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. 

CLOSING ARGUMENTS. Last night, Donald Trump failed to defend his incompetent pandemic response and toxic health care agenda on the debate stage. Meanwhile, Democrats, community leaders, and voters continued highlighting the daily impacts his failures are having on working families across the battlegrounds. As we enter the final days of the campaign, Trump’s chaotic handling of COVID-19 and continued attacks on Americans’ health care remain front and center:

  • (AZ) Tucson Weekly: Amanda Aguirre: Trump’s ACA Attacks Would Devastate Arizona’s Communities. “As someone who has worked in public health for 35 years, I know how important it is for working families across Arizona to have the peace of mind that comes with quality, affordable health care coverage. So when I see Donald Trump and the Republican Party try to rush through a Supreme Court appointment just to overturn the Affordable Care Act, especially in the middle of a pandemic, I am as confused as I am horrified. Why fight to undermine something that has benefitted so many people?”

  • (CO) Grand Junction Daily Sentinel: Dylan Roberts: Colorado’s rural communities deserve better than Donald Trump’s attacks on our health care. “If Trump has his way, his nominee for the Supreme Court will cast the deciding vote to overturn the ACA, threatening protections for the 2.4 million people in Colorado with pre-existing conditions and jeopardizing coverage for as many as 470,000 Coloradans. There are members of my family who will be impacted and I am sure there are members of yours, too.”

  • (FL) Palm Beach Post: “Democrats stressed what they said are dual disasters, his mismanagement of the pandemic and his ongoing attack on the Affordable Care Act. U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel noted the state has lost more than 16,000 people to coronavirus … ‘After all this, Americans see that Donald Trump still does not have a plan to beat this pandemic back,’ she said. And she criticized the Trump administration’s legal battle to overturn the ACA, which Democrats say Florida has more enrollees of than any other state and more than 8.4 million residents with preexisting conditions.”

  • (MI) Macomb Daily: “U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence, Pontiac Mayor Dierdre Waterman, and Lori Goldman, founder of Fems for Dems, highlighted the Trump Administration’s ‘failed leadership on COVID-19’ as cases and deaths continue to surge across Michigan.”

  • (NC) Charlotte Observer: “Democrat Joe Biden’s campaign released a new ad in the Charlotte market Wednesday. Against pictures of the president at rallies, a narrator says, ‘He swore an oath to protect us. But now he’s on a reckless campaign tour, infecting us . . . Holding potential super-spreader events in state after state.’ The campaign also sent a mobile billboard around Gaston County with the numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths in North Carolina.”

  • (NH) WMUR: “During a Democratic Party press conference, [former U.S. Rep. Carol] Shea-Porter said the Trump administration has put New Hampshire senior citizens in grave danger. ‘Trump and Pence still have no plans to combat this disease to protect our citizens, especially the older ones with medical conditions, and because of their incompetence, it has caused dozens of Granite State businesses to shutter permanently because of the damage to the economy,’ Shea-Porter said.”

  • (NV) Reno Gazette-Journal: Julia Ratti: In 2018, Nevadans voted to protect health care access. In 2020, we’ll do it again. “A week after the election, the Supreme Court will begin hearings on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, a law that expands health care coverage to millions of Americans and ensures no American faces discrimination because of pre-existing condition. It is also a law Donald Trump has been hellbent on dismantling since he entered office. With the tragic passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Affordable Care Act has never been in greater jeopardy than it is right now.”

  • (OH) WDTN: “Democrats say the Trump administration’s efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act will put the health care of five million Ohioans at risk. Amber Daniels, a Lithopolis Councilwoman, says, ‘If the ACA should be struck down, my children’s lives are literally at risk.’”

  • (PA) Erie Reader: Mobile Billboard in Erie Holding Trump Accountable. “DNC War Room senior spokesperson and advisor Lily Adams said, ‘Americans across the country have had to make sacrifices because of the coronavirus. 219,000 Americans have lost their lives, including more than 8,500 Pennsylvanians, and countless families cannot see their loved ones. But Trump — who lied to the American people about the threat of the virus — has tried to pretend the pandemic doesn’t exist, refused to make a plan, and continues to jeopardize the safety of the American people.’”

