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    Pressure mounts on Biden as tally of Democrats urging withdrawal passes 30

    A beleaguered Joe Biden entered potentially the most decisive weekend of his 50-year political career on Friday as the growing list of Democratic members of Congress calling on him to step aside surpassed 30.Biden is recovering from Covid-19 in self-isolation at his home in Delaware and reportedly feeling “angry and betrayed” by allies and speculation mounted that he might be preparing to announce his withdrawal from the race.Advisers were reported to be discussing the details, timing and setting of a possible withdrawal announcement, and a mood of resignation before Biden’s departure was said to be rampant among his campaign staff.With six in 10 Democratic voters telling an AP-Norc Centre for Public Affairs Research poll released on Friday that Kamala Harris would make a good president, allies of the vice-president were making discreet preparations for her to assume the top of the presidential ticket, courting donors and crafting a new message to be used in the event she becomes the candidate.A rare glimmer of light for Biden came in a letter on Thursday signed by more than 1,400 Black female supporters, who argued that he should remain the candidate, and that any attempt to change the ticket would “circumvent the will of millions of voters who participated in a democratic process” in the primaries. Another public statement of support on Thursday came from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York congresswoman, who during an Instagram live stream on Thursday urged Democrats to reconsider their efforts to push Biden out.On Friday, Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator who has become one of the Biden’s most vocal progressive supporters since the debate fiasco, also urged support for Biden.The Congressional Hispanic caucus’s campaign arm also announced on Friday that it was endorsing Biden, which is no surprise given the group’s opposition to Trump but noteworthy at a moment when the president is fighting for his political life. “Another Trump presidency would be disastrous to the Latino community across the country. Make no mistake, Latinos nationwide will bear the brunt of the consequences of a second Trump presidency,” the group’s chairwoman, Linda Sánchez, said.But with more than 30 Democrats in Congress, including the leading California representative Adam Schiff, having now called on Biden to step down, the president was said to be angry at senior figures in the party for encouraging the discontent. Chief among them is Nancy Pelosi, the former House speaker who has tried to persuade Biden of his declining poll numbers, as well as Barack Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton, who Biden reportedly feels have undermined him through their conspicuous silence.After weeks of defiantly stating that he will remain the Democratic nominee, despite concerns about his age and mental acuity in the wake of last month’s disastrous debate against Donald Trump, some media outlets were reporting that Biden was reconsidering his position. “Reality is setting in,” a source close to Biden told the New York Times, adding that it would not be surprising if Biden announced his withdrawal soon to allow Harris to take the nomination.“I don’t see how [Biden] can outmanoeuvre the sustained attacks,” Politico quoted a Democratic figure close to the White House as saying. “It feels like the ending is near.”Biden’s resolve had reportedly been shaken by a combination of the intensive machinations of Pelosi, fresh poll data from swing states showing his path to an electoral college victory narrowing, and a boycott by key donors, the latest of whom reportedly was the Silicon Valley venture capitalist and billionaire Michael Moritz.Pelosi, long one of his most important allies, is said to have used her knowledge of polling data and the political map to persuade him that his position is weak.Biden has repeatedly insisted that he has polling evidence showing he could win, relying on data from his aide Mike Donilon. But when he made the argument to Pelosi in a recent phone call, she told him to “put Donilon on the phone” so she could counter it with her own polling and implying that the president was not being kept informed, the New York Times reported.Public pressure intensified further on Thursday when the Senate Democrats Jon Tester of Montana and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico became the second and third to publicly urge Biden to step aside. Many more than the 30-plus congressional Democrats who have publicly called for his withdrawal have done so in private.Four House members – Jared Huffman of California, Marc Veasey of Texas, Chuy Garcia of Illinois, and Mark Pocan of Wisconsin – issued the plea jointly Friday.“We believe the most responsible and patriotic thing you can do in this moment is to step aside as our nominee while continuing to lead our party from the White House,” they wrote to Biden. “Mr President, you have always put our country and our values first. We call on you to do it once again, so that we can come together and save the country we love.”Three further separate calls were made by Zoe Lofgren of California, a close Pelosi ally, Sean Casten of Illinois, and Greg Landsman of Ohio, whose seat is one of the Republicans’ top targets in November’s election.Allies of Pelosi depicted her as exercising sensitivity towards Biden – by recognising his achievements as president, long record of political service and the fact that he has Covid – while subtly using gentle persuasion.“She’s like a magician,” one source told the Hill. “She’s extraordinarily intentional. She’s trying hard to keep the balance and helping him reach a decision by gently pulling, never pushing.”That cut little ice with Biden’s allies, one of whom compared his fate to Julius Caesar.“People who have known this man for 30, 40 years are stabbing this man in the front and the back,” a senior campaign and administration aide told Politico. “They are JULIUS CAESAR-ing this man.”Biden himself was reported to share such sentiments, telling aides that he feels “hurt and betrayed” at how the party’s leading figures – who he has previously derided as “elites” – have tried to push him out.One Biden ally told NBC News that the party leaders now trying to force him from the ticket were to blame for Trump’s victory in the 2016 election.“Can we all just remember for a minute that these same people who are trying to push Joe Biden out are the same people who literally gave us all Donald Trump? In 2015, Obama, Pelosi, [Chuck] Schumer [the Democratic Senate majority leader] pushed Biden aside in favour of Hillary; they were wrong then, and they are wrong now,” the source said.“Perhaps we should learn a few lessons from 2016; one of them is polls are BS. And two, maybe, just maybe, Joe Biden is more in touch with actual Americans than Obama-Pelosi-Schumer?”Biden’s campaign chair, Jen O’Malley Dillon, continued to stress that Biden had “work to do” but said the campaign did not have its “head in the sand”.“For every person that has said that they are concerned, we’ve had another person that’s seen him and they’ve said you are our guy and we want to be with you,” she said, emphasizing that Biden’s campaign trail appearances have been reassuring to the campaign. “The more and more people that see Joe Biden out there post-debate they are reassured.”Such defiance seemed increasingly rare inside the Biden campaign, however, with CNN reporting that some staff had undergone a “quiet quit” process. “I don’t think you can find a person who is off the record saying he should stay in,” one told the network. “There’s a growing sense that it’s game over.”

