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New Day Saturday

American Astronaut, Kate Rubins Votes From Space; Trump And Biden Make Final Push In Battleground States As U.S. COVID-19 Cases Hit Record High; Trump Claims Doctors Are Inflating COVID Deaths To Make More Money; Last Day Of Early Voting In NC; Four Million Ballots Already Cast; Voting Rights Fights Playing Out In Battleground State Courts; U.K. Prime Minister Considering A Nationwide Lockdown On November 4. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired October 31, 2020 - 06:00   ET



KATE RUBINS, NASA ASTRONAUT: And I don't know that I'm technically overseas. We are far away from the United States at times depending on our orbit. So we fill out this application. We actually get -- the ballot is encrypted to us. We send it back down to our county clerk and they record the vote.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This has been the worst week ever for coronavirus cases in the United States.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: By the way, you know, without it, we're still rounding the corner.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: The President of the United States is accusing the medical profession of making up COVID deaths so they make more money.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Doctors go in putting their lives on the line to take care of patients every day. That's not how doctors get paid.

BIDEN: This president's done everything to try to discourage us. He will not be able to stop us at all.

TRUMP: We are going to win four more great years in the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've been tracking one of the biggest stories this election, the explosion in early voting numbers. Nearly 87 million have already voted across the nation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If they haven't sent their ballot in yet, walk it to the election office or a drop box, but do it in person.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You really don't really have an excuse at this point for not being able to vote.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul. CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Well, the chill is in the air here in Atlanta, but the lights are up and it does look pretty nice, doesn't it? We're hoping that you have a good Saturday as you're waking up on the Saturday morning, which is just three days from Election Day. We know that millions of votes have already been cast. Don't know if you were one who got out there early, but today, we know both candidates are zeroing in on the rest -- on the Rust Belt states because these are key battleground states that pushed President Trump to victory back in 2016.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: And we got a total overnight. The United States has set a new world record for coronavirus cases reported in a single day, 99,321 new cases were reported yesterday.

PAUL: Those are a couple of the headlines. We want to expound on that because today, President Trump is hosting four rallies in Pennsylvania. Now, remember, he won that state by less than 1 percent back in 2016.

BLACKWELL: Joe Biden will be in Michigan. The President won there by fewer than 11,000 votes last time around. CNN's Poll of Polls has the former vice president up 8 in Michigan.

PAUL: So as these campaigns make their final push here, take a look at that number on your screen, 86.8 million of you have already voted and I want to put that in perspective for you. That's nearly two-thirds of the total ballots cast in the last presidential election.

BLACKWELL: CNN has all of the angles and both of the campaigns covered. M.J. Lee is following the Biden campaign, Sarah Westwood is at the White House, Suzanne Malveaux is in North Carolina where Vice President Pence will be later today.

PAUL: Yes. We do want to start with CNN's M.J. Lee on the trail, as Victor said there, with the Biden campaign. M.J., what are you -- what are you hearing this morning?

M.J. LEE, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey. Good morning, guys. We are now officially in the final weekend before Election Day and you can really tell just based on the pace of campaigning that we are seeing from the Joe Biden campaign. Yesterday, he, for the first time, traveled to three states in one day. Those states were Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

He actually only returned home here to Wilmington a little before midnight and in every state that he visited, he basically gave what has become his closing message stump speech, going after President Trump on his handling of COVID-19, saying that he actually has a plan to deal with this virus, that he's going to listen to scientists on day one, really seeing the former vice president trying to make this election a referendum on President Trump and his conduct.

And one thing that has been so interesting, guys, is seeing Joe Biden really stressing, over the last couple of weeks, that he is not willing to take anything for granted. He made this case last night in Wisconsin. This is the state, remember, that Hillary Clinton infamously did not visit once in 2016. Listen.


