The World and Everything in It — October 20, 2020

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!

Immigration policy hasn’t been a big talking point for either presidential candidate. But it’s still an important part of their platforms. We’ll hear about where they stand on the issue.

MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Also a tie vote in the electoral college can happen. We’ll talk about what happens if it does.

Plus Civics 101 from the confirmation hearing of Amy Coney Barrett.

And how do you like those dueling yard signs this time of year? Our newest commentator has some thoughts on that.

REICHARD: It’s Tuesday, October 20th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham. Good morning!

REICHARD: Time for news. Here’s Kent Covington.

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Pelosi, White House remain at odds on COVID relief » Democrats and the White House still aren’t ready to shake on a new COVID-19 relief package. 

On Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said today is the deadline to deliver another relief bill before the election. 

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Monday that President Trump has agreed to a $1.9 trillion price tag, moving closer to Democrats’ $2.2 trillion offer.

MEADOWS: And he’s willing to give some additional money in terms of direct payments. He’s willing to give some additional money in terms of PPP help to restaurants and hotels and small businesses.

But White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah said those provisions aren’t really the sticking point. 

FARAH: What we have concerns with and where the fault lines continue to lie is over state and local assistance, which is essentially asking for bailouts of states that have been mismanaged for years, mostly Democrat-run states, unrelated to the COVID crisis. 

Speaker Pelosi says those state and local funds are about providing resources for testing, contact tracing, supplies for healthcare workers, and other life-saving measures.

Many GOP lawmakers are skittish about adding trillions more to the deficit. Senate Republicans are pushing a streamlined $500 billion relief bill.

COVID-19 surging in Midwest » As coronavirus infections continue to accelerate in many parts of the world, the Midwest may be the latest hotspot in the United States. 

At a news conference Monday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said her city is now averaging about 500 new cases per day. 

LIGHTFOOT: This is the highest daily rate we’ve seen in Chicago since the tail end of the pandemic’s first wave back in May. 

Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Indiana recently reported record one-day increases. 

A Wisconsin judge on Monday reimposed an order from Gov. Tony Evers’ administration limiting capacity at bars, restaurants, and other indoor venues to 25 percent. A different judge blocked the order last week in response to a legal challenge. 

The state has seen an alarming spike in new cases. It’s now averaging nearly 3,000 daily infections. That’s up from less than 700 in early September. Hospitalizations and deaths are also rising in Wisconsin. 

Ratcliffe: No evidence that Russia is behind Hunter Biden report » The U.S. Director of National Intelligence says claims that Russia is behind a recent report about Joe Biden and his son Hunter are not accurate. 

John Ratcliffe told Fox Business…

RATCLIFFE: In this case, with regard to Hunter Biden’s laptop being part of a Russian disinformation campaign and the intelligence community believing that or assessing that is simply not true. 

GOP lawmakers are calling for further investigation into emails allegedly found on a laptop belonging to Hunter Biden. 

The New York Post recently reported on the unconfirmed emails, which it said showed corrupt dealings between the Bidens and a Ukrainian gas company. The Biden campaign denies the report. 

Twitter no longer blocking NY Post article, similar stories » And Twitter is no longer censoring tweets about the New York Post article on its platform. That after Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said it was wrong to block links to the story. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin reports. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Twitter initially blocked links to the story claiming it violated the company’s policy about sharing private or hacked information. 

But the company’s head of legal, policy, trust and safety, Vijaya Gadde, said it will no longer remove hacked material unless it’s directly shared by hackers or those working with them.

Gadde said it will instead label such tweets to—in her words—“provide context.” 

Republicans have blasted Twitter for censoring some tweets and accounts while selectively annotating other tweets with links to contradicting viewpoints. 

For example, Twitter has added links to some of President Trump’s tweets about mail-in voting. Those added links led users to web pages with opinions and information that counter his claims. 

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.

World Series begins » The LA Dodgers and the Tampa Bay Rays will battle tonight in game one of the World Series. 

As with the last two rounds of the playoffs, the teams will play in a so-called bubble to guard against the coronavirus. They’ll play all games in the best-of-seven series at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. 

But a little more than 10,000 fans will be in the stands. That’s about 25 percent of capacity. All fans will have to wear masks and socially distance. 

First pitch is scheduled for 8:09 p.m. Eastern Time.

I’m Kent Covington.

