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    How Misinformation Threatened a Montana National Heritage Area

    GREAT FALLS, Mont. — In the summer of 2020, as pandemic shutdowns closed businesses and racial justice protests erupted on American streets, Rae Grulkowski, a 56-year-old businesswoman who had never been involved in politics but was alarmed about what was happening to the country, found a way to make a difference.The connection to the turbulence of national politics might not have been immediately clear.Ms. Grulkowski had just heard about a years-in-the-making effort to designate her corner of central Montana a national heritage area, celebrating its role in the story of the American West. A small pot of federal matching money was there for the taking, to help draw more visitors and preserve underfunded local tourist attractions.Ms. Grulkowski set about blowing up that effort with everything she had.She collected addresses from a list of voters and spent $1,300 sending a packet denouncing the proposed heritage area to 1,498 farmers and ranchers. She told them the designation would forbid landowners to build sheds, drill wells or use fertilizers and pesticides. It would alter water rights, give tourists access to private property, create a new taxation district and prohibit new septic systems and burials on private land, she said.None of this was true.Yet it soon became accepted as truth by enough people to persuade Montana’s leading Republican figures and conservative organizations, including the farm bureau, Gov. Greg Gianforte and Senator Steve Daines, to oppose the proposal and enact a state law forbidding the federal government to create any heritage area in Montana. It is a ban that the state has no authority to enforce.Which is how a humble bid for a small serving of Washington pork by a group of local civic boosters became yet another nasty skirmish in the bitter nationwide struggle between the forces of fact and fantasy.From her point of view, the tale of Ms. Grulkowski’s one-woman crusade is a stirring reminder of the power of political activism. “I thought, ‘Here’s the world going crazy,’” she said, explaining her motivation.From the vantage point of informed democratic decision making, it’s a haunting tale about how a sustained political campaign can succeed despite — or perhaps as a result of — being divorced from reality.“Misinformation is the new playbook,” Bob Kelly, the mayor of Great Falls, said. “You don’t like something? Create alternative facts and figures as a way to undermine reality.”The dispute has split communities, become a wedge issue in this fall’s political campaigns and left proponents of the heritage area flummoxed at their collective inability to refute falsehoods once they have become accepted wisdom.“We’ve run into the uneducable,” Ellen Sievert, a retired historic preservation officer for Great Falls and surrounding Cascade County, said. “I don’t know how we get through that.”Most of the heritage area’s key supporters are Democrats, and virtually all of its opponents are Republicans. But partisanship doesn’t explain everyone’s positions.Steve Taylor, a former mayor of Neihart (pop. 43) whose family owns a car dealership in Great Falls, is a conservative who voted for Donald J. Trump twice, though he said he has regretted those votes since the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Fellow Republicans, he said, have painted the heritage area as a liberal plot.“They make it a political thing because if you have a Democrat involved, then they are all against it,” he said. “It’s so hard to build something and so easy to tear it down. It’s maddening. It’s so easy to destroy something with untruths.”Giant Springs State Park near Great Falls is part of the proposed Big Sky Country National Heritage Area.Louise Johns for The New York TimesThe Lewis and Clark Expedition first documented the Giant Springs in 1805.Louise Johns for The New York TimesCongress and President Ronald Reagan created National Heritage Areas in the 1980s as a partnership between the National Park Service and local boosters, who are required to match federal investment with funds raised locally. The 55 existing heritage areas, in 34 states, recognize, among other histories, metropolitan Detroit’s automotive background, Utah’s Mormon pioneers and Tennessee’s part in the Civil War. They collectively receive about $21 million annually — a pittance in the park service’s $3.5 billion budget — and have no impact on private property rights, a finding confirmed in a 2004 report by the U.S. General Accounting Office.The proposal for the Big Sky Country National Heritage Area, encompassing most of two central Montana counties that are together roughly the size of Connecticut, was the brainchild of Jane Weber, a U.S. Forest Service retiree who spent a decade on the Cascade County Commission.Beginning in 2013, Ms. Weber teamed up with local preservationists, formed a nonprofit, enlisted local businesses and raised $50,000 for a required feasibility study. In 2014, the Great Falls City Commission included the heritage area as part of its official growth policy.The proposal would take in four National Historic Landmarks: Lewis and Clark’s portage route around Great Falls; Fort Benton, a pioneer town along the Missouri River that was the last stop for steamships heading west from St. Louis in the 1800s; the First Peoples Buffalo Jump, a steep cliff over which Blackfoot hunters herded buffalo to their deaths; and the home and studio of C.M. Russell, the turn-of-the-century “cowboy artist” whose paintings of the American West shaped the popular image of frontier life.The park service requires demonstrations of public support, which Ms. Weber and her allies solicited. For six years, the process went on largely undisturbed. Ms. Weber hosted dozens of public meetings and was a regular on local radio stations. Opponents made scarcely a peep.Then the 2020 political season arrived.Rae Grulkowski and her husband, Ron Carpenter, falsely told farmers and ranchers that the heritage area would forbid landowners to build sheds, drill wells or use fertilizers and pesticides.Louise Johns for The New York TimesWith the coronavirus ravaging the economy and protests lighting up her computer screen, Ms. Grulkowski said, she walked into a local Republican Party office one day and asked what she could do to help. Someone told her to attend a meeting. So she did.There, she heard a presentation by Jeni Dodd, a former reporter for The Great Falls Tribune, who was running in a Republican primary for the Montana State Senate. Ms. Dodd had latched on to the heritage area as a waste of public money and a thicket of conflicts of interest for board members and elected officials. She wrote essays in local weeklies and started a Facebook group calling the proposal a “Big Sky Boondoggle.” It didn’t get much traction.But Ms. Grulkowski’s interest was piqued.At the time, she was becoming engrossed in the online world of far-right media. From her home on 34 acres in Stockett, a farming community of 157 people south of Great Falls, she watched videos from outlets like His Glory TV, where hosts refer to President Biden as “the so-called president.” She subscribed to the Telegram messaging channel of Seth Keshel, a prolific disinformation spreader.And she came across a vein of conspiratorial accusations that national heritage areas were a kind of Trojan horse that could open the door to future federal land grabs.When Ms. Grulkowski, who owns a septic cleaning company, tried using Ms. Dodd’s group to push the idea that Montanans’ property rights were at risk, Ms. Dodd kicked her out for promoting lies.“I’m not happy with people saying it will seize your property, because that is disingenuous,” Ms. Dodd said. “I said to her, ‘I think you need to be careful about the message. It isn’t actually the way that it works, what you’re saying.’”But Ms. Grulkowski plowed ahead.Fort Benton, a pioneer town along the Missouri River, was the last stop for steamships heading west from St. Louis in the 1800s.Louise Johns for The New York TimesThe Missouri River runs through Fort Benton, which is a National Historic Landmark.Louise Johns for The New York TimesOne of her letters reached Ed Bandel, the local board member for the Montana Farm Bureau Federation, a powerful lobbying force. Mr. Bandel, who grows wheat and peas for energy bars on 3,000 acres, persuaded the farm bureau to oppose the heritage area and enlisted other agriculture groups to follow suit.The bureau printed thousands of 4-by-6-inch cards saying “Just Say No!” and listing Ms. Grulkowski’s Facebook group and other opponents, including realtors, home builders, grain growers, stock growers and wool growers. Mr. Bandel, his son and Ms. Grulkowski left the cards on tables at supportive restaurants.By May, their campaign had reached the state capital, where Mr. Gianforte signed the bill barring any national heritage area in Montana after it passed on a near-party-line vote. A heritage area, the bill’s text asserted, would “interfere with state and private property rights.”In two hours of talking at his farm, Mr. Bandel could offer no evidence to back up that claim. He said he distrusted assurances that there were no such designs. “They say, ‘Don’t worry, we’re going to do it right. Don’t worry, we’ll take care of you. I think Adolf Hitler said that, too, didn’t he?” Mr. Bandel said. “The fear of the unknown is a huge fear.”Mr. Bandel said he trusted Ms. Grulkowski with the details.Ed Bandel, right, and his son, Jess, grow wheat and peas for energy bars. They persuaded the Montana Farm Bureau Federation to oppose the heritage area.Louise Johns for The New York TimesBut when pressed, Ms. Grulkowski, too, was unable to identify a single instance of a property owner’s being adversely affected by a heritage area. “It’s not that there are a lot of specific instances,” she said. “There’s a lot of very wide open things that could happen.”That somewhat amorphous fear was more the point.Outside of a poultry coop, as her chickens and ducks squawked, Ms. Grulkowski ticked through the falsehoods she had read online and accepted as truths in the past year: The Covid vaccine is more dangerous than the coronavirus. Global child-trafficking rings control the political system. Black Lives Matter was responsible for the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The United Nations is plotting to control world population and seize private land. Mr. Trump was the rightful winner of last year’s election. Even in Cascade County, where Mr. Trump won 59 percent of the vote, Ms. Grulkowski argued that 3,000 illegal votes were cast.“We didn’t believe in any of that stuff until last July,” Ms. Grulkowski said. “Then we stumbled on something on the internet, and we watched it, and it took us two days to get over that. And it had to do with the child trafficking that leads to everything. It just didn’t seem right, and that was just over the top. And then we started seeing things that are lining up with that everywhere.”One thing Ms. Grulkowski does not do — because she refuses to pay — is read The Great Falls Tribune, the local daily. It’s not what it once was, with just eight journalists, down from 45 in 2000, said Richard Ecke, who spent 38 years at the paper before the owner, Gannett, laid him off as opinion editor in 2016. He is vice chairman of the proposed heritage area’s board.The “Just Say No!” message is on billboards along Interstate 15 and on Highway 87 into Fort Benton, and on bus-stop benches in Great Falls.Louise Johns for The New York TimesIn the paper’s place, information and misinformation about the heritage area spread on Facebook and in local outlets that parroted Ms. Grulkowski. Last winter, a glossy magazine distributed to Montana farmers put the subject on its cover, headlined “Intrusive Raid on Private Property Rights.”Ms. Grulkowski badgered supporters of the heritage area to withdraw financial backing. She raised the money to plaster the “Just Say No!” message on billboards along Interstate 15 and on Highway 87 into Fort Benton, and on bus-stop benches in Great Falls.Three of the heritage area’s board members quit in frustration. Ms. Weber herself resigned from the Cascade County Commission last December after her fellow commissioners voted to oppose the heritage area.“It’s very easy to take fear and mistrust and make it work for you. It’s very hard to fight back against all of that,” Ms. Weber said. “It’s kind of like trying to convince someone to get vaccinated.”The issue is now roiling November’s municipal elections in Great Falls.“It’s a legitimate concern anytime you have anybody telling you a possibility of someone telling you: You can do this or you can do that with your own property,” Fred Burow, an auctioneer challenging Mr. Kelly for the mayoralty, said.Jane Weber conceived of the idea for the Big Sky Country National Heritage Area.Louise Johns for The New York TimesMs. Grulkowski now has ambitions beyond Montana. She wants to push Congress not to renew heritage areas that already exist.Buoyed by the trust her neighbors have placed in her, she has begun campaigning for Ms. Weber’s old seat on the county commission, in part to avenge the way she feels: mistreated by those in power.She doesn’t feel she’s been told the whole truth.Kitty Bennett More

