2020 U.S. election campaign August 1 – November 7

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Biden Wins Presidency, Ending Four Tumultuous Years Under Trump

Joseph R. Biden Jr. achieved victory offering a message of healing and unity. He will return to Washington facing a daunting set of crises.

Kamala Harris Makes History as First Woman and Woman of Color as Vice President

Ms. Harris, the daughter of an Indian mother and Jamaican father, has risen higher in the country’s leadership than any woman ever before her

Biden’s win was more decisive than you think
How the electoral map changed between 2016 and 2020 — and what it means for the country

Joe Biden’s President-Elect Acceptance Speech: Full Transcript
In his victory speech, delivered after days of vote counting and uncertainty, Mr. Biden renewed his promise to be a president for all Americans in a polarized time.
Five Takeaways From President-Elect Biden’s Victory Speech
As he addressed the nation from Delaware, Joseph R. Biden Jr. set a tone that was very different from President Trump’s.
There were many notable passages in the speech, but one stood out. “Let this grim era of demonization in America begin to end here and now,” he said. That is probably a line that people will talk about long into the Biden presidency.
… Mr. Biden’s strategy  was clear. He has exceeded the 270 Electoral College votes needed to become president, and may end up gathering more than 300. He is now moving past the contest with Mr. Trump and into the role of president-elect. The transition is at hand, and the trappings of the presidency have begun to surround him — apparent in the size of the Secret Service contingent that followed him to give his speech, and the way every television station spoke of him as the president-elect.

Harris celebrates ‘new day for America’ in first speech as vice president-elect
Harris, who spoke before a jubilant crowd in Wilmington, Del., before introducing the former vice president, began her speech invoking the late civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), saying “Democracy is not a state, it’s an act.”
She went on to praise those who had voted in the election, which had been called for her and Biden earlier on Saturday after days of vote counting.

Frank Bruni: We Still Don’t Really Understand Trump — or America
Democrats expected better. What happened?
Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat who represented deep-red North Dakota in the Senate from 2013 to 2019, had a theory. … Democrats, including Joe Biden, limited public events, minimized contact with voters and rarely removed their masks. It was the morally right, responsible thing to do.
But among some Americans, Heitkamp wondered, did it come across as finger-wagging? Preachy? She wasn’t saying that Democrats should have dispensed with science and prudence. She was just trying to make sense of it all. … Did Democrats’ approach to campaigning provoke a similar response?
“When you aren’t out there doing the handshaking, people see that as a judgment on their behavior,” she suggested. And perhaps it played into their larger qualms about the Democratic Party as a disapproving arbiter of how they speak and how they live.
Before Election Day, I kept hearing, reading and thinking that Trump was self-destructing. Watch how he set himself on fire in the first debate. Look at his ludicrously theatrical return to the White House after being hospitalized with Covid-19. Marvel at the fight he picked with Lesley Stahl. Something was wrong.
But other things were right. Those of us obsessed with what a miserable person he is lost sight of what a mighty candidate he is.

Biden Victory Brings Sighs of Relief Overseas
Foreign leaders showered the president-elect with congratulations. For many, the importance of this election was as much about removing Mr. Trump as ushering in Mr. Biden.

FiveThirtyEight
The Cook Political Report
The Democrats/progressives 2020
The Republicans 2020

Trump campaign claims ‘election is not over’ as Biden approaches victory
The outstanding absentee ballots in each to-be-called state come largely from Democratic-leaning or heavily Democratic areas.
Georgia Senate Race Between David Perdue And Jon Ossoff Edges Closer To A Runoff
The runoff would be held Jan. 5 and set the stage for what could be an especially contentious and expensive battle for control of the Senate. A special election between Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Raphael Warnock for the state’s other Senate seat is already headed for a runoff that day.
Currently, Democrats have a net gain of one seat in the U.S. Senate. To win a majority, they need to net at least two more, plus control of the White House, which would allow a Democratic vice president to cast tie-breaking votes in the chamber.

Heather Cox Richardson November 5
What has stood out today is the degree to which Trump and his team have governed by creating their own reality. Now that that image is being challenged, they are flailing.
Knowing he would lose the popular vote, Trump intended to win by arguing that Democrats had “stolen” his victory.
TV networks cut away from Trump as he tests the boundaries of American democracy by questioning the entire election with extraordinary speech that claims conspiracy against him by ‘big tech, big money, the media, pollsters and Democrats’
Donald Trump appears for the first time in more than 36 hours, speaking in the White House briefing room
He launches 17-minute tirade spelling out his conspiracy theory that ‘big tech, big money and big media’ were rigging his election from start to finish to get a Democrat in the White House
Claims counting mail-in votes is ‘fraud,’ accuses pollsters of deliberately getting the results wrong to keep his supporters at home and launches coded attack on Republicans
But instead of rallying to him, GOP figures slammed him with Larry Hogan, the Maryland governor saying ‘there is no defense’ for what Trump said and one rep calling it ‘insane’
TV networks NBC, CBS and ABC switched him off as he ranted, reading from a script which he had written on in sharpie
He presented no evidence of fraud and hinted darkly at the blizzard of litigation his campaign has launched despite courts in Georgia and Michigan turning him down already
His lead in must-win Pennsylvania is slipping rapidly and crossed under 75,000 as he spoke while lead in Georgia has halved in 24 hours; Biden is holding wafer-thin leads in Arizona and Nevada
Biden tweeted rebuke after Trump spoke; he had made statement from Wilmington, DE, with Kamala Harris at his side pleading for calm and patience and saying he was confident he would win
Trump supporters, some of them armed, gathered again Thursday night at counting center in Arizona where he wants voting to go on – in contrast to wanting it stopped everywhere else
Trump stages corrosive attempt to undermine votes as his path to 270 evaporates
(CNN) Using the briefing room to espouse baseless claims he is being deprived a second term by fraud, Trump thrust into question the democratic notion of a peaceful transition of power should Biden win. Instead he suggested he would fight in the courts until the election is decided in his favor.
“This is a case where they’re trying to steal an election, they’re trying to rig an election, and we can’t let that happen,” Trump said in a dour monotone, providing no evidence and departing the room without answering for his false claim