BIDEN: Course of the world, because it's leaderless now (ph). I'm going to start right here in Wisconsin. Tom (ph) remembers, I came up here to campaign for Hillary and for a whole lot of reasons, not all which were her fault, she ended up not taking it seriously. We thought it was different (ph). I've been here a lot. And by the way, when I got elected, if I get elected, I'm coming back, Tom. Look, in these final days, you got to -- you got to keep ...


LEE: Now later today, we will see Biden leave Wilmington here to travel to Michigan. He will be in Flint and Detroit and this is a state where he is going to be wanting to get the turnout up.

[06:05:00] And he is hoping today that he is going to get some help from former President Barack Obama who is going to be joining him on the trail for the first time and even singer and songwriter Stevie Wonder and then tomorrow and Monday, guys, we are going to see Biden campaigning in the state of Pennsylvania. So you look at where he is spending his resources and his time in these last final days, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, these are the three states that made all the difference for President Trump in 2016.

BLACKWELL: M.J. Lee for us in Wilmington. Thank you. Vice President Biden will be in Pennsylvania tomorrow. CNN's Sarah Westwood is at the White House and Sarah, we know the President will be there today. What should we expect?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right, Victor and Christi. President Trump spending a significant amount of time in Pennsylvania in these last hours before Election Day, telling you how valuable the Trump campaign does see Pennsylvania.

With just three days left, the President has five rallies there between now and Tuesday and four of them are today. So he's blitzing across the state. They're hoping to juice turnout in some of these rural areas, western Pennsylvania for example, places outside the cities, knowing that the more urban areas of Pennsylvania like Philadelphia, like Pittsburgh could be more rich in votes for Joe Biden.

Now, if you talk to Republicans, if you talk to the Trump campaign, they say they still have hope in Pennsylvania even though they trail Joe Biden in virtually every poll that has come out because they think their ground game there is superior. They've been doing more in-person voter contact than the Biden campaign has done, they started it much earlier and they point to an uptick in GOP voter registration that they've seen since 2016 to say that the race in Pennsylvania is not over yet, even though, as I just mentioned, Biden has an advantage there in terms of polling.

And the President's closing argument seems to be based on this gamble that he thinks people are more concerned about returning to normal life than they are about the virus. The contrast between Trump and Biden here just could not be more stark. We just heard M.J. say that Biden is basing his closing argument around the idea that the President has completely mishandled the response to the pandemic. President Trump is not doing much to combat that impression, saying some inflammatory things about doctors and the virus in these final days of the election, Victor and Christi.

PAUL: Yes. I want to address that real quickly and I want to make sure that I get the verbiage right here. The President is saying, and I'm quoting, "Our doctors get more money if someone dies from COVID." He has not offered any evidence to that though, Sarah. Is there any indication that that's working for him?

WESTWOOD: Yes, Christi, just a completely baseless and really just stunning attack on healthcare workers from the President yesterday. Although it's not the first time that the President has questioned the validity of COVID data, it is the first time that he's made this baseless suggestion the doctors somehow earn more money if they inflate the number of COVID deaths.


TRUMP: Our doctors get more money if somebody dies from COVID. You know that, right? I mean, our doctors are very smart people. So what they do is they say, I'm sorry, but, you know, everybody dies of COVID.


WESTWOOD: And obviously this did not go over well with healthcare workers in the industry. Take a listen to one doctor's response to what the President said.


JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: The President is a liar. I mean, I'm sorry to say that, but I just can't take it anymore. Look, over 1,000 healthcare workers in this country have died trying to save the lives of their fellow Americans and, you know, every day they go to work and they're the real super people, the supermen and superwomen. They go to work every single day and put themselves at risk to put out the fire that he has stoked and that his actions have continued to endanger the lives of people in this country.


WESTWOOD: Now, this is happening as the country is nearing daily highs of coronavirus cases. Many states are seeing record highs in this final run-up to the election. So the backdrop of the President's comments is the pandemic worsening, Victor and Christi.

