of a COVID-19 relief deal. It worked: The emerging deal now appears to include $600 checks. It’s those political skills and unorthodox thinking, which OZY first spotted in our 2018 profile of then-candidate Hawley, that have many people eyeing him as a 2024 White House contender. The Republican race is frozen as long as President Donald Trump appears to be running again, but the former Supreme Court clerk and men’s Bible study leader can afford to wait — and make unlikely alliances in the meantime. 

Ayanna Pressley. Is she Joe Biden’s bridge to the Squad? Pressley, 46, who rose through the cutthroat ranks of Boston politics to become the first Black woman in Congress from Massachusetts, is more of an inside politician than the AOCs of the world and has separated herself ever so slightly from them — for example endorsing her fellow Massachusetts pol Elizabeth Warren rather than Bernie Sanders during the presidential primary. Now Pressley’s 2021 will be devoted to pushing Biden on issues like student debt cancellation, but also marshalling votes in a closely divided House. And with her openness about her alopecia diagnosis by going bald in public, Pressley has become a powerful symbol for millions with the disease.

Stephanie Bice. The first Iranian American elected to Congress won her seat by taking out out the only Democrat representing Oklahoma in D.C. And she’s already been elected the freshman class president. At the forefront of a crew of Republican women building their House presence to record levels, Bice, 47, also says she will join “the Freedom Force,” meant as a conservative counterweight to the Squad — though she sounds eager for compromise in interviews. A former marketing executive, she served in Oklahoma’s state senate, where she led the charge to modernize the state’s liquor laws before making the jump to Washington.

Rishi Sunak. The United Kingdom’s chancellor of the exchequer has been the fastest rising star in the Tory party with clear eyes on No. 10 Downing Street. On his way, Sunak, 40, ticked most every elite box possible (Oxford, Stanford, Goldman Sachs) and married the daughter of one of India’s richest men, N.R. Narayana Murthy. Last summer, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson floundered while responding to the pandemic, Sunak arranged direct wage subsidies and has become the skinny-suited face of the country’s fiscal policy. The whispers are growing louder that a challenge to Johnson’s leadership could be afoot in 2021.

George Forsyth. Perhaps a country that’s been through the turmoil of three presidents in a week needs a goalkeeper to make a save. Ahead of Peru’s new presidential election in April, and widespread unrest among the country’s economically battered youth, Forsyth, 38, is leading in the polls. The mayor of the La Victoria municipality of Lima, he’s known as a crime-fighter and corruption-buster. The 6-foot-2 politician is also known for his playing career for one of Peru’s top soccer clubs, Alianza Lima. As the son of Peru’s former U.S. ambassador and a former Miss Chile, Forsyth brings a cocktail of celebrity and a political ideology that is not discernibly left or right to a possible presidential bid. It may be enough to prevail in a topsy-turvy political climate.

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innovators

Adwa Al Dakheel. She’s the face of the new Saudi Arabia. The 28-year-old entrepreneur and social media influencer runs the kingdom’s most promising investment hub, Falak. She’s also a guitarist, writer, amateur pilot, a high-profile refugee advocate and national champion squash player. Under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia still has a troublesome human rights record and is struggling to diversify from oil, but Al Dakheel is a striking role model for change. Read more on OZY.

Su Hua. Imagine TikTok and Amazon rolled into one, and that’s Kuaishou, China’s newest emerging tech giant. Su, the video sharing app’s bespectacled 38-year-old CEO and founder, grew up in a Hunan village without electricity. Now he’s worth $4 billion and about to become even wealthier: Kuaishou’s mega IPO in January could see the company valued at $50 billion.

Jacob Becraft. Seeing everyone from ER doctors to Mike Pence to William Shakespeare take the first COVID-19 vaccines has been cause for celebration. But it will be a long wait for most — especially in the developing world. Jacob Becraft, 29, is rushing in to help in India and Southeast Asia with a delivery platform that could potentially allow you to “turn vaccines on and off” with a pill that triggers the release process. The Illinois native’s company, Strand Therapeutics, could allow people to take one dose instead of two of mRNA vaccines like Moderna’s, which was approved Friday by the FDA. Becraft’s technology could make it easier to inoculate people in poorer, far-flung places. Read more on OZY.

Virtue Oboro. Studies show that jaundice in newborn babies puts them at mortal risk, and for Oboro the fight was personal. Her own son barely survived a bout with the condition — requiring an emergency blood transfusion —  because of a lack of available phototherapy cots, where jaundiced babies are treated under a special light. A graphic designer, Oboro used her expertise to design a product called Crib A’Glow, a low-cost, solar-powered, mobile phototherapy solution to treat newborns. Her company, Tiny Hearts Technology, built a prototype that failed but kept trying until it worked. Since that 2016 start, it’s treated more than 1,600 babies and has spread from its Nigerian home base to Ghana, Kenya and Benin.

Dajae Williams. With so few Black women in science, technology, engineering and math fields, Williams, 26, struggled at times with her identity, and often found herself “code-switching” in a mostly white workplace as a quality engineer at NASA. Now she’s embraced a mission to build pathways for the next generation — through hip-hop. With Listen Up Education, the St. Louis native is using music to engage underprivileged kids in math and science, and is on a mission to become, in her words, “the Black female Bill Nye — where Fresh Prince and Bel-Air meet.” Read more on OZY.

Mattieu Gamache-Asselin. It started with a “you know what I hate” conversation and ended up with a billion dollar company. Gamache-Asselin, a 30-year-old Aboriginal Canadian, is the co-founder of Alto Pharmacy, a digital brand that brings drugs to your door without charging for delivery and disrupts the brick and mortar pharmacies that everyone loves to complain about. The model has taken off during COVID-19 and is sure to extend beyond its current five-state foothold, thanks to a new investment of $250 million from SoftBank and others. Read more on OZY.

Sal Khan. Before everyone was in Zoom school, he was figuring out how it would work. The New Orleans native founded Khan Academy after getting the idea from tutoring his cousin. Now he reaches 10 million students per month and is the leading expert on remote learning, with one big idea: Everyone on the planet should be able to get a world-class education for free. He has tips for how teachers should structure their online time, with more practice and peer learning rather than lecturing. As students (hopefully) return to the classrooms in 2021, Khan, 44, will be at the forefront — including collaborating with the Biden administration. Watch him on ‘The Carlos Watson Show’

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athletes

Santia Deck. The former track star turned pro flag football and rugby player had made a name for herself by leaving her defenders standing in cement, going viral with lightning moves, chiseled abs and a dose of social media savvy. It led to her signing with the Los Angeles Flames for the first multimillion dollar contract in women’s football history. Now she’s the face of the Women’s Football League Association, and their season is set to launch in May. Read more on OZY.

Zach Wilson. It’s hard to imagine a 6-foot-3, 210-pound quarterback sneaking up on anybody. But that’s exactly what Wilson has done as he’s led Brigham Young University to a 10-1 record, capping his collegiate career with a 310-yard, three touchdown performance — while showing off the sneaky athleticism and lightning-quick decision making that could make him the second quarterback chosen in the 2021 NFL Draft behind consensus pick Trevor Lawrence. Wilson may be the Justin Herbert of 2021.

Caris LeVert. The 6-foot-6 shooting guard wasn’t even a lottery pick, much less a bona fide star, out of Michigan in 2016. But with superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving sidelined with injuries last year for the Brooklyn Nets, LeVert stepped up big as a rangy driving and shooting threat, averaging around 23 points, 8 assists and 5 rebounds per game in the NBA bubble. With a stacked roster, the Nets are talking about using LeVert as a super sixth man like Manu Ginobili on the great Spurs teams of the 2000s — or they could trade him. With the season starting Tuesday, look for him to end up as the critical third star on a team where anything less than an NBA Finals appearance would be a disappointment. 

Letícia Bufoni. The Brazilian street skating star has five X-Games medals to her name and has tied the decade-old record for most golds for a woman in the sport. And with skateboarding making its Olympic debut in 2021, the 27-year-old is about to become a household name. Bufoni moved from her hometown of São Paulo in 2007 to train in Southern California. She cites spending time in the water while wake-surfing, her “third-favorite sport” behind skateboarding and soccer, as aiding her recovery regimen when she gets the inevitable injuries that come from going cabeça a cabeça with gravity.

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activists

Licypriya Kangujam. She’s half Greta Thunberg’s age but has all of the teen climate change leader’s spunk. And Kangujam, 9, is paving her own way in India, pushing the Modi administration to pass climate change laws and warning that if action isn’t taken, the earth will be uninhabitable “by the time I grow up.” Read more on OZY. 

Stella Nyanzi. They tried to silence her with a prison term for “cyberbullying” Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. But a court order commuted her 18-month sentence, providing another example of how the 46-year-old mother and activist refuses to be cowed. And ahead of Uganda’s 2021 elections, the former journalist and anthropologist is working to diminish Museveni, in power since 1986, with whatever it takes — from petty insults to provocative poems to baring her breasts in protest. Read more on OZY.

Damario Solomon-Simmons. The 44-year-old civil rights attorney is paving the way for reparations, beginning at the site of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre that stopped a burgeoning Black Wall Street in its tracks. His argument? That the city’s racial division and tension stems from that century-old wrong, in which neither the city nor insurance companies ever compensated victims for their economic and emotional losses. The Oklahoma native, a vegan and owner of a six-pound poodle, is taking up civil rights cases of families who have lost loved ones to police violence and college football players looking for compensation for enduring racism. Read more on OZY.

