DNC Battleground Brief

This is the DNC’s Battleground Brief — a weekly wrap-up of Trump’s broken promises and everything you need to know across the path to 270. 

VEEP WEEK: DEMOCRATS SLAM TRUMP’S BROKEN PROMISES ON HEALTH CARE. While Kamala Harris held Mike Pence accountable on the debate stage this week, Democrats across the battleground states continued calling out Donald Trump’s broken promises, highlighting his failed pandemic response and continued attempts to use the Supreme Court vacancy to threaten Americans’ health coverage, including protections for preexisting conditions like cancer, asthma, and COVID-19. Check out a sample of local coverage from around the country:

In Arizona:

Peoria Times: “[The] Arizona Democratic Party held a press conference highlighting what it called the administration’s ‘relentless attempts to strip away health care coverage and deny pre-existing conditions protections.’ During the press conference, local Gilbert resident Davis Romney said, ‘My dad always taught me actions speak louder than words. All I see are the actions of Donald Trump and Mike Pence trying to get rid of insurance coverage for millions of working Americans and eliminate the protections for pre-existing conditions. That is morally reprehensible.’”

In Colorado:

Colorado Politics: “Colorado Democratic Party Chair Morgan Carroll, had high praise for Harris and her historic candidacy — after denouncing the Trump administration’s record. ‘As Mike Pence has done for the past four years, he defended Trump’s indefensible record of failure. From the start of the pandemic, Pence and Trump’s utter mismanagement of the pandemic has wreaked havoc on Coloradans’ health and economic security.”

In Florida:

Palm Beach Post: As state death toll surpasses 15,000, Democrats take aim at Pence. “Hoping to frame the vice presidential debate before it began, a Boynton Beach doctor and a former national health secretary on Wednesday blasted the Trump administration for allowing the coronavirus pandemic to spin out of control. U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala, secretary of health and human services in the Obama administration, said Vice President Mike Pence, chair of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, should be held accountable for the deadly march of the virus. ‘It didn’t have to be this way,’ the Miami Democrat said on a day that Florida surpassed 15,000 deaths from COVID-19. ‘They’ve done everything to undermine our world-class institutions and our world-class scientists,’ she said during a video press conference hosted by the Florida Democratic Party. ‘It has been a disaster.’”

  • Florida Politics: ‘What manner of man would do this?’ Dems blast Donald Trump, Mike Pence over stalled COVID-19 relief bill. “[State Senator José Javier] Rodríguez argued Pence would have to answer for the federal response to the outbreak. ‘We are going to hear from him in his capacity as the chair of the White House Coronavirus Task Force seven months into an unprecedented pandemic and economic crisis where they still do not have a plan.’ Added [state House candidate] Kayser Enneking of the response, ‘This is an abomination. This is not the United States of America and the response that we expect from our political leaders.’ Shalala, too, predictably bashed the Republican VP ahead of the debate. ‘They failed to control the pandemic. Their promises to Floridians about helping us get through this crisis have gone unfulfilled.’”

In Nevada:

Las Vegas Review-Journal: “During a DNC call with reporters before the debate, Nevada state Sen. Yvanna Cancela questioned whether Pence should visit after 1,600 Nevadans died from the virus. ‘It didn’t have to be that bad,’ she said of the state’s death toll and economic damage. Cancela recalled Trump’s remarks to the Review-Journal before a rally in Henderson last month, in which he appeared unconcerned about any health risk to attendees. Pence, she argued, was following the same playbook by holding a rally in Boulder City.”

  • This Is Reno: Nevada Democrats reflect on Affordable Care Act and potential impact of U.S. Supreme Court nominee. “Last week … NVDems hosted a Zoom call with Nevada state Senator Julia Ratti (D-Sparks); AFSCME Local 4041 member Priscilla Maloney; and Joe Merlino, a local health care advocate. All three are cancer survivors. On the call, they shared stories about their experiences with the health care system and how it impacts their lives and the lives of all Nevadans on a daily basis in an effort to underscore how President Donald Trump’s attacks on the Affordable Care Act hurt Nevada families.”

