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Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. It is Monday in November! TOMORROW is Election Day. We get you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch. Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver are the co-creators, and readers can find us on Twitter @asimendinger and @alweaver22. Please recommend the Morning Report to friends and let us know what you think. CLICK HERE to subscribe!



Total U.S. coronavirus deaths as of this morning: 230,996.



President TrumpDonald TrumpMore than two-thirds of Americans approve of Biden's coronavirus response: poll Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor Mexico's president tests positive for COVID-19 MORE will roar through five rallies in four must-win states today, and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFive examples of media's sycophancy for Biden on inauguration week Drastic measures for drastic times — caregiver need mobile health apps Boycott sham impeachment MORE and his running mate, Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisBiden talks NATO, climate change in first presidential call with France's Macron Biden must wait weekend for State Department pick Senators introduce bill to award Officer Goodman the Congressional Gold Medal MORE (D-Calif.), will concentrate on Pennsylvania to challenge the president as each campaign boasts about voter enthusiasm and multiple paths to 270 electoral votes. Biden also decided to swoop into Cleveland, Ohio, this afternoon.

 

They may both be right, but only one will win. Pollsters today are still pointing to a narrow Biden lead, with Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida clustered in the spotlight on Tuesday (and perhaps for days afterward, if results are contested or still being tallied).

 

Trump, who has worked for weeks to defend territory he won in 2016, believes the race will not be a repudiation of his leadership or a blowout for Biden, whose surrogates predicted on Sunday that the challenger will capture 300 electoral votes. “I don’t think it’s close,” Trump maintained over the weekend. The president’s representatives predicted Trump will benefit from a huge surge of in-person voters on Tuesday to end up with more than 290 electoral votes and backing from 10 percent of the Black vote, which could hold down Biden’s math.

 

“I feel optimistic,” Biden campaign adviser Donna BrazileDonna Lease BrazileScalise bringing Donna Brazile as guest to Biden inauguration Harris selects Tina Flournoy as chief of staff: report Biden takes steps toward creating diverse Cabinet MORE countered on ABC News. 

 

We feel very good about where we’re going,” Trump campaign spokesman Jason Miller told Fox News. 

 

The Associated Press: In campaign’s final days, Trump hopes rallies mean big votes.

 

The Associated Press: Biden works to push Black turnout in campaign’s final days.

 

In reality, the race is thought to be close enough to inject heavy doses of uncertainty into both campaigns today. Democrats, haunted by 2016’s result, speak of taking nothing for granted. “I’m hopeful,” Biden says. Biden supporters tell The HIll’s Amie Parnes the party’s nominee has been doing enough to win the White House and defeat Trump. “We’re all f---ing nervous as shit,” one Democratic strategist said. “But the stars aligned for us, I think. And I think that’s good enough. I think we’ll have a different outcome this time around. I hope so, anyway.”

 

 

 

 

The Hill Sunday talk shows: Biden, Trump camps express hope for victory ahead of Election Day. … Election countdown dominates (The Hill).

 

The Hill’s Niall Stanage writes that Trump’s reelection remains a real possibility. Florida is a toss-up and the president could capture Pennsylvania, where Biden was raised. The former vice president has more paths to electoral victory than Trump, but Election Day includes plenty of unknowns.

 

With the eve of the election comes a final round of polling, which continues to give the edge to the former vice president, who would become the first challenger to win the White House since former President Clinton in 1992. According to new surveys released Sunday by The New York Times and Siena College, Biden continues to hold the advantage in four key states: Florida, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Wisconsin — all of which went for Trump four years ago The former VP leads by 3, 6, 6 and 11 points in the contests, respectively. 

 

Reid Wilson, The Hill: Why Maricopa County, Ariz., will choose the next president.

 

Axios: Trump's plan to declare premature victory.

 

Nationally, according to a new NBC-Wall Street Journal poll, Biden’s lead is at 10 points (52 percent to 42 percent) (The Hill). 

 

Among Latinos, who will play an outsize role in Florida, Arizona and Texas (among others), Biden leads by a 2-to-1 margin, taking 62 percent support to 29 percent for Trump. That lead is down from Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden must wait weekend for State Department pick Texas Supreme Court rejects Alex Jones request to toss lawsuits from Sandy Hook parents Paris Agreement: Biden's chance to restore international standing MORE’s four years ago as the 2016 Democratic nominee received 62 percent support from the key bloc, with Trump getting 20 percent. Exit polls showed Clinton earning 66 percent of the Latino vote, compared with Trump’s 28 percent (The Hill).