Eszter Nagy. The Secretary General of the Union of European Federalists in Hungary is a former diplomat dismayed by her nation’s turn away from its commitment to a healthy partnership with the European Union and the democratic backsliding that has followed. However, as Prime Minister Viktor Orbán continues to assert control, Nagy also doesn’t spare criticism for the EU — which, she says, needs leaders willing to make “braver political decisions” with “real consequences.” As the tension between Hungary and the EU comes to a boil in 2021, Nagy will be in the middle of it.

artists

Saweetie. This aspiring mogul may well be the next Rihanna, given her dream of building a billion-dollar multi-industry global brand. The rapper behind “Icy Grl,” “My Type” and “Tap In,” Saweetie, 27, describes her sound as: “it’s bougie, it’s bossed up, it’s inspirational.” And this California native, who first caught notice on Instagram, is now a TikTok sensation who will be dominating your screens in 2021. Watch Her on ‘The Carlos Watson Show.’

Justin Simien. His latest film, Bad Hair, is a horror flick about a bloodsucking weave that has political relevance you may not expect. No, really. For Simien, 37, the creator of Dear White People who considers being Black and queer his superpower, the unexpected has come to be expected. The world is now eagerly awaiting his entrance into the Star Wars canon: Simien is developing a show around the classic character Lando Calrissian for Disney+. Watch Him on ‘The Carlos Watson Show.

Noname. She is a rapper with a conscience, and she’s not going away. Noname’s biggest moment of 2020 was probably her public feud with rapper J. Cole, which she owned with a stunningly powerful 70-second diss track, “Song 33.” But far more than a diss track, it showed her depth as an advocate for causes like defund the police. Unafraid to go after the likes of Barack Obama and Beyoncé, Chicago’s own Noname, 29, will be a force to be reckoned with in the new year in music, activism and literature. She founded Noname’s Book Club to lift up marginalized writers. Read more on OZY.

Tunji Adeniyi-Jones. The 28-year-old is a New Yorker born in London to Nigerian parents, and his rich, stunning paintings speak to his Yoruba heritage, with stylized figures and an appreciation for the natural world. A Yale and Oxford graduate, Adeniyi-Jones gained buzz in 2020 when he was featured in the collection Young, Gifted and Black, and his gifts are now on display in Los Angeles, with more to come in the new year.

A New Vision for America

America has a new look to it these days. OZY has dedicated its editorial mission this year to the idea that it’s time to Reset America, and we haven’t yet seen the kind of wholesale change this movement would require. If you take another look — or even employ augmented reality, as one of our profile subjects does this week — you can see a new country starting to emerge. Perhaps it’s the advancing conversation on police reform or the changing of administrations, with the new White House set to work with a Congress that’s more diverse than ever on both sides of the aisle. It’s been a trying year. But today’s Sunday Magazine invites you to take a glance from a new angle at the positive change we’re already seeing.

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the new trailblazers

Mark Robinson. The first Black lieutenant governor in North Carolina history was a factory worker just a couple of years ago, until his impassioned speech against gun control at a Greensboro City Council meeting went viral. Now he’s a certified Republican star, with an unlikely triumph in his first-ever run for office positioning him for a place on the national stage. Read more on OZY.

Antonio López. Poet to politician is not the usual path, but neither is rising from the rough neighborhoods of East Palo Alto to earning a Ph.D. from Stanford. López is an unusual sort, and his quest to fight gentrification will continue after winning a tight race to get on the East Palo Alto City Council. At just 26, the sky’s the limit. Read more on OZY.

Saweetie. Rising superstar Saweetie wants to be more than just a musician: She’s out to build a billion-dollar multi-industry global brand as the next Rihanna. In a revealing chat on The Carlos Watson Show, the artist behind “Icy Grl,” “My Type” and “Tap In” shares the story behind her love affair with fellow rapper Quavo, how her relationship with her grandmother continues to shape her career — and her politics — and why sports is her true first love, over music. Watch Now.

Charles Overton. Overton cuts an unlikely figure when he performs with the Boston Symphony Orchestra or Boston Pops: Only 1.8 percent of musicians in American orchestras are Black, and only 6 percent of harpists are men. Plus, he’s a harpist who not only regularly performs classical masterpieces but also excels in jazz, from gentle to almost avant garde. You’re going to want to hear his harp take on Notorious BIG’s “Big Poppa,” and read how the 26-year-old launched a classical response to George Floyd’s death. Read more on OZY.

Lamorne Morris. The questions started coming as soon as it was revealed that Damon Wayans Jr. would rejoin the New Girl cast: Was Morris out? “We can have two Black dudes on a show. We can. Watch. It’ll be fun,” Morris would say, as he recounts on The Carlos Watson Show. Now he’s breaking more ground on the Hulu hit Woke, a comedic yet meaty examination of what happens when someone who just wants to be left out of the political-racial debates of the day suddenly can’t ignore them anymore. Watch Now.

Cosette Rinab. The 21-year-old college student and fashion creator sued Donald Trump … and won. Rinab, who boasts more than 2.3 million followers on TikTok (and partnerships with Dolce & Gabbana and Levi’s), was one of the lead plaintiffs in a challenge to the Trump administration’s ban of the platform as a national security threat. She and other major influencers leveraged their followings to wage a legal and PR campaign against the pending ban on TikTok downloads, which they argued was an attack on free speech and their livelihoods. The influencers won their case in Pennsylvania, and the Trump administration has delayed its still-pending TikTok ban.

the new ideas

Facing the Rising Heat. The Biden administration has signaled a reversal from the Trump years on climate change, from rejoining the Paris climate accords to appointing former Secretary of State John Kerry as climate czar. But a closely divided Congress will likely stymie major climate legislation. In any case, the real innovation these days is happening in cities like New York, Copenhagen and China’s Xiong’an New Area, as our special report with Goldman Sachs reveals. Read more. 

Yes, There’s a Free Lunch. Right now, nearly every school in America can hand out meals for free, thanks to the emergency extension of a federal school food program meant to provide no-cost meals to kids during the summer. The program is set to expire at the end of the school year, but perhaps the initiative that’s helping fight the rising scourge of child hunger should become permanent. Read more on OZY, from the Hechinger Report.

Say Goodbye to Debt? Another pandemic innovation that could become permanent: The halting of federal student loan payments. Advocates say Biden could simply cancel $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower with the stroke of a pen. The decision would be hugely consequential — and controversial — for millions. But aside from the political fight, it could also come with huge tax liability for the recipients if the IRS follows existing policy that counts loan forgiveness as income.

Unions’ GOP Embrace. A political alignment that’s seen GOP gains among working class voters of color, coupled with college-educated white voters moving toward Democrats, means conservative populism is here to stay — with or without Trump. For GOP senators with evident presidential dreams like Josh Hawley and Marco Rubio, that means an end to “free market fundamentalism” and a new willingness to benefit working-class earners at the expense of the wealthy when cutting taxes. For conservative thinkers like Oren Cass, it also means an embrace of labor unions and collective bargaining rights, long an area where Democrats dominated. It’s already sparking heated debate within the party. Read more on OZY.

Rethinking Police Oversight. Election Day saw several criminal justice reform measures pass at the state and local level in response to this year’s racial reckoning. Perhaps the most intriguing came in Portland, Oregon, one of America’s most liberal cities and the scene of many a clash involving antifa and far-right rivals. The city overwhelmingly voted to dissolve its police oversight board and put in place a new more independent system with teeth — including subpoena power and the ability to fire officers.   

Boosting Black Business. From February to April of this year alone, 440,000 Black-owned businesses closed their doors permanently, with the pandemic hitting Black-owned firms harder than white-owned ones. But initiatives are sprouting up like #BuyBlackFriday, encouraging shoppers to support Black-owned businesses. And JPMorgan Chase is helping businesses weather the crisis with free instruction on everything from supply chain management to cash flow, via its Advancing Black Pathways program. Read more on OZY.

Jiu Jitsu for Police. Given all that’s gone on this year, it’s worth asking whether police officers and the communities they serve might be better off if cops had something other than guns to subdue unruly suspects. Enter Brazilian jiu jitsu training, which has been advocated by former presidential hopeful Andrew Yang and others.  Read more on OZY.

Baby Bonds. What if every American got $1,000 in an account managed by the government on the day they were born that they could access when they turn 18? The notion floated by Sen. Cory Booker during the presidential primaries is gaining more steam as a way to close the racial wealth gap. While such an expense is unlikely to go far in Congress, New Jersey is proposing a state level baby bond and others could follow.

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the new american history

An Augmented View. The debate over statues and monuments has roiled America in recent years, so Glenn Cantave carved out a new vision. The social entrepreneur and activist has created an app via his nonprofit, Movers & Shakers, that uses augmented reality to create new digital monuments. For example, you can see Shirley Chisholm on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial or Jackie Robinson hitting a home run at the site of the old Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, and students can even take selfies with their chosen monuments. It’s all part of his effort to revamp how students learn history. Read more on OZY.

A South Dakota Story. The extermination of Native Americans is a subject often glossed over in school, but one vitally important to the story of America. A visit to the site of the Wounded Knee Massacre can be poignant and valuable, and as one OZY author finds out, carries a twist when one pulls out a $20 bill featuring “Indian killer” Andrew Jackson. Read more on OZY.  

The Election Day Massacre. You probably didn’t hear about this in school, and even many residents of Ocoee, Florida, didn’t know their own troubled history. But a century ago this small town was the scene of the worst incident of election violence in American history, when white men attacked hundreds of Black residents, killing dozens, because they had the audacity to vote. Subscribe to OZY’s deep dive podcast here.

States of Awakening. For the first time next year, the Ocoee massacre will be a required lesson in Florida schools. It’s the result of a new state law beefing up instruction about Black history and anti-Semitism — and a nationwide trend of states and districts taking a new look at long-whitewashed curricula. That includes New Jersey, where oversight will be tightened and education about social justice movements will be required under a bill that awaits the governor’s signature. Meanwhile, many schools are starting to teach The 1619 Project, based on the New York Times initiative showing how the founding, development and even modern timeline of the U.S. is entwined with its enslavement of Africans. A conservative group is countering with a Black history curriculum called 1776 Unites that rejects “victimhood culture.”

