The cost of the 2020 election has blown past previous records to become the most expensive campaign in American history, with the final tally for the battle for the White House and control of the Senate and the House expected to reach nearly $14 billion, according to projections from the Center for Responsive Politics.
The amount spent on federal races is double the previous high, set in 2016, even accounting for inflation.
The biggest driver of spending is the presidential race, which is projected to cost $6.6 billion, far more than the $2.4 billion spent during the last election. The figure was inflated, in part, by the presence of two self-funding billionaires in the Democratic primary, Michael R. Bloomberg and Tom Steyer, but also by record-setting fund-raising in recent months by the party’s nominee, Joseph R. Biden Jr.
The nonpartisan center projected Mr. Biden’s campaign committee, which had raised $938 million as of Oct. 14, would be the first ever to surpass $1 billion in fund-raising. (The fund-raising hauls by both Mr. Biden and President Trump, when combined with party funds, already far exceed that amount.)
But it’s not just the presidential race sending costs to new heights.
Eight of the 10 most expensive Senate races ever are happening in 2020, including in North Carolina, where the total spent by the Republican Senator Thom Tillis and his Democratic challenger, Cal Cunningham, has already passed $272 million.
That is one of just four Senate races to already cross the $200 million mark this year — the others are in Iowa, South Carolina and Arizona — something that had never before happened in a contest without a self-funding candidate.
In South Carolina, Jaime Harrison, the Democratic challenger to Senator Lindsey Graham, shattered fund-raising records in the third quarter, with more than $57 million, and he is the first candidate to ever raise $100 million from others.
Democrats continue to dominate in spending, as they have throughout the Trump presidency. Democratic candidates and allied groups have spent $5.5 billion this cycle, compared to $3.8 billion spent by Republicans — the largest advantage ever, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, even without counting the personal spending by Mr. Bloomberg ($1 billion) and Mr. Steyer ($300 million) on their failed bids.
Small-dollar donors, who have lifted Democratic Senate candidates and Mr. Biden in particular, are growing in importance, accounting for 22 percent of total funds raised in the 2020 cycle. These donors, who gave less than $200 to a candidate or cause, contributed 15 percent of the funds raised in the 2016 election.
But megadonors remain important. Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate, and his wife, Miriam Adelson, continue to be the largest funders of Republican super PACs, donating $183 million to Republican candidates and groups.
Mr. Bloomberg, the largest Democratic donor, gave $107 million to Democratic committees.
Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s late-in-the-race trip yesterday to Georgia, a state that has not voted for a Democrat for president since 1992, struck some members of both parties as curious.
But a Monmouth University poll released Wednesday highlighted the dynamic that emboldened the campaign to make the gambit, finding that Mr. Biden had gained ground on President Trump and held a small, statistically insignificant edge over the president among likely voters.
Among all registered voters in Georgia, the poll found, Mr. Biden is supported by 50 percent and Mr. Trump by 45 percent. And among the voters that the pollsters categorized as likely to vote in a high-turnout election, Mr. Biden has an edge over Mr. Trump by 50 percent to 46 percent, though that lead falls within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.
More than three million people have already voted in Georgia. The Monmouth University poll found that Mr. Biden was leading Mr. Trump among those who said that they had already voted by 55 percent to 43 percent, but that Mr. Trump had an edge of 48 percent to 44 percent among those who have not yet voted. The poll of 504 registered voters was conducted from Oct. 23 to 27.
Senator David Perdue, a Republican, has lost his lead over his Democratic challenger, Jon Ossoff, the poll found, with Mr. Ossoff backed by 49 percent of registered voters and Mr. Perdue by 46 percent. (Mr. Perdue had led by 6 points in Monmouth polls in September and July).
And this year Georgia has another Senate race, a special election to fill the seat once held by Johnny Isakson. The Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, has pulled into a clear lead with the support of 41 percent of registered voters, the poll found, while Senator Kelly Loeffler, who was appointed to the seat earlier this year, has the support of 21 percent and Representative Doug Collins has the support of 18 percent. There will be a runoff if no candidate gets over 50 percent of the vote.
OMAHA — After hundreds of people who attended a Trump rally in Omaha Tuesday night were left stranded on an airport tarmac for hours in near-freezing temperatures, at least six people were taken to a hospital and about two dozen others sought medical attention, according to local authorities, rally attendees and reports from journalists at the scene.
