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Why GOP can’t reopen the economy without Democratic buy-in

(CNN)From President Donald Trump through Republican governors and state legislatures, the GOP is coalescing around a position of reopening the economy as quickly as possible despite concerns about seeding a wider spread of the coronavirus. But the party’s efforts face a paradoxical hurdle: The economy can’t regain much momentum without the participation of big Democratic-leaning…

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Why GOP can’t reopen the economy without Democratic buy-in

(CNN)From President Donald Trump through Republican governors and state legislatures, the GOP is coalescing around a position of reopening the economy as quickly as possible despite concerns about seeding a wider spread of the coronavirus. But the party’s efforts face a paradoxical hurdle: The economy can’t regain much momentum without the participation of big Democratic-leaning metropolitan areas, where both local officials and average residents remain more skeptical about quickly unwinding social distancing measures. Mayors in many of those metropolitan areas — particularly in states such as Georgia, Texas and Arizona with Republican governors committed to rapidly restarting the economy — have raised alarms about reopening too quickly. “The concentration of the economy in bigger, denser, more science-oriented places becomes a real ceiling on effective reopening,” says Mark Muro, senior fellow and policy director at the Metropolitan Policy Program. “Metropolitan economic elites are well informed about the risk and may simply refuse to participate in what they may view as a precipitous opening. This is where behavior is going to have a large say, rather than political or policy positions.” The daunting equation facing Trump and Republican governors is that no matter how many restrictions they lift on the small-town and rural areas that have become their strongholds, both the national and state economies have little prospect of regaining critical mass unless the GOP can greatly accelerate reopenings in the big metro areas that have been moving away from them politically. As former Atlanta Democratic Mayor Kasim Reed told me recently, “What the current environment shows is that Republicans need Democratic cities to drive the economy.”Metro concentrationThis dynamic is the result of long-term trends intersecting with the course of the virus.The long-term trend is greater concentration of economic activity in the nation’s largest metro areas in recent decades. While smaller communities remain heavily dependent on the 20th-century economic powerhouses of agriculture, manufacturing and energy extraction, all of which peaked decades ago in the number of jobs they support, the high-skill, high-paying digitally oriented jobs associated with the 21st-century information economy have increasingly converged on big urban areas with large numbers of well-educated workers.Large urban areas are also the center of high-end business services (like banking and legal), entertainment, travel, higher education and health care.In many states, these trends have allowed the large metropolitan areas to soar economically so far past small-town and rural regions that analysts often describe local conditions as a tale of two states. In a recent study, for instance, the “Urban Lab” at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin noted that what it called “the Texas Triangle — the great region bounded by San Antonio/Austin in the southwest, Houston in the southeast, and Dallas/Fort Worth in the north” accounted for the vast majority of the state’s economic output, attracted 98% of its venture capital and generated much higher wages than the state’s rural areas.”It is a tale of two Texases,” the group wrote, “one, an urban powerhouse with a rising knowledge economy that craves more educated talent; and the other, smaller towns and open ranges whose legacy agriculture, manufacturing, and oil extraction businesses are contracting.”The new Brookings data prepared for CNN show how widespread this pattern of metro concentration has become across America, including in the states that both sides consider most likely to decide the 2020 presidential election. Using federal Bureau of Economic Analysis data, Brookings at my request analyzed the share of employment and economic output generated by metropolitan areas of 500,000 people or more in nine states high on the 2020 target list for each party.The results, Muro said, showed that “in virtually all cases the state is heavily dependent on at least one major metro and in most cases several.”In Pennsylvania, for instance, larger metropolitan areas account for nearly 95% of the state’s economic output and 89% of its jobs. The Philadelphia metro alone accounts for nearly three-fifths of the state’s output and almost exactly half of its jobs.The Phoenix area accounts for nearly three-fourths of Arizona’s output and jobs, with the total metro contribution (including Tucson) rising to about 86% of each. In Georgia, Atlanta provides two-thirds of the output and