U.S. Ballots, Wisconsin Mystery, Late Night: Your Monday Evening Briefing


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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

1. Election Day is in sight. Control of Congress is at stake. The outcome is anything but clear.

At the polls across the U.S., voters will choose thousands of of congressional, state and local officials. All 435 House seats are in play. In the Senate, 33 of 100 seats have races. Thirty-six states will elect governors. And thousands more state and municipal offices and local initiatives are on the ballots.

We’re all over it.

Here’s the latest from the dozens of journalists we have crisscrossing the U.S.

Some are attending Republican rallies in President Trump’s final three-state swing, closing out what our White House correspondent describes as “an us-against-them midterm campaign built on dark themes of fear, anger, division, nationalism and racial animosity.”

Our polling expert explains why even modest shifts among undecided voters or slightly unexpected turnout numbers could have a big impact.

4. It’s a record year for soybeans across the Midwest, but the harvest is just sitting there.

China, the largest buyer of U.S. soybeans, shut its doors in retaliation for U.S. tariffs. Sales have dropped by 94 percent from last year. Above, a mountain of soybeans in temporary storage in North Dakota.

The farmers, among President Trump’s staunchest supporters, can only wish that trade tensions ease before the stockpiled beans spoil — and before Brazil’s spring harvest creates fresh competition. “Hope is, unfortunately, a terrible marketing plan,” said a farm advocate.

Meanwhile, President Xi Jinping kicked off a six-day import expo in Shanghai with a speech that cast China as a big buyer of foreign goods and a positive force for trade, a bid to win over new allies.

5. There’s been another twist in the case of Jamal Khashoggi.

Turkish officials said that among the investigators Saudi Arabia sent to its consulate in Istanbul were chemical experts, and that they were told to remove any evidence of the killing of the dissident Saudi journalist before the Turkish investigators were given access. Above, a memorial service in Washington for Mr. Khashoggi.

International companies have come under pressure to cut ties to Saudi Arabia over the killing, but few have. On Monday, the chief executive of SoftBank of Japan — an internet, energy and financial conglomerate with an enormous investment arm heavily funded by the Saudis — said it would continue to do business with the kingdom.


Night after night, Stephen Colbert, above, Jimmy Kimmel, Samantha Bee, Trevor Noah and James Corden include a level of political content that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. Whether the zingers have any effect political effect may become clear on Tuesday.

What’s certain is that the phenomenon is solidly left of center. “People have asked why there isn’t a conservative form of late-night comedy,” said Bill Carter, a former Times reporter who has written two books on late-night. “I think Fox tried it briefly, but there aren’t enough writers to support it.”


7. Chicago’s government changed its mind about the mural above.

“Knowledge and Wonder” by Kerry James Marshall — an artist who has become synonymous with the city — was set to go on the block at Christie’s. The millions of dollars it was expected to bring were to be used to renovate the public library branch he painted it for.

The plan had many critics, including the artist. That gave Chicago’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, second thoughts. “This is not what I wanted, given the city’s contributions to public art,” he said.

Christie’s has canceled the sale.


Without a suspect, a weapon or a motive, “there’s not much more to tell than that — and that’s the frustration,” the county sheriff said.

Jayme Closs vanished three weeks ago, on the night her parents were found dead in their home in the town of Barron. She is not a suspect, investigators say. The intensive hunt for her ballooned at one point to include 200 federal, state and local law officers.

The visiting investigators have departed, but the fear hasn’t. Townspeople have begun to lock their doors and install alarms. “It’s the not knowing,” one resident said.


9. Black dancers, especially female ones, are still a rarity in ballet. And point shoes — invented almost 200 years ago — have long been available almost exclusively in pink, to approximate the skin of European ballerinas.

Dancers of color had to meticulously apply makeup or paint to theirs to match their skin tone.

Well, brava, other shades are now much more widely available. Freed of London, a major ballet supplier, has started selling brown and bronze point shoes specifically for dancers of color. The American company Gaynor Minden already has three shades.

“It’s a signal that the world is open to you,” said Virginia Johnson, the artistic director of the Dance Theater of Harlem.

10. Finally, no matter how you vote, you have to eat.

We have tips on how to throw an election night party — if you dare. And our Food crew has gathered dozens of recipes, from cheddar cheese crackers to red velvet cake, to serve to guests — or family — while you watch the election returns.

Or just set out a bowl of fresh popcorn, our food editor writes in his What to Cook newsletter. (His secret ingredient: Old Bay seasoning in the melted butter.)

Have an enjoyable evening.

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Source : Nytimes