PAUL: Sarah Westwood, so appreciate it. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Today's the last day for in-person early voting in that battleground state of North Carolina. PAUL: Yes. There are 15 electoral votes up for grabs there. President Trump carried the state in 2016 by less than 4 points. It is a pivotal state by all accounts. CNN's Suzanne Malveaux is there in Charlotte. We know that there are some really solid early voting numbers there in that state. Yes, Suzanne, break down for us what we know and good morning.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Well, it's kind of chilly, it's still dark, we see a full moon, but make no mistake, when the sun comes out, you are going to see North Carolina voters out in droves as it has been since October 15th. That's when the early in-person voting started. It is the last day for folks to vote here in person.

[06:10:00] It will close down at 3:00 o'clock. It'll start at 7:30 and that's when we expect to see people lining up and going ahead and casting their ballots and North Carolina has broken all previous records. There's a great deal of enthusiasm. Both candidates know this. It's a must-win state.

If you just look at the sheer numbers, 7.3 million registered voters in this state. Four million have already cast their ballots. That's 55 percent of all the registered voters in the state and just to give that some perspective, that is 80 percent of all the people who voted back in 2016 in this state.

So it is a critical, must-win state. President Trump has said out of the seven winning strategies, five of those include North Carolina to get to that path of victory and so what have we been seeing here? It has been really a brutal battle. Pence is going to be here later today. We will see Trump in one of the rural areas of this state.

Also, as well, Jill Biden, Amy Schumer, the comedian, will be joining her, they will be out here later today to make sure to get out the vote. This is a critical time for both of these candidates and they know -- Trump is looking at those rural areas both in the east and the west part of the state and the Biden, of course, looking at the urban areas, those areas that were captured by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as well.

The suburbs very much up for grabs, but not looking good for President Trump. That is where the Bidens hope to make some real wins.

BLACKWELL: Few days left, a lot of work to be done, Suzanne Malveaux for us there in Charlotte, North Carolina. Suzanne, thanks so much. So question -- where are the ballots? In a county in Pennsylvania, they received more than 10,000 phone calls from voters who have not received their mail-in ballots yet.

PAUL: And the legal fights over ballots ahead. What you should do if, at this point, you haven't mailed in yours.

Also, here's a big question this morning -- is the U.K. on the verge of another shutdown? There are reports that we're getting that says Prime Minister Johnson is considering just that. We have a live report for you from the U.K. in a moment. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)



PAUL: Sixteen minutes past the hour and the U.S. has set a new record for coronavirus cases reported in a single day and this is a record worldwide, 99,321. That's the number of new cases that were reported just yesterday.

BLACKWELL: And the director of the CDC says a silent epidemic of asymptomatic infections is what's driving this spread. Doctors want you to get your flu shot now. CNN correspondent Jean Casarez is in New York following all that we're learning overnight and it's not just the cases, it's also the hospitalizations, Jean.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And that is important. We can't forget that, Victor. What we're learning this morning is that 14 states are reporting record high hospitalizations.


CASAREZ: Scary numbers across the country this Halloween weekend as the U.S. surpassed 9 million coronavirus cases on Friday, 1 million of them added in just the last two weeks.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At the moment, today, we now have one person being diagnosed of coronavirus every second. We have one American dying of coronavirus every two minutes.

CASAREZ: Officials nationwide are pleading with people to opt for public safety instead of public celebrations.

GOV. TONY EVERS, (D) WISCONSIN: As we head into Halloween weekend, the time when many would normally be out and about in a different sort of face mask, please stay home.

CASAREZ: The midwest, where both President Trump and former Vice President Biden campaigned on Friday, is seeing a particularly grim spike and while mask wearing and social distancing guidelines were visible at all of Biden's events, Trump poked fun at a "Fox News" personality for following protocols at his rally in Michigan.

TRUMP: I can't recognize you. Is that a mask? No way. Are you wearing a mask? I've never seen her in a mask. Look at you. Oh, she's being very politically correct. Whoa.