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    Nevada Man Is Charged With Voting Using His Dead Wife’s Ballot

    Donald Kirk Hartle, a Republican, had claimed that someone voted in the 2020 election by using the mail-in ballot of his wife, who died in 2017. He now faces two counts of voter fraud.Speaking to a Las Vegas news station in November, Donald Kirk Hartle described being “surprised” by the possibility that someone had stolen his dead wife’s mail-in ballot and used it to vote in the 2020 election. “That is pretty sickening to me, to be honest with you,” he told KLAS-TV.But this week, the Nevada attorney general filed two charges of voter fraud against Mr. Hartle, 55, claiming that he was the one who forged his wife’s signature to vote with her ballot.“Voter fraud is rare, but when it happens it undercuts trust in our election system and will not be tolerated by my office,” the attorney general, Aaron D. Ford, said in a statement on Thursday. “I want to stress that our office will pursue any credible allegations of voter fraud and will work to bring any offenders to justice.”The announcement from Mr. Ford’s office comes months after waves of Republicans, including former President Donald J. Trump, falsely asserted that the 2020 election had been tainted by widespread voter fraud, including in Nevada, a state that Mr. Trump lost.Mr. Hartle, a registered Republican, was charged with voting using the name of another person and voting more than once in the same election, the attorney general’s office said in the statement. Each charge carries a prison sentence of up to four years and a fine of up to $5,000, the prosecutors said.The criminal complaint did not explain how prosecutors came to the conclusion that Mr. Hartle had committed voter fraud. Questions sent to the office of Mr. Ford, a Democrat elected to the position in 2018, were not immediately responded to on Saturday.David Chesnoff, a lawyer for Mr. Hartle, said in a statement that his client “looks forward to responding to the allegations in court.” Mr. Hartle is scheduled to appear in the Las Vegas Township Justice Court on Nov. 18.The Nevada Republican Party had cited Mr. Hartle’s story as evidence of voting irregularities on Twitter last year, saying that Mr. Hartle “was surprised to find that his late wife Rosemarie, a Republican, cast a ballot in this years election despite having passed away” in 2017.Since the announcement of the charges against Mr. Hartle, however, the party has not corrected the record, said Callum Ingram, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Nevada, Reno.“The state Republican Party has been pretty quiet certainly on this case since the narrative got flipped on its head,” Dr. Ingram said in an interview on Saturday.Mr. Hartle is the chief financial officer and treasurer of Ahern Rentals, according to his LinkedIn profile. The business rents out construction equipment and is a part of the Ahern Family of Companies. One of its businesses, Xtreme Manufacturing, was fined $3,000 in 2020 for hosting a Trump rally that did not comply with the state’s Covid regulations at the time, said Kathleen Richards, a spokeswoman for the city of Henderson, Nev.Nevada was one of several states in November that was dealing with dubious claims of voter fraud after the presidential election.The Nevada secretary of state, Barbara K. Cegavske, said in a document posted in December titled “Facts vs. Myths” that there was no evidence of large-scale voter fraud in the state.Ms. Cegavske’s office led the investigation of Mr. Hartle’s case.“Our office takes voter fraud very seriously,” Ms. Cegavske said in the statement released by Mr. Ford’s office. “Our securities division worked hard to bring this case to a close.”Conservative news outlets spread Mr. Hartle’s story. After the state Republican Party highlighted the case on Twitter, the conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza discussed the case on his show. Then the Fox News host Tucker Carlson promoted Mr. Hartle’s account, saying: “We don’t know who did this. We wish we did, because it’s fraud.”For many voters in the state, Dr. Ingram said, proving that widespread voter fraud did not occur “is something that no amount of counterevidence, no amount of effort to prove folks wrong with facts or reason, is ever going to touch because it’s an unquestionable article of faith.” More

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    Letitia James Hires Staff Ahead of a Possible Bid for Governor