Alabama … Communism? Before she lit the spark of the Montgomery bus boycott, Rosa Parks protested Jim Crow in another way: Attending underground communist meetings. This long untold aspect of the world famous civil rights leader’s identity — she was also a sexual assault investigator — helped shape her activism, along with many of her cohorts in Alabama. Read more on OZY.

A New Kind of Monument. An Oakland homeowner has launched a project to create a massive mural on the side of her house depicting the women of the Black Panther Party, often overshadowed by their male comrades. One of the women on the front lines was Cheryl Dawson, who has stories to share about the FBI watching her every move. Read more on OZY.

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the new administration

Veep Power. We don’t know yet what kind of policy portfolio or West Wing influence Kamala Harris will have, though President-elect Joe Biden has indicated that his vice president will be a governing partner. But we do know that the barrier-breaking daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants will be a cultural phenomenon: Harris is already an inspiration to Black girls, and it’s hard to imagine Biden inspiring viral images like this portrait or her casting a shadow of a young Ruby Bridges. Read more on OZY about the Kamala Effect.

Security Squad. Biden rolled out his top national security Cabinet and White House picks last week — including veteran diplomats Antony Blinken as secretary of state and Linda Thomas-Greenfield as United Nations ambassador — to reinforce the message to the world that “America’s Back.” They’re steady hands and experienced minds expected to collectively work at undoing Trump’s “America first” policy choices. Read more on OZY.

The Power Brokers. An office in the West Wing is nice, but political power often derives from forces beyond the White House. Whether it’s defeated congressional candidates like Jaime Harrison, economic policy wonks like Heather Boushey, key senators like Susan Collins or intel veterans like Carrie Cordero, it’s time to get to know the power centers of the Biden era. Read more on OZY.

Insight from the Inside. Valerie Jarrett has been in the room. The close adviser to President Barack Obama who ran the Bush-Obama transition reveals how Obama and Biden operated, and how the White House responded to crises. Check out what she has to say on The Carlos Watson Show about what would surprise you about Obama and what to expect from the new administration. Watch Now.

The Best Money Advice Lamorne Morris Ever Got … From Zooey Deschanel

You know him as Winston from the sitcom New Girl, and you will know him from his compelling new project, Woke, on Hulu. Now you’ll get to know another side of Lamorne Morris in a revealing interview with OZY’s CEO and co-founder on the latest episode of The Carlos Watson Show. The following are some of the best cuts, edited and condensed from the full conversation, which you can find on the show’s podcast feed.

Waking Up to ‘Woke’

Watson: How do you describe the show to people who haven’t seen it? When you’re telling people about the show, what do you say?

Morris: I usually say it’s about a guy who kind of walks the political road ambiguously. He just wants to be left alone. He wants to do his art. He wants to do his work and just have a little bit of fun and go home and hang out with his friends and not really be bothered. He knows what’s going on in the world, but doesn’t know if he has a voice. And if he did have a voice, he didn’t know what good it would be. No one would listen. Who would care? Until something happens to him one day, and he has to make that decision. He’s an intellectual guy. He’s a bright guy. And he does have a huge fan base of people that follow his work. And the question is what do you do with a voice if you realize you have one? Do you put it to good use? Or do you just take the paycheck and go on about your merry way? So that’s how I describe the show to people.

And also I pose that question to people as well. What would you do if you suddenly were faced with this thing that was consuming your life, this bout of racism all of a sudden that seemed like it came from out of nowhere? What would you do? Do you speak up, even if it could cost you your job, your career, your livelihood? Or do you stand by the wayside and kind of let everybody else handle it? And again, that’s what gravitated me towards the show, is because that’s how I felt. For the longest time in my life, I just felt like, yes, we got smart people like you. You know what I mean? I’ll leave that to you. I’ll leave that to everybody else out there. I’ll leave that to Cornel West. I don’t know what I could add to this conversation.

But it’s more so about, even if you have the smallest bit of intellect on a subject matter, speak on it. Address it because it’s not just about educating people. It’s also about what you put out there, seeing what’s going to come back to you. We’ll have a conversation, and I’ll tell you something, and if I’m wrong, and if I’m talking to the right person, they’ll correct me, and therefore, helping form my opinion even more. And so a lot of folks out there feel like they don’t have this voice, so they don’t have knowledge on a situation. They don’t want to say the wrong thing. They don’t want to get canceled, which I get, and I understand. But always be a work in progress. Always be learning. And that’s who Keith Knight is.

Parental Influence

Watson: Were either of your parents actors? Do you come from a long line of actors?

Morris: No, no. Well, my mom studied a little bit back in high school. They came over from Belize when my mom was about 9 or 10. And in school she studied theater. She did a little bit of modeling here, all while she was younger. And then in college years, started having kids. And so we talk about all the time, how she left that passion behind. But she’s so funny, my mom is. We’re always talking about putting her in something, as much as I can, I always get her involved with what I’m doing. She’s a poet. She writes. So I definitely get that creative side from my mom.

Watson: And what about your dad? What was your dad up to? What did he do?

Morris: So my dad was an athlete growing up, soccer player, track coach. But, those middle years, when I was young, my dad was a bit a misfit, if you will. Let’s just say my dad was in the wrong business of pharmaceuticals.

Watson: OK. OK.

Morris: My daddy was a drug dealer. Daddy was a drug dealer.

Watson: And did you realize that at the time?

Morris: Nope. When you’re a kid, everything is just normal. So I had nothing to put it in perspective. I had no context for what was happening in our household. I saw my mom busting her butt, working crazy hours just to provide for us. But then I would see this man around the house sometimes who just wasn’t all the way there. And I would see the dynamic in our house, but it never hit me until I got older. When you get older and you start to see the way other families live, you ask questions about your upbringing. Why didn’t we have this? Why couldn’t we get that? When you’re a kid, all you do is want stuff.

I want to get the new Jordans. I want to get this and then can’t afford it. And then you look around and you go, “Well, why not? Dad’s got money.” And it’s like, “Well, that money’s going to that dude over there who’s giving him a package, and he’s going to do this.” It’s all these weird things. As a kid, I’ve been to drug deals, as a kid. I didn’t know what the hell was going on. I had no idea what was going on. There’s a funny story about my brother when he was younger. We were at a park once and my brother gave away, I’m not sure if I’m telling the story right, my brother gave away a massive amount of weed in a bag once that my dad was supposed to be delivering to somebody, but my brother had it and … just gave it away to somebody else for free.

Watson: Did you ever get to talk to him about it? Did you guys ever have conversations once you got older? Maybe even the last few years, have you been able to have that kind of conversation?

Morris: Not really. I’ll be honest with you, not really. And part of that’s on me, to be quite honest with you. I haven’t had the face time with my dad. He’s in Belize right now. I just had a conversation with him over FaceTime recently, for an unfortunate situation. My grandmother passed. So his mom passed. So, we talked, we were talking on FaceTime a little bit, just playing catch-up. But prior to that, it had been over 25 years, 20-something years that we had spoken.

Zooey Deschanel’s Money Advice

Watson: Hey, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten about money?

Morris: I remember when I was on New Girl, when I first started the show, I wanted to buy a BMW, and to me at the time, I was like, “Man, that’s a big step,” because I had this really dope Jeep Cherokee with the doors would come off, but it wasn’t an expensive car. It wasn’t an expensive car at all. I remember wanting to buy this car that was 6 Series BMW at the time. I think it was $85,000. From where I come from, man, you don’t do stuff like that. And I remember Zooey pulling me to the side and going … At the time I was renting an apartment and she’s like, “That’s a pretty expensive car,” and this is Zooey. This is coming from a millionaire, like Zooey, she was already rich before she started New Girl. And she goes, “That’s a real expensive car.” She goes, “What are you paying in mortgage?” And I was like, “I don’t. I have rent. I’m paying X amount dollars in rent.” And she goes…

And it took me a while to understand that, that I mean, you’ve got to get a house first. You’ve got to start building some equity. You’ve got to start saving. You’ve got to start building these assets before you start buying things that decrease in value. I did not listen to her, but I do regret it in the future. I wish I would have done things in reverse. I wish I would’ve got the house first, started learning how to build that building and that homeowner’s mindset before I started trying to look cool, because let me tell you something, if you’ve got to get the right car to look cool, then you ain’t cool.

Biden Won. Now What?

It’s all over. Apart from the shouting … and the potential constitutional crisis, that is. The Associated Press and major TV networks called the presidential race for Joe Biden on Saturday morning, as mail ballots in Pennsylvania put the state firmly in his column. But President Donald Trump has shown no indication that he will concede. So now what? Your Daily Dose is here to serve.

what’s next

Concession Speech? Trump’s blazing White House appearance Thursday, in which he hurled baseless assertions of fraud, was reportedly designed to get ahead of Fox News and other outlets formally calling the race for Biden. After Biden pulled ahead Friday morning in Pennsylvania, conservative attorney Jonathan Turley said on Fox News that Trump could have “the greatest moment of his career” by “bringing Americans together, even in a concession speech.” Now, that would be the ultimate 2020 twist, but we’re not betting on it.

The Legal Landscape. Trump has alleged a massive fraud and his team has filed a flurry of lawsuits, but none have yet turned from innuendo to facts that held up in court. Friday afternoon, the president issued a lawyerly statement demanding “full transparency” into vote counts and certification. “We will pursue this process through every aspect of the law to guarantee that the American people have confidence in our government,” he said. But the way the counts are going, he’d have to invalidate more than 10,000 ballots in multiple states. 

Pressure State Legislatures. He hasn’t gone there yet, but the next phase for Trump could be to formally urge GOP governors and legislators to go against their official ballot totals and appoint Trump electors to the Electoral College, for Congress to certify in January, sparking a constitutional crisis. Chatter on the right picked up on this tack Thursday, and Fox News host Sean Hannity floated the idea to Sen. Lindsey Graham, who said “everything should be on the table.” How would those lawmakers react? Pennsylvania Republicans have already said no dice … or at least they did before the election. In either case, it’s time to read up on Electoral College procedure.