 

The Washington Post: Democrats grow more anxious about Pennsylvania.

 

Jonathan Allen: In Pennsylvania, small-town Trump defectors are rare — but could be decisive.

 

The Atlantic: The Trump campaign’s chaotic closing strategy.

 

Reverberations continued Sunday following Trump’s false assertion to voters on Friday that physicians are knowingly inflating U.S. COVID-19 fatality statistics for monetary gain. The American Medical Association denounced the claim as “malicious, outrageous and completely misguided” (The Hill). Evers, who has clashed with the president over the administration’s pandemic response, called it “a stupid thing to say” (The Hill). Trump campaign advisers Corey LewandowskiCorey LewandowskiSunday shows preview: Riots roil Washington as calls for Trump's removal grow Trump's refusal to concede sows confusion among staff Trump selects Hicks, Bondi, Grenell and other allies for positions MORE and Jason Miller tried to sidestep the president’s remarks when asked to explain his assertions during Sunday television interviews.

 

The Associated Press: Trump threatens to fire Fauci after the election.

 

The White House in a written statement released on Sunday criticized Anthony FauciAnthony FauciFive examples of media's sycophancy for Biden on inauguration week Las Vegas-area district moves to partially reopen schools amid surge in student suicides Fauci: Receiving powder-filled envelope was 'very, very disturbing' MORE, the nation’s leading federal infectious disease expert and a member of the president’s task force on the coronavirus. Fauci told The Washington Post in an interview published on Saturday that the pandemic is worsening this fall, and that Biden "is taking it seriously from a public health perspective," while the president is "looking at it from a different perspective," one focused on "the economy and reopening the country." The Trump campaign accused Fauci of opting “to play politics” before the election (CBS News).

 

More than 94 million Americans have already voted, according to the U.S. Elections Project, representing more than 62 percent of the 2016 turnout.

 

> Deep fake: A video widely circulated on social media was manipulated to make it look as if Biden greeted supporters while acknowledging the wrong state. He did not. The video was altered (The Associated Press fact check).

 

> USPS and ballots: U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington, D.C., on Sunday ordered the U.S. Postal Service to reinforce its agreed-upon “special procedures” to ensure it “delivers every ballot possible by the cutoff time on Election Day” (Reuters). 

 

 

 



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LEADING THE DAY

MORE POLITICS: While the presidential race garners the majority of attention, of almost-equal importance remains the fight for control of the Senate as Republicans look to extend their six-year run of handling business that comes before the upper chamber.

 

With less than 48 hours before the polls close across the Senate map, it remains a jump ball who will control the Senate heading into the 117th Congress, with attention still trained on Maine as Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsBiden officials hold call with bipartisan group of senators on coronavirus relief plan The Hill's Morning Report - Biden's crisis agenda hits headwinds GOP senators say only a few Republicans will vote to convict Trump MORE (Maine) (pictured below) seeks to survive as the lone Republican senator from New England. 

 

Despite the public polling, which shows Democrat Sara Gideon leading by 4 to 6 points, operatives on both sides of the aisle tell the Morning Report that the race remains up for grabs, with internal polls showing a deadlocked race. 

 

“Dead even,” said Dave Carney, a New Hampshire-based GOP operative. “$100 million doesn't seem to have changed the dynamics one way or another.”

 

A second GOP operative involved in Senate races echoed Carney, saying that Collins has “a fighting chance” on Tuesday. 

 

Across the aisle, one Democratic aide said that the race remains close but argued that ranked-choice voting could be the death knell for the longtime senator’s political career. 

 

“It remains a tight race, but ranked-choice voting makes the path the victory for Collins all the more difficult,” the aide said.

 

The New York Times: Voting system in Maine threatens Collins in final days of close Senate race.

 

The Hill: Senate candidates focus closing arguments on health care, experience.

 

The New York Times: Fueled by cash, health care and Trump’s woes, Democrats aim for Senate control.

 

Elsewhere on the Senate map, The Hill’s Jordain Carney writes that the battle for Senate supremacy is expected to go on well past Election Day. Lawmakers and officials are warning that the number of close races, coupled with two likely runoffs in Georgia and millions of mail-in and absentee ballots, could mean it will take weeks or months to determine control of the Senate. 

