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Axios AM

Mike Allen

🚨 WashPost/ABC have Joe Biden up 17 points (not a typo) among likely voters in Wisconsin — 57% to 40%. ABC's Gary Langer attributes President Trump's collapse to the state's COVID surge.

  • Among women in Wisconsin, Biden leads by 30 points (64% to 34%).
  • In Michigan, where Biden is up by seven points (51% to 44%), he leads women by 24 points.

🐪 Happy Wednesday! Today's Smart Brevity™ count: 1,198 words ... 4½ minutes.

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1 big thing: The GOP's monstrous math problem

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Republicans, win or lose next week, face a big — and growing — math problem:

  • They're relying almost exclusively on a shrinking demographic (white men), living in shrinking areas (small, rural towns), creating a reliance on people with shrinking incomes (white workers without college degrees) to survive.

Why it matters: You can't win elections without diversity, bigger population centers and sufficient money.  

Flashback: Pre-Trump, the GOP acknowledged all this. Then-RNC Chair Reince Priebus said in his "autopsy" after Mitt Romney's loss in 2012:

  • "We need to campaign among Hispanic, black, Asian, and gay Americans and demonstrate we care about them, too. We must recruit more candidates who come from minority communities."

What's happening: Trump threw that out and realigned the GOP base away from suburbs and wealth, and toward working-class whites in small towns. 

  • New Gallup polling finds Trump remains above 50% with rural residents, white men and white adults without college degrees.
  • But he has dropped nine points just this year with suburbanites — falling with both men and women — to 35%, after winning them in 2016.

Republicans have hemorrhaged support among suburban women during the Trump years. Now, the GOP even struggles in exurbs.

  • Trump's plaintive pleas to these vital voters have become a 2020 punchline. "Suburban women, you’re going to love me. You better love me," Trump said last night in West Salem, Wis.

Another GOP drain: Voters are no longer following the traditional pattern of getting more conservative as they age.

  • In what Axios demographic expert Stef Kight calls the "liberal youth revolution," millennials and Gen Z stick with the Democratic Party as they move through adulthood.

The demographic wind shear is also hitting Republicans financially, the N.Y. Times shows in a new analysis:

  • In ZIP codes with a median household income of $100,000+, Biden beat Trump 3-to-1 in fundraising, "accounting for almost his entire financial edge. In the rest of the country, the two were knotted closely."
  • Trump's sweet spot: Areas averaging $50,000 or less.

What's next: Key players in the Republican Party tell me they're deeply concerned about winning back the suburbs.

  • Republicans eyeing 2024 runs know the party's current demographic math may not work for Trump again — and certainly won't work for them.

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  • 🎧 Hear it here: Host Niala Boodhoo and I discuss this story on "Axios Today."

🗞️ Today in swing states ...

Philadelphia Inquirer
2. Mask mandates help control the rise in hospitalizations

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Coronavirus hospitalizations are rising much more dramatically in places that don’t require people to wear a face mask, Axios health care editor Sam Baker writes from a Vanderbilt analysis.

  • Why it matters: The findings reinforce what experts have been saying for months: Masks — and mask mandates — work. They will not vanquish the coronavirus on their own, but they help. A lot.

The Vanderbilt analysis compares Tennessee hospitals based on how many of their patients come from counties with mask requirements.

  • In hospitals where at least 75% of patients are subject to a local mask requirement, COVID hospitalizations are at about the same level now as they were July 1.
  • In hospitals where fewer than 25% of patients are subject to a local mask mandate, however, hospitalizations are more than 200% higher than their July 1 levels.

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3. ☤ Doctors want colon cancer tests to start at 45

A panel of doctors wants U.S. adults to start colon cancer screenings at age 45 — five years younger than previously recommended.

  • Overall colon cancer rates have been declining. But the draft guidelines by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force reflect a growing concern about rising rates in people under 50, AP reports.

Read the release.