    Lauren Gambino contributed reporting More

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    Democrats cautiously optimistic after Trump’s ad-libbed convention speech

    As Donald Trump got into his stride at the Republican national convention on Thursday night, largely ad-libbing one of the longest presidential acceptance speeches in US history, the adulation among his Make America Great Again (Maga) crowd inside the hall was matched outside by a cautious sigh of relief from Democrats.After several painful weeks of Democratic party implosion, as an ageing Joe Biden self-isolates with Covid while calls for him to step down mount relentlessly, Trump managed to give despairing Democrats something they least expected: hope. Van Jones, a former special adviser to Barack Obama, put it succinctly on CNN.“He had the whole world in his hands. If he had stayed with that unity message, he could have caused problems, but he could not help himself.”For the first 15 minutes Trump was on point, and had millions of prime-time American viewers where he wanted them. His right ear still bandaged, he described the attempt to kill him that he so narrowly dodged last Saturday in powerful yet subdued terms.Was this the new, humane Trump, the contemplative and caring national unifier that Republican strategists had promised would be on stage?But then, in a puff, it was back to business as usual. For the next hour and a quarter, old Trump was firmly in the saddle.He dished out insults – “crazy Nancy Pelosi” – demonized undocumented immigrants – “illegal killers and criminals” – and even revived his bizarre hero worship of the “late, great Hannibal Lecter” from The Silence of the Lambs.By the count of one factchecker, the former president committed at least 22 bold-faced lies including his equally bizarre claim that “107%” of jobs created under Biden have been taken by “illegal aliens”. (In fact, 15m jobs have been added under the Biden administration, while up to 2.5 million undocumented immigrants have entered the country).For Democrats dismayed by Trump’s lead in opinion polls, by the thought that as the survivor of an assassination attempt he is now untouchable, and by talk of a new, restrained iteration of the former president emerging, this was manna from heaven. “This was the first good thing that’s happened to Democrats in the last three weeks,” said David Axelrod, chief strategist for Obama’s presidential campaigns. “It reminded everyone why Donald Trump is fundamentally unpopular with everyone outside this room.”Axelrod added on social media that Trump’s undisciplined address had blown what had been a strikingly controlled and well-choreographed Republican convention. The most hot-headed speakers in Milwaukee had been confined to earlier time slots where they could do less damage with daytime viewers.Meanwhile, the prime-time roster of speakers stayed largely on message, hewing to the theme of a post-shooting national-unifying Trump.Which promptly went up in smoke when the man himself returned to his dystopian vision of how the Democrats were “destroying our country” and pushing the world to the “edge of World War III”.Seasoned political observers could sense how Trump’s speech was stiffening Democrats’ spines in real time. Ezra Klein, a prominent New York Times columnist and podcaster, noted on X that “no Democrat watching that speech thought Trump unbeatable”.The rightwing editor of the Free Press, Bari Weiss, said that before Trump’s acceptance speech the consensus was a Trump landslide. After it? “Now it’s like find a Dem with a pulse who can read a teleprompter and like: toss up!”None of this means that the Democrats are out of the woods. Far from it. It is quite possible that a catastrophic descent into chaos and acrimony over Biden and who might replace him has only just begun.The Trump campaign will also have good material to work with from those first 15 minutes of the speech as they carve up online-friendly snippets for widespread dissemination to the American public. Far more voters are likely to consume these bite-sized packages, with Trump talking emotionally about the attack – “I’m supposed to be dead” – or about unity, than will have slogged through the entire 90-minute screed.What has changed though was the sense that had been gripping a growing proportion of Democrats that it was already game over. All that remained to be decided was whether to emigrate to Canada or Portugal.Now even some Republicans are fretting about a possible change of leadership at the top of the Democratic party. The governor of New Hampshire, Chris Sununu, told Politico that if a switch from Biden happened, “everything would change”.It would energise the party, Sununu said. Independent voters would reward the Democrats, saying: “‘Hey, none of us liked that whole Biden-Trump ticket to start with. You guys had the courage to change your nominee out,’” Sununu said.Some commentators are of the view that the fresh shoot of optimism that some Democrats felt after Trump’s acceptance speech might in itself encourage a push to get Biden to step aside. As Klein put it, “the best argument against the party replacing Biden was fatalism; if you’ll lose anyway, may as well lose conventionally”.Now that the new Trump has morphed back into the old Trump, that logic no longer applied. His acceptance speech, Klein said, “was an antidote to fatalism”. More