Testy Transition. Trump’s administration will likely try to implement as many policy changes as possible, such as undermining civil service protections for federal employees to hit back against the so-called deep state. He could also destroy documents, in contravention of the Presidential Records Act, to hide anything unseemly and make things harder for a Biden administration. But there is a limit to how much Trump could do, given how the transition is legally controlled largely by career civil servants — not Trump appointees. And then there are always the true wild-card options, like a new military incursion overseas.

Pardon Time. Issuing 11th-hour pardons is a time-honored presidential tradition, with perhaps the most infamous being Bill Clinton pardoning hedge funder Marc Rich of tax evasion after his ex-wife made copious donations to Democrats, including Hillary Clinton. Trump hasn’t exactly been shy about pardons and commutations, using one for confidant Roger Stone. Steve Bannon or Rudy Giuliani could be up next. Even if people haven’t been charged, Trump can still pardon them, as was the case for the past presidential pardons of Richard Nixon, Vietnam War draft evaders and former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger. The biggest question here is whether, facing all kinds of legal exposure once he leaves office, Trump would elect to pardon himself — and if it would hold up. Read OZY’s 2017 look at self-pardons.

lessons from past contested elections

Franklin Roosevelt Takes the Oath of Office

2000: Bush v. Gore. This election wasn’t decided by the Supreme Court until Dec. 12, 2000, when it halted Florida’s recount. Democrats believe they would have won the race had they taken a more aggressive tack sooner, and Gore’s early — later retracted — concession to Bush when the networks called Florida cost them. Biden’s team has indicated they have learned these lessons and will have Biden act as the incoming president even as Trump continues with lawsuits or sowing doubt. For more on the 2000 race, check out OZY’s The Campaigns That Made History on HISTORY. Watch Now.

1932: FDR vs. Hoover. This wasn’t a contested election — Franklin Delano Roosevelt won in a landslide, with 417 electoral votes — but it gives us a window into a messy transition. President Herbert Hoover steadfastly refused to take any actions to stem the free fall of the economy, doing everything in his power to put the brakes on a New Deal before Roosevelt could take office. In the wake of the political rivals’ noncooperation, the transition period was shortened, and the presidential inauguration was moved from March to January.

1920: The Ocoee Massacre. The worst incident of election violence in U.S. history occurred with a massacre of Black people in the little town of Ocoee, Florida, a century ago. In a special miniseries of OZY’s hit history podcast, Flashback, with guest host Eugene S. Robinson, hear from the descendants of some of the survivors — and explore how the massacre still haunts the country today. Listen Now.

the biden agenda

Joe and Mitch. During the Obama administration, Biden as vice president often found himself negotiating last-minute budget deals with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The two men who served together for decades will now have the most consequential relationship in Washington, assuming McConnell remains majority leader — which would appear to require Republicans to win one of two January runoff elections in Georgia. A GOP Senate means much of the Biden agenda is off the table, so what could get done?

COVID Relief. The first order of business for Biden — assuming a lame-duck Trump and Congress have no interest in striking a deal — will be an economic rescue package. Senate Republicans have shot down the notion of a package topping $1 trillion in recent months, and we’ll see if the economy deteriorates by January, but expect this to be a tortured negotiation not unlike the 2009 stimulus — except that Biden will need to woo substantially more Republicans this time. With both parties eager for more spending on roads, bridges and other infrastructure, there may be opportunities to mirror the stimulus in other ways.

Foreign Policy. Biden will be an unusually active foreign policy president, given his long history in international affairs and his pledge to heal ruptures with longtime allies and to rebuild the State Department. Foreign policy is often something presidents turn their attention to after being frustrated by Congress or as a legacy builder in their second term. In Biden’s case, he will likely face a GOP Senate from the jump and is widely expected not to run for reelection — meaning he will have even more reason to leap onto the global stage. Look for him to rejoin the Paris climate accord and try to resuscitate the Iran nuclear deal, though it’s unclear whether Tehran has any interest in playing ball at this stage.

the future of polling

How Bad Was It? The easiest punching bag once the results came flowing in was the pollsters, who had almost universally pegged leads for Biden in the key states. The RealClearPolitics average of all polls found Biden about 0.9 percentage points ahead in Florida, while FiveThirtyEight (which weights for quality ratings of pollsters) had Biden ahead by 2.5. He lost by 3.4 points. The same story unfolded from Wisconsin to Ohio to Texas: The polls, particularly so-called gold-standard media polls with live call surveys, underestimated support for Trump. This wasn’t the case everywhere: Arizona, Georgia and North Carolina polls ended up pretty close to the tight results, and as mail ballots stream in, the final results will look a lot closer to the polls than they did on election night. But in all, it appeared at least as big a polling miss as the 2016 election — even if Biden is the overall winner. 

What About OZY’s Forecast? Our final numbers, in partnership with the data firm 0ptimus, gave Biden an 88 percent chance of winning, and pegged him at 320 electoral votes. If Biden ends up winning Georgia, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Arizona, as seems likely, he ends up with 306 electoral votes. Our numbers were further off for the House (where we predicted a small gain for Democrats, but where they will lose several seats) and the Senate (where we predicted a 53-47 Democratic majority, and it appears Dems will need to pull off the unlikely feat of winning both Georgia runoffs to get to 50). 

What Has to Change? Pollsters need to do a better job of reaching non-college-educated people, who form the bulk of Trump’s base. Robert Cahaly of the Trafalgar Group, the GOP pollster who predicted Trump to win this time and ended up closer to the final results than many major pollsters, has tried briefer phone calls and surveys where respondents reply via text. A lengthy phone survey “is going to skew toward the very, very conservative and the very, very liberal and the very, very bored,” he said before the election.

Is It Just Trump? An intriguing note: the polls — except in Florida — were pretty spot-on about the 2018 midterms. So this nearly industrywide miss could be a function of not being able to properly gauge Trump’s support.

Should We Stop Trusting Them Altogether? Or perhaps stop believing they’re so precise. Polls come with a margin of error, which works both ways — meaning that a poll showing Biden ahead 50-42 with a 4 percentage point margin of error could also theoretically indicate a tied race if Biden loses 4 points and Trump gains 4. Turnout is also incredibly hard to model: If pollsters’ expectations about who is going to vote is off by just a couple of points, it can skew results even further. And don’t forget that this year’s pandemic made turnout modeling even more difficult, given the historic levels of participation and the surge of mail-in voting.

what would a biden cabinet look like?

Biden_team

Secretary of State. Biden’s global focus means he will have an intense working relationship with his secretary of state and is likely looking for familiarity. Susan Rice, the Obama administration national security adviser and vice presidential contender, is a clear favorite, but former U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power might have an easier time getting confirmed in the Republican Senate. Longtime diplomat William Burns, now head of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, is also a top candidate. Looking for a wild card? How about former Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, the onetime Foreign Relations Committee chairman who was harshly critical of Trump before leaving the Senate and would be a sign of outreach to Republicans.

Secretary of the Treasury. Lael Brainard, a member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, is considered the front-runner here, a centrist who has made overtures to the left, not unlike Biden himself. Progressives would much prefer Sen. Elizabeth Warren in this role to implement at least a version of the “big structural change” she talked about on the presidential campaign trail. One complicating factor: Massachusetts’ Republican governor would get to appoint Warren’s Senate replacement until a special election could be held, a terrifying thought for the Democrats if the Senate ends up 50-50.

Attorney General. Sally Yates, who famously stood up to Trump’s immigration orders at the beginning of his administration, is seen as the top pick here — and would be another one who disappoints the left, as she was stingy with pardons while serving in the Obama administration. Also in the mix: Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama, who has an extensive record of civil rights prosecutions and just lost reelection, and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, an aggressive litigant against the Trump administration.

Secretary of Defense. Michele Flournoy is widely expected to be tapped for this role, and would be the first woman to hold the defense secretary post. A trailblazing, high-ranking Pentagon official during the Obama administration, she is considered a “liberal realist” — favoring the use of force at times but not excessively interventionist.

Team of Rivals? In addition to Warren, other former presidential hopefuls could also be in the mix. Andrew Yang discussed a possible administration role on The Carlos Watson Show, floating a newly created tech-related post rather than a Cabinet role like commerce secretary. Pete Buttigieg has been discussed for U.N. ambassador.

rising stars to watch

RISING_STAR-1

Karen Bass. The knives are out for Nancy Pelosi. After surprise losses in several seats shrank the expected Democratic House majority heading into January, Pelosi got an earful from her members on a conference call. The 80-year-old speaker had pledged to step down by 2022 to secure the necessary votes for the speakership after a challenge two years ago. Now she could face renewed pressure to step aside. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York is often discussed, and Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio challenged Pelosi last time. But keep an eye out for Bass, the popular but low-key former speaker of the California House who was on Biden’s vice presidential shortlist, to emerge as a consensus candidate. Watch Bass on The Carlos Watson Show.

Ashley Hinson. As House Republicans made surprising gains, a theme emerged: a rising tide of women. The House GOP caucus will add at least 10 newly elected women to its ranks, bringing it to a historic high. Among them is Hinson, a 37-year-old former TV journalist who notched an upset win over Rep. Abby Finkenauer and comes with ample experience for cable TV hits from the Capitol.

Greg Gianforte. He arrived in Congress with a bang in 2017, pleading guilty to assault for body-slamming a reporter who asked him about health care. But Gianforte was able to move on and rack up a conservative voting record, earning an endorsement from President Trump, and win the Montana governor’s race on Tuesday, picking up the state for Republicans in the only governor’s election to change parties this year. The former tech entrepreneur vows to streamline energy permits and reform the tax code.

