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Red State Democrats Trump rallies: this week in the 2020 race

Welcome to our weekly review of the state of the 2020 campaign.

  • Joe Biden’s lead in national poll averages, including that of The Upshot, dipped slightly this week – barely declining less than 10 percentage points but seeming to remain stable there.

  • In national surveys published by both the New York Times / Siena College and Quinnipiac University, Mr. Biden led President Trump by two digits among both older and younger voters, a vivid example of how he muddied the standard political calculation.

  • A Montana Times / Siena poll released on Friday showed Mr. Trump was maintaining a six points lead there, and Senator Steve Daines, a pro-Trump Republican, appearing to steer clear of his Democratic challenger, Governor Steve Bullock. M. Daines headed by Three points in the closely watched race, a difference that is in the poll’s margin of error.

  • The Biden campaign made a lot more money in the bank than the Trump campaign in mid-October: $ 162 million at $ 43.6 million. The spread was $ 335 million to $ 223 million when all party funds are included.

President Trump did what his advisers wanted him to do in Thursday night’s debate, despite his lack of prep sessions: he didn’t interrupt former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., and he calmed down. But with less than two weeks remaining in the race, and nearly 50 million votes already cast in the election, time for a reset that changes the dynamics of a race whose dynamics have not changed much since March. was dwindling. Most of the conversation on the debate stage was still about the president’s handling of the coronavirus, where he offered little new.

He accepted responsibility for the 220,000 lives lost, while deflecting all blame, all in the same breath. “I take full responsibility, but China brought him here,” he said. “It is not my fault.” He claimed that “2.2 million people modeled had to die,” a claim he often repeats but for which there is no clear support. Mr. Trump’s attempts to portray Mr. Biden as both corrupt and left-wing Trojan horse have failed (“he thinks he’s running against someone else,” Biden retorted at one point ). And the issue of law and order the president wanted to raise has diminished in most parts of the country since a summer of protests.

Keep up with Election 2020

As the end of the race neared, Mr. Trump only managed to make the election a referendum on himself: his response to the coronavirus, his tone and his tweets.

In North Carolina this week, Mr. Trump appeared in Gaston County, a reliable Republican county outside of Charlotte that has not received a visit from a general election candidate since President George HW Bush stopped there in 1992. In Florida, he visited villages. , the country’s largest retiree community that was part of its main constituency of older voters. In Wisconsin next week, Mr. Trump is expected to visit Waukesha, a county he won four years ago by his largest margin in the state.

  • He works hard to keep what he has His rally schedule indicates that his campaign has essentially left the suburbs of some battlefield states where he has bled support. “Everything we’ve seen of Trump politically, he’s always going back to his base,” said Doug Heye, former communications director for the Republican National Committee.

  • Trump believes in his own magic The president is ignoring all Covid-19 guidelines and is organizing large rallies in states where the number of positive cases is increasing. It’s kind of a repeat of his endgame strategy in 2016, when his advisers told him he wasn’t likely to win but held rallies until the end of the race. . He has since credited himself with crossing the finish line. The difference this time is that there hasn’t been an outside event yet – as James B. Comey, the former FBI Director, announcing new evidence related to the Hillary Clinton email investigation – to fundamentally change the course.

  • His advisers believe ground play could still get them through As Democrats have relied more on digital advertising, the Trump campaign has aggressively knocked on the door. Campaign assistants described the last few weeks of the campaign as “white punches” to the end, and said if a November 3 victory did materialize it would be because organizers were aggressively targeting them. voters in the battlefield states more than anything. Mr. Trump himself said on stage.

It is wrong to regard November 3 as election day. Millions of Americans have already voted, using methods like early voting or postal voting. In fact, amid the continued spread of the coronavirus, most experts believe this presidential election will feature more Americans voting out of the polls in person than ever before.

This reality has led to eye-catching poll totals in several states. However, projecting the early vote tally onto the election day results has been a trap of electoral analysis for years. Here are some things we know – and don’t know – based on the number of ballots that have already been cast.

  • The enthusiasm of the voters There is evidence that this presidential cycle will see increased participation compared to four years ago. Several states have already broken records for early voter turnout, including Georgia and North Carolina. In Texas, the populated Harris County of Harris is on the verge of surpassing its entire total of votes in 2016 for early voting alone – more than 1.3 million people. It comes as the rising turnout has been a hallmark of the election under Mr. Trump’s presidency, from midterm to lower ballot races. This speaks to a reality that has been true for Mr. Trump for years – he inspires fervent passion within his base, but also significant backlash.

  • Beware of projection Democrats should have voted more during the early voting process. That doesn’t mean a Democratic victory is assured by election day, however, as both parties expect Mr. Trump’s supporters to favor the in-person vote on November 3. regions and have longer wait times. It is also because Mr. Trump and the Republicans have spoken out against postal voting.

  • The system holds The worst fear of election observers was a voting system that could not handle the surge in activity and would fail. So far, the system has held up. In Georgia, initiatives such as converting a basketball arena into a socially remote polling station have been successful. Election day will be the biggest stress test of all, but the preparation has sent encouraging signs to electoral integrity officials.

Mr. Biden’s campaign has a clear path to victory by reversing Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Florida and Michigan. However, the campaign is increasingly hearing calls from Democrats in states that were once considered distant, such as Georgia, Texas, Iowa and Ohio.

Mr. Biden’s campaign, however, has long argued that the race is closer than it looks in the polls, and that it should conserve resources for the must-see states. In recent days, however, there are signs of a late-game push by Democrats to states seen as surplus. In part, they are following the advice of some leading Democrats and major donor groups, who have argued with Mr. Biden’s campaign that a big win is needed to launch a transformative presidency. Here’s what you need to know about the Biden campaign strategy in the Dark Red States.

  • Don’t expect Biden himself Mr. Biden’s campaign sent several surrogates to Georgia, Iowa, Ohio and Texas – including his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris of California. The campaign wants these surplus states to feel engaged and supported. However, the campaign will be remembered for how the Clinton campaign was mocked for caring more about harder-to-win states while neglecting major battlegrounds.

  • They have money Mr Biden is raising mind-boggling amounts, entering the final month of the campaign with more than a quarter of a billion dollars in hand. The campaign can afford to keep television commercials in Georgia while staging a blitz in Pennsylvania.

  • Senate control is at stake States like Georgia, Texas and Iowa may not be needed for Mr Biden to win the White House, but they are critical to whether Democrats will be able to take back the Senate. Mr Biden will be well aware of this importance, as much of former President Barack Obama’s agenda throughout his tenure has been blocked by a Republican Senate that has fought him at every turn. Senate races in Georgia, Texas and Iowa poll at close statistical ties. As Mr. Biden maintains a presence in those states, it is also to help these Democrats vote down.

  • Students can register to vote on their campus or in their hometown, leaving students with a strategic choice: their votes might be more likely to make a difference in a battlefield state or in a swing neighborhood.

  • Disinformation is even more rampant this election cycle than it was in 2016. Colorado has a new initiative that will run social media ads and expand digital reach to help voters identify foreign disinformation. . Very few states are following suit.

Shane Goldmacher, Isabella Grullón Paz and Giovanni Russonello contributed reporting.