22 hours ago

Axios AM

Mike Allen

☕ Happy Monday! Today's Smart Brevity™ count: 1,188 words ... 4½ minutes.

🎬 Tonight on "Axios on HBO" (11:16 pm ET/PT on all HBO platforms): Sen. Ted Cruz opens up to Jonathan Swan (clip) ... Alexi McCammond talks with Rep. Ilhan Omar (clip).

1 big thing: Schools flip-flop on reopening

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Schools across the country have flip-flopped between in-person and remote learning — and that instability is taking a toll on students' ability to learn as well as their mental health, Axios' Erica Pandey writes.

  • Why it matters: The interruptions are hurting already-vulnerable students and exhausting teachers.

The backstory: While companies were able to set long timelines for their return, schools — under immense political and social strain — had to rush to figure out how to reopen. The cobbled-together approach has hurt students, parents and teachers alike.

  • "In hindsight, we can say it would have been better to go all-remote," says Jon Hale, a professor of education at the University of Illinois. "But there was so much pressure to open."

What's happening: Without clear federal or state standards, reopening strategies — which range from lottery systems that determine who gets to come to school to on-and-off in-person learning depending on the week's caseloads — have been disorganized at students' expense.

What we're watching: In the longer term, this precarious period threatens to destabilize the whole public education system as parents lose faith in it.

2. Swing-state spike
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, The Cook Political Report; Table: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Several states that are likely to decide which party controls Washington next year have exceptionally large coronavirus outbreaks or are seeing cases spike, Axios' Caitlin Owens writes.

  • Why it matters: Most voters have made up their minds. But for the few holdouts, the state of the pandemic could ultimately help their decision as they head to the polls — and that's not likely to help President Trump.
  • The stats constitute a backdrop for news coverage and conversation in states that matter most to the outcome.

Wisconsin and Montana have the largest outbreaks of all states with close Senate races, or that are competitive in the presidential election.

3. Data du jour: Where stimulus is needed most
Data: Census Household Pulse Survey. Chart: Axios Visuals

The Census Bureau's new survey of Americans' economic expectations found a particularly dour outlook, Dion Rabouin writes in Axios Markets.

  • Three of the country's four most populous states expect to see at least one in four citizens lose some employment income in the next four weeks.

💰 Get Dion Rabouin's Axios Markets in your inbox each weekday morning.

4. 🗳️ America in line: We just passed 2016's early vote

Drone photo shows people queueing on foot and in cars for in-person and curbside voting at Midtown Center mall in Milwaukee on Oct. 20. Photo: Bing Guan/Reuters

Eight days before Election Day, more people have cast ballots than voted early or absentee in 2016, AP reports.

  • The opening of early voting locations in New York, Florida and Texas has opened a new flood.
  • The result is 58.6 million ballots cast so far — more than the 58 million that AP logged from mail ballots or in-person early voting sites in 2016.

What's happening: Registered Democrats have dominated the initial balloting, but Republicans are narrowing the gap.

5. Obama memoir: "Making sausage isn't pretty, Mr. President"
President Obama in the Oval Office as an Affordable Care Act vote approached. Photo: Pete Souza via The New Yorker

The New Yorker this morning publishes a first look at the first volume of President Obama's memoir, "A Promised Land," out Nov. 17. The excerpt focuses on the passage of health care, with delightful excursions into race in America, fatherhood in the White House and youthful road trips:

[T]he prospect of trying to get a big health-care-reform bill through Congress at the height of a historic recession made my team nervous. ... "What Axe is trying to say, Mr. President," Rahm [Emanuel] interrupted, his face screwed up in a frown, "is that this can blow up in our faces." ...
"Unless I’m missing something," I said, "we’re doing everything we can do on the economy."
[Emanuel:] "I know that, Mr. President. But the American people don’t know that." ...
Rahm looked to Axe for help. "We all think we should try," Axe said. "You just need to know that, if we lose, your Presidency will be badly weakened. And nobody understands that better than McConnell and Boehner."
I stood up, signalling that the meeting was over. "We better not lose, then," I said.

