Time is ticking away for President Donald Trump, who’s making slight gains in OZY’s exclusive election forecast (in partnership with data firm 0ptimus) — but we still target Joe Biden at 317 electoral votes and a fairly comfortable win. Don’t tell that to Trump supporters. As OZY reports today from the campaign trail in Ohio and Pennsylvania, his fired-up, caravan-organizing fans firmly believe that the polls, insiders and experts are wrong again. But surging early voter turnout — now above 70 million, more than half the entire 2016 vote — and energy stoked by Trump’s new chief antagonist, former President Barack Obama, indicate that the enthusiasm runs both ways.
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2. Whither the Immigration Debate?
It was perhaps the most indelible rallying cry of Trump’s 2016 campaign: Build the wall! During the midterms, he fired up his base with warnings of a caravan of migrants from Mexico and a show of cracking down on illegal immigration by sending troops to the border. Now? The issue is largely absent from Trump’s campaign speeches and advertising, after the message flopped during the midterms and the pandemic has crowded out much else from media coverage. “COVID, COVID, COVID,” the president lamented on stage in Wisconsin recently, even as a third wave builds in the Badger State and elsewhere.
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Voters have already formed long lines across Tanzania as President John Magufuli tries to secure a second term. According to election watchdogs, the government has blocked social media sites, suspended text messaging and slowed down the internet ahead of the poll, which ends at 4 p.m. local time. Many are worried that Magufuli’s tactics have undermined the legitimacy of the election, especially after nine people were reportedly killed by police in semi-autonomous Zanzibar, which is also electing its leaders today.
A second wave sweeping Europe has hit France with particular ferocity, with cases rising 50 percent over the past week to the highest death tolls since April’s peak. Several cities are already under curfew, with residents confined to their homes after 9 p.m., and scientists have warned that a second total lockdown is likely necessary to curb the spread. President Emmanuel Macron is expected to announce harsher measures tonight — and in anticipation, European stocks fell to their lowest levels in months, as many worried another lockdown will further cripple the nation’s economy.
With cases surging, should the U.S. institute lockdowns as well? Weigh in with our Twitter poll.
3. National Guard Sent to Philadelphia After Police Shooting
Demonstrations Monday over the fatal police shooting of 27-year-old Black man Walter Wallace left dozens of police officers injured and shops damaged. That spurred Gov. Tom Wolf to deploy National Guard troops, who confronted a peaceful protest of about 1,000 people last night and arrested an unknown number of them. Wallace, who suffered from mental health issues, died Monday after relatives said they called an ambulance to take him to the hospital, but two police officers arrived instead and shot him multiple times.
President Trump is making a pitch to suburban women by telling them he’ll “get your husbands back to work.” Australia has agreed to pause the bulldozing of trees sacred to Indigenous people, part of a highway project, to allow the state supreme court to hear a challenge. And wildfires in California doubled in size overnight as 90,000 people were told to evacuate.
Missing the Theater During Lockdown? As the U.S. presidential election draws closer, OZY is partnering with Danai Gurira, Stephen Daldry, Lynn Nottage and dozens more members of the theater community on Act Out: Vote 2020, a special hour-long video event featuring monologues, songs and other dramatic performances to encourage audiences to vote. The special will be available to stream from Thursday, Oct. 29 at 9 p.m. Eastern. Subscribe here so you don't miss the premiere — and stay tuned for Friday's special episode of The Carlos Watson Show featuring Gurira and Heidi Schreck talking about the project!
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“In the year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened.” That’s how legendary Dodgers announcer Vin Scully described their 1988 win — but 2020 was improbable in a different way. It wasn’t shocking that L.A., the best MLB team all year, took Game 6 from the Rays 3-1. But the pandemic-shortened season was marked by COVID-19 right up to the end, when Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner was pulled before the eighth inning due to a positive test. Manager Dave Roberts said the win feels just as good as it would in a regular year, noting, “There will be no asterisk.’’
Earlier this month, 18 women — 13 of them Australian — were taken off a Qatar Airways flight in Doha to be invasively strip-searched without consent. Now Australian officials are demanding a report from Qatar into the incident, which Doha says was sparked by the discovery of a premature baby in a trash can. Sex outside of marriage is illegal for women in Qatar, which has expressed “regret” over the episode. The union for airport workers in Sydney is threatening to refuse service to any Qatar Airways jets in response.
A preliminary British study of the aftereffects of the coronavirus has found that survivors can suffer significant loss of brain function. Though it hasn’t been peer-reviewed, the study, which included cognitive tests, found that even mild cases could lead to mental impairment. Among those who had been hospitalized and put on ventilators, the average deterioration was equivalent to about a decade of aging. Critics note the effects could be short-term, and the study is still ongoing as researchers hope to recruit more subjects — and to study people both before and after they contract the disease.
Already convicted of sex trafficking, extortion and forced labor, Keith Raniere — who founded self-styled self-help organization NXIVM (pronounced “Nexium”) in 1998 — has now been sentenced to 120 years and a fine of $1,750,000. The cult’s former members say they were branded and forced into sex by the thus-far unrepentant Raniere, who is now forbidden from contacting any of them. Another conspirator, heiress Clare Bronfman, was sentenced to jail time last month, still maintaining that the cult had a positive impact on her life.