Back on the campaign trail: Less than a week after President Donald Trump was discharged from the Walter Reed Medical Center, he held a “peaceful protest” for law and order on White House grounds. His pitch was directed toward African-Americans and Latinos, demographics he has tried to woo with some success. Meanwhile, Biden is making a strong play for Ohio, one of the Rust Belt states that went for Trump in 2016.
The cancelation of the presidential debate: The Commission on Presidential Debates announced that the second presidential debate, scheduled for October 15th, would be conducted remotely. Trump rejected this format and proposed an in-person debate on October 22nd, while Biden refused any changes to the debate schedule. The debate was simply cancelled.
Court packing—the latest outrage du jour: Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris, a senator from California, had their first and only debate last Wednesday. Pence interrogated Harris on the issue of the Supreme Court, asking if a Biden administration and Democratic Congress would expand the court’s membership (i.e., “court packing”). Harris deflected the question. Similarly, Biden refused to present his position, saying that voters will “know my opinion on court-packing when the election is over.” Democratic Senate candidates have adopted the Biden-Harris approach, with John Hickenlooper of Colorado dodging a question on court packing even when given extra time by his Republican opponent to respond.
The horserace: According to public opinion polling, Biden leads by nearly ten points in the national popular vote. The RealClearPolitics average indicates that 51.9% of poll respondents would choose Biden, compared to 42.1% for Trump. Furthermore, every major national pollster has Biden up by five points or more—including Rasmussen Reports, whose 2016 popular-vote forecast was exactly correct. Trump’s numbers are slightly better in the battleground states, where he currently trails by 4.5 points on average.
There are nonetheless some bright spots for Trump. Gallup respondents predict by a 16-point margin that the president will win reelection, and a Fox News poll found that 49% of respondents believe their neighbors will vote for him (compared to 38% for Biden). Obviously, it remains to be seen whether there is truly a groundswell of hidden support for Trump.