PBS NewsHour


October 27, 2020 - PBS NewsHour full episode

October 27, 2020 - PBS NewsHour full episode

AIRED: October 27, 2020 | 0:57:46

JUDY WOODRUFF: On the "NewsHour" tonight: the final week. The candidates make their

last pitches to voters in crucial swing states, as Election Day draws ever closer.

Then: a surge in early voting. The pandemic and other election concerns prompt a historic

influx of ballots cast before November 3.

Plus: outrage. Yet another police killing of a Black man prompts widespread protests

and renewed calls for reform.

ISAIAH THOMAS, Philadelphia City Councilman: Like so many Philadelphians, it was hard to

wake up this morning after seeing so many graphic images of what took place in our city

last night.

JUDY WOODRUFF: All that and more on tonight's "PBS NewsHour."


JUDY WOODRUFF: This has been a long day on the campaign trail, with rally after rally

for President Trump, former Vice President Biden and their running mates.

They are now in an all-out drive to the finish line next Tuesday.

White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor begins our coverage.

YAMICHE ALCINDOR: One week to go, and in the run-up to election night, both candidates

are crisscrossing the swing states.

Today, Democratic candidate former Vice President Joe Biden campaigned in Georgia. It's a bid

to flip a state which hasn't voted blue in a presidential race since 1992.

JOE BIDEN (D), Presidential Candidate: We will act on the first day of my presidency

to get COVID under control. We will act to pass an economic plan that will finally reward

work, not wealth, in this country. We will act to pass my health care plan to provide

affordable, accessible health care.

YAMICHE ALCINDOR: While his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris, visited Nevada.

BARACK OBAMA, Former President of the United States: Hello, Orlando!

YAMICHE ALCINDOR: And former President Barack Obama, while campaigning in Florida, said

the Trump administration is incompetent and pointed to its lack of response to the coronavirus


BARACK OBAMA: His chief of staff on a news program says: We're not going to control the


He just said this. Yes, he did. And, yes, we noticed you're not going to control the

pandemic. Listen, winter is coming. They're waving the white flag of surrender.

YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Meanwhile, President Trump made a sweep around the Midwest, hitting Michigan,

Wisconsin, and Nebraska. He won all of them in 2016, but is struggling to repeat that 0:04:08.040,1193:02:47.295 in 2020, according to polls.

He accused the media of focusing too much on the virus.


COVID, COVID, COVID. Well, we have a spike in cases.

You ever notice, they don't use the word death? They use the word cases.

YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Vice President Mike Pence continued to campaign throughout North and

South Carolina. That comes despite the recent COVID outbreak among at least five of his


MIKE PENCE, Vice President of the United States: We're going to make this state and nation

stronger than before. We're going to make North Carolina and America more prosperous

than ever before. We're going to make North Carolina and America more united than ever


YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Democrats on Capitol Hill are fuming over last night's confirmation

of Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): In contradiction to its stated principles, this Republican

majority confirmed a lifetime appointment on the eve of an election, a justice who will

alter the lives and the freedoms of the American people while they stood in line to vote.

YAMICHE ALCINDOR: But Republicans celebrated their conservative nominee's confirmation.

They dismissed Democratic outrage as unfair.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): It's a national crisis when a Republican president makes a

nominee for the Supreme Court. Catastrophe looms right around the corner. The country

will be fundamentally changed forever.

YAMICHE ALCINDOR: The High Court is also at the center of another election-related dispute.

Last night, justices ruled 5-3 that Wisconsin may not accept ballots that arrive after polls

close on Election Day. That's a rejection of an appeal by the Democratic Party.

It came as President Trump continued his attacks on election integrity. He tweeted a false

claim, saying -- quote -- "Big problems and discrepancies with mail-in ballots all over

the USA. Must have final total on November 3."

Twitter put a warning label on the tweet for misinformation. In fact, official results

have never been completely counted and certified by election night. And changes to voting rules

amid the pandemic mean results may take longer to calculate.

In Texas, where voters are already lining up at polling locations at record numbers,

some voters feel early in-person voting is safest.

DANIEL BRUNMHOELZL, Texas Voter: I certainly feel better just doing it in person. The mail-in

ballots, I have heard stories nationally, and so I just felt better doing it in person.

YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Democratic Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia of Texas says that sense of

insecurity about the vote is not just from the pandemic, but also from Republican-led

lawsuits in her state and other states like Wisconsin to limit the vote.

REP. SYLVIA GARCIA (D-TX): There's just been an incredible amount of effort being put this

election cycle to put fear in people's minds. It just seems like they are doing more and

more to create obstacles, to create barriers, to intimidate voters from voting.

YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Seven days until Election Day, with an electorate getting a historic

jump-start, but a little jumpy about how it will all turn out.

For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Yamiche Alcindor.

JUDY WOODRUFF: As you're hearing, the country is seeing record turnout in early voting,

and also some late legal challenges to when and if all those votes get counted.

William Brangham has more on what this means come election night and beyond.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: That's right, Judy.

Almost 70 million people have already cast their ballots in this election. This massive

turnout includes a combination of mail-in ballots and people going to vote in person.

So, with Election Day just a week away, we dive into what these numbers say about the

electorate with Michael McDonald. He is a professor of political science at the University

of Florida, and he runs the United States Election Project, which has been tracking

the vote so far.

