On today’s episode of the 5 Things podcast: Election Day in America
We have you covered from Virginia to New Jersey, and more. Plus, Supreme Court correspondent John Fritze breaks down the Supreme Court’s early comments on the Texas abortion law, health reporter Elizabeth Weise talks about the last hurdle to clear before kids aged 5-11 begin receiving COVID-19 vaccines, world leaders struggle to convince the public their words mean action at the COP26 climate summit and residents in Minneapolis will decide whether to erase their police department from the city’s charter.
Hit play on the player above to hear the podcast and follow along with the transcript below. This transcript was automatically generated, and then edited for clarity in its current form. There may be some differences between the audio and the text.
Good morning, I’m Taylor Wilson and this is 5 Things you need to know, Tuesday, the 2nd of November 2021. Today, Election Day in America plus the Supreme Court’s early takes on Texas abortion law challenges, and more. Here are some of the top headlines.
- A jury was selected in just a single day yesterday for the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse. He’s charged with killing two people and injuring a third during protests last year after the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
- Today is the last of Day of the Dead celebrations across Mexico. The holiday pays respect to friends and family members who have died.
- And tonight is Game 6 of the World Series. The Atlanta Braves are on top of the Houston Astros, three games to two, and could win it all tonight, while the Astros will try to stay alive and force a Game 7.
It’s Election Day in America. Voters will head to the polls in local and state elections in some parts of the country. That includes the governor’s race in Virginia. Democrat Terry McAuliffe is going up against Republican Glenn Youngkin and the election could set the blueprint for nationwide midterms next year. Virginia is an increasingly purple state with more and more Democrat wins over the past decade, including McAuliffe himself in 2013, but the current contest is too close to call according to recent polls. The RealClearPolitics website average of polls gives Youngkin a slight lead, though still within the margins of error. McAuliffe said last month that he was not surprised the race was close, while also mentioning a familiar name.
The idea that this is close should not shock anybody. This is not a presidential year turnout with billions and billions of dollars spent advertising and get out the vote operations so I’m trying to engage voters to turn out. I’m trying to explain to them that Trump, this is as big as it’s ever been for Trump. I got a candidate who’s been endorsed by Trump five times. He, quote, has said, “So much of the reason why I’m running is because of Donald Trump.” He actually said that and so he’s brought Trump into this race. Glenn Youngkin will ban abortions here in Virginia. He’s made it very clear. This is no longer hypothetical. So I tell Democrats, Donald Trump, desperate for a win here, if Glenn Youngkin wins it’s a win for Donald Trump and you’re going to begin his political comeback.
At his last rally before Election Day Glenn Youngkin also put the Virginia race in a national context.
Do you know what’s at stake? We do, the future of this commonwealth. The future of this country is going to be decided tomorrow. Our nation’s history is our commonwealth’s history and our nation’s future is going to be determined by the present. How we vote tomorrow will make such a statement, such a statement for families around this great country to have hope, to recognize that, yes, the values that we hold dear, the values that underpin this country are still alive and well and we can put them into action tomorrow.
But Virginia is not the only place with major elections. New Jersey will choose a governor with incumbent Democrat Phil Murphy leading Republican Jack Ciattarelli in polls. In New York City, Democrat Eric Adams is widely expected to beat out Republican Curtis Sliwa for mayor and Atlanta will choose a new mayor with a huge chunk of voters still undecided among a large group of candidates, according to recent polling. You can check out other races to keep an eye on at usatoday.com/politics, or by clicking a link in today’s episode description.
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments yesterday in two cases challenging the restrictive and controversial Texas abortion law that included one lawsuit from the Biden administration. Supreme Court Correspondent, John Fritze, has the latest from Washington.
It was a fascinating argument. It went for three hours. It was a very lively argument, perhaps the highest profile argument the court has had so far this term. Term began in October. I think what was pretty clear to me is that you’ve got three justices, what we often refer to as the liberals – Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan – who are going to be, it looks to me based on in the questioning, against Texas and in favor of trying to put this law on hold. And you’ve got three justices, I think you could argue, the most conservative on the court – Alito, Thomas and Gorsuch – who are going to be for Texas and very strongly raised these questions about jurisdiction and the parties. Are they the correct parties? Can the United States bring a lawsuit?
Then you’ve got the three, for lack of a better term, in the middle and it’s Kavanaugh, Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Barrett. And I thought Justice Kavanaugh, in particular, a lot of his questions Monday were dealing with the impact of this. And what the conservatives are really worried about is the way this law was structured, it impacting other rights. But, basically, what Texas has done here is said, “Well, look, we’re not going to enforce this ban on abortions, we’re going to let private citizens do it.” And the concern for conservatives is that, well, if you can do that for abortion, then you can do it for guns. You can say, “Look, I know there’s a Second Amendment right to have a gun but we’re going to pass a law that says any citizen can sue somebody who sells someone else a gun. We’re going to let them sue that gun shop for a million dollars for each gun. So we’re not violating any constitutional principles, right? We’re going to let this sort of work its way out in court.”
