Running for the White House - USA 2020

Final US debate, Trump's anger at health experts and focus on mail-in ballots

Runing for the White House
Runing for the White House © FRANCE 24

On November 3, US citizens will elect their new president. The country is currently dealing with racial and social tensions, as well as environmental issues and the challenges brought forth by the coronavirus, which has already killed more than 220,000 Americans. With so much at stake, this election is set to be crucial in shaping the country’s future trajectory.

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In this episode, hosted by FRANCE 24's special correspondent in Washington, Kethevane Gorjestani:

- Picture of the week: Donald Trump and Joe Biden were back on the same stage for the final presidential debate, a tense but relatively substantive final showdown. As expected, Biden landed his biggest punches on Trump's handling of Covid-19, pointing to the more than 220,000 victims to say "anyone that is responsible for that many deaths should not remain as president".

He also called Trump "one of the most racist presidents in modern US history" after the president bragged once again about everything he had done for the African-American community.

Trump did bring up Biden's involvement in his son Hunter's alleged corrupt business dealings abroad, but these were more fleeting insinuations rather than the campaign-altering attack Donald Trump and his team promised it would be. 

- Latest controversy: "I'm not running scared, I'm running angry." That’s how Donald Trump started his week of campaigning. He expressed anger at his own scientific experts for being (in his view) too negative about the pandemic, calling Dr Anthony Fauci a "disaster" and saying people were "tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots".

The president also took swings at the media for covering Covid-19 too much, calling CNN reporters "dumb bastards" and accusing them of trying to talk people out of voting.

Trump also lashed out at Republicans who've started to distance themselves from him. The president said there were some stupid people within the party and that they should remain united around him.

- Campaign focus: More than 45 million Americans have already voted, whether in person or through mail-in ballots. That’s more than 30 percent of the total votes cast back in 2016. If the trend continues, the numbers suggest this election could see record-breaking turnout. Democrats, who are outvoting Republicans by a wide margin in states that provide partisan breakdowns of early ballots, are hoping this high turnout continues and leads to a decisive victory for Joe Biden. But Republicans, who are more likely to vote on November 3, are counting on a big chunk of Election Day votes to tip the scale in Donald Trump’s favour. 

- What's next: The race for the White House is entering the home stretch amid turbulent times. The US is facing a resurgence of Covid-19 infections, with about 60,000 new cases and hundreds of deaths every day. The final days of voting will also take place under the renewed threat of foreign election interference. The Director of National Intelligence announced that Iran was behind a wave of threatening emails sent to Democratic voters in several states pushing them to vote for Donald Trump. US officials also confirmed that both Iran and Russia had obtained voter information and were using the data to undermine trust in the voting process, but insisted that the integrity of the election remained intact.

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