 

“There’s some races out there that are really tight. I suspect, you know, it could go into overtime,” said Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden's crisis agenda hits headwinds Senate chaos threatens to slow Biden's agenda NRSC chair says he'll back GOP incumbents against Trump primary challengers MORE (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican. 

 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden attends first church service as president in DC, stops at local bagel shop Harry Reid 'not particularly optimistic' Biden will push to eliminate filibuster Senators spar over validity of Trump impeachment trial MORE (R-Ky.) indicated during a campaign stop in Kentucky that it would “probably [be] a long night or several days thereafter” before results are known. 

 

The party that takes the helm of the Senate next year is expected to do so by a slim one- or two-seat margin. 

 

The Washington Post: Trump drags down GOP senators, giving Democrats more paths to the majority. 

 

The Associated Press: GOP tries to save its Senate majority, with or without Trump.

 

Des Moines Register: Iowa Poll: Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden takes office, calls for end to 'uncivil war' Senate confirms Biden's intel chief, giving him first Cabinet official Democrats torn on impeachment trial timing MORE (R-Iowa) pulls ahead of Democrat Theresa Greenfield in closing days of Senate race

 

The New York Times: Can Raphael Warnock go from the pulpit to the Senate in Georgia? 

 

 

 

 

> In the House: Most of the 30 Democrats representing swing districts that Trump carried in 2016 are favored to win reelection, marking the latest sign that the party is likely to expand its House majority.

 

As The Hill’s Cristina Marcos explains, the state of play across the House map represents a change of fortunes from late last year, when many of those same Democrats faced a tough decision on whether to impeach the president and potentially risk alienating split-ticket voters. However, impeachment is very much in the rearview mirror, with Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic weighing down Republicans all over the ballot. It’s also given Democrats the chance to expand the battlefield and their target list, forcing the GOP to divert resources and play defense in what had once been GOP strongholds. 

 

“It's difficult to overstate just how much the map shifted as the environment deteriorated,” a senior House Republican strategist said.

 

The Washington Post: In Pennyslvania, close House race is a microcosm of Trump-Biden showdown.

 

Politico: “She kind of reminds you of Margaret Thatcher”: Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyFive examples of media's sycophancy for Biden on inauguration week House GOP leader says he has 'concerns' over Cheney's impeachment vote Cheney tests Trump grip on GOP post-presidency MORE (R-Wyo.) prepares to make her move.

 

The Hill: Polarized campaign leaves little room for third-party hopefuls.

 

The New York Times: Boarded-up windows and increased security: Retailers brace for the election. 

 

The Washington Post: House’s most liberal caucus divided over how to use its political clout.



IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

CORONAVIRUS: The message this morning as voters prepare to stand in lines on Tuesday during a pandemic: COVID-19 transmissions have been on the rise in all 50 states over the last week. If you plan to visit a polling place on Election Day, wear a mask, distance from others in line and be aware of what you touch.

 

States that have experienced double-digit surges in COVID-19 cases in the last week include Iowa, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, some of the most hotly contested battlegrounds in the 2020 elections. In October, 31 states set records for new cases, 21 for COVID-19 hospitalizations and 14 for new fatalities.

 

In Ohio in the past four weeks, positive tests climbed from 2.5 percent to 7 percent, Republican Gov. Mike DeWineMike DeWineRepublicans eye primaries in impeachment vote Shellshocked GOP ponders future with Trump Governors respond to violence at Capitol MORE said Sunday on CNN. “This thing is really, really spreading in Ohio,” he added, attributing the surge to social gatherings and to people not wearing masks and relaxing their precautions. In Wisconsin, Democratic Gov. Tony EversTony EversEight governors call on feds to immediately send out vaccine doses now in reserve Marquette men's basketball team wears black uniforms to protest Jacob Blake decision Wisconsin governor slams decision to not charge officers in Jacob Blake shooting MORE warned, “We have hospitalizations going through the roof. … It ain’t over” (Reuters). 

 

Iowa last week reported its highest number of average daily new cases and hospitalizations to date. State officials are preparing to keep in-person voters on Tuesday as safe from COVID-19 transmissions as possible (The Associated Press).