The Wildcard Moves Trump Has Left

In our instant gratification world, it’s a bit maddening: It’s been two days since the election, and we still don’t know who the president will be come January. This is not in and of itself a sign of mischief, but rather a reflection of thousands of local jurisdictions methodically counting votes, many of which arrived in the form of time-consuming mail ballots, to decide a teeth-grittingly tight election. Today’s Daily Dose charts the path ahead, digs into the debates to come and explores how we heal when this is all over.

how does this end?

The Magic Number. Joe Biden has more paths to 270 electoral votes than President Donald Trump, but either one could pull this off. Of the remaining states in play, Trump needs almost all of them: He can afford to lose Nevada or Arizona, but not both. If he loses Georgia or (highly unlikely) North Carolina, he needs to sweep everywhere else. And if he loses Pennsylvania, it’s over. 

Legal Road Ahead. The Trump campaign has filed lawsuits in Nevada (claiming out-of-state residents voted by mail) and in Georgia (its challenge in Savannah was tossed out this morning), but Pennsylvania is the legal epicenter. Trump’s early lead there — as widely predicted — is shrinking fast as mail ballots in Philadelphia and elsewhere are counted. Top Trump officials are making blanket claims of fraud and won a preliminary court victory early today to be allowed to more closely observe the count in Philadelphia. The key legal dispute is whether Pennsylvania can count ballots postmarked before Election Day but received in the days after (the Supreme Court punted on this preelection). But Pennsylvania’s Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, a Democrat, said this afternoon that the result could become clear by tonight, and so few ballots arrived after Election Day that they likely won’t decide the winner.

Street Theater. Protests are starting to build — including confrontations with police in Minneapolis and Portland — with Biden supporters demanding to “count every vote.” In Arizona, armed Trump supporters protested outside a ballot-counting location, forcing it to close with employees locked inside. In Michigan, an anti-lockdown group banged on ballot counters’ windows in Detroit demanding to stop the count. Expect demonstrations to accelerate once a winner is declared.

Fox on the Outs. Sean Hannity was fired up. Starting his hit show on Fox News on Wednesday night, the Trump confidant delivered a monologue against a graphic blasting “Corrupt Institutions,” calling the election an “absolute disgrace” and raising various theories about fraud. But in the steady news coverage anchored by Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, Fox has played it straight — witness their sharp questions for Trump spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany. Its decision desk’s early call of Arizona for Biden angered the Trump campaign, which on Thursday issued a press release attacking the head of the desk, Arnon Mishkin, by name and calling out that he is a Democrat. It’s all fueling a possible divorce between Trump and Fox that could hasten a post-presidency Trump forming his own media company.

trump’s wild card moves 

How far might the president go to hang on?

Send in Bill Barr. With Trump and his allies beating the drum about fraud, he could try to have the Department of Justice step in — to use federal authority to halt ballot counting in, say, Pennsylvania. In related news, the DOJ told federal prosecutors Wednesday that legally they could send armed officers to ballot-counting locations to investigate fraud.

Rival Electors. Republicans control the Legislature while Democrats hold the governor’s mansion in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. In Georgia and Arizona, Republicans hold both. This raises the possibility of GOP officials becoming so convinced the vote has been stolen that they appoint Trump-committed electors to the electoral college on Dec. 14 even if their states’ formal vote count goes to Biden, a notion conservative radio host Mark Levin is already floating. Democratic governors could also send rival electors backing Biden. The electoral votes are tallied by Congress on Jan. 6, and it’s unclear how they would deal with such a scenario. A dispute over electors in the 1876 election was settled with a disastrous compromise that ended post-Civil War Reconstruction.

Certified Mess. Say Trump keeps his legal challenges going and wants to stay put in the White House until they are resolved — and a divided Congress deadlocks on certifying a winner. In that case, we may not have a clear idea of who the president is at noon on Jan. 20, 2021. If Biden is sworn in, he could order the Secret Service to remove Trump from the White House as a trespasser. But he can’t get there without Congress. 

What About the Military? Put this under the most commonly discussed but least likely option, especially now that we’ve come this far in the count. There were ample preelection fears on the left that Trump would use the U.S. military at the ballot box or to quell protests or to remain in power, perhaps drumming up fears of a foreign threat. But the military has sent strong signals it has no interest in that route. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley reportedly told news anchors that the military would have no role in the election.

key results

A Georgia Pivot Awaits. Dismissed as “Buckhead Barbie” and buffeted by controversy for her pandemic stock trades, Sen. Kelly Loeffler was in trouble. But the multimillionaire finance executive — appointed to the seat as a moderate who would appeal to suburban women — survived a “jungle primary” with a hard-right turn that included campaigning with the QAnon-sympathetic Rep.-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene and cutting an ad declaring she was “more conservative than Attila the Hun.” Now she needs to run to the center ahead of a Jan. 5 runoff election against Democrat Raphael Warnock — a race that could decide whether the Senate stays Republican. Read more on OZY.

Saved by Black Voters … Again. Biden’s Democratic primary campaign was famously rescued by Black voters in South Carolina who helped springboard a moribund campaign to the party nomination. Now as the vote counts from Milwaukee, Detroit, Philadelphia and Atlanta roll in at levels above what Hillary Clinton earned in 2016, it looks like it’s happening again.

Conservatives Cheer California. While some ballot measures in California are too close to call, conservatives are cheering many of the results in the overwhelmingly Democratic state: Voters approved a plan pushed by Uber and Lyft to keep classifying gig workers as independent contractors, rejected an effort to end cash bail, rejected a revival of affirmative action and rejected rent control measures.

A Cabinet Conundrum. One result of Republicans likely securing a Senate majority: They will have to confirm all Biden cabinet appointees. And that could put the kibosh on more progressive picks like Sen. Elizabeth Warren or Stacey Abrams, or even potential Secretary of State Susan Rice — who battled Republicans for years as they investigated the Benghazi attacks. Watch Rice on The Carlos Watson Show.

Drug War Peace Accords? Legal marijuana continues to sweep the country. New Jersey, South Dakota, Montana and Arizona legalized recreational marijuana, while Mississippi legalized medical marijuana and the District of Columbia decriminalized psilocybin, aka magic mushrooms. Meanwhile, Oregon took the first-in-the-nation step of voting to decriminalize possession of all drugs — including heroin and cocaine.

the debates to come

People Without a Party. If Biden wins the White House, it will be due to margins built on the backs of people of color, particularly voters in key states’ majority-minority cities such as Milwaukee, Detroit and Atlanta. But the broader results — in which Trump may have won over a quarter of the nonwhite vote, the most of any Republican since 1960 — suggest that people of color are quickly becoming a people without a party that represents their needs. Routinely the Democratic Party and Biden campaign ignored the suggestions of Black leaders, funneling billions of dollars into advertisements that did little to reach, or improve the lives of, their minority base. And that lack of addressing their values and concerns could increasingly lead to voters becoming disenchanted, argues OZY’s Nick Fouriezos, trapped in a political homelessness with little faith that civic life can change their lives for the better.

MAGA Is Dead. Long Live MAGA. If Trump is in fact defeated, the close result will not be the repudiation of Trumpism many GOP establishment types craved. Trump will hold a grip on the party no matter what — and could even run again in 2024. The close result, even amid a historic pandemic, showed the power of his political style — and ability to turn out hidden Republicans in historic numbers, as he earned some 5 million votes more than he did in 2016.

The Road Ahead. This election is not over, and a power struggle could be afoot, but at some point we will all have to get together at Thanksgiving and hash this out. Can liberals ever find common ground with Trump supporters? Can Trump fans ever forgive how their president was treated by the left?

time to heal

We asked you to share your ideas on healing. Here’s what you had to say.

Linda D. — ”What I would like to see as one way to help bridge the ideological divide in the country is a ‘Senior Corps.’ This would be a Peace-Corps-like federal project that would enlist senior citizens to work on projects across the nation. Let’s put that retired talent to work on education, climate change, justice.”

James D. — “All self-proclaimed news media should actively attempt to take all bias out of their content. Give equal time to all sides of an issue. Never refer to one position with a negative term and the opposite with a positive term. Have pairs of editors from both liberal and conservative viewpoints and make sure stories go through both before going out the door.”

Mike D. — ”How about Democrats start with rebranding things in a less inflammatory style? Slogans like ‘defund’ and ‘abolish’ the police are really good at evoking knee-jerk negative reactions from those who might otherwise agree with more subtle and nuanced phrases like ‘reform’ or ‘restructure.’ … The anger is justified, but you’re shooting yourselves in the foot!”

Scott O. — “I think that it is imperative that all voices be heard and that all areas of common ground should be explored. I know it sounds like a big data-mining project, but I’m imagining something more organic. Maybe sort of a Facebook reboot, with all the nastiness filtered out, so people can just connect around common interests.” 

Maryse C. — “I don’t watch TV news as often. I read the news online only when I need to be informed. I take days off of social media. … Overall I put my trust in God!”

What to Expect From the Election Turbulence to Come

What a night. The presidential race has gone down to the wire, and while some clarity is starting to emerge, significant numbers of votes are still expected to be counted in key states that will determine whether President Donald Trump or Joe Biden wins the White House. No matter what happens, the nation has already been shaken by a stunningly close election, one that calls into question what, exactly, America stands for. We explore the election landscape, preview Trump’s plans to contest the results in the courts, the emerging trends and the people to watch. So pop a Diet Coke or make another pot of coffee, because we aren’t done yet. 

State of Play

Who Cares? Everyone. Trump can draw a crowd. With total turnout projected around 160 million, the 2020 election set a record for total ballots cast in a presidential race. A projected 66.8 percent of eligible citizens turned out, which would be the highest participation since 1900 — before women had the right to vote. This was powered by some 100 million early votes, which buoyed Democrats’ hopes of a landslide — but Republicans were able to get enough of their voters into the booth too.

