Morning Update: I'm Dressed Up As These Dystopian Times

Trump leans on a strategy of fear, Facebook bans the Proud Boys, and a good scare. Your BuzzFeed News newsletter, Oct. 31.

Trump’s midterms closing argument: Be very afraid

The 2018 midterm elections are now officially less than a week away, and President Donald Trump is spending the last days of the campaign reinforcing a dark message: The time for fear is now.

Trump is focused on pushing the unsavory depiction of immigrants he honed during his 2016 presidential campaign, painting members of the migrant caravan heading north as “criminals” and claiming there were “Middle Easterners” hidden in the group.

Yesterday, he expressed support for an executive order that would end birthright citizenship, a right guaranteed under the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution.

It’s likely impossible for a president to overturn the 14th — Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican, added that “you cannot end birthright citizenship with an executive order” — but Trump’s statement is aimed directly at a Republican base motivated by immigration as a top-five issue.

Read Tarini Parti’s smart analysis of Trump’s strategy of fear.

More homework

If you watch cable news or read Twitter, you’ll see smart people who are very sure that a “blue wave” is coming. There’s a widely assumed outcome of the Democrats taking over the House of Representatives. Here’s why you shouldn’t take the blue wave for granted.

Thousands attended the first funerals for the victims of the Pittsburgh shooting

Early yesterday, strangers lined up around the block to attend the funeral of Jerry Rabinowitz. His was the first of 11 services this week for members of the Tree of Life synagogue who were killed during Saturday’s massacre.

Rabinowitz, a 66-year-old physician who was beloved in his community, was a hero to the LGBT people of Pittsburgh at the height of the AIDS crisis.

The funeral took place hours before President Donald Trump made a controversial visit to the city. It’s not unusual for presidents to visit towns struck by tragedy, to offer comfort to citizens — but Trump’s presence has upset many in the traumatized community.

The president was met with thousands of people protesting his visit to the attack site. The demonstrators filled the entirety of a normally quiet suburban street, holding signs that called on the president to explicitly denounce white nationalism. "Hate breeds death," read one sign. "Words matter," read another.


Three men convicted of plotting to bomb Somali refugees say they were encouraged by Trump’s rhetoric. Patrick Stein, Curtis Allen, and Gavin Wright were found guilty of conspiring to bomb an apartment building that housed a mosque and dozens of Muslim Somali refugees in Kansas. According to court documents, their attorneys say the men were influenced by the president's anti-Muslim stance and Russian propaganda on social media. They asked the judge for leniency in their sentencing.

Facebook has banned the Proud Boys and Gavin McInnes from its platforms. The company says it removed several pages associated with the far-right men's group, which was present at last year's Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville and whose members were involved in a brutal street brawl in New York earlier this month. The Facebook expulsion will rob the group of its ability to reach thousands of followers, and has the potential to blunt the Proud Boys' recruiting tactics.

Robert Mueller’s office has asked the FBI to investigate allegations that a woman was offered money to accuse Mueller of sexual assault. The story became public on Twitter overnight Tuesday after Jacob Wohl — a far-right Trump supporter mostly known for being in the president’s Twitter replies — tweeted that he expected “scandalous” news about the special counsel to come to light. The referral from Mueller’s office came after a woman contacted several journalists, including BuzzFeed News, about the financial offer. The whole story is a web of hoaxes, and we break it down here.

The couple who fell to their death at Yosemite National Park were Instagram travel bloggers from India. The bodies of married couple Meenakshi “Minaxi” Moorthy, 30, and Vishnu Viswanath, 29, were recovered roughly 800 feet below Taft Point last week, after a specialized team was able to reach them. Together, they ran the Instagram account @holidaysandhappilyeverafters, where they posted about their world travels. They were reportedly last seen setting their camera up for a selfie.

Kanye West says his “eyes are now wide open” after realizing he’s been used for political gain. The rapper says he’s had enough of politics, tweeting that “[I] now realize I’ve been used to spread messages I don’t believe in. I am distancing myself from politics and completely focusing on being creative!!” What if Kanye made a song about Kanye called “Wide-Open Eyes Kanye”? Man, that’d be so Kanye.

Why is it so hard for Native Americans to vote in this Utah county?

Two news worlds exist simultaneously: one of national narratives, and one of hyperlocal tensions. You and I live in both but, for a whole host of reasons, tend to pay more attention to news from the national realm.

Let’s break with that for a moment. This is not a story about a federal race, or even a state race. It’s very local: The story focuses on a race in a Utah county of just over 15,000 people. But what it’s actually about is the mechanisms, new and old, that disenfranchise and discourage people — particularly people of color — from voting.

For certain groups, it’s never been easy to vote. But now it’s even harder. Many states have introduced changes that disproportionately (and often purposefully) affect people of color — especially if they’re poor, rural, or live on a reservation.

And from this hyperlocal level in San Juan County, our reporter Anne Helen Petersen teamed up with Graham Lee Brewer of High Country News to file a necessary and head-turning report about the ways people are disenfranchised, the odds that are stacked against them — and the ways they’re pushing back. It’s an excellent read.

People are crying laughing at this woman scaring people in a creepy bodysuit

Let’s just get this out of the way: I’m Halloween-agnostic. It’s fine. We are allowed to disagree on this.

That being said…

Makayla Rose Martinez leans into Halloween. A lot. This year, she decided to wear a wonderfully creepy bodysuit and scare people at her college in Nebraska.

If you’re skeptical, just know that not only did her antics win me over — the video also went massively viral and you should watch it.

I laughed for five continuous minutes watching this video. Then I went back to being indifferent about Halloween.

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