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Political Wire logo Trump Cuts Back on Internal Polling
Trump Goes Dark In Iowa and Ohio
‘Gasping’ Trends on Twitter
Republicans Gripped by Dread as Multiple Crises Swirl
Trump Suggests He’s Immune to Virus
Trump Removes Mask as He Enters White House

Trump Could Be Discharged Today

Yesterday, Donald Trump's doctor, Sean Conley, held a news conference and admitted some things he had hidden before. Among other things, on Friday Trump needed and was given supplemental oxygen and his temperature spiked to 103° F. Other sources report that his doctors gave him an ultimatum on Friday: Walk to Marine One right now to be taken to Walter Reed Medical Center or go in a wheelchair a little later. Trump walked. When asked about why he hid so much crucial information, Conley said he didn't want to cause undue alarm.

Conley also said yesterday that Trump could be discharged today. That doesn't mean the President is out of the woods, just that Conley may not need the special facilities the hospital has and he can continue Trump's treatment at the White House. Or it could mean that Trump basically told Conley that he was leaving on Monday, whether or not that was wise medically. On the other hand, NSA Robert O'Brien said yesterday that Trump will remain at Walter Reed for "at least another period of time." The White House still doesn't have its act together, with different people giving different stories.

Conley hinted at the possibility that Trump needed oxygen on Saturday as well as Friday, but was evasive about it. He did say that Trump was given dexamethasone. The Infectious Disease Society of America does not recommend giving that drug to patients with a mild case of COVID-19 because it can inhibit the body's ability to fight the virus. The use of dexamethasone, as well as the large number of treatments Trump was given, suggest that his condition over the weekend was not mild at all. Of course, all the treatments may have helped enormously. We should know in a week. By then we may also have a better idea of whether Trump has any permanent damage, as some COVID-19 patients do (and see the next item).

Politically, it is very wise to get out of the hospital as fast as possible. That way Trump will be able to maintain that COVID-19 is no worse than the flu and the fact that over 210,000 Americans died from it is simply bad luck. After all, he survived it. With the help of an army of excellent physicians at a top hospital who gave him experimental drugs not available to the general public. And all of it for free.

In case we needed a reminder of the political optics of the situation, Trump decided late Sunday to take a brief ride in the presidential limousine, so that he could wave at adoring fans who have gathered outside Walter Reed. Dr. James Phillips, who is chief of disaster medicine at GWU and an attending physician at Walter Reed, was not impressed:

A spokesperson for the White House insisted that appropriate safety protocols were followed. Even if that is true, however, surely the risk does not justify the reward. One also wonders if this little dog and pony show would have been necessary if Trump is departing the hospital in 12 hours or so anyhow. Maybe his discharge is not so imminent, after all.

A big problem for the country here is that Conley has not been forthcoming in his news conferences, so people are left to guess how sick Trump really is. Reporters for Politico have put together a list of questions that have not been fully answered, to wit:

  • If Trump isn't so sick, why was he given dexamethasone, which is given only to seriously ill patients?
  • How low were Trump's blood oxygen levels and for how long?
  • How many X-rays and CT-scans has Trump had and did they show permanent damage?
  • How long has Trump been sick?
  • Is leaving Walter Reed today medically advised or merely politically advised?

Of course, even if the President goes back to the White House today, he will have to quarantine in the residence for another week or more and won't be able to campaign for even longer, by which time tens of millions of votes will have already been cast.

There are also some political downsides to Trump's leaving the hospital today. Joe Biden said he would stop running negative ads while Trump was sick. If Trump were to announce that he is well, count on those ads starting again. Further, if Trump has a relapse and has to go back to the hospital, that would be worse than just staying there in the first place.

What is not sure yet is whether the Oct. 15 presidential debate will take place. There are many questions. First, will Trump be in any condition to debate for 90 minutes? Second, will Biden be willing to go anywhere near Trump and potentially expose himself to the virus? Third, what about addressing the problems that emerged during the first debate (i.e., Trump's interrupting/bullying)?