CASAREZ: This as the new seven-day case rate in that state is up 52 percent from last week. In Minnesota, 3,165 new cases were announced on Friday, the first time the state has ever crossed 3,000 new cases in one day, and Ohio reported nearly 4,000 new cases yesterday, marking its highest increase for the second day in a row.

GOV. MIKE DEWINE, (R) OHIO: Virus is raging throughout the state of Ohio. There's no place to hide. CASAREZ: That's not just true for middle America.

REINER: It's very bad and it's going to get worse until we do things differently. So what distinguishes our current outbreak from what happened initially in the spring with our so-called first wave is that the virus is all over the country now.

CASAREZ: In the northeast, New Jersey reported over 2,000 cases on Friday, marking the state's highest one-day total since May and out west in Utah, a statewide alert was sent to all residents on Friday as the percentage of positive tests hit a record 18.17 percent and a whopping 72.5 percent of the state's ICU beds are occupied.

In California, a Bay Area resident, someone under 65, has become the first person there to contract both coronavirus and the flu, yet another reminder of how important it is to be vigilant this time of year.

SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FORMER FDA COMMISSIONER: People shouldn't let their guard down now. We should try to remain vigilant and be careful these last two or three months as we get through what is going to be the most difficult season. So I would say have the same prudence around Halloween and Thanksgiving this year.

[06:20:02] We've protected people for a long period of time. We've got two or three months to go here that we need to be careful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the end, whatever fun you choose, please remember this virus does not make exceptions for holidays or because you want to take a break from it.


CASAREZ: And it was months ago that Dr. Fauci talked about the fall resurgence and this must be it. You know, Christi, I think what is concerning to so many people is that the resurgence, they're saying, is due to asymptomatic individuals. So if that is the case, people that don't even know that they have the virus potentially, then where are these numbers going to go from here?

PAUL: Right. Exactly. Jean Casarez, very good point to make. Always good to have you and see you here. Jean, thank you.

CASAREZ: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk politics now and this fight to win Florida. Republicans are narrowing an early voting gap. Could this mean some trouble for Democrats who are, of course, looking to win there?




PAUL: All righty. Just three days till Election Day. Eight-five million of you, 85 million -- in fact, wait a minute. I think it's 86.8 million, I should say. That's the newest number. Eighty-six- point-eight million of you have already voted.

BLACKWELL: Yes. And we're seeing these unprecedented early voter turnout numbers across the country. There are also legal challenges in several states that could limit how many ballots are actually counted.

PAUL: Yes. I want to give you CNN's National Correspondent, Kristen Holmes who has the latest on these last-minute court decisions that are impacting ballot rules.

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Record numbers all across the country. One big one to point out here is Texas. More than 9 million people early voted in Texas. That surpasses the entire amount of people that voted in all of the 2016 election. A lot of enthusiasm there.

Now, another state that we're seeing a record level of early voting turnout is in Minnesota. They have had 1.5 million absentee ballots that have been sent back in, but there's a huge concern in Minnesota and that's because of an appeals court ruling this week. Essentially an appeals court ruled that an extension, a week-long extension in counting absentee ballots that arrived after Election Day, but were still postmarked before or on Election Day, they said that that was not in accordance with state law.

Now people are scrambling. Minnesota officials are trying to make sure that people who are sitting on absentee ballots, that they don't mail them in. They want them to drop them off at any drop-off location, designated drop-off location before 3:00 P.M. on Election Day. So lots of questions, though, because Minnesotans want to know what if I cast my ballot a day before the court made this ruling thinking that I had a week after that this could be processed, what happens to my vote then?

Well, the big question because the court did not make that decision. They actually tossed it back to a district court to make the final ruling on whether or not those ballots that arrive after 8:00 P.M. on Election Day are counted or not.

