Trump to Travel to 3 States as Biden Focuses on Pennsylvania

Trump to Travel to 3 States as Biden Focuses on Pennsylvania

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President Trump told the crowd in Waukesha, Wis., that the economy “will be greater than ever before.”
Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

For his third rally on Saturday, President Trump arrived in Waukesha, Wis., saying he felt better after he was hospitalized for Covid-19 than he did before. His only acknowledgment of the spiking rates of the virus in Wisconsin, where there were 4,660 new cases and 28 deaths on Saturday, was to claim that the United States included in its death counts people suffering from other ailments, like heart conditions.

“If we did half the testing, we would have half the cases,” he told the crowd. “If they cut that in half, we would have another half cut.”

Later, Mr. Trump said “we are rounding the turn,” and called it “terrible” that former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. warned of a dark winter during Thursday’s debate. In Wisconsin, over the past week, there have been an average of 4,212 cases per day, an increase of 66 percent from the average two weeks earlier. The country as a whole set a record for new coronavirus infections on Friday.

“We have to get out,” Mr. Trump told a cheering crowd of supporters. “Our economy will be greater than ever before.”

Mr. Trump said that he “got a lot of credit” for his toned-down performance at the last debate. But he admitted he preferred his combative, interrupting performance during the first debate, which his internal campaign polls showed had cost him support.

“You know who liked my performance the first time better? The Hispanics,” he added.

Mr. Trump continued to play down the positive cases reported in the United States, arguing that someone can be “close to death” of another ailment, like a heart condition, “and they get Covid, they put it down to Covid.”




Trump’s Behavior Worse Than ‘Florida Man,’ Obama Says in Miami

Former President Barack Obama criticized President Trump’s conduct and history of promoting conspiracy theories and misinformation at a rally in Miami.

“With Joe and Kamala at the helm, you won’t have to think about them every single day. There might be a whole day where they don’t be on TV.” “You’ll be able to go about your lives knowing that the president’s not going to suggest injecting bleach. Or retweet conspiracy theories about secret cabals running the world. Or claiming that — or retweeting that the claim that Navy SEALs didn’t actually kill bin Laden. We’re not going to have a president that goes out of his way to insult anybody who he doesn’t think is nice enough to him. We won’t have a president who threatens people with jail for just criticizing him. That’s not normal behavior, Florida. You wouldn’t tolerate it from a co-worker, you wouldn’t tolerate it from a high school principal, you wouldn’t tolerate it from a coach, you wouldn’t tolerate it from a family member. ‘Florida Man’ wouldn’t even do this stuff. Why are we accepting it from the president of the United States? It’s not — It’s not normal behavior. And you shake your head and you think ‘Well, you know what, that’s just him,’ but there are consequences to this. There are consequences when a president behaves that way. It emboldens others to be mean and and cruel and divisive and racist. When you have a president who cannot — cannot call out or even criticize white supremacists, that’s a problem!”

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Former President Barack Obama criticized President Trump’s conduct and history of promoting conspiracy theories and misinformation at a rally in Miami.CreditCredit…Todd Heisler/The New York Times

For years, President Trump trolled Barack Obama. On Saturday, the former president returned the favor — with an ear-to-ear smile and, at times, raw-nerve rage.

Mr. Obama, popping up in Florida just as Mr. Trump arrived in West Palm Beach to cast his vote, slammed his successor for his response to the coronavirus pandemic, “fumbling” the economy, opening a hidden bank account in China, threatening to sell Puerto Rico, musing about killing the virus with bleach and once floating the idea of blasting hurricanes with nuclear weapons.

“Florida Man wouldn’t even do this stuff! Why do we accept it from the president of the United States?” Mr. Obama asked during a drive-in rally in Miami to support Joseph R. Biden — hours after Mr. Trump voted for himself.

(“Florida Man” is a social media meme and hashtag used on bizarre news stories about residents in the Sunshine State.)

Mr. Obama’s appearance was timed to help motivate Democratic voters and campaign volunteers to turn out during the battleground state’s early voting period. Earlier in the day, Mr. Obama, who narrowly won the state twice, made a quick stop in Miami Springs to plead with local Democrats to deliver a victory so he could “go to sleep” on Nov. 3 knowing Mr. Biden had been elected.

In addition to the get-out-the-vote goal, the Florida event was also meant to rattle a president obsessed with his more popular predecessor, two Democrats with knowledge of the planning said.

It seemed to have hit the mark, and quickly.

“Nobody is showing up for Obama’s hate-laced speeches. 47 people!” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter moments after Mr. Obama finished. “No energy, but still better than Joe!”

There were, in fact, dozens of cars at the event, and the Biden campaign said hundreds of potential attendees were turned away to comply with social-distancing requirements.

The low-energy claim was also false. Mr. Obama’s speech on Saturday was among his most visceral and high-decibel attacks on Mr. Trump since re-engaging in partisan politics over the summer — and seemed to provide him with an outlet for pent-up disdain over Mr. Trump’s actions over the last four years.

“He wants full credit for the economy he inherited and zero blame for the pandemic,” Mr. Obama said, shouting over the sound of honking horns.

“Like everything he inherited, he fumbled it,” he said of the pandemic-stricken economy, comparing Mr. Trump to Herbert Hoover, the Republican president who was in office during the start of the Great Depression.

In a pitch to Puerto Rican voters who live in Florida, Mr. Obama also criticized the president for his response to the island, which has been struck by hurricanes and an earthquake in the past few years.