The second debate was supposed to be a town hall affair, but Biden could insist on switching the second and third debates and making the one on Oct. 15 a traditional debate with questions from the moderator and the candidates in separate rooms talking on a video link. Trump is known to hate that kind of arrangement, but Biden could insist on it for health reasons. If Trump refused, there would be no debate and Biden probably wouldn't get much blame for refusing to be in the same room as someone with an active COVID-19 case. This would actually work out to Biden's advantage, since he is ahead nationally by double digits (see below) and in all the key swing states. It is Trump who needs to reset the race and a debate is one of the few ways he could do it. No debate, no reset. Thus far, Biden has said he is looking forward to another debate, though. His spokeswoman, Kate Bedingfield, told ABC yesterday that Biden will be there if the commission implements the "necessary adjustments." What those adjustments might be was not specified. And remember, the devil is in the details. (V & Z)

Trump Isn't the First President To Be Hit by a Pandemic Virus

He's the second. On April 3, 1919, while the Spanish flu was still raging, then-president (Thomas) Woodrow Wilson was seized by violent bouts of coughing, so severe he could barely breathe. White House physician Cary Grayson lied about it and tried to cover it up. After Wilson's flu symptoms subsided, he was never the same. He became paranoid. He thought people were spying on him. One aide said: "Something queer was happening in his mind." He couldn't remember things that had happened just hours ago. Herbert Hoover, who served in Wilson's administration, said Wilson's mind had lost its "resiliency" and its ability to reason clearly.

Indeed, autopsies and studies of flu victims all came to the conclusion that its effect on the nervous system were as great as its effects on the respiratory system. There was delirium and psychoses.

The consequences in Wilson's case were enormous. After 5 days in bed and too ill to go out, Wilson insisted on rejoining the post-World-War-I peace negotiations, with British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau, and Italian Prime Minister Vittorio Orlando coming to his room. They found a different man. Lloyd George commented on Wilson's "nervous and spiritual breakdown in the middle of the conference." Before the conference, he supported self-determination around the world. After getting the flu, he gave in to Clemenceau on everything and agreed to a deal that punished Germany and preserved the British and French imperial ambitions. This laid the groundwork for a century of wars, including World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the various wars in the Middle East. The flu may also have laid the groundwork for Wilson's stroke and incapacitation a few months later.

The message from this episode, as recounted by John Barry, a professor in the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and author of a book on the Spanish flu, is that an attack of a virus that causes a pandemic can be devastating, even after the initial symptoms subside. If Donald Trump is released from Walter Reed today and claims everything is back to normal, that should be regarded with more than a bit of skepticism until we've seen evidence of it. (V)

Post-Debate Polls: Biden Up by Double Digits Nationally

A new Reuters/Ipsos national poll taken Friday and Saturday has Joe Biden at 51% and Donald Trump at 41% among likely voters. This is the widest lead in an Ipsos poll in a month. It was taken entirely after the New York Times reported on Trump's taxes and after the presidential debate, but partly before and partly after Trump's hospitalization began. Like all polls, this is a only a snapshot in time and polls in a few days will give a better feeling for how Trump's health may be playing a role in voters' minds.

One ominous sign for Republicans from the poll is that 9 in 10 Democrats and 5 in 10 Republicans believe that if Trump had taken the coronavirus more seriously, he wouldn't have gotten sick. That sounds more like: "It's your own fault" than "I am going to vote for you out of sympathy," but the next poll will shed more light on this. Closely related to this is that only 34% think that Trump has been telling the truth about the virus while 55% think he has not been.

An NBC/WSJ poll taken Wednesday and Thursday of last week (so, after the debate but before the announcement that Trump has COVID-19) has Biden at 53% and Trump at 39%, a 14-point gap, the largest lead in the NBC/WSJ poll the entire year. Having a challenger with a lead of over 10 points and over 50% is never good for an incumbent. That means even if all the undecided voters go for the incumbent (which is very rare), that's not enough.