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    Biden wants to see proof he can’t win. The polls show a nail-bitingly close race

    Despite reporting that Joe Biden might be becoming more receptive to calls for him to step aside, he has for weeks rejected calls from within his party to end his candidacy for the presidency. Nothing but an intervention from the “Lord Almighty” would keep him from being the Democratic nominee, he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. He was “1,000%” remaining in the race, “unless I get hit by a train”, he told Complex’s Chris “Speedy” Morman. Only a “medical condition” would push him out, he told BET’s Ed Gordon.But he also indicated during a high-stakes news conference last week that he might be persuaded to step aside if his team came to him and said: “There’s no way you can win.” However, the 81-year-old president quickly followed up: “No one is saying that. No poll says that.”Many Democrats have become increasingly convinced that the president is on track to lose re-election. Among them they share bleak polls indicating Biden’s continued presence on the ticket may also imperil the party’s chances of winning control of either chamber of Congress, while expressing alarm that the president has apparently not grasped the gravity of their predicament.When Trump formally accepted the Republican nomination in Milwaukee on Thursday, he had opened his largest national lead yet, according to a new CBS News poll.Publicly, Biden has declared the race against Donald Trump, the Republican nominee, a “toss up” while his campaign has presented what it says is a clear path to victory. The White House, meanwhile, has fiercely disputed numerous reports that Biden is considering dropping out of the race.Though top-line polling shows a relatively stable – and nail-bitingly close – contest for the White House, the data paints a worrying picture for the president and his party.Trump holds a narrow but consistent edge in almost every national poll since Biden’s disastrous debate performance last month, which compounded existing concerns about his fitness to serve another term. Internal Democratic polling reportedly contains even more calamitous predictions for the party.Many of the public polling results are within the margin of error and there is variability depending on whether the survey considers likely voters or registered voters and when third-party candidates are included. Few surveys have yet to assess the race since the assassination attempt on Trump while he was campaigning in Pennsylvania last weekend.Battleground state surveys also tend to show the former president pulling away by an even wider margin, unnerving Democrats who are deeply fearful of a Trump second term. Earlier this month, the Cook Political Report, an elections prognosticator moved three key swing states – Arizona, Georgia and Nevada – from “toss up” to “lean Republican”. In a recent CBS News/YouGov poll, Trump held an edge across seven swing states.Of deep concern to Democrats were a pair of New York Times/Siena College state polls that showed Biden trailing Trump in the must-win battleground of Pennsylvania and narrowly leading him in Virginia, a state the president carried by 10 percentage points in 2020.Deep polarization means there are only so many truly undecided voters whose choice will determine the outcome of the election – an estimated 6% of voters in six states. Many of them are so-called “double haters” meaning they strongly dislike both presidential candidates. The result is a dynamic in which huge political events – like Trump being convicted by a Manhattan jury of 34 felony counts or Biden’s disastrous debate performance last month, which precipitated calls for his withdrawal – have little impact on the overall trajectory of the race.A new survey appears to support that pattern. A Reuters/Ipsos poll taken after the assassination attempt against Trump found no major shift in voter sentiment. According to the poll, Trump led Biden by 2 percentage points among registered voters, which was within the margin of error.By other metrics, Trump is in a considerably more desirable position. While both candidates are deeply unpopular, voters believe they will be better off economically under a Trump presidency. They trust the former president more on key issues, including the handling of inflation, immigration and, to a lesser extent, matters of foreign policy, an area Biden counts among his strong suits. More voters trust Biden on abortion policy and express confidence in his ability to work with members of the opposing party, which Americans say they want from their elected officials.The CBS News poll, meanwhile, found that just 28% of voters think Biden has the mental and cognitive health to serve as president. By contrast, nearly half of voters agreed that the 78-year-old former president had the mental acuity to serve as president. More Republicans than Democrats say they will definitely vote this year, it found, which tracks with polling that shows Trump voters are much more enthusiastic about their nominee than Biden voters are about theirs.According to a poll by the Pew Research Center, 63% of voters describe both Biden and Trump as embarrassing, while roughly a quarter said they consider Biden “mentally sharp” – down from 53% in 2021. The survey found Trump with a 4 percentage point lead over Biden nationally.As Biden publicly fights for his political survival, he has dismissed his detractors as “elites” and members of Washington DC’s “chattering class” who have long underestimated him. Yet a new survey by AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research this week found that among his own supporters, two-thirds of Democrats now say he should not be the nominee. More

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    Donald Trump’s run of good luck could end this weekend – if Joe Biden does the right thing | Jonathan Freedland