Keep reading.

🔮 Behind the scenes ... David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, has "An Editor's Note":

The writing did not come easily. In the summer of 2019, I met with President Obama and he made it plain that the book was proving far more stubborn than he had hoped. Like many authors, he was not without help in research and fact checking, but he wrote the book himself, by hand, on yellow legal pads.

Keep reading.

6. Business warms to Biden

Photo: "60 Minutes"/CBS News

"Joe Biden is running for president on the sort of platform that usually makes business sweat: higher taxes on corporations and investors, aggressive action to phase out fossil fuels, stronger unions and an expanded government role in health care," The Wall Street Journal's Greg Ip and Ken Thomas write on today's front page (subscription).

  • "Yet many business executives and their allies are greeting the prospect of a Biden presidency with either ambivalence or relief."
  • "Credit that not to who Mr. Biden is, but who he isn’t: Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders" — or President Trump and the uncertainty he brings.

"60 Minutes" interviews with the candidates:

  • Lesley Stahl with Trump and Vice President Pence ("The 60 Minutes interview that President Trump cut short").
  • Norah O'Donnell with Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris.
7. "Harder Line": Trump's energy endgame

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Expect President Trump to redouble his efforts loosening regulations and questioning climate-change science should he win re-election next month, Axios' Amy Harder writes in her "Harder Line" column.

  • Why it matters: A second Trump term would supercharge efforts by certain states, countries and companies to address global warming. But some wildcards could have a greener tinge.

Click here for Amy Harder's highlights of a potential second Trump administration, on climate change ... regulations ... fossil fuels ... renewable energy ... and more.

8. Trump's economic void

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump hasn't detailed an economic agenda for his second term, despite the election being just eight days away, Axios' Dan Primack writes.

  • Why it matters: This is unprecedented in modern presidential campaigns.

Trump's campaign website doesn't include a section on forward-looking policies, including the economy. Instead, it only lists first-term accomplishments.

  • Many economists have analyzed Biden's economic plans, including on taxes and spending, to predict how it would impact everything from GDP to jobs. But they've been unable to do the same with Trump's plan, because there is none.
  • The conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute recently published a 12-page analysis of Biden's tax plan.
  • That report's author, Kyle Pomerleau, told the Axios Re:Cap podcast: "I will release an analysis of Trump's proposals once he releases proposals."

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9. Two fundraising Americas: Biden edge comes from $100,000+ earners

Joe Biden has collected more money than President Trump on all but two days in the last two months, according to a New York Times analysis of $1.8 billion donated by 7.6 million people since April.

  • The data reveals when Biden decisively overtook Trump in the money race — the day Sen. Kamala Harris joined the ticket.

Under Trump, "Republicans have hemorrhaged support from white voters with college degrees ... The fund-raising data suggests that erosion is not only harming the party’s electoral prospects but also its economic bottom line," per the Times.

  • "In ZIP codes with a median household income of at least $100,000, Mr. Biden smashed Mr. Trump in fund-raising, $486 million to only $167 million — accounting for almost his entire financial edge."
  • "In the rest of the country, the two were knotted closely together."
  • Explore the graphics (subscription).

🥊 The N.Y. Post endorsed Trump today:

N.Y. Post
10. ⚾ Dodgers one win away from championship

Photo: Maxx Wolfson/Getty Images

At World Series Game 5 last night, the Dodgers' Blake Treinen celebrates after striking out Willy Adames of the Tampa Bay Rays to secure a 4-2 win — and a 3-2 series lead for L.A.

The win followed the Dodgers' painful Game 4, which drew the memorable L.A. Times headline, "Rocky pitcher horror show." (See the page.)

  • Below, the Rays' Randy Arozarena touches home for the winning run (8-7) after a walk-off single by beloved Brewers alumnus Brett Phillips.
Photo: David J. Phillip/AP
Mike Allen

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