TagDaily Presidential News Briefing

Daily Presidential News Briefing: October 14, 2020

October 14th, 2020: Welcome to today’s Daily Presidential News Briefing. In today’s edition, we check up on Facebook spending by the presidential candidates, discuss ad spending as we move into the last few weeks before the election, and provide you a selection of what we’re reading.


Notable Quote of the Day“It was late summer 2019 and Mr. Biden’s online fund-raising had slowed to such a trickle that his team basically had to shut down its digital advertising program. They knew the choice was self-defeating: No more online ads meant no more finding new donors. The campaign bottomed out in early September 2019 when Mr. Biden raised just $24,124.17 online in a day.

Now? On one recent day, Mr. Biden was raising more than that every two minutes.

The unlikely transformation of Mr. Biden, a 77-year-old whose seemingly limited appeal to small donors left him financially outflanked in the primaries, into perhaps the greatest magnet for online money in American political history is a testament to the ferocity of Democratic opposition to President Trump.”

– Shane Goldmacher and Rachel Shorey, The New York Times

Election Updates

  • Joe BidenDonald Trump, and their respective allied groups have spent more than $1 billion on television ads in 13 battleground states. Six states have received the bulk of spending—almost $9 for every $10 spent—Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Arizona.
  • Biden is spending more than $24 million on ads in 16 states this week, while Trump is spending more than $17 million in 11 states. Biden’s ads focus on Trump’s COVID-19 response, seniors, and criminal justice. Trump’s ads include law and order messaging and criticism of what Trump called the radical left. Biden’s ad buy includes Georgia, Iowa, Ohio, and Texas.
  • Biden said he was “not a fan of court packing” when asked if he would try to add more justices to the Supreme Court.
  • Trump is holding his third rally of the week in Des Moines, Iowa.
  • NBC News announced it will host a town hall with Trump in Miami on Thursday moderated by Savannah Guthrie.
  • America First Action launched a $10 million ad campaign in Florida, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin criticizing Biden’s tax plan.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: October 14, 2016

Republican pollster Whit Ayres said Donald Trump was “at a point where he’s trying to draw an inside straight now by campaigning primarily in Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio and North Carolina.”



CNN hosts Scranton town hall with Biden

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

September 17, 2020: CNN is hosting a town hall with Joe Biden on Thursday night. Donald Trump is holding a campaign rally in Mosinee, Wisconsin, on Thursday night.


DPNB campaign ad comparison feature, 2020 ("Red Handed" – Democratic National Committee)

DPNB campaign ad comparison feature, 2020 ("Joe Biden Has Done Absolutely Nothing for America" – Donald Trump)


“But with Florida’s registered Democrats for the first time requesting hundreds of thousands more mail-in ballots than Republicans, overseas ballots going out on Sept. 19 and polls showing a tight contest in the nation’s most populous swing state, a Trump loss is being considered as a possibility. The Trump campaign is considering pathways to the White House that do not include Florida.

A defeat in Florida would trigger a set of circumstances that just one Republican nominee in the last 100 years has been able to emerge from victoriously. Former President Calvin Coolidge in 1924 lost Florida but won the national election.

Without Florida’s 29 electoral college votes, Trump would be completely reliant on a trio of Upper-Midwest battleground states he narrowly won in 2016 — Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — and would need the electoral votes of at least one additional battleground state he previously lost, such as New Hampshire or Minnesota, in order to win a second term.”

– Francesca Chambers and David Smiley, McClatchy DC


Election Updates

  • CNN is hosting a town hall with Joe Biden on Thursday night in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Anderson Cooper will moderate the event.
  • The National Postal Mail Handlers Union endorsed Biden on Wednesday.
  • The Donald Trump campaign requested a federal judge prevent mail-in ballots in New Jersey from being counted 10 days prior to the election while a lawsuit is pending. It also requested that mail-in ballots without a postmark should not be accepted up to two days prior to the election.
  • Trump is holding a campaign rally in Mosinee, Wisconsin, on Thursday night. The event was previously scheduled for Friday.
  • An Idaho court ruled on Wednesday that Kanye West could remain on the ballot as an independent presidential candidate despite being registered to vote in Wyoming as a Republican.

What We’re Reading


Flashback: September 17, 2016

Bernie Sanders campaigned at Kent State University in Ohio on behalf of Hillary Clinton.

Click here to learn more.



