Both parties prepare for possibility of contested election as chaotic White House race hurtles to a close

She has also directed some of her members to be ready if GOP legislatures in states with narrow margins or unfinished counts seek to appoint their own electors, a situation Democrats hope to head off with an obscure law from the 19th century that allows Congress to intervene.

The internal talks are among a number of strategy sessions taking place in political and legal circles in anticipation of a post-Election Day fight. The campaigns of President Trump and former vice president Joe Biden are preparing for all scenarios, each amassing robust legal teams to prepare for post-Nov. 3 disputes, in addition to monitoring Election Day activity and ballot counting.

An uncharted battle over who the next president will be, after a campaign that has roiled and exhausted Americans, could severely test the nation’s faith in its election system — and undermine the principle that the president should be selected by voters rather than Congress or the courts, experts said.

“These are all terrible scenarios to contemplate,” said Richard H. Pildes, a professor of constitutional law at New York University. “Nothing is more explosive in a democratic system than a disputed election for the chief executive, because so much turns on who holds that office.”

Campaign operatives, election lawyers and constitutional scholars say there are several scenarios that could push the outcome of the White House race to Congress for the fourth time in history — or to the Supreme Court, as happened in the contested 2000 election.

While most agree such possibilities are slim, Trump has heightened concerns — and preparations — by repeatedly refusing to commit to conceding if he loses, while declaring that he wants the courts to play a role in deciding the race.

During the first presidential debate last week, the president repeated his unsubstantiated claims that voting by mail will lead to widespread fraud, adding that he wants the Supreme Court “to look at the ballots.”

“If it’s a fair election, I am 100 percent on board,” Trump said. “But if I see tens of thousands of ballots being manipulated, I can’t go along with that.”

Many legal and voting rights experts who have been studying the arcane rules that would govern a contested election say they are less worried about Trump refusing to concede if he loses decisively than they are about a complicated delay over disputed ballots.

Myrna Pérez, director of the Voting Rights and Elections Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, said she fears that there will be “no limits to the political hardball” and “no things that are off the table when people are trying to translate votes into political victories.”

“I wonder what that’s going to leave us with, if we don’t have any shared-upon norms, when there’s not a basic understanding that winning at all costs is not good for us,” Pérez said during a virtual panel discussion last week.

Biden’s continued strength in national and battleground-state polls has heartened Democrats, who are hopeful that he will win

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House Democrats prepare to vote on new economic relief bill even as Pelosi and Mnuchin keep talking

“We’re going to give it one more serious try to get this done and I think we’re hopeful that we can get something done,” Mnuchin said. “I think there is a reasonable compromise here … It’s something the president very much wants to get done.”

It was unclear, however, if a deal could emerge in time. The House is set to adjourn within days through the election.

In absence of a deal, House Democratic leaders were preparing to move forward as soon as Wednesday with a vote on their $2.2 trillion bill, which is a slimmed-down version of the $3.4 trillion Heroes Act the House passed in May.

It includes new stimulus checks, unemployment insurance, state and local aid, and money for schools, the Postal Service, election security and more. There is also payroll assistance for airlines that are facing the prospect of widespread furloughs as soon as Thursday unless a new aid package is passed.

Republicans oppose the bill as too costly and say it contains provisions extraneous to the coronavirus.

“This will be nothing more than fiddling while Rome burns,” Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said Wednesday morning as the House Rules Committee met to agree on rules to debate the legislation.

“We have to move forward because some may be content with doing nothing but we aren’t,” said Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern (D-Mass.).

Pelosi has been under intense pressure from moderates in her caucus, including some in tough re-election fights, to take new action to address the continued economic and public health ravages of the coronavirus.

However she has shown little sign she’s willing to back down from her $2.2 trillion price tag, with Democrats contending they’ve already compromised. On a private call with House Democrats Wednesday morning, Pelosi said the American people are worth the $2.2 trillion, according to two people on the call who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe it.

She also said that state and local aid and legal liability protections continue to be obstacles to a deal. Republicans and the Trump administration favor liability protections Democrats oppose, while opposing the generous state and local aid Democrats want. The Democrats’ new bill has about $500 billion for state and local governments, about half as much as the original Heroes Act.

Congress passed four bills totaling an unprecedented $3 trillion in aid in the spring, but since then the bipartisan urgency that existed at the beginning of the pandemic has dissipated and the Senate hasnt passed a related bill since. Talks involving Mnuchin and Pelosi collapsed in August, and were renewed only a few days ago. Despite public expressions of optimism from Pelosi and Mnuchin, there is widespread pessimism about their ability to get a deal.

Millions remain unemployed and there are signs that the economic recovery that emerged over the summer is slowing down. Nevertheless Trump administration continue to sound bullish about the economy.