Late yesterday a Yahoo News/YouGov poll was released that has Biden ahead 48% to 40%. It was taken Thursday and Friday. If we average all three national polls, Biden is up by 11 points. But Trump's hospitalization is going to swamp everything else, so we will have to wait a few more days to see how it plays out in the polling. (V)

Biden Is Doing Well Compared to Previous Democrats

If you click on the Electoral-vote graphs link to the left of the map above, you get the time series for the electoral votes during the course of the year. This site has been going since 2004, so we have comparable graphs now for five presidential elections. Here they are:

Electoral vote graphs from 2004 to 2020

The five graphs above show the electoral votes for only the states that are solidly (≥5 point margin) for one candidate or the other. States that are, for example, 45 to 49, don't count. The reason for looking only at "solid" states is that a lead of 5 or more points is (1) outside the margin of sampling error, and (2) much harder to whittle away than a lead of a point or two.

As you can see in the top graph, Biden was under 270 EVs until the beginning of May, then he has been above ever since. In contrast, in 2016, Hillary Clinton was over 270 until June, but when Donald Trump finally snagged the Republican nomination, she dropped under 270 for the rest of the campaign except for a short-lived campaign bump. After then-FBI Director James Comey announced that he had found more of her emails, she sank like a stone, as you can see in the graph.

In 2012, Barack Obama had a lead early in the year, but after April, he was mostly under 270 for the rest of the year. What saved him in the end was winning almost all the states that were close. Here is the map as of the morning of Election Day in 2012. As you can see, Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, and New Hampshire were all swing states. If you look at the final results, Obama won them all. The only swing state he lost was North Carolina. So one road to victory is to win all the swing states. Still, nailing down 270 before the election is less stressful if you can do it.

In 2008, we see a steady, and mostly linear, rise for Obama from mid-March (when we began keeping score) until the end, except for a temporary dip after the Republican National Convention. But as of Oct. 7, he hit 270 in the "solid" states and never dropped below 270 again.

In 2004, neither candidate was above 270 for more than a day at any time during the race.

This year has been so tumultuous that comparisons with the past have to be taken with mucho sodium chloride. Nevertheless, Biden's score in the solid states has been above 270 for 5 months, which is stronger than any candidate's lead in any of the four previous elections. (V)

Voting Has Started in More States

In October so far, eight new states plus D.C. have sent out absentee ballots: California, Connecticut, Florida, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio and South Carolina. They join the 27 states that sent out absentee ballots in September, meaning that absentee voting is now underway in 35 states. Iowa will send the ballots out tomorrow and the remaining states will do it next week.

Six states began early voting in October. They are California, Iowa, Maine, Montana, Nebraska and South Carolina. Together with the nine states that started in-person voting in September early voting is open in 15 states now. Ten more start next week. (V)

Trump Campaign Has to Rethink Everything Now

Donald Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis has sent the Trump campaign into disarray. Everything from rallies to fundraising has to be rethought, with only 4 weeks to erase Joe Biden's lead. One of the most fundamental problems is that the campaign was structured to concentrate all power at the very top. With the very top now out of action, the campaign is unable to make decisions and is floundering.

To start with, rallies in Florida, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Arizona have been canceled. A high-dollar fundraiser in Los Angeles won't happen as scheduled next week. Even the campaign headquarters in Arlington, VA, has to be evacuated and subjected to a deep cleaning. Campaign staffers who have been exposed to someone with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis (like, say, campaign manager Bill Stepien) have to self-quarantine. With no candidate, no office, and no campaign staff, how do you run a campaign in the homestretch?

Worst of all, the strategy has to be radically altered. The original plan was to ignore COVID-19 and pretend it is no worse than the common cold. With the candidate in the hospital on account of it, that is not a viable strategy. There is no Plan B and the campaign manager, who should theoretically be coming up with one, is also sick.

Another big problem is money. The Democrats are raising money like there is no tomorrow. Joe Biden has announced that his September haul exceeded the record August haul of $364 million. ActBlue has raised $500 million since Ruth Bader Ginsburg died. The Democrats may be sitting on close to a billion dollars now. The Republicans are nowhere near that. How do they fundraise without a functioning candidate? Worse yet, big donors generally want the candidate to promise them some special favor before writing a check. But if the candidate isn't available, that is less likely to happen. Worse yet, if the narrative that Trump will lose begins to really set in, will big donors really be willing to pony up millions knowing they will probably get nothing in return?