President Trump had traveled to Eppley Airfield to fight for the area’s single electoral vote, which could determine the outcome of a close national election, and buses shuttled thousands of rally attendees from a parking lot to the event site over a 10-hour period on Tuesday, airport and city police officials said.
After the rally ended around 9 p.m., people “flooded” the available buses waiting to take them back to their cars, said Officer Michael Pecha of the Omaha police.
“Due to the size of the crowd and security requirements, return transportation took time,” Tim Conahan, the Chief of Police at the Omaha Airport Authority, said in an email on Wednesday.
Officer Pecha said additional buses were called in from the area’s transit agency and that last person at the site boarded around 11:50 p.m.
Roughly 30 people requested medical attention during and after the rally, Officer Pecha said. He said that about a half-dozen people were transported to hospitals “with a variety of medical conditions.” Mr. Conahan said the number was six.
Thousands of people left out in the cold and stranded in #Omaha, #Nebraska after a #Trump rally. I’m told the shuttles aren’t operating & there aren’t enough busses. Police didn’t seem to know what to do. Some walked. I saw at least one woman getting medical attention. pic.twitter.com/oIkmixaZt0
— Jeff Paul (@Jeff_Paul) October 28, 2020
Joseph R. Biden Jr. seized on the mishap Wednesday as he gave a speech in Wilmington, Del., criticizing the president’s handling of the coronavirus.
“Just look at what happened last night in Omaha after Trump — after the Trump rally ended,” Mr. Biden said. “Hundreds of people, including older Americans and children, were stranded in subzero freezing temperatures for hours. Several folks ended up in the hospital. It’s an image that captures President Trump’s whole approach to this crisis.”
Dillon Bloedorn, a farmer who had driven 80 miles to attend the rally, said he was among the first round of people to leave the event and found that “a wall of people was pushing up there” and that he did not get onto a bus until around 11:30.
The first set of buses loaded quickly and took off, he said, but more buses failed to turn up. “Maybe it wasn’t real organized,” he said.
Those stranded included older people and children. When more buses arrived, the people who remained made sure they were the first to load, Mr. Bloedorn said.
In a statement, Samantha Zager, a spokeswoman for the Trump campaign said that because of the size of the crowd, the campaign had deployed 40 shuttle buses to the event — roughly twice the usual number.
“But local road closures and resulting congestion caused delays,” Ms. Zager said. “We always strive to provide the best guest experience at our events and we care about their safety.”
Earlier Tuesday, the police posted a warning on Facebook, noting that the allocated parking for the Trump rally was full and that the event would not be accessible “by foot, Uber, cab or any other means of transportation.” The drive from the parking lot to the tarmac where the event was held was 3.7 miles.
Officer Pecha and Chief Conahan said many people decided to walk back to the parking areas instead of waiting for a bus, and that the foot traffic slowed bus traffic. Some officers gave rides to older attendees, Officer Pecha said. “Many people,” he said, “underestimated the distance from the event back to the parking lot on foot.”
Pennsylvania’s top election on Wednesday urged voters who have not yet mailed back their absentee ballots to deliver them to a drop box or county election office rather than rely on the Postal Service, as a court fight over ballot deadlines looms.
“At this point, we are not recommending that anybody put their ballots in the mail,” Kathy Boockvar, Pennsylvania’s secretary of state, said on Wednesday.
Though state election officials have already received 65 percent of the absentee ballots that were sent out, there are still about 1 million ballots outstanding. Pennsylvania, which Donald Trump won by less than 45,000 votes in 2016, is widely seen as one of the most important states for both the president and Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Ballots that are postmarked by Election Day but received up to three days after it can be accepted by elected officials under current state rules. But Republicans, who have already failed in an attempt to overturn that rule at the Supreme Court once, have issued a new challenge with the apparent plan of appearing before the court now that the conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett has been seated.
Republicans are also feeling more confident in their case after the Supreme Court refused to extend a deadline beyond Election Day for counting absentee ballots in Wisconsin.
Over 100 million eligible, voting-age Americans did not vote in 2016, more than the number who voted for either presidential candidate. In Georgia, about 60 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot in that year’s presidential race, roughly on par with the national figure of 55 percent.
