A Stable Race’s Volatile Finish

By Giovanni Russonello

As Trump covers the battleground waterfront and Biden tries to avoid another Pennsylvania surprise, the highways have started to feel like the high seas. It’s Monday, and this is your politics tip sheet. Sign up here to get On Politics in your inbox every weekday.

Where things stand

One day before Election Day, which is to say, weeks into Election Season, the presidential polls are pretty consistent with where they’ve been for weeks, with a few notable exceptions. But the anxiety levels, somehow, keep outdoing themselves.

Both the Biden and Trump campaigns are most heavily focused on Pennsylvania, and have visited often for over a month. Joe Biden began a final push there yesterday, with appearances at a “Souls to the Polls” event in the afternoon and a drive-in rally in the evening. President Trump, no doubt needling Biden, will hold a rally today in Scranton, the Democratic nominee’s hometown.

A Monmouth University poll of Pennsylvania released just an hour before this message hit your inbox found Biden holding a lead of seven percentage points among likely voters in a “high-turnout scenario,” as seems likely, and five points in the event of a low-participation election.

Trump gained ground slightly since the previous Monmouth poll among seniors and those living in swing counties, showing that he may be faring well among the very small share of voters who remained undecided until the very last moment.

A New York Times/Siena College poll of Pennsylvania likely voters released yesterday bore a similar result: Biden up by six points. That survey was part of The Times’s last batch of pre-election polls, which also included surveys of Florida, Wisconsin and Arizona. Biden was ahead in all of them, although it was close in Florida, where he held just a three-point edge.

Fighting to make up ground in swing states across the country, Trump traveled to five battlegrounds yesterday — Michigan, Iowa, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida — finishing with a late-night rally in Miami-Dade County.

Biden’s campaign yesterday announced a last blitz of advertising across five media markets in Pennsylvania, drawing upon its strong financial advantage in the homestretch. Last week Biden spent $62 million on TV and radio ads, while the Trump campaign spent only $15.5 million, according to Advertising Analytics.

Biden released a list over the weekend of 817 bundlers, his campaign’s key fund-raising supporters, shedding light on some of the sources of his war chest and drawing another line of demarcation with Trump in the process. The president has not published the identities of his campaign bundlers, something Democrats have done since before the Citizens United Supreme Court decision in 2010.

Biden’s list was full of Wall Street executives, power lawyers and Hollywood producers, as well as his own longtime associates.

In Texas — where the number of ballots cast by late last week had already surpassed the total vote count in 2016 — the State Supreme Court yesterday rejected a Republican effort to throw out more than 120,000 ballots that had been cast at drive-through locations in Harris County, which is heavily Democratic.

The suit centered on 10 voting sites in locations throughout Houston. The plaintiffs, State Representative Steve Toth and Steve Hotze, a conservative activist, said that the Harris County clerk, Chris Hollins, had acted illegally by setting up the sites without having them approved by the State Legislature.

The state court rejected that argument, but a nearly identical case is being heard in federal court, with Judge Andrew Hanen of U.S. District Court, a George W. Bush appointee, set to hear arguments today.

Trump supporters have driven their cars into high-profile incidents throughout his presidency, and the trend has continued as worries about possible election violence rise.

In Texas over the weekend, the president’s supporters surrounded a Biden tour bus on the highway and slowed it down to as low as 25 miles per hour, yelling as they drove and prompting the campaign to cancel two events. Trump shared a video of the incident on Twitter, writing: “I love Texas!” Last night, he added, “These patriots did nothing wrong.”

Trump supporters in New York and New Jersey yesterday gathered for a demonstration on the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge and the Garden State Parkway, jamming up traffic for miles along two of the busiest highways in the New York area.

None of this is nearly as dangerous or as violent as the conduct of James Fields, the white supremacist who drove into a crowd of anti-racist protesters in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017, killing a woman in what the F.B.I. director called an act of domestic terrorism. And it doesn’t quite rise to the level of the president’s backers in Portland, Ore., who sped through the city’s streets in August firing tear gas and paintball guns at protesters on the left who threw objects back at them. That day, a right-wing demonstrator was killed in a violent clash.

But it is part of a growing culture of escalation that has federal law enforcement officials worried about the scenes that could play out in the event of a disputed or delayed election result.

In Graham, N.C., a march to the polls was met by police officers using chemical spray, including on young children, and making numerous arrests. Organizers of the rally called it an act of blatant voter suppression.

“We are very concerned about groups lurking and trying to intimidate voters in particular communities,” said Kristen Clarke, executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a group that works to ensure voting rights. “We want voters to know these sporadic incidents are being addressed, and we want them to be able to cast their ballot.”

Photo of the day

Supporters of President Trump gathered in Londonderry, N.H., on Sunday.

All of a sudden, it’s a two-party election in the Lone Star State.

By Manny Fernandez

BEDFORD, Texas — Texas has, seemingly overnight, flicked an electoral switch.

In a state where one party has dominated for years, and where the Republican primary was once the bellwether election that determined winners and losers, Texas has been watching, slack-jawed, at what happens when a two-party state holds a general election during a presidential race.

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