Hi there - it’s Maanvi Singh, reporting from the West Coast.
As part of a new series we launched today, my colleague Lauren Gambino and I looked at Maricopa county’s transformation from conservative bastion to 2020 battleground.
The county, which encompasses Arizona’s capital, Phoenix, and blossoming rings of surrounding suburbs, has nearly 4.5 million residents and dominates the state politically. One third of Maricopa residents identify as Latino, according to US census data.
Over the past decade, demographic change, population growth and a cultural shift seen across America’s suburbs has turned this sprawling desert metropolis – a bastion of western conservatism for decades – into one of the most closely watched and fiercely contested presidential battlegrounds in the nation.
Winning a statewide election in Arizona without Maricopa is nearly impossible. And so it is likely that here, in the sprawl of stucco housing developments and retirement communities, voters will deliver a referendum on Trump – and the Republican party.
“If the president loses Arizona, it’ll be in large part because he lost Maricopa county,” Jeff Flake, the former Arizona senator, told the Guardian.
The Trump administration’s failure to control the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout has hastened the state’s political transformation – driving moderates, independents and even some conservatives away from the Republican party. Flake, a prominent Republican critic of Trump, has endorsed the Democratic nominee, Joe Biden, for president along with Cindy McCain, the widow of the late Arizona senator and 2008 Republican presidential nominee, John McCain.
Arizona has voted for the Republican presidential nominee in every election but one since 1952, but polling this year finds Biden with a narrow but steady lead over Trump. While it’s mathematically possible, no Republican has ever won the White House without the state’s 11 electoral votes.
So voters here are poised to decide not only who wins the White House, but which party controls the US Senate, which in turn will shape the national debate around immigration, education, healthcare and the climate crisis.
Philadelphia police will be deploying more officers and have asked for the National Guard to assist them as the city braces for another night of protests in response to the police killing of Walter Wallace.
“Several hundred guardsmen” from the National Guard are expected to arrive in the city within the next two days, according to the Philadelphia inquirer.
Police commissioner Danielle Outlaw said the department is anticipating “additional incidents of civil unrest” tonight. Last night, protests started peacefully but later turned violent, with vandalism and looting of businesses and one police officer suffering a broken leg after being struck by a pickup truck.
Wallace was shot by police on Monday. He was holding a knife at the time of the shooting, though his family said that he was struggling with mental health issues and was on medication.
I’m signing off for now, but my Guardian colleague Maanvi Singh will be taking over for the next few hours. Stay tuned for more live updates.
The two presidential candidates are in key election states tonight holding rallies a week before Election Day.
Joe Biden just held a drive-in rally in Atlanta that had 365 cars and 771 people attending, according to a reporter on Twitter, one of the largest rallies Biden has held since the pandemic.
Biden had an optimistic tone when addressing the crowd. “I think we’re going to surprise the living devil out of everybody this year,” he said. “I can’t tell you how important it is that we flip the United States Senate. There’s no state more consequential than Georgia.”
Meanwhile, Donald Trump is in West Salem, Wisconsin, doing a lap in his motorcade around the LaCross Fairgrounds Speedway track.
At his rally, Trump is downplaying the pandemic even as Wisconsin sees its highest number of Covid infections yet. He’s criticizing the “fake news” for focusing on Covid.
A new survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers up some good news: more adults say they are wearing face masks. Reported use of masks increased from 78% in April to 89% in June.
The report also includes some information that’s not so great. Other mitigation behaviors, including social distancing, hand washing and avoiding crowded places, either saw declines or little changes from April to June.
The survey was administered when cases in the Northeast were spiking and then slowly dropped down as the summer began. States in the Sun Belt that ended up with huge surges in the middle of the summer were just starting to reopen nonessential businesses.
Unsurprisingly, young adults ages 18 to 29 were the least likely of any age group to practice mitigation behaviors. Earlier studies from the CDC have revealed that young adults were the most likely to be infected and transmit Covid-19.
Two stories published this afternoon reveal the kind of president Donald Trump is: one that cares more about his own wallet than those of taxpayers.
The Washington Post released the result of an investigation into how much Trump has personally profited off of taxpayers and his political supporters.
The president’s business has received at least $8.1 million since he took office from hosting meetings and events at his properties, like Mar-a-Lago, which Trump has referred to as “the Southern White House”. The Post says that Trump has made more than 280 visits to his hotels and clubs in his official capacity as president.
Meanwhile, a ProPublica report also published today reveals that the construction of Trump’s border wall has been costly, particularly because the Trump administration has failed to contain costs and encourage competitive pricing in contracts with construction companies.
Trump’s wall has costed about five times more than fencing built by the Bush and Obama administration, even though Trump has touted his skills as a savvy businessman. Additionally, many of the construction firms that have won contracts for the wall have executives who have donated to the campaigns of Trump or other Republicans, ProPublica reports.
This is Lauren Aratani taking over for Joan E Greve. Joe Biden’s campaign just released a statement on the shooting of Walter Wallace, a black man who was killed by police in Philadelphia yesterday.
“Our hearts are broken for the family of Walter Wallace Jr and for all those suffering the emotional weight of learning about another Black life in America lost,” the statement reads. “We cannot accept that in this country a mental health crisis ends in death.”
The statement also alluded to the protests that erupted in Philadelphia in response to the killing. A police officer suffered a broken leg after being struck by a pickup truck in the midst of the protests, and there were multiple reports of vandalism and looting.
“No amount of anger at the very real injustices in our society excuses violence. Attacking police officers and vandalizing small businesses, which are already struggling during a pandemic, does not bend the moral arc of the universe closer to justice,” the statement said.
Today so far
Trump baselessly cast doubt upon the foiled plot to kidnap Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer during his rally in Lansing, Michigan, which has now ended.
“I don’t think she likes me too much,” Trump said of the Michigan governor, as the rally crowd cheered.
“Hey, hey, hey, hey, I’m the one, it was our people that helped her out with her problem,” Trump added. “And we’ll wait to see if it is a problem, right? People are entitled to say, ‘Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t.’”
The FBI charged 14 people, several of whom had ties to a rightwing militia group, in connection to the plot.
“It was our people, my people, our people, that helped her out. And then she blamed me for it,” Trump said.
Whitmer reflected on the threat against her in an Atlantic piece that was published today:
When I put my hand on the Bible at my inauguration, it did not occur to me that less than two years later, I would have to tell my daughters about a plot against me. But earlier this month, I learned that a multistate terrorist group was planning to kidnap and possibly kill me. Law-enforcement announced charges against 14 people as part of the plot. As jarring as that was, just over a week later, President Donald Trump traveled to Michigan, and when a crowd chanted ‘Lock her up’ after he mentioned me, he said, ‘Lock them all up.’
I am not surprised. I have watched the president wedge a deeper divide in our country; refuse to denounce white supremacists on a national debate stage; and launch cruel, adolescent attacks on women like Senator Kamala Harris and public-health leaders like Anthony Fauci. And while I won’t let anything distract me from doing my job as governor, I will not stand back and let the president, or anyone else, put my colleagues and fellow Americans in danger without holding him accountable.