3 November
Biden’s Favored In Our Final Presidential Forecast, But It’s A Fine Line Between A Landslide And A Nail-Biter
(FiveThirtyEight) …if it weren’t for 2016, people might look at Joe Biden’s large lead in national polls — the largest of any candidate on the eve of the election since Bill Clinton in 1996 — and conclude that Trump was certain to be a one-term president. If you do think that, please read my story from earlier this week about how Trump can win and why a 10 percent chance needs to be taken seriously.
Nonetheless, Biden’s standing is considerably stronger than Clinton’s at the end of the 2016 race. His lead is larger than Clinton’s in every battleground state, and more than double her lead nationally. Our model forecasts Biden to win the popular vote by 8 percentage points,1 more than twice Clinton’s projected margin at the end of 2016. … there are also some sources of error that weren’t as relevant four years ago. The big surge in early and mail voting — around 100 million people have already voted! — could present challenges to pollsters, for instance. Still, even making what we think are fairly conservative assumptions, our final forecast has Biden with an 89 percent chance of winning the Electoral College, as compared to a 10 percent chance for Trump. (The remaining 1 percent reflects rounding error, plus the chance of an Electoral College tie.)

Why Democrats are donkeys and Republicans are elephants
both political symbols (as well as Santa Claus and Uncle Sam) were popularized, and given their modern forms, by the same maverick cartoonist.
… the elephant and the donkey live on in political pageantry, thanks to Nast’s ingenuity. To date, the elephant remains the official symbol of the Republican Party, and although the Democrats have yet to declare their own, you wouldn’t need to walk more than a couple paces at one of their rallies before spotting a donkey.
It’s a little weird that both of the major American political parties have embraced their mascots so enthusiastically, considering how poorly the two animals come across in Nast’s original cartoons: how stupid, how pliable, how easily confused. Maybe neither party bothered to check before stocking up on pins and tote bags.
Or maybe they knew about Nast’s mockery and decided that the appropriate response was to join in mocking themselves.

American Enterprise Institute: A Republic, If We Can Keep It
The government set up by James Madison and the other Founders requires a virtuous public and virtuous leaders—or the whole system will fail.
Adam J. White, Resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute
(The Atlantic) On December 31, in a letter accompanying his annual report on the work of the federal courts, [Chief Justice John] Roberts called on federal judges—and everyone else—to invest themselves in the preservation of constitutional democracy.
“Each generation,” he wrote, “has an obligation to pass on to the next, not only a fully functioning government responsive to the needs of the people, but the tools to understand and improve it.” For Roberts, this requires civic education—and something more fundamental than that, too.
… Yet civic education alone, though necessary, is not sufficient. For civic education to take root and produce its desired fruit, the people themselves must have certain qualities of self-restraint, goodwill, and moderation.
… “In our age,” Roberts wrote, “when social media can instantly spread rumor and false information on a grand scale,” there is even greater danger that political passions can turn us against one another, or against constitutional government itself. He emphasized judges’ particular role as “a key source of national unity and stability,” but his deeper point was that those values are needed among more than just judges. (4 February 2020)

Trump Closes Campaign With Bold Anti-Democracy, Pro-Political Violence Message
The president apparently believes he can win over moderates by vowing to fire Fauci, subvert democracy, and promote political violence.
(New York) Donald Trump is trailing Joe Biden by 8.5 points nationally — the biggest polling deficit that any incumbent president has ever faced this late in a campaign. One major cause of Trump’s woes is his collapsing standing with self-described “moderate” voters. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won this group by 12 points; some recent polls have Biden winning it by roughly four times that margin.
But the president has a plan for expanding his coalition: He will reassure moderate skeptics by putting greater emphasis on his indifference to public health, contempt for democracy, and support for political violence.
Although there is little polling on the subject, it seems safe to say that most Americans believe it is wrong for politicians to try to win elections by (1) declaring victory before all votes are counted, and then (2) asking partisan judges to throw out the remaining ballots. Nevertheless, Trump told reporters Monday, “I think it’s terrible when we can’t know the results of an election [on] the night of the election, in a modern-day age of computer,” going on to say that his campaign would “go in the night of [the election], as soon as that election is over” and attempt to halt the counting of absentee mail ballots.
Big push under way for Latino turnout in battleground Arizona
Arizona’s 11 electoral votes could be key to Biden’s path to victory, and Democratic strategists hope higher Latino turnout will help shift the state in his favor.
Results in Arizona hinge on Maricopa County, the fourth most-populous county in the nation with 4.5 million residents, including 1.4 million Hispanics. The county voted narrowly for Donald Trump in 2016. But its demographics and politics have shifted the past four years. Democratic nominee Joe Biden was leading Trump 49% to 47% in Arizona in a Reuters Ipsos poll conducted Oct. 27-Nov 1.

