Following a relatively subdued day focused on the 19th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, President Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden continued their two different campaigning styles Saturday.

Biden’s campaign released several new Spanish-language ads targeting voters in Florida, slamming Trump for everything from his response to the coronavirus pandemic to his rhetoric. Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), hosted a virtual roundtable afternoon with Latino voters in Arizona.

Meanwhile, Trump is scheduled to hold a rally in Nevada, one of several his campaign has hosted despite the ongoing pandemic.

Here are some significant developments:
  • An imminent Wisconsin Supreme Court decision on whether the Green Party presidential ticket has qualified to appear on the state ballot has upended election preparations and raised the prospect of a last-minute addition that could benefit Trump in a state he won by a hair in 2016.
  • A federal appeals court on Friday ruled that hundreds of thousands of felons in Florida who still owe fines and fees may not register to vote, making it unlikely they will be able to cast ballots in the coming presidential election.
September 12, 2020 at 4:58 PM EDT

Harris makes virtual stop in Arizona

By Chelsea Janes

Kamala D. Harris made a virtual trip to Arizona Saturday afternoon, her first foray into the Westernmost battleground state since being named to the Democratic ticket. Harris held a round table discussion with Latino small business owners from the state, which has a population that is roughly 32 percent Hispanic, according to the Bureau of the Census. Donald Trump won Arizona by roughly 3.5 points in 2016.

Harris has held multiple events with Latino voters in recent weeks. She held a similar virtual round table with Latino small business owners in Miami earlier this month and visited a Latino-owned small business in Doral when she traveled to Florida in-person last week.

In her brief remarks, Harris said she was visiting with small business owners in the area because “we know that you are the backbone of this state … and we know that when you speak, you speak with and for your community.”

“We will need to make sure you have a president in the White House who actually sees you, who understands your needs, who understands the dignity of your work, and who has your back,” Harris said, before telling attendees that the Biden-Harris administration plans to provide $100 billion in low interest loans and investments to minority business owners, as well as a $15,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers.

Harris also emphasized that she and Biden will do what they can to protect the Affordable Care Act, and she drew contrast with President Trump’s plans to gut it — something she said Arizona needs more than ever because it was hit so hard by covid-19 this summer.

“Now we know that Trump deliberately downplayed the seriousness of covid-19. What we heard on that tape earlier this week is, simply put, it’s a dereliction of his duty as our president,” Harris said in reference to recently released reporting from Bob Woodward’s new book that details Trump’s desire to downplay the severity of the virus.

Vanessa Cazarez, who owns an event venue, told Harris she felt the vice-presidential nominee was speaking right to her when Harris talked about her mother as she accepted the vice-presidential nomination.

“We were seeing eye-to-eye,” Cazarez said.

September 12, 2020 at 4:31 PM EDT

Trump spends Saturday afternoon fundraising at his D.C. hotel

By Amy B Wang

Trump spent Saturday afternoon attending a fundraising event at his own D.C. hotel before flying to Nevada for a planned rally, amid concerns of an upcoming cash crunch and spending cuts within his campaign.

Shortly before 1:30 p.m. Saturday, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows could be seen trotting toward the Oval Office, according to a pool report. He emerged soon afterward with Trump, and the two took separate vehicles to the Trump International Hotel, several blocks down Pennsylvania Avenue.

There, Trump was scheduled to participate in at least two roundtable discussions with his supporters, before departing for Nevada, according to his official White House schedule.

Trump’s new campaign manager, Bill Stepien, ordered sharp cuts in ad spending in July to conserve resources for the final sprint of the race.

By contrast, Biden announced a record-breaking August fundraising haul of $364.5 million, more than $205 million of which came through online donations, and has been pouring millions into ads, especially in key states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida.

September 12, 2020 at 3:23 PM EDT

Antifa has become a campaign issue. Here’s one myth, debunked.