three-fifths of the jobs, with smaller metros raising those numbers slightly higher. In Texas, Dallas and Houston combine for about 55% of output and jobs, and the other large metros raise the share to about three-fourths of the total.Large metros account for at least four-fifths of total economic output in Florida and Ohio, nearly three-fourths in North Carolina and about two-thirds in Michigan, where Detroit alone contributes about half. The big metros generated only a slightly smaller share of the jobs across those states, (except in Ohio where they contained slightly more.) Only in Wisconsin, the least urbanized of the major swing states, did large metros account for less than half of the state’s economy, and even there the numbers for Milwaukee and Madison combined still reached 46% of output and 42% of jobs.Economic experts across these states agree that they can’t regain cruising speed without a revival in these dynamic metro areas. For Texas, there will be no recovery “without those places restarting and getting out in front of this,” says Steven Pedigo, director of the LBJ School’s Urban Lab. “We have this frontier mentality but at the end of the day we are an urban state. The growth triangle is what has kept the state moving and growing.”Likewise, Jeff Rosensweig, who directs a program on business, public policy and government at the Emory University business school in Atlanta, says flatly that “there’s really no way the state can recover unless there’s a lot more activity going on in Atlanta.”But these are exactly the places where the disease has hit hardest. William Frey, a Brookings Institution demographer, has painstakingly documented the spread of the disease over the past few weeks into smaller communities, including many that Trump carried in 2016. But urban centers and their inner suburbs still account for two-thirds of all counties facing elevated caseloads, according to Frey’s calculations. In Arizona, Maricopa County, centered on Phoenix, accounts for just over half of the state’s cases. In Michigan, where the outbreak appears to be finally ebbing, Detroit and its politically pivotal suburbs of Oakland and Macomb counties have accumulated almost two-thirds of the state’s cases. Philadelphia and its four big suburban counties have likewise experienced almost three-fifths of Pennsylvania’s total. Economist Jed Kolko recently calculated that death rates remain the highest, by far, in the urban centers of large metropolitan areas — even when excluding New York City from the numbers. Urban residents still feel cautiousA variety of data sources — from cell phone tracking devices to activity at online restaurant reservation services — show that in communities of all sizes of Americans are edging back into the economy as states loosen restrictions. But several recent polls have consistently found residents of large urban areas expressing more caution than those in rural areas about returning to anything approaching normal activity.In last week’s national CNN survey, for instance, only 36% of urban residents said they felt comfortable resuming their normal routines, much less than the 55% of rural respondents who expressed such confidence, according to figures provided by CNN polling director Jennifer Agiesta. And while a slight majority of rural residents said in the survey that the worst of the outbreak was behind us, a 55% majority of urban residents said the worst was still to come. The two groups offered mirror-image verdicts on Trump’s handling of the outbreak, with three-fifths of urban residents disapproving and three-fifths of rural residents approving. On all three questions, suburban residents fell in between, though generally much closer to the urban respondents.Polling released earlier this month by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center likewise found that nearly three-fourths of urban residents said they worried that states would lift restrictions too fast (rather than too slowly), and only 1-in-6 said there should be fewer restrictions in their areas right now. Rural residents were considerably more likely to say that they worried about lifting restrictions too slowly and wanted fewer limits today (although in each case only about one-third of rural respondents took those positions). These contrasting experiences and attitudes have fueled a second wave of conflicts over reopening between Republican governors and state legislative majorities whose political base is centered on smaller communities and the primarily Democratic leadership of the largest metro areas. Republican governors in Georgia, Texas and Arizona, as well as other states, have preempted Democratic mayors in their largest cities from continuing stay-at-home rules.Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott conspicuously invalidated an ordinance in Harris County (Houston) imposing fines on people who would not wear masks in public. Acting on a legal challenge brought by GOP legislators, the Republican majority on the Wisconsin state Supreme Court last week struck down an extension of the statewide stay-at-home order imposed by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers (in a ruling cheered by Trump). Republican legislators in Michigan are pursuing similar litigation against the statewide order imposed by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Little change in big citiesBut the concentration of economic activity in the biggest cities suggests this is something of a pyrrhic victory for Trump and the GOP. In Wisconsin, local officials in Milwaukee and Madison, the state’s two most economically vibrant regions, immediately reimposed stay-at-home orders. “The immediate implication” of the state’s most bustling economic centers opting out of reopening “is a very slow recovery” for Wisconsin, says David Ward, an economic consultant in the state.Remaining closed isn’t an option for mayors in the states where GOP governors have precluded stronger local action. But Democratic mayors and county officials in urban centers such as Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, El Paso and Phoenix have publicly expressed concerns that the restrictions are being lifted too fast.In Phoenix, Democratic Mayor Kate Gallego posted a video on Friday urging residents to continue “to stay home as much as possible” and to wear masks whenever they are outside — just days after Republican Gov. Doug Ducey held a photo op lunch with legislators in a Phoenix restaurant where none of the participants wore a mask. Asked why Gallego continues to urge caution, Annie DeGraw, her communications director, said, “We are still so far behind on testing that it’s hard for us to even get a handle on where the virus is, where the hot spots are.”Ducey’s office did not return a request for comment. Though state health officials have organized a testing “blitz” each Saturday in May to accompany reopening, Arizona has ranked at or near the bottom of the 50 states in the number of coronavirus tests conducted per capita. Reed, the former Atlanta mayor, predicts that economic activity in big cities will lag so long as mayors remain unconvinced that reopening is safe. “I think you will continue to see the public defer to the local mayor, and that’s the signal that everybody will be waiting to hear from,” he said. “So while the economy is opening, I don’t think there is anywhere near the level of activity you would have if the mayor of Atlanta or Houston or San Antonio were in line with the governor’s policies.”A new study led by Harvard economist Raj Chetty similarly concluded that “consumer spending, employment … the number of small businesses that are open, and time spent at work” changed little in Georgia, South Carolina and other states after their governors lifted stay-at-home orders.Muro likewise expects a slow reemergence in the big population centers. He says he’s had repeated conversations over the past week with economic development groups in major metropolitan areas around the country that are skeptical of the rapid restart that Trump and many governors are promoting.”I can tell you in the last 36 hours I’ve had multiple conversations with very senior CEO groups very, very concerned about what’s coming out of their governor’s office,” he said. “Metro business elites tend to prefer a science-based, prudent, graduated approach to these issues. … There is just a very visceral sense of caution.”Cities bluer and small towns redderThese economic trends have a clear political overlay. While Trump has solidified the GOP’s hold on small-town and rural America, he’s accelerated its decline inside the largest metro areas. In 2016, he lost the nation’s 100 largest counties by a combined margin of around 15 million votes, and in 2018 the GOP lost House seats in a wide array of white-collar suburbs around cities from coast to coast. In virtually every state, the largest metropolitan areas, which are driving economic innovation and growth, have become the clear backbone of the Democratic electoral coalition, while the GOP has grown more reliant on squeezing bigger margins out of smaller places that have not benefited as much from the new dynamics.For years, a cadre of conservative-leaning urban critics have predicted that residents and businesses eventually will flee the expensive housing and high taxes of the big-city centers and relocate to red-leaning areas on the metropolitan fringes. Now some of those same voices say the vulnerability to contagion exposed by the pandemic — combined with the outbreak’s spurring of telecommuting — will propel an exodus from the dense population centers. That might happen to some extent, Muro acknowledges, though he believes the underlying economic forces encouraging the “clustering” of talent and investment capital remain too powerful to significantly reverse. But whatever the long-term prognosis, the economic dominance of the largest metro areas won’t diminish between now and November. And that means Trump can’t hope to truly revive the economy without more buy-in from the communities and voters who were the most skeptical of him from the outset — and have been the most badly battered by the outbreak this year.
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A rare blue moon will light up the sky on Halloween