    You can see why they think he’s God’s anointed one. You can understand why Republicans cheered when Donald Trump repeatedly claimed the divine as his number one supporter, declaring with certainty that he had God on his side. To the faithful gathered at the Republican national convention in Milwaukee on Thursday night, none of that would have sounded like exaggeration – and not only because their nominee for the US presidency had survived an assassin’s bullet. It’s also because Trump has been on a run of extraordinary good fortune – one that might be just about to end.Of course, it was that brush with death at a rally in Pennsylvania last weekend that the former and would-be future president had in mind when he spoke of “a providential moment”. The shooting, and Trump’s ability to shrug off injury, raising his fist in bloodied defiance, has prompted his most fervent believers to cast him as a living martyr to their cause. The Republican party had already transformed itself into a cult of personality. But to see delegates wearing bandages on their right ears as a mark of love for, and identification with, their leader is to realise that that cult has become messianic.Still, even the most godless Republican may have found themselves wondering if Trump does indeed have a friend upstairs. For three straight weeks, everything has gone his way.Trump’s hot streak began with the TV debate against Joe Biden at the end of June – a debate that, it’s worth remembering, would typically have taken place in the autumn had not the Biden team insisted it must happen sooner. That was a 90-minute disaster for the president who, when he wasn’t struggling to complete sentences, stared vacantly into space, looking every one of his 81 years.That triggered a panic among Democrats, three long weeks of internal agonising as elders and bigwigs sought to navigate between the pride, and stubbornness, of a president who they believe deserves respect for a consequential term in office, and a party ever-more convinced that he will not only lose the White House, but will take Democratic candidates for the House and Senate down with him. That process may reach its climax this weekend, but not before it has handed Trump a delicious contrast: Democrats divided and distracted, Republicans unified and focused.Meanwhile, the courts have been smiling on Trump, whether it’s six judges of the supreme court, three of whom were appointed by him, granting presidents near total immunity for their official acts, or a Trump-appointed judge throwing out what most agreed was the strongest of all the legal cases against him, relating to his alleged retention of classified documents.That’s allowed him to sit back and enjoy the show. He’s watched as, to take one example, Biden gave a decent performance at a post-Nato summit press conference, giving detailed answers on foreign policy – while all anyone remembers is that he introduced Volodymyr Zelenskiy as “President Putin” and referred to Kamala Harris as “Vice-President Trump”.View image in fullscreenBut it’s the assassination attempt and the TV debate that are the bookend events of these remarkable few weeks, reinforcing what was already Trump’s chosen frame for the campaign: strong v weak. As one senior Democrat put it to me: “The Republicans have a guy who bullets bounce off of. We have a guy who can’t handle a flight of stairs.” The polls are bleakness itself for Democrats, with Trump leading Biden not only in all the key swing states, but even in once solidly Democratic terrain – with Virginia and even, incredibly, New York now deemed “battleground” states. No wonder Republicans were talking this week of a November landslide.Then, just in case any part of the narrative was insufficiently vivid, while Trump was being hailed as a messiah in Milwaukee, Biden contracted Covid. Now he is isolated, in every possible sense.Except maybe it’s possible to be too lucky. Trump is so far ahead, his numbers so strong, that Democrats have stepped up their post-debate push to get Biden to withdraw from the race. Privately at first and then, when Biden refused to budge, publicly via well-placed leaks, congressional leaders, big league donors and arguably the party’s sharpest political brain, the former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have spelled it out for the president, telling him he cannot win. “It’s over,” one party veteran tells me. “He’ll be gone by Monday.”If that’s right, then Trump’s lucky streak will surely be at an end. His entire campaign has been predicated on Biden being his opponent. Facing someone else means three fundamentals of the race would be altered. First, media attention will shift away from him to the shiny object of a new Democratic nominee. Second, he, not his opponent, will be the oldest person in the race. And third, Trump should no longer have the “change” message – so potent in this age of anti-incumbency – all to himself.That last element depends on whom Democrats choose and how they do it. If Biden stands aside and there is a quick coronation of his deputy, Harris, then Trump will cast her as the status quo. There will be a cacophony of racist and misogynist dog whistles, along with a related effort to present her as lacking a democratic mandate and dangerously leftwing.But there is another way to do it. Even some of Harris’s backers favour a mini-primary, which could amount to a fortnight or so of TV debates before the 4,000 or so Democratic delegates cast their votes. Not enough, to be sure, but that would bestow some democratic legitimacy on the eventual winner and offer at least a glimpse of who flourishes and who wilts under national scrutiny. The ballot itself should happen before the party convention in Chicago on 19 August, so that that gathering can be a showcase rather than a floor fight.I know – we’re getting ahead of ourselves. But as Democrats head into a fateful weekend, they should know they have little to fear from what may lie ahead. A contest could demonstrate the party’s energy and vigour, its deep bench of new talent, drawing the contrast with the creepy cult it opposes. Given the number of Americans who have been saying for a year or more that they want a choice other than Trump v Biden, there is every chance the election could be upended, with the polls looking radically different almost straight away.And Trump showed again on Thursday night how eminently beatable he is. His speechwriters wanted him to adopt a kinder, gentler tone – a man chastened by his brush with death, bent on healing and national unity. He managed it for a while. But soon he was veering away from the teleprompter, with rambling diversions into all the old, dark greatest hits: “crazy” Pelosi, migrants as an “invasion” of killers and criminals, the election that was stolen from him.The stakes are too high, for the US and the world, to let Democrats cede the 2024 contest to Trump, which is what a continued Biden candidacy would do. The hope is that Biden himself reaches that conclusion in the next day or two, and performs what will be his last great act of public service. Because whatever the Republican faithful may say, this decision is not in the hands of the Almighty – it is in the hands of human beings who, whatever their fears and frailties, need to act and act now.

