The Supreme Court decides on behalf of the Democrats

Voter Jennifer Fresques takes a selfie before dropping her ballot in an official ballot box in the state of Utah.
Image: dpa

The Supreme Court has made two postal voting decisions in America. Amy Coney Barrett was not involved yet. The cases illustrate the extraordinary circumstances of the choice.

WA few days before the presidential election in America, the Supreme Court was processing pending cases on modalities – cases that highlight the extraordinary circumstances of the election. Due to the pandemic, the postal voting option had been expanded in many states. Since the handling of the Corona crisis in the United States was a party-political line of conflict from the start, the lawsuits against the extension of the deadlines always also addressed the question: Will Donald Trump and his Republicans succeed in an option that the majority Democrats have uses to hinder?

Majid Sattar

Political correspondent for North America based in Washington.

The Supreme Court has now made two decisions in favor of the Democrats. In the Pennsylvania case, which should be in focus on November 3rd, the judges decided to reject a motion from the state’s Republicans. They demanded that it be clarified before the election on Tuesday whether it is legal to accept voting slips that are postmarked on election day by November 6th. This is what the state Supreme Court saw. It changed the previously applicable legal position, established by the Parliament in Harrisburg.


Is Amy Coney Barrett the Republicans’ final triumph?

KFour weeks after Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s funeral, President Donald Trump has appointed a new Chief Justice. The fact that the Senate confirmed Amy Coney Barrett so quickly was not due to broad unanimity. On the contrary, the Republicans made no effort to give the appearance of bipartisanism. With 52 to 48 votes, they created a clear majority in the court: six to three for the Conservatives in the Supreme Court. Republicans cheer unabashedly, as if it were not about a court but about a council of state whose members always have the last word. For lifetime.

The fact that not just three of the nine chief judges, but around 200 of the roughly 800 federal judges were appointed by Trump, is a campaign hit for the president. One can speculate whether this brought him closer to his re-election; after all, the dispute also mobilized the other side. But you can also look at it the other way around: With this record, the Republicans can cope with a defeat on November 3rd. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell openly admitted: “A lot of what we’ve done over the past four years will sooner or later be overturned by the election,” he said. Against the overwhelming majority in the Supreme Court, however, “they will not be able to do anything for a very long time”.


For a Kingdom of God (

The ultra-conservative Amy Coney Barrett replaces the liberal icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.

Photo: dpa / Al Drago

The fact that US President Donald Trump will lose the elections on November 3rd and take the Republican Party with them is something of a certainty among conservatives in Washington – mostly pronounced behind their backs. But the pain about it will be limited. Because Amy Coney Barrett will shift the balance of power in the Supreme Court significantly to the right, and that for generations.

The confirmation of the 48-year-old, who is the youngest on the Supreme Court, had priority for the ultra-conservatives in the US Senate after the death of the liberal icon Ruth Bader Ginsberg on September 28. In doing so, they violated all customs, despite the loud protests and boycotts of the Democrats. In order to absolutely wave Barrett through before the elections to the highest judicial office, the parliamentary group leader of the Senate Republicans Mitch McConnell shortened the hearing and ordered the senators to work in the US capital over the weekend. The judiciary committee chief, Republican Senator Lindsay Graham, even broke committee rules and set the voting date without the necessary number of Democrats in the room. Their boycott remained symbolic.

Amy Coney Barrett as the third right-wing, Trump-nominated and ultimately elected Supreme Court judge is the successful result of decades of reactionary efforts. Right-wing religious extremists formed a counter-reform movement in the late 1970s. A few years later they found their first powerful political allies in the highest echelons of the Ronald Reagan administration, although they were still unable to make a breakthrough.

The movement was in response to legal advances made by the civil and black rights movements of the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP. Behind the reactionary complaints about the “breakdown of the family” and the “erosion of Christian values”, but above all behind the criticized “oppression of religion by the state”, lay racism. What really bothered the movement was the statutory ban on segregation, which was supposed to end separation by skin color in Christian schools as well.

The “Christian legal movement,” as it likes to call itself, was largely financed by the right-wing, libertarian anti-regulation billionaire Charles Koch. Since the 1970s he has been trying to weaken and ultimately abolish US-wide institutions that try to regulate economic interests by law. According to his calculation, only lawyers hostile to regulation can ensure this.