“The economy is doing much better than anyone expected. … You’ve seen a very good rebound and you’re

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How to prepare your garden for winter

a person riding on the back of a park: How to prepare your garden for winter

© Getty Images / RyanJLane
How to prepare your garden for winter

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So you’ve grown yourself a garden—starting from seedlings and nurturing the plants until they were large enough to grow a vegetable or two. But now that winter’s on the horizon, how can you protect all your hard work from the elements so you’re not starting from square one next year?

Here are a few steps you can take now to give your garden the best chance to survive the months ahead.

Keep watering

a man standing in a garden: Continue watering your plants so you know they have enough water stored in their roots for winter.

© Getty Images / AvailableLight
Continue watering your plants so you know they have enough water stored in their roots for winter.

After the soil freezes, trees, shrubs, and perennial plants get through the winter by drawing water stored in their roots. If you’re not getting the equivalent of 1” of rain per week through the fall, they might not have enough water in their roots to get through the winter without damage. Use a rain gauge to see if your plants are getting the water they need from rain.

To water individual trees or shrubs, use a hose set to a trickle. You want the water to soak in deeply, which means slow, gradual watering. If you’re buying a new hose, get one that’s longer than you think you need so that you can run it around obstacles. When we tested garden hoses, the GrowGreen Heavy Duty was our favorite expandable hose, reaching up to 50 ft.

If you need to water a larger area, opt for a soaker hose that oozes water slowly out along the length of the hose. You can connect a soaker hose to a regular hose if you don’t want to drip water all the way from your faucet to your garden bed.

Cover up bare ground

a person sitting in a garden: Use mulch to cover up any bare soil spots to keep weeds at bay.

© Getty Images / ronstik
Use mulch to cover up any bare soil spots to keep weeds at bay.

Keep the weed seeds in your soil from getting an early spring start by covering bare ground with 3” of mulch in early fall, and another 6” once the ground freezes, to insulate your perennial plants against deep-freezes and temperature swings. You can use shredded leaves, straw, compost, or bark mulch.

Avoid wood-chip and bark mulches that come in multiple colors; the dyes used are safe, but those mulches are sometimes made of construction waste wood. They may contain creosote and chromated copper arsenate. If you don’t have an undyed option, opt for plant-based mulches such as shredded pine bark, straw, shredded leaves, grass clippings, or compost.

Put your your shrubs under

a close up of a plant: Shrubs may need extra mulch to keep them insulated throughout the cold weather.

© Getty Images / SbytovaMN
Shrubs may need extra mulch to keep them insulated throughout the cold weather.

Some shrubs do better with mulch protecting their roots. The mulch helps keep the soil from drying out and insulates them from freeze/thaw cycles and frost heaving. Butterfly bush and caryopteris benefit from

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How to Prepare Your Garden for Winter in Two Days

Before you put your feet up and settle in for the garden off-season, dedicate a few days to getting your landscape tucked in tight. Follow these simple steps to tidy up and prep your yard for a long winter nap in just one weekend.

a little girl riding on top of a grass covered field

© mikroman6/Getty Images

Plus, to help you get the most out of your late-season chores, here are eight fall landscaping myths that could derail your autumnal bliss.

Projects To Always Do In Fall



Day One (Morning): Trim the Plants & Tidy the Garden

Divide your overgrown perennials and cut back the dead foliage on others. Remove any spent annuals and vegetables from the garden, roots and all, and add any disease-free debris to your compost pile. As you yank out plants and weeds, be mindful of pests and diseases. Double-bag and discard diseased plants or foliage.

“Some diseases and pests overwinter in plant debris,” says horticulture expert Melinda Myers. “Remove them in fall to prevent infection next year.”

But not everything in your landscape needs to go. “Leave healthy perennials, such as purple coneflowers, black-eyed Susans, sunflowers and grasses,” Myers says. “They provide habitat for beneficial insects, food for birds and interest for the winter landscape.”

Plus, if you’re not sure which fall perennials will work best in your garden, check out top 10 fall flowers for a perennial garden.

Day One (Afternoon): Protect Your Garden & Plan for Winter

a plant in a pot

Some plants and containers struggle in severe winter temperatures. Bring pots and non-hardy plants indoors or at least out of the elements. If you’re worried about the survival of plants or pots that must stay outdoors, wrap them in blankets or burlap. As an added measure, surround them with wood chips or bags of potting mix to keep the roots snug and safe from the elements.

Cover the plant’s roots, too. “To avoid frost heaving — when the freezing and thawing of the soil shifts and pushes shallow-rooted perennials and bulbs out of the ground — apply evergreen boughs or weed-free straw around your perennial and bulb plantings after the ground freezes,” Myers says. “This keeps the soil consistently cold even during a winter thaw.”

It’s also a good idea to nourish perennials and annuals by incorporating compost and shredded leaves. Newly-planted trees and shrubs are especially vulnerable in the winter and need a little extra attention.

“Protect your garden from hungry animals by placing a cylinder of hardware cloth around (not touching) the trunk of young trees and shrubs,” Myers says. “Sink it several inches into the soil to deter voles, and make sure it is at least four feet tall in order to keep rabbits away.”

