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MEDIA WATCH--President Donald Trump is losing to former Vice President Joe Biden by more than 10 percentage points in both the Real Clear Politics and FiveThirtyEight national polling averages. This historically large margin suggests that something amazing has happened: Even in our hyperpolarized political environment, a meaningful number of voters have changed their minds about Trump.

Equally amazing: The majority of 2016 Trump voters — despite a mismanaged pandemic, widespread economic fallout, a racial crisis exacerbated by divisive rhetoric, and a debate meltdown — plan to back Trump a second time.

What makes one voter who supported Trump in 2016 decide to support Biden? And what makes another voter — even one who thinks things are going badly — stick around?

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MEDIA WATCH-Violence against transgender and gender non-conforming people, particularly Black and Brown transgender women, is an epidemic that needs national leadership.

So far this year, the Human Rights Campaign has tracked 33 transgender or gender non-conforming people who have been violently killed, including the tragic shooting of Sara Blackwood earlier this week in Indiana. This is the highest number on record with more than two months left in the year, and the vast majority are Black and Brown transgender women. It’s unacceptable. 

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MEDIA WATCH--President Trump’s recent bout with COVID-19 and increasingly erratic behavior has heightened concerns as to whether the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is up to the task of dealing with issues of presidential succession, especially during a pandemic. Why wasn’t Vice President Mike Pence given temporary presidential powers while Trump was fighting off a life-threatening illness and taking experimental medications known to cause mental confusion and lapses of judgment? White House officials confirmed he had no plans for Pence to assume even temporary authority as president. 

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MEDIA WATCH-The old saying about judging people by the company they keep applies equally to ballot measures.

So let’s take a look at who’s spending the most to fight Proposition 15 on next month’s ballot.

That’s the measure that would close a loophole allowing many commercial and industrial property owners to dodge reassessments under Proposition 13 for some four decades.

According to the most recent disclosures filed with state campaign finance authorities, the big spenders on the “No on 15" side include land developers, agricultural interests and golf and country clubs.

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DEBATE REVIEW--As soon as Wednesday night’s vice presidential debate ended, like clockwork, cable news pundits and focus groups assessed Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris’ performance using sexist and racist undertones.

Republican pollster Frank Luntz said his focus group of undecided voters deemed Harris, the first Black and Asian American woman on a major-party presidential ticket, “condescending” and “abrasive.”

Fox News host Bret Baier asked Karl Rove if the California senator was “likeable.”

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MEDIA WATCH-resident Donald Trump’s diagnosis with Covid-19 just a month before the presidential election has been the latest shock to the United States in what was already a year marked by uncertainty and instability.

Although modern presidents have had significant health challenges in the recent past — Dwight Eisenhower suffered a major heart attack in 1955, and Ronald Reagan survived an assassination attempt in 1981 — none has occurred so near an election.

While many people with the coronavirus don’t get seriously ill, Trump has a number of major risk factors as an overweight male septuagenarian. If his conditions worsen beyond the mild symptoms already reported, it creates the potential for legal and constitutional crises.

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MEDIA WATCH-My daughter, a librarian in Tucson, paid more taxes in 2017 than Donald Trump. So did my neighbor Rita, a teacher, and her son Tony, who stocks grocery shelves in Leland, Michigan

I also pay more in taxes than the president of the United States. And, probably, so do you.

We now understand why Trump was the first presidential candidate since the 1970s not to divulge his tax returns.

In 2016 and 2017, the billionaire paid just $750 each year in taxes to the U.S. Treasury. In 10 out of 15 years between 2001 and 2017, Trump paid zero taxes.

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MEDIA WATCH--While President Donald Trump's long-running effort to game the U.S. tax code for his own financial benefit was the central focus of explosive new reporting on the billionaire's tax returns by the New York Times, progressive observers and lawmakers were quick to note that the behaviors revealed by the documents are commonplace among America's wealthy elite—a fact they said is cause for widespread outrage and a renewed push in Congress for transformational change to a system that is fundamentally rotten.

"Donald Trump is a liar, a cheater, and a crooked businessman, yes. But he's also taking advantage of a broken, corrupt, and unequal system that's built for people like him to do what he did."
—Sen. Elizabeth Warren

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CORONA WATCH--Front-line care workers have been called heroes throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Many of them don’t feel like it.

Instead, they feel besieged and traumatized not only by the suffering and death they’ve witnessed, but by a health care system they believe is showing it doesn’t value them, a disjointed and ineffective governmental response, and members of the public who deny the reality of all that suffering and death.

Tragedy is part of the job for medical providers, but the relentlessness of the coronavirus outbreak is more than most have ever seen, said Nina Wells, a nurse practitioner and the president of the Service Employees International Union Local 121RN in Pasadena, California.

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CORONA WATCH--Michael Caputo, the politically appointed assistant secretary of public affairs for the nation’s health department, has reportedly apologized to the health secretary and his staff after accusing government scientists fighting the coronavirus pandemic of having a “resistance unit” and plotting to undermine President Donald Trump.

Caputo’s apology to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Tuesday, as reported by several media outlets citing sources familiar with the situation, followed him spewing disturbing conspiracy theories in a live Facebook video on Sunday about the upcoming presidential election and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s efforts to fight COVID-19.

“There are scientists who work for this government who do not want America to get well, not until Joe Biden is president,” he said, without providing any supporting evidence, according to copies of the video shared by various news outlets. 

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CORONA WATCH-A public health expert at George Washington University rebuked President Donald Trump's campaign after it argued that Trump had a right to host an estimated 25,000 people at an indoor campaign rally Sunday evening in Nevada because hundreds of thousands of Americans have taken part in racial justice protests in recent months. (Photo above: People cheer as U.S. President Donald Trump arrives for an indoor campaign rally at Xtreme Manufacturing in Henderson, a suburb of Las Vegas, Nevada, on September 13, 2020. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty Images)

After receiving harsh criticism for holding its first indoor rally since June in the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson, the campaign responded by saying, "If you can join tens of thousands of people protesting in the streets...or burn down small businesses in riots, you can gather peacefully under the 1st Amendment to hear from the president of the United States."

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CORONA WATCH--Donald Trump loves parades. In 2018, for no particular reason other than to gratify himself, he organized a military parade in his honor. But as plans for the parade developed, Trump insisted on excluding wounded veterans because “nobody wants to see” amputees, according to an explosive new piece in The Atlantic. In general, Jeffrey Goldberg writes, “Several observers told me that Trump is deeply anxious about dying or being disfigured, and this worry manifests itself as disgust for those who have suffered.” (Photo above: President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Photo: Jeff Swensen/Getty Images).

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