    Ms. James, the New York attorney general, has recently recruited several advisers and fund-raisers ahead of a possible run for the state’s top office.While New York’s political elite awaits some definitive word from Letitia James about whether she intends to run for governor next year, her campaign team is being less guarded.In recent weeks, the team has made four significant new hires, most prominently Celinda Lake, the veteran Democratic strategist who served as one of the two lead pollsters for President Biden in the 2020 campaign, according to multiple people familiar with the hire and confirmed by one of the four people recently brought on board.The addition of advisers like Ms. Lake, a longtime party pollster who has a background in electing female candidates, would strongly suggest that Ms. James is gearing up for a high-profile, competitive race — rather than focusing on her current run for re-election as state attorney general.She has also hired Kimberly Peeler-Allen, a close ally and the co-founder of the group Higher Heights for America — a major organization dedicated to helping Black women win elected office — as a senior adviser and a campaign coordinator.And she has brought on two operatives who have significant local and national fund-raising experience.Ms. James is currently running for re-election as attorney general, but her campaign staff is expected to quickly transition to a run for governor if she ultimately challenges Gov. Kathy Hochul in what would be an expensive and historic Democratic primary contest.Ms. Peeler-Allen confirmed the hires.Ms. Hochul, the state’s first female governor, has moved aggressively to fund-raise and to secure endorsements around the state, including from people or political groups whose backing Ms. James and other potential candidates would also seem to covet: the president of the N.A.A.C.P. New York State Conference, for example, and Emily’s List, the fund-raising powerhouse focused on electing women who support abortion rights.Some donors and elected officials have become increasingly anxious to know whether Ms. James will proceed with a bid for governor.“People who like her, want her and are part of the entourage, if you will, would be there for her,” said Alan Rubin, a lobbyist in New York City who intends to back Ms. James if she runs and who believes she would be a strong fund-raiser. “I also think it’s getting to the point — I think it’s pretty obvious it’s getting to the point — where decisions need to be made.”The new hires amount to the clearest indication yet that Ms. James is laying the groundwork to do so, though she could make a different final assessment.Ms. James’s allies believe that while she has not historically been known as a strong fund-raiser, if she does run for governor, she could attract significant national interest, given her potential to be the first Black female governor in America. Her hires also reflect an intense focus on fund-raising.She brought in Jenny Galvin, who has led fund-raising efforts for New York officials including Alvin Bragg, the likely next Manhattan district attorney; State Senator Alessandra Biaggi; and for the mayoral campaign of Scott M. Stringer, the New York City comptroller, in addition to national political fund-raising work.Kristie Stiles has also joined Ms. James’s team. She is a veteran Democratic fund-raiser with deep experience in New York and on the national stage.“She’s got a lot of great relationships with donors and she’s well-known,” Christopher G. Korge, the Democratic National Committee finance chairman, said of Ms. Stiles. “I think it adds some credibility from a fund-raising point of view to that operation.”Former Representative Steve Israel, who worked with Ms. Stiles when he chaired the House Democratic campaign arm, called her “a name brand in political fund-raising.”Ms. Galvin and Ms. Stiles will join David Mansur, a fund-raiser whose firm has worked for a number of prominent New York politicians. He led fund-raising efforts for Ms. James’s successful 2018 campaign for state attorney general and has remained engaged with her.Ms. James’s moves come as other aspects of the New York governor’s race have begun to take shape. New York City Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams has started an official exploratory committee for governor.Several other New York City-area Democrats are also looking at the race, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is a Brooklynite like Ms. James, and who has told associates that he is intending to jump in. Representative Thomas Suozzi of Queens and Long Island hopes to decide whether to proceed with an exploratory committee for governor by mid-November, according to people familiar with his thinking who were granted anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.Two recent polls have shown Ms. Hochul with a sizable lead, though it is difficult to gauge the race at this early stage and without a defined field.In the meantime, Ms. James has maintained an intense public and private schedule: She has traveled the state in her official capacity as attorney general, she is speaking with county chairs and other local elected officials, and she is a fixture at New York City political events, like birthday parties and Democratic fund-raisers.“That’s all anybody talks about,” said Keith L.T. Wright, the leader of the New York County Democrats, speaking of the governor’s race. “People are trying to assess the lay of the land, if you will, the lay of the political land. And they just want to know all the players before they make a decision.” More

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    What Kind of Mayor Might Eric Adams Be? No One Seems to Know.

