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In general, it is not a good sign for a candidate to start begging for votes.
“Suburban women, will you like me please?” said the president at a rally in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a desperate steel town. “Please please.”
These are not the words of a man who believes he will be campaigning successfully for re-election. For a president who loves tossing around the word “loser”, facing the possibility of loss has not been easy.
As is typical of Mr. Trump, he couldn’t hide his fears. “Can you imagine losing to a man like that?” he said last night, referring to Joe Biden. “It’s incredible.”
Of course, a lot can happen in the next three weeks to change the dynamics of this race. And Mr. Trump will have a high profile opportunity to reach out to voters tomorrow night when he takes the stage for a town hall-style event that airs on NBC, opposite Mr. Biden’s event on ABC. (If you want to follow both of them at the same time, join us tomorrow night for our live chat.)
It’s not the ideal place for the president: he has been known to perform poorly at such intimate campaign events as he tries to show empathy, and there is little evidence that voters will return to his side if they hear more from him.
The president’s concerns were particularly evident this week, precisely when he was about to mark a coronation in his first term. With Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s endorsement ongoing, Mr Trump is on the verge of implementing a decades-long conservative project to move the Supreme Court to the right.
Instead of focusing on that victory, however, Mr. Trump struck out against New Jersey Senator Cory Booker yesterday, calling him a “total loser” after Senator Booker urged Judge Barrett for her support for the Affordable Care Act.
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Mr Trump has played ping-pong across the country to hold rallies and disregarded medical advice amid a deadly pandemic believed by a majority of voters to have abused. He’s even planning a stop this week in Georgia, a traditionally conservative state that a victorious Republican presidential candidate wouldn’t have to support three weeks before election day.
Part of the problem for Mr. Trump is that he just isn’t getting the kind of breaks that gave him the last few weeks of the 2016 campaign.
In October 2016, James Comey unexpectedly announced that the FBI was reviving an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails. This week, a Justice Department review of routine inquiries from Obama-era officials concluded with no irregularities found. This was a blow to Mr. Trump’s claims that he had a “Deep State” plan against him.
In October 2016, WikiLeaks revealed additional documents stolen from Democratic aides. The biggest October surprise this year was the coronavirus cluster, which infected many high profile Republicans, as well as the president himself, his wife and son Barron.
With the polls falling, Mr Trump is resorting to conspiracy theories on Twitter. In the past few days, he has retweeted claims that a Conservative protester in Denver was shot dead by an anti-fascist activist. The Denver Police Department announced that the suspect in the shooting was a private security guard who was “not affiliated with the movement.”
He also retweeted an outrageously bogus conspiracy theory advocated by QAnon supporters that said Osama bin Laden wasn’t actually killed. (There was a lot more about how Mr. Biden, former President Barack Obama, and Mrs. Clinton tried to cover it up.) Those claims were quickly reprimanded by a Navy SEAL famous for its role in the killing of bin Laden was.
Even for a president who traded conspiracy theories and disinformation for four years, he was a sucker for desperation.
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Our tracker says the mail is still slow
Mail delivery slowed significantly this summer after a new Trump-focused Postmaster General introduced a series of policy changes. Since then, the Postal Service announced that some of these changes had been rolled back, and it has also taken some initiatives to expedite the processing of mail during election season.
However, data from 54,000 letters captured each day suggests that the changes didn’t make much of a difference. The mail is still almost as late as it was in July and August when the mail performance became the subject of cover stories and congressional hearings. The slowdown has increased concerns about whether the postal service can handle what is likely to be the largest number of ballot papers in US history.
However, there is some good news for Americans who are concerned that their ballots will arrive on time. Most of the late mail is only about a day late. The ballot-specific tracking based on a sample of locations shows that the election mail apparently moves faster than normal letters.
We will continue to monitor email performance every week during the election. Check out our tracker here.
– Margot Sanger-Katz
The latest Times / Siena poll: Trump and Tillis Trail in North Carolina
Joe Biden leads Mr Trump among the likely voters with 46 to 42 percent, while Mr Tillis stands behind Cal Cunningham, his Democratic challenger, with 41 to 37 percent. Both leads are within the survey’s margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.
Governor Roy Cooper, a Democrat, leads his Republican challenger, Lt. Governor Dan Forest, more comfortable at 51 to 37 percent.
The poll came in the past few days, long after Mr Cunningham offered an awkward public apology for the romantic (but PG rated) texts he sent to a woman who is not his wife this summer. It turns out that Mr. Cunningham, a former senator and veteran of the Iraq war, retains a 15-point advantage among women.
The Democrats hope Mr Cunningham will be one of at least four challengers the party needs to win Republican-held seats in order to take control of the Senate.
While the percentage of likely voters who view Mr. Cunningham as unfavorable rose from 29 percent to 41 percent last month, the new poll found that he and Mr. Tillis were considered untrustworthy by the same percentage of voters: 48 percent.
Mr Cunningham’s lead over Mr Tillis in the Times / Siena poll has stabilized since early September, but there is still time and space for the race to be postponed: 15 percent of voters polled said they were undecided in the Senate race – almost twice as many as those who said they were undecided in the North Carolina presidential contest.
Mr Biden’s position in North Carolina, a state that Mr Trump won by nearly four points in 2016, is in line with the leads he has built in other battlefield states. The former Vice President has significant advantages with women and suburbanites and is far more trustworthy in dealing with the public health crisis caused by the coronavirus.
He worshiped Mr. Trump as “my God”. And after the president infected the coronavirus, this Indian farmer turned superfan stopped eating. He died on Sunday.
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