Professor McDonald, great to have you on the "NewsHour."

So, you have been tracking this really unprecedented turnout of early voting. What can you tell

us about what the trends are showing?

MICHAEL MCDONALD, University of Florida: Well, we have seen more people vote in this election

than any prior election that we have had in the history of the country. So, we're at record


In some states, we're pushing near 100 percent of the turnout that occurred in the 2016 election

in its entirety, not just its early vote.


MICHAEL MCDONALD: So, we're in...

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So, that's a combination of all people who have voted have now been

surpassed by the people who voted early?

MICHAEL MCDONALD: Yes, we're getting very close to those numbers in some states, like

Texas and Hawaii.

And others are following right on their heels. So what this means in one part is that we're

looking at a very high-turnout election. Perhaps 150 million people or so will vote, and that

could be the highest turnout that we will see in a modern election since 1908, so truly

remarkable numbers in terms of the people voting.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: And certainly a wonderful thing just for our democracy in general.

Are you able to discern what this huge turnout means for either party? Do we know who's actually

turning out?

MICHAEL MCDONALD: Yes, there's some good evidence to say that, by and large, it's Democrats

that are voting early.

And that's actually very similar to what we have seen in prior elections as well. Usually,

more Democrats vote early. But the way in which they do it is different.

In prior elections, Democrats have voted predominantly in person early, and that's how they pile

up their early voting numbers. This time around, what we're seeing Democrats are voting by

mail early. And, as they have hollowed out all those in person early voters, we're actually

seeing Republicans doing quite well in the in person early vote in many states.

But, overall, the electorate is still very heavily Democratic in the early vote. And

that's what we have seen in prior elections as well. Election Day tends to be very Republican.

So, you have to wait for the whole election to get through. You have to get the Election

Day vote, which will offset that early vote to some degree.

And how much it does, that will tell us who will win the election.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: And do those Democratic-leaning early voters, also, are they using voting

by mail as well? We have certainly seen a lot of controversy around voting by mail.

The president has been basically saying that it's riddled with fraud.

Is it largely Democrats using that technology this time around?

MICHAEL MCDONALD: Yes, absolutely.

Usually, it's Republicans who vote by mail in most states. Now, I'm not talking about

the all-mail-ballot states, because, obviously, every voter gets a mail ballot in those states.

What I'm talking about are states where there's multiple methods of voting. And when you do

have that, you do see Republicans tend to use mail ballots more frequently than Democrats.

This election, it's all topsy-turvy. We're seeing Democrats vote by mail, instead of

voting in person. And we're seeing Republicans voting in person, instead of voting by mail.

We had over 80 million mail ballot requests that were going to be honored by election


And we knew that the party registration of those voters tended to break heavily towards

the Democrats. So, we knew that Democrats were going to have lots of mail ballots. What

we haven't quite expected to see is not only have Democrats been voting mail ballots at

higher levels, but they're also returning those ballots at a higher rate than Republicans.

That's another surprise that we're seeing in this election. Usually, it's Republicans

who are returning those mail ballots at a higher rate than Democrats.

Now, I can't really tell everything that is going on here, but it could be very well that

some Republicans have gotten cold feet, and even though they requested a mail ballot,

they're planning to vote in person, maybe in person early or in person on Election Day.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: On this question of counting those mail-in ballots, we have seen the Supreme

Court come down with two rulings with regards to Pennsylvania and Wisconsin about when late

arriving mail-in ballots can be counted.

With those rulings and with others that are pending, what is your sense of what that means

for Election Day, and when we might know who's won this election?

MICHAEL MCDONALD: Well, it's important to understand that election officials never count

all the ballots on election night.

There's always some ballots that need to be checked over after the election. And there's

a certification period that takes place in the weeks after the election, where those

ballots are counted.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: And that's totally normal.

MICHAEL MCDONALD: That's completely normal.

But, in this election, we have got all these mail ballots, and it could be that those ballots

would be coming back to election offices and overwhelming them if they came back right

at the very end.

But people have voted earlier. That's good news. And some states, the states are actually

preparing those ballots for counting. There are some states, like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania

and Michigan, where the election officials are constrained in how they can count those


So, we know, in those states, it's going to take them longer to count the ballots, simply

because they're not able to start that preparatory work yet. But, in other states, we should

get some very fast results.

A state like myself, in Florida, we should get those -- 99 percent of those ballots counted

on election night. And we should have a good idea who won Florida. But, in some other states,

it may take a little bit more while for the election officials to count all the ballots.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: And, obviously, then sort of recalibrates all of our expectations about

when we know final results.

Professor Michael McDonald of the University of Florida, thank you so much for being here.

MICHAEL MCDONALD: Good to be with you.

JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day's other news: Amy Coney Barrett was formally sworn in as the

newest member of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath in private, a day after Barrett's Senate

confirmation. Her first opinions could involve disputes over absentee ballot rules in key

voting states like Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

More state and local governments took actions today to corral COVID-19 infections, now averaging

more than 70,000 new cases daily nationwide. Newark, New Jersey imposed new restrictions

on nonessential businesses. And the governor of Illinois banned indoor dining in Chicago,

effective this Friday.