CatholicVote launches $9.7 million anti-Biden campaign

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

September 16, 2020: National political advocacy group CatholicVote launched a $9.7 million ad campaign against Joe Biden. The Jo Jorgensen campaign announced that it had met ballot access requirements in all 50 states.


Facebook Spending, September 7-13, 2020


“Campaigns have also been forced to reconsider their conception of Pennsylvania’s political geography. The conventional wisdom was that western and eastern Pennsylvania were Democratic and central Pennsylvania was solidly Republican (memorably summarized by Democratic strategist James Carville’s quote that, between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was just Alabama). While this may have been true (at least politically) in, say, 2000, working-class western and northeastern Pennsylvania have slowly but surely been getting redder. As a result, Pennsylvania’s new geographic divide is between southeastern Pennsylvania and the rest of the state — in other words, the parts of the state that are culturally Northeastern and the parts that are culturally Midwestern or Appalachian.”

– Nathaniel Rakich, FiveThirtyEight


Election Updates

  • Joe Biden is delivering remarks in Wilmington, Delaware, about public health concerns and a COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday.
  • The Biden campaign began airing new ads in battleground states on Wednesday focused on healthcare and the Affordable Care Act. The campaign is spending $65 million on television, radio, and print advertising this week.
  • Scientific American endorsed Biden on Tuesday, marking the popular science magazine’s first presidential endorsement in its 175-year history.
  • National political advocacy group CatholicVote launched a $9.7 million ad campaign against Biden beginning with digital ads in Michigan and Pennsylvania focused on abortion.
  • Donald Trump will remain in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, where he will hold a call with Jewish leaders in the afternoon and deliver remarks at the National Republican Congressional Committee Battleground Dinner in the evening.
  • Trump discussed his response to the coronavirus pandemic, healthcare, and policing standards during a town hall in Philadelphia on Tuesday night.
  • The Jo Jorgensen campaign announced on Monday that it had met ballot access requirements in all 50 states. Jorgensen is the fifth Libertarian candidate to reach this milestone following candidates in 1980, 1992, 1996, and 2016.

What We’re Reading


Flashback: September 16, 2016

The country’s largest law enforcement union, the National Fraternal Order of Police, endorsed Donald Trump.

Click here to learn more.



Trump launches eight-figure ad campaign in battleground states

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

September 15, 2020: Donald Trump is launching an eight-figure ad campaign focused on the economy. Joe Biden is campaigning in Tampa and Kissimmee.


Poll Spotlight

Presidential poll highlights, 2019-2020 (OH Predictive Insights • Arizona • September 8-10, 2020)

Presidential poll highlights, 2019-2020 (Gravis Marketing • Arizona • September 10-11, 2020)

Presidential poll highlights, 2019-2020 (New York Times/Siena College Research Institute • Wisconsin • September 8-10, 2020)


Notable Quote of the Day

“A flip is also more plausible if you consider history. Texas is in the long process of realigning — again. It did so from the 1960s through the 1980s, culminating in 1994 with George W. Bush winning the governor’s mansion, much of it the result of Midwestern Republicans moving to the Texas suburbs. The same process is happening again but in reverse, from the early 2000s to today, from Republican to Democrat.

Texas has been purple a long time, with Democrats controlling the big cities but Republicans controlling the big state offices. The rest you know: In 2016, Trump beat Hillary Clinton by only 9 points, the smallest Republican margin in modern history. In 2018, not only did O’Rourke nearly upset Cruz, but he created a bow-wave of new Democrats swamping Republican congressional districts and elected judgeships.”

– Richard Parker, Houston Chronicle


Election Updates

  • On Monday, Joe Biden unveiled a series of digital and television ads aimed at Black voters in Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Two clips feature discussion in barbershops about voting and the coronavirus pandemic and a third ad focuses on criminal justice.
  • Biden is meeting with veterans in Tampa on Tuesday. He will also attend a Hispanic Heritage Month event in Kissimmee. The events mark his first public appearances in Florida since becoming the Democratic presidential nominee.
  • Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.) and media producer Haim Saban co-hosted a fundraiser for Biden on Monday night that brought in $4.5 million.
  • Donald Trump is launching an eight-figure ad campaign on Tuesday focused on the economy. The ad campaign, which Fox News reported cost more than $10 million, will run nationwide and in Arizona, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
  • Trump is traveling to Philadelphia on Tuesday to participate in an ABC News town hall at the National Constitution Center.
  • Trump spoke at a Latinos for Trump Coalition roundtable in Phoenix, Arizona, on Monday.
  • The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that Howie Hawkins would remain off the state ballot on Monday.