Time to Freak Out. Like 2018, the early part of Tuesday evening saw Democratic panic. “Democrats, put the razor blades and the Ambien back in the cabinet. We’re doing fine,” Democratic strategist and quipmaster James Carville told MSNBC viewers last night. Substantial losses in Florida, Ohio and Texas extinguished hopes of a landslide that MSNBC viewers might have been expecting, but the race proved incredibly close in Georgia and North Carolina — which remain uncalled as of this writing — and AP called Biden to flip Arizona (though that result remains in some doubt). Close readers of OZY’s newsletters might have seen this scenario coming: Trump holds on to most of the Sun Belt while the Rust Belt takes its sweet time to count mail-in votes. And Trump also signaled in advance he was going to declare premature victory, as he did in his post-2 a.m. press conference.

Who’s the Sh*thole Now? Three countries have held national elections over the past week. In each, the opposition has accused the ruling administration of trying to manipulate the electoral process. The incumbent president has claimed victory with slim evidence. The threat of civil unrest is real. You know one of these nations: the U.S. The other two? Tanzania and Ivory Coast, which belong to a set of nations in Africa that President Donald Trump in 2018 reportedly referred to as “sh*thole” countries. But America’s wounds could return to haunt younger democracies around the world. For all its myriad flaws, the U.S. has overseen peaceful transfers of power for longer than any other nation, its institutions and constitutions inspiring leaders from Mexico to the Philippines, and India to China. If America loses that halo, so does global democracy. Read more on OZY.

Philly: Mailing It In. The key to Pennsylvania Democrats winning has long been running up the margins in Philadelphia and, to a lesser extent, Pittsburgh and smaller urban areas — and then holding on for dear life in the rural parts of the state. Now the nation holds on with them, except in reverse, as the hundreds of thousands of mail ballots trickling in from Philadelphia and elsewhere is cutting into Trump’s 650,000-vote lead based on Election Day turnout. Will there be enough in the bank for a Biden comeback? It’s unclear so far, but early returns are promising for Biden. The count is expected to take days.

Wobbling Toward the Dems. When Trump took the stage in the wee hours, he was ahead in Michigan and Wisconsin. Several hours later, he wasn’t, as mail-in votes — which the states were barred from counting in advance — were tallied in Democratic strongholds Detroit and Milwaukee, among other places. Networks called Michigan for Biden by early evening Wednesday, and the former vice president also was on track to win Wisconsin. Trump earlier called the legitimate counting of ballots “VERY STRANGE” on Twitter and claimed that his lead “magically” disappeared. Sure, the “red mirage” sounds mysterious, but magic it is not.

Nebulous Nevada. Nevada got extremely close overnight, with Biden leading by close to 8,000 votes with most votes tallied. And the state’s election division announced at 6 a.m. ET that no more results would be released until 11 a.m. ET on Thursday. That is because the only votes that remain are mail ballots received on Election Day, mostly in Democrat-rich Clark County, which will take time to process. That makeup would likely suggest that Biden will hold on to his slight lead, given his overall advantage with mail votes. However, Nevada also has reportedly had as many as 3,600 mail-in ballots waiting for a “signature cure” — having a voter verify their signature in cases where it’s missing or doesn’t match official records — as of Tuesday morning. Those votes haven’t been counted yet and, if fixed within seven days according to Nevada law, could likely add a buffer for Biden — but expect the Trump campaign to challenge their validity in court. 

Arizona Airs It Out. By early Wednesday, Biden still had about a 3.5 percent lead in Arizona with the remaining expected vote to consist mostly of absentee ballots in Maricopa County that arrived later on Election Day. That would seem to favor Democrats down the line, with Biden performing well in the state’s most populous center. But some results have suggested that Republicans were sending their mail in later, which may make it more of a split final bucket of votes. Both the Associated Press and Fox News called Arizona for Biden as of midnight, but the Trump campaign still saw a path to victory there, as well as Nevada, Wednesday morning.

The Too-Close-to-Calls. In Georgia, the bulk of the vote left is in two blue Atlanta area counties, and Democrats were hopeful that Biden could close a gap of 100,000 votes. North Carolina is a longer shot — Biden would have to win a huge majority of the remaining mail ballots — but the state is allowed to accept ballots postmarked by Election Day until Nov. 12, so postal delays could play a role here. Forecasters have refused to call either race.

A Time to Judge

Across The U.S. Voters Flock To The Polls On Election Day

A worker at the Miami-Dade County Elections Department works on tabulating the Vote by Mail ballots that have been returned on November 3 in Doral, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The Suits to Come. Before polls even closed Tuesday, a GOP congressional candidate in Pennsylvania sued in federal court in Montgomery County over officials’ decisions to let voters correct their mail ballots if they have obvious deficiencies, asking the court to throw out the “cured” ballots. And before 11 p.m., Pennsylvania Republicans, including Rep. Mike Kelly — who campaigned with Trump in Erie on Oct. 20, telling rallygoers to “absolutely refuse to lose” — sued Democrat Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, arguing that voters whose mail-in ballots were rejected should not be allowed to cast provisional ballots. At polling places in Philly on Tuesday, we witnessed a lot of confusion among activists and voters over provisional ballots, and whether people could “spoil” — as in, willfully discard — their mail ballots in order to vote in person on Election Day. As Trump vowed to take the election to the Supreme Court (skipping a couple of required lower-court steps), his campaign filed another lawsuit in Michigan to stop the count until they could have better access. 

Spotty Track Record. Despite Trump’s claims, nobody is finding any ballots: They are counting legitimate votes as they arrive. It was by Republican design, particularly in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, that election managers weren’t allowed to start tallying mail votes until Election Day … ensuring there would be delays. Regardless, the Trump campaign hasn’t been very successful in its legal maneuvers so far. It notably lost its challenge in Harris County, Texas, which sought to invalidate more than 100,000 votes in the Houston area. As Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro noted, the Trump team is at best 0-6 on lawsuits filed in the Keystone State. Which is likely, in part, why Trump is already saying he’ll go straight to the highest court in the land, where he has nominated three of the six judges in the Republican majority.

The Litigious President. Since before his Art of the Deal days, Trump has made litigation a clear part of his business — and, now, political — playbook. Before the 2016 election, USA Today found that Trump and his businesses had launched at least 3,500 legal actions in federal and state courts in the previous three decades, an unprecedented number for a nominee, “from skirmishes with casino patrons to million-dollar real estate suits to personal defamation lawsuits.” His love affair with lawsuits was well-documented in this Politico piece, quoting Trump biographer Tim O’Brien: “He’s used litigation historically to keep hostile forces at bay and to delay reckonings.” Going into Election Day, there had already been at least 320 election-related lawsuits filed across the country, according to tracking done by the Election Law Blog. Many of them were launched by the Trump campaign and Republican officials.

The Trends Going Forward

Coronavirus Pandemic 2020 Presidential Election Nevada

Latinx supporters attend a Biden/Harris Nevada Hispanic Legislative Caucus and supporters on horseback rally at the Walnut Community Center’s early voting location in Las Vegas on October 24. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Senate Looks Red. With Democrat Sara Gideon conceding the race to Maine Sen. Susan Collins on Wednesday, Republicans almost certainly will hold their Senate majority. That would likely stymie most any legislation from a possible President Biden, not to mention judicial nominees. With Democrats on track to hold the House, albeit by a smaller margin, legislative gridlock will continue to reign supreme — regardless of who’s president. 

Pollsters Plunge. The Senate result was another black eye for pollsters. Ahead of Tuesday, the prognosticators from OZY/0ptimus to FiveThirtyEight to The Economist were unanimous: Biden had somewhere between an 85-95 percent chance of winning, and the Democrats were nearly as likely to take the Senate. Just like in 2016, the predictors were foiled by bad misses in polling in states like Florida and Ohio. While a few outlier pollsters called a better GOP night and talked up the “shy” Trump voter, the mainstream in the polling world pointed toward a comfortable Biden win, if not a landslide. That didn’t happen, and another reckoning will be coming.

The Media Preaches Caution. If you made a drinking game out of CNN’s John King saying “yes, but…,” you would have been more sloshed than a Florida Democrat last night. Across the networks, most news networks were extra careful about calling states (particularly Florida, which Decision Desk HQ and other online outlets called by 8 p.m. but saw the cable three of Fox News, CNN and MSNBC hold out until later in the night). They seemed to take heed of the warnings made by data experts — including some of the aforementioned pollsters — that patience was key given the vagaries of how quickly mail ballots would be voted, and in some states, whether the early vote or Election Day vote would come out first. Even Wednesday morning, after Wisconsin state officials said virtually all ballots had been counted, with Biden ahead by 20,000 votes, networks were hesitant to call it, ahead of a Trump-requested recount. Going forward, a more cautious broadcast media would certainly be a welcome change.

Demographics Are Far From Destiny. Democrats have long believed that if they could just get higher turnout from Black and Latino voters, they would be unstoppable. But in a national election that set records for participation, that so-called demographic destiny was halted. Particularly due to defections from Hispanic voters in places like South Florida and the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, which Biden won with significantly lower margins than Clinton in 2016 and Obama in 2012. The former vice president has been leaking Latinos for a while, and in September we wrote about how Cubans, including one Obama-turned-Trump YouTuber, were driving massive turnout in Miami-Dade County, which was key to Trump’s Florida victory. While exact numbers still need to be determined, it’s likely that Trump approached Hispanic levels of support close to those seen by George W. Bush, who won some 40 percent of their vote in 2004. 

QAnon Caucus. As expected, Marjorie Taylor Greene won her beet-red Georgia congressional district despite her past expressions of support for the ridiculous QAnon conspiracy theory alleging that Democrats and world leaders are Satan-worshipping pedophiles. Lauren Boebert also won her congressional race in Colorado after having said “Everything I’ve heard of Q I hope that this is real” but more recently distancing herself from it. None of the other Q-curious candidates appear to have won, but this viewpoint has clearly seeped into a not-insignificant portion of the GOP base. At a polling place in rural North Carolina on Tuesday, Frank Agnello, 77, casually dropped a Q reference when talking to a reporter. “I hope [Trump] gets back in and gets the Democrats out of office,” he said. “They’re nothing but a bunch of Satan worshippers.”