We will talk to the mayor of Chicago, who thinks that may be going too far, later in

the program.

Firefighters in Southern California are making scant progress so far against windblown wildfires

that have forced thousands of people from their homes. Two fires burned dangerously

close to subdivisions along the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains today.

Governor Gavin Newsom said conditions were unprecedented.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): This time is typical the Diablo and the Santa Ana winds tend to

present themselves, but we have seen some really extraordinary wind events in the last

48 hours. Those of you down in Orange County know well the extraordinary gusts that you're

experiencing, and just the ongoing winds, but 88 miles per hour was recorded.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The utility company Southern California Edison says that its equipment

may have sparked one of the fires.

New Orleans is now under a hurricane warning, awaiting the storm dubbed Zeta. It blew across

Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula last night and lost some of its punch. There were no reports

of major damage. Forecasts call for the storm to strengthen again and possibly make landfall

tomorrow night along the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts.

The city of Philadelphia is on edge tonight after police shot and killed a Black man on

Monday, sparking protests. Officers say they opened fire when Walter Wallace refused to

put down a knife and moved toward them. His family says the 27-year-old had mental health


We will return to this right after the news summary.

In Pakistan, a powerful bomb blast tore through an Islamic seminary in Peshawar today, killing

eight people and wounding nearly 140. In the aftermath, ambulances rushed to get survivors


Other students waited outside, and some said they get no protection.

ZAHID KHAN, Student (through translator): We were attending the class. Our teacher was

giving us a lecture. Then, suddenly, a big blast took place. I have this complaint with

the government that we don't have any proper security arrangements here. Every morning,

we have to guard here at the gate for our own security.

JUDY WOODRUFF: There was immediate no claim of responsibility, but the Pakistani Taliban

condemned the attack.

Back in this country, a federal judge today denied President Trump's plea to be removed

as the defendant in a defamation case. The suit was brought by columnist E. Jean Carroll,

after Mr. Trump denied allegations he raped her in the 1990s. The judge rejected the claim

that, as a federal employee, the president is not subject to such legal actions.

And on Wall Street, stocks mostly sagged again on worries about COVID-19. The Dow Jones industrial

average lost 222 points to close at 27463. The Nasdaq rose 72 points, but the S&P 500

slipped 10.

Still to come on the "NewsHour": yet another police killing of a Black man prompts widespread

protests and renewed calls for reform; we discuss the stalled effort to bring COVID

relief to struggling Americans with the White House domestic policy adviser; the mayor of

Chicago on how the city is handling the alarming rising COVID cases; plus, much more.

The fatal shooting of a Black man by police in

Philadelphia Monday afternoon triggered large protests overnight.

As John Yang reports, it is the latest police killing in this country in recent months to

provoke strong public outrage.

JOHN YANG: Violent protests broke out overnight in Philadelphia, with more than 30 officers


WOMAN: Oh, he hit a cop. Oh, my God, he hit a cop. He hit a cop.

JOHN YANG: More than a dozen people arrested, cars set aflame...

MAN: I was on my way home. This is in the middle 52nd Street.

JOHN YANG: ... and stores looted.

Philadelphia City Councilman Isaiah Thomas:

ISAIAH THOMAS, Philadelphia City Councilman: Like so many Philadelphians, it was hard to

wake up this morning after seeing so many graphic images of what took place in our city

last night.

We see these incidents. We recognize our city has a lot of problems.

JOHN YANG: The spark? A killing Monday of a 27-year-old Black man named Walter Wallace

Jr. captured on video.

Just before 4:00 p.m., two officers responded to a report of a man with a knife in a predominantly

Black neighborhood in West Philadelphia. As Wallace approached the officers, they opened



MAN: Oh! Oh! Oh (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Oh, my God.

JOHN YANG: He was rushed to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, where he died.

Philadelphia Police Sergeant Eric Gripp described what happened.

SGT. ERIC GRIPP, Philadelphia Police Department: The male continued to follow after the officers

while brandishing the weapon. The officers ordered him to drop it several more times.

Unfortunately, he did not. And the officers discharged their weapon several times, striking

the male.

JOHN YANG: Wallace's father said his son suffered from mental health issues and was on medication.

Questions immediately swirled about why officers hadn't used a Taser to subdue him and why

they fired so many rounds. The officers were wearing body cameras. Their names haven't

been disclosed, but they have been removed from street duty.

In a statement, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said: "I recognize that the

video of the incident raises many questions. Residents have my assurance that those questions

will be fully addressed by the investigation."

This afternoon, a lawyer for Wallace's family spoke to reporters.

SHAKA JOHNSON, Attorney for Family of Walter Wallace: That was an unjustified shooting.

I think you saw it as well. We all saw it. It was an unjustified shooting.

We have a person who has mental health issues. We're going to vet those out as the process

continues. But we have officers who I think are not properly trained to deal with those

mental health issues.

PROTESTERS: Shut it down!

JOHN YANG: The video of Wallace's shooting led to protests that turned violent late last

night and to vandalism and looting in areas already hit-hard after the death of George

Floyd earlier this year.

For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm John Yang.

JUDY WOODRUFF: With a week to go before the election, COVID cases are rising, and economic

stimulus talks in Washington appear to have stalled.

Let's bring in Brooke Rollins. She is the acting director of the White House Domestic

Policy Council. And she joins us now.