Corresponding legal cadre schools, such as the Alliance Defending Freedom, have existed for many years. Christian-oriented lawyers are trained by the non-governmental organization, the financing of which is difficult to understand, “to strengthen judicial systems that fully protect our God-given rights,” as the self-portrayal says. Amy Coney Barrett also went through the “Blackstone” scholarship program established by the organization 20 years ago.

The focus is on the motto »religious freedom« and corresponding court judgments. Compared to “religious freedom”, according to the declared aim of the movement, in case of doubt all other rights have to take precedence, for example the right to abortion, the right to marry same-sex partners or the health reforms passed under President Barak Obama.

Barrett and her husband are members of the Christian fundamentalist sect “People of Praise” from South Bend, Indiana. According to research by the Washington Post, its members commit themselves by oath of loyalty to the organization and its members for life. Part of the oath is the superior position of men over women who have to submit to them. According to the newspaper, which was able to view documents of the group from 2010, the male members are classified in the category “heads” while the women fall under the category “handmaid” (maid). Barrett is also said to have been a “maid” when she lived in the sect’s house during her studies. Further research was blocked by referring to the protection of privacy and religious freedom. Both the sect, acquaintances and family members of Barrett and the White House refused to comment.

Even the Democrats took this into account at the Congress hearings. They did not even ask questions about their religious affiliation. Only the “official arguments against them” were of interest, declared the Democrat Richard Blumenthal. Even after her nomination as a federal judge in 2017, information disappeared. For example, the sect took pictures of their family from the website.

During the Senate hearings, Barrett had evaded all critical questions. When asked about the climate catastrophe, she called it an “opinion”, not a fact.

Barrett gave the keynote address at a graduation ceremony at Notre Dame Law School in 2006. A Christian career as a judge and lawyer was “nothing more than the means to an end,” she emphasized to the graduates, “and the goal is the establishment of God’s Kingdom”.


»Let this moment radicalize you« (

Joe Biden, Democratic presidential candidate

Photo: Julio Cortez / AP / dpa

When the news of the death of the liberal Supreme Court judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg became known, the ActBlue donation ticker began to run faster and faster. The digital donation platform has emerged as the preferred vehicle for grassroots donors of the US Democrats in recent years. With just a few clicks, voters can express their financial support for their favorite politicians from the comfort of their own home – or express their disapproval, express their anger and do something about their own impotence. In this case it was more like the latter.

The concerned base, which has been preparing for months in the media for the demise of the liberal icon, who has been hyped as the star of women’s emancipation, fears the end of legal abortions in the country and decades of conservative dominance at the Supreme Court. It is expected that this will throw the country back socio-politically or declare progressive democratic legislation invalid. Because the Democrats are in the minority in the US Senate, they cannot prevent Amy Coney Barrett, Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s successor, from being appointed. So the base of the party donated to help the Democrats gain a majority in the US upper house from at least January 2021. Within 24 hours of Ginsburg’s death in late September, $ 71 million was received from 1.2 million donors on the platform – much of it going to Senate Democratic nominees. Donations continued afterwards.

The result: The Democrats in the 14 most competitive Senate elections, with a total of around $ 84 million in the first two weeks of October alone, collected twice as many campaign donations as the Republican incumbents. Major donors now come to their aid, at least partially at the last minute. Money alone will not bring the Democrats any Senate election victories, but the full election campaign coffers have put the party on the offensive, in some more conservative states they can now dominate the television screens with their advertisements and thus also reach voters beyond the core clientele.

In the spring, the Democrats only had an outsider’s chance of winning a majority in the Senate. Without a majority there, President Joe Biden’s hands would be tied on numerous projects. He could neither enforce corona aid nor reforms in the health system or in climate policy. Filling judges would also be impossible without the approval of Republican senators. Observers reckoned the Democrats had chances of achieving electoral success in the demographically towards the Democratic states of Colorado and Arizona, where the popular former governor of the state John Hickenlooper and ex-astronaut Mark Kelly are running. And in Maine and North Carolina, Sarah Gideon, the Democrat spokeswoman in the Maine state parliament, and the lawyer and military veteran Cal Cunningham have a good chance because the more moderate swing voters in the swing states reject Trump. But beyond that, things didn’t look good for the Democrats.

