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2020 U.S. ELECTION: What you need to know right now

(Reuters) - The moderator of the final debate between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden will be able to press a “mute” button, allowing each candidate to speak uninterrupted to avoid the chaos of their first televised face-off. Trump says he will he participate but insists the new rule is unfair.

FILE PHOTO: Election worker Gisela Alberg cleans a voting booth at Sonoma Elementary School during the primary election in Las Cruces, New Mexico, U.S., June 2, 2020. REUTERS/Paul Ratje/File Photo

-Trump lashed out at top U.S. infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, calling him a “disaster” during a campaign staff call meant to convince his team that he still has a path to victory on Nov. 3, despite trailing Biden in the national polls.

-With just two weeks to go, Trump heads to battleground Pennsylvania with hopes of reviving the support there that in part handed him his shock 2016 victory.

-The U.S. Supreme Court allowed an extension of the deadline for absentee ballots in Pennsylvania, rejecting a Republican bid to limit mail-in voting.

-Trump’s slide in opinion polls weighs on Republican Senators in tight races in the South and Midwest, while Democrats are looking to defend two seats, amid increasing odds that the GOP may lose its 53-47 majority on Nov. 3. A look at the 10 Senate races where Republican incumbents are locked in fierce competition with their Democratic challengers.

-Even a “blue wave” victory that sees Democrats claiming the White House and both chambers of Congress could mean ambitious economic plans to ease inequality and reduce reliance on fossil fuels may have to wait until the coronavirus pandemic is under control.

-U.S. presidents are chosen by electors who pledge to vote once the people in a state have spoken. Amid polarization and confusion, there is a risk that electors break that promise to the voters. A look at the outsized role “faithless” electors may play this year.

GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE

With just two weeks until Election Day, European capitals are preparing contingency plans in the event of a contested result as Trump refuses to commit to a peaceful transfer of power.

INVESTOR VIEW

After Trump’s “America First” approach, investors pricing in a Biden victory look to the rest of the world for big post-election winners such as European bank stocks and emerging markets.

BY THE NUMBERS

Trump narrowed the gap in crucial Pennsylvania as 49% of likely voters plan to vote for Biden while 45% support the incumbent, compared to 51%-44% the previous week, a Reuters/Ipsos poll shows. Biden maintains a solid lead in the battleground state of Wisconsin with 51% to 43%.

ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL

Expected events and Reuters coverage on Oct. 20:

-Trump holds a campaign rally in Pennsylvania

-Vice presidential nominee Senator Kamala Harris campaigns in Ohio, attends online fundraising event for the first day of in-person voting in Wisconsin

-Reuters/Ipsos public opinion poll from six battleground states: Arizona, Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and North Carolina (5 p.m. ET/2100 GMT)

Refinitiv customers can find more 2020 U.S. Election content on the Election App ( here ) on Eikon or Workspace.

Media customers can find complete multimedia coverage on the Reuters Connect planning calendar here here

Reporting by Gayle Issa; Editing by Giles Elgood

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