Extended Mail-In Deadlines May Boost Biden: Campaign Update

Five closely fought states have extended deadlines for mail-in ballots to be counted. President Donald Trump is tied with Democratic nominee Joe Biden in three states he won in 2016. And a Biden ad uses 2016 flashbacks to try to scare Democrats into action.

There are 41 days until the election.

Other Developments:

  • Brett Kavanaugh Emerges as Unlikely Liberal Hope for Court Swing Vote
  • Trump Court Plan Quickens With a Pick Due Saturday, Path to Vote
  • Mike Pompeo Hits Campaign Trail for Trump in Shift for Top Diplomat
  • Crucial North Carolina Extends Deadline for Ballot Counting

Extended Mail-In Deadlines May Boost Biden

You may have to wait a little longer to find out who won the Nov. 3 election, likely helping Biden while also potentially giving Trump more opportunities to falsely claim the election is being stolen.

In recent days, judges in Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have ruled that ballots postmarked by Nov. 3 must be counted as long as they are received within a few days.

The new deadlines range from Nov. 6 in Georgia and Pennsylvania to Nov. 17 in Michigan.

The decisions likely boost Biden, whose supporters are far more likely than Trump’s to cast a mail-in ballot this year. Past elections also have shown a phenomenon known as the “blue shift,” in which late-arriving ballots tended to be more Democratic.

But Trump has repeatedly argued that the winner should be called on election night, falsely claiming that late-arriving ballots that don’t favor him are evidence of widespread fraud and a “rigged election.”

The decisions could still be appealed, although judges tend to avoid changing the rules the closer a lawsuit comes to an election.

Trump Tied With Biden in Three States He Won in 2016 (7:26 a.m.)

Trump is tied with Biden in three states he won in 2016: Georgia, Iowa and North Carolina.

In a Des Moines Register poll in Iowa, a Reuters/Ipsos poll in North Carolina and a University of Georgia poll in Georgia, the two candidates each received 47% support from likely voters.

In 2016, Trump won Iowa by nine points, Georgia by five points and North Carolina by nearly four points.

Iowa and Georgia also aren’t supposed to be battlegrounds. Both campaigns long expected the Rust Belt states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, along with the Sun Belt states of Arizona, Florida and North Carolina, to be the most competitive.

While subject to debate, a long-standing axiom holds that late-deciding voters tend to choose a challenger over an incumbent. In other words, a tie likely goes to Biden.

Biden Ad Aims to Scare Anxious Democrats Into Action

Biden may be ahead in the polls, but he wants to make sure his supporters are scared enough about the prospect he might lose that they’ll brave a pandemic and vote.

In a new ad on Facebook, TV anchors can be heard interviewing pollsters and pundits about Hillary Clinton’s lead in the polls, as images of empty classrooms, health care workers fighting the coronavirus and children wearing face masks are shown.

In one clip from September 2016, former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe can be heard saying that he thinks Clinton has a “100% chance” of winning the election.

Biden is currently ahead in the Real Clear Politics average of state polls in the presidential battlegrounds of Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and narrowly ahead in North Carolina.

But his Facebook ads have sought to portray the race as tighter than it appears, in part to keep small-dollar donations coming in and to keep Democrats motivated to turn out and vote despite any potential impediments due to the pandemic.

Trump Uses the ‘Lid’ Against Biden

Returning to a favorite criticism of his opponents, Trump argued during a rally Tuesday that Biden isn’t working as hard as he is.

Speaking to supporters in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, Trump noted that Biden had called a “lid,” a decades-old term in Washington politics that means that the candidate or elected official won’t have any more major news for the day.

“You know where he is today?“ he asked the crowd. “He put out a lid today early in the morning. Lid means he is not going to be anywhere today. I’m working my ass off, I’m in Ohio, I’m in Texas, I’m in Florida, I’m in Michigan, I’m in Wisconsin.”

The Biden campaign called a lid at 9:23 a.m. Tuesday as well as on several other mornings this month, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s taking the day off.

Although campaign staff won’t confirm exactly what he’s doing and when, Biden often has calls with donors, virtual fundraisers and preparation for the first debate with Trump, which is less than a week away. For his part, Trump has said he is not prepping for the debate.

Trump has long sought to portray his opponents as lacking in stamina, from saying Jeb Bush had “low energy” to arguing Clinton didn’t have “the stamina” to be president to calling Biden “Sleepy Joe.”

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