Welcome to the "NewsHour."

Brooke Rollins, so we know that the president has been saying for months he wants a COVID

relief package. He sent Treasury Secretary Mnuchin to negotiate. Then, at the beginning

of October, the president said, no, the talks are off. Then he turned around and said, no,

they're back on, with certain conditions.

Then we heard from the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, that there shouldn't be any

agreement until after the election. So, is this still a priority for the president?

BROOKE ROLLINS, Acting Director, Domestic Policy Council: Well, I think there's no doubt,

Judy -- thank you for having me, by the way.

I think there's no doubt. I'm not sure there's anyone in America who wants a deal, a stimulus

package deal, more than President Trump. He has been hyperfocused on trying make sure

that Americans have what they need to get through this pandemic.

What I will say, also -- and you're right - - it's kind of gone back and forth -- but

that, ultimately, we have come back to the table and back to the table. And I think we

have come up a few times. And I'm not sure that the House has been willing, that Speaker

Pelosi has been willing to be as flexible and as willing to negotiate as we have.

But, once the election has passed, I think all the parties will come back to the table.

And I really, sincerely believe that we will have a deal that will benefit Americans, all

Americans, but especially those who need it the most.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we have also heard there has been resistance.

I mean, Speaker -- Majority Leader McConnell himself has said that there's resistance from

a number of Republican senators.

My question is, why hasn't the president used his clout, his leverage with Republicans senators

to get them to agree to something?

BROOKE ROLLINS: Well, I think his focus has been on, what is the best deal for the American


And I think he has said publicly -- I'm not saying anything to get out in front of him

- - that the idea of sending hundreds of billions of dollars to bail out states and cities that

have been poorly run just isn't fair to the American taxpayer.

And so I think that the Republicans in the Senate, not to put words in their mouth, but

I think that's a big part of the concern, is how big the number is. There's $300 billion

left unspent from the last deal.

So, how can we come together and ensure that this really is the best deal for the American


JUDY WOODRUFF: I'm asking because, as you know, the need is great in many of these cities.

We're -- I'm also asking because I'm about to interview, after I speak with you, the

mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot.


JUDY WOODRUFF: They are in terrible economic straits, and a number of other cities around

the country, in both red states and blue states.

So, the question is, why hasn't there been more of a push from the White House?

BROOKE ROLLINS: Well, I think there has been a significant push.

I think maybe we have a different definition of what a push could look like. But we have

tried and tried and tried. And keep in mind, the Democrats have not been willing to move

one inch on the number. So, I think that saying that we haven't tried hard enough is not necessarily


But I think we will continue to move forward. I think mayors in this country, like Mayor

Lightfoot and others, coming to the table and letting us know what is important will

certainly be part of that conversation.

But I think, too, we have to realize what's best for the American people and talk about

the people in distress. The people who are being hurt the most by this lockdown and this

pandemic are those in our most distressed communities, are those in our forgotten communities.

And we have to continue to build not only with the stimulus relief talks and a package,

but continue to build the infrastructure for the economy to continue to build itself back



BROOKE ROLLINS: ... and for the jobs to be there.


Let me also ask you about a health care plan.


JUDY WOODRUFF: The president has been saying since he was elected that he will present

a health care plan to the American people.

We're now almost four years later. There still isn't one. Why not?

BROOKE ROLLINS: Judy, that's actually not - - that's not true.

He rolled out his Great American Health Care plan on September 24 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

It is on the White House Web site. It talks and walks through lower costs, better care,

more choice for all Americans and how he will do that, expanding health savings accounts,



JUDY WOODRUFF: But it hasn't been presented to the Congress in the form of a formal proposal.


BROOKE ROLLINS: Well -- well, what his plan is what he's presenting to the American people.

He's tried to move things through the Congress. Of course, with the stalemate, it hasn't been

possible. But, also, in the last three-and-a-half years, he's been able to do much through executive

order, whether it's price transparency, affordable health care plans.

Keep in mind, Judy, that Medicare costs and premiums have come down, on average, 35 percent

under this president, in some parts of the country, more than 50 percent.

We have expanded choice to 2,200 plans under Medicaid, 80 percent in choice. The health

care system, and where we are today, because of the last three-and-a-half years, is in

much better shape than what it was what was handed to us three-and-a-half years ago.

We will continue to build on that for all Americans, but especially those with preexisting

conditions, which this president has been unequivocal about.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, and that's -- well, that's - - and that's an issue of great disagreement,

because there have -- Republicans have not been united on preserving preexisting conditions.

And, right now, the Supreme Court may be on the verge of knocking out Obamacare altogether.

You're leaving tens of millions of Americans without coverage.

And my question is, what -- where's the safety net? What's going to protect those Americans,

if that happens?

BROOKE ROLLINS: Well, thank you for bringing up Obamacare. I would love to talk about that.

So, first of all, the exaltation of Obamacare just doesn't make any sense. So, this idea

that the Affordable Care Act, that Obamacare is providing everyone with preexisting conditions

the most amazing care just isn't true.

So, I will say this. The Affordable Care Act is up at the U.S. Supreme Court next week

for argument. The decision will come down probably middle of next year.