As Democrats eye Georgia for possible gains this November — the first step toward a larger goal of remaking their path to victory in statewide races throughout the South — high turnout will be the name of the game, and that means persuading nonvoters to become voters.
In traditional swing states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, most political observers believe that turnout is largely fixed and that campaigns rise and fall based on their ability to persuade a set of voters. But in the new set of battleground states in the South, as well as Arizona in the Southwest, the priority is converting nonvoters into voters.
The thinking goes: If the party is able to reshape the electorate with new arrivals to the state — including young people, Latinos and Asian-Americans — as well as greater participation from Black residents and immigrants, a red state becomes a blue one.
But experts who study nonvoting populations and the failed Democratic campaigns of recent years warn that the work of changing electorates is hard and complicated. There is no such thing, they say, as an inevitable demographic destiny.
Nse Ufot, the executive director of the New Georgia Project, a nonpartisan group that has sought to turn out voters among the state’s new residents, said that doing so in a meaningful way could not happen with “five-minute conversations that you have on people’s porches.”
“It is a sustained campaign that requires smart targeting, messaging and research,” she said.
In almost every instance in the ongoing struggle over voting rights, Democrats are trying to make it easier for Americans to cast ballots, and Republicans are trying to make it harder.
Much of the fight involves voting by mail, which many people would prefer to do this year to minimize their risk of contracting the coronavirus. Lawyers have already filed more than 300 lawsuits, across 44 states, over issues related to voting in the pandemic. The most important cases are in the battleground states on which the presidential election or Senate control could hinge.
Pennsylvania: The state’s highest court has ruled that election officials should count mailed ballots that arrive up to three days after Election Day. Pennsylvania Republicans are trying to get the Supreme Court to reverse the order, so that only ballots received by Election Day will count.
North Carolina: Republicans and the Trump campaign have asked the Supreme Court to block the state’s board of elections from extending the deadline to receive mail ballots. The board has said ballots can arrive until Nov. 12, as long as they were mailed by Election Day.
Wisconsin: The five Republican-appointed justices on the Supreme Court sided on Monday with Republican officials in Wisconsin, ruling that ballots must arrive by 8 p.m. on election night to count. (A lower-court ruling would have let state officials count any mailed ballots postmarked by Election Day and received up to six days later.) In response, the state’s Democratic Party is urging voters to return mail ballots to drop boxes or clerk’s offices, rather than mail them.
Nevada: The Trump campaign has sued to stop the counting of absentee ballots in the Las Vegas area, evidently hoping to challenge the signatures on many ballots. Tuesday night, the campaign and the Nevada Republican Party filed a separate suit seeking detailed information on the vote-counting process.
Texas: The state’s top court on Tuesday upheld a policy announced by Greg Abbott, the Republican governor, limiting each county to a single drop-off box for mailed ballots. The state’s largest county — Harris, which includes Houston — is home to 4.7 million people.
Michigan: A conservative judge on Tuesday overturned an order by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, and ruled that people could carry unconcealed guns at polling places on Election Day.
In many of these cases, Republicans have claimed baselessly that changing voting rules because of the pandemic could lead to fraud, and that allowing ballots to be counted after Election Day leads to confusion and chaos.
Democrats have argued that protecting people’s right to vote during a national helath crisis should be the top priority. They have also pointed out that some Republicans have changed their position on the counting of mailed ballots: When late-arriving ballots seemed likely to help George W. Bush in Florida in 2000, Republicans argued that the state should count them.
Former President Barack Obama will join Joseph R. Biden Jr. in the crucial battleground of Michigan on Saturday for their first joint in-person campaign event of the election.
The Biden campaign announced the joint appearance on Wednesday, but did not say where in Michigan the two men would be appearing. Mr. Obama will join Mr. Biden “to discuss bringing Americans together to address the crises facing the country and win the battle for the soul of the nation,” the campaign said.
Mr. Obama made his debut on the campaign trail for Mr. Biden last week in Philadelphia, and he also campaigned for Mr. Biden in Miami on Saturday and in Orlando, Fla., on Tuesday.