In short, the Trump campaign has a lot of problems and virtually no time to solve them. On the positive side, it is not clear that campaigns even matter that much. Most people have already decided whom they will vote for and nothing will change that. But to win, Trump has to change that. (V)

What Happens If Mike Pence Also Gets Sick?

The 25th Amendment clearly states what happens if the president gets sick and can't do his job: The vice president and a majority of the cabinet can declare him (temporarily) unable to function and then the vice president becomes acting president, nuclear codes and all. But what if POTUS and VPOTUS are both sick? Good question. If they are both dead, it's (maybe) easy: Federal law says the Speaker of the House becomes president. But what if they are both in the ICU and unable to even breathe on their own, let alone order a retaliatory nuclear strike if suddenly needed?

Dick Cheney understood that and wrote a secret resignation letter and gave it to a White House lawyer to use if his heart condition left him unable to either function or resign. Once it became public, the president could then submit a nomination for a new veep to Congress. But even if Mike Pence has done that, what would happen if the president was on life support and was alive, but unable to submit a nomination to Congress?

Could Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) declare herself to be acting president? What if AG William Barr ruled that she wasn't eligible as long as Trump and Pence were technically not dead? What if Pelosi's first act after taking the oath of office was to fire Barr before he could issue an opinion? Would the Supreme Court pick the president? It's not really in its job description.

If it seemed clear that either Trump or Pence was going to recover, Pelosi would never dare try to grab power, but what if it were clear that both were being kept alive by various machines and had no hope of recovery?

Politico has a long piece on this thorny matter. The founding parents back in the 18th century knew that people often died in their 40s and 50s. Fully one-third of the colonial governors died in office. At first they considered having the Chief Justice be the backup; later they considered the president of the Senate to be the backup. Eventually they decided that the runner-up in the electoral college should get a title (vice president) and be available in case the president keeled over one day. To give the VP something to do while waiting, they also made him president of the Senate, which was then perceived as a real job, analogous to speaker of the House. But until the 25th Amendment was ratified it wasn't even 100% clear whether a vice president taking over after a president's death was actually president or merely acting president. When William Henry Harrison died after a month in office, John Tyler's opponents initially didn't accept him as president, only as acting president.

But even with the 25th Amendment, which states that when the president dies, the veep becomes president, there is a problem: Can a member of the legislative branch succeed to the presidency? No less an authority than James Madison, who wrote most of the Constitution, didn't think so. What would happen if the presidency and vice presidency were vacant, the speaker (or president pro tem of the Senate) took the oath of office, and then #4 in line, the secretary of state, took them to court saying: "You are ineligible so I am president." The Supreme Court could declare that the Presidential Succession Act is unconstitutional because the speaker and pro tem are members of the legislative branch, not the executive branch. Whose orders would the armed forces follow? Starting in 1378, for 30 years the Roman Catholic Church had two popes (later three), although they didn't have command over nuclear weapons (V).

Voting Rights Group Raised $16 Million to Pay the Fines of Florida Felons

In 2018, Florida voters passed Amendment 4, which restored the voting rights for most felons. The Republican-controlled state legislature realized that many of the felons would vote for Democrats, so it passed a law requiring felons to pay all fines and court-ordered costs before they could vote. Democrats called this an unconstitutional poll tax and sued. The Democrats won at the district level but an appeals court overturned the decision.

Meanwhile, the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition raised $16 million from donations to pay the fines of the felons. In this way, 20,000 felons had their fines paid and could register to vote. However, voter registration in Florida closes today and ultimately very few of the nearly 800,000 eligible felons will be allowed to vote, so the Republicans successfully overruled the will of the people and won this battle.

