MASON, Texas — The change at the Sunday prayer service was so subtle it went unnoticed by several congregants. Tucked in between calls for divine health and wisdom, the Rev. Fred Krebs of St. Paul Lutheran Church, who rarely brings up politics, fleetingly mentioned this month’s presidential election.“We pray for a peaceful transition,” he told his congregation of 50 people. The carefully chosen words underscored the political reality in Mason, a rural, conservative town of roughly 2,000 people, after Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory over President Trump. Not everyone thought the election was over, and not everyone said they would respect the results.- Advertisement – Like Mr. Biden and his supporters, the Smiths saw this election as a battle for the country’s soul. To unify with Mr. Biden would be an admission that the battle is lost, and that the multicultural tide powering his victory will continue its ascension.“Everything I worked for, Biden wants to give to the immigrants to help them live, when they don’t do nothing but sit on their butts,” Mr. Smith said.“And if those protesters come here, if they go tearing up stuff, I guarantee you they won’t be in this town very long,” he added. “We’ll string them up and send them out of here — and it won’t be the same way they came in.” – Advertisement – It is all a far cry from how Mr. Biden framed this election, from the Democratic primary race through his victory speech last weekend. He cast the moment as a chance for the country to excise the political division Mr. Trump has stoked, promising to repair the ideological, racial and geographic fissures that have grown into chasms since 2016. Announcing his campaign, he called it an opportunity to restore “the soul of the nation.” Last weekend, he declared, “Let this grim era of demonization in America begin to end here and now.”But on Election Day, Republican turnout surged across the country — particularly in rural areas like Mason, which along with its surrounding county had among the largest percentage increases in voter participation in Texas. Democratic dreams of a landslide were thwarted as Republicans notched surprise victories in the House and emerged as the favorite to retain control of the Senate. In the days since, thousands of Mr. Trump’s most fervent supporters have gathered across the country, including in Texas, to protest Mr. Biden’s triumph as illegitimate.“We’re willing to accept the results, as long as it’s fair and done correctly and certified correctly,” said Sherrie Strong, another supporter of the president’s. She, like others, took Mr. Trump’s position that it was strange that he had been leading in numerous places because of in-person votes on Election Day, only to be overtaken once mail-in ballots were counted on election night and over the days that followed. (The delay in counting mail-in ballots in several states was because of restrictions imposed by Republican state legislatures.) “It’s just a little upsetting when you go to bed at night, and all of a sudden, four days later, these votes are magically appearing,” Ms. Strong said.Mr. Biden’s message did have political appeal, motivating a crucial slice of voters who helped him lead Democrats back into power.Ann Mahnken, a 72-year-old lifelong conservative who attends the Lutheran church, said the prospect of his bringing the country together was why, after voting for Mr. Trump in 2016, she chose the Democratic candidate this time. “My Democratic friends think Biden is going to heal everything and unify everyone,” said Jeanie Smith, who attends the more conservative Spring Street Gospel Church in Mason, which is about 100 miles west of Austin. “They are deceived.” Karen Bell, who was also at the rally, said her distrust centered on mail voting.“In these swing states, he was ahead, and then all of a sudden in Wisconsin and Michigan and Pennsylvania, they stopped counting,” Ms. Bell said, echoing conspiracy theories about vote counting. “And then we wake up and suddenly Biden is ahead. These mystery votes all came in for Biden and zero for Trump. Something is definitely fishy there.”Asked for any evidence of widespread election fraud, in light of the fact that election officials including Republicans have consistently dismissed such claims, Ms. Bell cited conspiratorial right-wing sites like Infowars. Election officials have made it clear: There is no evidence of widespread election fraud.No matter what happens next, “I will not believe that the election was fair,” Ms. Bell said. “I will not believe that he is a legitimate winner.” Ms. Smith, 67, and her husband, Dennis, 69, tied their unequivocal support for the president — even in defeat — to larger cultural concerns. On Monday in Dallas, hundreds of Mr. Trump’s supporters gathered outside the city’s election office in a “Stop the Steal” protest promoted by the state Republican Party. The message from speakers and attendees went further than expressing fears of election fraud, amounting to a wholesale rejection of a Biden presidency and of the Republican elected officials who acknowledged it. One speaker said of the Republican lawmakers who had called Mr. Biden the president-elect, “Remember who they are when you go to the polls next.”