Mr. Obama won Michigan twice, with Mr. Biden as his running mate, before Donald J. Trump narrowly claimed the state in 2016. Polls show Mr. Biden with an edge over Mr. Trump in Michigan this time around.
One of the key architects of President Trump’s hard-line immigration agenda, Stephen Miller, attacked Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Wednesday “as a radical outlier in the whole of human civilization” for his immigration policies.
Mr. Miller has been a driving force behind the Trump administration’s severely restrictive immigration policies, including one that led thousands of children to be separated from their parents at the southern border. (The parents of 545 migrant children still have not been found, according to court documents filed earlier this month in a case challenging the practice.)
In sometimes angry tones, Mr. Miller — who as top White House adviser on immigration is a federal employee but said he was speaking “in my personal capacity” — offered an apocalyptic vision of a Biden presidency in which he said terrorists would pour into the U.S. and America’s southern border would be overrun by migrants.
“Tens of millions will come from every single part of planet Earth,” Mr. Miller said. Noting that the Trump administration is maintaining a stringent cap on refugee admissions, he alleged that Mr. Biden would approve “a staggering increase on refugees from the most dangerous places in the world.”
The Trump administration had sharply reduced the level of refugees admitted to 15,000 per year, but Mr. Biden has said he would raise the level to 125,000, slightly above where it was by the end of the Obama administration.
Mr. Miller also claimed, without evidence, that Mr. Biden’s intention to reverse a sweeping Trump administration travel ban would allow potential terrorists to enter the U.S.
Four years ago Mr. Trump ran for the presidency vowing to crack down on immigration, promising to build a wall along the southern border and claiming that Mexico would pay for it. (It did not.)
Asked about evidence that immigration has played a relatively smaller role in Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign than it did in 2016 and 2018, Mr. Miller did not object, saying that Mr. Trump is “now campaigning on four years of success.”
The Trump administration will officially open up about nine million acres of the pristine woodlands of Alaska’s Tongass National Forest to logging and road construction this week, following up on last month’s announcement of its plan to do so.
The expected publication in the Federal Register of the United States Forest Service’s move to lift protections in more than half of the 17-million-acre Tongass, the nation’s largest national forest, is the final step in a process that has been in the works for about two years.
It comes after years of prodding by successive Alaska governors and congressional delegations, which pushed the federal government to exempt the Tongass from a Clinton-era policy known as the roadless rule, which banned logging and road construction in much of the national forest system.
Scientists and environmentalists have said that lifting protections on the Tongass effectively ignores the government’s own scientific findings about the value of the land, which is the world’s largest temperate rainforest and a major “carbon sink,” sucking up and storing climate-warming carbon dioxide pollution.
The move comes as President Trump wraps up a first term in which he rolled back or weakened more than 100 environmental regulations and is part of his broader push to remove protections across Alaska’s wilderness.
The administration has also opened up the 19-million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling, and this year proposed to open almost all of the National Petroleum Reserve, far to the west of the refuge, to additional drilling.
But like many of those rollbacks, the protections to the Tongass could be fairly easily reinstated by a future president.
With six days still to go until Election Day, the flood of people moved to cast their ballots early has grown so strong that the early vote has already exceeded half of the number of votes that were counted during the entire 2016 presidential election, according to data compiled by the United States Elections Project.
The coronavirus pandemic, the fear of postal delays and the passions inspired by the presidential candidates, both pro and con, have all contributed to the record early vote. As of Wednesday morning, more than 73 million Americans had already voted early in person or had their mail-in ballots received by election officials, according to the data compiled by the project. That is nearly 54 percent of the overall turnout of 138 million for the 2016 election.
The early vote is even more dramatic in a number of battleground states, including several that polls have suggested are unusually close this year. Texas has already received over 90 percent of the votes it counted in the 2016 election, North Carolina and Georgia have already received more than three-quarters, and Florida more than 70 percent. Wisconsin passed the halfway mark Wednesday morning and Michigan is nearing it.
“The numbers are stunning,” Michael P. McDonald, a professor of political science at the University of Florida who gathers the data for the elections project, wrote in a recent analysis for the United States Elections Project, which tracks the early vote closely.