To make sure that voting rights groups don't continue paying off fines so that felons can vote in 2022 and beyond, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody (R) has asked the FBI and the Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement to see if paying a felon's debt constitutes buying a vote, which is a felony in Florida. Leaders of groups that are paying off the fines, including one financed by Michael Bloomberg, are just making it possible for felons to register if they so wish, but they are not telling the felons who to vote for, so it is not vote buying. Still, if Moody can stop outside groups from paying felons' fines, Amendment 4 will be completely thwarted. (V)

Cunningham Sent Romantic Text Messages to a Woman Not His Wife

Talk about stupid. Imagine that you are running for the Senate, a powerful job you can possibly keep as long as you want. You are raising boatloads of money and are well on the way to winning. Even better for you, your opponent has COVID-19 and won't be able to campaign for a couple of critical weeks. Then you have a text conversation with a woman you probably don't know all that well about kissing each other and maybe spending the night together. Meet Cal Cunningham (D), who is (was?) leading Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC).

Yup. Cunningham did that and the texts were obtained and posted on a right-wing website. When Cunningham saw that, he came clean, admitted that he should never have done it and profusely apologized. If he still wins, he will be a successful politician since he already understands that the cover-up is often worse than the crime, and he is not trying to deny what happened or cover it up.

How the right-wing website obtained the messages isn't clear, but we guess the woman, a married PR strategist named Arlene Guzman Todd, is a possible source. Neither party is getting into the details. Pro tip: If you are running for high public office and you meet an attractive person out on the campaign trail, ask for their vote and maybe a donation, but leave it at that. He or she could support the other side and try to entrap you. In this case, Todd has a masters degree from Pepperdine University, which is a very conservative school. That alone suggests something about her. Of course, it is also possible that the Russian GRU hacked one of their phones.

The DSCC is sticking with Cunningham, emphasizing that he will fight for health care for all North Carolinians. Not a word about the texts in the statement by spokeswoman Lauren Passalacqua.

This isn't even the first time a North Carolina politician was involved in a sex scandal in October. Maybe there is something in the water there. In 2007, John Edwards, then a senator from the Tar Heel State, was simultaneously running for president and having an affair with Rielle Hunter, a videographer he hired to work on his campaign. The National Enquirer got wind of the affair and published it. Edwards and Hunter vigorously denied having an affair. The story died out. Then when Hunter had the baby in the summer of 2008, Edwards first denied but eventually admitted that he was the father. As you may recall, Edwards didn't get the nomination. Sometimes taking the hit up front is better than a drip drip drip of incriminating facts.

Will this sink Cunningham? Probably not, but who knows? First of all, it was just flirting. As far as we know, nothing more actually happened. Compared to what Donald Trump has gotten away with, flirting is pretty small potatoes. Second, it was just text, no photos. Third, there were messages in both directions, so it was consensual. Fourth, we don't think many Democrats will switch their vote on account of text flirting. Fifth, 319,000 North Carolinians have already voted, probably mostly Democrats, and those votes can't be taken back now. Sixth, the timing is good for Cunningham. If you are going to have a sex scandal, try to do it the same day the president is taken to the hospital with a potentially fatal disease so your story won't be the lead anywhere. (V)

Graham and Harrison Debate

In a year of unlikely political events, one of the strangest is having an unknown Black Democrat who has never before run for public office battle a three-term white Republican U.S. senator to a draw in South Carolina. But that's what Jaime Harrison (D) has done. The most recent poll, a Quinnipiac University poll from about a week ago, has it an exact tie, at 48% each. Since only 27% of the state is Black, Harrison is clearly pulling in a lot of white voters who are disgusted with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) for being such an over-the-top hypocrite. In 2016, he was one of Donald Trump's strongest opponents; now he is one of his biggest fans. No one knows what Graham actually believes—if anything.

Saturday evening, Graham and Harrison held their first debate, at Allen University, an HBCU in Columbia, SC. Harrison was well aware that Graham has been toadying up to Trump a lot recently and might be infected with the coronavirus, so he had a plexiglas barrier installed near his lectern to shield himself from any stray virus particles that Graham might be shedding.

To no one's surprise, Graham said that the failure to contain the coronavirus wasn't Donald Trump's fault. It was the fault of the 50 governors. Harrison placed the blame on Trump, the governors, and the Senate, which, of course, includes Graham.