Straight ahead: immigration policy and this year’s election.

Plus, Whitney Williams on warring yard signs.

This is The World and Everything in It.

MARY REICHARD: It’s Tuesday the 20th of October, 2020. We’re so glad you’ve joined us today for The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.

MEGAN BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham. First up, immigration and the election. During the 2016 presidential election, nearly three-quarters of the country said immigration policy was a top issue. And that made it a main talking point for both Republicans and Democrats.

REICHARD: Four years later, just over half of voters say it’s a top issue. And none of the top candidates are talking about it on the campaign trail. WORLD’s Sarah Schweinsberg reports now on why that is.

SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: Four years ago, the presidential candidates brought up immigration often. At rallies… 

TRUMP: We’re going to build the wall. We have no choice. 

CLINTON: He is talking about deporting more than one-half of the 2.4 million farmworkers who help feed our country.

…and in the presidential debates.  

TRUMP: We need strong borders. They’re coming in illegally. Drugs are pouring into the border.

CLINTON: My comprehensive immigration reform plan of course includes border security.

Fast forward four years, and border issues haven’t come up in either the presidential or vice presidential debates.

There’s also been little talk of immigration on the final leg of the campaign trail. 

Muzaffar Chishti is a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute. He says the coronavirus pandemic has pushed—and kept—other issues in the forefront.

CHISHTI: The healthcare concerns and the economic consequences of those health conditions have sort of upended everything. That’s the reason it has not gotten the salience as it did in 2016.

The pandemic has also led to another change: significantly fewer migrants arriving at the southern border. Last year, nearly a million people made the journey. This year, that number has dropped by half

Travel and border restrictions have made it more difficult for migrants to journey north. And the Trump administration has sealed the southern border since March—immediately turning migrants around. 

Theresa Brown is an immigration policy advisor at the Bipartisan Policy Center. She says fewer arrivals have made immigration issues less pressing. 

BROWN: The issues of people arriving at the border have declined significantly in the national discourse. You don’t see as many national news stories about it primarily because there’s a lot fewer people trying to come across the border.

Even though it’s not top of voters’ minds, both President Trump and Joe Biden do have immigration policy platforms. So what can the country expect after November 3rd? 

Theresa Brown says if President Trump wins a second term, he will build on the policies he implemented during the last four years. 

That includes continued construction on the southern border wall. The president would also continue sending asylum seekers back to Mexico while awaiting asylum claim hearings. That’s instead of placing migrants in detention centers. 

And he would enforce stricter requirements for legal immigrants and establish a merit-based system. 

BROWN: If you want to understand what a second Trump term might look like for immigration, the best you can do is sort of look at what they have been doing, and think there’ll probably be more of the same. 

Ali Noorani is the president of America Is Better, an immigration advocacy non-profit. He says President Trump is also likely to keep the number of refugees who can enter the country each year low. 

NOORANI: I think we would continue to see drastic cuts to refugee resettlement numbers.

Democratic-challenger Joe Biden has promised to reverse the Trump administration’s policies and replace them with pro-immigrant ones.

He would halt border wall construction. He’d restore the DACA program that protects from deportation children brought to the country illegally by their parents. Biden would increase the number of employment-based green cards the government gives out. And he’d propose a pathway to citizenship for immigrants already in the country illegally.

Biden’s platform says he will protect people living in the country under Temporary Protective Status from being deported. And he would raise the number of refugees admitted. 

The far-left wing of the Democratic party has advocated abolishing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency or ICE. Biden has not voiced support for that policy. 

But Theresa Brown at the Bipartisan Policy Institute says so far Biden has been light on policy specifics. 

BROWN: There’s a lot of outstanding questions about how this might work. There’s not a lot of detail about reforms to the legal immigration system, or employment based visas. 

Some immigration advocates think the former vice president has missed an opportunity with voters—on the debate stage and the campaign trail—to discuss his pro-immigrant agenda. 

But Migration Policy Institute’s Muzaffar Chishti says at this point, it’s not politically beneficial for either candidate to spend too much time talking on the subject.

President Trump must consider that voter support for immigrants has grown since 2016. Back then, four in 10 voters said immigrants are good for the country. Today, six in 10 agree. And a recent Gallup poll found that Americans want more immigration than less for the first time in half a century.

And while Democrats want immigration reform, they disagree over how far it should go. 