In the meantime, the president has already improved the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare,

the exchanges. Premiums are down 8 percent, after having gone up 35 percent under President

Obama. And there's a lot more choice.

So, we will continue to improve what the system currently is. If it is rightly struck down,

which this president has been -- getting to your question...

JUDY WOODRUFF: That's the question, if it's struck down.

BROOKE ROLLINS: If it is struck down, if the president, who rightly has called for it being

moved off and something better put in place, Judy, there's $1.8 trillion currently set

aside for the next 10 years to subsidize through the insurance exchanges, et cetera.

That $1.8 trillion under this president will be redeployed to the millions of Americans

who are on the Affordable Care Act, less than 10 percent of our population, but, nevertheless,

millions of Americans. And that money will go directly to them, rather than to the special

interests, to the insurance companies that have caused the prices to go so far up.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Brooke Rollins, acting director of the White House Domestic Policy Council,

thank you very much.


JUDY WOODRUFF: The latest COVID-19 outbreak has returned to places like Chicago, which

had been hit hard by the virus earlier this year.

Also taking a hit, state and local budgets. And with stimulus talks in Washington stalled,

many mayors are on their own in this trying time.

Lori Lightfoot is the mayor of Chicago. And she joins us now.

Welcome back to the "NewsHour."

Mayor Lightfoot, we heard Governor Pritzker, the governor of Illinois, say yesterday that

a COVID storm is coming. What does the situation look like right now in Chicago?

LORI LIGHTFOOT, Mayor of Chicago, Illinois: Well, it is of great concern.

We're seeing the rate of new cases really escalate in the same way that we saw them

back in the spring. We are seeing a slight uptick in hospitalizations, not ICU beds yet,

thankfully. But we're very concerned.

We announced some steps and measures last week to step back some of the measures that

we had put in place in slightly opening up our economy. But we're very concerned about

the second surge.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And Governor Pritzker saying that he is going to impose restrictions again.

They will be starting on Friday on indoor dining. What other restrictions are you looking

at coming?

LORI LIGHTFOOT: Well, there's a number of restrictions, and we're very concerned about


Our restaurant industry, our bars, our gyms, indoor spaces, if the governor's order goes

into effect, it's really effectively shutting down a significant portion of our economy,

at a time when those same businesses are really hanging on by a thread.

So, we're going to continue our engagement of the governor, of his team. But if it's

not looking good. And if we can't convince him that other metrics should apply, then

the shutdown, unfortunately, is going to take effect starting Friday, by state order.

JUDY WOODRUFF: So, it sounds like you think it's the wrong decision to do this.

LORI LIGHTFOOT: Well, I think that we have got to look at what our metrics are.

No question we're seeing an uptick in cases. We're also seeing percent positivity go up.

But hospitalizations are not at the breaking point, like they -- we feared back in the

spring. And I think that's an important metric that needs to have some really significant


And, also, we have got to be very surgical in the way that we impose these new restrictions.

The truth is that where we're seeing the greatest challenges is in people's homes, in social

setting that are not public.

That's harder to regulate, to be sure, but that's, at least in Chicago, where we're seeing

the challenges. Two-thirds of the people that are testing positive and are talking to our

case investigators are telling us that they got it from somebody that they knew, and that

they got it in a home or other social setting that's not in public.

So, we're taking additional steps to really address those circumstances where we're seeing

the cases increase. So, I'm not sure that we're reaching the right people with the restrictions

that are going to be imposed by the state. And that's my concern.

JUDY WOODRUFF: It was just in the last few days that you announced, what, a $1.2 billion

shortfall in the Chicago city budget.

You called for increases in property taxes, cutting the number of city workers. Just how

much of a financial strain, crisis are you facing?

LORI LIGHTFOOT: It's significant.

We have an $800 million shortfall in our 2020 budget, where we would have been on track

to meet -- to beat our budgeted expectations. And 100 percent of that 2020 shortfall is


We have a $1.2 billion budget deficit for next year, 2021, and 65 percent of that shortfall

is COVID-related. That's why it's so distressing that the federal government has failed to

recognize not just the plight of a city like Chicago, but cities and towns all over the

country, red, blue, purple, independent, Democrat, Republican.

This is a virus that doesn't respect political boundaries or geographic boundaries. And we

need a bipartisan solution for this bipartisan problem. So, we're going to keep pushing every

lever that we can think of, but, for now, we're not getting additional help from the

federal government.

So, our pandemic budget, which is what we're talking about it as, really relies upon us

in Chicago making the tough, hard choices that are going to be necessary to balance

our budget, as we are mandated to do by law.

JUDY WOODRUFF: A little bit earlier, I spoke with the head of the White House Domestic

Policy Council. Brooke Rollins is her name, acting director.

And she said -- because I was asking her why it's taken so long to reach an agreement.

She said the president is pushing as hard as he can. And she said, we want you, Mayor

Lightfoot, and other mayors to be at the table. But she also said, we have to realize what's

best for the American people, talk about people in distress and distressed and forgotten communities.

What does that say to you?

LORI LIGHTFOOT: To me, that's just a bunch of rhetoric.

From the very beginning of this pandemic, myself and other mayors have reached out to

the president, to the vice president. We have asked them repeatedly to make sure that mayors,

a bipartisan group and geographically diverse group of mayors, had a role to play in the

national response, so that they could hear it from the grassroots level.

