Astronaut presidential

NASA astronaut will vote in 2020 presidential election from space – New York Post

September 27, 2020 | 2:38am

Her vote will be out of this world.

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins plans to cast her vote for the 2020 presidential election on the International Space Station — more than 200 miles above the Earth’s surface, according to The Associated Press.

“I think it’s really important for everybody to vote,” said Rubins.

“If we can do it from space, then I believe folks can do it from the ground, too.”

Rubins, who is currently stationed in Star City, Russia, along with two other astronauts, is preparing for her trip into space in October and will complete a six-month stay at the ISS.

She says she won’t let a little thing like low-earth orbit stop her from exercising her right to vote.

“It’s critical to participate in our democracy,” she said.  “We consider it an honor to be able to vote from space.”

Most United States astronauts live in Houston, where election law lets astronauts vote while floating amongst the stars.

Her vote would be cast securely using an electronic ballot relayed to Mission Control, which will then forward it on to the county clerk.

Back in 2016, both Rubins and Shane Kimbrough cast their vote from space.

During her six-month tour on the ISS, Rubins will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the continuous human presence in the space station, as well as welcome the second Space X group, who are set to arrive in late October.

With Post Wires

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presidential report

Fast take: The jobs report and the U.S. presidential race – Reuters

(Reuters) – An unexpectedly steep drop in the U.S. unemployment rate last month looks to offer fresh ammunition for President Donald Trump as he stumps for votes contending he is the better choice for the U.S. economy in the run-up to the Nov. 3 presidential election.

FILE PHOTO: People wait in line to register to a screening session for seasonal jobs at Coney Island in the Brooklyn borough of New York March 4, 2014. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

But the Labor Department’s monthly jobs report also contains tinder for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to make his own case against Trump’s economic stewardship, with fewer job gains and widening disparity among racial groups.

Trump was quick off the draw with his take: “Great Jobs Numbers!” he tweeted, adding that the unemployment rate had fallen below 10%, the peak during the Great Recession, sinking “faster and deeper than thought possible.”

Biden, meanwhile, took Trump’s economic stewardship to task in a campaign speech on Friday. “The economic pain remains unrelenting for millions of working people from every race and background who aren’t getting the relief they need.”

Historically, incumbent presidential candidates are hurt by a weak economy, and the coronavirus pandemic touched off the worst quarter in modern U.S. economic history. But a sharp recovery could offset that.

With just one more national employment scorecard due before Election Day, here’s a look at some highlights of Friday’s report and what they may mean for each political candidate:


At 8.4%, the unemployment rate is lower than many top economists had expected it to be even by the end of the year.

The drop surprised economists, who forecast a slide to 9.8% from July’s 10.2%. While still well above the pre-crisis rate of 3.5%, the steep downward trajectory plays into Trump’s narrative of a quick return to a strong economy as businesses re-open.

For a graphic on Jobless rate drops Jobless rate drops:



Including the 1.37 million jobs gained in August, U.S. employment has recouped just about half its losses since the crisis began, still leaving the total number of employed short by 11.5 million compared with six months earlier. Moreover, the pace of gains has slowed, particularly in the hard-hit leisure and hospitality sector.

Just 174,000 leisure and hospitality jobs were created in August, less than 10% of new jobs in the sector created in June.

“If this sector has run out of steam, high levels of joblessness will last longer than initially thought,” wrote Nick Bunker, chief economist at job search website Indeed.

In fact, private-sector hiring overall at just over 1 million fell well short of the median estimate among economists in a Reuters poll, and the big overall driver was government hiring – mostly for 238,000 short-term jobs for the 2020 U.S. Census.

For a graphic on Jobs fell off a cliff:



The strengthening job market benefited white people more than Black people, marking the fourth month of reversal of a pre-crisis trend that had brought Black and white unemployment rates much closer to parity than ever before.

Among Black people the jobless rate dropped to 13% in August, from 14.6% in July; for white people it fell to 7.3% from 9.2% a month earlier. The gap was the biggest in six years, underscoring racial inequalities that have become a flashpoint in the presidential election campaign.

For a graphic on Black vs white unemployment:



The share of the U.S. population who had a job or were seeking a job – a yardstick of labor market vibrancy – rose in August, but gains were driven almost entirely by men.

The male labor force participation rate climbed to 67.7% from 67.1%, while the rate for women barely changed, inching up to 56.1% from 56% a month earlier.

For those in their peak working years, ages 25 to 54, the gender split was even more pronounced, with the participation rate for women declining for a second straight month, while it edged up for men, pushing the gap between them to 13.2 percentage points, the widest in more than a year.