31 October
In historic early turnout, more than 90 million ballots cast as of Saturday
The massive early turnout is roughly 65 percent of the 139 million votes cast in 2016, and it essentially guarantees that, for the first time in history, a majority of ballots will be cast before Election Day.

Heather Cox Richardson October 30
The polls at the popular political website FiveThirtyEight favor Democratic candidates Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, but Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are not out of the running. Every poll shows Biden far ahead of Trump in the popular vote, but because of our Electoral College system, the president could still win reelection. Virtually no one is suggesting that Trump could win the popular vote, and his campaign’s plan is simply to get enough Democratic votes thrown out in swing states that he can win those electoral votes and clinch the election. Never before in our history has a candidate openly planned to win an election by gaming the system, but here we are.
Donald Trump’s election mayhem is coming: Journalists must be ready to fight back
We know Trump will try to swamp this election in lies, rumors and lawsuits. Political media must be prepared
(Salon) As it becomes blindingly obvious that Donald Trump is going to fight to throw out any ballot counted after midnight on Nov. 3, it is ever more urgent that journalists be prepared to explain to the public why there’s no practical, legal or moral rationale for his demands.
An important first step in this prebuttal will be to get Republican and Democratic election officials — particularly in swing states — on the record saying that there is nothing risky or dangerous about counting every legally submitted ballot, even if it takes a few days.

29 October
These 3 states will decide the Senate
(Politico) A lot of Democrats are excited about a Senate map that’s expanded deep into Republican territory: Alaska, South Carolina and Kansas. But the battle for Senate control is still mostly where we thought it would be six months ago.
Maine, Iowa and North Carolina are where the tipping points are. If Democrats sweep or take two out of three, Chuck Schumer is almost certain to be majority leader provided Joe Biden defeats President Donald Trump. But if Democrats falter in those battlegrounds, it’s gonna be a good night for Mitch McConnell.
Three races are widely considered out of reach: The Democrats expect to beat GOP senators in Colorado and Arizona, and the Republicans are confident they will beat Doug Jones in Alabama. McConnell currently controls 53 seats, so to get to 50 Schumer would need at least two more races to break his way as well as hold Michigan. And there is ample evidence that could happen. But Maine, Iowa and North Carolina simply aren’t gimmes.

27-28 October
Amy Walter: Biden’s Path to 270 Widens, Trump’s Path Narrows, as Texas Moves to Toss Up
(The Cook Report) Less than a week out from Election Day and President Donald Trump is playing catch-up. In 2016, he won 30 states (and Maine’s 2nd Congressional District) and their 306 electoral votes. Today, just 20 states, worth 125 electoral votes, are safely in his column. Former Vice President Joe Biden is holding 24 states worth 290 electoral votes in his column.
Biden Holds 8-Point Lead in Michigan as He Tries to Reconstruct the ‘Blue Wall’
(NYT) While President Trump counted Michigan as one of his most surprising victories in 2016, he is struggling to maintain support among white voters in the state this year.
Mr. Biden, the Democratic nominee, had the support of 49 percent of likely voters in the poll, and Mr. Trump was at 41 percent, virtually unchanged from a Times/Siena survey of Michigan two weeks ago.
Recent polls have shown Mr. Trump trailing Mr. Biden in Wisconsin by similar or even larger margins. Mr. Trump is also behind in Pennsylvania, though polls have shown that race tightening somewhat recently
Democrats see signs of hidden Biden voters flipping from GOP
(The Hill) Political observers say there is a group of voters that has emerged in this cycle: Republicans who have never supported a Democratic candidate — not for the city council, Congress or president — who suddenly find themselves set to vote for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
Don’t believe the polls — Trump is winning
We predict that President Trump is going to win the 2020 presidential election — and win big.
While the majority of the polls suggest that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is leading, or at best that it’s close, those polls suffer from at least three problems.

23 October
Is Republican Voter Suppression Starting to Backfire?
By Ed Kilgore
A week ago I wrote about the big surge of early voting around the country, which had already reached an amazing 21 million! Now that number is up to an estimated 52.7 million and is continuing to climb.
My colleague Eric Levitz recently speculated that Trump’s devious tactics might backfire if ongoing spikes in COVID-19 cases keep Republicans the president has convinced to vote in person instead of voting by mail to stay home on November 3. So it’s possible the GOP effort to shape an electorate in its own image could backfire twice, by scaring away Republicans and turbocharging angry Democrats.

22 October
AP FACT CHECK: Examining claims from the last Trump-Biden debate
(AP) — The facts took a hit right out of the gate Thursday night.
President Donald Trump’s first line of the night, about COVID-19 deaths, was false and set the tone as he and Democratic rival Joe Biden unleashed a torrent of claims in their last presidential debate.
Trump misrepresented the reality of the pandemic in myriad and familiar ways, insisting against obvious reality that the pandemic is drawing to a close. He also boasted about “clean” facilities at the border for migrant children, ignoring the filthy conditions under which they were held in 2018.
Biden Seizes Trump’s Populist Mantle
The president vowed to remember the forgotten men and women of America—but tonight, he forgot them.
(The Atlantic) “What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people,” President Donald Trump said during his inaugural address. “January 20, 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.”
Biden’s attacks rang true tonight because the hollowness of Trump’s past populist claims is now manifest. The president once claimed that he has “one of the great memories of all time,” but on the debate stage, it failed him—and Biden remembered.