    Eric Adams could not resist the story.In a 2019 commencement address, Mr. Adams complained that a neighbor’s dog kept befouling his yard — no matter how polite he was to the owner, no matter his standing as Brooklyn’s borough president. Then a pastor gave him an idea. Mr. Adams slipped on a hoodie and Timberland boots, rang the neighbor’s doorbell and reintroduced himself a little less politely, he said. After that, the dog stayed away.“Let people know you are not the one to mess with,” he advised the predominantly Black graduating class at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn. He closed with a prediction for those who said he would never be mayor: “I’m going to put my hoodie on, and I’m going to make it happen.”That electoral prophecy might well hold up. The story does not.It was the pastor, Robert Waterman, who actually had the neighbor with the dog and the confrontation at the door, both men said in interviews. Mr. Adams just liked how it sounded. “It was a great story I heard,” he told The New York Times recently. “I heard him preach, and I told him, ‘I’m going to tell that story.’”With Mr. Adams, 61, now poised to become New York City’s next mayor, the episode at once reflects his political superpower and greatest potential vulnerability: a comfort with public shape-shifting that would make him the biggest City Hall wild card in decades. He propagates and discards narratives about himself, rarely sweating the details.His highest principle can appear to be the perpetuation of the Eric Adams story, one that he hopes will deliver him from a streetwise childhood in Brooklyn and Queens to the seat of power in Lower Manhattan. He speaks with almost spiritual zeal about his personal evolution — he is a meditating, globe-trotting, vegan former police officer — but can slide into vague aphorisms on policy matters.“I am you,” he tells voters.That this slogan has rung true across multiple constituencies — police critics and police officers, service workers and real estate barons — speaks forcefully to Mr. Adams’s embrace of ostensible contradictions: He can be, and prefers to be, many things at once, presenting himself as living proof that they are not mutually exclusive.Primary voters responded to Mr. Adams’s message that police reform and public safety did not have to exist in tension. Jordan Gale for The New York TimesHe has alternately referred to himself as a “pragmatic moderate” and “the original progressive.” He claims to take bubble baths with roses and has said he would carry a handgun in church. He is openly self-aggrandizing and self-critical, appraising himself as a transformative leader while insisting he ends each day with a self-flagellating diary entry: “How did you drop the ball today, Eric? How did you blow it?”He is, perhaps most bewildering of all to his primary opponents in the spring, a Democrat celebrated by the right-leaning New York Post. He dined in Manhattan earlier this year with Rupert Murdoch, the executive chairman of News Corp, the paper’s parent company, and others from the organization. “Good conversation,” Mr. Adams said. (His campaign noted that Mr. Adams has also met with the leaders of other major daily newspapers in the city, including The Times.)Such world-straddling dexterity has served Mr. Adams well as a candidate. Primary voters warmed to his core message that public safety and police reform could coexist. Benefactors as distinct as Mayor Bill de Blasio, a professed progressive, and Michael R. Bloomberg, his billionaire technocrat predecessor, have allowed themselves to see validation in his success.But the mayoralty is about choices: the priorities to pursue, the compromises to accept, the company to keep. By his own account, Mr. Adams — who is expected to win election next month — has been plotting a path to City Hall since at least the 1990s.It is far less clear how he might proceed once he gets there.While he has produced a raft of proposals, some more detailed than others, on subjects ranging from expanded child care to affordable housing, Mr. Adams has defaulted most often in public forums to a broad emphasis on keeping the streets safe, reversing government dysfunction and being business-friendly as the city emerges from the pandemic.Across 130 interviews with friends, aides, colleagues and other associates, the only consensus was that the range of possible outcomes in an Adams administration is vast. Relentless reformer or machine politician? Blunt truth-teller or unreliable narrator?“This should be a very interesting experience for us, having him as mayor,” said David Paterson, the former New York governor and a longtime friend.Even Mr. Adams can seem unsure precisely what to expect of himself. Speaking at the White House in July, as part of a national introduction that found him anointing himself the “face of the new Democratic Party,” Mr. Adams took a moment to dwell on his uncommon résumé.He was a former officer, he said before the assembled cameras. A former Republican. A former juvenile scofflaw assaulted by the police.He held for a beat.“I’m so many formers,” Mr. Adams said, smiling a little. “I’m trying to figure out the current.”The Mythmaker“His story won the election,” said Mark Green, the former New York City public advocate and 2001 Democratic mayoral nominee.James Estrin/The New York TimesEvery politician curates. But few can seem as dedicated to the craft as Mr. Adams.He has a deftly embroidered anecdote for every city occasion, as if his ups and downs were interwoven with New York’s: born in Brownsville, Brooklyn; raised in South Jamaica, Queens; the son of a single mother, Dorothy, a house cleaner and a cook — a union woman, he reminds union audiences.When Mr. Adams speaks about homelessness, he says he grew up on the verge of it himself, taking a bag of clothes to school in case of sudden eviction and caring for a pet rat named Mickey. When he pushes a plan for universal dyslexia screening, he describes his own long-undiagnosed learning disability and the teacher who smacked him so hard “it left a handprint on my face.” Weeks before the primary, Mr. Adams said that he had been a teenage squeegee man — and was thus best equipped to handle any resurgence in squeegee men.Many of these accounts are difficult to verify. They have also proved irresistible to voters: No candidate was as determined, or effective, in placing the personal at the center of the campaign. “I wanted to tell my narrative,” Mr. Adams said, sipping peppermint tea last month during a wide-ranging interview at a diner near Borough Hall. “People could say, ‘Hey, this guy is one of ours.’”In Mr. Adams’s telling, the signal event of his young life came at 15, when he and his older brother were arrested for trespassing and beaten in custody. Rather than embittering him, Mr. Adams has said, the trauma helped coax him to become a police officer and change the profession from within.His 22 years in law enforcement, until his retirement from the New York Police Department in 2006, ran parallel to a career as an activist and a burgeoning interest in politics.In 1995, Mr. Adams helped form an advocacy group, 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, that pushed for racial justice and burnished his reputation as an irritant to police leadership. (Mr. Adams has suggested that he may have been targeted for his outspokenness — perhaps by another police officer — when, he said, an unknown assailant once shot at his car. The car had a shattered back window, but no other evidence corroborated his speculation about the shooter.)Around the same time, Mr. Adams began speaking with Bill Lynch, a top adviser to David N. Dinkins, the city’s first Black mayor, about what it might take to become the second.Mr. Adams said Mr. Lynch had four pieces of advice: get a bachelor’s degree (John Jay College, 1998); rise in management ranks in the department (he retired as a captain); work in Albany (he joined the State Senate in 2007); and become a borough president.“He wanted to be mayor as much as I wanted to be borough president,” said Marty Markowitz, his Borough Hall predecessor, who served three terms as an enthusiastic booster for Brooklyn.Mr. Adams, seen here in 2008, helped form 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, frequently speaking about racial issues.Nicole Bengiveno/The New York TimesFor Mr. Adams, the 2021 primary campaign amounted to the triumphant melding of meticulous planning and finely tuned biography. He likes to say that his opponents hoped voters would “hear” their message; he wanted them to “feel” his. He is now heavily favored next month against Curtis Sliwa, his Republican opponent.Yet like any worthy storyteller, Mr. Adams has made choices about what to emphasize and what to elide, carefully guarding certain pieces of himself and working to recast others.When his mother died earlier this year, he surprised friends by not publicly revealing it for months, even as he continued speaking about her on the campaign trail. He instructed siblings not to write about her on social media because it might create a “circus,” according to a comment on Facebook from one of his brothers.He speaks little of his first campaign: a congressional run in 1994, when he did not make the ballot, claiming his petition signatures had been stolen. Police said at the time that they had turned up no evidence of this. Mr. Adams also jumped to the Republican Party during the Giuliani administration and has strained to explain why, by turns calling the move a protest against failed Democratic leadership and saying he ultimately regretted the whole thing.Even his political origin story, his teenage arrest, has shifted over time. He had long said that he and his older brother entered the home of a prostitute to take money she owed them for running errands. “We went into this prostitute’s apartment,” Mr. Adams said in 2015.In his interview with The Times, the woman had been refashioned to “a go-go dancer who we were helping that broke her leg.” If she had been a prostitute, he added, “I don’t know about that.”Other amendments to, and exclusions from, Mr. Adams’s autobiography have ranged from the procedural to the absurd. His political runs have prompted inquiries from election authorities and assorted fines. For years, he did not register his rental property in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, with the city, as required. He also failed to report rental income to the federal government and blamed his accountant, whom Mr. Adams said last year he had had difficulty finding because the man was living in a homeless shelter.The last days of the primary were shadowed by questions of whether Mr. Adams even lived in New York: After a Politico article chronicled confusion about where he spent his nights, Mr. Adams invited cameras into the Brooklyn property, where he said he resided. The campaign hoped the tour would quell suspicions that Mr. Adams actually lived in Fort Lee, N.J., where he owns a co-op with his longtime companion, Tracey Collins. It did not. Reporters noted the Brooklyn space included non-vegan food and sneakers that appeared to belong to Mr. Adams’s adult son, Jordan Coleman.Mr. Adams took reporters on a tour of a Brooklyn apartment where he said he lived after questions emerged about his residency. Dave Sanders for The New York TimesOften enough, Mr. Adams has stayed in neither residence. He made a show of sleeping at the office in the early days of the pandemic last year, in a performance of total job commitment. But former aides say this image belied a more peculiar reality: Mr. Adams created a home of sorts at Borough Hall well before the pandemic, walking the grounds in his socks, stocking the fridge with pre-cut vegetables, working out on exercise machines, meditating to Middle Eastern music and sleeping on a couch in the office (he later put a mattress on the floor).In the interview, Mr. Adams said he might continue the practice at City Hall. “Probably have a little cot there,” he said, “getting up in the morning and just hopping right to work.”Mr. Adams’s sleeping arrangement is the most public expression of what people around New York politics have long said quietly: He is, plainly, an unusual man.He says his favorite concert was a 1990 Curtis Mayfield show in Brooklyn, where a stage collapse left Mr. Mayfield partially paralyzed before he ever sang a note.He unsettled a New York official in a conversation around 2015 by praising the physical prowess of Vladimir Putin while making small talk and claiming he had a Putin book at his bedside, according to a person present.He has appeared to suggest that holding office enhanced his romantic prospects.“As the state senator and borough president, I’ve had the opportunity to date some of the most attractive women in this city,” Mr. Adams said in a 2015 graduation speech, discussing the importance of presentation. “And I’m not taking you anywhere with me to a $500 dinner if you’ve got two tattoos on your neck saying, ‘Lick me.’” (A spokesman, Evan Thies, said that the candidate had misspoken in implying that he had dated widely as borough president, adding that Mr. Adams was in a “committed relationship” with Ms. Collins.)Some tend to conflate Mr. Adams’s eccentricities with his veganism — a disservice, healthy-eating advocates say, to the plant-based regimen that has come to define his worldview.His health journey began with a diabetes diagnosis in 2016, he has said, after he experienced vision issues and nerve damage. He has credited diet and exercise with erasing the diagnosis, sparing him possible blindness and amputation and ushering him, he has suggested, to an elevated psychological plane.“That atom stuff and Newton stuff, that is so old news in comparison to what is real,” he said at a 2019 event about food and education, describing the underdeveloped “intellectual digestive system” of others. “I tap into that in my life, and people just can’t really get it.”The transformation has intimately informed his governance: Asked to cite accomplishments over his two terms, Mr. Adams was quickest to highlight a partnership with Bellevue Hospital to promote plant-based diets, before plugging a “Meatless Mondays” initiative in schools.But just as important politically, Mr. Adams and his allies have adopted the language of destiny to explain his health reversal and subsequent successes, suggesting that higher forces were steering his story.“The hand of God,” Laurie Cumbo, a Brooklyn councilwoman, said of his primary victory.