The reason: the structural advantage for the Republicans in the House of Lords. Each US state has two senators – the conservative 580,000 state Wyoming as well as the 39 million state California. Since the voters of the Grand Old Party are mainly found in rural and sparsely populated areas, the Democrats have to win nationwide by six to seven percent to gain a majority of the seats in the Senate.

Senate elections will take place in 35 states this year. The Republicans currently have 53 senators and the Democrats 47. In order to achieve a majority, the Democrats must win at least three seats – assuming that they will also win the presidency: if there is a 50/50 balance of power, the vote of the vice president, i.e. the possible vice president Kamala Harris, decides.

It is almost certain that the Conservative Alabama Democrat Doug Jones will lose his seat. He was only elected to a vacant seat in the 2018 by-election because of credible allegations against Republican candidate Roy Moore of sexually molesting minors. The only other Democratic Senator that analysts see as “vulnerable” is Michigan-based Gary Peters, who comes out on top in most polls but outside the margin of error.

Because of the expected loss of seats in Alabama, the Democrats will have to win at least four additional seats so that their agenda from 2021 cannot be thwarted by blockade policies of the Republicans in the US upper house, as the Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell did with the Obama administration from 2010. The Democrat-friendly mood in the polls – Joe Biden is currently leading with around nine percent on average – and the rain of donations from the base have opened seven more states in the past few weeks.

In the farming state of Iowa, Democrat candidate and entrepreneur Theresa Greenfield is ahead of incumbent Joni Ernst in the majority of polls. The Republican recently embarrassed herself when she was unable to give the current price of soy when asked by journalists. In the more conservative mountain state of Montana, popular Democrat governor Steve Bullock, who successfully got Montana through the coronavirus pandemic, is close on the heels of the Republican incumbent, leads or, depending on the poll, is within the error range of the polls. In Georgia, it is possible that Democrat Jon Ossof will force incumbent David Perdue into the runoff election. The second election seat in the state will also be reassigned due to a by-election. Atlanta Pastor Raphael Warnock could make it into the runoff election after his campaign picked up speed in recent weeks.

In Alaska, which voted Trump 15 percentage points ahead of Trump in 2016, the doctor Al Gross, who poses as an independent down-to-earth fisherman and competes as a non-party, but is supported by the Democrats, is sitting behind the Republican incumbent. In Kansas, which is actually similar to Republican, some polls show doctor and former state senator Barbara Bollier, who defected to the Democrats, in a tie or even in front of her Republican adversary – the Democrats have not won a Senate election in the Prairie State since 1932.

In South Carolina, which is also “deep red”, Republican Senator Linsey Graham, who made a name for himself as a Trump critic in 2016 but has now turned into a loyal supporter of the president and as chairman of the judiciary committee in the US Senate, has to confirm the new Supreme Court Judge Barret, suddenly fighting for his re-election. His challenger Jaime Harrison, a former lobbyist and ex-Democrat chairman in the state, is suddenly level and raised a record $ 57 million in campaign funds in the third quarter. This is so much that Harrison can not only dominate the television screens in the state with his ads, but can also fund a shadow campaign to split the conservative voices in the state. Because there are two conservatives on the ballot: Constitution Party candidate Bill Bledsoe dropped out of the race too late. Should he get three to four percent of the vote, he could take away just enough votes from Graham to get Harrison.

“Let this moment radicalize you,” said the popular left-wing Democrat politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the supporters of her party. In the days after Ginsburg’s death, angry left-wing liberal intellectuals popularized demands that had only been made on the left in previous years. In order to break the permanent Republican advantage in the US Senate, if you are in the majority by 2021, Washington DC should be made a state – a corresponding law has already been passed by the Democrats in the House of Representatives – and Puerto Rico in the US – Record the state union. “Guam, do you want to go in too?” A Democrat strategist told the political paper Politico, referring to the Pacific island occupied by the US, expressing the “all options are on the table” mood. Even if the Republicans counter with outraged rhetoric, there are several precedents for the strategy: at the end of the 19th century, the Republicans repeatedly accepted new states into the US confederation in order to shift the balance of power in the parliamentary upper house in their favor.