With both political candidates courting the female vote, a stall out in women’s labor force gains in August bodes poorly for Trump.

For a graphic on The gender gap:


Reporting by Ann Saphir; additional reporting from James Oliphant in Wilmington, Delaware; Editing by Dan Burns, Andrea Ricci and Aurora Ellis

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Former presidential

Former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain dies after battle with coronavirus – CNBC

Herman Cain, a former presidential hopeful who was once considered by President Donald Trump for the Federal Reserve, has died after being hospitalized with the coronavirus. He was 74.

Cain’s death was announced Thursday on his website by Dan Calabrese, who edits the site and had previously written about his colleague’s diagnosis.

“Herman Cain – our boss, our friend, like a father to so many of us – has passed away,” Calabrese said in the blog post. “We all prayed so hard every day. We knew the time would come when the Lord would call him home, but we really liked having him here with us, and we held out hope he’d have a full recovery.”

Cain was among the highest-profile public figures in the United States to have died from Covid-19. Less than two weeks before receiving his diagnosis, Cain attended Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which had been staged despite concerns about mass gatherings during the pandemic.

Cain, a stage 4 cancer survivor, tweeted a photograph of himself at Trump’s rally showing him surrounded by other attendees, none of whom appeared to be wearing masks or other protective gear.

A July 2 statement from Cain’s social media accounts announcing his hospitalization said, “There is no way of knowing for sure how or where Mr. Cain contracted the coronavirus.” The Trump campaign said after Cain’s diagnosis that he had not met with the president at the Tulsa rally.

The campaign said that all attendees at the event had their temperatures checked upon entry, and that masks and hand sanitizer were handed out but not required to use. Before the event, the campaign revealed that six members of the team involved in the rally preparations had tested positive for the virus and had been quarantined.

Trump later Thursday tweeted his condolences for Cain and his family.

“My friend Herman Cain, a Powerful Voice of Freedom and all that is good, passed away this morning,” the president wrote. “Herman had an incredible career and was adored by everyone that ever met him, especially me. He was a very special man, an American Patriot, and great friend.”

At a Thursday evening press briefing on the coronavirus pandemic, Trump added that Cain “was a very special person, I got know him very well. And unfortunately he passed away from a thing called the China virus.”

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany had earlier tweeted that Cain “embodied the American Dream and represented the very best of the American spirit.”

Cain had been hospitalized in Atlanta on July 1, two days after being told he had tested positive for Covid-19, according to his social media.

He did not require a respirator and was “awake and alert” when he checked in to the hospital, the statement said. “Please join with us in praying for Mr. Cain, and for everyone who has contracted the coronavirus – as well as their families,” it said.

Cain had been a business executive and board chairman of a branch of Kansas City’s Federal Reserve Bank before moving into Republican politics and eventually becoming a presidential candidate and a favorite of the conservative tea party faction.

Last year, Trump briefly considered picking Cain as his nominee to join the Federal Reserve Board. Cain remained a vocal supporter of Trump’s after his nomination was withdrawn.

A former CEO of the restaurant chain Godfather’s Pizza, Cain became a player in Republican politics as an economic advisor to Bob Dole’s 1996 presidential campaign before briefly launching his own bid in 2000.

In the 2012 GOP presidential primary season, Cain gained outsized media coverage with his catchy “9-9-9” economic plan to replace much of the federal tax code with a 9% business transactions tax, a 9% personal income tax and a 9% sales tax. Critics called the plan “dubious” and impractical.

Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, who would clinch the GOP nomination in 2012, tweeted Thursday that he was saddened to hear of Cain’s passing.

Cain suspended that campaign in December 2011 following multiple allegations of sexual harassment, ranging back to his time as chief executive of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s. Cain denied the allegations.

After his hospitalization, Cain’s social media accounts occasionally provided vague updates on his condition. A message on July 5 said he was “making progress” and that “more encouraging news” was expected to come soon. Two days later, Cain’s Twitter account said “doctors are trying to make sure his oxygen levels are right.”

On July 10, another tweet said Cain himself described his status as “cruise control,” because “the progress is slow but his breathing is getting stronger every day. Make no mistake: He is improving!”

The most recent update came Monday, when Cain’s social media revealed that he was “being treated with oxygen for his lungs” nearly a month after entering the hospital. “He really is getting better, which means it is working,” the update said.

Calabrese repeatedly declined CNBC’s requests for additional information on Cain’s condition throughout his struggle with the virus.

“We’re not saying anything else beyond what we’ve posted on social media,” Calabrese said in a July 7 email. “That’s Herman’s and Gloria’s wish so I appreciate you respecting it.”