What We’re Reading


Flashback: September 15, 2016

Donald Trump shared the results of a medical physical written by Dr. Harold Bernsein.

Click here to learn more.



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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Facebook Spending

Poll Spotlight

Campaign Ad Spotlight

Candidates on the Issues

What we’re reading this week:​​​​​​

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.


Weekly Presidential News Briefing: August 28th, 2020

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

Here’s the latest from the campaign trail.

Candidates by the Numbers

Notable Quotes of the Day

“Biden is not the first politician, upon entering the general election phase of the campaign, to pivot towards the center and try to build a broad coalition. And Trump is not the first politician to wield social issues designed to drive wedges through the electorate and complicate attempts by opponents to build a broad coalition.

What’s unusual is seeing these two strategies deployed with such force at the same time. Trump has done so little over the course of his 3½ years as president to broaden his appeal that he has little choice but to believe his base can once again thread the Electoral College needle. Biden defied conventional wisdom by talking as much as he did about bipartisanship while winning a partisan primary, so he has every reason to lean in even harder now. The result is a general election where both candidates are fighting over Republican and right-leaning independent voters.

– Bill ScherRealClearPolitics

“Political conventions are usually as much about a party’s next nominee as they are about its current flag-bearer. The Republican convention on Monday night featured a glimpse of the coming fight to define the post-Trump world: Will it look and sound more like Donald Trump Jr. or Nikki Haley? …

With these speeches from Haley and Don Jr. Monday we are starting to see the GOP divide into two halves: one that tries to straddle the pre- and post-Trump GOP, and another that fully embraces undiluted Trumpism. The quality of the messenger matters a great deal. Maybe it’s only Donald Trump himself who can pull off this act again. But over the last five years the straddlers in the GOP have not fared well against those who wholeheartedly embrace what Trump has wrought.”

– Ryan LizzaPolitico

Week in Review

Republican National Convention concludes with Trump acceptance speech

The Republican National Convention (RNC) concluded on Thursday after four days of virtual speeches and limited in-person events in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Each night of the convention had a different theme: Land of Heroes, Land of Promise, Land of Opportunity, and Land of Greatness. Featured speakers included former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.), First Lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Ivanka Trump.

Donald Trump formally accepted the Republican presidential nomination from the White House grounds on Thursday. He highlighted his first-term accomplishments and discussed the economy, coronavirus pandemic, protests, and public safety. Trump also attacked Biden, calling him “a Trojan horse for socialism.”

The RNC also voted on August 22 to extend the party’s 2016 platform to 2024 because “it did not want a small contingent of delegates formulating a new platform without the breadth of perspectives within the ever-growing Republican movement.” The committee’s resolution also said that the Republican Party would continue to support Trump’s America First agenda.

Biden and allies counter Republican convention with ads

The Joe Biden campaign launched several ads this week in national and battleground state markets, including a two-minute ad during the final night of the Republican National Convention. The ad, which discusses Biden’s vision for the country and does not mention Donald Trump, will continue to run in battleground states over the weekend.

The campaign also released an ad in Ohio and North Carolina focused on Trump’s call to boycott Goodyear tires because one of the company’s factories banned MAGA hats. Three Spanish-language and bilingual ads about the coronavirus pandemic and healthcare are also airing in Arizona and Florida.

The Lincoln Project launched a $4 million ad campaign in Arizona, Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The campaign focuses on the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic. The Democratic-aligned group, American Bridge, released a digital ad featuring Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, saying Trump could not be trusted.

Ranked-choice voting will not be used in Maine for presidential election

On Monday, a Maine Superior Court judge ruled that a veto referendum on ranked-choice voting (RCV) for presidential primaries and general elections would appear on the November ballot. Maine was set to use RCV for the presidential election in November. Since the veto referendum has qualified for the ballot, however, the law is now suspended until voters decide to either uphold or repeal it. Therefore, RCV will not be used to elect the president in Maine this year.

West files a lawsuit for ballot access in Ohio

Kanye West filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) seeking to be placed on Ohio’s ballot after LaRose’s office disqualified his petition, saying there were mismatched signatures in his paperwork.