“When a hurricane devastates Puerto Rico, a president is supposed to help them rebuild, not toss paper towels,” he said, referring to an incident during Mr. Trump’s 2017 trip to Guaynabo, on the northeastern part of the island, following Hurricane Maria.

“He once asked our national security officials if he could nuke hurricanes,” the former president added, referring to a 2019 report in Axios. “At least he didn’t do that.”

President Trump said in Circleville, Ohio, that electing Mr. Biden would lead to a depression.
Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

President Trump arrived in Circleville, Ohio, Saturday evening and reminisced about his victory in the bellwether state four years ago.

“We not only won Ohio, we won it by more than eight points,” he said.

Mr. Trump’s happy memories of his 2016 victory raised the question of what has happened since, and why was his campaign bringing him here in the final days of October?

The answer is mostly an erosion of his support in suburbs like this one outside Columbus. While exit polls four years ago showed Mr. Trump winning the suburbs in Ohio by 20 points, a Fox poll earlier this month put him 10 points behind Mr. Biden.

At the rally on Saturday night, Mr. Trump floated a baseless conspiracy theory that former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. spied on his 2016 campaign. “Lock them up!” the crowd responded. Mr. Trump did nothing to stop the chant. Instead, he joked, “It’s much better if I say, ‘No, no, no, please.’”

He played down the threat of the coronavirus, pointing to his own family’s experience as an example of why a virus that has killed more than 220,000 Americans is not so bad. “It worked out,” he said of his own hospitalization. “By the way, 99.9 percent is good and then you’re immune.”

Mr. Trump also launched into a series of claims that Mr. Biden’s son, Hunter, was corrupt. He brought up a laptop that purportedly belonged to Hunter Biden, which the New York Post reported was seized by the F.B.I. Documents that had been allegedly discovered on the computer were used by the newspaper in an attempt to bolster unsubstantiated claims that the former vice president had helped shape foreign policy in Ukraine to enrich his son.

“This is a laptop that they don’t want to see,” Mr. Trump said at the rally. Looking up at the sky, he smiled and added: “How the hell this laptop got freed up, it’s amazing the way God works.”

Mr. Trump also claimed that electing Mr. Biden would lead to a depression. “It’s a choice between a boom and a lockdown,” he said.

“While I oppose the process that has led us to this point,” Senator Lisa Murkowski, center, said of the Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett, “I do not hold it against her as an individual who has navigated the gauntlet with grace, skill and humility.”
Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

Senator Lisa Murkowski, the Alaska Republican who has vocally opposed filling the vacant seat on the Supreme Court until the next president is chosen, said on Saturday that she would nonetheless vote to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett next week.

“While I oppose the process that has led us to this point,” Ms. Murkowski said in a speech on the Senate floor, “I do not hold it against her as an individual who has navigated the gauntlet with grace, skill and humility.”

After meeting with Judge Barrett, Ms. Murkowski said she came away impressed and was unwilling to punish a qualified nominee because her party insisted on moving ahead with a vote just days before “a pitched presidential election.”

Ms. Murkowski’s unexpected turnabout gave a boost to Senate Republicans. They already had the votes they needed to confirm Judge Barrett, President Trump’s third Supreme Court nominee, but her support means that only one Republican will defect when the roll is called on Monday: Senator Susan Collins of Maine.

Ms. Murkowski, who is up for re-election in Alaska in 2022, has frequently broken with Republicans on significant votes in the last four years. Like Ms. Collins, she voted against repealing the Affordable Care Act and is a proponent of abortion rights. She was the only member of her party in 2018 to oppose the confirmation of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, earning her ire from the right in a Republican state.

With her latest decision, Ms. Murkowski now risks stirring up backlash from the left, which believes Judge Barrett’s confirmation and a 6-to-3 majority on the court threatens those very issues: abortion rights under Roe v. Wade and the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. Ms. Murkowski made only glancing comments on both policies during her floor speech, but they suggested she had been reassured that the two were not in immediate danger.

After Ms. Collins supported Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation in 2018, she became the top target of liberals across the country, who poured millions of dollars into her Democratic opponents’ coffers. She is now considered an underdog to keep her seat.

Despite her support for Judge Barrett, Ms. Murkowski had few kind words to say about the Senate. She said the body’s time would be better spent passing a coronavirus relief bill than confirming a justice at this late date.

“I also recognize that the timing of this confirmation that we have before us will serve to reinforce the public perception about political influence on the court,” she said.

Ms. Murkowski said she would still join Democrats in trying to filibuster the nomination on Sunday.

“But frankly,” she added, “I lost that procedural fight.”

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. speaking at a rally in Bristol Township, Pa., on Saturday.
Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

On the penultimate weekend of the campaign, Joseph R. Biden Jr. spent much of Saturday in the critical battleground state of Pennsylvania, holding two drive-in rallies as he tries to flip a state that President Trump narrowly won four years ago.

Mr. Biden first traveled to the Philadelphia suburbs, where he may be able to improve upon Hillary Clinton’s performance in 2016, propelled by college-educated voters turned off by Mr. Trump. Then he flew to Luzerne County in northeastern Pennsylvania, a county that Mr. Trump won by double digits even after Barack Obama had won it twice.

“It may come down to Pennsylvania,” Mr. Biden said at his first event, held at a community college in Bucks County, which Mrs. Clinton won by less than a percentage point in 2016. “And I believe in you. I believe in my state.”