  • (TN) The Tennessean: Welcome to Nashville’s debate, Mr. Trump. Tennesseans are disappointed in you. “After sheltering at home for the better part of a year — after constantly worrying for our health and losing friends and family to a preventable tragedy — Tennesseans know Donald Trump is scrambling to spin the devastating, undeniable reality that at every stage of this pandemic, his incompetence and selfishness have made it exponentially worse.”

PROFILES IN VOTING. This week, the DNC released a new television ad featuring former President Barack Obama, who urges viewers to make a plan to vote and cast their ballots as soon as they can. The ad is airing across Florida and follows last week’s release of state-specific voter education videos featuring President Obama. Watch the new spot here, and see how it’s playing on the ground:

  • POLITICO: Obama hypes early voting in new DNC Florida ad. “Barack Obama is being tapped to gin up support for voting ahead of Election Day in Florida, putting the former president at the center of a new TV ad campaign kicking off in the nation’s biggest swing state. ‘It is going to be close and it could come down to a handful of voters just like you,’ Obama says in the new Democratic National Committee ads set to start running Thursday. ‘I’m asking you to bring this thing home. Leave no doubt. Vote early.’”

  • Florida Politics: Democrats moving Barack Obama ad to Florida TV. “The Democratic National Committee is moving a Barack Obama ad from digital placement to broadcast television in Florida, showing the former President imploring Floridians to make a plan to vote and to vote early.”

  • Palm Beach Post: “Obama’s appearance in Miami will coincide with a new Democratic National Committee-produced television ad featuring the former president. The ad, in which Obama urges voters to cast their ballots early, will be aired in markets across Florida, starting in Miami.”

REACHING VOTERS WHERE THEY ARE. This week, the DNC rolled out a new multilingual advertising campaign to reach 1 million AAPI voters across the battlegrounds. The ads, which direct voters to IWillVote.com, are running in local print, digital, and radio outlets.

PULLING OUT ALL THE STOPS. Democrats aren’t taking anything for granted. Take a look at a couple of the new creative ads mobilizing battleground voters in the final stretch:

In Florida:

  • WTVT: “This year, there are more than 80 early voting sites in the Tampa Bay area, including at Raymond James Stadium and Amalie Arena. The Democratic Party is releasing ads that urge people to utilize those sites, partially because they offer plenty of room for social distancing. ‘It’s a safe, easy, accessible option for voters who want to cast their ballot in person,’ said David Bergstein, the Democratic Party’s director of battleground state communications. Democrats are buoyed by an unprecedented lead in mail ballots that have already been returned.”

In Pennsylvania: 

  • New York Times: ‘Hamilton’ star Leslie Odom Jr. borrows a Stevie Wonder hit to remind Pennsylvanians how to vote by mail. “A new radio ad from the Democratic National Committee further amplifies the party’s get-out-the-vote message in the key battleground state of Pennsylvania — with the voice of Leslie Odom Jr., best known for his performance as Aaron Burr in the original cast of the Broadway musical ‘Hamilton,’ singing about secrecy envelopes to the tune of Stevie Wonder’s hit ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours.’”

  • Philadelphia Tribune: Hamilton’s Leslie Odom Jr. making his voice heard in Biden ad. “Hamilton star Leslie Odom, Jr., and the Democratic National Committee are releasing a new radio ad in Pennsylvania, over the iconic Stevie Wonder hit single, ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered,’ to urge Keystone State voters to make their plan to vote. ‘Pennsylvanians can make their voices heard by voting in this election,’ Odom said. The musician and actor believes ‘every Pennsylvanian needs to make their plan to vote and follow through on it. And if you are voting by mail, make sure the ballot is placed in the secrecy envelope, signed, sealed and delivered.’”

STORIES FROM TRUMP’S ECONOMY. Working families across the country are paying the price for Trump’s cratering economy. Read about the kitchen table worries that are dominating American life in the final days before Election Day.