In Pennsylvania: 

The Citizens’ Voice: Luzerne County Democrats tout support for Biden’s plans. “‘It will be folks like us who bear the scars,’ [Luzerne County Democratic Party Chairwoman Kathy] Bozinski said during a virtual news conference Wednesday prior to the vice presidential debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris. ‘We’ve lost jobs. We’ve lost hours, pay and health care.’ Bozinski said the COVID-19 pandemic personally affected her as her job at the United Way of Wyoming Valley was eliminated as well as her health care. While searching for a good health care package, she said, ‘Trust me when I tell you, the struggle is real.’”

In Virginia:

Roanoke Times: VA House Majority Leader Charniele Herring: Trump asked ‘what do you have to lose?’ 2020 showed us just how much. “As the 200,000th American succumbs to COVID-19, we need to be honest and clear about who this pandemic is hurting the hardest … Black Americans are nearly five times more likely to be hospitalized than our white counterparts due to the virus, and more than twice as likely to die from it. In Virginia, Black and Latino populations make up a disproportionate amount of COVID cases across the Commonwealth.”

In Wisconsin:

The Cap Times: Appleton Resident Sarah Conklin: Vote for candidates who will protect our health care. “Trump still hasn’t announced his health care plan, even as he relentlessly attacks the Affordable Care Act in court. After his failure to respond to COVID-19 when it could have made a difference, more than 1,300 Wisconsinites have died and our state’s economy is in turmoil … For the sake of people like me with preexisting conditions, for your family, for your community, and for your country, please vote for the candidates who take this crisis seriously and are doing everything possible to keep us safe. Health care is on the ballot this November, and that’s why it’s critical we elect Democrats up and down the ticket.”

DEMS HIGHLIGHT TRUMP’S COVID FAILURES ON THE AIRWAVES. The DNC War Room released a new television ad, “Had Enough?,” contrasting Trump’s claim that his administration has done a “great job” responding to the pandemic with the devastating reality of his failed response. Here’s what they’re saying about the spot in the battlegrounds:

  • (FL) Florida Politics: DNC launches anti-Donald Trump ad in Tampa market blasting virus response. “The Democratic National Committee is launching a new ad in the Tampa Bay area hitting President Donald Trump on his COVID-19 response. The ad, entitled ‘Had enough?’ begins running in the Tampa market Thursday and is part of a six-figure ad buy, according to the DNC. The ad includes ominous data points about the virus including deaths and job losses. It comes the day after Vice President Mike Pence squared off with Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris Wednesday night in the pair’s first and only debate before the Nov. 3 election.”

  • (NV) KLAS: FIRST LOOK: DNC to release new ad in Nevada ahead of Pence’s rally. “The Democratic National Committee will release a new ad ahead of Vice President Pence’s Thursday rally in Boulder City. The ad focuses on the Trump administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic … ‘Nevadans have lost their jobs, their lives, their loved ones, and any sense of normalcy. That’s not a ‘great job.’ It’s a devastating betrayal of Trump and Pence’s responsibility to keep people safe. Nevadans have had enough, and they’re putting this failed presidency to an end,’ said Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez.”

  • (PA) WHP: “The ad, from the Democratic National Committee, calls out the administration’s handling of the pandemic, saying the lack of response from the federal government was in part what led to more than 200,000 people dying from the virus across the nation. [DNC Director of Battleground State Communications David Bergstein]: ‘This ad just reinforces the fact that, no matter what Donald Trump or Vice President Pence says at their debates, it’s important that voters know the truth about their record of failure when it comes to dealing with COVID.’”

  • (WI) UpNorthNews: Trump Pulls Wisconsin Ads as Democrats Prepare to Blitz Green Bay. “The Democratic National Committee on Thursday launched a new television ad campaign in the Green Bay-Appleton media market, a day after Buzzfeed News reported President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign is cancelling millions of dollars worth of ads in several midwestern swing states including Wisconsin.”