They have ignored us at every turn. And they have, frankly, turned their IGA function into

a politicized bunch of hacks who attack Democratic mayors. They started attacking with Muriel

Bowser. Then they came to me, then Jenny Durkan, then Keisha Lance Bottoms.

They have zero interest in actually forging real, concrete relationships with mayors across

this country. It's a total missed opportunity. And we have known from a very long time that

we are going to have to fight this fight without meaningful support from the White House and

the executive branch.

But it's a real shame. And, unfortunately, I think lives have been lost because of not

only the mismanagement from the White House, but the absolute unwillingness to fully engage

and make sure that they're listening to local leaders, so that we can forge solutions that

save people's lives, that educate them, and keep them safe

JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we are going to have to leave it there.

But, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, we certainly wish you the best with all you're dealing with.

Thank you very much.

LORI LIGHTFOOT: Thank you, Judy. Appreciate you.

JUDY WOODRUFF: There are more women running for Congress than ever before, shattering

even the records set in 2018.

This time, it's driven in part by record numbers of Republican women on the ballot.

Lisa Desjardins has our report on what the GOP has done and why they still need -- what

they still need to do to close the wide gender gap in the House.

LISA DESJARDINS: This could be the face of change in the Republican Party.

NANCY MACE (R), South Carolina Congressional Candidate: Let's bump some elbows. How you

doing today?

MAN: Hey, good to see you.

LISA DESJARDINS: Nancy Mace is running to be the first South Carolina woman ever in

Congress, and part of what some hope is a gender shift for Republicans.

Both parties have gender gaps. In the House of Representatives, 88 Democrats, or 38 percent,

are women. But it is a chasm for House Republicans, with just 13 women, a tiny 7 percent of their

ranks right now.

NANCY MACE: Thank you. I appreciate it.

LISA DESJARDINS: Enter Mace and a new class of candidates. She's a single mom who represents

the Low Country near Charleston in the Statehouse now, and who broke barriers early in life

as the first woman to graduate from South Carolina's military institution, the Citadel.

NANCY MACE: It's not just Democrat women that are breaking barriers or breaking glass ceilings.

LISA DESJARDINS: Mace means this. A record 94 Republican women are on the ballot for

the House of Representatives this year, nearly double the number two years ago.

Then, a wave of new Democratic women entered the House and got Republicans' attention.

On 2018, it sounds like -- was that kind of a call to action?

REP. SUSAN BROOKS (R-IN): I really do believe it was. We lost some amazing incumbent women.

And my colleagues, we all really did look and say, well, what can we do differently

going forward?

LISA DESJARDINS: Indiana Republican Congresswoman Susan Brooks, who will retire this year, headed

up the recruitment of female candidates this cycle.

A frequent concern she hears, is Congress worth the effort?

REP. SUSAN BROOKS: Because they very much all across the board want to make a difference.

They don't want to waste their time. They want to know that what they're going to be

doing is really making a difference.

LISA DESJARDINS: This during renewed attention on and excitement for conservative women.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Good morning. Welcome, Judge.

LISA DESJARDINS: With the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: This hearing to me is an opportunity to not punch through a glass

ceiling, but a reinforced concrete barrier around conservative women. You're going to

shatter that barrier.

LISA DESJARDINS: But that energy hasn't yet translated to more seats in congress. Party

leaders like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have been asked:

QUESTION: Why do you think the gender gap is wider now than it has been previously?

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Well, it's an interesting question, and something I'm not

happy with, and I hope we can improve in the coming weeks and years.

LISA DESJARDINS: Brooks also says she's unsure, but points to money.

REP. SUSAN BROOKS: I do know, historically, the women candidates have had a harder time

fund-raising. And so we haven't had the ability to break through our primaries.

LISA DESJARDINS: There's also a leadership gap. House Republicans have just one woman

in leadership, Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney, and just two are the highest ranking on their


Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said gender shouldn't be a factor for Cheney or anyone

in politics.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): She's not defined by being in my conference because she's a

woman. She's defined by being in my conference because she got elected because she's the

best person for the job.

LISA DESJARDINS: That creates a tricky situation for Republican women.

Julie Conway created and runs VIEW PAC, a group focused on electing more GOP women.

JULIE CONWAY, Executive Director, VIEW PAC: Historically, Republican women have had a

bit of a challenge, because gender politics, identity politics on the Republican side wasn't

really taken too seriously.

It was always the concept that the best candidate will emerge from a primary, and that person

will be our candidate in the general. And, unfortunately, there is not a level playing

field in terms of electing Republican women and Republican men.

LISA DESJARDINS: Even in this record group of candidates, you can see that. Of the 94

Republican women running this year, 11 are in Congress now and just 14 others are seen

as having a chance to win.

NANCY MACE: I'm Nancy Mace. I learned my Low Country values...

LISA DESJARDINS: That includes Mace in a high-dollar race with freshman Democrat Joe Cunningham,

who has touted an environmental record for the coast. She's blunt about the system overall.

Do you think that politics is still a boys club?

NANCY MACE: Oh, absolutely, 100 percent.

LISA DESJARDINS: And she sees the ballot as one piece of the puzzle.

NANCY MACE: Being in elected office is not enough. We have to have our voices heard.