Republican staffers and officials endorse Biden

Twenty-seven Republican former members of Congress, including former Sens. Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Gordon Humphrey (N.H.), and John Warner (Va.), announced their support for Joe Biden on Monday.

Thirty-four former 2012 Romney presidential campaign staffers, calling themselves Romney Alumni for Biden, also signed an open letter backing Biden’s campaign. Another group, 43 Alumni for Biden shared a list of nearly 300 former Bush administration and campaign officials who have endorsed Biden.

More than 100 former John McCain congressional and campaign staffers also endorsed Biden on Thursday.

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Poll Spotlight

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What We’re Reading

Flashback: August 24th – 28th, 2016

  • August 24, 2016: Purple PAC, a group supporting Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson, launched a $1 million national ad buy.
  • August 25, 2016: Jill Stein discussed NATO, Russia, Syria, and climate change in an interview with the editorial board of The Washington Post.
  • August 26, 2016: The Trump campaign hired Bill Stepien as national field director.
  • August 27, 2016: The Clinton campaign launched an ad focused on Donald Trump’s statements about and to Black voters.
  • August 28, 2016: Jake Tapper interviewed Mike Pence about immigration on CNN’s State of the Union.


Weekly Presidential News Briefing: August 17th – 21st, 2020

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

Here’s the latest from the campaign trail.

Share the latest from the campaign trail.

Candidates by the Numbers

Notable Quotes of the Day

“This was not the Michelle Obama of hope and change that defined her husband’s rise. Michelle was always the less sentimental half of the Obama team, the one with slightly more pessimistic assumptions about many pockets of America. But it was still jarring, 16 years after her husband declared at the 2004 Democratic Convention in Boston that there were no blue states and no red states, to hear Michelle Obama plainly say ‘that my message won’t be heard by some people’ because ‘we live in a nation that is deeply divided, and I am a Black woman speaking at the Democratic Convention.’ …

Michelle is the hard-headed realist from the South Side of Chicago who suggested in her memoir that Trump’s election confirmed some ugly truths she had always harbored about the United States. In many ways, the Democrats are still the party of Barack, but they are living in Michelle’s world.”

– Ryan LizzaPolitico chief Washington correspondent
“The Iowa caucus is 840 days away. Candidates that don’t use these opportunities to prepare are making a profound mistake. Any opportunity to build your brand, build your list and flex your political muscle should be taken advantage of.

In 2024, people are going to ask what you did in 2020 to get the president reelected, save the Senate and win the House. Where were you when it mattered?”

– Jeff Roe, Republican strategist
“Surveys among Democratic voters and activists repeatedly showed that, even when they didn’t see Biden as their top candidate, they saw him as the most electable, and overall, they prioritized electability to a far greater degree than they had in recent elections.

Biden was also, in some ways, a relatively easy choice for party insiders — he was broadly popular among the party’s voters, performed well in general election matchup polls, was closely tied to the Obama administration as its former VP, and was one of the only candidates who received widespread support from Black voters. But, at the end of the day, Biden also represented a safe choice for a party that had tried something new in 2016 and, in the eyes of many, had been punished for it.”

– Seth Masket, director of the Center on American Politics and the University of Denver

Week in Review

Biden receives Democratic presidential nomination at national convention

The Demoocratic National Convention concluded Thursday night with an address from Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. He discussed the economy, race relations, and the coronavirus pandemic. “May history be able to say that the end of this chapter of American darkness began here tonight as love and hope and light joined in the battle for the soul of the nation. And this is a battle that we, together, will win,” Biden said.

Kamala Harris became the first Black and Asian American woman to accept a major party’s vice presidential nomination on Wednesday night. In her acceptance speech, she discussed her upbringing and exposure to the civil rights movement.

Other featured speakers throughout the week included Sen. Bernie Sanders, former First Lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former Second Lady Jill Biden. former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and former President Barack Obama. The virtual keynote address featured 17 young party leaders.

Trump hits campaign trail during Democratic National Convention

Donald Trump rallied his own supporters during the Democratic National Convention in four states: Arizona, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

In Yuma, Arizona, Trump accepted the endorsement of the National Border Patrol Council on Tuesday. He also held a campaign event in Scranton, Pennsylvania—Joe Biden’s birthplace—on Thursday afternoon. The speech’s theme was “a half-century of Joe Biden failing America,” according to the campaign.