Speaking from a stage decorated with pumpkins and hay bales, Mr. Biden laid into Mr. Trump about a number of subjects, including his handling of the coronavirus, noting that more new cases were reported across the country on Friday than on any other day since the pandemic began. Mr. Biden also tried to fend off attacks from Mr. Trump over his position on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

“I’m not banning fracking in Pennsylvania or anywhere else,” he said. “And I’m going to protect Pennsylvania jobs, period.”

Mr. Biden was joined at the rally by his wife, Jill Biden, who grew up in the Philadelphia area. His remarks to the crowd gathered in Bristol Township were punctuated by the beeping of car horns, which have become a familiar soundtrack at his drive-in events in the weeks before Election Day.

“I wish I could go car to car and meet you all,” he said. “I don’t like the idea of all this distance, but it’s necessary. I appreciate you being safe. What we don’t want to do is become superspreaders.”

Afterward, the Bidens flew to Luzerne County, where they appeared at a drive-in rally that also included a performance by the singer Jon Bon Jovi.

Luzerne County swung decisively toward Mr. Trump four years ago and is near Mr. Biden’s hometown, Scranton. Mr. Biden often references his Scranton roots on the campaign trail, and he did so again on Saturday, declaring, “It’s good to be almost home.”

Speaking at a high school in Dallas Township, Mr. Biden once again reiterated that he would not ban fracking. And after saying at the debate on Thursday that he would “transition from the oil industry,” a comment that Republicans quickly tried to capitalize on, he emphasized his desire to end subsidies for the fossil fuel industry.

Mr. Biden said that “unlike Donald Trump,” he did not believe that “big oil companies need a handout” from the government. And in a local television interview, he said: “The natural gas industry and oil is not going to be fundamentally changed. They’re already in transition.”




Why Voting in This U.S. Election Will Not Be Equal

The first episode of our four-part series, Stressed Election, focuses on voter suppression in Georgia, where a growing Black and Latino population is on the precipice of exercising its political voice, if they get the chance to vote.