19 October
The hidden factors that could produce a surprise Trump victory
“The instruments we have to gauge this race, the polling, our predictive models … are built around quote-unquote normal elections. And this is anything but a normal election,” said one Democratic operative
Commission approves rules to mute mics at final Trump-Biden debate
Under the rules for Thursday’s 90-minute debate, each candidate will have two minutes of uninterrupted time at the beginning of six 15-minute segments.
Trump campaign demands change to final debate topics
The Trump campaign is demanding that the Commission on Presidential Debates adjust the topics for the final presidential debate so that the meeting focuses on foreign policy.
Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien penned a letter to the commission Monday raising objections with the topics announced by moderator and NBC News correspondent Kristen Welker last week. … Stepien’s letter comes days after Welker announced that the topics of the debate would be fighting the coronavirus pandemic, American families, race in America, climate change, national security, and leadership.

17 October
Women’s March in D.C. draws thousands in protest of Supreme Court nominee, Trump
Wearing costumes and carrying signs, thousands of people gathered for the Women’s March in downtown Washington and cities across the country Saturday to protest the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett and to build momentum to vote President Trump out of the White House.
Nearly four years after an election that galvanized millions of protesters to march in cities nationwide — many of them for the first time — Women’s March leaders hope to bring a final show of force before Nov. 3 with a rally in the nation’s capital and in more than 429 marches across all 50 states. Organizers say more than 116,000 people have pledged to march or participate in other actions Saturday.

13-16 October
Heather Cox Richardson: Letters from an American, October 16
Today, a group called “43 Alumni for Biden” released an ad called “Team 46.” It says that they are all lifelong Republicans, but because they recognize the qualities of leadership—including empathy– everyone “on this team” is voting for Biden. “Let’s put Joe Biden in the White House.” The ad features a number of pictures of President George W. Bush, the forty-third president, and is narrated by someone whose voice sounds like his. Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance notes, “This looks awfully close to an endorsement of Biden from George W. Bush.

Biden Beats Trump in Ratings Battle of the Network Town Halls
(NYT) Mr. Biden’s town-hall meeting, which aired on a single network, was seen by an average of 15.1 million viewers, compared with 13.5 million for Mr. Trump even though the president monopolized three networks — NBC, MSNBC and CNBC — simultaneously.
Biden leads Trump in early ratings numbers from dueling towns halls
NBC News was on the receiving end of internal and external backlash for scheduling the Trump event at the same time as Biden’s town hall on ABC, which was scheduled more than a week before Trump and NBC’s event
Joe Biden drew more than two million viewers than President Trump during the candidates dueling town halls on Thursday night, according to early numbers from Nielsen Media Research.
The Presidential Town Halls Were Mister Rogers Versus Nasty Uncle Trump
Four years later, Trump is older, heavier, and far, far less coherent in the message he’s offering. He’s the incumbent, not the outsider, and he increasingly seems disconnected from the reality of the country he leads, ignoring the huge death toll from the pandemic and the economic pain and dislocation it has caused as he obsesses over a tangle of conspiracy theories that is vast and largely undecipherable even to those who are paying close attention.
Across the country, Democratic enthusiasm is propelling an enormous wave of early voting
With less than three weeks to go before Nov. 3, roughly 15 million Americans have already voted in the fall election, reflecting an extraordinary level of participation despite barriers erected by the coronavirus pandemic — and setting a trajectory that could result in the majority of voters casting ballots before Election Day for the first time in U.S. history.
In Georgia this week, voters waited as long as 11 hours to cast their ballots on the first day of early voting. In North Carolina, nearly 1 in 5 of roughly 500,000 who have returned mail ballots so far did not vote in the last presidential election. In Michigan, more than 1 million people — roughly one-fourth of total turnout in 2016 — have already voted.
The picture is so stark that election officials around the country are reporting record early turnout, much of it in person, meaning that more results could be available on election night than previously thought.
The Memo: Biden landslide creeps into view
By Niall Stanage
A landslide victory for Joe Biden is now a realistic possibility.
(The Hill) The Democratic presidential nominee has a lead of around 10 percentage points over President Trump in national polling averages, and he is up across almost all the battleground states.
Trump faces low job approval ratings, bad marks for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and an ever-decreasing number of opportunities to change the direction of the race.
No challenger to an incumbent president since Bill Clinton almost 30 years ago has been in such a strong position as Biden with such a short period of time until Election Day.
Still, even Democrats are reluctant to talk out loud about a Biden landslide for fear of jinxing a monumental election or encouraging complacency. Many pundits are also hedging their bets, mindful of the 2016 experience.
The national polls four years ago were — contrary to public perception — not far off the eventual result. But state-level polls, especially in the Rust Belt and the Midwest, went seriously awry.
Biden Takes Double-Digit Polling Lead As Clock Ticks for Trump
(New York) Joe Biden’s national lead has moved into double digits in the two most prominent polling averages. It’s at 10 percent at Real Clear Politics (his biggest lead since June, and near his 2020 high of 10.2 percent) and at 10.6 percent at FiveThirtyEight (a 2020 high).
There’s marginally better news for Trump in state polling, but in the RCP averages he trails by 7 percent in Michigan and Pennsylvania, and by 6.3 percent in Wisconsin. Biden has narrower leads in Nevada (5.2 percent), Florida (3.7 percent), Arizona and North Carolina (both 2.7 percent), Iowa (1.2 percent), and Ohio (0.6 percent). Trump leads Biden by just an eyelash in Georgia (0.4 percent).
It’s sometimes easy to forget how skewed this battleground map has become. Of the ten states above, Trump won nine (all but Nevada) in 2016. If you take them all off the table this year and follow the 2016 results otherwise, Biden leads Trump in the Electoral College by 226-191.
Nate Cohn: A bounty of surveys, and a steady lead for Biden.
More clarity in North Carolina.
(NYT) We got a lot of polls today, from more than a dozen states, including from most of the top battlegrounds. You might think such a bounty of polls would yield new insights about the state of the race, or help answer questions we have three weeks from the election.
For the most part, you would be wrong.