During the final night of the Democratic convention, Trump also appeared on Fox News’ Hannity where he discussed the coronavirus pandemic and using law enforcement as poll watchers.

Trump counters Democratic convention with digital ad campaign, Biden releases first Kamala ad

Donald Trump launched a large digital ad campaign on YouTube and other digital platforms, like Hulu, during the Democratic National Convention. The spending, which was expected to reach $10 million, included an ad on the main banner of YouTube for four days beginning on Tuesday and ad space on The Wall Street JournalThe Washington Post, and FoxNews.com.

One of the digital ads questioned Joe Biden’s mental acuity by comparing clips of his speeches from 2015 and 2016 to 2020. The ad ends with the phrase, “What happened to Joe Biden?” The Trump campaign also released a two-minute digital ad focused on Hunter Biden’s business associations with China.

Joe Biden released his first campaign ad featuring Kamala Harris as his running mate on Saturday. The clip, which targets Latino voters in Arizona and Florida, is also the campaign’s first bilingual ad, using a mixture of English and Spanish in the narration.

Republican National Convention begins on August 24

The 2020 Republican National Convention begins on Monday, August 24, in Charlotte, North Carolina, where 336 delegates—six from each state and territory rather than full delegations—will assemble for the roll call. Each night of the convention has a different theme: Land of Heroes, Land of Promise, Land of Opportunity, and Land of Greatness.

Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, First Lady Melania Trump, Sen. Joni Ernst (Iowa), former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) are expected to speak throughout the week. Trump will accept the Republican nomination from the White House grounds.

Want more? Find the daily details here:

Facebook Spending

Poll Spotlight

Campaign Ad Spotlight

Candidates on the Issues

What we read this week

Flashback: August 17th – 21st, 2016

  • August 17, 2016: Donald Trump received his first classified national security briefing.
  • August 18, 2016: The Clinton Foundation announced that it would no longer accept foreign and corporate donations if Hillary Clinton were elected president.
  • August 19, 2016: Paul Manafort resigned as the chairman of the Trump campaign.
  • August 20, 2016: Donald Trump discussed immigration policies with his newly formed Hispanic advisory council.
  • August 21, 2016: Green Party nominee Jill Stein wrote an open letter to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump calling on them to support a presidential debate that includes third party candidates.


Weekly Presidential News Briefing: August 7th, 2020

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


Candidates by the Numbers


Notable Quotes of the Day“How the new VP candidate is rolled out is also an important test. Even if you believe my theory that the VP pick only matters for a few days, those few days are very important. Developing a showcase announcement tour that highlights the strengths of the candidate and how they both complement and reinforce each other is both a messaging challenge and a cultural test of how well the running mates and their respective staff members can work together. McCain and his staff had significant problems dealing with Palin and her staff. On the flip side, the bus tour out of the Democratic convention in 1992 cemented the generational change both Clinton and Gore were aiming to convey.”

Joe Lockhart, CNN

“The real margin of error is often about double the one reported. The notion that a typical margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points leads people to think that polls are more precise than they really are. Why is that? For starters, the margin of error addresses only one source of potential error: the fact that random samples are likely to differ a little from the population just by chance. But there are three other, equally important sources of error in polling: nonresponse, coverage error (where not all the target population has a chance of being sampled) and mismeasurement. Not only does the margin of error fail to account for those other sources of potential error, it implies to the public that they do not exist, which is not true.

Several recent studies show that the average error in a poll estimate may be closer to 6 percentage points, not the 3 points implied by a typical margin of error. While polls remain useful in showing whether the public tends to favor or oppose key policies, this hidden error underscores the fact that polls are not precise enough to call the winner in a close election.”

Courtney Kennedy, Pew Research Center


Week in Review

Biden makes $280 million in ad reservations in 15 battlegrounds

Joe Biden reserved $280 million in advertising—$220 million for television and $60 million for digital—that will target Donald Trump on his response to the coronavirus pandemic. The ads will air in 15 states, including 10 that Trump won in 2016: Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, Iowa, and Ohio.

The Biden campaign released a national ad targeting Black voters on Thursday. “And just like our ancestors who stood up to the violent racists of a generation ago, we will stand up to this president and say, ‘No more,’” the ad’s narrator says.