“This is contempt of half of the country by the other half of the country,” said Paul Feeser, 61, who attended the protest in Dallas. “So if the conclusion was for Biden, I would look at it as illegitimate, and I and many others expect to be part of the so-called resistance — as Trump resisted.” “I could not stand the way our country is,” she said. “I didn’t want to go through four more years of that, not in my senior citizen lifetime. I didn’t want to go through four more years of the chaos and the division.”Mark Lehmberg, a fellow parishioner who voted for Mr. Trump this year after sitting out 2016, said he had given up on the concept of unity — and he advised Ms. Mahnken to do the same. He backed the president because he did not want the economy to shut down over the coronavirus.“The relationships have already been jeopardized,” Mr. Lehmberg said. “It’s going be hard — impossible — to get people to come together.” His wife, Andrea, was more optimistic.“I think every president that we’ve had has never intentionally hurt our country,” she said. “They’re going to do their best and that’s all we can hope for.”Mr. Biden, she added, “is not going to do some intentional crash of our country.”Her hopefulness stood out in a landscape of dread. Pastor Krebs, the Lutheran minister, said the reason the election felt existential to some was that it represented a referendum on more than just politics.As a community leader who arrived in Mason shortly before the 2016 election, he said, he has seen how the city’s views of the president are wrapped up in other issues, including the white majority’s relationship with Latino residents and a backlash to Black Lives Matter protesters striving for political power.At the same time, Pastor Krebs said, sweeping generalities don’t do justice to the complexity of the community.“Defining people strictly by their parties is not a good thing,” he said. “And I’ve learned that sometimes people think more deeply when they get into a conversation than when we just start labeling one another.” “Now you want healing,” she added. “Now you want to come together. You have not earned it.”That is the hard reality Mr. Biden is facing, even after winning a race in which he secured a larger share of the popular vote than any challenger since 1932. Towering before him is a wall of Republican resistance, starting with Mr. Trump’s refusal to concede, extending to G.O.P. lawmakers’ reluctance to acknowledge his victory and stretching, perhaps most significantly for American politics in the long term, to ordinary voters who steadfastly deny the election’s outcome. – Advertisement – The feeling that Mr. Trump’s refusal to concede is justified, and that Mr. Biden’s rise to the presidency should not be recognized, is not universal for Republicans. A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll found that nearly 80 percent of Americans believe Mr. Biden won, including about 60 percent of Republicans.But other polling has provided mixed results, including a survey from Politico/Morning Consult showing that the number of Republicans who do not believe this year’s election was free and fair has doubled, from 35 percent before Election Day to 70 percent.In Texas, conservatives have been crowing after Democratic hopes of flipping the state blue and winning control of the Legislature failed to materialize. Even so, state leaders have also fallen in line with the president’s baseless attempts to paint the election as unfair — and the state’s Republican lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick, has offered $1 million for anyone who produces evidence of voter fraud.But even in Mason, some who supported the president urged the party to move on. “This is over — it’s just what it is,” said Jay Curry, 44, who was arriving to eat at the Willow Creek Cafe and Club with his wife and two children.The president’s refusal to concede “just means more turmoil and more division,” Mr. Curry said. “We’re divided. It’s red and blue. And they’re against each other more than they’re trying to help anybody.” – Advertisement –