So I think one of the things that really came up on Monday was that line of argument. If you allow Texas to do this, to sort of subvert the normal process, which is what they’re doing, what happens if blue states start doing it in other areas of the law? And I think that’s an argument that really resonated with at least Kavanaugh, maybe Barrett, maybe Roberts, some of the conservatives.
To read more you can search Supreme Court on usatoday.com.
Well, there’s one last hurdle before the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine becomes available for younger children. A CDC panel will meet today to make more detailed recommendations on whether kids aged 5 to 11 should get vaccinated against COVID-19 with a final decision by the agency’s director expected shortly after. Health Reporter Elizabeth Weise has more.
It is a long and complex process for vaccine shots to actually get in arms, which is good, it’s what we want. But, it goes through multiple gatekeepers. So last week we had the FDA Outside Advisory Panel, which met the VRBPAC. It met, it asked a ton of questions, spent eight hours grilling scientists and people from Pfizer. All that information goes to the FDA. And then, on Friday, the FDA said, “Yes, we are going to issue an Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer vaccine for 5 to 11 year olds.” So that’s good.
That doesn’t mean the shots come out because now what happens, on Tuesday, is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s own outside committee, which is called the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which is 15 people who are very, very knowledgeable about vaccines, they spend a whole day meeting and hearing information, asking questions and at the very end they vote to say, “Yes, we recommend this,” or, “No, we don’t.”
That information goes to the head of the CDC, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, and then she will make the ultimate decision whether or not to say, “Yes, these vaccines should go out to children.” She will sign off. There will be some piece of paper she physically signs and, with that action, it becomes legal to give the vaccines to kids. We are anticipating, given what CDC has done in the past around this vaccine, it’s likely to happen Tuesday night which means actual kids getting shots will very likely begin Wednesday morning.
As always, you can stay up on all things COVID-19 by visiting our live COVID updates page on usatoday.com.
World leaders arrived yesterday in Scotland for the COP26 United Nations climate summit. It’s the latest gathering of leaders to address a warming planet. Even as many countries, including the United States, continue to fall short on emissions reduction targets and struggle with domestic climate change legislation. British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, welcomed those leaders to the UK.
Welcome to Glasgow and to Scotland whose most globally famous fictional son is almost certainly a man called James Bond who generally comes to the climax of his highly lucrative films strapped to a doomsday device and we are in roughly the same position. My fellow global leaders, as James Bond today, except that the tragedy is this is not a movie.
And President Joe Biden both pushed some blame to the Trump administration while also accepting a sense of urgency for climate action.
I guess I shouldn’t apologize but I do apologize for the fact the United States’ last administration pulled out of the Paris Accords and put us sort of behind the eight ball. Our meeting here in Glasgow isn’t the end of the journey. We all know, and I know we all know this, and you know it as well or better than I do, many of you, it’s really just a starting line to begin to really take, for the first time, really decisive action.
According to Biden’s National Climate Advisor, Gina McCarthy, the president’s concrete goals include decarbonizing the power sector, electrifying transportation and buildings, transforming industry, reducing non-CO2 emissions and reinvigorating natural lands. He also wants the country to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The Paris Climate Agreement aims to limit global warming to below two degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels but recent science shows the world is not on track to do so. A UN report out last month found that even under current pledges, the planet would warm by 2.7 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century. Leaders, activists and scientists will be expected to present plans this week, and next, to change that course but the conference is already off to a rocky start since China, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, did not send leader Xi Jinping, and the same goes for Russian President Vladimir Putin. Meanwhile, President Biden’s trip comes as he struggles to pass new domestic climate legislation on Capitol Hill.
Residents in Minneapolis will decide today if they’d like to erase their police department from the city’s charter. Instead, the city would create a new Department of Public Safety focused on mental health, civilian wellbeing and social services. The vote will likely be tight but is trending toward overhauling the police department. A poll out last month showed 49% of likely registered voters supported the move to replace the department while 41% were opposed. Minister JaNae’ Bates is a supporter of the policing measure.
We allow for an actual real public safety system that puts the needs of the city first and it allows the city to have a citywide accountability and transparent measure with police officers. The current model of policing does not work.
While Bishop Richard D. Howell, Jr. is an opponent.
Bishop Richard D. Howell, Jr.:
We need a police chief. We need a police department. It’s unfortunate that it took George Floyd’s death for this epiphany to be manifested at this time, but still, you don’t have to make it worse by taking away the police department.
If the policing question is approved criminal justice and political observers say it could signal momentum for similar changes around the country. But, if it fails, national police overhauls could lose a sense of urgency. A similar measure already collapsed at the federal level earlier this year. In Minneapolis, the police measure is known as Question 2 and is one of three ballot measures that would dramatically change government there. Question 1 would strip the mayor of some power on city matters. And the third measure would allow the council to enact rent control.
Thanks for listening to 5 Things. A reminder, you can find us wherever you’re listening right now, seven days a week. And if you’re on Apple podcast, we ask for a rating and review if you have a chance. And a big thanks to PJ Elliott for his great work on the show. I’ll be back with more of 5 Things tomorrow, from USA Today.