  • (ME) Bangor Daily News: Lee Webb: Trump’s trade war left Maine’s economy in crisis. “From lobster to blueberries to dairy to potatoes to manufacturing, Trump’s trade war has checked all the boxes of an economic disaster for Maine. As long as our nation maintains a directionless trade agenda where the president imposes tariffs on a whim, our economy will remain vulnerable to market uncertainty that will cost us jobs. Maine workers and business owners deserve better, which is why we need to elect Joe Biden in November. He helped bring the U.S. economy back from the brink once, and he can do it again.”

  • (PA) Philadelphia Inquirer: “Erie County Democratic leaders said the president failed to deliver the economic rebound he promised, even before the pandemic … ‘We have areas of high need, high poverty that are being ignored and the people there are being ignored,’ said State Rep. Bob Merski, who represents the county. ‘When you get down to the ground level and you talk to people and folks in our community, this economy’s not working for them.’ Just last week Wabtec, one of the county’s largest employers, announced another 150 layoffs at the locomotive-building facility there. The company blamed the economic effects of the pandemic.”

  • (TN) Vanity Fair: How Nashville’s Shuttered Music Venues Are Greeting Donald Trump’s Arrival in Town. “Chris Cobb, the owner and operator of historic rock club Exit/In, is hanging a poster in his window before he goes to watch the debate in person … ‘For the last eight months I’ve spent more time in politics than I did in music because of the failure of the government,’ he said in a phone interview Thursday. ‘It’s not something I want to continue doing.’”

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

In Arizona:

Univision: “No se controlará la epidemia mientras haya un presidente que rechace la ciencia”: opositores a Trump en Arizona responden a su visita. “Una de las actividades en protesta a la visita de Trump a Arizona comenzó aquí esta mañana en el capitolio estatal donde estuvo circulando un espectacular móvil. Una valla publicitaria móvil que según los detractores de Trump que busca denunciar lo que describen como una fallida respuesta del presidente a la pandemia y recordarle al mandatario durante su visita a Arizona el devastador impacto del coronavirus en el estado.”

  • Arizona Republic: “Former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods, a Republican-turned-Democrat and surrogate for Biden, said Trump’s comments and his ‘completely botched response’ to the pandemic were disqualifying … On the call, Arizona Democrats also highlighted a first-time voter whose family was affected by the economic fallout of the pandemic.”

In Florida:

Fort Myers News-Press: “In response to Ivanka Trump’s rally in Fort Myers, Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo released the following statement: ‘More empty promises peddled by the Trump family isn’t going to change the fact that Donald Trump still doesn’t have a plan to beat back this pandemic and rebuild our economy. As Donald Trump botched our federal response to the coronavirus pandemic, areas like Fort Myers, with a large senior population and reliance on tourism have paid the price.’”

In Maine:

WABI: Maine Dems hold virtual roundtable during Vice President’s visit. “Congresswoman Chellie Pingree took part saying the administration has completely mishandled the coronavirus pandemic. She says as a result, the country has numbers going in the wrong direction and an economy that is continuing to be challenged. Maine Senate President and Democrat Troy Jackson says, ‘With COVID-19, America has been knocked down. There’s no doubt about it. There’s millions of people that have lost their jobs. There’s people that have lost their healthcare. Small businesses that have lost and there’s no plan on how to help these people. It’s just a complete failure of leadership.’”

  • Maine Beacon: As Pence visits Maine, Dem leaders slam Trump administration for virus response. “[Maine Attorney General Aaron] Frey said that key components of the Obama-era health care legislation, such as patient protections for pre-existing conditions, have been put in jeopardy during the pandemic. ‘I don’t trust that this administration has any plan that’s going to do anything for the people of Maine, or the people across the United States who depend upon the health care access that the Affordable Care Act provides, which is why attorneys general like me are going to be fighting for that access across the country,’ Frey said.”

In Michigan: 

Detroit Free Press: “The Democratic National Committee sent a mobile billboard to Michigan ahead of Pence’s Thursday speech, criticizing the administration’s response to the pandemic. ‘Trump and Pence were too incompetent and ineffective to respond to the coronavirus, and their failure has cost too many Michiganders their lives and livelihoods,’ DNC spokesperson Maddie McComb said.”