“That’s a new lease on life,” Mr. Adams said of his recovery. “Everything becomes possible.”The OperatorMayor Bill de Blasio did not publicly endorse a candidate in the Democratic primary but spoke privately with labor leaders to boost Mr. Adams. Dieu-Nalio Chéry for The New York TimesMr. Adams has a talent for making friends with the politically friendless.During the primary, he was the only mayoral candidate to reach out privately to Scott Stringer, a competitor, after Mr. Stringer was accused of sexual harassment, people close to Mr. Stringer said.In Mr. de Blasio’s case, the bond was strengthened in tragedy. In late 2014, the murder of two police officers plunged the mayor into political crisis. He had campaigned on a pledge to remake the department. Now, rank-and-file officers were turning their backs to him in public. Union leaders said he had blood on his hands. City Hall aides struggled to find surrogates to defend him. Mr. Adams did not hesitate.“Blood is not on the hands of the mayor,” he said on “Meet the Press,” giving Mr. de Blasio a measure of cover from a former lawman.Seven years later, Mr. de Blasio’s choice of successor surprised few who knew the mayor well: While he did not endorse in the primary, he communicated privately with labor leaders to boost Mr. Adams and undercut his rivals, including former members of the de Blasio administration and those with whom the mayor appeared more ideologically aligned.“During the low moments,” Mr. Adams said in the interview, “people remember who was there.”To the extent that Mr. Adams has been underestimated, as he often says, this skill has been most overlooked: He is a canny builder and keeper of relationships, a long-game player in a short-attention-span business, rarely rushing to call in a chit but always mindful of the historical ledger. He has spent years cultivating bonds with power brokers — lawmakers, developers, religious leaders — who proved crucial to his primary victory.Public visibility at street festivals and block parties has been paramount in his borough presidency. Mr. Adams once asked staff for the names of every Turkish restaurant in South Brooklyn to help him build ties with that community, a former aide said.“You know who was ringing my phone saying, ‘You’ve got to endorse Eric’?” recalled Mr. Paterson, the former governor. “It wasn’t African Americans. It was people I knew in the Orthodox community in Brooklyn.”Yet there is a flip side to such savviness, friends say. Mr. Adams has been known to keep politically unsavory company: the scandal-tarred, the lobbyist class, the donor with business before his office. He says he makes his own determinations about people, never judging others by their lowest moments, even when colleagues think he probably should.Mr. Adams’s first exposure to elected power — his seven years in Albany — is perhaps the most telling barometer of how he might operate in higher office, a testing ground for the kinds of alliances and ethical temptations likely to surround him at City Hall.Mustachioed and burly back then, shuttling to the capital in a BMW convertible, Mr. Adams could be known more often for his forcefulness at a news conference than his follow-through on a policy.He pushed for legislative pay raises as a freshman in 2007 (“Show me the money!” he thundered from the Senate floor), lamented the low-slung pants of Brooklyn’s male youth (“Stop the Sag!” read his neighborhood billboards, placing Mr. Adams’s headshot beside the backsides of the belt-averse) and filmed an instructional video showing parents how to uncover contraband in their own homes.“Behind a picture frame, you can find bullets,” Mr. Adams said, finding bullets behind a picture frame in what appeared to be his own home.Mr. Adams, then a Democratic state senator, during a contentious argument on the floor of the State Senate in 2011.Nathaniel Brooks for The New York TimesBut such stunt work and media baiting could obscure his growing clout. When two Democratic senators imperiled the fragile majority the party had won in 2008 by aligning with Republicans, Mr. Adams helped negotiate an end to the standoff and worked to install a new leader, John Sampson.Mr. Adams became chairman of the Senate’s committee on racing, gaming and wagering, where he raised money prodigiously from the industry. Lawmakers and lobbyists praised him as curious and engaged, willing to spend hours on the road visiting racetracks and conveying deep interest in his audience. “I was really impressed with how smart and inquisitive he was,” said Rory Whelan, a Republican lobbyist who hosted fund-raisers for him. “Then I realized, ‘OK, of course, he’s a former police officer. He asks a lot of questions.’”Mr. Adams sponsored some 20 bills that became law. These included expanding affordable housing access for veterans and requiring greater disclosure of refund policies at stores.His most enduring contribution while in the Legislature did not involve legislation: As the police tactic of stop-and-frisk proliferated under Mr. Bloomberg, with stops overwhelmingly ensnaring Black and Latino men, Mr. Adams supplied key testimony against the department. The judge cited him favorably in her 2013 ruling that police had targeted such New Yorkers unconstitutionally.Mr. Adams also focused on matters of race more particular to the capital. He pushed people with interests before his committee to hire Black lobbyists, people who worked with him said. And he demonstrated unfailing loyalty when allies succumbed to scandal, telling fellow Democrats that some charges against legislators of color were a racially motivated plot, according to people present.When one friend, Hiram Monserrate, a former police officer, was expelled from the Senate in a lopsided vote after being convicted of misdemeanor assault for dragging his girlfriend down a hallway, Mr. Adams opposed the measure.When Democrats moved to replace Mr. Sampson, who was later convicted of trying to thwart a federal investigation, over questions of ethics and ineffectiveness, Mr. Adams tried in vain to keep him in charge.Mr. Adams’s own conduct in Albany often troubled watchdogs and good-government groups.He was criticized in a 2010 inspector general’s report for fund-raising from and fraternizing with bidders for a casino contract. Mr. Adams told investigators that staff memos on the bids were “just too wordy,” and he educated himself by talking to lobbyists and looking at a summary document. The matter was referred to federal prosecutors, but no action was taken.Mr. Adams also drew unwelcome attention for traveling to South Korea in 2011 with Ms. Collins, Mr. Sampson and an Albany lobbyist, among others, nominally to learn about renewable energy. Mr. Adams would say little when questioned about the trip, which was paid for in part by campaign funds and described by people familiar with it as a junket.Mr. Adams, right, is known for sticking by his allies, including former State Senator Hiram Monserrate, left, who was eventually expelled from the Legislature. Here, the men walk together at the State Capitol in 2009.Nathaniel Brooks for The New York TimesHe has continued to travel widely as borough president, taking several official trips that extended well beyond the typical purview of a local politician. He has made at least seven foreign trips under the banner of his office, some of which were paid for in part by foreign governments or nonprofits, to destinations that included Senegal, Turkey and Cuba. Presenting himself as a global wheeler-dealer to voters in his multicultural borough, Mr. Adams signed at least five sister city agreements on Brooklyn’s behalf in countries he visited, including two in China.A proposed “friendship archway” partnership with the Chinese government, planned under his predecessor, became a major governing priority: Mr. Adams allocated millions of dollars toward a plan to build a 40-foot structure in the heavily Chinese neighborhood of Sunset Park, flummoxing some city officials who wondered why he had invested so much time and travel in the venture.Other locations were likewise dear to him. Mr. Adams has said he would like to retire in Israel someday. Also Lebanon. And Azerbaijan.“When I retire from government, I’m going to live in Baku,” he said in 2018 at the Baku Palace restaurant in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.Mr. Adams also made personal trips in recent years to Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, according to his campaign and people familiar with his travel.Mr. Adams can vacillate between secretive and swaggering when discussing his travel, refusing to tell reporters where he vacationed recently (it was Monaco) but often maintaining that his air miles serve an official purpose.“I’ve been back and forth to China seven times, back and forth to Turkey eight times,” he said in a 2019 speech. “I’m not a domesticated leader. I’m a global leader.”But global leadership has its limits: The Chinese friendship archway was never built.The CandidateMr. Adams is widely expected to defeat his Republican opponent, Curtis Sliwa.Hilary Swift for The New York TimesMr. Adams would enter City Hall with an unusually strong hand. Almost no one — including, it can seem, Mr. Adams — knows how he might play it.Unlike most mayors, who suffer from a little-sibling power deficit with state government, Mr. Adams can expect considerable deference from Gov. Kathy Hochul, who is running for a full term next year. Her success in a statewide primary will depend largely on her performance with Mr. Adams’s coalition of nonwhite voters in the city, boosting his leverage in any negotiation.“He’s finally gotten to the point in his life where he has some juice,” said Norman Siegel, the former leader of the New York Civil Liberties Union and a longtime supporter. “Now that you have the power, are you going to use it?”He most certainly will, allies say. They are just not sure to what end.“People will make a mistake if they think they know what he will do,” said Bertha Lewis, a veteran activist who has known Mr. Adams for decades. “But I believe he will actually do something about this tale of two cities.”Early evidence is mixed. Since the primary, Mr. Adams has readily embraced the wealthy and powerful New Yorkers hoping to woo the presumptive next mayor, suggesting a tension between a campaign that stresses his blue-collar bearing and a candidate, associates say, who can relish the perks of his position.He has collected fund-raising checks in the Hamptons, on Martha’s Vineyard and at exclusive addresses across the city, enough that he recently chose to forgo public matching funds. He has been a nightlife regular at a private club in NoHo, gabbing merrily with Ronn Torossian, a publicist with past ties to former President Donald J. Trump.Mr. Adams also caused a minor social media sensation this summer after dining at Rao’s, East Harlem’s gleefully decadent purveyor of red sauce and Mafia stories, with Bo Dietl, a roguish former police detective, and John Catsimatidis, a billionaire friend of Mr. Trump’s.“I’m concerned people could use him,” Mr. Siegel said of Mr. Adams. “He needs to have people around him that are guardrails.”“I believe he will actually do something about this tale of two cities,” Bertha Lewis, a longtime activist in New York, said of Mr. Adams. Jose A. Alvarado Jr. for The New York TimesThe Rao’s outing, at least, prompted a scolding from an old friend. “You’re going to be mayor now,” the Rev. Al Sharpton recalled telling him: Appearances matter.“He says, ‘Well, I hear you,” Mr. Sharpton said, laughing. “‘But you know me. I’m going to do me.’”Some supporters suggest that Mr. Adams has grown more serious through the years, especially since his time in Albany.For the past two years, he has been putting himself through what he calls “mayor school,” a series of study sessions with civic leaders and municipal experts. His campaign has been generally disciplined despite Mr. Adams’s freewheeling reputation, allowing him to edge out his primary rivals in what was effectively the first competitive race of his life.Mr. Sharpton said Mr. Adams has occasionally asked to be reminded of an axiom from James Brown, the famed soulster who was Mr. Sharpton’s mentor. In the story, Mr. Brown points at a ladder. “He said, ‘The higher you go, the more you better watch a misstep,’” Mr. Sharpton remembered. “And Eric has asked me at least 10 times, ‘What’s that misstep thing?’ And I think he understands: You’re at the top of the ladder now.”Mr. Adams amended the analogy. “The higher you rise,” he said in the interview, “the more people can shoot at your butt.”But his fund-raising has again invited ethical concerns. The campaign sometimes failed to disclose the identities of people who raised money for him or to list fund-raisers thrown for him as in-kind contributions, in apparent violation of city campaign finance law.Asked whether a pattern of missteps in his own dealings with the government should give voters pause, Mr. Adams said he would not “apologize for being a human.”“It’s going to be a joy knowing I don’t have to manage the $98 billion budget — I have an O.M.B. director,” he said. “I don’t have to manage the Police Department. I have a commissioner.”Mr. Adams has been a prolific fundraiser since winning the primary. Jeenah Moon for The New York TimesStill, former aides questioned Mr. Adams’s willingness to delegate, especially on policing.While he has said he surrounds himself with people who are “brutally honest,” some employees say he does not always appreciate dissent. “This is my ship,” he would say when challenged, according to one of them. “I am the captain of the ship.”Mr. Adams has long argued that Black leaders are held to a different standard, and former colleagues expect he will do the same at City Hall.Confronted at a community meeting in 2019 about employees parking illegally around Borough Hall, Mr. Adams said that if other officials were abusing their placards, he would not chastise his own team. “I fought my entire life to make sure men that look like me don’t have different rules than everyone else,” he said. “It’s not going to be a rule just for Eric Adams.”While he calls himself thick-skinned, Mr. Adams retains a mental archive of slights and grievances, describing in one breath those who were “mean” to him during the primary and insisting in the next that he holds no grudges.For a man who seems to appreciate his own idiosyncrasies, often speaking about himself in the third person as if admiring his story at a remove, Mr. Adams can at times reduce the world around him to binary categories: winners and losers, lions and sheep, doers and haters.“Turn your haters into your waiters,” he has told audiences, “and give them a 15 percent tip.”At one point in the interview, Mr. Adams was asked why some doubt his capacity to surround himself with good people, to rise to the job he is likely to claim.He laughed. He smiled. He stared straight ahead.He had his own question.“Why do I keep winning?”“I am the face of the new Democratic Party,” Mr. Adams said when he was leading in the primary. “I’m going to show America how to run a city.”Hiroko Masuike/The New York TimesSusan C. Beachy contributed reporting. More

