5 Things That Happened While You Were Out: July 30, 2020

Happy Thursday, CivMixers!! We are going to jump right in today.

1) President Donald Trump rocked the political world today with a tweet suggesting that the upcoming November general election should be delayed.

According to Trump the election results will be inaccurate and the most fraudulent in America’s history due to mail-in voting necessary as a response to the COVID pandemic. He went on to suggest the election be delayed until it is safe for people to cast in person ballots, and he deliberately overlooked the established system of absentee voting.

These sentiments directly contradict the opinions of many election experts, who have said that mail-in voting will not result in fraud. And here’s the rub: The president doesn’t have the power to call off a general election anyway.

The end of the incumbent president’s term and swearing-in of his (or her) replacement and that individual’s preferred vice president is determined by the Constitution to occur on Jan. 20.

In a tweet of her own, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi cited Article II, Section I of the Constitution, which clearly states the Congress chooses the the general election date. In a rare moment of solidarity, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed, saying the Nov. 3 election date is set, and that there have been plenty elections during times of crisis throughout the history of our country.

Through depressions, conflicts, and wars, elections were held on time and safely. There is no reason why this year’s election should be treated differently.

Trump’s campaign even tried to downplay the tweet, saying that the president was merely raising a question due to the push from Democrats for all mail-in voting.

Trump’s polling numbers are also dropping as more people are starting to question his handling of the pandemic. When asked in April if there was any talk about delaying the election, Trump scoffed, saying the thought had never crossed his mind. He was looking forward to the election, he claimed, and Nov. 3 was a perfect time to hold it.

Also back in April, presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden (correctly) predicted that that Trump would try to delay the election. And here we are.

Many former and current GOP leaders are baffled by the president’s claim that mail-in voting will increase voting fraud.

Christoper Krebs, the current director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security, declared earlier this month that the likely increase in mail-in votes this election cycle could only improve the integrity of the election. He said this is due to the rise in paper records, which will raise the ability to audit votes, should the need arise.

2) Tributes are being offered from both sides of the political aisle in reaction to the news of the death of Herman Cain, a former pizza executive who made headlines – and waves – with his unorthodox 2012 presidential run.

Cain, 74, reportedly died after spending a month in the hospital with COVID-19. Cain had attended Trump’s controversial indoor rally in Tulsa, Okla., on June 20, and was seen in pictures not wearing a mask or observing social distancing, though it’s not clear whether he contracted the virus at the event.

A self-described American Black Conservative – ABC for short – Cain was known for his irreverent style and distinct lack of concern for details on the campaign trail – a fact about which he was unapologetic.

He dropped out of the race after he was accused of sexual misconduct, even though he had denied the allegations, and he became an ardent Trump ally and supporter.

3) There are few Capital District residents I know who weren’t at least a little obsessed with following the downfall of NXIVM and its leader, Keith Raniere.

I personally followed the story back from when the Times Union ran a series on the controversial cult. Today, HBO released its first teaser for a docuseries that will focus on both NXIVM and Raniere himself. The series uses actual footage of Raniere in a recruiting video, in which he cast the cult as a self-help group that would people enhance their lives.

In reality, NXIVM was a sex cult in which multiple women were forced to have sex with Raniere, and some were even branded. Raniere was found guilty of forced labor conspiracy, racketeering, and sex trafficking. He is still waiting for his sentencing and could yet spend the rest of his life in prison.

Many small-screen stars were drawn to the group, none more prominently than actress Allison Mack, best known for her time on the CW show Smallville. Mack, along with Clare Bronfman, heiress to Seagram’s liquor, NXIVM President Nancy Salzman, and Salzman’s daughter Lauren have all pled guilty to charges related to their involvement in the cult.

Directed by Jhane Noujaim and Karim Amer, The Vow will premiere on HBO on Aug. 23.

4) The Capital Region is currently tied with the Mohawk Valley for the highest percentage of positive COVID tests in the state. Both regions reported 1.8 percent positivity. The Capital region reported 46 new positives on Tuesday, and that same day the Mohawk Valley had 27.

In Schenectady County, there was a new death reported making the total 42, with two new ones in Albany County.

Slightly over 2,600 people were tested in the Capital District Tuesday, and the Mohawk Valley tested just over 1,500 people. Though going by numbers, these areas are still under places like Long Island, the Mid-Hudson Valley, New York City and Western New York. The percentage is now higher in the regions, as mentioned above.

The 46 reported cases were high since last week when the Capital District reported 50 new cases four separate days. This is concerning as it is ticking up, and these are the requirements that will count when Gov. Andrew Cuomo makes his decision on school re-openings throughout the state in early August.

>5) In more local COVID updates, Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin has confirmed that there is a new outbreak in the Troy Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Troy.

As of today, 22 cases were confirmed at the private rehab facility located on Marvin Ave. Nov visitors have been allowed. McLaughlin is requesting an investigation into the facility operations and has asked the state for help.

This is the third nursing home that has recently reported an outbreak in the area. 

That is all for today. Stay steady, stay strong, stay safe.

Stay woke.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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