In Nevada:

This Is Reno: “Nevada Democrats used Trump’s rally as a chance to roll out a billboard advertising campaign in Las Vegas and Carson City. Two billboards were placed on the route from Reno to Carson City to greet travelers to Trump’s Carson City rally. A third in southern Nevada is just off Interstate 15 on the way to Trump’s hotel. The message: ‘This Administration Failed Us.’”

  • KLAS: “The Democratic National Committee even put these billboards across the state, including one not too far from Trump Tower, calling the administration a failure. ‘Joe Biden not only has a plan, he has the experience to make sure that we address both facets of the pandemic,’ State Senator [Yvanna] Cancela said. ‘What Trump has done is a disservice to families across the country and especially here in Nevada.’”

In New Hampshire: 

Union Leader: “The New Hampshire Democratic Party held a press call prior to the Pence event on Wednesday at which Swanzey resident Gene Faltus spoke about what it is like to live with cardiac issues and prostate cancer. ‘The Affordable Care Act was a godsend for me. But this administration is obsessed — completely obsessed — with destroying that law in particular,’ Faltus said.”

  • WMUR: “Will Rasky of the New Hampshire Democratic Party said Americans need a president who will prioritize their health and lead them out of the pandemic. ‘Joe Biden wants to take the science and the medical experts seriously on how we get this pandemic under control,’ Rasky said. ‘And then he has a robust plan to build America’s economy back better.’”

In Pennsylvania: 

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “Now, Democrats are the ones making the argument that Washington has failed Erie, and that the incumbent Republican president has catered to wealthy interests while forgetting the forgotten men and women he said he’d remember — especially in this county, where just last week, its rail technology plant announced another series of layoffs. ‘Donald Trump was going to bring jobs and make this economy better,’ said Jim Wertz, who has chaired the county Democratic Party since mid-2018. ‘He’s certainly failed.’”

  • Penn Live: “Earlier Monday, Democratic leaders said Pence and Trump have mishandled the pandemic, put the interests of the wealthy above working people and continue to try to do away with the Affordable Care Act. ‘It has become quite clear that this election is about Pennsylvania versus Park Avenue. While Donald Trump, Mike Pence, and Republican allies at every level, look out for the wealthy and well-connected, Joe Biden and democrats are fighting for working families, Democrats are fighting for quality, affordable health care, and we’re fighting to build an economy that rewards work not wealth,’ said Nancy Patton Mills, the chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.”

In Wisconsin: 

WEAU: Janesville leaders criticize Trump’s visit to Janesville, call it a ‘super spreader’ event. “Janesville leaders held a virtual press conference ahead of President Donald Trump’s visit to Janesville Saturday, criticizing his pandemic response and decision to hold a rally where coronavirus cases are increasing at a high rate … ‘It is the pinnacle of irresponsibility and callous negligence for Trump to come to our city and hold a rally that could become a super spreader event,’ [state Representative Deb] Kolste said.”

  • Janesville Gazette Xtra: “As the state continued to average more than 3,000 new COVID cases a day this week, Janesville Democratic state Rep. Deb Kolste and Susan French, a Janesville City Council member, held a video conference Saturday morning hosted by the Wisconsin Democrats. Kolste and Johnson slammed Trump for what the two called a ‘failed national pandemic response’ they believe has led to a COVID case spike locally and statewide and a series of local and national ‘economic crashes’ tied to the pandemic.”

“OFF THE CHARTS.” Whether by mail or in-person, ballots are being cast in record numbers across the battlegrounds, and Democrats are leading the way. See for yourself:

  • (AZ) Arizona Republic: Early voting shows record surge in first week, with Democrats outpacing Republicans in historic shift. “Ballots returned during the first week of early voting in Arizona surged nearly 100% in the state’s three most-populous counties compared to 2018, with trends appearing to favor Democratic candidates, data obtained by The Arizona Republic shows.”

  • (CO) Denver Post: A third of likely Colorado voters have cast their ballots two weeks before Election Day. “More than 1 million Colorado voters — about a third of those expected to vote — submitted their ballots at least two weeks before Election Day … Democrats continue leading in ballot returns — 446,853 ballots came from registered Democrats vs. 264,804 from Republicans.”