LISA DESJARDINS: For Republican women, a push to be heard and to be a larger force at the

table in Washington.

For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Lisa Desjardins.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Made in China, it's a phrase that has become an almost daily reminder of

the global economic challenge facing the U.S.

In the pandemic, one thing has become clear. The world's reliance on personal protective

equipment, or PPE.

As correspondent Patrick Fok reports, a great deal of this much needed gear, from masks

to goggles, comes from China, and the country where the virus originated now produces much

of what is needed to fight it off.

PATRICK FOK: It may only be manned by a small number of workers, but this PPE production

plant in Chongqing, Southern China, churns out half-a-million disposable masks every


Masks are by far the most sought-after type of PPE, and these commonly seen blue ones

are number-one sellers.

PAUL WANG, Founder & CEO, LyncMed: They're flat. The typical three-layers surgical masks,

that will be the most popular one, this one.

PATRICK FOK: Paul Wang is CEO and founder of LyncMed. It's a major global distributor

of medical gear, including PPE.

According to the Washington, D.C.-based Peterson Institute for International Economics, even

before the coronavirus pandemic began, China was the largest exporter of PPE, accounting

for nearly half the world's supply of face masks, gowns and goggles.

Its share of the market's grown even larger since. Wang says his company's sales volumes

are 10 times higher than a year ago. And after a slight lull over summer, as the virus subsided

in many places, orders are now coming back with ominous strength.

PAUL WANG: Beginning of September, and we already saw the early -- early indicator of

the second wave is picking up, because now the weather is coming -- cooling down.

PATRICK FOK: At the height of China's battle with the coronavirus in March, LyncMed, like

many other overseas distributors of PPE, called back inventories from warehouses around the


Much of it was diverted to front-liners fighting the virus in Hubei province and the virus

epicenter, Wuhan.

But domestic demand for PPE has slowed steadily since March, as China has gotten its outbreak

under control. LyncMed has shifted its focus back towards buyers elsewhere, including the

U.S., which, like many other countries, continues to grapple with shortages.

A global backlash against China over the COVID-19 pandemic has led to accusations that Chinese

authorities hid the severity of the outbreak so that it could get a head-start on stocking

up on the medical supplies it needed to respond to the crisis.

And there are fears China might restrict the distribution of gear to countries that have

criticized its handling of the disease.

Joe Mazur is an analyst at the intelligence group Trivium China.

JOE MAZUR, Trivium China: But, in reality, we haven't seen a lot of that. China has,

in general, been pretty liberal about exporting its PPE once its own domestic needs have been


And I think that's for a couple of reasons. One is because the Chinese government sees

the export of PPE as a big public relations coup.

PATRICK FOK: Reports say exports of virus-related goods, including PPE, helped offset a drop

in other products shipped to the U.S. as a result of tariffs imposed by the Trump administration.

Total exports were down only slightly in the first eight months of the year, compared to

the last, according to official Chinese data. Health care officials say the shortage of

PPE in the U.S., by contrast, is likely to persist, in the absence of a strategy to address

the problem.

TINGLONG DAI, Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School: It's as important as having

a local fire station in your town or in your city.

PATRICK FOK: Tinglong Dai is an associate professor specializing in health care ecosystems

at the John Hopkins University Carey School Of Business.

He's been researching the critical need for the U.S. to reshore PPE production.

TINGLONG DAI: Just imagine you have a fire, and you don't have a truck a few miles from

you, and you have to rely on a truck from a nearby state. You cannot deal with the fire.

By the time the fire trucks arrive, your house has already burned down.

PATRICK FOK: Both President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden have championed

bringing back production to the U.S. Dai says it needs to be a long-term commitment.

TINGLONG DAI: We need engineers, managers, quality controllers, and technicians, and

workers. When we need them, we cannot just train them within a few weeks. It takes years

to get the right people, to get the right machines.

PATRICK FOK: China was able to ramp up production when it needed because of a plan it previously

laid out to be self-sufficient in key industries by 2025.

State support saw nearly 70,000 companies register to either trade or manufacture face

masks this year. But reports also suggest that may have led to quality control problems.

Health officials in the U.S. and many other parts of the world criticized China over faulty

equipment and substandard masks. Shipments have been pulled.

JOE MAZUR: There has been a big spike in demand for this product, and China has the means

to produce it.

And so what that does is, that attracts a lot of people looking to capitalize on that

disparity. And, unfortunately, some of them are bad actors who are producing subpar equipment.

PATRICK FOK: Chinese regulators have tightened quality control over medical supplies. But

that hasn't stemmed the problem entirely.

LyncMed's made serious efforts to ensure the goods it distributes comply with health standards

at home and abroad. It's had to brush aside some of the negative attention to Chinese-made


PAUL WANG: This is part of life. This is part of the politics. So people finger-point at

each other for different reasons.

I just accept it. This is the nature. And I still and my whole team feels very proud

of it, what we are doing, and we are saving lives.

PATRICK FOK: And as long as the pandemic continues, people across the world are likely to depend

on China to supply the equipment needed to keep them safe.

For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Patrick Fok in Beijing.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Now we take a very different look at the pandemic and how the arts are

trying to weather the economic storm.

From January to June of this from January to June of this year, consumer spending on

the performing arts fell from almost $27 billion to just $817 million.