Day Two: Plant for Spring & Maintain Your Landscape

Once your landscape is cleaned up, get a jump-start on next year’s garden and plant what you can now. Fall is a great time to plant trees, shrubs, perennials and bulbs. (Still need convincing? Why you should plant spring bulbs now!) Simply make

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A 5 – Step Plan To Prepare To Buy A House

Although, owning a home of one’s own, is often considered, a major component of the so – called, American Dream, wouldn’t it make sense, to effectively, plan, to ensure this doesn’t become a nightmare, instead? After, over fifteen years, as a Real Estate Licensed Salesperson, in the State of New York, I have created, what I, often, refer to, as the RICH IDEAS, for proceeding, wisely, in terms of buying a house. With that in mind, this article will attempt to, briefly, consider, examine, review, and discuss, a 5 – step plan, for properly, effectively, wisely, being prepared for this process, and proceeding accordingly.

1. Put together/ accumulate sufficient funds, for a variety of requirements and necessities: It’s smart to proceed, as well – prepared, as possible, from the beginning. Well – before, you start searching for a house, begin saving money, in a systematic way. Remember, you will not only need funds, for the down – payment (often, but not always, 20%), but, also, funds for other Closing Costs, including, but not limited to, pre – paid real estate taxes, utilities, and other, so – called, escrow items. In addition, most lending institutions require a demonstration, and proof of funds, equal to several months, of mortgage payments.

2. Obtain a copy of your Credit Report (if husband and wife, get both): You are entitled, once per year, to request a free copy of your Credit Report, from one of the major credit organizations/ companies. Review this document carefully, and correct any errors. If your rating is not, as high, as a lending institution may seek, begin to take steps, to enhance and improve it, sooner, rather than later!

3. Pay – down other debt: Lending institutions use formulas, to determine one’s qualification, to receive funds. These are generally, focused on, one’s percentage of debt to income. Therefore, pay – down your other debt, prior to beginning the process!

4. Don’t add any other debt: Avoid acquiring any more debt, regardless of how convenient, and/ or, appealing, it may seem, at the moment. Don’t fall into the trap, of, accepting new store charge accounts, because doing so, may compromise your credit worthiness, when you seek a mortgage!

5. Shop for homes, within your means: Avoid the trap, of becoming, house – rich, and seeking to purchase a home, beyond your comfortable means! Know, how much, you can afford, comfortably, and securely, so you choose, wisely, and remain, comforted!

Since, for most of us, the value of our house, is our single – biggest, asset, doesn’t it make sense, to proceed, carefully, and wisely? Will you be up to this task?…

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FSBO – How to Prepare Your House to Sell

Did you hear that? Prices of houses in Phoenix have been jumping 5% each month for 2005 according to market experts! Some even predict that the price of housing could jump an additional 10% for the upcoming year. The shortage of houses for sales and the still relatively low interest prices are causing the price of homes not just here in Phoenix but nationwide to escalate. What does this mean? If you are thinking about selling your home, there is no better time than the present. Jump on the bandwagon!

Okay, great, you say. I'll buy a for-sale-by-owner sign, set it out in the front yard, host an open-house this weekend. I should have my house sold by the end of next week! Well, two months later, that for-sale-by-owner sign is still in the front and you don't have a buyer. Do not think that just because there is a shortage of houses for sale, selling a house is a piece of cake. It may not as easy as you think. Instead of using a Realtor, you are determined to sell the house yourself. That's fine and it's possible. People do it all the time; However, what are some tips to help you prepare your house to sell. I have done the research and found four minimal-cost tips in preparing your sell:

1. Clean-up. The first impression is always the lasting one. You want potential buyers to be impressed the moment that they spot your house from the street. Everything from the yard, to the windows, to every room inside should be squeaky clean. And if you have a collection of, well, several collections of … stuff, it's distracting to the buyer and really takes away the beauty of your home. If you can't part with those items, pack them away in boxes. A potential buyer won't be offended by a few packed boxes in the house. They most likely are expecting you to be preparing to move anyway.

2. Deodorize. This goes hand-in-hand with cleaning your house and removing the clutter. If your house smells, it won't sell. If the house has been vacant for a while, there is nothing more offensive to a potential buyer than the smell of mildew. Please take care of the mildew before showing the house. And you petowners, understand that your precious little pets that you keep indoors are not odor-less. You just have become accustomed to the smell. A potential buyer will pick up the pet order immediately. The same is true for cigarettes.

3. Re-paint the house. Okay, you may have enjoyed a blue kitchen, an orange living room, and a red bathroom. But your potential buyer may not be as cutting-edge. Experts agree that neutral colors are best in showcasing your house. Also take a second look at the decorations on the wall. Remove anything that could be offensive to your potential buyer.

4. Embrace the sun. I don't particularly care for the Phoenix heat, but I love the sun. …

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