    Jonathan Freedland is a Guardian columnist More

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    In Dearborn, home of largest Arab American community, despair and apathy dominate

    Abu Bilal sits quietly on a stool in Oriental Fashion, a clothing store he owns on Dearborn’s Warren Avenue, listening to the radio. It’s hard to ascertain whether his tone when talking about the war in Gaza is one of near-complete defeatism or seething anger.“Ninety people were killed today; hundreds were injured,” he says, referencing an Israeli airstrike that killed dozens of Palestinian civilians in Khan Younis on Saturday.“No one is talking about it; no one cares. I have one question: where is the humanity?”On a scorching Saturday afternoon in Dearborn, Michigan, the feeling of despairing resignation over the war and the role America’s political leaders are playing in enabling the suffering in the besieged territory is near-omnipresent – and so is a sense of apathy over the coming presidential election.Down Maple Street, a man getting a haircut at the Al-Rehab Barber Shop says in Arabic that regardless of who the president is or will be following November’s election, it’s not going to make any difference to him. The barber says that he didn’t vote in the 2020 presidential election and doesn’t plan to vote in November. Both refused to offer their names, saying they prefer not to be identified for their political views.As the death toll continues to mount in Gaza with little sign of a political solution forthcoming, the mood in America’s largest Arab American community in recent months and weeks has decidedly changed. While flags and protests against Israel’s assault on Gaza, which has now killed more than 38,000 people, drew fervent energy and anger to Dearborn’s streets when the city became a protest hub around the state’s presidential primary, the sense today seems one of resignation and anger at America’s political leadership.For Joe Biden, who won the key battleground state of Michigan in 2020 by just 154,000 votes, that could be deeply damaging come November.When the US president defeated Donald Trump en route to the White House in 2020, turnout in Dearborn was around 10% higher than the previous election four years earlier. Biden also won 10% more votes than the Democratic party’s previous presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, suggesting voters in Dearborn four years ago were energized.Today, that positivity is nowhere to be found. During the Democratic party’s primary in February, 6,432 Dearborn voters chose “uncommitted” in protest of Biden’s support for Israel’s war, out of a total of 100,000 Michiganders who did the same. A Pew Research Center survey from May found that both Biden and Trump were the least-liked pair of presidential candidates in at least three decades. Trump currently holds a narrow lead in the state according to polls.There is little sign that support among Arab Americans has rebounded since the peak of the uncommitted movement’s strength earlier this year. According to a poll conducted by the Arab American Institute in May, Biden has the support of less than 20% of Arab Americans – down from nearly 60% in 2020. The poll estimates he could lose 91,000 votes in Michigan alone.When members of Biden’s election campaign team visited Dearborn in January, they were met on one occasion by an empty room after Dearborn’s mayor, Abdullah Hammoud, and two other Arab American state representatives declined to meet with the team, rejecting a campaign meeting to discuss elections rather than a substantive discussion about the war.“If you’re planning on sending campaign officials to convince the Arab American community on why they should vote for your candidate, don’t do it on the same day you announce selling fighter jets to the tyrants murdering our family members,” Hammoud wrote on X at the time.On Friday, Biden held a campaign rally at a school a few miles north of Dearborn, but for the most part his campaign’s overtures to Arab Americans across the country have been rejected.“The whole community was aware [that the administration had sent campaign officials to meet with the community], and I think it says a lot, that he sees us as no more than votes and that it’s been normalized for our people back home to be killed,” says Jenin Yaseen, an artist whose family is from a village outside Nablus in the occupied West Bank.She says didn’t vote in 2020 and doesn’t plan to do so this year. “I don’t think that we see that there’s a distinguishment between Trump and Biden,” she says. She added that her position would not change should Biden step aside and Kamala Harris take his place at the top of the Democratic ticket. “Kamala Harris’ stance around Palestine is pretty much the same. She’s just as guilty as Joe Biden is.”She says anger among Dearborn’s Arab American communities has simmered for years.“Dearborn is made up of people from Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon and elsewhere that have been directly impacted by American imperialism,” she says. “There’s also this big sense of guilt being here.”But a victory for Trump could be devastating for Arab Americans with family in the Middle East.Under the previous Trump administration, raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcements (Ice) officers and deportation orders drove fear into the heart of the community. While Biden is on track to match the Trump administration’s number of deportation orders by focusing on border regions rather than the interior US, the president in February signed an order protecting around 6,000 Palestinians from deportation for 18 months.The proprietor at Nabil Hair Salon on Warren Avenue says he’d like to offer his views but was afraid it could affect him and his business.“We’re not looking for any attention,” he says, asking not to be identified by name. “We don’t know what could happen if we talk politics.” More

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    Trump’s Republican convention speech live: former president to formally accept nomination

    Good evening US politics blog readers, and thank you for joining us as we cover the last night of the Republican national convention. Donald Trump is set to formally accept the GOP’s nomination to be its presidential candidate with a speech at the convention’s end. Before that, we’ll be hearing from a slew of speakers in a night themed “Make America great once again”. These include Tucker Carlson, the rightwing commentator who has struck off on his own show after Fox News fired him last year, the former secretary of state Mike Pompeo, the Ultimate Fighting Championship CEO, Dana White, and the retired professional wrestler Hulk Hogan.As he usually is, Trump is the star of the show, and the convention has him scheduled to speak for a whole 90 minutes, beginning at 9pm CT. This will be his first public address since an assassin tried to kill him on Saturday, and he’s still sporting a bandage on his right ear from the attempt, which led to the death of a rally-goer. This will also be the highest profile speech Trump has made since his first debate with Joe Biden in late June. The president’s fatigued performance in that showdown has led to a growing wave of Democrats – reportedly including the party’s leaders in Congress – to urge that he reconsider his bid for a second term in office. The Republicans, meanwhile, have been united around Trump, and his speech this evening will serve as a chance for him to elaborate on his plans for a second term in office.Here’s what we’ll be watching out for:

    Will Trump cast himself as a unifier? After his brush with death on Saturday, the former president has tried to play up the theme in his statements, and several speakers at the convention thus far have tried to cast him as a family man – perhaps as a way to detract attention from his often tawdry legal troubles.