So far, the excellent performances of the Croatian national football team have significantly contributed to the promotion of the whole of Croatia, not only as a tourist destination, but as a country as a whole, and the highlight of the promotional effects was last night’s entry into the World Cup finals. And entering the finals of the football championship will certainly provide us with the best possible marketing campaign, ie the world’s attention will be on Croatia.Of course, this kind of global media attention towards Croatia also raises the issue of a positive impact on the economy as well as on the branding of the entire country. And how did the CNTB cope with the whole story and take advantage of this situation?As they point out from the CNTB, the CNTB website ( croatia.hr ) otherwise our main tourist platform, records a large increase in visits by more than 250%, and the highest traffic is recorded from the markets of Italy, USA, Russia, India, Germany, UK, France, Poland and the Netherlands.”Croatia’s entry into the finals of the football championship is a historic result that has put our country in the focus of the world public. This is a great opportunity for additional promotional activities. We created an abbreviated version of the promotional video Ambassadors of Croatian Tourism, in which we left only those shots in which Croatian football players appear. The video was fantastically accepted during and after the match with England. Positive promotional effects are also visible on the CNTB website, where we record an increase in visits of 250% compared to the same period last year. The highest visits to the site are recorded from the markets of Italy, USA, Russia, India, Germany, UK, France, Poland and the Netherlands.” said CNTB Director Kristjan Stanicic.In the meantime, there is no need to worry about it. ”During implementation yesterday’s mini campaign na YouTube the channel used geolocations and the focus before and during the match was on the area around Luzhniki Stadium, and after the match in the whole area of Moscow. On that occasion an abbreviated version of the promotional video viewed over 250.000 times, and after Croatia’s victory and entering the finals, the “view rate” of the video increased by 161%. The campaign was also conducted on the social network Facebook with focus to Luznhiki Stadium, and the promotional video garnered an excellent 74.000 views during and after the game. Promotional activities were also carried out on social networks Instagram and Twitter, where the CNTB has intensively monitored all previous matches of the Croatian national team, thus establishing two – way communication with numerous fans around the world. These posts on social networks receive a large number of comments, shares and likes, so for example on Twitter received over 2 million impressions, and over a thousand congratulations and messages of support were received through this social network. Global results are also recording excellent results Facebook CNTB page where the posts were seen by more than a few million people, and excellent results are recorded by Facebook pages for the markets of Poland, Germany and Italy. The visibility of posts of one million people in one day was achieved on the social network as well Instagram, they conclude from the CNTB. But the main question is: Have we used the best possible marketing campaign in the world, ie the focus of all global media in the right way? Two years ago, in 2014 to be precise, we had a great opportunity to promote our tourism on the world stage through the Football World Cup in Brazil. The opening and the first game in which we played against the hosts, only through small screens (not counting other media as well as the Internet), according to FIFE as the organizer, was watched by over 47 million viewers worldwide and 1,5 million television viewers in Croatia. An opportunity that we unfortunately did not take advantage of, and today the story is much broader and with a much greater media reach.What story did we tell about Croatia? About our tourism? Were we ready and prepared how to strategically position Croatia, both economically and through tourism? How have we positioned our brand?Issues that we will analyze in detail soon, after the end of the World Cup in Russia.
The air in the Coliseum hummed with energy as both teams jogged onto the field in the final seconds of the fourth quarter.Despite taking a 28-21 lead late in the game, the Trojans had allowed the Utes to storm back for a touchdown drive to tie the game with less than a minute to play. Now, Utah had decided the risk wasn’t worth it — the team was going for the two-point conversion.But redshirt senior safety Chris Hawkins was ready. “Once they came out of that formation, we kind of had an idea what they were going to run,” he said.Ajene Harris tackles Utah’s Troy Williams to seal the game for USC – Brian Chin | Daily TrojanThe center snapped the ball, and quarterback Troy Williams rolled right. Hawkins jumped his receiver, and Williams was forced to run. There was a moment of silence as the crowd held its breath, watching the foot race between the Utah quarterback and redshirt junior Ajene Harris to the right corner of the end zone. Then Harris dove into a tackle, and the crowd exploded in roars as the pair fell to the ground just short of the goal line. The Trojans had escaped once again.In a game that highlighted all of the Trojans’ strengths and weaknesses, the Trojans held off Utah at home with a 28-27 victory.