“OUR LIVES ARE ON THE BALLOT.” This week, the DNC launched an ad campaign in African American newspapers and radio stations across eight battleground states, directing readers and listeners to IWillVote.com — Democrats’ comprehensive voter participation website. See for yourself:

  • ABC News: ‘Our lives are on the ballot,’ DNC releases new radio and print ads targeting Black voters in battleground states. “The Democratic National Committee is trying to reach Black voters in battleground states with a new six-figure ad buy in Black publications, with less than a month left before Election Day … On Black radio stations in the eight critical states, listeners will hear an ad that says, ‘We are in the midst of a global pandemic, an economic collapse and a reckoning on civil rights, we need leaders with a plan to protect and expand our access to health care, invest in our community and fight for equal justice under the law to make that happen we all have to make a plan to vote.’ And in Black papers, readers will see an ad that says, ‘Our lives are on the ballot. Make a plan to vote.’”

  • (FL) Westside Gazette: “Part of a six-figure campaign across several battleground states, ads will run starting this week in the Westside Gazette and on WHQT-FM, reaching voters across the Miami-Fort Lauderdale media market.”

  • (GA) The Atlanta Voice: #Election2020: Democratic Party launches new round of ads. “Today, the Democratic National Committee is announcing a new print and radio ad campaign to reach Black voters in Georgia. ‘Democrats are meeting Black voters where they are and making critical investments to ensure Georgians have the information they need to make their plan to vote,’ said Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez.”

  • (MI) Macomb Daily: Democratic effort targets Michigan’s Black voters. “The Democratic National Committee Tuesday rolled out a new print and radio ad campaign to reach Black voters in Michigan … The ads, which were purchased through the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) and Radio One, will direct individuals to IWillVote.com — the DNC’s newly updated voter participation hub, where voters can register to vote, check their voter registration, and make a plan to vote, whether in person or by mail.”

  • (MN) Star Tribune: “The DNC is launching a new radio and print campaign targeting Black voters in the state. The buy targets the Minneapolis-St. Paul media market.”

  • (NC) The Carolina Peacemaker: “On October 6, the Democratic National Convention (DNC) launched a new ad campaign to reach Black voters in North Carolina. The DNC is directing voters to IWillVote.com, its newly updated voter participation hub, where voters can register to vote, check their voter registration, and make a plan to vote, whether in person or by mail. The website also allows users to find voting guidelines for their state. In September, the DNC announced a Black print advertising campaign created to support National Black Voter Day. The one-week campaign ran print ads in Black newspapers across six battleground states, including North Carolina, to encourage Black voter participation.”

  • (OH) Columbus Dispatch: “Meanwhile, the Democratic National Committee is airing ‘I Will Vote’ 30-second radio spots aimed at Black voters in Ohio. Print ads are being placed in newspapers serving primarily the Black communities in major cities carrying the message ‘Our Lives Are On The Ballot.’”

  • (PA) Philadelphia Tribune: New DNC ad campaign aims to ensure Pa.’s Black voters have a plan to cast ballots. “Starting this week, the Democratic National Committee is upping its courtship of Pennsylvania’s Black voters, a constituency whose support could well be determinative this voting season. In a new series of radio and print ads, the DNC wants to make sure they have a plan to vote.”

  • (WI) WisPolitics: “Today, the Democratic National Committee is announcing a new print and radio ad campaign to reach Black voters in Wisconsin … ads will run starting this week on WHQG-FM and in the Milwaukee Community Journal, Milwaukee Courier, and Milwaukee Times Weekly, reaching voters across the Milwaukee media market.”

STORIES FROM TRUMP’S ECONOMY. Americans across the country are continuing to pay the price for Trump’s cratering economy. Read about the kitchen table worries that are dominating voters’ lives as they head to the polls.

