The US elections are officially open: North Carolina started an email vote on Friday for the competition between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden on November 3rd, which is getting uglier by the hour.
Two months before election day, Trump picks up on fears of violent protests in US cities and questions the integrity of postal voting, while challenger Biden intensified his criticism of a “unfortunate” leader who, in his opinion, is not fit for office .
Concerns about the undiminished spread of the coronavirus are expected to spike the number of postal ballots as millions try to avoid polling stations.
In a country hit by the health crisis and a national racial reckoning, the next 60 days will test the ability of the world‘s largest economy to organize its elections as it struggles through a pandemic that killed 187,000 Americans is fundamentally changed.
North Carolina should send more than 600,000 ballots in response to a surge in demand.
Other major battlefield states such as Wisconsin, which both candidates have visited in the past few days, will follow in the coming weeks.
How Americans vote has become another focal point in an increasingly divisive political landscape.
Seeds of doubt
A recent poll by USA Today and Suffolk University found that 56 percent of Republican voters polled said they would vote in person, while only 26 percent of Democrats would.
One in four Biden voters said that if the former Democratic vice president loses on November 3rd, he would not be willing to accept a Trump victory as a “fair win.” About one in five Trump voters said something similar.
As he goes for a second term of four years, Trump has for months expressed doubts about the legitimacy of an election with a significant number of mail-in votes.
Trump – who votes by mail himself in his adopted home state of Florida – has repeatedly said without evidence that mail-in voting could lead to widespread fraud.
He’s even proposed to his followers to vote twice to test the system – something that despises him on social media and by Democrats.
The tense campaign turned heated Thursday when Atlantic Magazine, citing four anonymous sources, reported that Trump called the US Marines buried in a World War I cemetery in France “losers” and “fools” for being killed in action .
When Trump visited France in November 2018 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, he did not visit the American cemetery Aisne-Marne near Paris – officially because bad weather brought his helicopter to the ground.
The backlash was quick and Trump sent a barrage of tweets to defend himself.
“Atlantic magazine is dying, like most magazines, and they are making up a fake story to gain relevance,” wrote the president, who attacked the report as “shameful” in a briefing to White House reporters.
Trump’s allies launched a swift counteroffensive that flooded social media with images of the president accompanied by U.S. soldiers – but others quickly garnered campaign comments from 2016 when he mocked the late Senator John McCain, who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam for years.
The report left Biden as angry as it appeared on the Campaign Trail.
“I just think it’s sick, it’s unfortunate, it’s so un-American, it’s so unpatriotic,” Biden said of Trump’s cited remarks that the Democrat said they believed were reported correctly.
“Who the hell does he think he is?”
Biden got personal when he mentioned his son Beau, a U.S. military veteran and former Delaware attorney general, who died of cancer in 2015.
When Beau “went to Iraq for a year and won the Bronze Star and other awards, he wasn’t a sucker,” Biden said.
Trump later shot back from the White House, accusing reporters of playing softball with his Democratic rival.
“I look at the level of questions you people ask, I mean, honestly, it’s a shame,” Trump scolded.
“They were meant for a child.”
Both candidates are expected to remain off the trail over the three-day Labor Day weekend.
But Trump and Biden could face each other next Friday, as both have scheduled appearances in Shanksville, Pennsylvania on the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
When asked if he’d be invited to share a stage with Trump, Biden said yes, “He’s still the President of the United States.”
(This story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)