President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden clashed over Covid-19 and race while trading corruption charges, in their final live TV debate which took place on Thursday night in Nashville, Tennessee.
The first debate was a chaotic, insult-filled exchange between the two candidates. But on October 22, the personal attacks were (mostly) out – instead audiences got the chance to hear some of what Biden and Trump had to offer to Americans.
The muted mics probably helped to cool temperatures and the moderator, Kristen Welker, has been celebrated for encouraging a higher standard of debate.
With arguments on coronavirus, race, climate change and corruption, both candidates made it clear how different their visions for the US were.
On the pandemic, Joe Biden would not rule out more lockdowns, while President Trump insisted it was time to reopen the US.
Donald Trump cited unsubstantiated claims Joe Biden personally profited from his son’s business dealings. The Democrat brought up President Trump’s opaque taxes.
Joe Biden has a solid lead with 11 days to go until the presidential election.
However, winning the most votes does not always win the election, and the margin is narrower in a handful of states that could decide the race either way.
More than 47 million people have already cast their ballots in a voting surge driven by the pandemic.
This is already more than voted before polling day in the 2016 election. There are about 230 million eligible voters in total.
In snap polls – from CNN, Data Progress and US Politics – most respondents said Joe Biden had won the debate by a margin of more than 50% to about 40%.
The final debate was a less acrimonious and more substantive affair than the pair’s previous showdown on September 29, which devolved into insults and name-calling.
Following that political brawl, debate organizers this time muted microphones during the candidates’ opening statements on each topic to minimize disruption.
However, the 90-minute debate, moderated by NBC’s Kristen Welker, was the scene of plenty of personal attacks between the opponents, whose mutual dislike was palpable.
In individual closing argument to voters, they offered starkly different visions for the nation on everything from shutting down the US to tackle coronavirus, to shutting down the fossil fuel industry to confront climate change.
Nowhere was the distinction between the two candidates more apparent than in their approach to the pandemic.
Asked about his support for more lockdowns if the scientists recommended it, Joe Biden, a Democrat, did not rule it out.
Donald Trump, a Republican, said it was wrong to inflict further damage on the economy because of an infection from which most people recover.
“This is a massive country with a massive economy,” said the president.
“People are losing their jobs, they’re committing suicide. There’s depression, alcohol, drugs at a level nobody’s ever seen before.”
Donald Trump, 74, declared that the virus was “going away” and that a vaccine would be ready by the end of the year, while Joe Biden, 77, warned the nation was heading towards “a dark winter”.
President Trump said: “We’re learning to live with it.”
Joe Biden countered: “Come on. We’re dying with it.”
He laid blame for the 220,000-plus American deaths as a consequence of the pandemic at President Trump’s door.
“Anyone who’s responsible for that many deaths should not remain president of the United States of America,” he said.
During a back-and-forth on race relations, President Trump said: “I am the least racist person in this room.”
He brought up the 1994 crime bill that Joe Biden helped draft and which Black Lives Matter blames for the mass incarceration of African Americans.
However, Joe Biden said Donald Trump was “one of the most racist presidents we’ve had in modern history. He pours fuel on every single racist fire”.
He added: “This guy is a [racial] dog whistle about as big as a fog horn.”
President Trump brought up purported leaked emails from Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, about his business dealings in China.
However, Joe Biden denied the president’s unfounded insinuation that the former US vice-president somehow had a stake in the ventures.
“I think you owe an explanation to the American people,” said President Trump.
Joe Biden said: “I have not taken a single penny from any country whatsoever. Ever.”
He referred to the New York Times recently reporting that President Trump had a bank account in China and paid $188,561 in taxes from 2013-15 to the country, compared with $750 in US federal taxes that the newspaper said he had paid in 2016-2017 when he became president.
President Trump said: “I have many bank accounts and they’re all listed and they’re all over the place.
Joe Biden has criticized President Donald Trump’s handling of Covid-19, while courting elderly voters in the key battleground state of Florida.
The Democratic presidential nominee told them that the president saw seniors, who have been more at risk in the pandemic, as “expendable”.
There are sharp policy differences between the two candidates on Covid-19.
In Pennsylvania, President Trump told thousands of supporters he felt like “Superman” after his Covid treatment.
He tested positive for the virus on October 1, spent three nights in hospital and was cleared by doctors to return to the campaign trail at the weekend, holding his first rally in Florida on October 12.
Battleground states like Florida and Pennsylvania are crucial for gathering the 270 electoral college votes needed to win the presidential election, which is not determined by a simple count of votes nationwide.
