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Good morning. The coronavirus is wreaking havoc on Mexico. And a salmonella outbreak linked to onions has sickened hundreds in the U.S. and Canada. Let’s start with one last look at the race to be Joe Biden’s running mate.
Joe Biden is likely to reveal his pick for vice president shortly. Aides say they expect a public announcement before next week’s Democratic National Convention.
The Times’s Katie Glueck, who has been covering Biden’s deliberations, spoke with us about four factors that Biden’s allies are discussing as the former vice president makes his choice.
1. A governing partner. “The word Biden often uses is ‘simpatico,’” says Katie. “He wants to be aligned with his potential vice president philosophically when it comes to confronting the nation’s biggest challenges. He also wants to have a candid relationship with the contender.”
2. The state of the country. The challenges presented by the pandemic have some progressives pushing Elizabeth Warren, the policy-minded Massachusetts senator.
Protests over police brutality have strengthened other Democrats’ calls for a Black running mate. Beyond Rice and Senator Kamala Harris of California, top contenders include Karen Bass, who leads the Congressional Black Caucus, and Val Demings, a Florida congresswoman.
3. Someone who “does no harm.” Biden seems to want a running mate who won’t present an easy target for President Trump — though Democrats are well aware that Republicans will attack the eventual nominee regardless of who she is. Harris, who ran for president last year, “is widely seen as a ‘safe’ pick,” says Katie.
Republicans say they’re energized to go after Rice over her role in responding to the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. Bass has backtracked on her past praise for Fidel Castro and Scientology. And some progressives have criticized Harris’s and Demings’s law-enforcement backgrounds.
4. The succession question. Biden’s age, and the possibility that he may not seek a second term if he wins, could make his vice president an instant party leader. Some advisers have reportedly dinged Harris’s presidential “ambition” — a sexist double standard, writes The Times’s Jessica Bennett.
Meanwhile, other contenders have suggested they don’t want to be president. But those intimations don’t always last, Katie notes: “When Barack Obama selected Biden as his running mate, he was not seen as likely to pursue the presidency himself.”
THREE MORE BIG STORIES
1. Trump’s evangelical support
More than 80 percent of white evangelical Christians voted for Donald Trump in 2016, and polls show a similar level of support in November. For many observers, the relationship seems mystifying: a religion that prizes the Bible and sexual morality embracing a twice-divorced president who rarely goes to church and built a career off gambling.
To understand the dynamic, Elizabeth Dias, who covers religion for The Times, traveled to Sioux Center, Iowa, one of the most conservative Christian communities in the nation.
“I think Trump is going to restore our freedoms, where we spent eight years, if not more, with our freedoms slowly being taken away under the guise of giving freedoms to all,” one supporter said. “Caucasian-Americans are becoming a minority. Rapidly.”
A fallen evangelical leader: Jerry Falwell Jr., who has weathered one controversy after another in recent years, took a leave of absence as Liberty University’s president on Friday after he posed for a photo with his pants unbuttoned and his arm around a woman who was not his wife.
2. Fear hampers Mexico’s virus response
Mexico is battling one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the world. Officials say at least 52,000 people have died — the world’s third-highest toll, after the U.S. and Brazil — and there are indications the true total is even greater.
Mexico’s struggle has been made harder by a pervasive phenomenon: a deeply rooted fear of hospitals. That means many sick people don’t seek care until their cases are so bad that doctors can do little to help them.
The difficulty of contact tracing: Over the course of a week, more than a third of the calls to people who tested positive in Los Angeles County went unanswered. More than half of those who did pick up refused to provide one close contact.
3. Trump’s relief orders may be toothless
Over the weekend, Trump signed four executive measures that he said would deliver emergency pandemic aid to needy Americans. But three of those measures are unlikely to bring fast relief, if any, The Times’s Ron Lieber and Stacy Cowley explain.
The emergency funds Trump directed to extend unemployment benefits will most likely run dry quickly. His order on evictions, on its own, won’t help renters on the brink of losing their housing. And Democrats, who dismissed Trump’s actions as unconstitutional, could go to court to challenge his order to defer payroll taxes, among others.
The fourth measure, to extend relief for student loan borrowers, seems likely to be the easiest to carry out.
Here’s what else is happening
The Hong Kong police arrested Jimmy Lai, a pro-democracy media tycoon and high-profile critic of the Chinese Communist Party, on charges of violating a sweeping new national security law imposed by Beijing. In May, Lai wrote for the Times’s Opinion section: “I have always thought I might one day be sent to jail for my publications or for my calls for democracy in Hong Kong.”
Salmonella linked to onions has sickened nearly 900 people across the U.S. and Canada, prompting a recall from grocery stores and a producer in California, the likely source of the outbreak.
President Aleksandr Lukashenko of Belarus was on course to win his sixth term in an election widely dismissed as rigged.
The government of Afghanistan said yesterday that it would release the last of the Taliban prisoners in its custody, removing the final hurdle to direct negotiations with the insurgents to end the country’s long war.
Lives Lived: Frances Allen, a computer scientist and researcher, helped create the fundamental ideas that allow practically anyone to build fast, efficient and useful software. In 2006, she became the first woman to win the A.M. Turing Award, often called the Nobel Prize of computing. She died at 88.
IDEA OF THE DAY: How to be happy
Here’s some advice — both pandemic-specific and evergreen — to help you find happiness in a difficult time.
Seek short-term happiness. Self-control can help us achieve long-term goals that make us happy, like getting in shape. But it’s just as important to indulge short-term pleasures like relaxing on the couch, new psychological research suggests. The trick is to avoid imagining that the two are in conflict, says Katharina Bernecker of the University of Zurich.
PLAY, WATCH, EAT, SIT
An ode to tamarind
“There is a thrill that accompanies the cracking of a brittle tamarind pod,” writes the photographer and cookbook author Nik Sharma. “Hidden beneath that unassuming brown shell lies a soft, sticky, sweet-and-sour pulp.”
Tamarind was a staple in his family’s cooking growing up in Mumbai. It’s often used in Goan cooking, where it adds a fruity sourness to dal, curries and stews. Try it in Nik’s recipe for roasted potatoes, which uses a dressing inspired by the sweet-and-sour chutneys common in Indian street food.
The science of skin
“Guiding Light” was the longest-running show in broadcast history when it went off the air in 2009. It was also owned by Procter & Gamble — an arrangement that helped give rise to the term “soap opera.”
Early soap companies pioneered many modern advertising techniques in the U.S., including creating needs people didn’t realize they had, then meeting them. (“B.O.,” for example, began as a marketing term.) A new book, “Clean: The New Science of Skin,” explores what all the 10-step skin care routines, scrubbing and deodorizing you’ve been told are necessary are actually doing for your skin. The journalist Brooke Jarvis reviewed it for The New Yorker.
Even before the pandemic, the fashion industry had started to unravel. What happens now that no one has a reason to dress up?
In a piece for The New York Times Magazine, Irina Aleksander tries to answer that question by focusing on Scott Sternberg, a fashion designer whose company Entireworld has seen sales of its casual wear skyrocket since March.