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The Countdown: A prophecy, crowds and a TikTok takedown

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  • US election 2020

With 15 days to go, this is what is happening in the US election race.

Large crowds ignored advice and packed airport hangars as US President Donald Trump made a four-state dash, pro-Trump celebrities got trolled and TikTok cracked down on an angry Cheeto meme.

  • LIVE - latest updates from the campaign trail

The news in four sentences

image copyrightSCOTT LEGATO
image captionKid Rock regularly appears at Trump events in Michigan

1. Donald Trump dashed across four states in two days over the weekend and on Monday he makes two more stops in Arizona, a state where he must win over Latino voters.

2. Joe Biden had a quieter weekend travelling with his granddaughter Finnegan to North Carolina, a state he wants to win because he knows what really counts are the polls in a few crucial states.

3. After Taylor Swift, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Cardi B all spoke out for the Biden campaign, it was the turn of the Trump celebrity fan club of Kid Rock, Kirstie Alley and Jon Voight to turn up, but not without a social media backlash - here's our piece on whether celebrity endorsements help or hurt.

4. TikTok has removed videos in which President Trump is called an "angry Cheeto" and an "orange brussel sprout", after a BBC investigation revealed the influencers who posted them had been paid by a marketing company.

image copyrightTikTok

Why big crowds matter more than ever to Trump

Another day, another state or two or three for the president. He is behind in national polls and when it comes to raising money, but still draws huge, enthusiastic crowds. These pictures show why the campaign likes them.

Using crowds to dispute polls: Panoramic views of a sea of red MAGA caps give the Trump campaign the confidence to challenge the polls. His son Eric tweeted out a shot of a rally in Georgia simply saying "the polls are wrong".

image copyrightMANDEL NGAN
image captionMr Trump tweeted about the "giant crowd" at this weekend's rally in Michigan

It's all about the energy: Both Mr Trump and his supporters get charged up by the drama of those moments where the president repeats slogans that get the crowd chanting. So they have been turning up despite pleas from experts not to gather in crowds.

image copyrightGetty Images
image copyrightReuters

But this enthusiasm may not make much of a difference to turnout, as this Washington Post piece on Mr Trump's love for big crowds says.

A prophecy: 'At 4.30 the Lord said to me...'

image copyrightMANDEL NGAN

One of the weekend's most memorable moments came from the Sunday service at the International Church of Las Vegas.

Speaking to the president, Pastor Denise Goulet said: "At 4.30, the Lord said to me, 'I am going to give your president a second wind,'" referring to his recent Covid diagnosis. She went on to say Mr Trump would win the election.

Mr Trump still outpolls Mr Biden by a huge margin among evangelicals and recent research shows just how strong that support has stayed. This is because he has delivered on the issues that matter to evangelicals, like a conservative Supreme Court.

But there are evangelical dissenters as a recent BBC documentary showed,.

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