12 October
How Biden could end 2020 on election night — and why Trump’s path is unlikely
Biden leads in polls of several fast-counting states Trump won in 2016, but the states that put Trump over the top last time face delays
(Politico) President Donald Trump has demanded to know the results of the 2020 election on election night, even though some states warn that it will take days to count their votes. But if there is a winner declared on Nov. 3, it will almost certainly be bad news for the president.
While vote counting could be delayed in many states due to a glut of mail ballots, Biden is challenging Trump in several fast-counting, Republican-leaning swing states the president carried four years ago. Election administrators in those states, especially Florida and North Carolina, are confident they should have most of the vote counted on election night.

8 October
Both parties prepare for possibility of contested election as chaotic White House race hurtles to a close
(WaPo) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has recently spoken in multiple meetings about preparing for a situation in which neither candidate attains the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency, according to multiple Democrats familiar with her remarks — a historic development that would throw the outcome to the new Congress in January.
She has also directed some of her members to be ready if GOP legislatures in states with narrow margins or unfinished counts seek to appoint their own electors, a situation Democrats hope to head off with an obscure law from the 19th century that allows Congress to intervene.

Trump pulls out of next debate after organizers say it will be held virtually because of coronavirus concerns
(WaPo) “I’m not gonna waste my time in a virtual debate. That’s not what debating is all about — you sit behind the computer and do a debate, ridiculous. And then they cut you off whenever they want,” Trump said.
Since leaving Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday evening, Trump, 74, has insisted that his condition has improved, and said Thursday that he does not think he is contagious.
But health officials have suggested that the president could be contagious through the debate period, which had raised questions about the safety not only of Biden, 77, but also the moderator and questioners should the event be held in person.

Here’s how Pence and Harris (and the fly) scored in the debate
(WaPo) It’s Round 72 and the Post Pundit 2020 Power Ranking has so many questions about the vice-presidential debate! What was the deal with Vice President Pence’s eye? Are we all on a first-name basis with the Democratic senator from California Kamala D. Harris? When was that fly’s last negative test?
So in the spirit of Wednesday night’s faceoff, we will be answering none of them directly.
Instead — and, thank you, Susan — we’d like to talk about how Pence and Harris performed. Read on for their scores.

7 October
Harris and Pence Represent Two Different Americas
(New York) Ticket-balancing is not a new practice. But the polarization of America’s parties, combined with the peculiar and antithetical balancing needs of Biden and Trump, have brought us the most ideologically and culturally disparate pair of major-party vice-presidential nominees in U.S. history.

Cellphones in hand, ‘Army for Trump’ readies poll watching operation
(Reuters) – Republicans are mobilizing thousands of volunteers to watch early voting sites and ballot drop boxes leading up to November’s election, part of an effort to find evidence to back up President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated complaints about widespread voter fraud.

3 October
Poll Finds Voters in Two Crucial States Repelled by Trump’s Debate Behavior
Biden is ahead by seven points in Pennsylvania and five points in Florida, according to the Times/Siena survey.

30 September
Commission on Presidential Debates says it will make changes to format to ‘ensure a more orderly discussion’

The First Presidential Debate Was an Alarm Call for American Democracy
As the reverberations from Tuesday night’s shambolic Presidential debate echoed around Washington on Wednesday, Senator Tim Scott, of South Carolina, the sole Black Republican in the upper house of Congress, called on President Donald Trump to correct his call for the Proud Boys—a far-right group that glorifies violence—to “stand back and stand by.” Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill, Scott suggested that Trump had spoken in error. “White supremacy should be denounced at every turn,” Scott said. “I think the President misspoke, and he needs to correct it.”

29 September
Key Moments From the First Trump-Biden Debate

28 September
QAnon Goes to Washington Twenty-four followers of the grotesque conspiracy theory are running for Congress in November. Where does this end?
By Simon van Zuylen-Wood
(New York) You’d like to think it’s a fluke that a well-off mother of three with no political experience discovered a weird-ass message board, got engrossed in a lurid conspiracy theory, beat out eight rivals for a congressional seat, and became a far-right folk hero. But 81 so-called QAnon candidates ran for the Senate or the House this year, according to a master list maintained by Alex Kaplan of the liberal site Media Matters.