    Convention speakers over the past three nights have made plenty of rightwing policy promises – but not quite as many as expected. Though attendees have waved signs reading “Mass deportations now” and some speakers have claimed, without evidence, that undocumented people have cast ballots, there has not been much mention of conspiracy theories around the 2020 election, plans to use the national guard to carry out mass deportations, or Trump’s vow to have the justice department to retaliate against his enemies. Will the former president mention those themes in his speech?

    Who else might Trump attack? It’s a given that he’ll go after Biden, but the Democrat is facing a backlash not seen in decades to his re-election campaign, and could step aside. Some earlier convention speakers have made a point of criticizing Kamala Harris, perhaps as a hedge to her ascension as the Democratic candidate. We’ll see if Trump follows suit.
    We’ve put together an explainer going through the finer details of the closing evening of the Republican national convention, including when Donald Trump is expected to speak, how you can watch his address, and who else from the Trump family may be in the room.Give it a read here:Over the past three nights, several speakers at the Republican national convention have tried to rehabilitate Donald Trump’s image by telling the public that what they have heard about the former president isn’t quite right. The Guardian’s Ed Pilkington takes a closer look at the campaign to “Make Trump Human Again”: Even before Donald Trump takes the stage at the Republican national convention on Thursday night, promising a speech on national unity rather than the usual partisan rancour, his team has laboured hard in the wake of the rally shooting to give the impression that he is a changed man.Gone was the Trump of “this American carnage”, the victim of witch-hunts who, if returned to the White House, would unleash a whirlwind of retribution on his enemies and be a dictator on day one. In its place was Trump the candy-peddling grandfather, the kiss-me-goodnight father, the comforting mentor and patriotic healer.It was as if the official theme of the week, Make America Great Again, had been hurriedly replaced by a new slogan: Make Trump Human Again.Kai Trump, the former US president’s 17-year-old granddaughter, helped set the tone. In a convention address on Wednesday she shared her big secret about the 78-year-old Republican nominee.“To me, he’s just a normal grandpa. He gives us candy and soda when our parents are not looking.”The theme of a “caring and loving” Trump – Kai’s words – was reminiscent of the narrative that has long been projected by Joe Biden, who presents his candidacy as a choice for dignity, respect and civility. It was as if the Trump team had adopted Biden’s playbook as empathiser-in-chief.Good evening US politics blog readers, and thank you for joining us as we cover the last night of the Republican national convention. Donald Trump is set to formally accept the GOP’s nomination to be its presidential candidate with a speech at the convention’s end. Before that, we’ll be hearing from a slew of speakers in a night themed “Make America great once again”. These include Tucker Carlson, the rightwing commentator who has struck off on his own show after Fox News fired him last year, the former secretary of state Mike Pompeo, the Ultimate Fighting Championship CEO, Dana White, and the retired professional wrestler Hulk Hogan.As he usually is, Trump is the star of the show, and the convention has him scheduled to speak for a whole 90 minutes, beginning at 9pm CT. This will be his first public address since an assassin tried to kill him on Saturday, and he’s still sporting a bandage on his right ear from the attempt, which led to the death of a rally-goer. This will also be the highest profile speech Trump has made since his first debate with Joe Biden in late June. The president’s fatigued performance in that showdown has led to a growing wave of Democrats – reportedly including the party’s leaders in Congress – to urge that he reconsider his bid for a second term in office. The Republicans, meanwhile, have been united around Trump, and his speech this evening will serve as a chance for him to elaborate on his plans for a second term in office.Here’s what we’ll be watching out for:

    Will Trump cast himself as a unifier? After his brush with death on Saturday, the former president has tried to play up the theme in his statements, and several speakers at the convention thus far have tried to cast him as a family man – perhaps as a way to detract attention from his often tawdry legal troubles.

    Convention speakers over the past three nights have made plenty of rightwing policy promises – but not quite as many as expected. Though attendees have waved signs reading “Mass deportations now” and some speakers have claimed, without evidence, that undocumented people have cast ballots, there has not been much mention of conspiracy theories around the 2020 election, plans to use the national guard to carry out mass deportations, or Trump’s vow to have the justice department to retaliate against his enemies. Will the former president mention those themes in his speech?

