An enormous fund-raising haul in South Carolina, a stimulus stuck in limbo and a president claiming coronavirus immunity. 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
Could South Carolina really send a Democrat to the U.S. Senate? If Jaime Harrison beats the Republican incumbent, Lindsey Graham, in November, he’d be the first Democratic challenger to win a Senate seat in the state since the 1960s.
But polls in recent weeks have shown Harrison neck-and-neck with Graham, and yesterday his campaign made a jaw-dropping announcement: It raised upward of $57 million in the third quarter of this year, breaking the record previously set by Beto O’Rourke in Texas.
Actually, not breaking. Smashing. Harrison’s haul exceeded O’Rourke’s previous quarterly record — set amid his unsuccessful 2018 campaign to oust Senator Ted Cruz — by nearly $20 million.
Democratic Senate challengers across the country have received record cash donations this year, as liberal voters express their outrage with President Trump.
The nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court has fired up the Democratic base even further, with donations surging to eye-popping levels in states from Maine to Alaska. Shortly after Ginsburg’s death last month, the Democratic donation platform ActBlue was handling more than $100,000 in pledges each minute.
Calling himself fully recovered from the coronavirus, Trump plans to return to the campaign trail this evening. He will hold a rally in Sanford, Fla., in a Central Florida county that narrowly broke his way in 2016.
Joe Biden will visit Cincinnati and Toledo today in his first visit to Ohio of the general election campaign. The state voted heavily for Trump four years ago but has recently looked like a tossup. A New York Times/Siena College poll of Ohio released last week showed the candidates virtually tied.
Today is the 11th day since the president received his coronavirus diagnosis. Government health guidelines advise that people experiencing severe cases of the virus remain isolated for up to 20 days after first showing symptoms.
On Friday, during a two-hour on-air call with Rush Limbaugh, Trump acknowledged that he’d had a serious case of the virus. But yesterday he tweeted that he was now “immune” from it and would not pose a threat to others at his rallies. Twitter later labeled that post inaccurate and hid its contents, saying Trump had violated the company’s policies around potentially harmful information about the virus.
The president made a soft return to in-person campaigning on Saturday, when he stood on a White House balcony and addressed hundreds of supporters on the lawn.
The event — which Trump called a “peaceful protest” in support of “law and order” — was organized by Candace Owens, who is leading a movement she calls “Blexit,” to persuade Black voters to leave the Democratic Party.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, took issue yesterday with a Trump campaign ad that used his words out of context to suggest that Fauci had endorsed the president’s handling of the virus.
“I was totally surprised,” Fauci said of the spot. “The use of my name and my words by the G.O.P. campaign was done without my permission, and the actual words themselves were taken out of context, based on something that I said months ago regarding the entire effort of the task force.”
In the ad, Fauci is heard saying, “I can’t imagine that anybody could be doing more” — a comment he made in March about the broader government effort, not Trump personally, during an interview with Fox News.
Though always carefully measured, Fauci has been increasingly willing to openly question the White House’s coronavirus response. On Friday, he referred to the Rose Garden ceremony last month celebrating Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court as a “superspreader event.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, continue to haggle over a possible next round of coronavirus stimulus legislation — but Senate Republicans are not exactly rolling out the red carpet.
Less than a week after the president pulled the plug on virus negotiations, Trump is back to pushing for a deal. But Republicans in the Senate balked over the weekend after the White House put forward a $1.8 trillion offer to Democrats.
In a tense call on Saturday with G.O.P. senators, Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, promised that he would relay their objections to the president, but added: “You all will have to come to my funeral” after he delivered the news.
For their part, Democratic leaders say the administration’s proposal didn’t go nearly far enough. “This past week, the President demonstrated very clearly that he has not taken the war against the virus seriously, personally or nationally,” Pelosi wrote in a public letter to her colleagues. “This attitude is reflected in the grossly inadequate response we finally received from the Administration on Saturday.”
Photo of the day
Joe Biden held a distanced event in Erie, Pa., on Saturday.
Dispatch from Ohio: Unsurprised (and, sometimes, unbothered) by Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis
By Lisa Lerer
DELAWARE, Ohio — Here in this suburb of Columbus, supporters of the president aren’t surprised that he contracted the coronavirus.
But they aren’t particularly worried about it, either.
“I feel like at some point, in my opinion, everyone has either had it or is going to get it,” said Rachel Antonelli, as she walked through the historic downtown, not wearing a mask. “The president is obviously around a ton of people. So it’s no surprise that it happened.”
Pregnant with her second child, Antonelli, 35, described herself as “against the whole mask thing,” saying she believes the virus can travel through a mask, and finds it difficult to breathe while wearing one.
“I feel like you’re inhibiting yourself when you’re wearing the mask,” she said. “It doesn’t really matter how careful you are going to be. If you’re a person that’s going to get it, you’re going to get it.”
Like many suburbs, Delaware County is one of the areas that could determine whether Trump wins this perennial swing state. After Trump won the state by eight percentage points in 2016, many Democrats wondered whether they could find a path to victory in Ohio. Defeats in the midterm elections prompted some to write off the state almost entirely.
Yet recent polling has shown the Buckeye State, like other battlegrounds across the country, slipping away from the president. A poll released on Wednesday by The New York Times and Siena College showed the race in Ohio virtually tied.
Much of the dissatisfaction with Trump can be traced to the low marks voters give his handling of the coronavirus — for both the country and himself. A majority of voters in the poll, including about 20 percent of Trump’s supporters, said the president did not take adequate precautions to protect himself from the virus.
The lack of transparency from the White House over when the president first tested positive and about his current condition has created an atmosphere of uncertainty around his illness, prompting voters across the country to speculate wildly about his health.
In Delaware, Trump’s backers had an almost fatalistic take on the president’s illness but generally believed his infection was not serious.
“Walking around without a mask, it’s risky. This year, nobody’s above getting it,” said Karen Assini, 71, a retired pricing analyst who plans to vote for Trump for a second time this fall. “We all have free will. We all make our own choices.”
Democrats were also unsurprised by the president’s diagnosis, though they had a very different opinion of his behavior.
“It was the result that you would expect from the way he conducted himself,” said John Tanoury, a lawyer in Upper Arlington. “I don’t think he’s faking it, although I suppose you couldn’t rule it out.”
He quickly added, “I didn’t want him to die or anything like that.”
This item was part of a series of short Battleground Dispatches our reporters have been filing from swing states, offering an in-person snapshot of what it’s like to be on the ground in Arizona, Georgia and elsewhere. You can read all of the dispatches here.
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President Trump is planning to hold a rally in Florida on Monday, just over a week from his coronavirus diagnosis. Joe Biden will travel to Ohio. Read the latest updates.
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