Weekly Presidential News Briefing: September 4th, 2020

September 4, 2020: Every weekday, Ballotpedia tracks the news, events, and results of the 2020 presidential election.

Here’s the latest from the campaign trail.

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Candidates by the Number

Notable Quotes of the Day

“We now have a name for our worst-case election scenario. It’s called a ‘red mirage.’

The term describes an election outcome in which early results appear to favor President Trump, but then tip toward a decisive victory for Joe Biden as more mail-in ballots are counted. It was coined by Josh Mendelsohn, CEO of Hawkfish—the political data firm founded by Michael Bloomberg—who warns in a new interview with Axios on HBO that this nightmarish scenario is not only possible but likely according to some of the firm’s modeling.

In one version, Trump could see a projected 408 electoral votes on election night, compared to 130 for Biden, but that’s with only 15% of the mail-in votes being counted, Axios reports. The tide could then turn to favor Biden as we count more votes—polling data shows Democrats are more likely to vote by mail.”

– Christopher ZaraFast Company 

“We shouldn’t overdo it. Hawkfish is presenting a scenario in which an apparent 408-130 win for the president on Nov. 3 eventually becomes a 334-204 Biden victory. That’s not impossible, but it’s a stretch. Many states count their absentee ballots rapidly; the California pattern of taking weeks to get it done is relatively rare. It’s possible that normally quick states will collapse this year given unprecedented use of mail voting, but most have been preparing for that possibility and are unlikely to be completely overwhelmed. As Politico’s Steven Shepard points out, large media organizations will also have exit polls, and while those are hardly perfect, the people who run them have had many cycles to get used to early and absentee voting.”

– Jonathan BernsteinBloomberg

Week in Review

Commission announces moderators for presidential debates

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced the moderators for the 2020 presidential and vice presidential debates. Fox News’ Chris Wallace, C-SPAN’s Steve Scully, and NBC News’ Kristen Welker will each moderate one of the presidential debates. USA Today’s Susan Page will moderate the vice presidential debate.

Each debate will be 90 minutes long without commercials. The first debate takes place in Cleveland, Ohio, on September 29.

Biden, Trump hit the campaign trail in battleground states

Joe Biden delivered remarks on his vision for America in southwestern Pennsylvania on Monday. His campaign’s press release said he was laying “out a core question voters face in this election: are you safe in Donald Trump’s America?”

He also spoke in Wilmington, Delaware, about school reopenings and the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday. Prior to his remarks, Biden received a briefing from education leaders in Wilmington on the subject.

On Thursday, Biden held a community meeting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, to discuss recent protests in the city following the police shooting of Jacob Blake. He also met with Blake’s family.

Donald Trump traveled to Louisiana and Texas on August 29 to meet with officials and relief workers following Hurricane Laura.

On Tuesday, Trump visited Kenosha, Wisconsin. He surveyed property damaged during protests in the city and hosted a roundtable discussion on community safety.

Trump also held a campaign rally in southwestern Pennsylvania on Thursday.

Facebook bans political ads in final week of election

Facebook will ban political ads in the week before the November 3 general election. “I generally believe the best antidote to bad speech is more speech, but in the final days of an election there may not be enough time to contest new claims,” Mark Zuckerberg said.

Biden, DNC raise record-breaking $365 million in August

Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee raised $365 million in August, bypassing Barack Obama’s record $193 million monthly total in September 2008. Donald Trump has not yet announced his numbers for the month.

Satellite groups target battleground states

Preserve America, a new pro-Trump super PAC led by Chris LaCivita, the Republican strategist behind the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads in 2004, launched a $30 million ad campaign in battleground states on Tuesday.

Republican Voters Against Trump is targeting 450,000 independent and Republican voters in Florida as part of an $8 million campaign called Project Orange Crush.

West removed from the ballot in Arizona, Virginia

Judges in Arizona and Virginia blocked Kanye West from appearing on the ballot as an independent presidential candidate after finding issues with his Republican affiliation and the validity of his electors, respectively.

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Flashback: August 31-September 4, 2016

  • August 21, 2016: Donald Trump met with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in Mexico City.
  • September 1, 2016: Donald Trump hired David N. Bossie as his deputy campaign manager.
  • September 2, 2016: The Federal Bureau of Investigation released notes from its July interview with Hillary Clinton regarding her use of a private email server while secretary of state.
  • September 3, 2016: Donald Trump discussed his agenda for Black voters during a church service at Great Faith Ministries in Detroit.
  • September 4, 2016: Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook discussed the campaign’s strategy in Florida.



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