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    Turkish Opposition Begins Joining Ranks Against Erdogan

    With an eye on elections, six parties are working on a plan to end a powerful presidency and return to a parliamentary system.ISTANBUL — Turkish opposition parties are presenting an increasingly united and organized front aimed at replacing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and even forcing early elections in the coming year to challenge his 19-year rule.As they negotiate a broad alliance among themselves, the leaders of six opposition parties appear to have agreed on turning the next election into a kind of referendum on the presidential system that Mr. Erdogan introduced four years ago and considers one of his proudest achievements.His opponents say that presidential system has allowed Mr. Erdogan to concentrate nearly authoritarian power — fueling corruption and allowing him to rule by decree, dictate monetary policy, control the courts and jail tens of thousands of political opponents.By making the change back to a parliamentary system a centerpiece of its agenda, Mr. Erdogan’s opposition hopes to shift debate to the fundamental question of the deteriorating health of Turkey’s democracy.The forming of a broad opposition alliance is a strategy being employed in an increasing number of countries where leaders with authoritarian tendencies — whether President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia or Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary — have enhanced their powers by exploiting fissures among their opponents. Most recently, the approach worked in elections in the Czech Republic, where a broad coalition of center-right parties came together to defeat Prime Minister Andrej Babis.Now it may be Turkey’s turn.“Today, Turkey is facing a systemic problem. Not just one person can solve it,” said Ahmet Davutoglu, Mr. Erdogan’s former prime minister and one of the members of the opposition alliance. “The more important question is: ‘How do you solve this systemic earthquake, and how do you re-establish democratic principles based on human rights?’”Mr. Erdogan has long planned a year of celebrations for 2023, the 100-year anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic in 1923 from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire and allied occupation after World War I.Political analysts suggest that not only is he determined to secure another presidential term in elections that are due before June 2023, but also to secure his legacy as modern Turkey’s longest-serving leader, longer even than the founder of the republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.A statue of modern Turkey’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, in Ankara, the capital.Adem Altan/Agence France-Presse — Getty ImagesYet Mr. Erdogan, who has always prided himself on winning at the ballot box, has been sliding steadily in the opinion polls, battered by an economic crisis, persistent allegations of corruption and entitlement and a youthful population chafing for change.For the first time in several years of asking, more respondents in a recent poll said Mr. Erdogan would lose than said he would win, Ozer Sencar, the head of Metropoll, one of the most reliable polling organizations, said in a Twitter post this week.“The opposition seems to have the momentum on their side,” said Asli Aydintasbas, a senior fellow with the European Council on Foreign Relations. “One way or another, they convinced a large section of society that Erdogan is not a lifetime president and could be gone in 2023. That Turks are now discussing the possibility of a post-Erdogan Turkey is quite remarkable.”No one is counting Mr. Erdogan out yet. He remains a popular politician and sits at the helm of an effective state apparatus, Ms. Aydintasbas added. An improvement in the economy and a maneuver to split the opposition could be enough for him to hold on.Mr. Erdogan dismissed the polls as lies and carried on doing what he knows best: a flurry of high-level meetings and some saber-rattling that keeps him at the top of the news at home. One recent weekend, he pushed a shopping cart around a low-cost supermarket and promised more such stores to keep prices down for shoppers.This week, he set off on a four-country tour of West Africa after hosting the departing German chancellor, Angela Merkel, for her farewell visit to Turkey over the weekend. He is presenting Turkey as an indispensable mediator with Afghanistan, and his foreign minister received a delegation of the Taliban from Kabul last week. For good measure, Mr. Erdogan threatened another military operation against Kurdish fighters in Syria.Mr. Erdogan and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany after a news conference this month in Istanbul.Ozan Kose/Agence France-Presse — Getty ImagesBut at home, his opponents are getting organized.Among those lining up to do battle are Mr. Davutoglu and a former finance minister, Ali Babacan, both former members of Mr. Erdogan’s conservative Justice and Development Party, or A.K.P., who have set up new parties.Emerging from five years in the cold after falling out with Mr. Erdogan and resigning as prime minister and leader of the party, Mr. Davutoglu is hoping to chip away at the president’s loyal support base and help bring down his onetime friend and ally.Alongside them, the strongest players in the six-party alliance are the center-left Republican People’s Party and the nationalist Good Party, headed by Turkey’s leading female politician, Meral Aksener. The largest pro-Kurdish party, the Democratic People’s Party, or H.D.P. — whose charismatic former leader, Selahattin Demirtas, is in prison — is not part of the alliance, nor are smaller left-wing parties.But all of the parties share a mutual aim: to offer the electorate an alternative to Mr. Erdogan in 2023.Despite their gaping political and ideological differences, the opposition is hoping to replicate its success in local elections in 2019 when it wrested the biggest cities, including Istanbul, from the ruling A.K.P.“It is a good start for the opposition,” Mr. Demirtas said from prison in an interview with a Turkish reporter. “What is important is the development of a deliberative, pluralistic, courageous and pro-solidarity understanding of politics that will contribute to the development of a culture of democracy.”Selahattin Demirtas, the former leader of the People’s Democratic Party, in 2014 in his office in Ankara. He remains a powerful voice for the party from a prison cell.Monique Jaques for The New York TimesMr. Erdogan spent the past six months trying to drive a wedge into their loose alliance without success, said Ozgur Unluhisarcikli, the director of the Ankara office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.Opposition leaders steered through that and have come closer to settling on a candidate who could defeat Mr. Erdogan and whom they can all support. Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of largest opposition party, the Republican People’s Party, has emerged as the front-runner for now.“They have closed ranks, solved their problems and raised the stakes,” Mr. Unluhisarcikli said.Fore their part, Mr. Davutoglu and Mr. Babacan represent little challenge to Mr. Erdogan as vote-getters — Mr. Davutoglu’s Future Party polls at barely 1 or 2 percent — but they bring considerable weight of government experience to the opposition.Both still have ties to many officials in the bureaucracy, Mr. Unluhisarcikli said, and could help the opposition convince the electorate that it is capable of running the country and of lifting it out of its current dysfunction.Mr. Davutoglu was the first to publish his plan for returning to a parliamentary system. In the document, he blamed the presidential system for creating a personalized and arbitrary administration that became inaccessible to citizens even as their problems were mounting.He proposed that the president become a symbolic head of state, divested of powers to rule by decree, veto laws and approve the budget, and the judiciary be made independent.“Today, Turkey is facing a systemic problem. Not just one person can solve it,” said Ahmet Davutoglu, Mr. Erdogan’s former prime minister and one of the members of the opposition alliance.Burhan Ozbilici/Associated PressMr. Davutoglu has suggested that Mr. Erdogan, who instituted the presidential system with a narrowly won referendum in 2017, could choose to revert to a parliamentary system with a two-thirds majority in Parliament, or the opposition would seek to do so after an election.For the opposition, he said, reaching an agreement on reconstituting a democratic system is more important than finding a candidate. Just in the past year of touring the country meeting voters, he said he has seen a shift in attitudes even in A.K.P. strongholds.“A significant portion of Turkish voters have left the A.K.P. but don’t know where to go,” Ms. Aydintasbas said. “Davutoglu and Babacan may be small in numbers, but they speak to a very critical community — disgruntled conservatives and conservative Kurds who no longer trust Erdogan but are worried about a revanchist return of the secularists. Their role is indispensable.” More