CHISHTI: So they would rather avoid immigration as the subject, because then all these fissures within the Democratic Party would come out. 

The final presidential debate is scheduled for Thursday. Theresa Brown and other analysts hope immigration policy will finally make an appearance. 

BROWN: I think it’s important that the American people hear from the candidates there what I believe are very different views of immigration and what immigration policy should be.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.

MEGAN BASHAM: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: the Electoral College.

Americans are bracing for a very long night on November 3rd. In fact, this year’s election tally could drag on for weeks, as absentee and mail-in ballots are counted and likely disputed. But what if, after all the votes are finally in, we end up with a tie? Is that even possible?

MARY REICHARD: WORLD reporter Kyle Ziemnick ran the numbers, read up on the history, and joins us now to help answer that question. Good morning, Kyle!

KYLE ZIEMNICK, REPORTER: Good morning! Thanks so much for having me.

REICHARD: OK, so we have 538 votes in the Electoral College. That means each candidate would need to secure 269 votes to reach a tie. Tell us how that could happen.

ZIEMNICK: It really wouldn’t take too much of a change from 2016. Joe Biden would have to win every state Hillary Clinton won. And he would have to flip Pennsylvania, Michigan, and the 2nd Congressional District of Maine, which has only one electoral vote. President Donald Trump would have to hold on to every other state he carried four years ago. That gives us a 269-269 electoral count. Statistically, of course, it’s not probable, but it’s certainly possible.

REICHARD: What’s the procedure to follow in the event of a tie?

ZIEMNICK: According to the 12th Amendment, the House of Representatives would decide the election. Since the Democrats control the House, you might think Biden wins. But they don’t decide by a simple majority vote. Instead, the House votes by state delegations. As an example, Wisconsin has eight representatives. Five of those are Republicans, and three are Democrats. So Republicans control Wisconsin’s delegation. Overall right now, Republicans have a 26-24 lead in state delegations, and they’re favored to keep that through the election. That means they’d have the edge if the election goes into the House.

REICHARD: This is all theoretical, of course, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi isn’t treating it as an impossible outcome, is she? What has she done to prepare for this possibility?

ZIEMNICK: No, Pelosi is a savvy politician. She sent a letter to Democratic fundraisers last month urging them to give money to races that could flip the GOP lead in state delegations. She knows, though, that their chances to do so don’t look good.

REICHARD: What else could Democrats do to block a Republican vote in the House?

ZIEMNICK: There are some nearly unprecedented options. The current House won’t vote on any presidential deadlock. Instead, it’ll be the House elected in a couple weeks. And Pelosi and the Democratic majority could theoretically refuse to seat newly elected Republican representatives. That would be a nuclear option that could set really horrific precedent for future elections. But it’s possible. Pelosi could also go the route of negotiations. She could potentially persuade Republicans to vote for Biden by giving them other policy concessions.

REICHARD: If we find ourselves in this position in mid-November, it won’t be a first in American history, will it?

ZIEMNICK: No, it won’t. In 1800, Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr tied in electoral votes. You might remember this from the hit musical Hamilton. The House eventually gave that election to Jefferson. In 1824, Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams both failed to get an electoral majority. Because of some potentially sketchy compromises, the House ended up awarding Adams that election. And in 1876, Congress appointed a panel to award contested electoral votes, and thus the election, to Republican Rutherford B. Hayes. There was almost a civil revolt in the wake, but Republicans compromised by ending Reconstruction in the South. So America has definitely been through this kind of thing before.

REICHARD: Interesting history, but not one I think most of us would like to repeat! Kyle Ziemnick is a reporter for WORLD Digital. You can read his work at Thanks for joining us today!

ZIEMNICK: Of course, Mary! Great talking with you.

MARY REICHARD: Well, Megan you’ve written a book and I’ve got dreams of one myself, but wow, talk about work! Countless hours of research, toiling over a keyboard, writing, rewriting, the editing process. My goodness!

So with all that labor involved you can imagine how British author Susie Dent must have felt when she got ahold of her just published book. 

Chock full of typos and errors!

Dent said she felt “sick” and even—her words—“gutted” as she read through it. Worse, the title of her book is “Word Perfect,” about the English language! 

Here’s what happened: Somehow an unedited version of the text made its way to the printing press instead of the final draft. 

Dent’s publisher John Murray Press released a statement saying:

“We’re very sorry that, due to a printing error, early copies of WORD PERFECT are not word perfect.”