Now, while Minnesotans are wondering whether or not their ballot will count, in Pennsylvania, some people are wondering where their ballot is. In Butler County, there are an unknown amount of ballots that are currently unaccounted for. Now, officials there won't tell us exactly how many it is. They say they simply don't know, but we do know they've received more than 10,000 calls over ballots that have been requested and have not yet been received.

It appears from these officials that these were supposed to be sent out around Columbus Day, but never got there. Now, one of the leading officials, election officials in Butler County seems to be blaming the Post Office. In a statement to CNN he said, "Somewhere between the Post Office and the Pittsburgh sorting facility, something happened. We don't know what."

According to the Postal Service, they say they aren't aware of any issue, but of course more than 10,000 missing ballots in a critical swing state in a critical election. This is not good timing, particularly for people who wanted to be able to cast their mail-in ballot, but I will remind everyone they should try to get in their ballot as soon as possible. Even the Postal Service themselves say don't brisk it, just drop it off if you possibly can. In Washington, Kristen Holmes, CNN.

PAUL: Kristen, thank you so much. I mean, this is the final weekend of campaign probably like none you've seen before. Both campaigns are on the trail today. There's a big focus on the Rust Belt right now. The President in familiar territory, running behind in most battleground state polls, but this time, there's not a lot of evidence of that late Trump momentum.

The coronavirus surge is perhaps the biggest headwind that we have politically here. Yesterday was officially the worst day of the pandemic when you consider cases, nearly 100,000 added to the count, nearly that.

White House and politics editor and CNN political analyst Margaret Talev is with us now. Margaret, it is good to see you this morning. Thanks for being here. Thank you.


PAUL: Yes. Yes. Yes. Wearing our black. Yes. Happy Halloween. When we look at what is at stake in this election, we know that both President Trump and Vice President Biden have two very opposing messages. I want to listen to some of the latest that they're pushing out there.


TRUMP: Our doctors get more money if somebody dies from COVID. You know that, right? I mean, our doctors are very smart people. So what they do is they say, I'm sorry, but, you know, everybody dies of COVID.

BIDEN: Doctors and nurses go to work every day to save lives. They do their jobs. Donald Trump should stop attacking them and do his job.


PAUL: Two completely different messages and President Trump's, we do need to point out just for transparency, there's no evidence that doctors are getting paid more money for more COVID deaths that are logged. And the numbers are not supporting what the president is saying. Is there any evidence regarding how effective both of these messages are for the candidates?

TALEV: Well, as you point out, what the president is doing there is just a distraction, he's trying to discredit the numbers so that people will have the impression that the pandemic isn't as bad as it actually is. So what we've come down to is a situation a couple of days before the end of this election where the national numbers show what the popular vote trends are going to be. The popular vote trends are running strongly against President Trump, but as you know, it all comes down to the electoral college, key battleground states and who actually votes and whose vote is actually counted.

And that's why despite the overwhelming and sort of consistent national mood numbers, we still don't know whether President Trump can actually pull it out, and whether his message can be effective in some of these crucial battleground states. One of the challenges for him though are just the facts, and that is that many of these Midwestern states are now experiencing real, actual, undeniable surges in coronavirus cases that have sent people to the hospital.

And that's why Michigan and Wisconsin and Ohio -- well, maybe Ohio is a separate issue. But that's why many of these Midwestern states are not necessarily where it's going to come down to. It really looks like Pennsylvania and Florida may be where this is ultimately decided.

PAUL: OK, I wanted to ask you about Florida because the "Washington Post's" Aaron Blake wrote this. He said Florida has emerged as arguably the most pivotal state in the 2020 election. And on Thursday, former Vice President Biden said "if we win Florida, it's game time. It's over." Is that true?

TALEV: Well, a lot of states could be the most pivotal state like if Georgia were to vote for Joe Biden --

PAUL: Yes --

TALEV: Everyone would say --

PAUL: Georgia was the most pivotal state. But here's why Florida is so important. It's 29 electoral votes, we've sort of seen the movie before in terms of 2000 in that election, Florida being so central. And the race is really a wash at this point. If President Trump doesn't win Florida, it makes it very difficult for him to win re- election.

