US election wrap, October 16: Trump, Biden clash on covid response in separate town halls

The third presidential debate is scheduled for Oct. 22, approximately one week before election results will be declared.

Instead of coming together for the presidential debate, Donald Trump and his Democratic opponent Joe Biden clashed in duelling town halls that were separately televised. While Trump focused on coronavirus, defending his administration’s mishandling of the pandemic and questioning whether masks can offer protection from infection, Biden used to platform to attack the Trump administration’s policies that had resulted in the deaths of at least 216,000 Americans and has resulted in the country having one of the highest rates of infection globally. The third presidential debate is scheduled for Oct. 22, approximately one week before election results will be declared. Read the Reuters story here

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In what the Associated Press called a “non-debate” between the two presidential candidates who went off to their individual town halls, the agency has a report fact-checking all claims both candidates made on a range of subjects. While the state of the US economy and the impact of the coronavirus outbreak were hot-button issues, other topics like election fraud, crime and the country’s troops were also touched upon. Read the AP story here

Both candidates have also come under fire for attempting to deflect important questions. Among other questions, the BBC lists the QAnon conspiracy theory as one that Trump tried to deflect. QAnon conspiracy theory believers maintain that Trump “is battling a clandestine network of elites, often involving Satanic plots and child trafficking.” When asked by the town hall moderator if he would reject these conspiracy theories, Trump has responded, “I know nothing about QAnon.” Biden on the other hand, has been attempting to evade questions whether he supports court packing. He had responded saying: “I have not been a fan of court packing. I’m not a fan.” Biden was also grilled on his role in the 1994 crime bill in the US. Black Lives Matter activists have said this crime bill disproportionately targets African Americans and have blamed it for mass incarceration. BBC reported that Biden again attempted to deflect, saying: “”Yes it was…But here’s where the mistake came: the mistake came in terms of what the states did locally…It (the bill) had a lot of other things in it that turned out to be both bad and good,” he added.” Read the report here

According to a Reuters report, the impact of the US elections in its last few weeks can be seen on the streets of Tel Aviv, Israel, with Republican ads in Hebrew being visible in the city since last week. They aren’t alone: even Democrats have been targeting American-Israelis. According to Reuters, “Israel is in focus because many dual nationality American-Israelis are registered in swing states such as Florida and Pennsylvania, which could help decide the race.” Read the Reuters story here

Although polls have been suggesting that Biden will win the elections, Trump may just still be able to win, the BBC believes. Then the scenario would not be unlike that in 2016, when polls had said Hillary Clinton would become the next US President, only for Trump to hand in a surprise. Here is the BBC story on how and why Trump may win despite recent polls

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