“Players win games,” head coach Clay Helton said. “Our players made the decision to define our football team in the second half. Our kids found a way to win a critical game for us. Great quarterbacks find a way to produce wins and …. it was a total team victory.”The first half consisted of a handful of solid plays mixed in with a healthy serving of fumbles, missed tackles and botched plays. Time and time again, redshirt sophomore quarterback Sam Darnold and the offense marched the ball down the field into scoring position, only to cough the ball up for a turnover.The offense notched 262 yards in the first half, but mistakes in Utah territory piled up. Darnold and junior running back Ronald Jones muffed a hand off for a fumble, and Darnold dropped the ball while scrambling for another turnover. In the second quarter, he attempted a backwards pass that smacked Jones straight in the facemask and resulted in a turnover.“I didn’t really get in rhythm in the first half,” Darnold said. “That’s just me making mistakes. You’re not supposed to win football games when you turn the ball … but I think if I can just control the ball then we’ll be able to match up with any team in the country.”Although the offense shone in spurts, it put together only one complete drive in the first half. Darnold threw to junior wide receiver Deontay Burnett for 21 yards to give the Trojans position on the half line. He followed with a short pass up the gut to junior tight end Tyler Petite, who hustled his way untouched into the end zone, tying the game 7-7.Tyler Petite rushes for a touchdown against Utah – Katie Chin | Daily TrojanThe offense, however, wasn’t able to convert the scoring drive into momentum. And unlike in past games, the defense wasn’t able to take a stalwart stand to make up for offensive errors.Junior linebacker Cam Smith opened the game by smacking down an interception to avoid a touchdown deep into Trojan territory, but the team struggled to stop the run game and showed vulnerabilities to deep balls. Junior cornerback Iman Marshall earned a pair of critical pass interference calls, and Utah capitalized on breakout drives. The Utes closed down the half with a 21-7 lead, and the Trojans were greeted by boos as they jogged slowly into the locker room.In the locker room, however, the team didn’t focus on the struggles of the first half. Head coach Clay Helton told the team to approach the second half the same as always — as if the first half didn’t exist and the score was 0-0. Then, Hawkins turned up music — “Knuck If You Buck” by Crime Mob, he said — and told his teammates to find their energy.“The message was to go out there and have fun,” Smith, a fellow captain, said. “It’s football. We started out pretty flat on both sides of the ball and that’s not how football should be played. We need that spark.”The Trojans took the dismay of the first half and built from it. As the second half began, the team saw steady improvement on both sides of the ball. Despite allowing 21 points in the first, the defense locked down and refused to allow another point. And after a shaky start, Darnold lit up the offense, beginning with a touchdown drive in the midst of the third quarter.The pocket collapsed almost immediately, and pash rushers converged from either side. Darnold dodged two tackles, ducking under arms and side stepping bodies to toss a pass into double coverage directly into the hands of Petite. The crowd roared, almost surprised — it had been awhile since Trojan fans had seen this side of Darnold, cool and collected under this amount of pressure.Darnold showed similar composure in the fourth quarter’s tying drive. On third-and-10 at midfield, he threw a first down pass that Burnett hauled in despite getting trucked in mid-air. He followed with a scrambling 20-yard pass to Steven Mitchell, then rolled right from the one-yard line to float an easy pass to Josh Falo to bring the score to 21-21.“The balance of the run game finally came together,” Helton said. “You feel just the start of wearing down the defensive line. All of a sudden they started to pop.”Running back Ronald Jones II does a front flip into the end zone to give USC the lead in the fourth quarter – Katie Chin | Daily TrojanAfter trailing by double digits for almost two quarters, the Trojans surged ahead with less than five minutes in the final quarter. With the run game back in rhythm, Jones and redshirt freshman running back Vavae Malepeai ripped off long runs to push the Trojans down into the red zone. Jones dashed five yards up the gut of the defense, flipping across the goal line to pull the Trojans ahead, 28-21. Jones leapt to his feet, howling at the student section and beating his chest as the scoreboard lit up to give the Trojans a six-point lead.