Nov. 3 hangs on virus, turnout and Supreme Court: Weekend Reads

Balance of Power

Stay tuned for special Election Night editions of Balance of Power.

An explosion of new coronavirus cases in rural America, record early voting and an 11th-hour addition to the Supreme Court all have the potential to sway the way people vote in Tuesday's U.S. presidential election.

Whether President Donald Trump or Democratic challenger Joe Biden wins, the ballot will have diverging implications for Americans' wallets, while court challenges may introduce a raft of new legal terms to the average person's lexicon.

Meanwhile, violent turmoil has erupted elsewhere around the world — from a police crackdown against Nigerian demonstrators to attacks in France by Islamic extremists. Poland's government is under fire after the top court there effectively banned abortions, while China's government is trying to lift living standards in Tibet while eroding the influence of religion. 

Dig into these and other topics with the latest edition of Weekend Reads.

Amy Coney Barrett is sworn in to the U.S. Supreme Court as Trump looks on on Oct. 26.

Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg

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Virus Cases Are Spiking Just When They Could Hurt Trump Most
Record coronavirus cases are coming at the worst possible time for Trump, who needs a dramatic turnout on Election Day to overcome sagging poll numbers. As Mark Niquette and Jonathan Levin report, spiking infections in battleground states could deter Republicans from voting.

A State-by-State Look at 2020's Record Early-Voting Turnout
As grim as the pandemic has been been, 2020 looks set to be a banner year for civic participation in the U.S. — voting has become a thing. Minh-Anh Nguyen takes a deep dive into the numbers on who has already cast mail-in or in-person ballots.

What a Trump or Biden Election Win Means for Your Wallet
Two starkly different visions for U.S.'s future, with a raging pandemic and an economy reeling with millions unemployed. Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou looks into how a win by Trump or Biden could shape the way millions of Americans save, spend and manage their finances for years to come.

Supreme Court Conservatives Map Path to Help Trump Win a Contested Race
The Supreme Court's conservatives started carving a path that could let Trump win a contested election. As Greg Stohr reports, they issued a far-reaching set of opinions just as the Senate confirmed Amy Coney Barrett to what could be a pivotal court seat in any post-ballot legal fights.

Caroline Alexander reports that Macron is now confronted with two massive crises — the coronavirus pandemic and a resurgence in jihadist violence after the president vowed a crackdown on radical Islam in France.

Brexit Talks Haunted by the Fear One Person Could Thwart a Deal
U.K. and European Union negotiators may have a plan to give a post-Brexit trade deal one last shot. But one man, Dominic Cummings, may stand in the way. Boris Johnson's chief adviser and the architect of the 2016 Vote Leave campaign could make a final dramatic intervention, Ian Wishart, Alberto Nardelli and Tim Ross report.

Abortion Ban Turns Women Into Enemy of the State in Poland
Poland's most powerful politician is used to targeting what he sees as the nation's enemies, whether liberal "elites" or the gay community. Now he's staring down mounting anger in the form of nationwide protests against a law effectively banning abortion, Wojciech Moskwa and Marek Strzelecki report.

China Wants to Build a Tibet With More Wealth and Less Buddhism
For Chinese President Xi Jinping, the key to strengthening Communist Party rule and snuffing out calls for independence in Tibet is delivering economic growth in one of China's poorest regions. Now Beijing is investing heavily, betting that modern life will erode the sway religion has had there since the seventh century.

A monument depicting Chinese leaders at Potala Palace Square in Lhasa.

Photographer: Roman Balandin/TASS

Unrest in Nigeria Lifts Lid on Deep-Rooted Social Discontent
Protests in Nigeria that led to a military crackdown and looting spree have highlighted the divide between the nation's rulers and its poverty-stricken citizens. Dulue Mbachu and William Clowes explain how fault lines were evident long before: About half of Nigeria's 200 million people live on less than $2 a day.

Bolivia's Wild Year, From Cuba Ally to Trump's Friend and Back
Almost a year since Bolivia's first indigenous president, Evo Morales, fled to Mexico in what he called a coup, his socialist MAS party is back in power under Luis Arce. Matthew Bristow takes a look at Arce's rise and tough road ahead as Latin America's poorest country struggles with soaring debt and poverty.

And finally ... A close election could introduce a slew of new voting terms to Americans trying to figure out whether Trump or Biden won. Take a look at this handy glossary from Ryan Teague Beckwith to help parse some of the more arcane procedures officials may have to deal with in battleground states.

Mail-in ballots are sorted in Los Angeles on Oct. 28.

Photographer: Robyn Beck/AFP



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