Nine thoughts with 5 days until Election Day

The clock keeps ticking in the 2020 elections, as President Trump and Joe Biden will both be in Florida on Thursday, one of the key battlegrounds in the race for the White House.

Meanwhile, the final stages of the campaign continue to present a range of clues from voters - along with a lot of unanswered questions on where the outcome is heading.

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Let’s take a look at what’s of note:

+ Texas. Texas. Texas. Texas. The jump in turnout in Texas is really remarkable. And it’s being noticed by top Republicans in the Lone Star State. Multiple times this year, we have seen senior GOP elected officials make remarks along the lines of, “This race is going to be close because more Democrats are voting.” And that’s what Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is saying in this quote. We know more Democrats are voting early in Texas. We know there is a lot of turnout from Republican counties as well. How it shakes out on Tuesday is not clear.

+ Texas. I have no idea what to think. I still find it hard to believe that Democrats might defeat President Trump in Texas. But there sure are a lot of question marks when it comes to who is voting. Think about it for a moment. How do you construct a likely voter model for a poll in Texas, when you have so many voters turning out who did not vote in 2016? Think about it for yourself. If you have a friend who had not voted in the last two election years, but suddenly was voting in 2020, which way would that person most likely be voting?

+ The Lone Star schedule tells a story. Democrats think they have a chance in Texas. If they lose a nail biter to President Trump - this will be one of those decisions which gets replayed again and again. Is it really worth the time and effort to send Kamala Harris to Texas for three stops this week, just days before the elections? Like the old commercial during NFL games on Sundays - “You make the call.”

+ Democratic grumbling about Biden campaign strategy. Speaking of second guessing, this one is the King of that category. Let me assure you, if Joe Biden loses, the biggest single Monday Morning Quarterback attack will be on his light travel schedule. Biden has spent much of the past seven months hunkered down at his home in Delaware. He hasn’t had a big rally since March 9 in Michigan. He doesn’t meet with a lot of voters. And that’s fine with him. But if he loses, it will be a different story.

+ We are seeing remarkable voter enthusiasm. Millions are voting each day, as more and more Americans stand in line for early voting. Can you imagine if all of these people had descended on the polls at the same time on Election Day? I still think we will see delays next Tuesday, simply because of Coronavirus concerns. Multiple states in this list could be key to the race for the White House and the U.S. Senate.

+ Democratic groups hammer Coronavirus in late ads. It’s not just Joe Biden who has been ripping President Trump on a daily basis about the virus outbreak, as liberal political groups are spending big money to bring home that same message in TV ads. Here’s one which will run in a number of key states in the final days of the campaign. I will be very interested to see exit polling on the virus, and how it impacted this race.

+ Biden up in Maine 2. Yesterday we talked about why President Trump made a campaign stop in Omaha, Nebraska, making a play for a single electoral vote in the Congressional district anchored by that city. (You can also Google for stories about the people who had to be taken to the hospital after the event.) The latest polls show Joe Biden with a shot to win the Second Congressional District in Maine, as Maine is the only other state which divides its Electoral Votes between statewide and Congressional District winners. Every vote counts.

+ Turnout is off the charts. We keep seeing these numbers over and over again. It’s clear there is great interest in this race for President. What we don’t know right now is which side is getting an edge from all of these extra voters. Young people. Those who did not vote in 2016. Seniors are turning out in larger numbers. Who does it help? We won’t know that answer until next Tuesday.

+ The President again says vote counting must end fast. For a second straight day on Wednesday, President Trump told reporters that he wants the race all buttoned up by Tuesday night, again saying that states should not be counting votes for weeks. But that’s the way it’s done. Most states take weeks to certify their vote. And as former Georgia Secretary of State Cathy Cox told me on Wednesday, states also have to wait for military and overseas ballots to arrive as well. The President keeps signaling he’s going to court. We should take him at his word.