“Seven hours, 45 minutes, and 13 seconds it took for me to vote in Fulton County, Ga. As soon as I saw the line, I hit the stopwatch on my phone. I spent the first couple hours listening to a new Run the Jewels album. And then I ended up listening to the entire discography. And then I started watching season eight of ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm.’ And that’s five hours. It was one o’clock in the morning, and somebody was like, ‘Hey, y’all remember we came to vote yesterday, right?’” “Look at it.” When it comes time to vote in November, would you rather stand in a line like this … “Somebody please help us. We are at our polling place in Atlanta, Fickett Elementary School. The systems are down.” … or like this? “Oh look, there’s no line. There’s no line at all out here in suburban white country.” Seven years ago, a controversial Supreme Court ruling struck down a key part of the Voting Rights Act. “If you hear me, the voting machines were not working.” And after that, many states passed laws that ended up making it harder for people of color to vote. “We have all these barriers that aren’t in place for other people. It’s 2020. Why is it this difficult for someone to go to and vote?” To understand why, we go to Georgia. “I think Georgia has become a kind of hotbed for voting rights questions.” “How voting takes place has become one of the most explosive issues in Georgia. Georgia is the largest state by landmass east of the Mississippi River. It’s dominated by the reality of Atlanta. It’s multicultural. It’s growing. It’s dynamic, this sort of throbbing megalopolis where you’re seeing Democrats in large numbers. And then beyond these urban centers, you have a much more traditional, rural Georgia, where you have seen a massive shift of white voting behavior from conservative Democrat to full-on Republican.” Georgia has historically been a pretty conservative state, but as it becomes more culturally and racially diverse … “In this presidential election, there is some thought that Democrats have a shot here.” … but one fact still remains. “Republicans control the State House. Republicans control the Legislature, and they are free, frankly, to implement the voting laws they see fit.” As Republicans fight to remain in control of the state, some say it’s no longer a fight over who people vote for, but who is allowed to vote. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, an independent federal agency, says these are the five most common voter suppression tactics. They happen across the country, but the only state that has ticked every box is Georgia. “The term voter suppression —” “Voter suppression.” “Voter suppression.” “Voter suppression.” ”— embedded in that word is the very question of what the motivation is for these kinds of laws and procedures.” “The Republican argument, that they say, is that they are worried about voter security. They are worried about voter fraud.” “Voter fraud is all too common.” “We don’t have evidence of that.” “And then they criticize us for saying that.” “Federal law actually requires us to make sure that we keep our voter rolls updated, clean, fresh and accurate.” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is Georgia’s lead elections official. It’s his job to maintain the state’s voter lists. “Many people don’t realize that, nationwide, about 11 percent of all people move every year. And that’s why you want to update your voter rolls. We just send notices out to people that haven’t voted for a long period of time.” “There’s an argument to be made that purging voter rolls serves a legitimate purpose. And that is to make sure that people are alive. The counter-argument, of course, is that these voter rolls in some states are being aggressively purged by Republicans in an effort to keep them from coming to the polls.” In 2017, 560,000 voters were purged from Georgia’s voter rolls. A report later found that Black voters were purged at a higher rate in more than half of Georgia’s counties. “This is happening in the context of the American South, where there is a long and well-documented history of using trickery.” “The kind of Jim Crow-era — things like poll taxes —” “— voting tests, literacy tests to keep people of color away from the polls.” “You know, it’s important to recognize that, until the 1960s, African-Americans were pretty much shut out of voting in the state of Georgia. That began to change when the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965.” “Voting Rights Act of 1965 basically says that states cannot make laws that infringe on people’s rights to vote.” A key part of the law with something called Section 5 preclearance, which said — “States with a history of racist legislation cannot make laws that infringe on people of color without the federal government’s permission.” After the Voting Rights Act passed in 1965, the number of African-Americans who registered to vote in Georgia doubled. “It changed Southern politics.” “At the most basic level, bigger participation from Black Americans.” And for a while, that’s how things went. But … “It’s not as if the South loved the preclearance.” Many of the states felt it was an unfair burden, especially when voter participation increased. “What was true is that they, frankly, couldn’t do much about it.” Well, until a challenge to the law brought the issue all the way to the Supreme Court. Announcer: “— the 1965 Voting Rights Act.” [crosstalk] “Shelby v. Holder.” Shelby v. Holder. “I just get wound up when you ask me about voting rights.” Here to help explain is Debo Adegbile, the lawyer who argued that preclearance was still necessary. But the other side argued that the standards used to measure discriminatory voting practices were outdated. In a 5 to 4 decision, the justices ruled to strike down the preclearance, which effectively meant that states could pass new voting laws without federal oversight. “So it was a resounding loss, and perhaps one of the most significant civil rights decisions of the United States Supreme Court in recent memory.” “The decision of Shelby took away the federal government’s most effective tool in regulating state voting rights.” “After the Shelby decision, there were almost immediate attempts to change the way voting works.” Some states passed voting legislation just hours after the ruling. Alabama implemented new voter ID laws. North Carolina eliminated seven days of early voting. And the list goes on. “Without the preclearance provision, there were many, many elections where those discriminatory laws affected our politics.” Voting rights advocates say this was a key ruling that had the power to impact the outcome of an election. And that’s what many believe happened in Georgia in 2018. “The governor’s race in Georgia in 2018 was …” “Bitter.” “On one side, you had …” “I’m Stacey Abrams, and I’m running for governor. I have a boundless belief in Georgia’s future.” “Her strategy was based on signing up people of color. And then on the other side …” “I’m Brian Kemp.” “— because you’re a proud, hardcore Trump conservative on spending, immigration and guns.” “So you had a secretary of state, who had come under criticism for voter suppression, running the election that he’s in.” “That puts them at odds.” “We’ve seen jurisdictions consolidate and close precincts. We’ve seen voter ID laws come into play. There was a system in Georgia called Exact Match, where if your information doesn’t 100 percent match databases that the state uses, that you can be purged from the voter rolls. That tends to target people with ethnic names. A lot of these new suppression schemes seem race-neutral, but they have the same impact.” “Georgia has 159 counties.” “It’s a staggering number of counties.” “And we are hearing reports from all over the state.” [phones ringing] “There was a county in Georgia called Randolph County.” “Randolph County tried to close seven out of nine —” “Seven out of the nine.” “— polling places in a county that’s 60 percent Black.” “Jeff Davis County polling location consolidations. I mean, I should say that, like, this could take a while.” “Chatham County allowed the city of —” [crosstalk] “Fighting voter suppression is very much like fighting a hydra. You chop off one head, and three grows in its place.” Here’s one impact: The 2017 Exact Match law prevented 53,000 Georgians from having their registrations accepted. Nearly 70 percent were Black. “The evidence is very clear to us that the ones most impacted by these new laws are Black Georgians, are people in Democratic communities.” All of this results in a contested election. And then … “But I’m here tonight to tell you, votes remain to be counted.” “Make no mistake, the math is on our side to win this election.” “So Brian Kemp squeaks out a victory.” “And he is now the governor of Georgia. It was two figures who have represented the opposite sides of the voting rights argument.” “The question that dogged Georgia throughout 2018 was whether or not these tactics were fundamentally fair.” “So what happened in 2018 really is a preview, where democracy is under a stress test.” One that may get even more stressed in the lead-up to 2020, with the added elements of coronavirus and a country on edge after nationwide protests. “If you want change in America, go and register to vote. Show up at the polls on June 9.” In April, in response to the pandemic, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger sent out absentee ballot applications to nearly seven million registered voters in an attempt to reduce in-person voting. “And what that really has done is it’s taken the pressure off it today, so that instead of having those, you know, million people that were voted absentee show up today, we now have something that is more manageable.” But many of those absentee ballots were never delivered. In Atlanta, this contributed to Election Day wait times that were reminiscent of 2018 and 2016. “We got here before six o’clock this morning.” “Since six this morning. It’s almost 9 a.m., and I have not moved.” In Fulton County, Georgia’s largest, election director Rick Barron had to contend with both a 9,000 percent increase in absentee ballots, and the rollout of a new voting machine system. “We became an absentee-by-mail state. We still had to do our full complement of Election Day infrastructure. We did our early-voting infrastructure. And it stretched us.” With many usual polling sites, like churches and schools, dropping out because of the pandemic, an estimated 16,000 voters in Fulton County were redirected here, to this restaurant, Park Tavern. “Take a look behind me. This is the Park Tavern precinct.” “This polling place is serving multiple locations that are supposed to be separate locations.” And these problems stretched all across metro Atlanta. “The impact of having problems at the voting booth in high-density areas in Georgia means that people of color are going to be disproportionately affected.” One study showed that in communities where more than 90 percent of registered voters were minorities, the average minimum wait time at the polls was 51 minutes. When whites made up more than 90 percent of voters, it was just six minutes. “So how are things running now?” “Well, by and large, they’re running very smoothly throughout the state, except, obviously, Fulton County has had multiple failures.” Each county in Georgia runs its own election, with Georgia’s secretary of state as the top official. But after the massive failures in the primary, a blame game commenced. “They should be embarrassed with their performance.” “Whatever Secretary Raffensperger’s opinion is, he’s the head election official in the state, and he can’t wash his hands of all the responsibility.” “In this environment, incompetence does have the effect of voter suppression.” Things would have looked different before the Shelby decision. Even in an emergency situation like the pandemic, the implementation of all of these changes — new voting machines, poll place closures and the absentee balloting — still would have required federal oversight through Section 5 preclearance, meaning voters of color would have had … “A front-end protection that stops discrimination before it can take root. What we’ve lost with the Shelby County ruling is that, now when changes are made to take account of the public health crisis, they are not being made toward, are those changes harming minority voters.” Which means … “Your only option, now, is to go case by case, to try and find every bad thing that’s happening and try and figure out if you can bring a case to stop it. That’s costly. Litigation is slow. Can they happen quickly enough in proximity to an election to make a difference?” “Voting rights and questions of voter suppression are not limited to the South. It’s happening in Texas, in Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and other places. The political power of 1776 to 1960 was one that excluded huge communities of people in this country. And so history tells us the same thing the current day tells us. If you are Black, brown in this country, to exercise your democratic rights is harder than if you are white. It’s not just a foregone conclusion that everyone who is an American gets to vote.” “You know, this is America. We can put a Tesla in space, but we can’t vote? I mean, what do we think is going to happen in November?” “This is Alex.” “And I’m Kassie.” “We produced this episode of Stressed Elections.” “There’s a lot going on in this election, and we want to make sure we take a deep dive into the major issues. So stick around for the next episodes.” “We’re going to cover voting technology, disinformation and voting by mail.”

