A man wearing a red flannel shirt and brown suspenders walks into a clearing. His beard is well kempt, the same off-white as the snowmelt behind him. “Good afternoon,” he says to the camera. “It’s Friday, Oct. 12.” Slowly, he extends his arms. Two birds swoop down from the trees, alighting on his hands. “You can see how much I love my whiskey jacks. I’m feeding them my home-baked bread,” he says. The whiskey jacks peck, then take off with their spoils. “Gotta love it,” the man says. “They’ve been my friends for years.” A small wave at the camera: “I hope you have a great day where you live.”

Yesterday, I wrote about the middle and upper echelons of the Democratic field: those candidates who are polling in the mid-single-digits or higher. You can certainly posit a rough order of which of these candidates are more likely to win the nomination. I’d much rather wager a few shekels on Joe Biden than Pete Buttigieg, for instance. But I don’t think there’s any hard-and-fast distinction between the top tier and the next-runners-up.

In 1977, Jimmy Carter made an improbable journey from Georgia peanut grower to Democratic president in part by playing on his humble roots and receiving support from America’s farmers. Yet this bedrock voting constituency abandoned a fellow farmer to back Ronald Reagan four years later, after Carter punished Moscow for invading Afghanistan by cutting off grain sales to the Soviet Union. U.S. farmers were already struggling with collapsing crop prices, and the embargo may have been the final straw. Farmers threw their support behind Reagan, who had promised to lift the hated restrictions.

The North Carolina 9th District seat has remained vacant for a third of the 116th Congress — the fallout from a brazen case of election fraud that may have affected the outcome of the 2018 election. Allegedly, a consultant for Republican candidate Mark Harris coordinated an effort to illegally collect unsealed absentee ballots, mislead election authorities and, in some cases, fill out ballots on behalf of voters. As a result, the North Carolina State Board of Elections voted in February to redo the congressional race and later set a new election for Sept. 10. Now, the 9th District will finally vote on a new representative in an election that could go either way. Here’s a look at what’s already happened in the campaign — and what to expect when results roll in after polls close at 7:30 p.m.

Every president’s election-year nightmare — a recession — is suddenly looming over the 2020 race. In a survey released earlier this week by the National Association of Business Economics, 38 percent of economists predicted that the country will slip into an economic downturn next year, and another recent poll of economists put the chances of a recession in the next 12 months at 1 in 3. Those predictions are getting a lot of attention, and it’s not hard to see why — an economic slowdown in the middle of the presidential election cycle could reshape the race, potentially changing the calculus of Democratic primary voters and undermining President Trump, who has made the strong economy a central selling point of his presidency.

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