If he does win Florida, if he pulls out Florida a second time, it narrows Vice President Biden's path, although then the game would shift to Pennsylvania, right? The real deciding contest. And some of the concerns for Democrats right now are that some of the early voting turnout has in -- like a crucial place in Miami-Dade County has been proportionally a little bit higher with Republican votes.

Some Democratic consultants are saying, look, Democrats rely heavily on both Latino votes and African-American votes, and those voting populations tend to vote later in the sort of span of the closing weeks of a race. So, there's a lot of kind of numerical guessing going on right now, and it really just goes to show how previous models, previous polls, what has happened in the past.

It just may not be applicable this year in a year when the pandemic and all of this, you know, craziness over early voting and what to do, have changed the dynamics and when the early-vote surges have just changed the possibility for how many people from both parties may actually turn out in the end.

PAUL: It's so true. I feel like -- do you feel like we're walking into this blind? I mean, people might argue that in 2016, the polls did us no favors, right? Because everybody was under the impression based on those numbers, Hillary Clinton was going to win, she did not.

TALEV: It just depends on how you're reading them. I mean --

PAUL: Yes --

TALEV: People take a grain in a poll and extrapolate it way past where it can actually go. And the polls may be useful for helping us understand some of the different shifts in patterns here, but I think particularly in this year, a poll is not predictive. The only thing that is actually going to be determinative in this race is who actually votes and whose vote is actually counted? And if you're voting by mail, there are questions about how -- did you get your poll in early enough --

PAUL: Yes --

TALEV: Which is why everyone is saying this weekend, if you're still holding onto that ballot, go take it in person.

PAUL: Absolutely. Margaret Talev, always good to have your perspective, thank you.

TALEV: Thanks so much.

PAUL: Sure. So, the U.K. could be on the verge of another national lockdown we're hearing this morning because the cases of coronavirus are spiking there. We've got some details live from England, next.

BLACKWELL: Also, whether or not President Trump wins this election, wins re-election, some of the Republican Party are wondering what is next for the GOP? Our next guest says the current Republican Party is unsustainable and may have to start all over. And she explains why rejecting President Trump at the ballot box is the only way to do it.



BLACKWELL: Welcome back. The U.K. could be headed for a new national lockdown. The reports in British media that say the Prime Minister may consider it because of the new surge in COVID cases.

PAUL: Max Foster is outside London. Max, what are you hearing there? And when will this happen potentially?


MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, interesting process of events here. Clearly, there were leaks to the British media, so several outlets have access to a document, effectively which is coming directly from the Prime Minister's office. And I gather there's been an investigation into that today because this has been put through the cabinet or indeed parliament just yet.

But as we understand it from these leaks, the government is looking at bringing in a national lockdown in England which could last for up to a month, and it could start as early as Wednesday next week. We're expecting an announcement on Monday about that. This follows a report from the chief advisory -- Scientific Advisory Committee for the government which painted a pretty bleak picture going into the Winter of the number of coronavirus cases and the number of coronavirus deaths as well.

So, by their estimate, they were looking at something between 43 and 74,000 people getting infected by coronavirus by the middle of October as opposed to the confirmed cases. And they saw that number increasing quite rapidly. So, Downing Street clearly looking at these numbers and realizing that the local lockdown system that's been in force in England hasn't been working. It's not containing the virus.

So, they have to look towards a national lockdown, which will have a huge amount of impact of course on businesses. But they are saying they want to keep schools open according to the leaks. But it follows a national pattern across Europe. We've seen France and Germany going into lockdowns. Even in Sweden, which doesn't believe in lockdowns, they're looking at more restrictions, voluntary restrictions, it has to be said -- that they're seeing the numbers rise as well. So, a very bleak picture here in Europe.