Now a pilot program in Massachusetts looks to ideas from the past to hopefully ensure

the arts' future.

Special correspondent Jared Bowen GBH Boston reports.

It's part of our American Creators series and ongoing arts and culture series, Canvas.

JARED BOWEN: There's a stillness to this land, where the rawness of the woods meets manicured

beauty. Except for a fountain, there is quiet, just the way novelist Edith Wharton wanted


SUSAN WISSLER, Executive Director, The Mount: When a cold frost would kill her favorite

trees, it was like losing a child. I mean, she was deeply, deeply and instinctively,

I would say, connected to nature.

JARED BOWEN: Susan Wissler is executive director of The Mount, the home and gardens Edith Wharton

designed herself after purchasing this property in 1901.

It's tucked into the rolling hills of the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts. And Wharton

wrote some of her most celebrated works here, including "Ethan Frome" and "The House of


SUSAN WISSLER: There's a scene in "The House of Mirth."

Lily Bart is at a house party on the Hudson. And the view that she describes out of her

window when she wakes up is very much Wharton's view from her bedroom window.

LIA RUSSELL-SELF, Writer: There's so much space for thoughts with all this inspiration.

JARED BOWEN: Today, it's writer Lia Russell-Self, who uses the pronoun they, who is guided by

this space. It's also now their job, as part of a privately funded, national pilot program

called Artists At Work.

It was set up during the pandemic to give six artists employment in cultural institutions

across the Berkshires. Others include a choreographer working with the dance festival Jacob's Pillow,

a filmmaker joining an independent movie theater, and a visual artist teaming with the Massachusetts

Museum of Contemporary art, all in rural Western Massachusetts.

Each artist has the freedom to develop any project they want for a six-month residency.

RACHEL CHANOFF, Director, THE OFFICE performing arts + film: The artists are being paid to

just make the beautiful work they make as artists that helps us all make meaning of

the world. And they're also paid to bring their thinking to social initiatives.

JARED BOWEN: Rachel Chanoff is director of THE OFFICE, a for-profit New York- and London-based

performing arts and film production company that conceived the artists-for-hire pilot

and pays each of the artists a living wage and provides them health care while in the


RACHEL CHANOFF: The reason we didn't want to make it a grant, we wanted to make it a

wage, is so that they would -- at post-program, they would be eligible for unemployment.

JARED BOWEN: Chanoff proudly acknowledges that paying artists who found themselves jobless

or struggling financially during the pandemic is entirely unoriginal.

Its roots are in the WPA, the Works Progress Administration established during the Great

Depression. It employed thousands of artists teaching art classes, creating theater, painting

murals and documenting the country through photography. It fueled the careers of figures

like actor, writer and director Orson Welles, painter Jacob Lawrence, and sculptor Louise


When did you recognize it worked during the WPA and putting artists to work in this country?

RACHEL CHANOFF: Was a time where artists were recognized as workers.

Artists are so often thought of as kind of the garnish on the plate and the luxury item.

When artists are unemployed, you have unemployed people who are on their way to becoming poor


LIA RUSSELL-SELF: To have like six months of, this is your salary, this is what you

have got, and if something happens to you, you can -- you can go see a doctor, which

is not a luxury I have had for quite a while.

JARED BOWEN: In non-pandemic times, people flock to the Berkshires in the summertime

for world-class concerts, art exhibitions, and theater. It's a feast for those craving


But, here, Russell-Self feels most at home because of the landscape. And their project

for the pilot program is to work with young people of color to explore and strengthen

their ties to this land.

They regularly walk Edith Wharton's one-time estate with groups like The Rusty Anvil, which

connects marginalized communities to nature.

Ultimately, Russell-Self wants to make this a destination for other people of color who

might not always feel welcome in predominantly white spaces like The Mount. And the artists

will write a collection of poetry inspired by the experience.

SUSAN WISSLER: I don't know how the independent artists are going to sustain and endure through

this period.

JARED BOWEN: Throughout the pandemic, The Mount has had to suspend programs that would

normally give artists a platform. And that's the situation nationwide, with countless artists

among the unemployed and without a sense of when or if their jobs will return.

LIA RUSSELL-SELF: I'm used to working a few different gigs, a few different projects to

try and, like, piece everything together. That's totally not possible now.

JARED BOWEN: Which is why the pilot's organizers are hoping it can be replicated around the

country, where Rachel Chanoff says she knows artists can shape our economic recovery, if

they're just given the means.

RACHEL CHANOFF: We're hoping that this is - - really changes the conversation, changes

the conversation about the impact and the utility of arts. It's that art impacts mental

health and food systems and economies.

Art is a crucial part of our endeavor as a commonwealth. And that's where the conversation

needs to look.

JARED BOWEN: For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Jared Bowen in Lenox, Massachusetts.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And we thank you, Jared Bowen.

And on the "NewsHour" online: the latest episode of our podcast "America, Interrupted" explores

the history of voter suppression, what it looks like today and how the pandemic has

made it worse.

You can listen on PBS.org/NewsHour/podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

And that's the "NewsHour" for tonight. I'm Judy Woodruff.

Join us online and again here tomorrow evening.

For all of us at the "PBS NewsHour," thank you, please stay safe, and we'll see you soon.