Trump, Club for Growth attack Biden in new ads

Donald Trump resumed airing ads on Monday with a focus on early voting states, including Arizona, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina. Trump tweeted, “We are doing a new ad campaign on Sleepy Joe Biden that will be out on Monday. He has been brought even further LEFT than Crazy Bernie Sanders ever thought possible.”

The Trump campaign also released a new Spanish-language ad that connects Joe Biden and progressive policies to socialism in Latin America.

Club for Growth is launching a $5 million advertising campaign in Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin attacking Biden for opposing emergency parental choice grants for school. The ad will begin airing on August 10 and run for three weeks.

Trump, RNC top Biden and DNC in July fundraising

Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee (RNC) announced on Wednesday that they raised $165 million in July, topping the $140 million raised by Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in the same month.

Trump and the RNC ended the month with more than $300 million on hand, while Biden and the DNC had $294 million.

Trump sues Nevada for mail-in ballot program, praises Florida’s process

The Donald Trump campaign filed a lawsuit against Nevada after the governor signed a bill that would automatically send mail-in ballots to active voters.

Trump tweeted, “In an illegal late night coup, Nevada’s clubhouse Governor made it impossible for Republicans to win the state. Post Office could never handle the Traffic of Mail-In Votes without preparation. Using Covid to steal the state. See you in Court!”

He said that he supported mail-in voting in Florida. “Over a long period of time, they’ve been able to get the absentee ballots done extremely professionally. Florida is different from other states,” he said.

Biden will not appear in Milwaukee to accept Democratic nomination

The Democratic National Convention Committee announced Wednesday that Joe Biden and other speakers will not travel to Milwaukee for the national convention. Biden will instead accept the nomination from Delaware.

West receives help from some Republicans in ballot access campaign

New York Magazine reported that one of Kanye West’s electors in Vermont, Chuck Wilton, is also a delegate to the Republican National Convention. Gregg Keller, the former executive director of the American Conservative Union, was listed as West’s point of contact in Arkansas.

Republican attorneys and activists in Colorado, Ohio, and Wisconsin have also been involved with West’s ballot access campaign.

When asked if his campaign was a spoiler since he would not be on enough ballots to win 270 electoral votes, West responded, “I’m not going to argue with you. Jesus is King.” On potentially hurting Biden’s chances in the race, West said, “I’m not denying it; I just told you.”

Hawkins loses ballot access suit in Ohio

The Sixth Circuit ruled on Monday that ballot access laws in Ohio were not unconstitutionally burdensome given the coronavirus pandemic. Howie Hawkins and independent candidate, Dario Hunter, had filed the suit for ballot access relief.

Debate commission rejects Trump’s request for fourth debate

Representing the Donald Trump campaign, Rudy Giuliani sent a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates requesting a fourth debate be held in early September before states begin sending out absentee ballots. If not, Giuliani said the third debate should be moved from October 22 to the first week in September.

The Commission on Presidential Debates rejected the Trump campaign’s request to add a fourth debate or alter the schedule. “While more people will likely vote by mail in 2020, the debate schedule has been and will be highly publicized. Any voter who wishes to watch one or more debates before voting will be well aware of that opportunity,” the commission’s co-chairs said.

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Candidates on the Issues


What we read this week

Flashback: August 3-7, 2016

  • August 3, 2016: Hillary Clinton placed campaign chair John Podesta and senior adviser Minyon Moore in charge of her White House transition operation.
  • August 4, 2016: The Green Party began its national convention in Houston.
  • August 5, 2016: U.S. Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) endorsed Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson, becoming the first member of Congress to do so.
  • August 6, 2016: Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka received the Green Party’s nominations for president and vice president., respectively.
  • August 7, 2016: John Kasich said the Trump campaign had contacted his aides about his interest in running for vice president.

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Republican National Convention events in Jacksonville canceled

July 24, 2020: Donald Trump announced on Thursday that the Jacksonville portion of the Republican National Convention was canceled. Spending in the 2020 presidential election cycle has passed the $1 billion mark.


 

Candidates on the Issues: Student Loan Debt



Notable Quote of the Day

“Anxious Democrats are already fretting about nightmare scenarios in which Trump uses emergency powers to cancel the election, calls in the military to ‘oversee’ voting, or even refuses to vacate the White House. But conversations with more than a dozen campaign strategists, security officials and election administrators make clear that the most likely picture this fall is something less theatrical, and every bit as destabilizing. November 3, even if it proceeds as scheduled, is likely to bring bureaucratic snafus and foreseeable chaos unfolding on a hundred different fronts at once, in a thousand voting precincts—all of which will leave the U.S. with its most uncertain, disputed result in a lifetime.