The publisher is recalling the bad copies and reprinting everything. 

Not perfect, but the right thing to do.

It’s The World and Everything in It.

MARY REICHARD: Today is Tuesday, October 20th. This is WORLD Radio. We thank you for listening today! 

Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.

MEGAN BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham.

Last week, Judge Amy Coney Barrett spent four days before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill. There were lots of memorable moments, but one in particular caught the attention of many on social media. This exchange with Senator John Cornyn:

CORNYN: Most of us have multiple notebooks, notes, and books, and things like that in front of us. Can you hold up what you’ve been referring to when answering our questions?

Amy Coney Barrett holds up a blank notepad.

CORNYN: Is there anything on it?

BARRETT: The letterhead that says “United States Senate.”

CORNYN: That’s impressive.

Meme creators across the political spectrum took a freeze frame of that footage and superimposed their own messages on the blank pad. Most were humorous, but some were quite poignant—illustrating the implications of her confirmation one way or another.

REICHARD: When the hearings began last Monday, committee members each had 10-minutes for opening statements. Many used that time for political posturing and virtue signaling. But a few took the opportunity to provide an important civics lesson on the Constitution, the confirmation process, and the courts.

WORLD’s Paul Butler culled through those comments and brings us a few excerpts. They have been edited for time and flow.

PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: Day one of Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee didn’t include any official questioning. Chairman Lindsey Graham opened the hearing with the following ground rules:

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: The first day has traditionally been opening statements by my colleagues. Everybody will have 10 minutes to talk about their views of the hearing and what this is all about. 

All 22-members of the committee spoke. Most attended in person, but a few joined remotely—like Texas Senator Ted Cruz. 

CRUZ: Good morning. Good morning to judge Barrett… 

After a historical overview of the confirmation process over the years, and demonstrating how this one isn’t that unique. Senator Cruz suggested there are two fundamentally different views of the Supreme Court at play. Some wish it to become a de facto policy making body. While others—like himself—take a different view:

TED CRUZ: The court’s job is to decide cases according to the law and to leave policy making to the elected legislators. Now, look, that doesn’t mean policymaking is unimportant. In fact, it means to the contrary, policymaking is very important and the people need to have a direct check on policy making. You know what, if a rogue court implements policies you don’t like, you, the American people, have very limited ability to check them. If a rogue Congress implements policies you don’t like, you have a direct ability to check us by throwing the bums out and voting them out and voting in new representatives.

About 20 minutes later Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska decided to offer a civics lesson. He began by speaking of hypothetical 8th graders watching the hearings as part of their government classes. 

BEN SASSE: The Chairman said at the beginning of this hearing, there was a time when people that would be as different as Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia could both go through the Senate and get confirmation votes of 95 or 98 votes. And the Chairman said at the beginning of the hearing he doesn’t know what happened between then and now. I think some of what happened between that and now is we decided to forget what civics are and allow politics to swallow everything. 

Senator Sasse identified civics as the “stuff we’re all supposed to agree on regardless of policy view differences.” And whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, Green Party member, or Libertarian, these things don’t change. Like how the legislative branch passes laws, the executive branch enforces laws, and the courts apply laws. Or like the principle of religious liberty.

SASSE: You don’t need the government’s permission to have religious liberty. Religious liberty is the default assumption of our entire system. And because religious liberty is the fundamental 101 rule in American life, we don’t have religious tests. This committee isn’t in the business of deciding whether the dogma lives too loudly within someone. 

Not much later, it was Josh Hawley’s turn. The Senator from Missouri built further on Sasse’s comments. Hawley warned of the apparent “religious test” present in many of the comments against the nominee. He offered this historical lesson:

JOSH HAWLEY: Article 6 of the Constitution of the United States, before we even get to the Bill of Rights, Article 6 of the Constitution of the United States says clearly, and I quote, “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” 

Now that was big news in 1787, when it was written, and it’s worth remembering why. It’s because no country, no Republic in the history of the world had ever guaranteed to its citizens the right to freedom of conscience, and religious liberty. Every other country that had ever existed tied together the religious beliefs that would be approved by the powerful, and the right to serve in office, or to vote or just to be a citizen.

In every other country across history, you had to agree with what those in power agreed with in order to hold office or be a citizen in good standing.