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The first episode of our four-part series, Stressed Election, focuses on voter suppression in Georgia, where a growing Black and Latino population is on the precipice of exercising its political voice, if they get the chance to vote.

In Alabama, a long line of voters waited in the rain outside a courthouse, as a dance troupe in pink masks, pink T-shirts and clear plastic ponchos kept them entertained. In New York, voters waiting to cast ballots kept themselves occupied by knitting, sipping coffee or thumbing their smartphones. Outside a polling place in Ohio, the line to get inside was so long it snaked along the shoulder of a road.

Across the country, Americans have been transfixed by images of voters enduring huge lines to cast ballots, as states across the country have begun opening up sites for early, in-person voting.

The lines — many in urban areas — are a reflection of voter enthusiasm generated by the Trump presidency, which has inspired fervent passion among the president’s base, and a significant backlash.

But amid concerns about the coronavirus, most experts believe the election will feature more Americans voting outside of the in-person ballot box than ever before. Voting by mail has already been underway in multiple states for weeks.

More than 56 million ballots have already been cast in the 2020 election, according to a Times analysis, more than the previous early turnout record set in 2016. Roughly 86 million absentee ballots have been requested or sent to voters.

Several states — including Georgia and North Carolina — have already broken early voting turnout records.

But long lines at polling sites do not mean that Joseph R. Biden Jr. is assured victory.

Both parties expect Mr. Trump’s supporters to favor in-person voting on Election Day, Nov. 3. That’s because Democrats tend to live in more urban areas and have longer wait times. It is also because Mr. Trump and Republicans have railed against mail-in voting.




Trump Votes Early in Florida

President Trump on Saturday cast a ballot for himself in the 2020 presidential election, voting early at a polling site in West Palm Beach, Fla.

“Thank you, sir.” “Thank you very much.” “It’s an honor to be voting. It’s an honor to be in this great area, which I know so well. And we’re going to make three stops today. Big ones, big rallies, three big ones. Crowds have never been, I don’t think there’s ever been anything like this, this tremendous spirit. I hear we’re doing very well in Florida, and we’re doing very well, I hear, every place else. So thank you very much, and you’re going to be very busy today, because we’re going to work you hard.” “Mr. President, who did you vote for today?” “I voted for a guy named Trump. Thank you very much, everybody.”

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President Trump on Saturday cast a ballot for himself in the 2020 presidential election, voting early at a polling site in West Palm Beach, Fla.CreditCredit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

President Trump traveled to West Palm Beach, Fla., on Saturday morning to cast his ballot in the 2020 election early and in person after spending months making unsubstantiated claims about voter fraud during an election in which polls have shown him to be trailing Joe Biden.

Mr. Trump cast his ballot at the West Palm Beach Main Library, roughly a year after he changed his primary residence to Palm Beach, Fla., from Manhattan. Early voting centers opened in the critical battleground state on Saturday, but millions of Floridians have already cast their ballots by mail.

“I voted for a guy named Trump,” the president said, according to a pool report. Mr. Trump also noted that his experience had been “perfect” and that “it was a very secure vote.”

Mr. Trump wore a mask during the morning stop, the pool report also said. Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, told the pool reporter that there was no one else inside the library voting at the same time as Mr. Trump and that he had cast a paper ballot.

