The Countdown: Early voting, Biden’s ads and the Beastie Boys

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  • US election 2020

Just over two weeks to go and while Joe Biden may be having quiet week, he made sure it came after he dropped some ads timed for peak NFL audiences that might just hit a key demographic – one that knows 90s music.

  • LIVE – latest updates from the campaign trail

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He may not be out, but he is about

Joe Biden heading to North Carolina

image copyrightReuters

The presidential debate explains Joe Biden’s quiet week, our reporter Anthony Zurcher explains:

President Donald Trump’s campaign has reached a frenetic pace since he left hospital last week. Joe Biden, in contrast, has no public events on his schedule.

But anybody who watched TV in the US this weekend, particularly those traditional Sunday afternoon American football matches, probably saw a Joe Biden ad – they may be the only way Americans can see Mr Biden before this Thursday’s presidential debate.

His campaign is blanketing the airwaves, the result of a record-breaking $383m fundraising haul for September and outspending Donald Trump.

This is also about their different debate preparation strategies. The Biden camp wants their candidate rested and focused, even as conservatives accuse him of hiding from the public.

How he performs will almost certainly outweigh anything that happens this week and his carefully placed ads will mean he is not far from mind.

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A political playlist: Beastie Boys vs Village People

Village people

image copyrightPA Media

Aware of just how potent music is in politics, the Biden campaign made sure to point out that 90s hip hop act The Beastie Boys, had not licensed music for an ad… until Joe Biden came calling. Here are some songs that made headlines this campaign:

Sabotage by The Beastie Boys: In an ad about the impact of the virus on live music, the mid-90s anthem with its riffs and distortions is featured alongside other 90s hits from bands like The Breeders and Pixies… leading some to wonder if a certain middle-aged demographic had been targeted.

YMCA by The Village People: What is for sure is that Mr Trump likes to dance to The Village People, known for their catchy disco hits which have been played at Trump rallies.

U.S. President Donald Trump dances to the song "YMCA" as he concludes a campaign rally with supporters in Henderson, Nevada, U.S. September 13, 2020

image copyrightReuters

Video clips of his shuffling dance moves to YMCA have gone viral, but many have also asked how a conservative movement can embrace what is seen as a gay anthem.

Victor Willis, lead singer of the Village People, recently clarified he did not write it as a gay song and in contrast to other artists, has no objection to Mr Trump’s use of it

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Early voting in Florida rain

Early voting has begun in the crucial state of Florida, which Mr Trump won by a slim margin in 2016. Despite rain in the early morning, queues were long.

Early voting in Florida

image copyrightJoe Raedle

Early voting turnout records have already been broken in Georgia and Texas – a mixture of virus measures and sheer enthusiasm – but it is still hard to know who benefits the most from this. Wisconsin is also heading to the polls early.

Last week Joe Biden told older voters in Florida Mr Trump was not looking out for them, but the BBC has also covered the ways the president could win.

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