Also read: Recent Polls – Our graphs on the presidential election, the US Senate and the US House of Representatives

Another prominent demand that has been put on the table by indignant Democrats in recent weeks is the end of the “filibuster,” the majority rule of 60 votes for most legislative projects. This has a long parliamentary tradition, but it is only a procedural rule that can be changed. Left critics have long seen it as a brake on social progress, because it requires large parliamentary majorities and because of the necessary concessions to senators of the other party, it dilutes or even makes legislative projects impossible and thus preserves the status quo.

After years of Republican blockade, the breaking of norms and the relentless power politics of the Republicans during the presidency of Barak Obama, conservative Democrats like West Virginia’s Senator Joe Manchin and Chris Coons from Delaware are also open to an end to the rule. The Republicans’ blocking stance was most evident when, with their Senate majority, they refused to appoint Supreme Court judge Merrick Garland at the end of the Obama presidency with reference to the near election, while they now have a new judge even closer to the polls Senate confirm. At the end of July, Obama described the filibuster as a “relic of the Jim Crow era” – and the word of the ex-president, who is still admired in the party, carries weight in the party.

For the Supreme Court, by the way, Democratic strategists are simply considering increasing the number of judges. There are also precedents for this: In several states, the Republicans have changed the number of judges in the highest state courts in the past in order to secure judicial majorities that are convenient for them.


How Donald Trump can still win

Trump campaigning in North Carolina

US President Donald Trump recently performed in North Carolina in front of more than 10,000 supporters.

(Photo: Reuters)

The election campaign in the USA is turning into the home straight, and the race seems to be over: Challenger Joe Biden is not only around eight percentage points ahead of Donald Trump in the national polls, but also leads in almost all of the US states that make the election.

Only his most loyal supporters believe that the president, with his more disciplined appearance in the final TV duel, could have succeeded in turning this hitherto stable trend twelve days before the election on November 3rd. Especially since more than 45 million Americans had already cast their votes before the TV duel. Trump’s victory in the 2020 presidential election is unlikely, but it is not impossible.

Trump and his Republicans are clinging their hopes to a few inconsistencies that don’t quite fit in with an undisputed Joe Biden win. The Republicans have succeeded in significantly increasing the number of their registered voters compared to 2016 in important “battleground states” such as Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. In the state of Florida alone, which Trump has to win, the Republicans were able to halve the Democrats’ lead in registered voters compared to 2016.

When US citizens register in the electoral register, they can also indicate their affiliation with the party. That is no guarantee of how voters will vote in the end. But there is a glimmer of hope for Trump. Especially since more than half of all registered voters have just stated in a poll by the Gallup Institute that they and their families are better off today than four years ago.

The Republicans owe the increase in registered voters primarily to their “ground troops” during the election campaign. After the Trump victory in 2016, the Grand Old Party reinforced its army of volunteer campaigners.

Despite Corona, party soldiers in many states have walked from door to door to address voters personally. The Democrats, on the other hand, shy away from being close to the voters in the pandemic and are also avoiding major election campaign events.

Trump, on the other hand, loves the crowds of his supporters, even if they often come without a mask and do not keep their distance. The pictures from his recent campaign appearances in Michigan and especially North Carolina show well-filled spectator stands with well over 10,000 fans.

Trump’s “election observers” are said to be a deterrent

It is quite possible that Trump will only speak to those already converted and that the Democrats will only express their enthusiasm for Biden when they cast their vote on election day. Nevertheless, the silence in Biden’s election campaign is irritating.

The Democrats’ strategy of focusing primarily on mobilizing voters for election day is also risky because Republicans are not afraid to make it more difficult for black voters in particular to vote.

In Texas, the Republican governor there has ensured that in the constituency of Harris County near the city of Houston, which is inhabited by predominantly non-white voters, there is only one collection point for the 4.7 million inhabitants for personal voting before the election.

Elsewhere, Republican “election observers” appear with smartphone cameras, party flags and posters in order – at least according to the official version – to check that everything goes well with the early voting. We know from earlier ballots that the martial demeanor also deterred voters.