23 September

The Election That Could Break America
If the vote is close, Donald Trump could easily throw the election into chaos and subvert the result. Who will stop him?
by Barton Gellman
(The Atlantic Nov 2020 issue preview) The worst case is that he uses his power to prevent a decisive outcome against him. If Trump sheds all restraint, and if his Republican allies play the parts he assigns them, he could obstruct the emergence of a legally unambiguous victory for Biden in the Electoral College and then in Congress. He could prevent the formation of consensus about whether there is any outcome at all. He could seize on that un­certainty to hold on to power.

Trump falls into the trap he set for Biden
Some on Trump’s team are bracing for a humiliating loss at next week’s debate — after Trump lowered expectations for Biden by mocking his acumen for months.
The Trump campaign spent the bulk of this summer questioning whether “Sleepy Joe” is fit for office and accusing the Biden campaign of trying to circumvent the traditional debates to avoid a potentially embarrassing situation for their candidate.

18 September
Ginsburg’s death jolts chaotic presidential race as both sides prepare for Supreme Court battle
An already chaotic and corrosive presidential campaign was jolted anew Friday night by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, as a sudden vacancy on the Supreme Court just 46 days before the election immediately galvanized both political parties.
The impending fight for the Supreme Court thrusts issues of civil rights, abortion rights and health care to the forefront of a campaign that had been centered on the coronavirus pandemic, the economy and race relations, and it could boost voter enthusiasm and turnout numbers.
Democratic and Republican leaders assembled for all-out political war.
Previewing the path ahead, Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala D. Harris said in a statement Friday: “Tonight we mourn, we honor, and we pray for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her family. Tomorrow we fight for her legacy.”

Voter suppression, then and now
In Wisconsin in April, in the early days of the pandemic, some voters waited in line for hours in the cold to cast a ballot in the primary. In Georgia in June, thousands of people never got their absentee ballots and had to wait in line for hours to vote. In Texas in July, voters learned the day before the election that a number of polling sites would be closed. There, too, many ended up waiting in hours-long lines.
As the general election approaches, in the midst of a pandemic, President Donald Trump has also been stepping up his attacks on mail-in voting, and there are mounting concerns over a politically-motivated slowdown of mail delivery at the United States Postal Service.

11 September
Family compact: Joe Kennedy lost, but that doesn’t spell the end for political dynasties
Andrew Cohen
The House of Kennedy has lasted five generations for a reason. However flawed, its patriarchs and their progeny have found a way to address the zeitgeist, with liberal voices of varying tone, pitch and range, in different stations, in successive generations. They are not done yet.
If we think that Mr. Kennedy presents a “garish, undisguised display of political entitlement,” as columnist Matt Bai sniffs, consider the swaggering Trumps who have never run for anything. Yet there were the seven of them, children and spouses, speaking to the Republican National Convention. It was a family portrait of presumption.
If you believe that Mr. Kennedy was undone by his pedigree, he is a cautionary tale for the Trumps. Name may not be enough for them, even in today’s vulgar celebrity culture.

4 September
What happens if we don’t know who our president is on Election Day?
(CNN) We should be prepared for the likelihood that we won’t know who our next president is on Election Day.
Ballots will continue to pour in for days afterwards, close results in key states will likely trigger recounts, and there will almost certainly be disputes and litigation.
President Trump and his supporters may well allege that mail-in ballots are tainted by fraud. There will no doubt be disagreements about whether some ballots were improperly disqualified and about whether ballots that arrive after Election Day are valid.
Particularly in swing states, challenges and litigation over a host of potential legal issues could drag on. That is not likely to be the end — even when the votes are tallied.
But the election calendar doesn’t permit unending bickering. In fact, it is a strict referee with a sharp whistle. Keep an eye on December 8. This is the date set by a federal statute (3 U.S.C. 5) as the deadline for final resolution of all election disputes, including court challenges. If there isn’t finality by then, Congress doesn’t have to presume that the electoral votes submitted by that state are valid. It’s referred to as the “safe harbor” deadline.
Just six days after the safe harbor date, on December 14, the members of the Electoral College meet in their respective states. But there could be disputes about who those electors are. Imagine if in Michigan, for example, Trump is ahead in ballots received by Election Day, but that counting ballots that arrive after Election Day would give Biden the win. The Michigan Secretary of State, a Democrat, might certify a Biden win, naming a Biden slate of electors. The Republican legislature might purport to overrule that certification and name a Trump slate of electors, even though, under state law, it has no authority to do this.

2 September
Trump Urges Supporters to Commit Voter Fraud and Vote Twice, Once by Mail and Once in Person
(The Daily Beast) President Donald Trump suggested Tuesday that those inclined to vote for him should do so twice, once by mail and once in person. During an appearance in North Carolina, the commander-in-chief said, “Let them send it in and let them go vote. If the system is as good as they say it is, then obviously they won’t be able to vote. If it isn’t tabulated, they’ll be able to vote, and that’s the way it is. That’s what they should do.” Voting as the president suggested would constitute voter fraud. Trump has used claims of concern over election integrity to impugn his opponents before, calling the 2016 election “rigged” despite his own win and alleging that mail voting in the 2020 election would be subject to widespread fraud without evidence.