4. In Philadelphia, grief and anger

Photo: Matt Slocum/AP

In the photo above, protesters confront police during a march yesterday in West Philadelphia sparked by the death of Walter Wallace, a Black man who was killed by police in the city on Monday.

  • Police shot and killed the 27-year-old on a Philadelphia street after yelling at him to drop his knife.

"The protests after the fatal shooting, ... an incident captured on a widely circulated video, evoked the demonstrations against police abuse stirred by the killing of George Floyd," The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

  • "According to family members, Wallace was battling profound mental health issues about which police were aware."
5. Right-wing misinformation machine could gain steam post-election

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Researchers tell Axios' Sara Fischer that today's information ecosystem is ripe for an unprecedented level of exploitation by bad actors, particularly hyper-partisan media and personalities on the right.

  • Why it matters: The misinformation-powered right-wing media machine that fueled President Trump's 2016 victory grew stronger after that win.
  • It's set to increase its reach as a result of the upcoming election, whether Trump wins or loses.

Researchers from Harvard's Kennedy School and the London School of Economics tell Axios that the economic incentives governing the internet have created a environment that actors, particularly on the right, easily exploit with disinformation.

6. Dems far outspend GOP in Senate air war
Data: Advertising Analytics. Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios
7. U.S. election will shake up Israeli politics

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's biggest domestic political asset is on the ballot on Nov. 3 — his relationship with President Trump.

  • Why it matters: The outcome of America's election could help determine whether Israel soon faces yet another election of its own, writes Axios' Barak Ravid.

The stakes may be even higher for Palestinian leaders.

  • Abd Elraouf Arnaout, the political correspondent of Al-Ayyam newspaper, says Palestinian officials don't know exactly what to expect from Joe Biden, but think anything would be better than four more years of Trump.

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  • 🇮🇱 Sign up for Barak Ravid's weekly dispatch, Axios from Tel Aviv.
8. Africa loses economic hope

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The good news is that most of Africa has done surprisingly well in terms of COVID-19 cases and deaths.

  • The bad news is that the pandemic has greatly exacerbated a continent-wide economic crisis. Even before the virus hit, Africa was suffering from weak commodity prices and a devastating plague of locusts.

Why it matters, via Axios' Felix Salmon: There's not remotely enough money to help finance the needed recovery.

  • IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva estimates that Africa has an eye-popping funding gap of $345 billion between now and 2023.
  • The lack of money means a lack of growth: The IMF forecasts that Africa will grow by just 3% in 2021. That's well below the expected global growth rate of 5.2%.

Go deeper.

9. 📺 Viewers flock to Tucker, Lesley

Via Fox News

Fox News' Tucker Carlson in October had the most-watched month ever for a cable news program, averaging 5.4 million nightly viewers, the network reported:

  • "Fox News had a clean sweep of the top five programs among the key demographic of adults age 25-54, as 'Tucker' led the way averaging over one-million demo viewers ... Carlson was followed by 'Hannity,' 'Ingraham,' 'The Five' and 'The Story with Martha MacCallum.'"

⏰ If President Trump wanted people to avoid his chippy "60 Minutes" interview with Lesley Stahl, it didn't work, AP's David Bauder writes:

  • The 17.4 million people who watched Sunday's episode — with interviews of Trump, Vice President Pence, Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris — was the show's biggest audience since a Stormy Daniels interview in 2018.
10. ⚾ Dodger blue wins World Series
Photo: David J. Phillip/AP

Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes celebrates the final out by the Tampa Bay Rays' Willy Adames, for a 3-1 win in Game 6 of the World Series, giving the Dodgers their first Commissioner’s Trophy since 1988.

L.A. Times sports columnist Bill Plaschke writes on A1:

Dance like Mookie. Soar like Belli. Scream like Kersh.
The 31-year drought is over, the heavens have opened, and all over Los Angeles it’s raining blue. ...
We’ll write it again, with feeling, for all the times in the last three decades you thought you’d never read it again.

Keep reading.

Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager won the Willie Mays World Series MVP Award.

Mike Allen

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