In addition to his wife Gloria Etchison, survivors include his two children, Melanie and Vincent, Calabrese said.

— CNBC’s Marty Steinberg contributed to this report.

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Trump-Biden presidential race may hinge on 6 swing states – Los Angeles Times

In six months, voters go to the polls — unless they’ve mailed in their ballot — to pick a president. It’s a national exercise that, practically speaking, consists of separate contests in 50 states and the District of Columbia.

As 2016 reminded many Americans, the White House is awarded not to the candidate who wins the popular vote but the one who garners the most support in the electoral college. There are 538 electoral votes awarded on the basis of those individual contests; it takes 270 to win the presidency.

Not every state is competitive. Some will vote for President Trump and others for former Vice President Joe Biden, no matter what happens between now and Nov. 3

That gives each candidate more than 200 electoral votes they can almost certainly count on. The balance are distributed across a dozen or so remaining states. Unless the race breaks strongly one way or the other, six of them will probably decide who sits in the White House starting Jan. 20, 2021.

Here’s a look at those key contests, with experienced political operatives in each state — one Democrat, one Republican — offering their thoughts on what it will take to win there in November:

ARIZONA (11 electoral votes)

2016 result: Donald Trump 48.7%, Hillary Clinton 45.1%

Since 1948, Bill Clinton is the only Democratic presidential hopeful to carry Arizona. Seeking reelection in 1996, he eked out his win with just 47% support. But Arizona has been thoroughly transformed since then.

The changes that helped turn Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada from Republican redoubts to blue-tilting bastions — a growing and energized Latino voting population, an influx of newcomers from more liberal environs such as California — have also been taking place in Arizona. In addition, Trump faces the risk of serious defections among female voters in the electorally crucial Phoenix suburbs.

The question is whether Biden can overcome Arizona’s long-standing skepticism toward Washington and its ilk, which runs particularly strong among rural voters.

Democrat Stacy Pearson: “For Joe Biden to win Arizona he needs to follow a centrist playbook. He has to understand that an Arizona independent is likely a recovering Republican libertarian who does not appreciate the Donald Trump effect.”

Republican Chuck Coughlin: “President Trump needs to convince the Arizona electorate that a Biden presidency will be [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi and [Democratic Senate Leader] Chuck Schumer’s dream … [that] they will change tax policy and change the culture of America in a very European progressive way and they’re far too risky to our country’s future.”

FLORIDA (29 electoral votes)

Trump 49%, Clinton 47.8%

No state balances on a knife’s edge like Florida, the most populous and consistently competitive of the nation’s battleground states. One reason may be the way Florida reflects the country at large. Parts of it are small-town rural, parts of it cosmopolitan. It’s a little bit Southern and a little bit Caribbean.

Since 1964, the state has gone with the winner in every presidential campaign save for 1992, when it backed incumbent George H.W. Bush over Bill Clinton. Demographic trends that could help Democrats in November, such as the growing black and Latino populations, are offset by trends that help Republicans, such as the influx of older, conservative white retirees.

Florida would seem a must-win for Trump, who has changed his official residence from Manhattan to the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach. The GOP, which holds the governorship and, after 2018, both U.S. Senate seats, has spent nonstop years on the ground honing its turnout operation, which may give the president a boost.

Democrat Steve Schale: “To win, Joe Biden needs to continue to do well in communities of color, run up large margins in the urban areas, and do well with retired voters who live along the I-4 corridor” between St. Petersburg and Daytona Beach.

Republican Brett Doster: “There’s no one key thing, but if you could boil it down to just a few absolutely necessaries, President Trump needs to get his share of the Puerto Rican vote and has got to have a dominant, dominant turnout in southwest Florida and the Panhandle.”

MICHIGAN (16 electoral votes)

Trump 47.5%, Clinton 47.3%

Trump took the White House by shattering the so-called blue wall, a cluster of industrial states — including Michigan — that had seemed reliably Democratic. He won the state, which last voted Republican in 1988, by less than 11,000 votes out of more than 4.5 million cast.

Both sides see the Wolverine State as the likeliest of the top battlegrounds to flip in November. The state’s popular Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, is being mentioned as a possible Biden running mate, which could further enhance his prospects. One key will be the shape of the auto business, Michigan’s leading industry, come the fall. President Obama got a boost in his 2012 reelection bid from the lifeline Washington extended to Detroit during the Great Recession. As Obama’s vice president, Biden hopes for some residual goodwill.

