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Trump Doubles Down With Racist Ads

Trump shocks with racist new ad days before midterms. CNN: "In the most racially charged national political ad in 30 years, President Donald Trump and the Republican Party accuse Democrats of plotting to help people they depict as Central American invaders overrun the nation with cop killers. The new web video, tweeted by the President five days before the midterm elections, is the most extreme step yet in the most inflammatory closing argument of any campaign in recent memory. The Trump campaign ad is the latest example of the President's willingness to lie and fear-monger in order to tear at racial and societal divides; to embrace demagoguery to bolster his own political power and the cause of the Republican midterm campaign. The web video - produced for the Trump campaign - features Luis Bracamontes, a Mexican man who had previously been deported but returned to the United States and was convicted in February in the slaying of two California deputies. The ad recalls the notorious 'Willie Horton' campaign ad financed by supporters of the George H.W. Bush campaign in the 1988 presidential election. Horton was a convicted murderer who committed rape while furloughed under a program in Massachusetts where Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis was governor. Trump's web video, while just as shocking as the Horton spot, carries added weight since, unlike its 1988 predecessor, it bears the official endorsement of the leader of the Republican Party -- Trump -- and is not an outside effort. Given that Trump distributed it from his Twitter account, It also comes with all the symbolic significance of the presidency itself."

EPA Says It's OK To Pollute More

EPA quietly telling states they can pollute more. CNN: "The Environmental Protection Agency has quietly signaled it may allow states to release more ozone air pollution, commonly known as smog, dirtying the air in those states and neighboring ones, but the agency did not review the health impact of such a move. The Trump administration's position is outlined in a highly technical guidance memo about plans states must create and submit for EPA approval under the Clean Air Act's good neighbor requirements. It was sent in August to EPA regional offices and posted on the agency's website, but not announced to the public."

Progressives Surge In Rural America

What the Progressive surge in rural America means for the election and beyond. The Intercept: "Before deciding to run for Congress, Leslie Cockburn grabbed her notebook and her pen and spent three months touring Virginia’s 5th District, which stretches from the North Carolina border all the way to the outer suburbs of Washington, D.C. The reporting trip came naturally to Cockburn, who’d spent the last three decades as an acclaimed investigative journalist, including at CBS’s '60 Minutes.' This time, though, she wasn’t looking to uncover any official malfeasance. Instead, she was trying to find out just how well her own politics meshed with those of the voters in the district. The conventional wisdom would predict a poor match — Donald Trump, after all, carried the district by a comfortable 11 points, and Cockburn had no interest in cynically shading her progressive politics to get elected. That wouldn’t be necessary, it turned out. The people she met were not the conservative caricatures of rural voters drawn by consultants in Washington. Instead, they held broadly progressive views, even if they might reject that label. 'If you talk to people in these rural areas, you find out that there are a huge number of very … what I call just mainstream, old-fashioned Democrats. It’s simple. Basic. They believe in a living wage. They believe in collective bargaining. They believe in decent health care for everyone,' Cockburn told The Intercept at a campaign event outside a Social Security office in Farmville, Virginia. She was there to accept an endorsement from the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, which had chosen her over her GOP opponent Denver Riggleman."

How To Fight Voter Suppression

Ahead of U.S. elections, fears of voter suppression - and efforts to fight back. Reuters: "Clemente Torres has proudly cast his vote in person at Dodge City’s lone polling place in every election since he became a naturalized citizen 20 years ago. This year is different. After Republican officials said in September they would move the Hispanic-majority city’s only polling place to a remote spot outside the city limits, across railroad tracks and away from bus lines, Torres decided to vote by mail. 'I wanted to be sure I could vote,' said Torres, 57, who works at a meatpacking plant in this western Kansas city best known for its history as a Wild West outpost. 'I didn’t want to take any chances.' Torres and other voters interviewed by Reuters said they were worried voting would be more difficult at the new location. Some were skeptical of the official explanation: that construction will hinder access to the usual site. The move has sparked an outcry from voting rights groups that say Republicans are trying to limit Hispanic votes. The state American Civil Liberties Union has asked the courts to force Dodge City to open another polling site. Democrats are mobilizing to rent vans, line up volunteers to drive people to the polls and set up a hotline to ask for rides.

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A People’s Wave’s A-Comin’. Leigh Friedman: "Five days out from the midterm elections, here’s a final snapshot of People’s Action’s electoral program. With so much at stake in these elections, People’s Action and our member organizations are running our biggest program ever. Here are some of the races, candidates, and ballot initiatives that we're most excited about."

How Teachers Might Save Arizona Schools from the Kochs. Jeff Bryant: "The moment Beth Lewis realized the powerful political forces she was up against was when she was seated in the gallery of the Arizona House watching Republican legislators, one-by-one, fall into line to support a new bill she and her fellow teachers had come to the capitol to oppose. Republican Governor Doug Ducey and others 'working the bill' on the floor took any wavering members into a back room for a 'conversation,' while lobbyists in the wings nodded and hand-signaled with lawmakers to track the bill’s progress. When the bill’s handlers agreed a vote was in order, it passed easily. Then, “it was like a party,” Lewis recalls, with lawmakers high-fiving each other and lobbyists shaking hands and backslapping. 'It was sickening,' she says. 'I realized our state legislators weren’t at all interested in representing the people.'"

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