On today’s episode of the 5 Things podcast: Lack of immigration reform hurts businesses and farmers
USA TODAY Congress reporter Candy Woodall explains. Plus, most Republicans say they’re not prepared to trust upcoming midterm election results, Brazil votes in a new leader, an investigation continues after a deadly crush in South Korea and USA TODAY health reporter Karen Weintraub looks at how simple infections can cause some autoimmune systems to overreact.
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Good morning and Happy Halloween. I’m Taylor Wilson and this is 5 things you need to know Monday, the 31st of October, 2022. Today, a closer look at immigration reform, or a lack thereof. Plus, what a poll tells us about Americans’ trust in election results and more.
Immigration is a key issue for next week’s midterms, but a lack of immigration reform is hurting businesses and farmers, which is also putting the nation’s food supply at risk. Producer PJ Elliott spoke with USA TODAY Congress reporter Candy Woodall to find out more.
Most of the immigration conversation has been about enforcement and most Republicans on the campaign trial are talking a lot about the southern border. Numerous businesses and business owners, farmers that my colleagues and I spoke with for this story say they’re actually being hurt because there’s not enough of a substantive conversation on reform. And what they need are migrant workers, they say, to keep the doors open quite frankly, or keep their farms in operation.
So what does this mean for our food supply in the United States?
One of the things that farmers were telling me, we’re going to end up in a food crisis. And the USDA and some of its forecasts have shown that next year the United States is going to be importing more food than it produces. Something farmers say is actually a matter of national security because we will be relying on other countries for our food supply.
Almost two-thirds of Republicans are not prepared to trust upcoming midterm election results. That’s according to a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll. It finds that 62% of Republicans say they’re worried that midterm results could be manipulated. That’s compared with Democrats in the poll, who overwhelmingly trust the count to be fair and accurate. That’s 76%. The poll was taken by landline and cell phone last week. One retired school counselor, Judy Stadler from Wisconsin, told USA TODAY that the threats to democracy comes from efforts to undermine faith in and overturn legitimate election results. She said, “I remember Nixon resigning. I remember how scary that all was, but nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing compared to what we’re going through now.”
The poll also touched on whether respondents would vote for an election denier. 64% of polled Republicans said they would vote for a candidate who questions the legitimacy of President Joe Biden’s election. That’s compared with only 11% of Democrats who would do so and 33% of political independents. But concern about the future of America’s democracy is bipartisan. 85% of Americans say they’re worried about democracy’s future.
Yesterday’s national election in Brazil is in the books.
And leftist, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, has defeated conservative incumbent Jair Bolsonaro. In a tight runoff, Lula had 50.9% of the vote to Bolsonaro 49.1%. It’s the first time since Brazil’s return to democracy in 1985 that the sitting president has failed to win re-election. Lula’s win follows a wave of leftist victories in South America, including Chile, Columbia and Argentina. Lula da Silva’s inauguration is set for January 1st. He previously served as president from 2003 to 2010.
It was the country’s closest election in over three decades. Both candidates focused efforts on driving turnout, but there were reports of checkpoints and traffic stops that may have deterred some from voting. There were fears that Bolsonaro may not accept election results. And as of this morning, according to Reuters, he has not conceded. Bolsonaro four years in office were marked by his proclaimed conservatism and defense of traditional Christian values. He claimed that his rival’s return to power would bring communism, legalized drugs, abortion, and persecution of churches, though none of those things happened during his earlier eight years in office.
But what many will remember most of Bolsonaro, was probably the COVID 19 pandemic. Lula focused on Bolsonaro’s handling of the pandemic widely considered a failure both inside and outside of Brazil. He also painted Bolsonaro as an opponent of the Amazon rainforest since he presided over a surge in deforestation. Others have pointed out that Lula da Silva’s Worker’s Party has its own shoddy record, especially on corruption. He himself served 19 months in prison for corruption and money laundering. A Brazilian supreme court later annulled his convictions, arguing that the judge was biased and colluded with prosecutors.
Police in South Korea continue to investigate what caused a crowd surge that killed more than 150 people during Halloween festivities in Seoul over the weekend. The surge was concentrated in a tight sloped alley in the city’s Itaewon neighborhood, a popular nightlife area. Witnesses like Janelle Story describe the scene as a hell-like chaos.
Itaewon is famous for its crowds and it’s not unusual. But this was next level, shoulder to shoulder, front to back, just shimming along on those streets. Oh, no control about where you are going to move at times based on where the crowd pushes you. There was a mix of things I heard, but there was panic coming towards us. Some shouts of fear, but also confusion. We didn’t know really what was happening to us or in that moment.
The neighborhood has become a hotspot for Halloween themed events and parties which have gained in popularity in South Korea in recent years. An estimated 100,000 people were gathered there Saturday in the country’s largest Halloween celebrations since the pandemic began. Police say they had more officers in the area than recent pre-pandemic Halloweens, but some in Seoul have criticized police for giving extra security to the country’s president who relocated his office near Itaewon. Police say their support for presidential safety has long been handled by two special police units.
As for the victims, officials said more than 80% were in their twenties and thirties and 11 were teenagers. 26 foreigners also died including two from the United States. A week-long national mourning period has been declared across South Korea.
A growing body of research finds that seemingly simple infections can cause the autoimmune system in some people to overreact causing lifelong impacts. PJ Elliott spoke with USA TODAY health reporter Karen Weintraub, to find out more.
It’s been thought for a long time that some common diseases could show up later in life or linger, and there have been other speculations. But what’s new now is a growing ability because of improvements in scientific detection to really connect these seemingly minor viruses with long-term consequences. So the news story that I wrote is pegged to a study that just came out that connects norovirus to inflammatory bowel disease to Crohn’s disease. And there’s also been a study recently that connected Epstein-Barr, which basically we’ve all caught at some point. And that, apparently, is a leading cause of multiple sclerosis.
Karen, why is it that some people are more susceptible to issues down the road than others?
They think that it’s a genetic susceptibility in the immune system that some people just have bad luck with specific bugs. It’s not like you’re vulnerable to everything that comes by, but maybe you get a stomach bug at a time when your immune system is weakened. You already have a genetic weakness problem and it starts this spiral where the stomach bug maybe changes the gut microbes, the bugs living in your gut, and those then reinforce the problem and create really a lifelong condition.
Thanks for listening to 5 Things. You can find us every day of the year right here, wherever you’re listening right now. Thanks to PJ Elliott for his great work on the show, and I’m back tomorrow with more of 5 Things from USA TODAY.