  

Domestic travel: Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoDisjointed vaccine distribution poses early test for Biden Three National Guardsmen killed after military helicopter crash in New York New York City reschedules 23,000 vaccination appointments due to supply issues MORE (D) on Saturday did away with a list of banned states for visitors to New York and now says travelers, except those from nearby New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, must test negative for COVID-19 three days before arrival (The Hill).

 

Europe: Demonstrations cropped up across Spain, including in Madrid, Barcelona and Málaga, after Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced a six-month state of emergency in response to rising case totals throughout the country. Sanchez called for an end to “the violent and irrational behavior” by those who looted various businesses while protesting the 11 p.m. through 6 a.m. curfew instituted nationwide (The Guardian).

 

In Italy, Health Minister Roberto Speranza said on Sunday, “We have 48 hours to try to approve a further tightening” of COVID-19 restrictions, calling the virus’s recent spread “terrifying.” On Saturday, Italy recorded 32,000 new infections — the highest single-day total since the outset of the pandemic — and almost 300 deaths (Reuters). … In Italy, like everywhere the virus goes, it’s the discontent that’s contagious (The New York Times).

 

In the United Kingdom, a new four-week coronavirus lockdown may have to last longer (The Associated Press).



The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: asimendinger@thehill.com and aweaver@thehill.com. We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE! 



OPINION

Why Iowa is in play, by Robert Leonard, The New York Times opinion contributor. https://nyti.ms/2HUls9y

 

How Congress can get kids back to class, by Scott Gottlieb and Mark McClellan, opinion contributors, The Wall Street Journal. https://on.wsj.com/2GmenOs 



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WHERE AND WHEN

The House is out of Washington until after the election.

 

The Senate will return to work on Nov. 9. 

 

The president will use the last day of the 2020 campaign to appeal to supporters in Fayetteville, N.C., at 11:30 a.m.; Scranton, Pa., at 2 p.m.; Traverse City, Mich., at 5 p.m.; Kenosha, Wis., at 7 p.m.; and Grand Rapids, Mich., at 10:30 p.m.

 

Vice President Pence will greet supporters in Latrobe, Pa., at 11:30 a.m. and Erie, Pa., at 2 p.m. 

 

Biden-Harris campaign events: Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, and Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, will barnstorm Pennsylvania to get out the vote. But first, Biden will begin in Cleveland, Ohio. Former President Obama will travel today to Atlanta, Ga., and South Florida to campaign on behalf of Biden, Harris and Senate Democratic candidates in Georgia, Jon Ossoff and Warnock.

 

Hill.TV’s “Rising” program features news and interviews at http://thehill.com/hilltv or on YouTube at 10:30 a.m. EDT at Rising on YouTube



ELSEWHERE

CONGRESSIONAL INVESTIGATIONS: House Democrats are pondering how to proceed with probes and investigative pursuits should Trump lose the election. The question for Democrats, who are banking on keeping the majority in the House, is how aggressively to pursue backward-focused investigations into the Trump White House as opposed to a Democratic agenda, which they hope will be led by Biden (The Hill). 

 

ADMINISTRATION: Multiple Trump administration officials served as surrogates for the president’s reelection campaign this year, further muddying the distinction between government work and politicking, which is restricted by the federal Hatch Act and once-accepted government ethics requirements (The Hill). … The Trump campaign’s reliance on current federal officials to serve as political surrogates for the president is a breach of longstanding norms and a controversy that will linger beyond this election (CNN). … In the realm of federal pesticide regulation and enforcement, the Environmental Protection Agency must inspect the practices of 1,400 laboratories using just four available employees. The number of officials in charge of inspecting compliance with the agency’s Good Laboratory Practice Standards is down from a total of 26 inspectors and support staffers in 1994, according to internal documentation obtained by The Hill.

 

GRAND JURY PROCEEDINGS: Because of a Kentucky judge’s ruling last week, two grand jurors from the Breonna Taylor case were able to speak publicly about the customarily secretive proceedings of the prosecution’s presentation of a controversial case. The jurors confirmed that Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) did not present to the grand jury charges of murder for any of the three Louisville police officers involved in the raid that killed Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman who was shot and killed by police in March (The Hill). 



THE CLOSER

And finally … As the 2020 election cycle comes to an end, we salute the many compelling examples of street art, adornment and public messaging that communicated what some Americans have been thinking during a turbulent year.