Not all states report the party affiliations of those who vote early. Those which do show a dichotomy in how the members of the two major parties choose to vote, though: Democrats have been much more likely to vote early by mail than Republicans, while Republicans have been a bit more likely to vote early in person than Democrats. President Trump has repeatedly railed against mail-in voting, making baseless claims that it is subject to fraud.
This trend means that the in-person vote reported on Election Day is more likely to show early Republican leads, and that Democrats may gain ground as absentee votes are tabulated in the days afterward.
Campaign officials and elections experts are still trying to determine the extent to which the high turnout so far reflects voters simply casting their ballots earlier than they normally would and to what extent it reflects high enthusiasm that could translate into a record turnout.
Dr. McDonald wrote in his analysis that the pace of early voting in some states suggests that they could surpass their 2016 vote totals this week.
American politicians have often sought to exploit the nation’s racial and ethnic divides for political gain. During the Trump era, voters are not responding as expected.
The gap in presidential vote preference between white and nonwhite voters has shrunk by 16 percentage points since 2016, according to an analysis by The Upshot, as Joseph R. Biden Jr. gains among white voters and President Trump makes inroads with Black and Hispanic voters.
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By The New York Times·Source: Upshot analysis of pre-election polls in 2016, data archived at the Roper Center
Mr. Trump’s exploitation of resentments over immigration and race helped fuel his 2016 victory, but similar tactics this time have not had the same effect. Polls show that many white voters have been repelled by his handling of race, policing and protests.
The decrease in racial polarization defies the expectations of many analysts. It may also upset the hopes of some activists on the left who viewed an embrace of more progressive policies on race would give Democrats overwhelming support from nonwhite voters, reducing the need to cater to the more conservative white voters who backed Mr. Trump four years ago. Instead, Mr. Biden leads because of gains among those very voters.
The president’s pitch hasn’t resonated even among the kinds of voters who seem likeliest to be receptive. Trish Thompson, 69, a white Republican who works as a security guard for pipeline and fracking lands in Brownsville, Texas, is switching from Mr. Trump to Mr. Biden because of what she called the president’s “appalling” coronavirus response and “his misogynistic behavior and his inability to acknowledge his racial discrimination.”
Over all, Mr. Trump leads among white voters by only five points in high-quality surveys conducted since August, compared with a 13–point advantage in the final surveys in 2016.
Mr. Biden has tended to make his largest gains in Northern states, where the president made his largest gains four years ago.
Mr. Trump’s support has proved resilient in the Sun Belt, bolstered by perhaps the single most surprising demographic trend of the cycle: his gains among nonwhite voters.
In recent national polls, Mr. Biden leads by 42 points among nonwhite voters. That is a lot, but it is about nine points worse than Mrs. Clinton’s lead in the final 2016 surveys.
New York Times/Siena College surveys suggest that the president’s gains are particularly significant among Hispanic voters. Mr. Biden holds only an 84-7 lead among Hispanic voters who said they backed Mrs. Clinton four years ago, compared with a 93-2 lead among Black voters and a 94-3 lead among white voters.
Mr. Biden has lost almost exactly as much ground among nonwhite voters as he has gained among white voters, but because white voters vastly outnumber nonwhite voters in the most important battleground states, the trade-off favors him.
There are six days until Election Day. Here are the daily schedules of the presidential and vice-presidential candidates for Wednesday, Oct. 28. All times are Eastern time.
2 p.m.: Holds a rally in Bullhead City, Ariz.
4:30 p.m.: Holds a rally in Goodyear, Ariz.
Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Morning: Receives a briefing from public health experts and delivers remarks on the coronavirus and health care policy.
Afternoon: Attends a virtual campaign fund-raising event.
Vice President Mike Pence
4 p.m.: Holds a rally in Mosinee, Wis.
7 p.m.: Holds a rally in Flint, Mich.
Senator Kamala Harris
Morning: Meets with Latina business owners in Tucson, Ariz., then speaks at a rally.
Afternoon: Meets with a group of Black leaders in Phoenix and speaks at a rally with Alicia Keys.
Years before he became president, Donald J. Trump got a very sweet deal from some very big financial institutions.
First, they agreed to lend him a total of $770 million to build a 92-story skyscraper in downtown Chicago. Then, when the 2008 financial crisis hit and Mr. Trump defaulted on his loans, those same banks and hedge funds either gave him years more to repay his loans or simply forgave much of what he owed. The Internal Revenue Service considers such forgiven debts to be taxable income, but Mr. Trump managed to avoid paying almost any taxes.