So when our founders put Article 6 into the Constitution in the United States, they were making a very deliberate choice. They were breaking with all of that past history and they were saying in America, it would be different. In the United States of America, we would not allow the ruling class to have veto power over your faith, over what Americans believed, over who we gathered with to worship, and why, and where, and how. No, in this country, the people of the United States would be free to follow their own religious convictions, free to worship, free to exercise their religion, and people of faith would be welcome in the public sphere.

65 million Americans are Catholics and many, many millions more are Christians of other persuasions. Are they to be told that they cannot serve in public office? That they are not welcome in the public sphere unless the members of this committee sign off on their religious beliefs? I, for one, do not want to live in such an America. And the Constitution of the United States flatly prohibits it.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on Barrett’s nomination later this week. She is expected to make it out of committee by a vote of 12 to 10. The entire Senate will more than likely call for a confirmation vote sometime next week, or at least before the November 3rd election.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Paul Butler.

MARY REICHARD: Today is Tuesday, October 20th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from WORLD Radio, supported by listeners. I’m Mary Reichard.

MEGAN BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham. Next up, we welcome a new voice to the program!

She’s someone you might even have talked to by phone or you might have received a note from her at some point. That’s because Whitney Williams keeps track of donors who support this program and makes sure to thank them for that support. Oh, and she’s also mother to three young boys.

REICHARD: So I can imagine we’ll hear more about that in the days to come! For today, Whitney turns her attention to the one thing on just about everyone’s mind these days: the election.

WHITNEY WILLIAMS, COMMENTATOR: Maybe I’m a snowflake, but I’m not a fan of our current political climate.

I’ve tried to get away from the drama in my own way. Avoid the mainstream media. Avoid talk radio. Avoid the presidential debates.  I’ve even unfollowed people on social media, even those I agree with.

So, I’ve hunkered down at home, busy working and homeschooling my 7-year-old. And trying to keep straight which of my 3-year-old twins gets the middle car seat next.

But even with my efforts to avoid politics, a yard sign shows up. My neighbor put up a Trump sign. Even in my small Texas town, that’s a statement. 

It felt like fightin’ words.

How might a Biden supporter take my neighbor’s statement? 

I didn’t have to wonder for very long.

Pretty soon, the family across the street from the Trump sign put up no less than four anti-Trump signs. Not just your everyday Biden/Harris signs, mind you. Each had a mocking illustration of our president’s hair. Two said “nope,” one said “nah,” and the last one a denunciation that included the word, H-E-double hockey sticks.

I’m sure that’ll really stick it to ‘em.

Now, right behind those signs is a nice welcome sign. But I’m not sure I believe it.

When I saw those warring signs, my stomach turned. I feel the tension every single day as I drive by those houses, divided by a road. A visual of the division in this country. The signs screaming at one another. At me.

I’ve chosen my own side, of course, but I don’t want to scream about it.

And I can’t help but wonder.  How would these neighbors treat each other if they happened to walk out to their mailboxes at the same time? Would they say hi? Avoid eye contact? Feel awkward at all?

When a Christian puts up a political sign I wonder, what’s the motive? Does he think he’ll sway an undecided voter? What do these signs accomplish? Don’t they deepen the divide we already feel?

As Americans, as Christians, don’t we want unity? Peace? At least as far as is possible? My soul longs for it.

This longing takes me back to a few years ago when my family was on vacation—my parents bickering about directions in the front seat. My husband and I in the back. My husband was in full-on vacation mode and he’d had enough of the argument up front.

He spread his arms out across the back seat and super chilled out, suggested over their warring voices, “Can’t we all just loooooove?” Everybody laughed, and my parents took their argument down a few notches.

“Can’t we all just looove?” I wondered again as I passed through the signs this morning. Stop the arguing, you know?

The Holy Spirit answered, “yes.” Christians must be peacemakers. Scripture commands it, through Paul’s writing in Romans: “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live in peace with everyone.”

Hey, maybe I’ll have a sign made!

I’m Whitney Williams.

MEGAN BASHAM: Tomorrow: With President Trump trailing in the polls, Republican strategists are focusing their attention on keeping the Senate. We’ll check in on some of the key contests.

And, we’ll revisit a young woman searching for a diagnosis while resting in God’s purpose.

That and more tomorrow. 

I’m Megan Basham.

MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard.

The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.

WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.

Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

Go now in grace and peace.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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