The night sky on Halloween will be illuminated by a blue moon, the second full moon in a month. The relatively rare occurrence happens once every two and a half years on average, according to NASA’s National Space Science Data Center.Every month has a full moon, but because the lunar cycle and the calendar year…

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A rare blue moon will light up the sky on Halloween
The night sky on Halloween will be illuminated by a blue moon, the second full moon in a month. The relatively rare occurrence happens once every two and a half years on average, according to NASA’s National Space Science Data Center.

Every month has a full moon, but because the lunar cycle and the calendar year aren’t perfectly synched, about every three years we wind up with two in the same calendar month.

The National Weather Service spotted a massive bat colony on its weather radar
October’s first full moon, also known as the harvest moon, will appear on the first day of the month. The second full moon, or blue moon, will be visible on October 31. It’s the first instance of a blue moon in the Americas since March 2018.
It’s also the first time a Halloween full moon has appeared for all time zones since 1944, according to Farmers’ Almanac. The last time a Halloween full moon appeared was for the Central and Pacific time zones in 2001.

The “once in a blue moon” phenomenon does not necessarily mean the moon will look blue on Halloween. While the dark blue tone of an evening sky can affect the coloring we see, Earth’s satellite will most likely not appear blue at all.

Typically, when a moon does take on a bluish hue, it is because of smoke or dust particles in the atmosphere, such as during a major volcanic eruption.

When the phrase “once in a blue moon” was coined, it meant something so rare you’d be lucky (or unlucky) to see in your lifetime, according to NASA.

So if anything unusual happens to you on Halloween, there might just be a good reason why.

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Analysis: Why it could be a Biden blowout in November

(CNN)Poll of the week: A new ABC News/Washington Post poll from Minnesota finds Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden with a 57% to 41% lead over President Donald Trump among likely voters. Two other Minnesota polls released over the last few weeks by CBS News/YouGov and New York Times/Siena College have Biden up by nine points.…

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Analysis: Why it could be a Biden blowout in November

(CNN)Poll of the week: A new ABC News/Washington Post poll from Minnesota finds Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden with a 57% to 41% lead over President Donald Trump among likely voters. Two other Minnesota polls released over the last few weeks by CBS News/YouGov and New York Times/Siena College have Biden up by nine points. What’s the point: The Trump campaign has made a significant investment into turning Minnesota red, after Trump lost it by 1.5 points in 2016. The polling shows his efforts are not working.They are part of a larger sign suggesting that Trump still has a ways to go to win not just in Minnesota but over the electoral map at-large. If his campaign was truly competitive at this point, he’d likely be closer in Minnesota. One day Trump may get there, and he definitely has a shot of winning with still over a month to go in the campaign. Yet, it should also be pointed out that despite folks like me usually focusing on how Trump can close the gap with Biden and put new states into play, there’s another side to this equation. There is also the distinct possibility that Biden blows Trump out. It’s something I’ve noted before, and the Washington Post’s David Byler pointed out a few weeks ago. If you were to look at the polling right now, there’s a pretty clear picture. Biden has leads of somewhere between five and eight points in a number of states Trump won four years ago: Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Those plus the states Hillary Clinton won get Biden to about 290 electoral votes. If you add on the other states where Biden has at least a nominal edge in the averages (Florida and North Carolina), Biden is above 330 electoral votes. That’s not quite at blowout levels, but look at the polling in places like Georgia, Iowa, Ohio and Texas. We’re not really talking about those places right now, even though one or both campaigns have fairly major advertising investments planned down the stretch in all four. The polling there has been fairly limited, but it’s been pretty consistent. Biden is quite competitive. If you were to do an aggregation of the polls that are available in those states, Biden’s down maybe a point or two at most. In other words, Biden’s much closer to leading in Georgia, Iowa, Ohio and Texas than Trump is in Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, let alone Minnesota. Indeed, it’s quite possible he’s actually up in either Georgia, Iowa, Ohio or Texas, and we just don’t know it because there isn’t enough fresh data. For example, Clinton only lost in Georgia by five points in 2016, and Biden’s doing about five points better in the national polls than she did in the final vote. It would make sense, therefore, that Biden’s quite close to Trump there at this point. Wins in any of those states by Biden could push his Electoral College tally up to about 340 electoral votes or higher, depending on which states Biden wins. Victories in all four would push him well over 400 electoral votes.Models such as those produced by FiveThirtyEight show just how possible it is for Biden to blow Trump out of the water. The model actually anticipates a better chance of Trump closing his deficit than Biden expanding it. Even so, Biden has a better chance (about 45%) of winning 340 electoral votes than Trump has of winning the election (about 25%). Biden’s chance of taking 400 electoral votes is pretty much the same of Trump winning. Of course, the ramifications of a Biden blowout versus a small Biden win aren’t anywhere close to being the same as a small Biden win versus a small Trump win. It’s easy to understand why the focus of a potential error is on Trump benefiting from it. In 2012, however, we saw the leading candidate (Barack Obama) win pretty much all of the close states.In fact, there’s no reason to think that any polling error at the end of the campaign won’t benefit the candidate who is already ahead. That’s happened plenty of times. Whether it be Obama in 2012 or most infamously Ronald Reagan in 1980. The thing to keep in mind is that it is possible one candidate runs the board because polling errors are correlated across states. That’s exactly what happened in 2016, when Trump won most of the close states. This year we just don’t know how it’s going to play out. Just keep in mind that the potential change in this race could go to Biden’s benefit as well as Trump’s. Before we bid adieu: The theme song of the week is the closing credits to Murphy Brown.
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At least 40 rounds were fired during shooting that left two dead at a party in New York