On Wednesday, after The New York Times reported on the project’s travails, Mr. Trump defended his handling of the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago.
“I was able to make an appropriately great deal with the numerous lenders on a large and very beautiful tower,” the president wrote on Twitter. “Doesn’t that make me a smart guy rather than a bad guy?”
As a developer long ago, and continuing to this day, the politicians ran Chicago into the ground. I was able to make an appropriately great deal with the numerous lenders on a large and very beautiful tower. Doesn’t that make me a smart guy rather than a bad guy?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 28, 2020
There is no question that the deal was a great one for Mr. Trump. His lenders — including Deutsche Bank and Fortress Investment Group, the hedge fund and private equity firm — had the right to seize the building as collateral but opted not to. Their conclusion was that it would be simpler and safer to reach a peaceful resolution to the dispute with the litigious and publicity-seeking reality-TV star.
As a result, about $270 million of debt that Mr. Trump owed to Fortress and other private equity firms and hedge funds was wiped away. Mr. Trump still owes Deutsche Bank a total of at least $330 million, including $45 million on the Chicago project. Those Deutsche Bank loans, which Mr. Trump has personally guaranteed, are due in 2023 and 2024.
In his tweet on Tuesday, Mr. Trump implied that his Chicago tower’s struggles were the result of politicians having run the city “into the ground.”
That is revisionist history. Mr. Trump and his daughter Ivanka have repeatedly boasted that the skyscraper was a great place to live. “I love Chicago” was the headline on a piece Mr. Trump wrote for The Chicago Tribune about his building in 2014.
The reality is that Mr. Trump’s hotel-and-condo tower has struggled compared to other nearby buildings — in part because of the tarnished Trump brand. Retailers balked at renting space in the skyscraper’s mezzanine interior. The Real Deal noted last year that the tower only had one retail client and called the skyscraper “Chicago retail’s biggest failure.”
Carolyn Gibbs puts on the striped pants first, then the striped jacket. The hat is the final touch. That’s if it’s an Uncle Sam day. For Statue of Liberty, it’s a mint green dress, a foam halo and a political sign, usually, standing in as the torch.
Before Donald Trump became president, Ms. Gibbs, 59, rarely dressed up for Halloween, only occasionally for a costume party.
But for the better part of four years, she has shown up to rallies in shopping centers of suburban Pittsburgh in elaborate costumes, ready for the role of playful protester.
“I’m willing to make a fool of myself for democracy,” is how she often puts it.
Yet for all her playfulness — and it is boundless — Ms. Gibbs is driven by a sense of anger and residual shock. How could so many of her neighbors in western Pennsylvania vote for a man she saw as a threat? She still finds herself stuck on the question.
“I had begun to think we were including and serving everybody in this country,” Ms. Gibbs said. “But that’s totally not true anymore.”
For the past four years, Ms. Gibbs and half a dozen women (along with one man) have poured countless hours into Progress PA, a political group they created to get Democratic candidates elected in western Pennsylvania, a part of the state that helped fuel Mr. Trump’s victory last time. Joseph R. Biden Jr. is counting on voters like them — older, suburban dwellers — to win back Pennsylvania, where polls show him ahead. But their work is less about their enthusiasm for the former vice president than their revulsion at the current occupant of the White House.
Before the Trump era, these women were hardly radical. Many have voted for Republicans, including George W. Bush. They represent not just the kind of feminist activism that Mr. Trump’s victory ignited, but the particular had-it-up-to-here-with-my-Republican-neighbors anger of suburban western Pennsylvania, where dozens of similar groups have cropped up in the past four years.
“I had never had this kind of burning unquestioning desire to do something myself,” Stacey Vernallis, 60, said, of her political life before 2016. “I was always willing to let it be another person’s job and just be a voter and maybe a donor.”
Traveling through hundreds of miles in the Midwest battlegrounds of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and western Pennsylvania, the New York Times photographer Ruth Fremson documented a transformation of the American suburbs.
