10 Things in Politics: Key races to watch on Election Day

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10 THINGS IN POLITICS YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

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Here's what we're talking about:


McAuliffe Youngkin

1. ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Virginians go to the polls today in the most closely watched of the off-year US elections that could foreshadow the fortunes of President Joe Biden and his fellow Democrats in the midterms next year. But the gubernatorial contest isn't the only thing you should be paying attention to tonight.

Here's your guide on what to watch for on Election Day 2021:

Virginia's gubernatorial election has come down to the wire: The University of Virginia-run Sabato's Crystal Ball actually gives the Republican Glenn Youngkin a slight edge in his hopes of becoming the first Republican to win a statewide election there in over a decade. These are the voters who could decide the race.

  • Youngkin seems to have clawed back voters who'd recently backed Democrats: "What we see from the data so far is that those who have been undecided or have classified themselves as independent are leaning towards Youngkin," Brandy S. Faulkner, a political-science professor at Virginia Tech, told Insider.

Minneapolis voters face a critical question about the future of policing: Voters in the city where George Floyd was murdered will consider replacing its police department with a Department of Public Safety, ABC News reports. If passed, police officers would still be on the force, but there would be no required minimum staffing level. More on what's happening in Minneapolis.

Texas is targeting coronavirus-related restrictions: ​​Voters in the nation's second-largest state are to consider a constitutional amendment that would bar the state or any local official from "prohibiting or limiting religious services of religious organizations," CNN reports. The proposed amendment, Proposition 3, is a direct response to stay-at-home orders imposed during the coronavirus pandemic that curtailed religious services in the name of public health. Here's a roundup of all the major ballot measures nationwide.

We'll have plenty of results and analysis tomorrow.


2. Sen. Joe Manchin seeks "greater clarity" on Biden's spending plan: Manchin once again slammed the brakes on Biden's signature spending plan, listing off familiar concerns to reporters while refusing for now to take a firm stance on the now-$1.75 trillion plan. The West Virginia Democrat also urged the House to immediately vote on a separate $550 billion infrastructure bill focused on roads and bridges that the lower chamber has sat on since August. More on where Biden's agenda stands as his party debates the details.


3. Supreme Court seems skeptical of Texas' abortion law: A majority of the Supreme Court justices seemed open to letting abortion providers challenge a Texas law that bans most abortions. Some conservatives on the bench, including President Donald Trump's appointees Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh, seemed skeptical of the law's design. The court is not considering the constitutionality of the law; for now, justices are just weighing the narrower question of whether the Justice Department or state abortion providers can try to block it. More on reading the SCOTUS tea leaves.

  • Key quote: "It could be free-speech rights. It could be free-exercise-of-religion rights. It could be Second Amendment rights if this position is accepted here," Kavanaugh said of the Texas law's unprecedented enforcement mechanism, in which private citizens are the enforcers.

4. Biden apologizes for Trump leaving Paris climate deal: Biden made the remarks during a meeting with world leaders at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland. Biden added that addressing the climate crisis was both a "moral imperative" and an "economic imperative." Also Monday, the White House unveiled a "whole-of-government initiative" that hopes to have $3 billion in funding by the 2024 fiscal year to stymie the global climate crisis. More on Biden's comments at the major climate conference.


5. CDC finds vaccines provide better immunity than just getting COVID-19: A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analysis found that immunity from both vaccines and previous infection was durable for at least six months, The Washington Post reports. Scientists, however, found that vaccination provided a "more robust" immunity than getting infected with COVID-19 alone. Studies also indicate that previously infected people who get vaccinated experience an increase in protection against future infections. This is the CDC's first time weighing in on the politically thorny issue of so-called natural immunity.


6. Hundreds of New York firefighters call in sick to protest vaccine mandate: Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro of the New York City Fire Department told reporters the number of sick-outs in the department stood at 2,300, CNN reports. Mayor Bill de Blasio said roughly 9,000 city employees, or just over 2% of the city's workforce, were on unpaid leave for not complying with the city's mandate. More on the unfolding reaction to New York's vaccine mandate.


A woman working from home on her couch and her manager is standing next to her with a clipboard. Her pet cat is pawing at his elbow. The background is a light beige.

7. Work from home is going to change how you get promoted: Research shows that the new way of managing is a whole lot better than the old one. Instead of evaluating employees based on meaningless considerations — how late they stay at the office, say, or whether they're fun to hang out with around the water cooler — companies are starting to focus on the thing they can best measure from afar: the work employees actually do. Read more about how this could lead to fairer raises and promotions for employees, and bigger profits for companies.


8. Sen. Lindsey Graham urged the police to use their guns during the Capitol riot: Graham was "irate that senators were forced to flee their own chamber," according to an extensive Washington Post report about the insurrection. The Post said the Republican senator "yelled at the Senate sergeant-at-arms: 'What are you doing? Take back the Senate! You've got guns. Use them.'" More on the news.


9. Elon Musk is worth more than the GDP of South Africa: Per Bloomberg's rankings of the world's richest people, Musk is now worth three times as much as the investing wizard Warren Buffett. Musk, who days earlier became the first person tracked by Bloomberg to amass $300 billion in wealth, is now worth more than the gross domestic product of his home country, South Africa, which totaled $301.9 billion last year. More on the Tesla CEO's staggering wealth.


A man displays a framed item.

10. The Google executive who collects presidential hair: Interest in the presidential-hair market surged during the pandemic, as buyers, cooped up at home, splurged on collectibles. Jared Cohen, a Google executive, is among those who couldn't resist locking down an unusual piece of Americana. Everything you wanted to know about those who can't resist a brush with history.


Today's trivia question: On this day in 1948, President Harry Truman defeated Gov. Thomas Dewey of New York to secure reelection. A day later, which newspaper did Truman hold up with a front page that incorrectly called Dewey the winner? Email your answer and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@insider.com.

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