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Abbreviated professional spherical: Biden wins the battle for the city halls with one million spectators

Peter Nicholas / The Atlantic has a wealth of stories:

Trump is scared

People who have speculated that Trump's COVID-19 treatment changed his judgment misunderstand the president.

Michael Cohen, Trump's former attorney and fixer, was struck by a moment in 2009 when Trump berated his eldest son Donald Jr. He describes the scene in his book: Disloyal. Donald Trump was about to perform at a world wrestling entertainment event in Green Bay, Wisconsin when his namesake asked him if he was nervous. "I'm walking in front of millions of people. What kind of stupid damn question is that? Get out of here," snapped Trump, according to Cohen. (The White House questioned Cohen's credibility along with his book.)

Right now, the pressure Trump is feeling "knowing he's going to lose the election could add to everything we see and put him in an overwrought state," Cohen told me.

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Covid Epi Weekly: Immunization Against Herd Dumbness

Bad week for fighting Covid. Reopening without adequate care. Failure to isolate. No communication. Dangerously misguided theory on immunity. Cases are increasing, hospitalizations will follow, and more deaths will follow. 1/15 pic.twitter.com/T2vodRLRZO

– Dr. Tom Frieden (@DrTomFrieden), October 16, 2020

Graeme Wood / Atlantic:

He won't admit, but he will pack his bags

All evidence suggests the president would flee responsibility for overseeing the violent breaking up of America.

The day after the 2016 elections, I met a journalist who had covered Donald Trump in the 1980s and who once knew the man well. "Trump will be a president for one term – maximally," he said with seemingly unwarranted confidence in light of the previous day's results. The presidency was a burden, he said, and Trump was "incredibly lazy" and unsuitable for physically and cognitively demanding work. When you are president you get tough decisions in your face and you can't easy Not do itor authorize a vice president to create them for you. Expect Trump to find a reason to step down or refuse to run for a second term.

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NEW: The Trump administration appointed two political representatives to CDC headquarters in June who have no background in public health.

Instead, they were hired to help the scientists and Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the agency https://t.co/grWIlMCr3s, to keep an eye on

– Jonathan Lemire (@JonLemire) October 16, 2020

Edward-Isaac Dovere / Atlantic:

What George W. Bush is up to against Trump

Anti-Trump Republicans say Bush's 2020 absence is "inexcusable". Bush's office says he remains retired.

In less than three weeks before the election, Bush would be the only living former Republican president able to stand up for American democracy when Trump loses but refuses to admit how he threatened.

But if Bush plans to do something about Trump or consider a way to stand with the other former presidents to protect democracy, that would be news for those former presidents' offices. You haven't heard from him.

Joe Biden's campaign looked into whether Bush would consider supporting him, but was told he would not interfere. If Biden wins and Trump refuses to admit, the Democrat would likely turn to Bush for comment, told me a person familiar with the thinking of the campaign. I asked the Trump campaign if the President would want Bush's approval. My email was ignored.

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Trump aides comparing Biden to Mr. Rogers (who is universally loved!) In an election where voters crave stability and take a break from chaos really show why 18 days have passed in that race. https://t.co/KA4ZLlKlla

– Eli Stokols (@EliStokols) October 16, 2020

David Frum / Atlantic:

The final season of the Trump Show

Last night's dueling town halls made it clear why the president's campaign is wavering.

The most important difference, however, was made clear by the side by side presentations. For Trump, the supposed businessman, everything is a war, every question an attack, and every attack requires a counterattack. Biden, the career politician, treated every encounter as a sale. When challenged – for fracking and the Green New Deal, for example – he didn't strike. He made a counter offer.

Trump needs enemies. Following the debate, his campaign issued the following statement: “President Trump defeated NBC's Savannah Guthrie in her role as the opponent of the debate and replacement for Joe Biden. President Trump handled Guthrie's attacks masterfully, interacting warmly and effectively with the voters in the room. "The Biden campaign didn't come up with its own publication anytime soon, partly because Biden lingered in the hall afterwards, speaking and asking face-to-face questions, but maybe also because she didn't feel the need to be a target for hatred and Identify hatred anger.

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As with David Duke, the Proud Boys in Charlottesville, he sends the clear and distinctive signal in his first comments, and then everyone in the intended audience understands the wink and nod when they inevitably return under duress. https://t.co/uco34mTn4T

– Ronald Brownstein (@RonBrownstein) October 16, 2020

Greg Sargent / WaPo:

Trump's anger at NBC City Hall reveals an ugly truth about 2020

President Trump is often most revealing when he's angry, and his appearance at NBC City Hall was notable for his repeated flashes of barely suppressed anger. And in this case, a thread ran through those moments on Thursday evening that captures an essential truth about how he approached his entire re-election campaign.

It is this: Trump is angry because he is not allowed to run this campaign in his own universe, a universe that is almost entirely fictional.

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NEW: Guo Wengui, who is linked to the Chinese billionaire and supporter of Steve Bannon, leaked Hunter Biden's hard drive weeks prior to these NY Post stories.
https://t.co/IVyjB0TbFD

– Noah Shachtman (@NoahShachtman) October 16, 2020

Jeremy Herb / CNN:

Concerns about postal services and postal voting are driving early voters to personal polling stations

The 2020 election will break records for mail-in voting due to the pandemic as mail-in voting requests broke state-by-state records, with nine states and the District of Columbia voting primarily by mail.

But the hours of waiting for early voting in states like Georgia, Virginia, and Texas show that some voters may be rethinking plans to mail their ballots out.

"It sucks, but you know I'd rather be out here doing my civic duty than not. I don't trust the whole mail-in voting," said Sean Terrell, who was queuing at a polling station in Atlanta had waited for two hours on Tuesday, the second day of the state's early vote. "So I'll be here and sign it and make sure it goes where it needs to go."

Paul Blumenthal / HuffPost:

Americans vote early at a record rate

"It's just very different from any other presidential election that any of us have seen."

By October 15, according to the US election project, more than 17 million people had cast their votes in the 2020 elections. That would be 12% of the 138 million Americans who voted in 2016. Most electors, however, are expecting a record turnout for this election year.

That flurry of ballot papers will quickly turn into a tsunami as American voters turn out to be potentially the highest rate since 18- to 20-year-olds were allowed to vote in 1971.

"It's just very different from any other presidential election any of us have seen," said Barry Burden, director of the electoral research center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "Several forces are coming together to achieve this."

The record turnout in early voters is not just a response to the coronavirus pandemic, but the result of a confluence of events.

Jonathan Swan / Axios:

Scoop: Trump's advisors are prepared for loss and point their fingers

Why it matters: Trump can still win. But make no mistake: even its most loyal followers, including those paid for their faith, keep telling us that it is toast – and could bring Republican control of the Senate with it.

Between the lines: Stepien's critics say he's in CYA mode and refusing to make difficult decisions that could spark Trump's anger while making excuses for what polls suggest could be Joe Biden shooting.

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For Biden, who has placed his election hopes on personal traits – character, he likes to say – substance was important.

That's because he countered Trump's line of attack against him – that he is diminished – by demonstrating his substance control.
https://t.co/lZPjKgGIat

– Jonathan Allen (@jonallendc) October 16, 2020

Bonus:

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The awkwardness of Joni Ernst's response to soybeans was compounded by the remote fodder she appeared on from DC. The debate was supposed to be in person, but Ernst was in DC for a Supreme Court nomination. She previously said she would not support #IASen https://t.co/Clim15ODSw

– Iowa Start Line (@IAStartingLine) October 16, 2020

Second bonus:

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