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    What Happened When Facebook Employees Warned About Election Misinformation

    Company documents show that the social network’s employees repeatedly raised red flags about the spread of misinformation and conspiracies before and after the contested November vote.Sixteen months before last November’s presidential election, a researcher at Facebook described an alarming development. She was getting content about the conspiracy theory QAnon within a week of opening an experimental account, she wrote in an internal report.On Nov. 5, two days after the election, another Facebook employee posted a message alerting colleagues that comments with “combustible election misinformation” were visible below many posts.Four days after that, a company data scientist wrote in a note to his co-workers that 10 percent of all U.S. views of political material — a startlingly high figure — were of posts that alleged the vote was fraudulent.In each case, Facebook’s employees sounded an alarm about misinformation and inflammatory content on the platform and urged action — but the company failed or struggled to address the issues. The internal dispatches were among a set of Facebook documents obtained by The New York Times that give new insight into what happened inside the social network before and after the November election, when the company was caught flat-footed as users weaponized its platform to spread lies about the vote. More

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    Barbados Elects Its First Head of State, Replacing Queen Elizabeth

    The country’s Parliament chose Sandra Mason, the governor general, to assume the symbolic title, a decisive move to distance itself from Barbados’s colonial past.The island nation of Barbados has elected a female former jurist to become its next head of state, a symbolic position held since the 1950s by Queen Elizabeth II, as the country takes another step toward casting off its colonial past.Sandra Mason, 72, the governor general of Barbados, became the country’s first president-elect on Wednesday when she received the necessary two-thirds majority vote in the Parliament’s House of Assembly and Senate. She will be sworn in on Nov. 30, making Barbados a republic on the 55th anniversary of its independence from Britain.“We believe that the time has come for us to claim our full destiny,” Prime Minister Mia Mottley said in a speech after the vote.“It is a woman of the soil to whom this honor is being given,” she added.Barbados, a parliamentary democracy of about 300,000 people that is the easternmost island in the Caribbean, announced in September that it would remove Elizabeth as its head of state. At the ceremony, Ms. Mason read from a speech prepared by Ms. Mottley that was explicit in its rejection of imperialism.The speech highlighted the urgency of self-governance, quoting a warning by Errol Walton Barrow, the first prime minister of Barbados, against “loitering on colonial premises.”“The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind,” Ms. Mason said. “Barbadians want a Barbadian head of state.”Barbados has since become the latest Caribbean island to shed the symbolic role of the queen and pursue the formation of a republic. Guyana led earlier republican movements in the Caribbean, cutting ties to the queen in 1970, followed by Trinidad and Tobago, and then Dominica.Ms. Mason, who has been the governor general, a position appointed by the queen, since 2018, had been nominated to take on the position of president, subject to the parliamentary vote, the prime minister announced in August. Ms. Mottley said other steps in the island’s transition included work on a new constitution, which would begin in January.“Barbados shall move forward on the first of December as the newest republic in the global community of nations,” Ms. Mottley said on Wednesday.People in Barbados and its government were “conscious that we are going not without concern on the part of some, but with absolute determination that at 55, we must know who we are, we must live who we are, we must be who we are,” she said.Dame Sandra Prunella Mason was born on Jan. 17, 1949, in St. Philip, Barbados. She was educated on the island at Queen’s College, attended the University of the West Indies and was the first woman from Barbados to graduate from the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad and Tobago.In the early 1990s, Ms. Mason served as an ambassador to Venezuela, Chile, Colombia and Brazil. In 2008, she became the first woman to serve as a judge on the Barbados Court of Appeal.Ambassador Noel Lynch, whose own appointment as Barbados’s representative in Washington, D.C., had to be endorsed by the queen, said in an interview that Ms. Mason’s judicial experience made her “well versed” for the work that needs to be done as the nation transitions to a republic.Ms. Mason’s election is also notable because both the prime minister and the head of state will soon be Barbadian women. “Even if it is mostly ceremonial,” Mr. Lynch said in an interview, “you have got to have confidence if the president and the prime minister have got confidence in each other.”After she is sworn in, Ms. Mason will become the ceremonial leader of an island that is facing labor shortages, the effects of climate change and economic difficulties due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on its tourism sector, the prime minister said.In her speech after the parliamentary vote, Ms. Mottley said the real work would begin the day after the island becomes a full republic.“We look forward, therefore, to Dec. 1, 2021,” she said. “But we do so confident that we have just elected from among us a woman who is uniquely and passionately Barbadian.” More