There’s an added wrinkle: the possible candidacy of Rep. Justin Amash of Grand Rapids, a Republican-turned-independent, who could attract support in and around his congressional district, though it’s unclear which major party candidate that might hurt or help.

Democrat Jill Alper: “Joe Biden needs to successfully prosecute the argument that he’ll eliminate the chaos and unify the country, building upon his Michigan-specific credentials of helping to lead the auto rescue and successfully guide Detroit through bankruptcy.”

Republican Rusty Hills: “President Trump has got to hold on to white working-class voters and then possibly dig a little bit deeper and amplify that vote 3, 4, 5%. Also, he needs to limit the loss among suburban women.”

NORTH CAROLINA (15 electoral votes)

Trump 49.8%, Clinton 46.2%

When Obama carried North Carolina in 2008 — 49.7% to 49.4% over John McCain — he became the first Democrat to win the Tar Heel state since Jimmy Carter in 1976. In the next two elections, the state reverted to Republican form, but not by much.

North Carolina has been one of the fastest growing states in the country. Few better embody the chasm between the cities and suburbs, which are filled in North Carolina with Democratic-leaning college graduates working in the financial and high-tech industries, and the sprawling rural and exurban areas, which remain strongly Republican.

Partisan passions run deep; the state has a history in recent decades of acrimonious, closely fought contests, not just for the White House but also for U.S. Senate and, in 2016, the governor’s office. A robust black turnout is crucial for Biden’s success. In 2016, the African American vote fell from 2008 and 2012 levels, when Obama was running, and that helped contribute to Hillary Clinton’s loss.

Democrat Gary Pearce: “Joe Biden needs to offer a sensible, reasonable alternative to Donald Trump.”

Republican Carter Wrenn: “President Trump needs to whip coronavirus and get out his vote.”

PENNSYLVANIA (20 electoral votes)

Trump 48.2%, Clinton 47.5%

Trump became the first Republican since George H.W. Bush in 1988 to carry the state, the second chunk of the supposed blue wall to cave in on Democrats.

Hillary Clinton managed to win Philadelphia’s socially moderate, increasingly Democratic suburbs by an even bigger margin than Obama. But Trump enjoyed strong support in Rust Belt communities, carrying counties such as Luzerne and Erie that once were Democratic strongholds. Republicans hope to make energy an issue in a state that is a major natural gas producer, saying Biden’s stance on environmental issues and alternative fuels would eliminate sorely needed jobs.

But the former vice president enjoys one advantage Clinton lacked: He was born in blue-collar Scranton and spent more than three decades representing neighboring Delaware in the Senate, so there is a familiarity that could help blunt Trump’s attacks. His strong support among seniors could also help in a state with one of the oldest populations in the country.

Democrat Joe Shafer: “Joe Biden needs to continue the trend toward Democrats in the suburbs, running up the score, while making moderate progress from Clinton’s numbers in counties that moved toward Trump, like Erie, Luzerne and Northampton.”

Republican Charlie Gerow: “The Trump campaign will need to laser-focus on registration and getting to the polls voters that lean his way but did not vote in 2016 for some reason.”

WISCONSIN (10 electoral votes)

Trump 47.2%, Clinton 46.5%

Wisconsin was the third portion of the blue wall to crumble, voting Republican for the first time since President Reagan’s 1984 landslide reelection. Trump won in good part due to strong support in Wisconsin’s abundant small towns and rural areas, and a falloff in Democratic balloting in the state’s most populous city, Milwaukee. He also benefited from a sizable defection of Obama voters, many of them blue-collar workers, who shunned Hillary Clinton.

Democrats were heartened by turnout in last month’s election, run amid the pandemic, when a liberal challenger nabbed a state Supreme Court seat held by a conservative justice. The contest was just the latest skirmish in more than a decade’s worth of ruthless, all-out, partisan warfare.

Both sides agree the results in November are likely to be very close, in keeping with several presidential contests going back to 2000. Clinton all but ignored the state four years ago — she never set foot in Wisconsin after losing the April primary to Bernie Sanders — until it was too late. Biden is not likely to make that same mistake.

Democrat Mike Tate: “Joe Biden, in addition to having a robust turnout in urban areas, in particular Milwaukee, has got to compete and win votes in [suburban] Waukesha County and get the votes of blue-collar, high school-educated voters in Green Bay and the Fox Valley.”

Republican Brian Reisinger: “President Trump needs to tell a story of how he shook up the system and got results. This needs to be a campaign about his record getting the economy on a strong track, rebuilding our military and restoring some of the greatness people remember in Wisconsin and other parts of the country when they were kids and proud of our country.”

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