New Names to Know

Florida Politics

Maria Elvira Salazar, Republican candidate for Floridas 27th Congressional District, talks with voters at a Miami-Dade County housing facility on Election Day 2018. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Mark Robinson. The first Black lieutenant governor of North Carolina is a 52-year-old first-time candidate who just two years ago was a factory worker seeking a bachelor’s degree in history. Then he became a viral internet sensation by giving an impassioned speech at a Greensboro City Council meeting in support of the Second Amendment, declaring “I am the majority!” On Tuesday night, he won a majority — with his opponent, Democratic state Rep. Yvonne Holley, conceding the race.

Mark Kelly. The former astronaut, who once spent 54 days in space, helped Democrats reach new horizons in aiding Biden’s presidential victory in Arizona, which had only voted blue once in a presidential election since 1948. He won his Senate seat over Martha McSally by around 5 percentage points, a rare win amid surprising losses for Democratic Senate candidates such as Theresa Greenfield in Iowa and Cal Cunningham in North Carolina.

Maria Elvira Salazar. The former Telemundo anchor is well-known to her Miami area district — both from TV screens and a spirited 2018 congressional race covered by OZY — and her second try was the charm against Democratic Rep. Donna Shalala. Salazar’s win Tuesday night was part of an overall trend of success for Republicans among Latino-dominated South Florida: Trump’s better-than-expected performance in Miami-Dade County powered his statewide victory, defying polls. The Cuban political star also touts diverse policy positions, including support for LGBT rights, equal pay and women’s rights to go with more traditional conservative stances.

Raphael Warnock. The pastor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s former church in downtown Atlanta forced a runoff with incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler in Georgia, and the race instantly becomes the focal point of all politics for the next few months. That’s because depending on how the remaining races are called, an upset victory in the Jan. 5 election could lead to a 50-50 tie in the Senate — with either Kamala Harris or Mike Pence breaking the tie, depending how the top of the ticket plays out. 

Jamaal Bowman. The former middle school principal, considered by many to be the next AOC, romped in his New York City congressional district as expected. He will join a Democratic caucus that looks to be smaller and more liberal come January — and as his interview on The Carlos Watson Show reveals, he’ll be a force to be reckoned with. Watch Now.

How Are You Coping? 

We asked readers how they were dealing with the uncertainty. Here are some of their best responses, and you can add yours by emailing politics@ozy.com.

Christy T. — “My secret and crazy coping mechanism was doing paint-by-numbers while binge-watching Alaska: The Last Frontier on Philo.”

Jean K. — “Only one vote that counts — God’s. His plan is good. How do I know that? Because He is good. How do I know that? Because He gave us His Son. Why did He do that? To take the punishment we deserve.”

Beverly H. — “As a retired nursery school teacher, I am watching Daniel Tiger and Curious George on TV.”

Marty C. — ”I take my concerns outside — hiking has always helped me with the process. While my body is moving on the trail, I release the attachments to my concerns by making a mental list of my worries, and the feelings associated with them. Out in nature, my problems don’t seem quite so big, and I am able to find gratitude.”

Linda W. — ”Too early to drink, so I’m doing crossword puzzles.”

Mysti F. — ”Leinenkugel pumpkin patch ale.”

Political Tremors: How to Survive Election Day Drama

If it feels like the ground is shaking under your feet, you’re not alone. America’s tectonic political plates are shifting ahead of an election that’s being cast in apocalyptic terms by both sides. And they’re training their energy on a handful of states that truly matter. Today’s Sunday Magazine is a deep dive to prep you for Tuesday — and beyond, as a mass of mail in votes could stretch the drama for weeks. What should you be watching for in the key states? Who are some people who could surprise you? What can you do if you’ve already voted? We’ve got you covered. Make a plan to vote and read on.

swing state breakdown

All percentages are from the OZY/0ptimus Forecast, which gives Joe Biden an 87 percent chance of reaching the 270 electoral vote mark to defeat President Donald Trump.

TEXAS

Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes)

Our pick to win: Biden (74 percent chance of victory). About a third of election outcomes have Pennsylvania as the tipping point state in the Electoral College — and Biden has held a consistent polling lead thanks to a blue wave in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh suburbs and a slight receding of the massive Trump tide in rural white areas. Republicans have gained in voter registrations here, but that may be a misleading signal.

What a contested race looks like: Pennsylvania was one of the few states with no early voting (and few mail-in ballots) prior to 2020, with predictably dismal results in an April primary that saw thousands of votes tossed out. “Naked ballots” (voters don’t use a required security envelope) threaten to become the “hanging chads” of 2020, leading to a naked celebrity PSA to inform voters. The Republican state Legislature and the GOP-controlled courts refused to allow the mail vote to be counted early, and seven counties won’t even start counting mail ballots until Wednesday, meaning the results could take days or weeks to finalize — with a Supreme Court decision looming over ballots that arrive after Election Day. 

Florida (29)

Our pick to win: Trump (38 percent). Our gut goes against our Forecast here. The Sunshine State has been extremely close the last two national elections, and Biden has held a slim, if consistent, lead in polling. But in both 2016 and 2018, pollsters overstated Democratic support, so we’re skeptical that new Florida resident Trump has lost as much of the senior vote as surveys suggest.

What a contested race looks like: Broward County, in the Miami metropolitan area, was a key culprit in the chaos of the 2000 recount, and a close vote here could trigger similar animus, led by newly appointed elections supervisor Peter Antonacci, a Republican lawyer who has already had one major mishap purge notice since taking the beleaguered department’s reins. 

Michigan (16)

Our pick to win: Biden (86 percent). Of the Trump Rust Belt trifecta that won him the presidency — Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin — this was the one with his smallest margin of victory, less than 11,000 votes, a number that the college town of Ann Arbor alone could have made up with higher Democratic turnout. This time around, Biden is likely to win, thanks in part to turnout that could reach as many as 6 million voters, eclipsing the 4.8 million votes of four years ago.

What a contested race looks like: Voter intimidation could be an issue, as armed militia members stormed the state Capitol in both April and September to protest COVID-19 lockdowns — not to mention the foiled plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. In addition, an appellate court judge recently blocked Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s attempt to ban people from openly carrying guns within 100 feet of polling places. In a close race, Whitmer and the Democrats could be at odds with the Republican-controlled Michigan Supreme Court, which has two seats up for election that could flip the court’s composition.

MICHINGAN

Wisconsin (10)

Our pick to win: Biden (79 percent). Wisconsin is perceived as less blue than Michigan, but Biden has held a consistent lead here and a number of very strong polls have emerged recently to suggest his support hasn’t dropped off. 

What a contested race looks like: Wisconsin has a Republican Legislature and state Supreme Court that have already stymied Democrat Gov. Tony Evers, particularly by forcing Wisconsin to hold an in-person primary during the spring pandemic surge against expert advice — and the state court could play a critical role in other disputes, especially after the U.S. Supreme Court this week declined to overturn its decision to nullify mail ballots postmarked by, but arriving after Election Day.

Arizona (11)

Our pick to win: Biden (58 percent). Arizona has gone for a Democratic presidential contender just once since 1952 — Bill Clinton in 1996 — but two years ago it elected Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema to replace retiring GOP Sen. Jeff Flake. Large suburban population growth, including a surge in California expats, could paint the state blue again. 

What a contested race looks like: Arizona has a Republican trifecta in state government (controlling the governorship, Legislature and courts) and in 2018 saw weekslong delays in tabulating the final vote. But the state passed laws to count ballots earlier, and voters are used to voting by mail, meaning Arizona could see one of the smoother Election Days.

North Carolina (15)

Our pick to win: Trump (38 percent). Among the Democrats’ “demographics are destiny” states across the South that are becoming more diverse, North Carolina is the most purple — but also the slowest in moving their direction. The state has essentially been tied for months in the polls, but its slight conservative bent and Trump’s ability to generate rural and small-town turnout should not be underestimated, and it’s why we are (slightly) Trumpier than our forecast data here.

What a contested race looks like: The U.S. Supreme Court has let stand a new rule allowing the Tar Heel State count mail ballots postmarked by Election Day that arrive by Nov. 12. But like elsewhere, late ballots will stoke fresh lawsuits and an attempt at a GOP shutdown. While Democrats control the governor’s mansion, the state elections board and the state Supreme Court, Republicans hold the Legislature — so if there’s a close race and a battle over ballots, one can imagine a potential constitutional standoff: The governor and the legislature could each claim victory for their party and send competing slates of electors to Washington who are pledged to Biden and Trump, respectively. Then it’s up to Congress to sort it out. 

Georgia (16)

Our pick to win: Trump (45 percent). This is an excruciatingly tight race, and while our model gives Biden the slight edge in what’s basically a coin flip, we figure this tantalizing Democratic target remains just barely out of reach for Team Blue. 

What a contested race looks like: Georgia was the poster child for voter suppression concerns two years ago, and the Republican secretary of state at the center of it all, Brian Kemp, is now governor. Expect his 2018 challenger, Democrat Stacey Abrams, and her voting rights organization Fair Fight to challenge poll closures (which marred the June 9 primary) and other questionable decisions.

Texas (38)

Our pick to win: Trump (60 percent). None of these matter if Trump can’t win this megastate that hasn’t picked a Democrat since Jimmy Carter in 1976. Its rapidly shifting demographics and monster early voter turnout have Democrats excited enough to send Kamala Harris to campaign, but they’re not sending significant money — and the anticipated blue Texas will likely not arrive just yet. Read more on OZY.