In Arizona:

New York Times: ‘The Coal Industry Is Back,’ Trump Proclaimed. It Wasn’t. “Alvin Long, 61, who spent nearly three decades maintaining the earth-moving machines at the Kayenta mine before it closed and remains unemployed, said the past several years have led him to reassess his political allegiance. After backing Republicans since the 1970s and voting for Mr. Trump in 2016, he said he was leaving the party. ‘We really thought we had a chance to keep it going, when we voted for Trump,’ he said. ‘But I don’t care to listen to him anymore. All of his promises went down the drain.’”

In Florida:

South Florida Sun Sentinel: Florida’s unemployment jumps as layoffs pick up again. “Florida’s spike in initial claims appear to be tied in part to Oct. 1 layoffs imposed in the airline industry and extended furloughs among businesses that support it. Last Thursday, American Airlines dropped 2,000 people in South Florida as part of a systemwide layoff of 19,000 in the absence of renewed payroll aid from the U.S. government.”

  • Associated Press: 8,800 part-time workers in Florida part of Disney layoffs. “About 8,800 part-time union workers at Walt Disney World in Florida will be part of the 28,000 layoffs in Disney’s parks division in California and Florida, union officials said Wednesday. The addition of the union workers to nearly 6,500 nonunion layoffs already announced brings the Disney-related job losses in Florida to more than 15,000 workers.”

In Michigan:

Reuters: Trump steel tariffs bring job losses to swing state Michigan. “Bob Kemper, grievance committee chairman at Great Lakes Works’ chapter of the United Steelworkers (USW) Union, put the blame squarely on Trump for the job losses. ‘I don’t see any policy that helped us,’ said Kemper, who is backing Biden. ‘We are losing our damn jobs here.’”

In Pennsylvania:

Pennsylvania Capital-Star: In Erie, Biden backers pitch a ‘worker-centric’ economy. “Judy Pasold owns the Valley Inn, a bar in McKean, Pa., just outside Erie. Like a lot of business owners during the pandemic, she’s been struggling. ‘My business has no money coming in. However, the bills are still coming in. The Trump administration has given massive help to big corporations that have gotten enormous assistance, but it seems that small business has been left out,’ she said … So she’s looking to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to get the help she didn’t get from President Donald Trump.”

  • Wilkes-Barre Times Leader: Democrats: Biden, not Trump, will deliver jobs to Pennsylvania. “‘Four years ago, Donald Trump said he would grow jobs in Pennsylvania,’ Bozinski said. ‘The people of Pennsylvania are still waiting.’ Bozinski said the 2020 campaign is a battle of ‘wealth over work — Park Avenue versus Pennsylvania.’ She said Biden and his economic plan, ‘Build Back Better,’ will create millions of better-paying jobs and will keep unions strong.”

HOLDING THEM ACCOUNTABLE. Wherever Trump, Pence, and their cronies go, Democrats are calling out their broken promises. See for yourself:

In Arizona:

Peoria Times: “The Democratic National Committee today engineered a new digital advertising blitz aimed at Vice President Mike Pence as he touches down in Peoria for an event today following last night’s vice presidential debate … The bright orange ads scattered across the site’s homepage direct readers to a 30-second DNC video spot titled ‘Had Enough?’ that highlights what the DNC says is the Trump Administration’s failed response to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.”

In Florida:

Florida Politics: Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump resume Florida campaign this week: “‘First and foremost, I hope the President continues to recover quickly and that Donald Trump Jr. has been spared from infection. With more than 1,000 confirmed cases in Florida every single day for the last week, we’re still not out of the woods,’ said Florida Democratic Party spokeswoman Frances Swanson. ‘Floridians don’t need another reckless campaign stop. We need real economic relief and a clear plan on how we can combat this deadly virus.’”

In Nevada: 

Reno Gazette-Journal: Nevada lawmakers condemn Pence rally plan after suspected ‘superspreader’ White House event. “‘I am horrified by Mike Pence and this entire administration’s constant attempts to gaslight the American people and doubt the severity of this crisis,’ Nevada Sen. Yvanna Cancela said.”