By Mark Bray

Short for “anti-fascist,” the label “antifa” gained notoriety in 2017 over the course of several high-profile conflicts between left-wing protesters and the far right in Berkeley, Calif.; Portland, Ore.; Charlottesville; and elsewhere. But antifa has been a staple of radical politics across Europe, Latin America and beyond for decades. Even in the United States, this tradition of militant antifascism has a long history under the banner of the Anti-Racist Action network. Despite this history, and a litany of journalistic “explainers” over the past three years, antifa remains largely misunderstood.

Here is a popular myth.

MYTH: Antifa is a single organization.

FACT: On May 31, President Trump tweeted, “The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization.” Attorney General William P. Barr echoed his sentiments by arguing that antifa is “a revolutionary group that is interested in some form of socialism.” Right-wing figure Chuck Callesto even claimed that Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) intended to “SUBPOENA ANTIFA plane records, hotel records, all travel records & all funding.”

But Trump cannot designate “ANTIFA” as a terrorist organization because antifa is not an organization. Rather, it is a politics of revolutionary opposition to the far right. There are antifa groups, such as Rose City Antifa in Portland and NYC Antifa, just as there are feminist groups, such as Code Pink. But neither antifa nor feminism is itself an organization. You cannot subpoena an idea or a movement. That’s not to say that antifa doesn’t exist, of course. Antifa is “very real,” as Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) has argued, but not in the monolithic, hierarchical way in which he and many other Americans are accustomed to thinking of political associations.

September 12, 2020 at 1:54 PM EDT

Bernie Sanders urges Michigan voters to support Biden, even though they ‘do not agree on every issue’

By Amy B Wang

In a virtual town hall Saturday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) urged Michigan voters to support Biden — but also emphasized it was important to continue fighting for progressive values, at times acknowledging that he did not feel the Democratic nominee went far enough on those issues.

Sanders, the runner-up in the Democratic primary, emphasized the urgency of removing Trump from office and called Michigan a critical swing state.

“As Michigan goes, so goes the nation,” said Sanders. “We stand together … and say that we need a government that represents all of us and not just a few and that we have got to get rid of Donald Trump as president. But getting rid of Donald Trump is not all that we have to do. What we have to do is educate and organize our progressive movement.”

Still, the senator and longtime progressive leader has been privately expressing concerns about Biden’s presidential campaign and urging him to appeal more to liberal voters. On Saturday, he said he wanted to be honest about that.

“It’s no secret. Joe Biden and I do not agree on every issue. We surely do not,” Sanders said. “But on many, many issues, Joe Biden has an agenda that speaks to the needs of working class people and, if elected, will improve life for millions, tens of millions.”

He ended by saying people needed “to work as hard as we can to elect Joe Biden and” — here he added a small shake of his fist in the air — “to continue our struggle for a progressive agenda.”

September 12, 2020 at 1:40 PM EDT

Biden releases several Spanish-language ads hitting Trump on his handling of the pandemic, Hurricane Maria

By Amy B Wang and Adriana Usero

Biden’s campaign on Saturday released several blistering Spanish-language ads, hitting Trump on his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, Hurricane Maria and economic solutions for Latino families.

A 30-second commercial, “Dicen Mucho,” will target Florida voters watching television and online and plays up Biden’s past work on economic recovery.

“Dicen mucho, pero hacen poco,” the ad ends, arguing that Trump and his allies have said a lot but done little when it comes to helping Latino families.

In “Arroz,” a 60-second radio spot that will also run in Florida, a Puerto Rican woman narrates using local slang and the phrase “Arroz con fondillo” — a somewhat vulgar way of saying “things are a mess” and a play on rice and beans — to describe Trump’s responses to the coronavirus crisis and to Hurricane Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico in 2017.

Biden’s campaign will also air an existing Spanish-language ad, “Un Buen Plan” (A Good Plan), in Arizona, North Carolina, Nevada, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

The Trump campaign has been looking to gain support with Hispanic and Latino voters despite the president’s harsh approach to immigration.

September 12, 2020 at 12:37 PM EDT

Trump will visit California Monday

By Josh Dawsey

President Trump is wrapping a three-day campaign swing with a stop in California on Monday, according to the White House.