  • (FL) Palm Beach Post: Democrats hold early vote advantage with ‘off the charts’ enthusiasm.  “The Florida Democratic voters’ relatively less ubiquitous base has come out strong in the initial stages of pre-Election Day voting. Including mailed-in ballots and the first day of in-person early voting, Florida elections division statistics show Democrats holding a sizable 481,892 lead in ballots over Republicans. ‘The enthusiasm is off the charts, it’s just not visible because we don’t congregate in large crowds,’ said Terrie Rizzo, chair of the Florida Democratic Party. ‘The super-spreader events like the Trump folks are doing, we’re not doing that. But look at our vote-by-mail returns. If that doesn’t indicate enthusiasm, I don’t know what does.’”

  • (MI) Bridge Michigan: Michigan early voting returns heaviest so far in Democratic counties. “Michigan’s most Democratic counties are among those that have returned the most absentee ballots so far in an election that is shattering turnout records, according to a Bridge analysis of state records. That may bolster Democrats’ hope for a big year up and down the ballot, as counties that favored Democrat Hillary Clinton in her 2016 presidential campaign are disproportionately returning ballots.”

  • (TX) Newsweek: Texas Sees Highest Youth Voter Turnout in Country as Dems Aim to Win State for First Time in Over 40 Years. “Texas has seen the highest voter turnout among youth voters across the U.S. as Democrats are seeking to win the state for the first time in over 40 years. According to new data released by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University, at least 493,314 early votes or absentee ballots have been cast in Texas among residents between the ages of 18 and 29.”

THE STATE OF PLAY, 11 DAYS OUT. Millions of ballots have already been cast, and Donald Trump is still driving away the key voters he needs to reach 270 electoral votes. Here are some of the battleground trends rounding out the final days of the election:

  • (AZ) New York Times: How Mormons Fed Up With Trump Could Help Lift Biden in Arizona. “In Arizona — the only state up for grabs that has a significant Latter-day Saint population — a growing number are finding refuge in Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic presidential nominee.”

  • (GA) Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia made more competitive by 1M new voters since ’16 election. “The latest list of Georgia voters makes it easy to see why the state is in play this election … Shifts among Georgia’s voters threaten the state’s 28-year run of consecutive Republican victories in presidential races, said Charles Bullock, a University of Georgia political science professor … ‘It’s getting awfully close,” said Bullock, who has observed state politics for decades. ‘We’ve got an increasing minority population, and that population generally votes Democratic. Republicans continue to rely almost exclusively on white voters.’”

  • (MI) Associated Press: ‘Our house is on fire’: Suburban women lead a Trump revolt in Michigan. “Talk to women across suburban Michigan, and you’ll find ample confirmation: the lifelong Republican who says her party has been commandeered by cowards. The Black executive who fears for the safety of her sons. The Democrat who voted for Trump in 2016 but now describes him as ‘a terrible person.’ Together, they create a powerful political force.”

  • (NC) CNN: North Carolina is the center of the political universe as the state’s demographics shift dramatically. “Donald Trump has a math problem in North Carolina. The state the President won by more than 3 percentage points four years ago has continued its gradual political transformation, moving away from the red states to its south and toward its bluer neighbors to the north. The transformation has been propelled by a mix of factors: The state is growing more diverse with Hispanic and Asian immigrants, its cities and suburbs are booming with unbridled growth from northern transplants, older voters from the northeast who are fleeing Trump have retired to the state’s coast and the Tar Heel State’s once large rural population is shrinking.”

  • (PA) Politico: Donald Trump has a problem: White women in Pennsylvania. “‘Suburban women, will you please like me?’ Trump bellowed into a crowd in Johnstown, a small city east of Pittsburgh on Tuesday. ‘Please. I saved your damn neighborhood, okay?’ But white suburban women aren’t answering Trump’s plea. In 2016, Trump won white women in the state by 50 percent to Hillary Clinton’s 47 percent, according to exit polls. Now, Biden is ahead by as much as 23 points with white women, according to a Quinnipiac survey from earlier this month.”

FINALLY, YOUR WEEKEND READING. Sun Sentinel: Editorial Board: Trump’s promise to protect Florida from oil drilling — worthless. “As many former investors know, Trump’s word means nothing. The only sure way to protect Florida from expanded oil drilling is to elect Joe Biden.”

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