Opinion polls suggest Joe Biden has a 10-point advantage over Donald Trump nationally, but his lead in some key states is narrower. In Florida, the Democrat is 3.7 percentage points ahead, according to an average of polls collated by Real Clear Politics.
President Trump narrowly won Florida in 2016 in a result buoyed by senior voters. But the latest polls suggest a shift away from the Republican among them this time around.
Joe Biden spoke to a group of people at a community centre for seniors in southern Florida, with social distancing measures in place.
The event was in stark contrast to the president’s mass rally on Monday in Florida.
The Democratic candidate accused the president of dismissing the threat that coronavirus posed to senior citizens.
He said: “You’re expendable, you’re forgettable, you’re virtually nobody. That’s how he sees seniors. That’s how he sees you.”
The “only senior Donald Trump seems to care about” is himself, he added.
Joe Biden also criticized President Trump for holding “super-spreader parties with Republicans hugging each other without concern of the consequences”, while senior citizens couldn’t see their grandchildren. A recent White House event for the Supreme Court nominee led to several attendees testing positive for Covid.
Introducing Joe Biden at the Florida event, congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said it was voters aged 65 or over who would “swing elections in the Sunshine State”.
Joe Biden, 77, and Donald Trump, 74, are the two oldest candidates to contest a US presidential election.
However, President Trump has regularly mocked Joe Biden as a senior citizen who lacks energy and is “sleepy”. On October 13, the president tweeted a doctored image of Joe Biden as a wheelchair-user and the words “Biden for Resident”, implying a nursing home.
The commission organizing the second presidential debate in Miami on October 15 said it would have to take place remotely after President Donald Trump tested positive for coronavirus.
President Trump has refused to take part in a virtual TV debate with his Democratic rival Joe Biden.
The president’s refusal sparked a day of wrangling about how and when any further debates would take place.
At the moment it appears a debate could take place on October 22, although in what form remains to be seen.
The first presidential debate on September 29 had descended into insults and interruptions. The vice-presidential debate, held on October 7 between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris, was a far more measured affair.
Latest opinion polls suggest Joe Biden has a high single digit lead nationally, but the outcome is often decided in battleground states where the races can be much closer.
Six million votes have already been cast in early voting.
The Commission on Presidential Debates announced that candidates would take part in the Miami debate “from separate remote locations… to protect the health and safety of all involved”.
This infuriated the president who, in a phone-in interview with Fox Business Channel, said he was “not gonna waste my time” on a virtual debate and “sit behind a computer, ridiculous”.
Joe Biden said the president “changed his mind every second” and his campaign team added that Donald Trump “clearly does not want to face questions from the voters”.
The Trump campaign answered back, with manager Bill Stepien calling the commission’s decision to “rush to Joe Biden’s defense… pathetic” and saying President Trump would hold a rally instead on October 15.
The Biden team then proposed the town-hall style debate, set for Miami, should go ahead on October 22 instead.
This brought a brief moment of agreement, on the date at least.
However, the Trump team said there should be a third face-to-face debate – on October 29, just five days before polling.
The Biden team refused. Three dates had been set for debates – September 29, October 15 and October 22. That would be it.
On October 15, Joe Biden will now take part in his own primetime event on ABC answering questions from voters.
Quite what format any Biden-Trump debate takes now is hard to pin down.
The president touched on a number of key matters, including his health and the possibility of movement towards a stimulus package for the economy.
On his health, President Trump said: “I’m back because I’m a perfect physical specimen.”
He said he had stopped taking most “therapeutics” but was still taking steroids and would be tested for Covid again “soon”.
Although his doctor has said he now has no symptoms, questions still remain about when the president first became infected and whether he could still be contagious.
And although the names of many people who have interacted with the president and tested positive are now known, it remains unclear just how many were exposed at the White House. New Covid safety measures are in place there.
One of the top Republicans, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, said on October 8 that he had not been to the White House since August 6 because its approach to handling Covid with social distancing and masks was “different from mine and what I suggested we do in the Senate”.
October 8, President Trump said that “somebody got in and people got infected” but gave no more details.
A gathering on September 26 announcing President Trump’s Supreme Court pick has been seen as a possible “super-spreader” event, with several attendees known to have tested positive.
Speaking on the final night of the Republican convention, President Donald Trump has warned Joe Biden will “demolish” the American dream if he wins the White House in November.
The president depicted his Democratic challenger as “the destroyer of American greatness”.