Lawns are packed with campaign signs, leaving no doubt where residents stand in the presidential contest. Supporters of President Trump have decked out their homes with banners and flags as if decorating for Halloween or Christmas. The smaller signs for Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic nominee, are more a period than an exclamation point on his supporters’ determination to turn the tide in November.
For months, President Trump has tried to squeeze Joseph R. Biden Jr. from both sides on racial justice issues. While he’s made unfettered loyalty to police officers a cental tenet of his campaign, Mr. Trump has also sought to damage Mr. Biden’s standing with Black voters with reminders of the 1994 crime bill Mr. Biden wrote, parts of which the former vice president says he now regrets.
In Michigan, which message voters see depends on where they live.
Tuesday morning in Grand Rapids, viewers saw a Trump campaign ad slamming Mr. Biden and his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris of California, for “refusing to strongly condemn violence” as “America’s cities burned” in the unrest following the police killing of George Floyd. Two white men identified as veteran police officers warned that “we’ll all be in danger” if Mr. Biden is president.
At the same hour in Detroit, the Trump campaign debuted an ad featuring clips of then-Senator Biden making the case for the 1994 crime bill, which included mandatory minimum sentences that increased mass incarceration. “It doesn’t matter whether they’re the victims of society,” Mr. Biden is seen saying on the Senate floor. “The end result is they are about to knock my mother on the head, shoot my sister, beat up my wife, take on my sons.” At the end, a voice says: “We know who Joe Biden is talking about: Us. Don’t let him become president.”
It is not true that Mr. Biden didn’t condemn the violence that accompanied street protests this spring and summer. “Burning down communities is not protest, it’s needless violence,” Mr. Biden said in August after Jacob Blake was shot by police in Kenosha, Wis., while also condemning racism. But it is true that Mr. Biden, in the 1990s, described perpetrators using language that racial justice advocates find offensive today.
Where It’s Running
These ads appeared on television in Michigan.
Mr. Trump has rarely allowed himself to be governed by ideological consistency. Arguing simultaneously that Mr. Biden is responsible for arresting too many Black people and that he sides too much with Black protesters puts the president on attack in opposing directions. It makes sense in that his path to victory lies in both depressing Black turnout for Mr. Biden and in juicing turnout among his white working-class base, who tend to support law enforcement.
Mr. Trump has indeed made some inroads among Black and Hispanic voters, but polls show he has lost significant ground among his white voters since 2016. To win, he needs to maintain his gains among nonwhite voters and come close to repeating his commanding margins from his political base.
Stocks on Wall Street slid on Wednesday, erasing any remaining gains for October. Traders on Wall Street had already been on edge as the presidential election approaches and lawmakers failed to reach an agreement on what economists say is an essential plan to support businesses and out-of-work Americans.
Expectations that congressional Democrats and the White House would strike a spending deal before the Nov. 3 election had helped lift the S&P 500 early in the month, but with those talks stalled and coronavirus cases reaching a new peak, the American economy is left to face the pandemic without the reassuring flow of federal dollars to prop up small businesses and consumer spending.
Highlighting the economic concern, oil prices fell more than 5 percent, and shares of energy producers were among the worst performing stocks in the S&P 500.
Christopher F. Schuetze contributed reporting.
Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his wife, Jill, voted by appointment in Delaware on Wednesday, joining more than 70 million Americans who have already cast their ballots.
Mr. Biden and his wife both wore “I Voted” stickers as they emerged from a state office building in Wilmington early in the afternoon.
President Trump is also among those who have already voted, having cast his ballot in Florida on Saturday.
Before going to vote, Mr. Biden received a briefing from public health experts about the coronavirus pandemic. Then he gave a speech about health care, where he continued to assail Mr. Trump’s handling of the health crisis as well as the president’s desire for the Affordable Care to be struck down by the Supreme Court.
“I’m not running on the false promise of being able to end this pandemic by flipping a switch,” Mr. Biden said at his speech at a theater in Wilmington. “But what I can promise you is this. We will start on Day 1 doing the right things. We’ll let science drive our decisions. We will deal honestly with the American people. And we’ll never, ever, ever quit.”
In his speech, Mr. Biden declared that Mr. Trump was “on a single-minded crusade to strip Americans of their health care.” The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments a week after Election Day in a case challenging the Affordable Care Act, and the Trump administration has asked the court to overturn the law.
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