If all of this is not enough for a victory, Trump can still draw his last joker and declare himself the winner or not acknowledge a defeat before all votes are counted. For weeks, the president has been denouncing the postal votes, which are mainly used by the Democrats, as massive electoral fraud – without, of course, providing any evidence for it.

Nevertheless, both sides have already hired an army of lawyers to prepare for the continuation of the election campaign in the courts in the particularly hotly contested states and also at the national level.

A foretaste of this is now provided by a Supreme Court ruling on the question of whether postal ballot papers in the hotly contested state of Pennsylvania have to be considered even if they arrive at polling stations three days after polling day. The chief judges could not agree, so that four judged against and four for the late election mail. That was enough to keep the ballot boxes open.

However, if Trump’s hand-picked judge Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed for the highest judicial office by the Republican majority in the US Senate in the coming week, the arch-conservative lawyer could be the decisive factor in similarly controversial election decisions of the Supreme Court.

According to Trump, he firmly believes that the US elections will only be decided by the Supreme Court. That is why it is important, said the president, that there are nine judges. What he did not say, but his choice of judge makes it clear: If necessary, a conservative majority in the Supreme Court should secure his re-election.

More: Five special moments in the TV duel – and what they reveal about the election campaign.


More and more Republicans are distancing themselves from Trump

IIn the meantime there is only perplexity around Donald Trump. After reports of differences between the campaign team, the Republican party organization RNC and the presidential advisers in the White House, it had just been decided to hold a joint press briefing. The message: everything is going well. Just look at the voter registration numbers. In the contested states, the Republicans caught up strongly. The President is very confident. Not a word about the anger over Trump’s lack of discipline in matters of communication.

Majid Sattar

Political correspondent for North America based in Washington.

Shortly afterwards, the President added. At a rally in Michigan over the weekend, he incited supporters to demand the arrest of Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer, against whom militias had recently planned a terrorist attack. Now he took on Anthony Fauci. Speaking on a conference call, he said of the country’s top immunologist, “When he appears on TV there is always a bomb, but there is a bigger bomb when you fire him. The guy is a disaster. ”Then:“ People are tired of hearing Fauci and these idiots, all these idiots who made mistakes. ”If he had listened to Fauci, the member of his pandemic crisis team,“ we would have 500,000 dead “.

Fauci didn’t want to be part of the election campaign

Now you have to know that Trump’s campaign team recently cut a public appearance by the director of the National Institute for Infectious Diseases against his will into a campaign spot. This angered Fauci, who has a balanced temperament: it happened against his will. In addition, the sequence was taken out of context – and anyway: He is a scientist and has never advertised a president. Trump’s people apparently believed that Fauci’s supposed praise for Trump would help in the final spurt of the election campaign. Democrats adore the man with the friendly smile and the gruff voice – and even among Republicans he has authority. At least with the elderly and with the young, white women in the suburbs. So two groups of voters who Trump urgently needs to gain, he wants to catch up with Joe Biden’s survey lead in the contested states.

In Congress and the RNC, people have been urging Trump to soften his tone, say as little as possible about the Corona crisis and concentrate on the balance sheet of his democratic challenger. As is well known, Trump cannot be tamed, especially when he feels provoked. These days, Fauci said that when he saw Trump presenting his candidate for the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden of the White House, he knew that it could not end well. And that’s how it turned out: the event turned out to be a “superspreading event”. He was “absolutely not” surprised that the president was infected.

Trump must have seen the statement as an ambush attack. He claims that the New Yorker is a Democratic submarine anyway. In May he planned to dissolve the Corona crisis team, after all he was already talking about the pandemic in the past tense. Because of the public protest, Trump reversed his decision. But Fauci is in fact no longer consulted. And Deborah Birx, the head of the crisis team, is said to have complained internally that Trump has now made Scott Atlas a consultant – a doctor who recently questioned the sensibility of wearing a mask.

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Mitch McConnell, the Republican majority leader in the Senate, had made it clear some time ago that he considers the president’s corona policy to be irresponsible. After Senator Ben Sasse recently found violent words for Trump, more and more Republicans are distancing themselves. Two weeks before the election date, however, you avoid public hitting and stabbing. Even Sasse left it at his remarks during a conference call with voters and refrained from repeating his allegations on television. Lamar Alexander, the Republican chairman of the Senate Health Committee, said Fauci was one of the most respected officials ever and had worked under six presidents. “If more Americans would listen to his advice, we would have fewer cases of Covid-19.” He did not mention the name Trump in the tweet. Even people who usually try to rationalize the president’s behavior after the fact are now showing behind closed doors that nothing makes sense.