(CNN)At least 40 rounds were fired during a shooting that left two people dead and over a dozen others injured at a house party in upstate New York, authorities said.The party in Rochester started early Saturday as an invite-only event before it eventually grew in size after two nearby parties “infiltrated” the house. Three or…

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At least 40 rounds were fired during shooting that left two dead at a party in New York

(CNN)At least 40 rounds were fired during a shooting that left two people dead and over a dozen others injured at a house party in upstate New York, authorities said.The party in Rochester started early Saturday as an invite-only event before it eventually grew in size after two nearby parties “infiltrated” the house. Three or four people had handguns, Capt. Frank Umbrino said. The two people killed and 14 wounded were in their late teens to early 20s. Police responded to calls of gunshots around 12:25 a.m. and were met with 100 to 200 people attempting to flee on foot and in vehicles, he said. Those killed did not live at the home and they were not the intended targets, Umbrino said. No suspects were in custody, and no motive was immediately known.”A number of our young people — babies — that came to just hang out a little while … left running for their lives. And that’s just something that we cannot have happen,” Mayor Lovely Warren said during a visit to the neighborhood Saturday. The party’s host told her she “invited a couple friends over, who invited a couple friends over who invited a couple friends over.””And it just got out of control. She’s just traumatized,” Warren said.Warren appealed for calm and healing in a city recently roiled by protests in a different high-profile case — the death of Daniel Prude after an encounter with police earlier this year.The party took place despite several restrictions on gatherings. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the city has told residents to limit social gatherings to household members and not to gather in groups.Additionally, since July, the city has banned gatherings of more than five people from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. to curb what the city said was a rise in violence.Police were not aware of the party beforehand, and had not received any calls for disturbance, Acting Police Chief Mark Simmons said.The shooting comes as the city and police department deal with the case of Prude, who died in March after Rochester police pinned him to the ground. The release of body camera footage this month led to protests and accusations that local leaders hid details about Prude’s death from the public.This week, Simmons succeeded the previous chief, who was fired over the fallout. A New York City law firm is leading an independent investigation into the city’s handling of the case. Also, New York ‘s attorney general has said she would empanel a grand jury to investigate Prude’s death.CNN’s Jason Hanna, Christina Maxouris, Alec Snyder and Alta Spells contributed to this report.
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