“On Monday, President Trump will visit McClellan Park, California where he will join local and federal fire and emergency officials to be briefed on the California wildfires,” a White House spokesman said.

Trump is spending much of the day Saturday and Sunday holding political events at his hotel in DC and Nevada and Arizona. He is expected to return Monday night.

Meanwhile, Biden’s campaign released a statement Saturday addressing the ongoing wildfires and calling the climate crisis an “imminent, existential threat to our way of life."

”President Trump can try to deny that reality, but the facts are undeniable," Biden said. “We absolutely must act now to avoid a future defined by an unending barrage of tragedies like the one American families are enduring across the West today.”

September 12, 2020 at 12:25 PM EDT

Sen. Susan Collins declines to say she’ll vote for Trump

By Amy B Wang and Donna Cassata

In a debate Friday night with challengers for her Senate seat, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) declined to say who she would vote for in November.

Collins has said she did not vote for President Trump in 2016 but has since supported much of his agenda, including voting to confirm Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

In the debate Friday, Democratic challenger Sara Gideon said she supported Joe Biden for president and pressed Collins to announce who she would endorse in the coming election; Collins demurred.

“Let me say this: I don’t think that the people of Maine need my advice on whom to support for president,” Collins said.

Collins did mildly criticize Trump in response to a question about the president privately revealing to The Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward that he intentionally downplayed the dangers of the coronavirus, despite knowing of its severity in February. The coronavirus has killed at least 187,000 Americans since February.

“I believe that the president should have been straightforward with the American people,” Collins said. “The American people can take hard facts. He had an obligation as president to be straightforward.”

September 12, 2020 at 11:46 AM EDT

Biden leads Trump in key swing states, according to new poll

By Amy B Wang

Joe Biden is leading President Trump in four key swing states, according to a newly released poll by the New York Times and Siena College.

The poll surveyed 2,481 possible voters in four states: Wisconsin, where Trump eked out a win in 2016, as well as Minnesota, Nevada and New Hampshire, which went for Hillary Clinton that year. Of those, Biden leads Trump by nine points in Minnesota, five points in Wisconsin, four points in Nevada and three points in New Hampshire.

The majority of possible voters surveyed said they trusted Biden over Trump to do a better job handling many issues, including race relations, unifying America, the coronavirus pandemic, protests, violent crime and “law and order.” Trump has in recent months tried to establish himself as “your president of law and order” and attempted to paint Biden as someone who would allow chaos in the streets if elected.

The only issue Trump led Biden on in the survey was the economy. Trump continues to have an advantage among male voters and rural voters in those four states, according to the poll.

September 12, 2020 at 10:52 AM EDT

Bernie Sanders raised concerns about Biden campaign

By Sean Sullivan

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is privately expressing concerns about Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, according to three people with knowledge of the conversations, urging Biden’s team to intensify its focus on pocketbook issues and appeals to liberal voters.

Sanders, the runner-up to Biden in the Democratic primary, has told associates that Biden is at serious risk of coming up short in the November election if he continues his vaguer, more centrist approach, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive talks.

The senator has identified several specific changes he’d like to see, saying Biden should talk more about health care and about his economic plans, and should campaign more with figures popular among young liberals, such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).

September 12, 2020 at 10:51 AM EDT

Trump is barely talking about the wildfires

By Amber Phillips

Over the past 24 hours on his Twitter feed, President Trump has attacked Democrats and racial injustice protesters nearly a dozen times, mentioned law and order, and made false claims about mail voting.

But on the increasingly deadly, catastrophic wildfires in California and Oregon that have displaced 500,000 people, caused fire tornadoes, killed a 1-year-old in Washington state, and blotted out the sun in one of America’s largest metropolitan areas, he has been nearly silent.

The president has tweeted about the fires only once, on Friday evening. A search of the president’s Twitter feed and his public comments from Factba.se, plus a search of recent White House news briefings, finds no other mention by him or his press secretary of one of the worst natural disasters to hit the West in modern times.