Donald Trump said the Democrats would unleash “violent anarchists” upon US cities.
Joe Biden has a steady single-digit lead in opinion polls over President Trump with 68 days until voters return their verdict.
The end of the RNC heralds a 10-week sprint to Election Day, and the coming campaign is widely expected to be one of the ugliest in living memory.
On August 27, President Trump asked voters for another four years in office, vowing to dispel the coronavirus pandemic that has ravaged the US economy and quell civil strife ignited by police killings of African Americans.
He accepted the GOP’s re-nomination from the South Lawn of the White House.
Donald Trump said: “This election will decide whether we save the American dream, or whether we allow a socialist agenda to demolish our cherished destiny.”
He added: “Your vote will decide whether we protect law-abiding Americans, or whether we give free rein to violent anarchists, agitators and criminals who threaten our citizens.”
His reference to the sometimes violent racial justice protests that have swept the nation in recent months came as hundreds of Black Lives Matter demonstrators gathered outside the White House gates.
Some of their shouts and car horns could be heard on the South Lawn despite new fencing being erected this week along the White House perimeter to keep protesters at a distance.
President Trump said the Democrats at their party convention last week had disparaged America as a place of racial, social and economic injustice.
He said: “So tonight,I ask you a very simple question – how can the Democrat party ask to lead our country when it spends so much time tearing down our country?
“In the left’s backward view, they do not see America as the most free, just and exceptional nation on earth. Instead, they see a wicked nation that must be punished for its sins.”
In a blistering attack on his opponent’s decades-long political life, Donald Trump continued: “Joe Biden spent his entire career outsourcing the dreams of American workers, offshoring their jobs, opening their borders and sending their sons and daughters to fight in endless foreign wars.”
While President Trump portrayed his challenger as “a Trojan horse for socialism”, Joe Biden’s lengthy record as a political moderate was a hindrance for him as he competed to capture his party’s nomination.
Donald Trump mentioned Joe Biden more than 40 times; the Democrat did not once name Donald Trump in his speech last week, though criticism of the president permeated Joe Biden’s remarks.
President Donald Trump has decided to postpone his first post-coronavirus lockdown election rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, so it does not fall on Juneteenth, the holiday commemorating the end of US slavery.
He tweeted that the June 19 rally would be held a day later out of respect for Juneteenth.
The choice of date had drawn criticism amid nationwide anti-racism protests.
The location was also controversial, as Tulsa saw one of the worst massacres of black people in US history in 1921.
Up to 300 people died when a white mob attacked the prosperous black neighborhood of Greenwood, known as the “Black Wall Street”, with guns and explosives. About 1,000 businesses and homes were also destroyed.
Juneteenth is not a federal holiday, but is widely celebrated by African Americans.
It celebrates the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation to enslaved African Americans in Texas.
Texas was the last state of the Confederacy – the slaveholding southern states that seceded, triggering the Civil War – to receive the proclamation, on June 19, 1865, months after the end of the war.
President Trump initially defended the timing of his rally, telling Fox News: “Think about it as a celebration. My rally is a celebration. In the history of politics, I think I can say there’s never been any group or any person that’s had rallies like I do.”
However, critics accused the president of disrespecting the date and the significance of Tulsa to US history.
Explaining the decision to move his rally, President Trump tweeted: “Many of my African American friends and supporters have reached out to suggest that we consider changing the date out of respect for this Holiday, and in observance of this important occasion and all that it represents. I have therefore decided to move our rally to Saturday, June 20th, in order to honor their requests…”
The “Make America Great Again” rally in Tulsa will be Donald Trump’s first campaign event since March 2, when the coronavirus pandemic put a halt to mass gatherings.
President Trump is seeking re-election in November 2020, but polls show him lagging behind his Democratic rival, Joe Biden.
Campaign rallies are seen as a key method of energizing his base, and Oklahoma is traditionally a Republican-voting state.
The event will proceed against a backdrop of ongoing protests against racial inequality and police brutality, triggered by the death of African American man George Floyd on May 25. George Floyd, who was unarmed, died in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota after a policeman knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes.
The rally is being held in a 19,000-seat indoor arena, and concerns have been raised about the potential risks.
Oklahoma has one of the US lowest infection rates, and businesses are reopening – but the state’s Governor Kevin Stitt has urged residents to keep social distancing and to “minimize time spent in crowded environments”.
People buying tickets for the Tulsa rally online have to click on a waiver confirming that they “voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to Covid-19” and will not hold the president’s campaign responsible for “any illness or injury”.