  • Las Vegas Review-Journal: “In response to the event, several Democratic state legislators criticized Pence and the Trump campaign for hosting an in-person event during the pandemic … ‘Nevadans deserve better than Trump and Pence’s failed leadership,’ state Sen. Mo Denis said. ‘That’s why, this November, we’ll reject them once again.’”

  • KSNV: “‘I’m not sure where Mike Pence has been the last four years but how he describes what’s happened in our country is very different than what the facts show,’ says Yvanna Cancella, a Nevada Biden campaign surrogate … The Nevada Democratic Party says the administration has not implemented a national plan. It claims the President and Vice President have set a bad example. ‘They failed to act decisively, instead refusing for months to wear masks or encourage Americans to stay home,’ Democrats claim.”

  • KTNV: “State Democrats say the vice president and the rest of the Trump administration have to answer for their handling of the pandemic. ‘They don’t have a plan to address the issues that we are facing here on the road with our small businesses and our front-line essential workers,’ said Democratic Party Chairman William McCurdy.”

KEEPING OUR FOOT ON THE GAS. With just weeks left before Election Day, Democrats are continuing to build on our momentum and drive voter turnout across the country.

  • Protocol: Democrats And Twitter Want To Autoreply You Into Voting. “With a little over a month to go before Election Day, the Democratic National Committee is launching a Twitter campaign that will automatically send people tweets reminding them about when and how to vote in their state … the Democratic party in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., will send out tweets asking people to opt in for updates. Anyone who likes or retweets that message will get autoreplies in their Twitter mentions, including real-time information on registration, mail-in ballot deadlines, early voting and polling hours, among other things.”

  • (FL) Associated Press: Florida Democrats post wide lead in mail-in ballot requests. “The Florida secretary of state’s office shows that 2.4 million Democrats have requested mail-in ballots compared with 1.6 million Republicans — a 767,000 request advantage as the coronavirus pandemic makes some voters leery of entering a polling place. It’s also a sharp change from 2016 when requests — and returned mail-in ballots — were evenly split.”

  • (MI) New York Times: Democrats Mount an All-Out Effort to Get Detroit to Vote. “The state Democratic Party and Mr. Biden have taken a particular interest in the city. His campaign has delivered more than two million texts or calls to city voters and is advertising heavily there. Statewide, it has budgeted nearly $60 million for ads, with $32.5 million of that for Detroit, compared with a total of roughly $31 million by the Trump campaign, which has reserved $9.7 million of that for the city, according to data from Advertising Analytics.”

  • (NV) Asian Journal: Nevada Dems unveil Tagalog voter protection hotline. “Filipino American voters in Nevada who need in-language support before they cast their ballots can now call a Tagalog voter protection hotline. This new resource announced on Monday, October 5 is the latest effort from the Nevada State Democratic Party to reach and engage with the Fil-Am community, which makes up the largest Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) group in the Silver State.”

  • (TX) Houston Public Media: 90% Of Texas Latino Voters Plan To Cast A Vote This November. “A new poll from the University of Houston and Univision found that 90% of Texas Latino voters will or will probably vote in the 2020 presidential election. These voters also perceive this upcoming election as highly consequential: 79% said it was more important to vote in 2020 than in the 2016 presidential election.”

  • (WI) Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Some very blue parts of Wisconsin are seeing a wave of early mail-in voting. “Leading the surge in absentee voting by mail are places that voted lopsidedly in 2016 for Hillary Clinton and against Donald Trump: the ultra-blue city of Madison and its Dane County suburbs, and some very blue Democratic suburbs of Milwaukee.”

THE STATE OF PLAY, 25 DAYS OUT. Trump has been consistently repelling the voters he needs to reach 270 electoral votes — and he’s not doing himself any favors in the final stretch. Check out a few key trends from across the battlegrounds:

  • New York Times: David Wasserman: The 10 Bellwether Counties That Show How Trump Is in Serious Trouble. “These 10 bellwether counties — five in Sun Belt battlegrounds, five in the Frost Belt (loosely defined to include Iowa) — could point us toward each state’s winner. They run the gamut from meatpacking hubs to white-collar office parks, and from peach orchards to yacht-dense retiree havens. But there is something they all have in common: Their votes will matter a lot … A look at these bellwethers — all either tossups or leaning toward Mr. Biden — makes clear that Mr. Trump is in serious trouble.”