Defeat in Pennsylvania

Trump already has his next victim in his sights: Chief Justice John Roberts. The Supreme Court had passed a “ridiculous verdict,” he complained on Tuesday. The President of the Constitutional Court and three liberal judges upheld a ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Due to the stalemate in the Supreme Court, the previous judgment is upheld. As a result, ballot papers from postal voters received up to three days after the November 3rd election will be counted in the presidential election in contested Pennsylvania. The Republicans were against an extension of the deadline. They saw it as a violation of a federal law that sets the Tuesday after the first Monday in November as the election date. With more Democrats than Republicans using postal votes because of the pandemic, Trump sees the ruling as campaign aid for the other side.

In general, Trump sees himself surrounded by opponents: The “Commission on Presidential Debates”, the host of the television debates, has changed the rules for the second and last duel on Thursday: If one of the two candidates presents a two-minute answer to the debate, it will Other’s microphone turned off.


When winning at the polls does not mean winning the Presidency

Peculiarities of the electoral system put the lot of candidates in the hands of an Electoral College. Five times, the most voted candidate lost the elections.

For good and for ill, the United States is a country quite different from others. It would be said that, changing the name of the nation, the phrase would always make sense. In fact, that would be the case, were it not for the impact that any change in Washington’s “mood” has on a global level. And the next day 3 is a new opportunity to see the North American idiosyncrasies. This is because the president who will be elected in two weeks may not even be the most voted candidate, leaving the current head of state, Republican Donald Trump, and Democrat Joe Biden to accept the consequences of an electoral system that, over the years , has been considered increasingly out of step with the national reality.

As much as it costs voters, who actually elects the president is the Electoral College, made up of 538 members – a hundred senators and 438 deputies, spread across the country’s 50 states and the federal district of Washington, the seat of the Administration.

In that distribution, each state is entitled to at least three delegates from the Electoral College. The rest are allocated proportionally to the number of inhabitants in each state.

Each federal territory has a specific way of choosing the delegates that represent it. You can go through the proposal of a party committee, by voting at the party’s state convention, by choosing the candidate for the presidency or the state governor. From the resulting lists, the names of the collegiate bodies will appear.

Another important aspect of the bizarre American electoral system is the premise “the winner takes it all”. In 48 of the 50 states, the party that obtains the most popular votes for the respective candidate takes all the seats to which the state is entitled in the Electoral College.

For example, a candidate who gets 51% of the popular vote in Florida does not win just 15 of the state’s 29 college seats; it gets everyone.

in 2016, there were ten “infidels”

This model also explains why it is very important to invest in the campaign in the “swing states” (oscillating states, read the text on the following page), since a simple majority in the popular vote guarantees all state seats in the school.

The exceptions are the states of Maine and Nebraska, which have a system in which two places go to the candidate who won the state elections and the others go to each constituency.

Once this phase is completed, it follows that which will define the face of the four-year US Presidency, which will be that of the candidate who obtains the majority of the votes of the electoral college delegates. That will have to be at least 270 of the 538. A simple majority, therefore.

On the other hand, due to the characteristics of the American electoral process, in theory, a candidate can become president if he wins in only 11 states, even if he does not receive any vote in the other 39.

It is assumed that the collegiate will vote for the candidate of the party to which they belong. And, as a general rule, this is what happens. However, they are not required to do so. Those who choose to vote for another White House candidate or abstain are called “unfaithful voters”.

Four years ago, there were ten cases, a very high number, only surpassed in 1872, due to the death of the original candidate.

Last month, the Supreme Court ruled that states can punish members of the Electoral College who break their promise to vote for the state winner. Currently, 32 federal territories have laws designed to discourage “betrayal”, although, so far, no one has been punished.

On five occasions, three in the 19th century – and two were Republicans benefiting from indirect voting – the President of the United States did not win the popular vote.