President Trump has announced he plans to hold further events in Florida, Texas, North Carolina and Arizona.
Donald Trump, impeached by the House of Representatives for abuse of power
and obstruction of Congress, was acquitted after a two-week trial in the
During the House intelligence briefing, President Trump’s supporters argued
that he had taken a hard stance with Russia, and that European ties and
security had been strengthened as a result, the newspaper added.
Adam Schiff later tweeted that if Donald Trump was in any
way “interfering” with the sharing of information between US
intelligence agencies and Congress regarding foreign interference in the
election process, the president was “jeopardizing” attempts to stop
Joseph Maguire was a favorite to be nominated for the permanent Director of
National Intelligence (DNI) post, the Washington
However, the publication said President Trump changed his mind when he found
out about the briefing, and what he called the “disloyalty” of his
The president announced this week that Joseph Maguire would be replaced by
Richard Grenell, the US ambassador to Germany and a Trump loyalist.
Two Trump administration officials
told the New York Times that the
replacement of Joseph Maguire, so soon after the contentious briefing, was a
US intelligence officials say Russia
interfered in the 2016 presidential election to boost Donald Trump’s campaign
and cause chaos within the US electoral process.
Democrats criticized the president
for appointing Richard Grenell, who has previously played down the extent of
Russian interference in the last election, and has celebrated the rise of
far-right politicians in Europe.
Ned Price, a former aide to President Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, said the president had “dropped the charade that he has any use for intelligence”.
The presidential nominees will be chosen through a series of primaries and
caucuses in every state and territory that began in Iowa on February 3 and ends
in Puerto Rico in early June.
Short of a big shock, the Republican nominee will be Donald Trump. Even
though technically he has two challengers, he is so popular among Republicans,
he has a clear run ahead of him. With that in mind, the Democratic primaries
are the only ones worth watching.
one: The start line
A whole year before the primaries,
the first candidates emerged from hibernation. Over the year, others woke up
and eventually 28 people announced they were running to become the Democratic
nominee for president.
But dwindling funds, luke-warm or
(ice-cold) public reaction and campaign infighting have, to varying degrees,
led to 16 candidates pulling out of the race.
At the start of primary season, 11
people remained in the running. In theory, any one of them could become the
nominee. In reality, only a few have a chance.
two: The Iowa caucuses
The first event of the primary
season isn’t a primary at all – it’s a series of caucuses, in Iowa. These took
place on February 3, in somewhat chaotic fashion.
What are caucuses?
A caucus involves people attending a
meeting – maybe for a few hours – before they vote on their preferred
candidate, perhaps via a head count or a show of hands. Those meetings might be
in just a few select locations – you can’t just turn up at a polling station.
If any candidate gets under 15% of
the vote in any caucus, their supporters then get to pick a second choice from
among the candidates who did get more than 15%, or they can just choose
to sit out the second vote.
Why Iowa caucuses matter?
A win there for any candidate can
help give them momentum and propel them to victory in the primaries.
Why is Iowa first in the primary
calendar? You can blame Jimmy Carter, sort of. Iowa became first in 1972, for
various technical electoral reasons too boring to go into here. But when Carter
ran for president in 1976, his team realized they could grab the momentum by
campaigning early in Iowa. He won there, then surprisingly won the presidency,
and Iowa’s fate was sealed.
Why Iowa caucuses don’t matter?
Iowa doesn’t represent the entire US
– it’s largely white, so the way people vote there is very, very different than
in other states.
The sate’s record on picking the
eventual nominees is a bit rubbish too, at least when it comes to Republicans –
when there’s an open Republican race, Iowa hasn’t opted for the eventual
nominee since 2000. Such names as Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and Ted Cruz
have won there in recent years.
Step three: The New Hampshire primary
Eight days after Iowa on February 11, is the first primary, in New
Hampshire. The tiny north-eastern state of only 1.3 million people will once
again become an unlikely hotbed of political activity.
What is a primary?
Unlike a caucus, where voters are expected to turn up at a few limited
locations at certain times and stick around for a while, primary voters can
just turn up at a polling booth and vote in secret. Then leave.
How does a primary work?
The more votes a candidate gets in a caucus or primary, the more
“delegates” they are awarded, and all candidates will be hoping to
win an unbeatable majority of delegates.
