The Daily: Live Election Day Broadcast
Well, we’re four days away from the election and we have no idea what’s going to happen. What will day-of turnout look like? Will vote counting go as planned? And how will President Trump respond to it all? Not sure! But you can find out in real time with us. Because we’re going LIVE.
On Tuesday, we’ll be hosting our first-ever live broadcast of The Daily. Michael Barbaro and Carolyn Ryan, The Times’s deputy managing editor, will be in the studio for the first time in months, talking to reporters and voters scattered across the country to make sense of what’s happening on Election Day. The broadcast will be available only on our website, so tune in at nytimes.com/thedaily on Nov. 3 from 4 to 8 p.m. Eastern time.
Before then, you can catch up on episodes you may have missed with our audio guide to the election. And, in the spirit of Halloween, listen to this spooky remix of Michael’s intro on The Daily, brought to you by our composer Dan Powell.
Also, this week is the last chance to share your thoughts on this newsletter. What would you like to see more (or less) of each week? Take this quick three-minute survey to make your voice heard.
Looking back at The Field
The weirdness started in the hallway of a Des Moines Marriott.
In February, the producer Clare Toeniskoetter was sitting on the floor outside of The Times’s Iowa caucus conference room, deep in the flow state required to make an episode of The Daily in just a few hours. Then the news broke that the app reporting the caucus results had failed. “Everyone was jaw-dropped and making phone calls trying to figure out what went wrong,” Clare said.
Keep up with Election 2020
We thought that night would be a fluke. Looking back, it was an apt kickoff for the chaos that followed.
While we started off the year with well-made plans (we were going to send producers every week into the field! We wanted to visit dozens of states!), those logistics were sent through the garbage disposal of 2020, just like everything else.
So in March, we called one another from our couches and charted out new (and virtual) ways to meet voters across the country. Away from the office, some relocating to new cities or hometowns, our producers working from Florida to Minnesota found themselves tapped to be local reporters, covering protests and swing states with new proximity.
All told, we still made it to 16 states. We saw the stakes change, stump speeches rewritten and a Supreme Court transformed. We met union members, protesters and the ladies of Red, Wine and Blue. Along the way, we played slots, sang “Les Mis” and cracked cold beers in unfamiliar hotel rooms to decompress.
This week, as we’re approaching the end of our journey through the field for the 2020 campaign cycle, we spoke with suburban women in Ohio, gun owners in Washington State and retirement home residents in Florida. As Election Day nears closer, we asked our producers to share a few of their favorite moments from this year:
I loved being able to tell the story of the Culinary Workers Union, whose members are the invisible glue that holds the glitz of Vegas together. They include cooks, cleaners and bartenders. They fought tooth and nail for the benefits they have, which involved a worker strike in the ’90s that lasted for six years. The city is much less glamorous when you peel back the curtain. — Austin Mitchell
My favorite moment from the field was actually something that didn’t make it into the episode. We were with our main character, Julius Irving, a former felon who was vote canvassing, and he walked up to a woman who seemed resistant to hearing what he had to say. After a brief back and forth, he apologized for bothering her, and then all of a sudden, it was like the wall she had put up came crumbling down. She told him she had recently lost her granddaughter in an accident, and they stood there for a while talking about life and loss and the importance of community support. By the end of the conversation, she told Julius to knock on her door if he ever needed anything. It had nothing to do with voting or politics, but it was a beautiful moment of humanity between two strangers. — Rachel Quester
Answering your questions about the Electoral College
Listen | “A Peculiar Way to Pick a President”
Last week, Jesse Wegman walked us through the history of the Electoral College. In the episode, we explored its origins and complexities, and recounted how, in the 1960s, it was almost replaced with a national popular vote.
Some of you had questions about the issues raised in the episode, so we put them to Jesse.
Jesse is a member of The Times’s editorial board, and the answers below are his own opinions. While we rarely have columnists and opinion writers on The Daily, we sometimes make exceptions for subject-matter experts, as Michael Barbaro explained here.
Q. Why can’t states decide to give their own electoral votes proportionally to reflect their own state’s voting? If each state did this, wouldn’t that achieve the same goal and be easier?
A. Awarding electors proportionally sounds good in theory, but in practice it wouldn’t improve the presidential election for several reasons.
First, it would not eliminate the risk that the popular vote loser could become president. Second, all 50 states would have to adopt this method for it to work, which they would not do. Third, it would continue to distort the popular vote in smaller states. How would you divvy up, say, the three electoral votes in Alaska, which is currently polling at about 53-45 percent in favor of Trump? If you divided electoral votes into fractions and awarded them proportionally, you would get very close to a reflection of the national popular vote. But this would only be possible through a constitutional amendment abolishing the office of elector, because electors are human beings and can’t be divided into fractions.
Q. The way the Electoral College works now puts a lot of focus on the swing states. If we move to a national popular vote, wouldn’t political campaigning just shift to urban population centers at the expense of more sparsely populated rural areas. Are there proposals out there for a third way?
A. For starters, America’s biggest cities don’t come close to having enough votes to determine the outcome of a national election. It would make no sense for campaigns to spend all their time in those cities, and they don’t. If you look at how campaigns are currently conducted in statewide elections (say, for governor or for president in a battleground state), you see that they work to win votes everywhere — in cities, suburbs, towns and rural areas. That’s the tried-and-true strategy in an election where every vote counts the same and the candidate who gets the most votes wins. Candidates know that even if they won’t win a given region, they can aim to lose it by less, and that can make all the difference.
That’s it for The Daily newsletter. See you next week.
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