In the 2000 elections, another Republican, George W. Bush, won 271 votes at the Electoral College, while Al Gore won 266. In popular votes, however, the Democrat had about half a million more votes than Bush.

Four years ago, Trump received 304 votes at the Electoral College, while Hillary Clinton stood at 227. But at the polls, the Republican got 2.8 million fewer votes than the Democrat.

A survey by the Pew Research Center, carried out this year, points out that 58% of Americans want to change the system, ending the Electoral College and giving primacy to the popular vote.

not very democratic, isn’t it?

The explanations for the present format are historical. The Founding Fathers – the political leaders who participated in the United States’ independence and / or constitution – were skeptical of popular choice. This is because the elections were very restricted to large urban centers, with the less populous states at risk of irrelevance in the final result of the ballots.

For example, in a ballot-based vote, it would make no sense for a presidential candidate to stop campaigning in California to go to Alaska, as there are neighborhoods in that state with populations larger than that of all the territory purchased from the Russian empire.

Thus, the electoral system that privileges the states tries to “compel” the candidates to look at the whole country, even in less populous regions – as a rule, more conservative, that is, more inclined towards Republicans -, because they can be fundamental win seats at the Electoral College.

The problem is that along the way the truly democratic premise “one person, one vote” remained.

The importance of being an “oscillating state”

Historically, most American states have traditionally been Democratic or Republican, so-called “blue” [azul] states” e “red [vermelho] states “, respectively, in reference to the predominant color in the iconography of the parties. These are regions in which support for a faction is so consistent that the opposing party barely campaigns in the state, preferring to concentrate resources, time and money in places where fundraising. new votes is a real possibility. Given this context, states in which there is no predominance of support for a given party – the “swing” [oscilantes] states “. It is in them that the effectiveness of the electoral campaign can define victory. In this case, in the presidential elections of November 3, to which the current president, Donald Trump (Republican), and Joe Biden, run for the Democrats. In recent history of the USA, the 12 traditionally decisive states are Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Colorado, Iowa, Nevada and New Hampshire. This year, Arizona, Texas, Georgia and Missouri are considered decisive because Democrats are seriously threatening Republican hegemony. As an example, note that four years ago, Trump won in six states that had won Democrat Barack Obama in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections: Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Why on Tuesday?

The habit of Americans to vote for presidential candidates on the first Tuesday of November dates back to 1845, the year in which Congress decided to standardize the hitherto chaotic and unstable electoral calendar. That day, the harvests were over, the weather still allowed good road conditions and avoided coinciding with the closing of merchants ‘accounts or the All Saints’ festivity for Catholics.

Early vote

Some 28 million votes have already been cast, according to the US Election project, which allows foreseeing records for this year in terms of early voting.


Gynecologists fear anti-abortion campaigns

Where are you going, doctor?

In Germany, the number of doctors who perform abortions is falling. Our author set out to find the reasons. Many gynecologists are afraid of anti-abortion campaigns.

Amy Coney Barrett is to become the new judge at the Supreme Court on the proposal of American President Donald Trump. The nomination of the conservative Catholic and mother of seven has heated emotions, largely because of Barrett’s adopted attitude towards abortion. Part of American society sees it as the possible tip on the scales in order to curtail the (criminal) free decision about an abortion in the future. The other part is hoping for legal interpretations in the sense of Pro-LifeMovement that aims to make it more difficult to terminate unwanted pregnancies.

Social dissent over abortion is less intense in Germany than in the United States. And yet the topic is always an issue for us to discuss. In recent years, it has often been about the number of doctors willing to perform the procedure. Because it is declining. So massive in comparison to the beginning of the two thousand years that some people ask whether there are still enough.


“I’ll kiss everyone here” – US election campaign

After his corona illness, the US President made an election campaign for the first time. In front of supporters in Florida, Donald Trump celebrated his recovery from the viral infection.

Photo series with 13 pictures

US President Donald Trump bragged about his recovery from the disease on his first campaign trip after his coronavirus infection. “I feel so strong!” Trump exclaimed on Monday in front of enthusiastic supporters in Orlando, Florida. Shortly before the performance, his personal physician Sean Conley announced that the president had now tested negative for the virus several times.