26 August
The US intelligence community has found no evidence of foreign nations interfering with mail-in ballots, throwing a wrench into Trump’s conspiracy theories
(Business Insider) The US intelligence community has found no evidence that foreign nations are trying to interfere in the November election by manipulating mail-in voting, senior government officials said Wednesday.
“We have no information or intelligence that any nation or state actor is engaging in any kind of activity to undermine any part of the mail-in vote or ballots,” a senior federal official told reporters at a Wednesday briefing, according to The Washington Post.
Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen made a similar statement: “We have yet to see any activity intended to prevent voting or to change votes, and we continue to think that it would be extraordinarily difficult for foreign adversaries to change vote tallies.”
All The Republicans Who Have Endorsed Joe Biden For President
(Forbes) Though Trump has largely seized control of the Republican party and the loyalty of GOP officials, a number of prominent former GOP officials, and even some of his ex-staffers, have come out in favor of former Vice President Joe Biden.

19 August
The Democratic Convention Is a Reality Check for Trump
On a day when Trump delivered an incendiary speech in Yuma, Arizona, touting his border wall and even reprising the language from his 2015 campaign announcement about immigrants as “murderers” and “rapists,” Democrats offered the 21st-century version of a Norman Rockwell painting.
(The Atlantic) Democrats turned over their convention keynote speech last night to a split-screen array of 17 diverse young leaders one day after news leaked that Republicans had invited to speak at their convention the white suburban couple who brandished guns at a multiracial group of Black Lives Matter protesters outside their St. Louis home in June. Even with all else that has happened during Donald Trump’s tumultuous presidency, there may not be much else you need to know about the lines dividing America in the 2020 presidential election.
…the latest surveys show Trump maintaining strong support among the white voters most uneasy about the demographic and cultural changes remaking America, particularly those who are evangelical Christians, live in rural areas, or lack a college degree. And despite a Democratic nominee who stirs only modest enthusiasm among many key party constituencies, those same polls show Joe Biden amassing big advantages among the groups most comfortable with those changes: young people, racial minorities, secular Americans, and college-educated white Americans.
This division of the electorate leaves Biden holding a steady and substantial lead in national polling over Trump that matches or slightly exceeds the Democrats’ 8-percentage-point edge in the total national vote for the House of Representatives in 2018. But the uneven distribution of these contrasting constituencies across the battleground states means that Democrats will likely remain nervous through Election Day about their ability to win the Electoral College, even if Biden maintains a healthy lead in the popular vote.

17-18 August
Postal Service backs down on changes as at least 20 states sue over potential mail delays ahead of election
(CNN) Embattled Postmaster General Louis DeJoy reversed course Tuesday, saying that all changes being made to the Postal Service would be suspended until after the November 3 election, just as 20 Democratic states announced plans to file federal lawsuits.
I Was a Postal Service Regulator for 18 Years. Don’t Panic.
The service is perfectly capable of handling election mail.
a recent letter sent by Thomas J. Marshall, the general counsel for the Postal Service, to election officials around the country seems to suggest that election mail will now be treated like regular nonprofit mail (typically three to 10 days for delivery) and may take as long as 15 days. This is not acceptable.
The Postal Service has the capacity to ensure that ballots sent to voters arrive on time and that ballots dropped into the system by voters are postmarked and delivered in times that accord with state and local guidelines. In their meeting with Congress next week, the leaders of the Postal Service should guarantee that election mail will continue to be treated as first-class mail. The Congress should agree that there will be no additional financial support for the Postal Service without this promise.
Vote-by-mail fight opens new front for Democrats against Trump
(Bloomberg BNN) A pitched battle over the U.S. Postal Service and its ability to reliably deliver presidential election ballots during a pandemic has broken out on the eve of the parties’ high-profile conventions.
Democrats accuse President Donald Trump of sabotaging the agency to cripple vote-by-mail efforts, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi suspended the House’s summer recess to take up related legislation. Meanwhile, Trump has claimed — without evidence — that widespread remote voting routinely leads to massive fraud, putting Republicans in a tough spot, given the popularity of the Postal Service.
17 August
Cook Political Report: 2020 Senate Race Ratings
Of 23 Republican-held seats, six are rated as toss-up.
CO-Gardner
GA-Perdue
IA-Ernst
ME-Collins
MT-Daines
NC-Tillis

13 August
Trump Admits He’s Starving the Postal Service to Sabotage Voting by Mail
(New York) If you have any doubt that Donald Trump is at least playing with the idea of tampering with the November 3 election by disenfranchising many voters using mail ballots, or perhaps by slowing down the count so he can claim an early victory based on early returns, check this out (via the Washington Post):

Trump said Thursday he does not want to fund the U.S. Postal Service because Democrats are seeking to expand mail-in voting during the coronavirus pandemic, making explicit the reason he has declined to approve $25 billion in emergency funding for the cash-strapped agency.

12 August
Biden and Harris Appear Together as Trump and Allies Launch Attacks
Joe Biden introduced Kamala Harris as his running mate in Wilmington, Del., and the pair hammered President Trump on his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Ms. Harris earned praise from Wall Street and Silicon Valley, and from environmental activists.