PAUL: Wow, yes, Max Foster, really gives us an indication of how frightening this is getting for people. Thank you so much, Max, take good care.

BLACKWELL: President Trump's base of supporters has stayed loyal over the past four years, but that core is getting a little smaller. Now we know and we've shown you the tough path, narrow path to victory this election the president has versus what he faced in 2016. There are now some Republicans who are talking about the future of the party. Win or lose, moving forward. What does that look like as the country is changing, the electorate is changing? Let's bring in now CNN political commentator Tara Setmayer, good morning to you. Thanks for being with us. Three days before election day. Good to see you.


BLACKWELL: So, I am covering Georgia for election coverage. And I've been doing the -- you know, prep. And Georgia is a toss-up. The Perdue-Ossoff race is a toss-up. The -- that special election in which you've got Reverend Warnock, who is a Democrat, you've got Kelly Loeffler and Doug Collins, that's only lean Republican. Why is this happening? Why is this happening now?

SETMAYER: You know, Georgia is a really good example of what's happening within the GOP overall. The demographic changes in this country are inevitable, and the Republican Party is behind the curve on this. And Georgia is a very good example of this. It's the great microcosm. You look at what happened in the suburbs outside of Atlanta in Cobb, in Gwinnett Counties.

The population explosion in Georgia from 2000 to 2019 has been substantial, and it's more diverse. Back in 1996 when I was cutting my teeth in my first presidential campaign as a 20-year-old college student, Bob Dole won Georgia with 77 percent of the white vote. It was 77 percent white vote at the time. He beat Bill Clinton. When Stacey Abrams ran in 2018, that voting bloc was only 60 percent white.

Those demographic changes are significant. So the Republican Party, although, has dominated on state and local levels and during from, you know, 2010 to 2018, was very successful in winning state and local races. That is not really a true picture of where things are going because things are changing in many places. Texas is another example where the fact that Texas is even in play is remarkable. But these demographic changes are inevitable for the Republicans --


SETMAYER: And are not adjusting to them.

BLACKWELL: Let me put up a map that drives that point home because when you look at the shifting population over the last 20 years since the census in 2000, Texas, Florida, Arizona had gained a number of congressional seats. We've got the map to put up here or at least the numbers. They'll pick up more. What is the strategy then to attract especially those generation Z, the young voters with whom Republicans are not doing very well.

SETMAYER: They don't have one, Victor. I mean, in 2012 after Mitt Romney lost to Barack Obama, Reince Priebus and the RNC did the famous autopsy report, you know, assessing, what did we do wrong? What's happening? Why are we losing?


Republicans have been losing the popular vote for many election cycles except for 2004. Recently, and they said, what do we do? Well, it was clear that they needed to attract more minorities and more non- traditional Republicans. Basically, other than white men, and they threw that playbook out. They threw it out completely and look what happened in 2016, you got Donald Trump who emerged.

And a lot of people thought it was just economic anxiety. But we've got to be honest here, it's more than that. We see that this idea of white ethno grievance has really permeated the Republican Party in a way we haven't seen since the 1960s. And that is the complete wrong direction. There has -- there really has been no demographic area where the Republican Party has increased its support, none.

Not even with white working-class men. It's even shrinking there. So, yes, they may overall still support Donald Trump, but by smaller margins. Same thing with white-working class women. Every other demographic is moving away from the Republican Party, particularly suburban white women. So, you know, if you continue to support policies that are -- you know, with Obamacare, repealing, you know, healthcare without a replacement --


SETMAYER: You know, the tax -- certain tax policies, voter -- voting rights have been attacked, these are things that are not attractive. You know, kids in cages. These are not attractive to the overall --


SETMAYER: Majority of voters. So, the Republican Party is going in the wrong direction.