Harrison was on the attack most of the time. For example, he criticized Graham for opposing new benefits for the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs on account of COVID-19. He also went after Graham on whether a Supreme Court vacancy should be filled in the last year of a president's term. In 2016, the Senator was a vociferous opponent of filling a vacancy a mere 9 months before an election. Now he is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and is planning to ram the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett through, even though (at least) two of the members of his committee have tested positive for COVID-19 and may not be able to attend the hearing.

Graham sought to tie Harrison to Nancy Pelosi and other well-known Democrats who are unpopular in South Carolina. The two also sparred over the police. Graham said Harrison wanted to defund the police. Harrison said that he wanted to reform the police, not defund them. A second debate will take place on Oct. 9. (V)

Pat Toomey Will Retire in 2022

Senate Republicans got some bad news yesterday: Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) said he will retire from the Senate in 2022. He also said he will not run for governor that year. Toomey is the third Republican senator from a purple state who will retire in 2022. The others are Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Richard Burr (R-NC). Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has not said if he will run again in 2022, but he will be 89 that year.

Even without having to defend three or four open states on unfriendly turf, Republicans are going to have a problem in 2022. They will be defending a total of 22 seats to the Democrats' 12 seats. That said, most of the other 18 Republican seats are relatively safe, except maybe Sen. Marco Rubio's seat in Florida, which is always a swing state. (V)

Why Trump Does Well with Working-Class Democrats

Many white urban and suburban professionals have a really hard time understanding how traditionally Democratic working-class voters could support Donald Trump. After all, they see him as a racist, misogynist, nepotistic, incompetent neo-fascist who has no respect for tradition or the law. Why doesn't everyone see that? A lot has been written about the "why," much of it assigning bigotry and stupidity to his supporters. But Stephanie Muravchik, a historian at the University of Virginia, and Jon Shields, a political scientist at Claremont McKenna College, tried something different. Instead of zipping into some Trump stronghold, interviewing ten people in a day, and then zipping out, they lived in three such places over a period of 3 years. They got to know the locals in bars, diners, churches, and town council meetings. Then they wrote a book, Trump's Democrats, about what they learned. The Bulwark published an article today by the two researchers summarizing their findings.

You might think the Republicans invented the idea of a populist authoritarian leader who cared little about the law, but you'd be wrong. The Democrats' Boss William Magear Tweed, who ran the corrupt Tammany Hall (that de facto ruled New York City with an iron fist from the early 1800s to the early 1930s) perfected the concept 160 years ago. A more recent example is Chicago's former Democratic Mayor Richard J. Daley.

The researchers studied Elliott County, KY, a small town with a history of coal mining and tobacco farming; Johnston, RI, a suburb of Providence; and Ottumwa, IA, a small industrial city with a meatpacking plant. What they found in these three Trump strongholds was a culture with crass, thin-skinned, nepotistic, corrupt, authoritarian Democratic leaders who delivered. Think: Boss Tweed, but on a smaller scale and in rural areas.

In all the places, the boss and his supporters are held together by a paternalistic social contract in which the people support the boss and he delivers for them. Sometimes literally. David Blair ran Elliott County for decades until the feds got him for using public money to buy gravel and then giving it to local farms to use on their private roads. But it was precisely that kind of favor that made him popular and kept him in office so long. He got farm boys union cards and sent them to Cincinnati to work at good-paying jobs. He hired them to work in his coal mines in return for support. He also hired his oldest son as his deputy—something every county executive had done for 50 years. Do you think it odd that no one there blinked at the idea of Donald Trump hiring his son-in-law to run those parts of the government he wasn't interested in? It was expected. Family ties are the basis for everything in Elliott County and the other places studied.

In Johnston, Mayor Joe Polisena and a few other families run the town. Polisena's son was just elected to the town council to groom him to be mayor when Joe retires. Is there corruption there? You betcha, but that's just how things work. If you support Polisena and need a favor, his door is always open; otherwise, not so much.

When Ottumwa's mayor, Jerry Parker, was arrested for running a gambling den in his home, he refused to step down. Then he was reelected by a larger margin than before due to all his previous work for the working-class neighborhoods, especially work to control flooding in some of them.