Mr. Trump cast a ballot by mail in August during Florida’s primary, despite having repeatedly argued, without evidence, that mail voting invites fraud. More broadly, Mr. Trump has asserted that the 2020 election will be “the most corrupt election in the history of our country.”

In fact, there have been numerous independent studies and government reviews finding that voter fraud is extremely rare in all forms, including mail-in voting.

On Saturday morning, the president’s motorcade departed Mar-a-Lago at 9:43 a.m. and arrived at the library roughly 10 minutes later. Mr. Trump’s supporters were waiting at the site and cheered his arrival, according to the pool report. The motorcade departed around 10:20 a.m. and was proceeding toward the Palm Beach airport.

The president is expected to appear later on Saturday in Lumberton, N.C., and then head to Ohio and Wisconsin, a trifecta of crucial swing states.

Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, at the Capitol on Saturday. The Senate remained on a path to confirm Judge Barrett on Monday, delivering Republicans a coveted 6-to-3 conservative majority on the Supreme Court just 8 days before the election.
Credit…Samuel Corum for The New York Times

A dourly divided Senate slogged through another day of debate over Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court on Saturday, as Democrats again turned to parliamentary tactics to needle Republicans for confirming a justice so close to Election Day.

After a boisterous clash over President Trump’s nominee on Friday, the rare Saturday session was quite a bit more somber. Democrats tried to force consideration of their $2.4 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill, legislation granting protections from deportation to Dreamers, election security and anti-corruption measures and a handful of other policy proposals they believed might catch the attention of voters.

“All we ask during the most desperate, desperate of times is to debate something that really matters to the American people instead of rushing through a judge, a Supreme Court nominee, when the American people want the decision to be made by them, not by Republican senators,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, said as he asked for a vote on the stimulus bill.

But in each case, it took only a single Republican senator to object. Despite the machinations, the Senate remained on a path to confirm Judge Barrett on Monday, delivering Republicans a coveted 6-to-3 conservative majority on the Supreme Court just 8 days before the election.

“This isn’t serious, and he knows it,” said Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota, who objected. “This is all about politics.”

The result was a debate that had very little to do with Judge Barrett, 48, an appeals court judge. The Senate will return on Sunday, when it is expected to more forcefully debate her confirmation.

Credit…Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call, via Associated Press

Emma Gonzalez, an activist and one of the survivors of the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Fla., is participating in Vote With Us, a three-hour virtual rally on Saturday that is aimed at boosting turnout among young people in the weeks leading up to the presidential election.

The event, which will be streamed on YouTube and other social media channels, will emphasize the importance of voting early and safely in person this year. It will also include a preview of the forthcoming documentary “Us Kids,” which follows Ms. Gonzalez and other Parkland students who became activists ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

Ms. Gonzalez, who uses they/them pronouns, is voting in their first presidential election this year. “There’s definitely a relationship between various forms of activism, and voting is a form of activism, and political demonstrations is a form of civic duty,” they said. “They’re all very closely related.”

During the virtual rally, Ms. Gonzalez and other organizers plan to answer questions about the documentary and encourage young people to vote.

“A lot of the time young people feel so disenfranchised that they don’t even want to vote because they don’t know if it’ll do anything,” Ms. Gonzalez said. “But I think that that tide is kind of turning and it began to turn with the 2018 midterm election.”

“We add so much to the conversation,” they added.

Many voting rules have changed this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, making it harder than usual to figure out how to cast your ballot. So we did the work for you, in hopes of helping to make sure your vote is counted.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has raised $17.3 million for a re-election bid that seems all but assured.
Credit…Gabriela Bhaskar for The New York Times

All the money in the world is not likely to influence the outcome of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s re-election bid in November.

But that has not stopped people from trying: The contest has improbably become the second most expensive House race in the country.

Money has been pouring in from all sides. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, has raised $17.3 million, much of it from small donors attracted to her star power, progressive policies and outsize social media presence.

Her Republican challenger, John Cummings, a 60-year-old former schoolteacher at St. Raymond High School for Boys in the Bronx and a former officer for the New York Police Department, has collected $9.6 million in his first bid for office.

His campaign war chest exceeds all but a dozen or so House incumbents. He has a donor list any fund-raiser would envy. And over the past three-month reporting period, Mr. Cummings actually took in more money than Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, raising $5.5 million to her roughly $4 million.

The torrent of donations is the latest example of how Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, 31, has become a draw for Republican candidates to seek donors based off resentment of her.

“I guarantee you 75 percent of his contributors don’t know anything about him,” Tom Doherty, a Republican strategist, said of Mr. Cummings. “I don’t know anything about him except that he’s running against A.O.C. The people that are interested in that race financially are giving because it’s A.O.C.”

The big-money contest is also a reflection of how a spotlight race can fuel millions of dollars to favored political strategists and causes, sometimes far removed from the actual candidates.

Supporters for former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. at a rally in Bristol, Pa., on Saturday.
Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

The Biden campaign continues to dominate the paid media landscape in the final stretch of the 2020 campaign.

On television and radio, the Biden campaign spent $54.3 million over the past week — from Oct. 16 to Oct. 23 — according to Advertising Analytics, an ad tracking firm. The Trump campaign spent about $21 million over the same period, according to the firm.

The advantage holds on Facebook, where the Biden campaign has spent roughly $8.7 million over the past week, and the Trump campaign has spent $5.4 million over the same period on the platform.