People often deploy the ‘perfect storm’ metaphor incorrectly, using it to describe a surprise collision of events that catches its victims off guard. But that’s not how perfect storms really work: In Sebastian Junger’s book about a deadly Atlantic Ocean gale that popularized the term, the storm was a well-foreseen event, with serious warnings, that people saw coming and chose instead to ignore—until it was too late, and the waves overwhelmed them. That’s how this election is starting to look to experts.”

– Garrett M. Graff, journalist and historian


Election Updates

  • Joe Biden added four new senior staff in Pennsylvania, including Larry Hailsham Jr. as state political director and Michael Feldman as state communications director
  • MeidasTouch, a Democratic super PAC, is expanding its ad campaign in Texas with a six-figure ad buy in the Houston and Dallas markets. The campaign focuses on Donald Trump’s responses to the arrest of Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell, a 2017 white supremacist rally, and John McCain.
  • Trump announced on Thursday that the Jacksonville portion of the Republican National Convention was canceled in response to the coronavirus pandemic. “I looked at my team and I said the timing for this event is not right. It’s just not right,” Trump said. The party will still conduct official business on the first day in Charlotte.
  • Spending in the 2020 presidential election cycle has passed the $1 billion mark, with Trump and his affiliated party committees spending over $900 million since 2017 and Biden crossing $165 million since he entered the race.
  • Howie Hawkins’ running mate, Angela Walker, is traveling to Milwaukee on Saturday to help gather petition signatures for the Wisconsin ballot.
  • Jo Jorgensen is holding a rally in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, on Saturday. Spike Cohen, her running mate, will hold a march for police accountability in Columbus, Ohio.

What We’re Reading


Flashback: July 24, 2016

Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced she would resign after leaked emails suggested party officials favored Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders.

Click here to learn more.



Biden, Obama discuss healthcare and Trump in new campaign video

July 23, 2020: The Biden campaign is releasing “President Obama and Vice President Biden: A Socially Distanced Conversation” on Thursday. Jo Jorgensen released a digital campaign ad focused on foreign policy.

Campaign Ad Comparison

"Truth" - Joe Biden, campaign ad

"Break In" - Donald Trump, campaign ad



Notable Quote of the Day

“Polls show a tight race for president in Georgia, forcing Trump to start airing ads in the state over the summer. And Republican-aligned groups are pouring more than $21 million into TV campaigns backing GOP candidates for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats on the ballot. But Biden’s campaign still has little organizational footprint in Georgia, relying instead on the state Democratic Party and surrogates to promote his campaign and drive outreach efforts. The state party shifted its organizing apparatus to focus on vote-by-mail, resulting in more than 1.6 million voter contacts revolving around absentee ballots this year.”

– Greg Bluestein, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Election Updates

  • Joe Biden is releasing a video on Thursday featuring Biden and Barack Obama talking about the presidency, the coronavirus pandemic, healthcare, and other issues. The campaign titled the video “President Obama and Vice President Biden: A Socially Distanced Conversation.”
  • During a virtual town hall organized by the Service Employees International Union, Biden called Donald Trump the first racist president of the United States. Trump responded, “I’ve done more for Black Americans than anybody with the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln. Nobody has even been close.”
  • draft of the Democratic Party platform mentions Medicare for All for the first time, Politico reported on Wednesday. The Democratic National Committee’s Platform Committee will consider the document on July 27.
  • The Trump campaign has made 3 million voter contacts in North Carolina, according to a spokeswoman from the Republican National Committee. The campaign has more than 120 staffers in the state.
  • Howie Hawkins shared a blog post he wrote about non-voters, describing them as alienated rather than apathetic. He highlighted turnout rates among working-class voters.
  • Jo Jorgensen released a digital campaign ad, “War Is Over,” focused on foreign policy and national security. “We need to have a strong military defending our shores, but there’s no reason for us to be defending the rest of the world. It only makes things worse. We’ve got to come home,” Jorgensen says in the clip.

What We’re Reading


Flashback: July 23, 2016

The Democratic Rules Committee voted to establish a Unity Commission tasked with making recommendations on the primary process.

Click here to learn more.



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