Peter Nicholas/The Atlantic has a rich load of stories:
Trump Is Scared
People who have speculated that Trump’s COVID-19 treatment altered his judgment misunderstand the president.
Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, was struck by a moment in 2009 when Trump berated his eldest son, Donald Jr. He describes the scene in his book, Disloyal. Donald Trump was about to appear at a World Wrestling Entertainment event in Green Bay, Wisconsin, when his namesake asked him if he was nervous. “I’m going in front of millions of people. What kind of stupid fucking question is that? Get out of here,” Trump snapped, according to Cohen. (The White House has assailed Cohen’s credibility, along with his book.)
Right now, the pressure Trump may be “feeling, knowing that he’s going to lose the election, is intensifying everything that we’re seeing and putting him in a hyper-agitated state,” Cohen told me.
He Won’t Concede, but He’ll Pack His Bags
All evidence suggests that the president would run from the responsibility of overseeing the violent fracture of America.
The day after the 2016 election, I ran into a journalist who’d covered Donald Trump in the 1980s and once knew the man well. “Trump will be a one-term president—maximum,” he said, with what seemed unwarranted confidence, given the previous day’s result. The presidency is a burden, he said, and Trump is “incredibly lazy” and unsuited to physically and cognitively demanding work. If you are president, hard decisions are thrust in your face, and you cannot simply not make them, or authorize a vice president to make them for you. Expect Trump to concoct a reason to resign, he said, or to decline to run for a second term.
What George W. Bush Plans to Do About Trump
Anti-Trump Republicans say Bush’s absence from 2020 is “inexcusable.” Bush’s office says he’s staying retired.
With less than three weeks until the election, Bush—as the only living former Republican president—would be in a position to stand up for American democracy if Trump loses but refuses to concede, as he has threatened to do.
But if Bush is planning on doing anything about Trump, or considering some way to stand together with the other former presidents to protect democracy, that would be news to the offices of those former presidents. They haven’t heard from him.
Joe Biden’s campaign looked into whether Bush would consider endorsing him but was told he wouldn’t be getting involved. If Biden wins and Trump refuses to concede, though, the Democrat would likely lean on Bush to speak up, a person familiar with the campaign’s thinking told me. I asked the Trump campaign if the president would want Bush’s endorsement. My email was ignored.
The Final Season of the Trump Show
Last night’s dueling town halls made clear why the president’s campaign is flailing.
The most important difference, though, was starkly highlighted by the side-by-side presentations. For Trump, the supposed businessman, everything is a war, every question an attack, and every attack demands a counterpunch. Biden, the career politician, treated each encounter as a sale. When he was challenged—on fracking and the Green New Deal, for example—he did not counterpunch. He made a counteroffer.
Trump needs enemies. After the debate, his campaign released this statement: “President Trump soundly defeated NBC’s Savannah Guthrie in her role as debate opponent and Joe Biden surrogate. President Trump masterfully handled Guthrie’s attacks and interacted warmly and effectively with the voters in the room.” The Biden campaign was not so quick to offer its own release, in part because Biden lingered afterward in the hall, talking and taking questions face-to-face, but perhaps also because it did not feel the need to identify a target for hate and rage.
Trump’s rage at the NBC town hall exposes an ugly truth about 2020
President Trump is often at his most revealing when he’s angry, and his appearance at the NBC town hall was notable for his repeated flashes of barely suppressed rage. And in this case, a common thread ran through those moments on Thursday night, one that captures an essential truth about how he has approached his entire reelection campaign.
It’s this: Trump is in a fury because he isn’t being permitted to wage this campaign in his own manufactured universe, a universe that’s almost entirely fictional.
Worries about postal service and mail-in ballots push early voters to in-person polling places
The 2020 election will smash records for mail-in voting due to the pandemic, as requests for mail-in ballots have broken records in state after state, and nine states plus the District of Columbia are voting primarily by mail.
But the hours-long waits during early voting in states like Georgia, Virginia and Texas are showing that some voters may be rethinking the plans to send their ballot through the mail.
“It sucks, but you know I’d rather be out here doing my civic duty than not, I don’t trust the whole mail-in voting thing,” said Sean Terrell, who had been waiting in line at an Atlanta polling place for two hours on Tuesday, the state’s second day of early voting. “So I will be here and I will sign it and make sure it goes where it needs to go.”
Americans Are Voting Early At A Record Rate
“It’s just very different from any other presidential election that any of us have witnessed.”
As of Oct. 15, more than 17 million people have already cast their ballots in the 2020 election, according to the U.S. Elections Project. That would total 12% of the 138 million Americans who voted in 2016. But most election experts anticipate record voter turnout in this election year.
This flood of ballots will quickly turn into a tsunami as American voters possibly turn out at the highest rate since 18-20-year-olds got the right to vote in 1971.
“It’s just very different from any other presidential election that any of us have witnessed,” said Barry Burden, director of the Elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “There are several forces coming together to make this happen.”
The record early voter turnout is not just a reaction to the coronavirus pandemic, but a result of a confluence of events.
Scoop: Trump’s advisers brace for loss, point fingers
Why it matters: Trump can still win. But make no mistake: Even his most loyal supporters, including those paid to believe, keep telling us he’s toast — and could bring Republican control of the Senate down with him.
Between the lines: Stepien’s critics say he is in CYA mode, refusing to make tough decisions that might incur Trump’s wrath while setting up excuses for what polls suggest could be a shellacking by Joe Biden.