The spending gaps reflect the starkly different financial situation that the two campaigns find themselves in with just 10 days remaining before Election Day. Joseph R. Biden Jr. entered October with a campaign war chest almost triple the size of President Trump’s — $177 million to $63.1 million — and has leveraged that advantage on air as Mr. Trump’s team has been forced to cut millions of dollars in previously reserved television ads.

That the Trump campaign finds itself in a cash crunch at such a pivotal time in the race is all the more striking given that, as the incumbent, Mr. Trump had a multiyear fund-raising head start on Democrats and had at one point raised more than $1 billion dollars for his re-election. But that financial advantage has evaporated, forcing Mr. Trump to recently remove himself from the campaign trail last week and make a stop in California to raise more money.

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump departing Air Force One in July.
Credit…Al Drago for The New York Times

A lawyer for Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner threatened Friday to take legal action against the Lincoln Project, a super PAC made up of anti-Trump conservatives, unless the group removes a pair of large billboards from Times Square in Manhattan.

One of the billboards shows a smiling Ms. Trump, the president’s eldest daughter, gesturing toward national and statewide tallies of coronavirus deaths.

Another features a smiling picture of her husband, Mr. Kushner, alongside a quote saying that New Yorkers “are going to suffer and that’s their problem.” Below the quote is a series of body bags.

The quote is taken from a Vanity Fair article published in September about Mr. Kushner’s role in the federal coronavirus response. The article claims that Mr. Kushner accused Gov. Andrew Cuomo of failing to “pound the phones hard enough” for coronavirus protective equipment for New York, then added, “His people are going to suffer and that’s their problem.”

The threatening letter from Marc E. Kasowitz, a New York lawyer who represents the couple and has worked for President Trump in the past, called the ads malicious and defamatory.

“Of course, Mr. Kushner never made any such statement; Ms. Trump never made any such gesture, and the Lincoln Project’s representation that they did are an outrageous and shameful libel,” Mr. Kasowitz’s letter read. “If these billboards are not immediately removed, we will sue you for what will doubtless be enormous compensatory and punitive damages.”

The Lincoln Project tweeted out the letter on Friday night, along with a statement that promised to leave the billboards in place.

“Jared and Ivanka have always been entitled, out-of-touch bullies who have never given the slightest indication they have any regard for the American people,” the statement read in part. “We plan on showing them the same level of respect.”

The Times Square billboards were erected this week at the corner of 44th Street and Broadway, as part of a series of advertisements that the Lincoln Project has been running across the country.

President Trump holding a rally in Lumberton, N.C., on Saturday.
Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

President Trump is seeking to recapture the last-minute energy that lifted him to a surprise win four years ago, undertaking an aggressive schedule of rallies that will bring him to some of the country’s top battlegrounds even as coronavirus cases surge.

The president will start on Saturday in Lumberton, a town in North Carolina, one of the most important states for determining not only the next president but also control of the United States Senate, with Senator Thom Tillis locked in a tight re-election race against his Democratic challenger, Cal Cunningham.

From there, Mr. Trump is off to Circleville, Ohio, outside of Columbus, and then Waukesha, Wis. On Sunday, He will fly to New Hampshire, the lone state on his weekend itinerary that he did not carry in 2016. The hopscotching schedule is reminiscent of 2016, when Mr. Trump flew from state to state for multiple events a day in his private plane.

Except then there was no pandemic, and this time the final stages of the presidential race are coinciding with a surge in cases and hospitalizations. “We’re rounding the corner. It’s going away,” Mr. Trump claimed inaccurately at Thursday’s debate.

The virus’s surge ensures that even Mr. Trump’s well-attended rallies can be a political liability, a reminder to voters fearful of the pandemic of his regular disregard for expert and public health advice.

His rival, Joseph R. Biden Jr., will return to the campaign trail after a week dominated by debate preparations and capped by a speech on Friday in Delaware on the coronavirus, which the former vice president has made a centerpiece of his campaign and his closing argument. His opening line at the debate was counting the 220,000 dead Americans. “Anyone who’s responsible for that many deaths should not remain as president of the United States of America,” he said.

On Saturday, Mr. Biden will make two stops in Pennsylvania, both for drive-in rallies, a new style of event that his campaign has popularized during the pandemic. The first will come in Bucks County, outside of Philadelphia, and the second in the northeastern county of Luzerne, a former Democratic stronghold and one of three Pennsylvania counties that Mr. Trump flipped in 2016.

Pennsylvania is a top focus for the Biden campaign. Along with Mr. Biden’s appearances this weekend, Senator Bernie Sanders will be in western Pennsylvania on Saturday, holding a get-out-the vote event in Pittsburgh and a drive-in rally with the state’s lieutenant governor.

In a sign of Pennsylvania’s potential as the 2020 tipping point, the Biden campaign dispatched President Barack Obama there earlier in the week for his first in-person event of the general election. On Saturday, Mr. Obama will be in Miami for his second in-person event.




‘We’ve Seen That Pattern’: Harris Slams Trump as Racist

Senator Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, said, while addressing voters at Morehouse College, a historically Black institution in Atlanta, that President Trump has shown a pattern of racism.