    Who else might Trump attack? It’s a given that he’ll go after Biden, but the Democrat is facing a backlash not seen in decades to his re-election campaign, and could step aside. Some earlier convention speakers have made a point of criticizing Kamala Harris, perhaps as a hedge to her ascension as the Democratic candidate. We’ll see if Trump follows suit. More

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    Some progressives stand behind Biden as he pushes policies for working class

    Joe Biden, who so far has defied calls to quit the presidential race from Democrats worried about his ability to beat Donald Trump, this week rolled out a catalogue of left-leaning campaign promises aimed at working-class and middle-class Americans. His renewed emphasis on core progressive priorities comes after leading Washington progressives, Senator Bernie Sanders and congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez threw their weight behind his beleaguered candidacy.The moves reframe Biden’s campaign to focus on a suite of issues from US supreme court reform to ending medical debt. They come as Biden is reportedly more open to calls for him to step aside, but still has not left the race.On Monday, Biden released a plan for the first 100 days of a second term at a campaign rally in Detroit, Michigan – a vital swing state that is home to a large segment of the Democrats’ working-class base.The plan included strengthening social security and Medicare, bolstering voting rights and introducing legislation to restore women’s abortion rights previously enshrined in Roe v Wade, a historic ruling overturned by the supreme court two years ago.Biden has also vowed to “end” medical debt, which burdens many poorer Americans, in an apparent extension of reforms his administration has already promised that would ban such debt from appearing in credit rating reports – potentially making it easier for millions of people to own a home or a car.On Tuesday, the Washington Post reported that Biden is planning to introduce a package of reforms to the US supreme court, which has issued a series of pro-conservative rulings heavily influenced by rightwing justices appointed to the bench by Trump.“I’m going to need your help on the supreme court, because I’m about to come out … with a major initiative on limiting the court,” Biden said in a Zoom call with the Democrats’ Congressional Progressive Caucus on Saturday, held to allay concerns over his candidacy.Biden signalled his support for ending term limits – which, if enacted, could help shake up the rightwing stranglehold on the court – and for introducing a code of ethics to a court that has been rocked by scandals such as undeclared gifts by a billionaire to Justice Clarence Thomas.Brad Sherman, a Democratic Congress member from California, told Axios “it was not a complete coincidence” that Biden dangled many of the policies the progressive caucus wants, considering where the president was now drawing support in the party.“This is his base,” Sherman told Axios. “You see who has called upon him to move on, and who has called upon him to stay, and the progressive caucus lines up with those who have asked him to stay.”The shifting of Biden’s campaign strategy along more leftwing lines follows the full-throated endorsement of, Sanders, the Vermont senator, who made the case for Biden on economic grounds in an opinion article for the New York Times.“To win the election, the president … needs to propose and fight for a bold agenda that speaks to the needs of the vast majority of our people – the working families of this country, the people who have been left behind for far too long,” Sanders wrote.“If Mr Biden and his supporters focus on these issues – and refuse to be divided and distracted – the president will rally working families to his side in the industrial Midwest swing states and elsewhere and win the November election.”The support of Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez effectively threw Biden’s candidacy a lifeline. Biden also gained backing from Netroots Nation, an organisation of progressive activists, in Baltimore last weekend.Keith Ellison, the Minnesota attorney general and a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, told the Guardian at Netroots that backing Biden was essential to prevent a second Trump presidency.“Quite honestly, what’s the alternative?” he added.Greg Casar, a progressive Democratic congressman from Texas, also backed Biden, saying: “The fact is that we’ve had primaries and Biden is the nominee. The decision is entirely his to remain the nominee or not.““As long as he is, it’s important to rally the country around making sure that he is reelected.”But not all those present agreed.Aaron Regunberg – a former member of Congress from Rhode Island and a member of the Pass The Torch campaign, which is calling on Biden to stand aside – said: “This is an issue that does not have any ideological valence.”The president has also wooed the Congressional Black and Hispanic Caucuses, via conversations on Zoom and speeches aimed at Black and Hispanic audiences, including an address to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in Las Vegas on Tuesday in which he called for a cap on annual rent increases at 5%.Biden’s success in enlisting the support of prominent progressives in the Democratic party momentarily halted the mutiny, abetted by the temporary reprieve after Saturday’s failed assassination attempt on Trump. But on Wednesday, California congressman Adam Schiff became the 22nd member of Congress to urge him to stand aside for a younger candidate, and new reports on Thursday detailed how Chuck Schumer, the Senate majority leader, and Hakeem Jeffries, the Democratic leader in the House of Representatives, told Biden that it would be in the country’s interests if he stepped aside, according to ABC News. Eighty members of Congress have publicly pledged support for the 81-year-old Biden.The new-found enthusiasm for Biden among progressives – a segment that has been bitterly critical of his support for Israel’s long military offensive in Gaza – may also reflect the fact most leftwing members of Congress represent electorally-safe districts. That represents a stark contrast with many of the centrists pleading with him to step aside partly because they fear voters’ concerns over his age and mental acuity are undermining their re-election efforts.Even as Biden has gained support from some leading figures in the party’s left, other elements skeptical of his candidacy have resumed their offensive to persuade him to stand down, armed with new polling data that shows 15,000 voters in seven swing states supportive of an alternative candidate.A polling memo from BlueLab Analytics and circulating among party officials showed a list of potential candidates that included Kamala Harris as well as several Democratic state governors all performing better than Biden, Politico reported. The strongest candidates were Josh Shapiro, the Pennsylvania governor; Gretchen Whitmer, the governor of Michigan; Wes Moore, the governor of Maryland; and Arizona senator Mark Kelly, who all out-performed Biden “by roughly 5 points across battleground states”.The memo could further encourage those Democrats who favor Biden standing aside, and who were enraged by the Democratic National Committee (DNC)’s push to officially nominate Biden early, through an early electronic roll call of delegates starting in July that would lock Biden in well before next month’s party convention kicks off on 19 August in Chicago.Several Democratic members of Congress had complained to the DNC that there was “no legal justification for this extraordinary and unprecedented action which would effectively accelerate the nomination process by nearly a month”.On Wednesday the party changed tack, declaring that it would not start early voting in July and that the ostensible reason – an early deadline in Ohio – no longer applied after the state changed its law on 31 May. 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    Joe Biden reportedly more open to calls for him to step aside as candidate

