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► The final Presidential debate of 2020 took place in Nashville, TN on Thursday night. A somewhat-restrained President Trump made the debate almost…normal. As The Washington Post reports:
With the two candidates electronically muted for portions of the night, the constant interruptions from the first debate were replaced by a clearer contrast between their competing views for the country and more sharply defined exchanges of attacks and retorts.
When Trump tried to accuse Biden of making money from China, the former vice president pointed out that the president has a bank account in the country and has failed to disclose his income tax returns despite promises to do so.
When Trump argued that stock markets would crash if Biden were elected, Biden responded with his signature line contrasting the gains of Wall Street vs. the cratering Main Street economy.
And when Trump sought to paint Biden as a puppet of socialist forces, his opponent pushed back with a forcefulness that has been absent from much of his campaign. “He’s a very confused guy. He thinks he’s running against somebody else,” Biden said. “He’s running against Joe Biden. I beat all those other people because I disagreed with them.”
Trump attacked Biden on multiple occasions, but his rhetoric was a bit too obscure for the average voter to understand. As Elahe Izadi and Jeremy Barr write for The Washington Post, you’d have to be a regular viewer of Fox News to have understood most of Trump’s shorthand:
During the final presidential debate, President Trump made reference to “the laptop from hell,” “AOC plus three″ and “Russia, Russia, Russia” — yes, said three times in a row.
The material was very familiar to — and maybe only familiar to — regular viewers of Fox News opinion hosts such as Sean Hannity.
“I feel like he almost was speaking the language of Fox prime time,” Chuck Todd, host of “Meet the Press,” said on NBC after the debate. “If you watch a lot of Fox prime time, you understand what he’s saying. If you don’t, you have no idea.”
► As NBC News reports, coronavirus cases in the United States are continuing to skyrocket:
The U.S. set a record Thursday as the number of new coronavirus cases rose to over 77,000, topping the previous record in July.
Nationwide, 77,640 new cases were reported for the day, up from the previous record of 75,723 on July 29, according to the latest tally compiled by NBC News.
The record-breaking daily tally comes as the total number of coronavirus cases in the country has reached nearly 8.5 million, with 224,280 deaths. There were 921 coronavirus-related deaths reported on Thursday.
Here in Colorado, COVID-19 cases are also increasing. The situation is enough of a concern in Aurora that officials have decided to move students in grades 1-8 to an online-only instruction model. Elsewhere, a new app will be available this weekend that is intended to allow Coloradans to gauge potential exposure to COVID-19 in their communities.
► President Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday that appears designed to allow him to fire more people who aren’t deemed sufficiently loyal to Dear Leader. As CNN reports:
Trump signed an executive order that appears to provide him and his agency appointees more leeway in the hiring and firing of federal employees deemed disloyal, a move that critics say politicizes civil service and could lead to career officials being pushed out for political reasons.
The President has vilified some career officials as the “deep state” during his term and sought to rid the federal government of people he views as anti-Trump. Critics warn that the order would allow the President to fill the federal workforce with his cronies and reverts the country back to a spoils systems.
The executive order, issued Wednesday, creates a new classification of federal employees titled “Schedule F” for employees serving in “confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating positions” that typically do not change during a presidential transition.
The White House says the directive will give federal agencies more flexibility to hire “Schedule F” employees but also be able to remove “poor performers” from these roles without going through a lengthy appeals process.
► Governor Jared Polis will visit the sites of several massive wildfires in Colorado today. The two largest wildfires in state history are now in Larimer County. Large portions of Estes Park were evacuated on Thursday.
More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…
Now Only Partially Coronavirus-Related…
► As Colorado Public Radio reports, state and national election officials are preparing for every eventuality this election season.
► Democrat Iman Jodeh appears poised to become Colorado’s first Muslim state lawmaker.
► Democratic State Senate candidate Karl Hanlon is asking his donors to give money to assist in wildfire efforts rather than to help his campaign in SD-8.
► Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders appears to be angling for a job as Labor Secretary in a Biden administration.
► Colorado Newsline explains what a poll watcher can and cannot do.
► As Vox.com explains, the majority of Americans actually want to see the country transition to more renewable energy:
Energy polling from Gallup shows a growing number of Americans believe the US should put less emphasis on traditional fossil fuels like oil and coal. The same Gallup poll showed overwhelming enthusiasm for renewable energy sources like wind and solar.
The Gallup survey showed that the number of Americans who believe the US should put more emphasis on coal and oil has fallen in recent years. Just 22 percent of Americans said we need more emphasis on coal in March 2019, a dip from 31 percent who said we should put more emphasis on it in 2013.
On the other hand, 70 percent of Americans in 2019 said the country should put more emphasis on wind energy (a number largely unchanged from 2013), and 80 percent said we should put more emphasis on solar energy (a slight uptick from 76 percent in 2013). The results were more mixed on natural gas, with 46 percent of Americans saying the country should put more emphasis on that as a form of energy, a dip from the 65 percent who said so in 2013.
► Grand Lake ballots have been rescued from the East Troublesome Fire.
► Colorado is appealing the decision by a federal judge to allow churchgoers to kill each other with no coronavirus protections.
► In case you were already thinking about this sort of thing, you might want to know that CU-Boulder has cancelled Spring Break in 2021.
► As Westword reports, Douglas County will not dump its coalition with the Tri-County Health Department in the middle of a global pandemic:
Douglas County has struck a tentative agreement with the Tri-County Health Department to remain with the agency through at least the end of 2022.
“Our Board is persuaded by Tri-County Health Department’s policy proposal that would increase the role of individual counties regarding public health orders, as they are being developed and before they are issued,” the Douglas County Board of Commissioners just announced.
Details of the agreement are sparse, and it would still need to be approved by the Tri-County Health Department’s Board of Health. If the board okays the deal, the parties will have staved off a breakup of the decades-long partnership between Douglas, Arapahoe and Adams counties. Douglas County commissioners had said they were seeking a split in July, after the health department issued a mask mandate.
► Democratic voters continue to expand a big lead in early voting returns.
► Colorado has plenty of QAnon-loving Republican candidates.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► This is rich coming from someone who doesn’t seem to think laws apply to her:
There should be NO MINIMUM MANDATORY sentences for ANY crime in the country?!? That makes “defund the police” sound like nothing. #Debates2020
— Lauren Boebert for Congress (R-CO3) (@laurenboebert) October 23, 2020
► Things are not going well for Rudy Giuliani.
► You can advocate for voter suppression even if you have trouble with grammar.
► Don’t miss the latest episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast, featuring interviews with health care activist Laura Packard and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.
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