What a contested race looks like: The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld an order from GOP Gov. Greg Abbott to limit mail-ballot drop locations to just one per county, scuttling Houston’s Harris County plan to offer a dozen places to serve its nearly 5 million voters … a sign that the Texas courts could side with statewide Republicans in any Election Day disputes, after an October study found Texas to have the most restrictive voting laws in the country.

Nevada (6)

Our pick to win: Biden (79 percent). Similarly to Trump in Texas, a Biden loss here is in the realm of possibility but would likely signal a rout of the former vice president. 

What a contested race looks like: In September, a Nevada court tossed out a Trump campaign lawsuit against the Democratic Legislature’s new law automatically sending mail ballots to all registered voters. Trump is now seeking to halt Clark County vote counts until Republicans are granted better ability to observe the process and discount fraud, a case that likely won’t fly in Nevada but could possibly be used by the conservative U.S. Supreme Court to invalidate votes after Election Day.

Ohio (18)

Our pick to win: Trump (51 percent). Biden has made strides in Ohio since Trump won it by 8 percentage points in 2016, but concerns from Black leaders that the party hasn’t adequately reached voters of color contributes to the feeling that Democrats will fall just short in this one. 

What a contested race looks like: The Ohio election system is much smoother than those of its surrounding Rust Belt neighbors, with mail votes tallied early and a Republican governor and secretary of state dedicated to a fair process … which means a Biden win here could be one of the few ways the race could be over on election night, because it would signal he’s won the less conservative neighboring states and come with the imprimatur of a GOP administration. 

trends to watch

Election Day Violence. America’s police departments are girding for disruptions at the polls. From Dallas to Atlanta to Miami to San Jose, departments are forbidding time off for officers and coordinating with federal officials to monitor threats from various troublemakers who may want to show up with heavy weaponry. This year has already seen its share of street violence and looting. On Election Day? “We may have more of the same,” says one police lieutenant. Read more on OZY.

The Pro-Trump Middle Easterners. Meet the Chaldean Catholics of Michigan, a 95,000-strong group of voters from Iraq and Syria who lean Republican in a state that went for Trump by less than 11,000 votes four years ago. They speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus, and have become pillars of the Detroit business community. By and large they back Trump, appreciating his tough line against ISIS and his business background. Read more on OZY.

TRENDS

Swing Vote of the Future. The dynamic Ilhan Omar was the first Somali American member of Congress, but likely not the last: Foreign-born U.S. citizens are at a record high and constitute a rising political force — with Somali Americans being a particularly strong example in key 2020 swing states, including Minnesota, Maine and Ohio. But don’t assume they’re all Democrats. Read more on OZY.

Rank Your Candidate. Maine’s voters are doing something unusual this year. And its experiment in “ranked-choice voting” has drawn the eyes of the nation to Maine for more than its heated Senate race. The idea is that there are no more “wasted” votes — if your chosen candidate lands outside the top two, your vote is reassigned to your second choice. Several other states are considering implementing their own version and will be watching closely. Read more on OZY.

Exit Music. COVID-19 will not stop exit polls in this year’s election, but how much should we trust them? The polls — huge surveys funded by major media outlets to give a picture of the electorate as they vote — are a mainstay of Election Day, as they tell us voter demographics and the key factors impacting their decisions. But a flood of early and mail voters makes this job harder for exit pollsters, who will have to rely more on phone calls in addition to in-person surveys. Plus, exit polls badly undersampled white working-class voters in 2016, prompting a woeful misread of the Trump coalition.

down ballot names to know

George Gascón. The Los Angeles district attorney’s race is the most important campaign you haven’t heard about. Incumbent Jackie Lacey faces a surprisingly stiff challenge from Gascón, 66, the former DA of San Francisco who’s shown a much greater willingness to prosecute cops — and whose reformist approach has gained steam since the death of George Floyd. There are also intriguing racial dynamics at play with the Cuban American Gascón taking on the Black female Lacey — who’s opposed by Black Lives Matter. The winner will preside over America’s largest local prosecutor’s office.

DOWN

Nancy Mace. South Carolina’s Senate contest is drawing gobs of attention and record-obliterating cash, but this bellwether House race down along the coast is worth watching too. Democratic Rep. Joe Cunningham won a surprise victory in 2018 and is now locked in a neck and neck race with Mace, 42, the first female cadet at the Citadel and a sharp-tongued rising star for the GOP — if she wins. Read more on OZY.

Nicole Galloway. There are only a handful of governor’s races this year, and one of the most compelling is in Missouri, where a 38-year-old Democratic auditor and soccer mom is challenging the incumbent GOP governor, Mike Parson. Galloway is trailing, but if there’s a blue wave coming, she could be washed ashore as a surprise winner. Read more on OZY.

John James. Republicans aren’t playing a lot of offense this year, but they do have an outside shot in the Michigan Senate race, where James is challenging incumbent Democratic Sen. Gary Peters. James, 39, is a Black man who has spoken frankly about facing down racism — but won’t criticize Trump. He’s an instant national star if he pulls off the upset, as the GOP has been trying to build a more diverse coalition. While there are a record number of Black Democratic Senate candidates in the South this year, they are largely underdogs, and a James victory would mean there are as many Black Republicans in the Senate (two) as Black Democrats (if Kamala Harris loses as veep and stays put in the Senate).

Raphael Warnock. You’re going to hear his name a lot between November and January. A Georgia Democrat, Warnock, 51, is almost certainly heading to a runoff special election against either Sen. Kelly Loeffler or Rep. Doug Collins — who have been bludgeoning each other over who’s more conservative and Trump-loyal. The Jan. 5 runoff could decide which party controls the Senate (and could be joined by another Georgia Senate runoff, if neither Republican Sen. David Perdue nor Democrat Jon Ossoff can break 50 percent). Warnock, the pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church (which Martin Luther King Jr. once called home), brings a churchman’s penchant for outreach to far-flung voters in a play to change this longtime red state’s electorate — building on Abrams’ work.

who are the undecideds?

We have spoken to dozens of undecided voters in recent weeks. Here are takeaways about this vanishingly small group.

Fiscally Uncertain. Trump ran on a message of economic populism, but his most significant economic policy win was a tax cut weighted toward the wealthy. “When [Republicans] say ‘tax breaks,’ I feel like they don’t understand how economics actually works for us,” says Texan Khanh Hoang, a 27-year-old field service engineer who typically leans conservative. “I thought he was going to run the government like a business and make it profitable, rather than printing $3 trillion for his friends,” says Jerry Kraemer, a 70-year-old operations manager from Kentucky who has been frustrated by the increasing debt and bailout of the airline industry. However, some cited the stock market and pre-pandemic economy as a plus. “I like the Trump economic world we’ve had the last four years,” says Michelle O’Neal, an office worker in Virginia. And Steve Friedewald, a 57-year-old who works in the gas industry in Texas, said he would likely vote for the economic and tax policies that benefited his family most: “It’s not good for my livelihood to switch to an industry that doesn’t exist: clean fuel,” he said.

Anti-Abortion Democrats Still Exist. And many of them told us that while they despised Trump, they were having a tough time supporting Biden given his ticket’s unapologetic support of abortion rights. “I just can’t vote for Trump. And I cannot vote for Kamala Harris, because she is pro-abortion,” said Cynthia Ogrey, a 78-year-old retired nurse from Northern California. “If only the Democrats would realize that, they would be virtually unbeatable if they backed off on the abortion issue. Where are the [pro-choice] voters gonna go, to the Republicans?” adds Mark Schmidt, a 62-year-old teacher and devout Catholic in Oregon. 

Unsatisfied With Biden. Some on the left, as well as some centrists, dislike Trump but aren’t thrilled with the Democrat. “I’m going to vote. I just wish the Democrats had not picked Biden. Biden, to me, is like a freaking wall paint that’s drying — boring as shit,” says Revelation Walker, a 43-year-old Black woman from Georgia. “If we vote for Biden, we’re enabling the same mind-think that led to Hillary Clinton running,” says Kevin O’Connell, a 36-year-old California stock trader. “Give them another four years of Trump, and hopefully Democrats learn a lesson — then hopefully get a legit candidate.”

Just Sick of It All. There is also a swath of undecideds who just no longer believes in American politics as a whole — and are likely to vote third party or not at all. “I don’t feel like anything is going to change. At this point, there aren’t any issues that I care about — because, at this point, candidates always say they will do this or do that, and nothing ever happens,” says Jequan Mayo, 20, of Pennsylvania. “I would vote for Captain Crunch year after year over any of these idiots,” says Dan Rhodehamel, a 44-year-old bartender from Chicago. As Bryan Stevens, a 40-year-old from Oregon, not-so-delicately puts it: “A shit sandwich or a crap sandwich? I’m not sure I’m going to bother even picking a sandwich.”

what can you do?

Say you’ve already voted but don’t want to just sit around and stress-eat for the next three days. Here’s what to do:

Volunteer for a Campaign. There’s still time to text and call key voters, or knock on doors — in a socially distanced way. Campaigns can always use new volunteers. Perhaps consider a local or state candidate or party that could use the bodies more than the well-armed machines running for president.

Help at the Polls. It’s too late to sign up to be a poll worker, but you can give rides to the polls to friends/family/passersby. Also, if you’re near a precinct with long lines on Election Day, show up with water, pizza, coffee, snacks or just encouragement for those folks who are taking an extended amount of their time to participate in democracy.

Become a Keyboard Warrior. You really want to win that Facebook argument, don’t you? The Biden and Trump campaigns have toolkits for best spreading their message online, and authentic posts from you with a snazzy graphic attached can go a longer way than what the campaign wizards gin up for paid promotion across the internet.

Breathe. We all could use some self-care right now, and you can overdose on election news. So make sure you’re creating downtime and not filling all your spare hours arguing about politics, because that’s no fun for anyone. It starts with learning to breathe better. Read more on OZY.