    Joe Biden has reportedly become more open in recent days to hearing arguments that he should step aside as the Democratic presidential candidate after the party’s two main congressional leaders told him they doubted his ability to beat Donald Trump.While continuing to insist he will be the party’s nominee in November, the president has reportedly started asking questions about negative polling data and whether the vice-president, Kamala Harris, considered the favourite to replace him if were to withdraw, fares better.The indications of a possible rethink come after Biden tested positive on Wednesday for Covid-19, forcing him to isolate for several days while curtailing a campaign visit to Nevada that had been part of a drive to show his candidacy was very much alive.It also coincides with fresh polling data showing that he now trails Trump by two points in Virginia, a state he won by 10 points in 2020, and signals that key Democrats, including Barack Obama, now believe he should stand down.The Emerson College Polling/the Hill survey showed Trump ahead by 45% to 43%, within the margin of error but consistent with a spate of other polls showing that Biden’s support has fallen in swing states since his disastrous showing at last month’s debate in Atlanta.Biden’s newfound receptivity to at least the possibility of stepping aside represents a shift from the position he adopted at a press conference at last week’s Nato summit in Washington, when he told journalists he would only drop out if polling data showed him “there’s no way you can win”.“No one’s saying that,” he added.His willingness to listen to opposing arguments comes after Chuck Schumer, the Senate majority leader, and Hakeem Jeffries, the Democratic leader in the House of Representatives, reportedly both told him that it would be in the country’s interests if he stepped aside, ABC reported.Schumer described the report of his meeting with Biden at the president’s Delaware home last weekend as “idle speculation” but tellingly did not deny its contents.The Senate leader’s intervention has apparently been influential in delaying a move by the Democratic National Committee to stage an early electronic roll call of delegates that could have started next week and was aimed at locking in the nomination for Biden before next month’s party convention in Chicago. The roll call vote has been pushed by at least a week, giving forces opposed to him running more time to organise.Equally persuasively, Nancy Pelosi, the former House speaker, also told Biden in a recent conversation that polls show he cannot beat Trump and that he could wreck the Democrats’ chances of recapturing the chamber in November, according to CNN.Biden is said to have pushed back during the conversation, insisting – as he has in several Zoom sessions with other Democrats – that he had seen polling data showing he could win.It is not known if Pelosi had called on the president to stand aside during the talk, which was said to have taken place in the past week.Pelosi has been widely reported as orchestrating the renewed pressure on Biden to give up his re-election bid, which has intensified in recent days after a brief pause following last Saturday’s failed assassination attempt on Trump, to which the president responded with a series of authoritative statements calling for calm.Adam Schiff, the California congressman who on Tuesday became the latest elected Democrat to urge Biden to stand down, is known to be close to the former speaker.skip past newsletter promotionafter newsletter promotion“The speaker does not want to call on him to resign [as the Democratic nominee], but she will do everything in her power to make sure it happens,” Politico reported one Pelosi ally as saying.A Washington Post report on Thursday suggested that Obama – for whom Biden served as vice-president – had told allies in recent days that Biden’s path to re-election had greatly diminished and that he needed to reconsider the viability of his campaign. Obama has spoken to Biden just once since the 27 June debate but he and Pelosi have reportedly shared their concerns privately on the phone. The former president initially tweeted his support for Biden in the immediate aftermath of the debate.Another key congressman, Jamie Raskin of Maryland – who played a leading role in the House committee that investigated the January 6 attack on the US Capitol – added his voice to the pressure with a four-page letter to Biden sent on 6 July comparing him to a tired baseball pitcher and pleading with him to consult with fellow Democrats over whether to continue his campaign, the New York Times reported.“There is no shame in taking a well-deserved bow to the overflowing appreciation of the crowd when your arm is tired out, and there is real danger for the team in ignoring the statistics,” wrote Raskin, drawing a comparison with a Boston Red Sox pitcher, Pedro Martinez, whose tired state cost his team a place in the World Series final in 2003.In another ominous sign for Biden, Jeffrey Katzenberg, one of the president’s main advisers and a co-chairman of his campaign, has told him that donors have stopped giving money to his campaign.A Biden adviser told the New York Times that the decision on whether to withdraw from the race boiled down to three factors – polling, money and which states were in play. All three were moving in the wrong direction for Biden, he said.As renewed speculation about Biden’s thinking intensified on Thursday, his supporters continued to insist that the position was unchanged.“When it comes to if he’s open or being receptive to any of that, look, the president has said it several times: he’s staying in this race,” Quentin Fulks, the Biden campaign deputy manager, told reporters on the sidelines of the Republican national convention in Milwaukee.“Our campaign is not working through any scenarios where President Biden is not at the top of the ticket,” he added. More