The number of delegates differs in each state, and is decided by a
convoluted series of criteria. In California’s primary, for example, there are
415 Democratic delegates up for grabs this year. In New Hampshire, there are
This year is a bit different. Any candidate would need to get at least 15%
of the vote in any primary or caucus to be awarded delegates. There are still
11 candidates in the running – an unusually large number – so there’s a risk
the vote share will be spread out and some of the candidates may struggle to
After New Hampshire, we could get a clear picture of who is struggling, but
whoever has claimed the most delegates at this stage is still far from
guaranteed to be the nominee.
Even those who are struggling may not drop out right after New Hampshire,
because there is so much at stake on…
Step four: Super Tuesday
A few other states vote in between New Hampshire and the end of February,
but this is when things really start to warm up: Super Tuesday, on March 3.
What is Super Tuesday?
It is the big date in the primary calendar, when 16 states,
territories or groups vote for their preferred candidate in primaries or
caucuses. A third of all the delegates available in the entire primary season
are up for grabs on Super Tuesday. By the end of the day it could be much
clearer who the Democratic candidate will be.
The two states with the most delegates are voting on Super Tuesday
– California (with 415 Democratic delegates) and Texas (228). California is
voting three months earlier than in 2016, making Super Tuesday even more super
California and Texas are two states with very diverse populations, so we may
see them going for very different candidates than those chosen in Iowa and New
Step five: The rest of the race
After hectic Super Tuesday, everyone gets to cool down for a week, before
another busy day on March 10, when six states vote, with 352 delegates
After that, the primary season still has three months left to run, and at
the end, the role of those delegates will become clear…
Step six: The conventions
Donald Trump will almost certainly be sworn in as the Republican nominee at
the party convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, between August 24 and 27.
The Democrats will confirm their candidate at their own convention between July
13 and 16 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
What happens in a convention?
Here’s where those delegates come in.
Let’s say that during primary season, candidate A wins 10 delegates. During
the convention, those 10 delegates would vote for candidate A to become the
Democratic nominee. (Any party member can apply to be a delegate – they tend to
be party activists or local political leaders.)
All through the Democratic primaries, there are 3,979 delegates
available. If any one candidate wins more than 50% of those delegates during
primary season (that’s 1,990 delegates), then they become the
nominee in a vote at the convention.
But if we get to the Democratic convention and no-one has more than 50% of
the delegates, it becomes what’s known as a “contested” or
“brokered” convention. This could well happen this year. There are so
many candidates that no one frontrunner emerges in the primaries, and they
split the delegates between them. In that circumstance, a second vote
In that second vote, all the 3,979 delegates would vote again, except this
time they would be joined by an estimated 771 “superdelegates”.
These are senior party officials past and present (former president Bill
Clinton is one, as is current Vermont senator and presidential contender Bernie
Sanders), and they’re free to vote for whomever they wish.
If a candidate wins 50% or more in that vote – 2,376 delegates – then they
become the nominee.
This is all thanks to a rule change in 2020: last time around, the
superdelegates voted at the start of the convention, with the delegates. But
many had pledged their support to Hillary Clinton even before the convention,
leading her rival Bernie Sanders to suggest the deck was stacked against him.
Bernie Sanders is the one who campaigned for the change – and it may benefit
him in 2020.
Step seven: The presidency
After inching past Iowa, negotiated New Hampshire, survived Super Tuesday and come through the convention, there is only one step left for the nominee: the presidential election, on November 3.
Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders are taking
the lead in the Iowa caucuses, the first vote to choose the Democratic
candidate to run against President Donald Trump in November’s election.
The vote has been chaotic, beset by technical problems and delays in
According to Iowa’s Democratic Party, data from 71% of precincts showed Pete
Buttigieg on 26.8%, with Bernie Sanders on 25.2%.
Elizabeth Warren was third on 18.4% and Joe Biden fourth on 15.4%.
According to the other preliminary results released on February 4 from all
of Iowa’s 99 counties, Amy Klobuchar was on 12.6%, and Andrew Yang on 1%. Tom
Steyer and Tulsi Gabbard were on less than 1%.
However, the state party has still not declared a winner from February 3
vote. Democrats have blamed the delay on a coding error with an app being used
for the first time to report the votes.
Iowa was the first contest in a string of nationwide state-by-state votes,
known as primaries and caucuses, that will culminate in the crowning of a
Democratic nominee at the party convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in July.
Eleven candidates remain in a Democratic field that has already been
whittled down from more than two dozen.
The results represent the share of delegates needed to clinch the party
nomination under America’s quirky political system. Iowa awards only 41 of the
1,991 delegates required to become the Democratic White House nominee.
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