Inside Kanye West’s “Almost Daily” Chats With Jared Kushner And Whether The White House Exploits His Mental State
(Forbes) As Kanye West’s bizarre presidential campaign has moved from Twitter sideshow to potential spoiler—the billionaire rapper this week released a website and campaign platform as he moves to get on the ballot in pivotal states—those around him increasingly worry about his mental health issues. And specifically whether one consigliere is trying to exploit them. According to multiple sources, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner has been speaking with West regularly since his July 4th tweet declaring that he was running for president.
While Republican operatives rush to try get him on ballots across the country, the New York Times reported earlier today that Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump met with West last weekend in Telluride, Colorado. The connection goes much further. West has been telling associates that he and Kushner speak “almost daily.” Forbes spoke with four people who have direct access to either West or Kushner, including two with direct knowledge of their conversations.

7 August
Trump Has Launched a Three-Pronged Attack on the Election
And it starts with undermining the U.S. Postal Service.
(The Atlantic) As President Donald Trump reflects on his sinking approval ratings and grows more desperate by the day, he’s been floating a dictator’s dream: postponing the November election. Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Trump loyalists, including the Federalist Society co-founder Steven Calabresi, swiftly rejected this authoritarian fantasy. So Trump has retreated to a fallback position: casting doubt on the legitimacy of any election he doesn’t win. That starts by inventing fables about how voting by mail invites massive fraud and interminable delay—except, Trump now tells us, in Florida, where Trump’s elderly supporters will surely rely on it.
Trump’s attack on voting by mail has several fronts, but one is by far the most serious: his attempt to slow down mail service, perhaps in a targeted way, while also insisting that only ballots counted on November 3 are valid.

Trump’s Frantic Summer — Salesmanship or Mania?
By Frank Rich
(New York) So, in the three-month countdown to Election Day, it’s come to this: Trying and failing to foist misleading White House–prepared bar charts about America’s coronavirus response on Jonathan Swan. Announcing that the nation’s children are “almost immune” to COVID on Fox & Friends. Telling another Fox News personality, Geraldo Rivera, that a vaccine will arrive by November 3. Hailing Arizona as a “model” for COVID response even as infections and deaths spiral. Promising to sign a nonexistent health-care bill to replace Obamacare. Declaring that Joe Biden is “against the Bible” and “against God.” Undermining his own party in its negotiations with congressional Democrats, then vowing to come to the rescue with executive orders of questionable legality and minimal practical value in aiding the millions of suffering Americans who are losing their jobs, their homes, and their lives.
Trump has been more forceful in trying to eradicate TikTok than a disease that has so far taken 160,000 lives on his watch.

3 August
The vital role of the U.S. Postal Service in American elections
(PBS Newshour) There are new reports suggesting the U.S. Postal Service is experiencing significant delays and warning signs that could impact November’s election.
Last month, the new postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, who was a major donor to President Trump and appointed in May, issued new guidance that effectively slowed down the Postal Service.
With the election nearing and many parts of the U.S. in the grips of COVID-19, mail-in ballots have become a prominent issue. But President Trump has disparaged both the U.S. Postal Service and the integrity of voting by mail. What effect could his criticism have? William Brangham talks to Mark Dimondstein of the American Postal Workers Union and then Spencer Cox, lieutenant governor of Utah.
Trump Says He Has the ‘Right’ to Block Expansion of Mail-in Voting
(New York) It’s been a big week for the questions “Can Trump do that?” and “Will he actually follow through?” First Trump threatened to delay the election in a tweet. It was one of his most brazen authoritarian attempts – and thankfully, one of his least realistic, as only Congress can call for such a suspension.
… As New York’s Ed Kilgore has noted, the president is engaging in a two-pronged strategy to demonize voting by mail: First, by encouraging Republican voters to brave the pandemic and vote in-person while drumming up fears about fraudulent mail-in ballots, and second, by slowing the ability of the USPS to deliver mail in a timely manner. The ultimate goal of this strategy may be an attempt to declare victory on Election Night based on early exit polls leaning in the president’s favor, then declare the slow crawl of mail-in ballots afterward as “fraudulent in many cases” — despite mail-ballot fraud being even less common than the already negligible concern of ballot fraud in person. His intentions have certainly been clear — in April, Trump claimed that mail-in voting “doesn’t work out well for Republicans” — even if his factual understanding is not. This spring, the largest study to date on the partisan leanings of mail-in voters determined that the practice does not disproportionately benefit either party.

Nevada lawmakers pass bill allowing automatic mail ballots, Trump slams move
(AP/PBS) — Nevada state lawmakers passed a bill Sunday that would add the state to a growing list of U.S. states that will mail active voters ballots ahead of the November election amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The bill now heads to Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat. If he signs it as expected, Nevada will join seven states that plan on automatically sending voters mail ballots, including California and Vermont, which moved earlier this summer to adopt automatic mail ballot policies.
In states such as Colorado and Oregon, which have mailed all voters ballots for years, the procedure is cheaper than holding an in-person election.

1 August
Will Trump defy the voters? Let him try.
(WaPo) The vote in November will be “INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT,” Trump tweeted in his latest salvo on the subject, intensifying fears that he will become the first American president to refuse an orderly transfer of power.
You know what? We should hope he does.
Because that kind of constitutional crisis might be exactly what the country needs to put this nightmare behind us.
It’s no longer really a question of whether Trump will try to defy the will of the electorate, should he lose, but rather how. For months now, he’s been assailing the credibility of mail-in voting and refusing to say whether he’d honor the election results.

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