  • New York Times: Trump’s Struggles Ripple Across the Sun Belt, Endangering G.O.P. Stronghold. “New polls show Mr. Trump’s support is collapsing nationally, as he alienates women, seniors and suburbanites … Nowhere has Mr. Trump harmed himself and his party more than across the Sun Belt, where the electoral coalition that secured a generation of Republican dominance is in danger of coming apart.”

  • (FL) Politico: ‘He just lies’: Florida’s senior voters suddenly are in play. “Florida seniors, long an unflinching bloc of reliable GOP votes, are suddenly in play as President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus has his reelection campaign on the defensive. The pandemic and anxiety about possible cuts to entitlement programs have eroded the GOP’s once-solid advantage with the battleground state’s retirees, recent polls show, a demographic Republicans have won by double digits in recent presidential races.”

  • (FL) Orlando Sentinel: Will women voters turn Seminole blue in a presidential year? “Women voters outnumber men by more than 26,000 and make up more than half of the electorate in the community just north of Orlando. That has helped transform Seminole, a once-reliable Republican stronghold, into one of the most important swing counties in the country’s most important swing state during this year’s presidential election.”

  • (MI) Bridge Michigan: Trump needs suburbs to win Michigan. But many women reject his racial pitch. “Trump’s strategy may play to his base, but there’s no evidence it’s swaying suburban voters, said Michigan pollster Richard Czuba of Glengariff Group Inc. For many voters, the coronavirus is ‘the only issue they care about’ and they don’t give Trump high marks, Czuba said.”

  • (NC) Associated Press: Donald Trump Pandemic overwhelms Trump’s message in critical N. Carolina. “In one of the nation’s most consequential swing states, Trump’s push to inject new dynamics into the final weeks of the 2020 election is being overshadowed by the frightening realities of everyday life during a pandemic. Trump and his allies hope the escalating Supreme Court nomination fight will help unify a fractured Republican Party that has lost its grip on college-educated suburban voters, particularly white women. But for many, the coronavirus and the related economic challenges are much more pressing issues.”

  • (OH) Politico: Biden puts Ohio in play. “A confluence of forces has made Ohio competitive again in the eyes of Democrats. The economy and health care amid the pandemic are bad. Trump is bleeding white working-class and suburban voters in polls. Conservatives in the state are warring with Republican Gov. Mike DeWine for locking down the state during the pandemic. And DeWine’s Republican predecessor, John Kasich, is backing Biden.”

  • (TX) CalMatters: How California expats are helping turn Texas into a battleground state. “The improving performance of Texas Democrats tracks well with the exodus of Californians into Sun Belt states over the past two decades. Since 2008, more than 700,000 Californians have moved to Texas … The parts of Texas where Californians are most likely to move — the sprawling suburbs of Houston, Dallas and Fort Worth — are now politically competitive in a way that was unfathomable 20 years ago.”

FINALLY, YOUR WEEKEND READING. Raleigh News & Observer: NC residents could lose big if Supreme Court strikes down the Affordable Care Act. “The outcome of this case will affect all North Carolinians. For some the consequences will the devastating. Those who have lost jobs and insurance due to COVID-19 will struggle to find and afford comprehensive health insurance. Approximately 450,000 who purchase insurance through the ACA marketplace will lose the subsidies that helped them afford coverage. Young adults under 26 will no longer have coverage under their parents plans and many of the more than 1.7 million North Carolinians with pre-existing conditions could be denied coverage once again … As we face COVID 19 and unprecedented unemployment, we simply cannot afford to jeopardize access to health care for North Carolinians.”

Make sure to follow the DNC’s War Room (@DNCWarRoom) to get real-time updates on Trump’s abuses of power and broken promises.

Happy Friday!

The DNC Comms Team