MOMENT OF TRUTH: WILL TRUMP TRY TO STEAL THE ELECTION?
According to Axios, Donald Trump has denied he will declare victory prematurely after three sources reported he told confidants he will claim a win if it looks like he’s “ahead” on Tuesday night (US time).
This is despite the fact the Electoral College outcome could hinge on large numbers of uncounted mail-in votes — which are largely tipped to favour Democrats, whereas more Republicans are expected to vote in-person on election day — in key states such as Pennsylvania.
The report comes amid multiple attempts at voter suppression, the latest of which Common Dreams reports will see the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) challenge a Republican lawsuit seeking to invalidate 127,000 early votes already cast via drive-thru voting — a COVD-19 precaution — in Texas.
PS: In other COVID-19 news, CNN reports that Trump has suggested to a (largely maskless) Florida crowd that he may fire Anthony Fauci after the election following the infectious disease expert’s blistering Washington Post interview.
THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS HAVE VIOLENT ENDS
The possibility of Trump declaring victory before all votes are counted also stands to foment civil unrest; as The New York Times explains, the president has voiced his approval of the “patriots” who surrounded and slowed a Biden-Harris campaign bus in Florida, while a Democrats rally was cancelled in Georgia amid fears of a “large militia presence” drawn by Trump’s own event nearby.
Ahead of the big day, NBC reports that stores across America are bracing for the possibility of violence while The Intercept has found that a number of private security firms have attempted to cash in on election day anxiety.
PS: Los Angeles Times explains that not only has 2020 seen the biggest spike in gun sales on record, but — unlike previous election years where spikes were attributed to longtime gun owners worried about Democrats restricting gun access — gun shop owners and trade groups have reported a larger customer base including Black Americans, women and people who otherwise identify as liberal.
FEDERAL ICAC LANDS WITH A WHIMPER
Finally, The Mandarin reports that Attorney-General Christian Porter has released draft legislation for the proposed Commonwealth Integrity Commission, just 12 months after first receiving a copy of the bill, and will now consult on the proposal until March 2021.
Following a hectic few years for federal scandals and rorts, the ABC notes that shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus has slammed the exposure draft as evidence that the government has not listened to criticisms of its proposal since 2018 — specifically by limiting investigations to criminal offences and requiring parliamentary referrals.
The Australia Institute has since highlighted a number of other concerns i.e. excluding anyone outside the public sector who dishonestly/improperly influences public decision-making from its definition of corrupt conduct.
PS: In state integrity news, The Australian ($) reports that the Victorian agency overseeing government use of contractors, the Victorian Government Purchasing Board, repeatedly raised concerns over how the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions awarded private security contracts and has complained Treasury may have left out “materially relevant facts” in evidence presented to the hotel quarantine inquiry.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
Coming out with a [new JobSeeker] rate might make people feel good, but we want the government to actually move on this. So we’ve tried to give them the space to do so.
The nominal opposition leader figures that, more than 25 years since Australia increased unemployment benefits, the best way to lift the rate is not to identify an ideal figure but let the Morrison government work it out in their own time.
“Annastacia Palaszczuk’s victory on Saturday, complete with a 4.8% swing to Labor, is about a lot more than the power of incumbency at a time of crisis.
“Palaszczuk wasn’t just up against the Liberal National Party (LNP) in Queensland, plus the Greens attacking Labor from the left. She was also against the Morrison government (working in concert with her opponent), against the NSW government (admittedly, not a particularly potent force given how mired in sleaze and scandal it is), and against Clive Palmer’s anti-Labor advertising campaign centred around a lie about death taxes (which is estimated to have cost the mining millionaire $8 million in addition to the millions he gave to his party).”
“Incumbency is favoured in a crisis: The pandemic proved this to be true for Queensland Labor, but it’s all in the timing. As the crisis passes, voters look to how government responded. Why wasn’t it forecast? How was money being wasted? Why weren’t insurers accepting claims? Has the economy rebounded?
“Are we heading for a Trump news slump? He’s been at the centre of the world’s biggest stories since at least 2016 — from the rise of populist authoritarianism to COVID. He’s sent some readers fleeing to fact-based media while encouraging others to amplify the echo of conservative voices.
“Who will miss him more if, as all polls suggest, he loses this week’s election?”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Parents need to know why their child was stillborn — Kristina Keneally (The Sydney Morning Herald): “My third child may well owe his life to the autopsy performed on his older, stillborn sister. My second child, Caroline, was stillborn in 1999. Just a day after her birth, a caring and compassionate doctor at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Sydney spoke to my husband and I about an autopsy for our baby girl. It was not an easy conversation. However, we desperately wanted to know what caused Caroline’s death. We also wanted to have more children and hoped an autopsy would help us know if we were at risk of having another stillborn baby.”
US election: China, Iran and New York Times share hope Joe Biden will defeat Donald Trump ($) — Greg Sheridan (The Australian): They are the anti-Trump axis, the coalition of the concerned and conniving, a historic entente across ideologies and world views. What do The New York Times (and the whole US liberal establishment), the Communist Party of China and the mullahs’ regime that rules Iran have in common? They are all desperately keen to see Donald Trump defeated this week.”
We can’t follow Obama back to brunch — David Sirota and Andrew Perez (The Daily Poster): “In the closing hours of the 2020 election, Donald Trump is dishonestly casting his reelection bid as a crusade against the corrupt swamp that he helped expand and profited from, while Democrats are promising that if Trump is defeated, voters will finally be able to go back to brunch as the Washington establishment returns itself to power. The former’s message is laughably dishonest, the latter’s message is profoundly cynical and potentially dangerous.”
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
The Chaser’s Charles Firth and The Shovel’s James Schloeffel will host a pre-US-election launch of their 2020 dual edition in an Avid Reader webinar.
Today is Melbourne Cup Day (state public holiday).