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    How to Vote Early in New York City

    It’s Friday. We’ll look at the election in New York City, where early voting begins tomorrow, a prelude to Election Day on Nov. 2. Karsten Moran for The New York TimesThis is a week for election rituals: the candidates for mayor faced off in a debate on Wednesday, and tomorrow, early voting begins in New York City. Here is a guide to navigating the 11 days between now and Election Day on Nov. 2.Where can I vote early, and when?You can early vote on any of nine consecutive days starting tomorrow. Your early voting polling place may be different from your Election Day polling place: Only 106 will be open for early voting, not quite 9 percent of the 1,220 that will be open across the city on Nov. 2.This poll site locator from the Board of Elections will tell you where you can vote early and when, because the hours for early voting begin earlier some days than others.The locator also tells you where your Election Day polling place will be, along with enough numbers to call a play at the Meadowlands: your assembly district, your City Council district, your election district and your judicial district, among others.You don’t need to take identification to vote — unless you are a first-time voter and did not register in person.Will there be long lines, as there were last year?Maybe, maybe not. “The nature of the election event this year is different from last year,” said Jarret Berg, a voting rights advocate and a co-founder of the group VoteEarlyNY. “In a year after the presidential, we just won’t see the same volume.”And many races, like the contest for mayor, were largely decided in the June primary, because registered Democratic voters outnumber Republicans in the city by nearly seven to one. The Democratic nominee for mayor, Eric Adams, is considered the clear front-runner against the Republican nominee, Curtis Sliwa.There are two other citywide races (for public advocate and comptroller); a borough president’s race in each borough; and City Council races in each district.There are no national races, as there were last year. Nor are there congressional races.But there are five ballot proposals this time around. You can give your thumbs-up or thumbs-down to same-day voter registration (which could allow registration less than the current 10 days before Election Day) and to no-excuse absentee voting (which would mean that you could vote by mail without having to say you cannot vote in person because you are out of town, ill or physically disabled).Will there be ranked-choice voting, as in the June primary?No, except in two special elections — and it won’t matter in one, because only one candidate is running.That is in the Bronx, where Yudelka Tapia is running for the remaining year of Assemblyman Victor Pichardo’s term. Pichardo, a Democrat, resigned last month. Tapia lost a bid for the City Council in June.Three candidates are on the ballot in the other special election, to fill the State Senate seat vacated when Gov. Kathy Hochul picked Brian Benjamin to be lieutenant governor.Will my absentee ballot be counted?So far, this election does not look like a rerun of last year — when the Board of Election sent out nearly 100,000 ballot packages with the wrong names and addresses — or the June primary, when the board accidentally released incorrect vote totals for the mayoral primary. (It had to retract and recount.)“Our lovely Board of Elections — let’s hope they get it right this time,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday. He has long complained about the Board of Elections, going back at least to problems with voting machines in the 2010 primary.John Kaehny, the executive director of the watchdog group Reinvent Albany, said there had been “no early warning signs of hurricane-type election failure.” But he said the board had had trouble recruiting people to work at the polls. Understaffing could cause problems once voting begins, he said.Is Curtis Sliwa the only member of his household running for office?No. His wife, Nancy, is the Republican candidate for City Council in a district on the Upper West Side. The Democratic candidate is Gale Brewer, the Manhattan borough president, who could not run for a third term because of term limits.The district is heavily Democratic, but Nancy Sliwa said during a debate with Brewer that she was not “a traditional Republican” and had once supported Senator Bernie Sanders.The debate was conducted remotely, and as she spoke two cats leapt onto a ledge behind her in the 320-square-foot apartment where the Sliwas live with more than a dozen cats. In 2018, when she ran for state attorney general, Newsday and The New York Post said that her platform revolved around animal rights.WeatherIt’s a mostly sunny fall day, New York — cooler than yesterday, with temps only reaching the 60s. They will drop to the mid-50s on a mostly cloudy evening. Watch out for a chance of showers over the weekend.alternate-side parkingIn effect until Nov. 1 (All Saints Day).The latest New York newsMiss the mayoral debate on Wednesday? Need a refresher before early voting begins? Here are five takeaways.A former pain doctor faces federal charges in New York and state charges in both New York and New Jersey for illegal sexual activity over the course of 15 years.Lev Parnas appeared to parlay donations to Republican candidates into influence and access — and money from a Russian tycoon.What we’re readingThe New York Post reported on why a $100 million Staten Island Ferry boat, the first new ship in 16 years, is docked without a crew.Bleach-cracked hands, second jobs and takeout service: Grub Street looked into how one Bushwick restaurant stayed afloat during the pandemic.What we’re watching: Alvin Bragg, former federal prosecutor and now Manhattan’s potential first Black D.A., will discuss the challenges he’ll face and his plans for Day 1 in office on “The New York Times Close Up With Sam Roberts.” The show airs on Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 1:30 p.m. and Sunday at 12:30 p.m. [CUNY TV] METROPOLITAN diaryLittle pink teapotsDear Diary:In the mid-2000s, I worked for a company with offices on Park Avenue. I lived in Denver then and would fly to New York for meetings several times a year, staying at the company’s suites at the Waldorf Towers.I often had breakfast at the hotel’s Coffee House, at 50th Street on the Lexington Avenue side. My usual order was tea and toast. The tea was served in a small pink teapot with a silver rim, a Waldorf signature.The little teapots became a comforting morning staple on these trips. I was served by the same waitress over a period of years, and I often mentioned to her how I loved the teapots.In October 2014, I read that the Waldorf had been sold. Then, while on my next trip to New York, I was notified that my company would be merging my division with one in Fort Worth and that I, along with 300 others, would be laid off. The trip would be my last.The next morning I had my usual breakfast at the Coffee House. My waitress had also been told that she would soon be laid off. I said I would miss her and, of course, my little pink teapots.It was my last morning at the hotel and I had already checked out. My travel bag was open on the floor next to the booth where I was sitting. I stepped away for a few minutes, returned, tipped the waitress and left for the last time. It was a sad morning.When I got home to Denver and unpacked my bag, I found a little pink teapot wrapped in a hotel napkin along with a note. It said all of the old Waldorf china and silver was to be sold and that this was a souvenir from my many breakfasts there, compliments of a longtime friend.— Mary F. CookIllustrated by Agnes Lee. Send submissions here and read more Metropolitan Diary here.Glad we could get together here. See you on Monday. — J.B.P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword and Spelling Bee. You can find all our puzzles here.Melissa Guerrero, Isabella Paoletto, Rick Martinez and Olivia Parker contributed to New York Today. You can reach the team at nytoday@nytimes.com.Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox. More