All of the local Democratic leaders believe in the "honor culture." When their opponents attack them, they don't go high, as Michelle Obama suggested, they tear them apart. Being tough is what counts. Locals told the researchers that Obama was a pushover but Trump is no pushover. They respect that. A lot. They see him as a strong leader. As Bob Woodward wrote in his book Fear, real power is fear. Never show weakness. That's the honor culture the researchers found in the communities they studied. It's completely foreign to urban professionals living in leafy college towns, which is why they cannot understand why Democrats would support Trump.

Trump fits the model of the local Democratic leader much better than people like John McCain, Mitt Romney, or the Bushes. He's tough, he promises to get things done without too much regard whether it is legal, and promises to deliver stuff to his supporters—and only to his supporters—whether it is economic (jobs) or cultural (conservative judges). Joe Biden doesn't fit this model at all, which is why he will do badly in places like these. (V)

Today's Presidential Polls

Ohio has historically been a bellwether and it looks like it is returning to that traditional role. It is a microcosm of America in many ways, with an industrial north and Appalachia in the southeast. Pennsylvania may also be returning to its traditional status—as a blue state. But there everything depends on whether the late mail-in ballots from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are delivered on time. (V)

State Biden Trump Start End Pollster
Ohio 47% 47% Sep 30 Oct 02 YouGov
Pennsylvania 51% 44% Sep 30 Oct 02 YouGov

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Oct04 How Sick is Trump?
Oct04 Sunday Mailbag
Oct04 Today's Presidential Polls
Oct03 Trump Heads to Walter Reed
Oct03 COVID Complicates Committee Conclave
Oct03 Saturday Q&A
Oct03 Today's Presidential Polls
Oct03 Today's Senate Polls
Oct02 The Trumps Have COVID-19
Oct02 House Approves COVID-19 Relief Measure
Oct02 Trump Finally Condemns White Supremacists
Oct02 New York City Botches the Absentee Ballots
Oct02 The Pope Is No Dope
Oct02 Could McCain Bring in Arizona for Biden?
Oct02 Money, Money, Money
Oct02 Today's Presidential Polls
Oct02 Today's Senate Polls
Oct01 Some Takeaways from the Debate
Oct01 Results of a Debate Focus Group
Oct01 Republicans Fear Trump Blew It
Oct01 Senate Republicans Locate Missing Spines and Other Body Parts
Oct01 Biden Urged to Demand New Debate Rules--but He May Not Have to
Oct01 Money Is Pouring in for the Democrats
Oct01 Both Parties Worry about Absentee Ballots
Oct01 Barrett Won't Pledge to Recuse Herself from 2020 Election Cases
Oct01 Appeals Court Lets Extended Deadline for Ballot Receipt in Wisconsin Stand
Oct01 The Six Races That May Determine Whether Future Elections Are Honest
Oct01 Voters Don't Expect to Know the Winner Nov. 3
Oct01 Seniors Are Up for Grabs in Florida
Oct01 Today's Presidential Polls
Oct01 Today's Senate Polls
Sep30 What a Sh*tshow
Sep30 All of Trump's Success Is Based on Two Lucky Breaks
Sep30 Biden and Harris Release Their 2019 Tax Returns
Sep30 The Nerd Who Could Save America
Sep30 A COVID-19 Relief Deal Is Still Possible
Sep30 House Democrats Are Moving from Defense to Offense
Sep30 Senate Democrats Are Moving from Defense to Offense, Too
Sep30 Today's Presidential Polls
Sep30 Today's Senate Polls
Sep29 Trump's Tax Troubles
Sep29 Debater Up!
Sep29 (Almost) One Million Votes Cast
Sep29 Biden Picks Up More Endorsements
Sep29 Senate Democrats Dust Off their Bag of Parliamentary Tricks
Sep29 House Democrats Unveil New COVID-19 Relief Bill
Sep29 COVID-19 Diaries: The Land Down Under
Sep29 Today's Presidential Polls
Sep29 Today's Senate Polls
Sep28 Biden Continues to Have a Strong National Lead over Trump