Thursday, November 26, 2020

A New Covid Outbreak at the White House

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A group of Postal Service enthusiasts sang and danced to promote voting in Honesdale, Pa., on Saturday.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Two Iowa farmers, separated by more than a hundred miles but by only a year in age, teared up while talking about the presidential race — for completely different reasons.

A supporter of Trump’s, Denny Gergen, a grain, corn and soybean farmer from northwest Iowa, became choked up thinking about how his way of life seemed to be slipping away, and about how Trump seemed to be the only politician who really cared.

“Trump supports the American farmer,” said Gergen, 69, who recently posted a large sign on his property that says “God Bless America and God Bless the American Farmer” next to signs encouraging passing drivers to vote to re-elect the president.

“There are farmers right now — they’re losing so much money, they cannot continue; they’re done,” Gergen said, speaking at a motorcycle rally in Sioux City to support Senator Joni Ernst, Republican of Iowa. “I’m just a small family farmer trying to make it.”

A three-hour drive away, near Iowa’s northern border with Minnesota, the other farmer, Raymond Smith, became emotional, too.

Smith, 68, whose family has owned a farm in Buffalo Center for more than 100 years, is supporting Biden and the Democrats.

“We were not very well-off when we were growing up,” Smith said as he showed Ernst’s Democratic opponent, the businesswoman Theresa Greenfield, around his farm. “But because of the Democratic programs, I was able to go to college. I get choked up when I think about how somebody else put their money up there, just to help me get started. And now I feel it’s my responsibility to pay whatever I can.”

Smith said that he liked and respected his neighbors who support Trump in his town of fewer than 900 people, but that he believed “we have a responsibility for all of us to do what we can to make democracy work.”

“I have a lot of people that don’t agree with me in the neighborhood, but that’s never stopped me in the past,” he said.

Trump won Iowa by a comfortable margin four years ago, but Biden had a narrow lead over Trump in the state in a New York Times/Siena College poll released on Wednesday.

A perennial battleground state where voters are known for their political independence, Iowa, whose population is 90 percent white, has voted for the winner of the presidential race in six of the past seven elections, including for Trump, Barack Obama twice and George W. Bush when he was seeking re-election.

Steven Peterson, 59, a Democrat who owns a greenhouse in Lake Mills, said he was supporting Biden in part because he was concerned about the future of the federal courts, should Trump win a second term.

“They’ve loaded up the courts,” Peterson said, referring to the Republicans and McConnell. “Not only the Supreme Court, but all the other courts. When President Obama was in office, basically, McConnell made sure we didn’t get any judges in anywhere. He blocked everything out. And then the next Republican president comes in and he gets 300 judges. It was unfair. I don’t think they should be putting in a justice right now. I think they need to wait.”

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