On the one hand, you have Joe Biden, who has the knowledge and the courage enough to use the term and speak those words Black Lives Matter. On the other hand, you have Donald Trump, who refuses and will never say Black Lives Matter, and then have the gall to stand on that debate stage at the last debate in front of 70 million Americans, and would not condemn white supremacists. And you know, people have asked me, they say, “Well, Senator Harris” — by the way, Senator is not on my birth certificate, it’s Kamala — and they say, “well, do you, are you saying, do you think he’s a racist?” Yes. Yes. Because you see, it’s not like it’s some random one-off. We’ve seen that pattern. Going back to him questioning the legitimacy of Barack Obama. Going back to Charlottesville, when people were peacefully protesting racial injustice in America — a woman was killed. And on the other side, you had a bunch of neo-Nazis, wearing swastikas, carrying tiki torches, slurring and throwing out anti-Semitic and racist slurs, and Donald Trump said, “Well, there are fine people on both sides.” This is not reflective of who we believe we are as a nation. We need a president who acknowledges systemic racism, who acknowledges the history of America, and uses that bully pulpit and that microphone in a way that speaks truth with an intention to address the inequities and bring our country together.

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Senator Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, said, while addressing voters at Morehouse College, a historically Black institution in Atlanta, that President Trump has shown a pattern of racism.CreditCredit…Lynsey Weatherspoon for The New York Times

With only 11 days left until Election Day, Senator Kamala Harris of California, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, took her party’s case to Black voters in Atlanta, where she once again called President Trump a racist.

“People have asked me,” Ms. Harris told the crowd at an outdoor rally at Morehouse College “Do you think he’s a racist?”

“Yes, yes,” she said, answering the question.

“Because you see, it’s not like it’s some random one-off,” she said. “We’ve seen that pattern. Going back to him questioning the legitimacy of Barack Obama. Going back to Charlottesville.”

And, she added, “Donald Trump said there are fine people on both sides.”

With Mr. Trump aggressively courting Black voters, Ms. Harris addressed those in the crowd who might be considering voting for the president’s re-election.

“We need a president who acknowledges systemic racism, who acknowledges the history of America,” she said, “and uses that bully pulpit and that microphone in a way that speaks truth with an intention to address the inequities and bring our country together.”

With polls showing Mr. Biden tied with Mr. Trump in Georgia, Ms. Harris urged the crowd to honor civil rights leaders by voting.

“It has to do with those men and women who shed blood on Edmund Pettus Bridge and so many other places,” she said. “We’re not going to let anyone mess with our right to vote.”

Ms. Harris, a graduate of Howard University, a historically Black institution, met earlier in the day with student leaders from historically Black colleges and universities as well as other Black voters from various walks of life.

After leaving Morehouse, Ms. Harris stopped at a mural honoring Representative John Lewis of Georgia, who was among civil rights activists who were attacked on the Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., in 1965.

Saturday in Georgia is known as “Mandatory Saturday” voting, because polling locations will be open in all of the state’s 159 counties. Already, 2.3 million people in Georgia have cast early ballots.

Credit…Go Nakamura for The New York Times

A state appeals court in Texas blocked Gov. Greg Abbott from limiting ballot drop boxes to one per county, upholding a lower-court ruling and setting up a likely showdown at the Texas Supreme Court.

The expected appeal by Mr. Abbott, a Republican, to the state’s highest court means the existing additional drop boxes in other counties are unlikely to be in operation immediately, if at all.

This month, Mr. Abbott issued an executive order that limited drop boxes in Texas to one per county, regardless of the county’s population. As a result, major population centers like Harris County, home to 4.7 million people and the second-most populous county in the country, had to consolidate to one ballot drop-off location from 12.

The decision led to a long line of snaking cars around Houston’s NRG Arena, the lone drop-box location for Harris County, and an outcry from voting rights activists, who said that limiting the number of boxes amounted to voter suppression.

But though the edict from Mr. Abbott lessened the options to drop off ballots, voters in Harris County have been turning out in record numbers. According to state records, 6.4 million ballots have already been cast in Texas, and nearly 90 percent of those have been cast in person. More than one million people have voted in Harris County alone.

Ivanka Trump’s campaign persona offers a stark departure from the daily tornado of grievance and belligerence that has marked so much her father’s campaign.
Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

FRANKLIN, Wis. — President Trump had just been on “Fox and Friends,” demanding that his attorney general “act” against his opponent before the election. He had, the day before, called Joseph R. Biden Jr. a “criminal,” Dr. Anthony S. Fauci a “disaster,” government scientists “idiots” and members of the news media “real garbage.”

Ivanka Trump, meanwhile, was visiting suburban Milwaukee and here for none of this.

“I learned that the first ice cream sundae was created in this amazing state!” the president’s oldest daughter and senior White House adviser said from a small stage of a sunlit function room overlooking a pond.

There would be no mentions of Hunter Biden in here, no reference to Hillary Clinton, nothing about “Barack Hussein Obama,” China Virus, witch hunts, fake news, Antifa or rigged elections.

Instead, the first daughter came armed with local fun facts and pleasing asides speaking to white, suburban female voters who have become her father’s demographic kryptonite. They have been fleeing his coalition with such abandon that he has recently been reduced to begging. “Suburban women, will you please like me?” the president pleaded at a rally in Pennsylvania last week.

By wide margins, they do not, especially the white suburban voters who went for Mr. Trump last time. A remarkable 56 percent of white women said they held a very unfavorable view of the president in a New York Times/Siena College poll. These include many independents and former Republicans who self-identify as moderate or conservative and are likely to be put off by the president’s more boorish inclinations.

As much as it’s possible, the Trump campaign is trying to deploy the first daughter as a demographic paratrooper targeting at-risk women of the changing suburbs.

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