“They say that I am immune,” said Trump in his speech. “I can move in this crowd (…), hug everyone, the men and the wonderful women,” joked the 74-year-old. And he added, “I’m going to kiss everyone in this audience. I’m going to kiss the guys and the beautiful women (…). I’m just going to give you all a big, fat kiss.” You can also see Trump’s euphoric appearance in the video or above here.

Very few visitors to the event wore respiratory protection. Because of his infection, Trump had to avoid campaign trips for a week and a half. For the next few days he is planning further appearances in Johnstown, Pennsylvania and Des Moines, Iowa.

While Trump was still on the way to Orlando in the presidential Air Force One plane, his personal physician Conley had stated that a series of rapid corona tests by Abbott had given the president negative results for several days in a row. Other factors were also taken into account in order to “determine the current negative status of the president”. All data suggest that “the president is no longer contagious”.

Trump shows no weakness when appearing in Orlando

Conley had already announced on Saturday that Trump was no longer considered contagious – but without expressly declaring the president to be virus-free. On the same day, Trump presented himself to hundreds of supporters on the balcony of the White House – without a respirator.

In Orlando, Trump gave one of his usual aggressive campaign speeches, in which he mocked his election challenger Joe Biden as “sleepy Joe”, warned of the “radical left” and the “socialist nightmare” and the “corrupt” Press attacked. He also again praised his Supreme Court candidate, Amy Coney Barrett. This will be a “fantastic judge” on the Supreme Court.

In the Senate in Washington, which is controlled by Trump’s Republicans, hearings with Barrett began on Monday. The Congressional Chamber is expected to give the Conservative lawyer the necessary approval to take office in the powerful Supreme Court before the November 3rd presidential election.

This would further cement the supremacy of the conservatives at the court – and possibly for decades to come, since the constitutional judges are appointed for life. The speed with which the Republicans want to go through the nomination process before the election is vehemently criticized by the opposition Democrats.

Biden comes out ahead in national polls

In the polls, Trump is currently ten percentage points behind Biden across the country. Likewise, the Democratic candidate and former vice president was able to extend his lead in several possibly election-winning states. Even in the state of Florida, which is considered particularly important, Biden is ahead on average in the latest surveys.

Nevertheless, during his appearance in Orlando, Trump was confident that he would be able to repeat his election success of 2016 in Florida. “It was similar four years ago, they said we were going to lose Florida,” said the president, adding, “In 22 days we will win this state and four more years in the White House!”

Unlike Trump, Biden has not performed in front of large crowds for months. He justifies this with the recommendations of the health authorities to contain the coronavirus.


Barrett approaches Democrats

AOn the first day of her hearing as a candidate for the Supreme Court, my Coney Barrett will attempt to allay concerns that her appeal would be a throwback to premodern times. According to a manuscript distributed in advance, she wanted to tell the Senate Legal Committee in Washington that if she was confirmed, she would be the first mother with schoolchildren on the bench.

Majid Sattar

Political correspondent for North America based in Washington.

As with her presentation in the rose garden of the White House, the current appellate judge emphasizes in the speech manuscript in which legal tradition she stands. From the former constitutional judge Antonin Scalia, for whom she once worked as a research assistant, she had learned that a judge must apply the law as the text provides and not as he or she wishes. This sometimes means that a judge himself or herself does not like the result of their own case law. But that is exactly what the rule of law means. Barrett reiterated that upholding the rule of law is an important task of the courts. However, courts are not there to solve all social problems. Political decisions and value judgments have to be made by the legislature and the executive, which are directly elected by the people for this purpose.

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Barrett was due to speak before the judicial committee after a break. Republican Justice Lindsey Graham, chairman of the judicial committee, appealed at the beginning of the hearing to treat the candidate with respect so close to the election date, despite the political debate over the timing of the nomination process. Dianne Feinstein, the chairwoman of the Democrats, agreed. The Senator made it clear that in her eyes Barrett threatened the end of “Obamacare”. The judge was very critical of a judgment with which “Chief Justice” John Roberts defended the health care reform.

Most Democrats, in their opening statements, stressed the importance of health insurance coverage especially in these times. It was Republican Chuck Grassley, with a view to abortion law, who pointed out that many Democrats were too Catholic for Barrett to sit in the bench. He recalled that the constitution forbade religious sentiment tests.