BLACKWELL: And specifically the black voters who are dissatisfied or feel like they're being taken for granted by the Democratic Party, that may be an opportunity for Republicans to attract new voters. But you -- I see the Lincoln Project sign behind you. A black woman who is a Republican. What is the strategy? I mean, President Trump has released his platinum plan, but what is his -- I saw the eye roll too --


BLACKWELL: What is the strategy for long-term, bringing in these voters who could be open to a message --

SETMAYER: But you know --

BLACKWELL: Or what should it be?

SETMAYER: The funny -- yes, the funny thing about that, Victor, is that I've spent, you know, 20 years in my conservative life trying to bring the message of conservatism, little C conservatism, not, you know, the Republicans, the way that Donald Trump has perverted the party. But the ideas of economic empowerment and investing in wealth building and individualism and these things, less government. I've been trying for years to say, listen to the black community. We have -- tried -- what we're saying, our policies actually work if we can try them -- building relationships. And then Donald Trump comes along and throws that all away because of his blatant racism.

But then here we have this movement where there's some opening where black folks are saying, we're tired of the Democrats taking advantage of us. Let's try this over here. But is that really sustainable? Is that -- you know, is that number significant enough that, that opens us -- opens the Republican Party up to getting more minority voters. I'm not quite so sure, given how the underpinnings of a lot of what Donald Trump has done, and a lot of what the Republican Party has allowed --


SETMAYER: Has been racist. Southern strategy, law and order, those things are inherently racist. So --


SETMAYER: Is there an opportunity? Yes, if we are building a new Republican Party that repudiates Trumpism and white nationalism, then yes, there is an opening where --

BLACKWELL: All right --

SETMAYER: We're talking about actual conservative principles. That's different than Trumpism. BLACKWELL: We will see what happens, of course, in three days from

now, and what will happen next as the conversation we've been having focused on.

SETMAYER: We shall.

BLACKWELL: Tara Setmayer, always good to see you, thanks so much.

SETMAYER: Thanks, Victor.

PAUL: Such a good conversation there. All right. It's Halloween, of course, as you know. I have never had Halloween during a pandemic obviously. Are you going to be opening your door for trick or treaters? Are you going to take your trick or treater out? We have some good advice regarding what to do and what not to do during this pandemic tonight.



PAUL: I know a lot of us are still trying to figure out our plans for Halloween tonight, because with the advent of COVID, there are precautions that we need to take, which means Halloween is going to look a little different this year.

BLACKWELL: I'm going to be in bed.


Don't let all of the precautions keep you from having any fun at all. CNN health reporter Jacqueline Howard has some dos and don'ts for fun, safe activities.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know you are dying for some candy.

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER (voice-over): The grim reaper enforcing social distancing. Elaborate candy chutes and everyone, I mean, everyone wearing masks.

(on camera): Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, we've learned to adapt, and the spookiest day of the year is no different. The safest thing to do is stay home, but when it comes to your favorite Halloween activities --



SAJU MATHEW, PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN: If you decide to go from home-to- home or house-to-house, then you're exposing yourself to people.

HOWARD: So there are risks, but also ways to improvise. MATHEW: One good idea that I call is the grab and go. Individually

wrapped goody bags are left on driveways, parents pull up, the kids go out, grab the goody bag and go to the next home.

HOWARD: What about haunted houses?

MATHEW: You're screaming, you're yelling, the masks are coming off, you're hanging out with other people in much closer contact, and that would be dangerous.


HOWARD: Now, what about pumpkin carving with family or outdoor scavenger hunts?

MATHEW: I think that you can do it safely as long as you follow the three Ws, right? Wearing a mask, washing your hands and watching that distance. Just remember, a Halloween face mask is not a substitute for the protective, face cloth mask that we should wear to prevent getting infected with COVID-19.

HOWARD: I'm Jacqueline Howard, CNN, reporting.


BLACKWELL: Coming up, is the president telling the truth in this closing argument about his super V, super recovery in the wake of the worst day of this pandemic? We'll put it to the test.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Biden will eradicate the economy. I will eradicate the virus and make the economy better than it's ever been.