Trump sets an aggressive schedule while Biden, who continues to lead the polls, hits a low point by Thursday’s debate.
- On Tuesday, two weeks until the election on November 3rd, the campaigns have reached the last stretch of the race.
- President Donald Trump is fighting on Pennsylvania’s main battlefield, while opponent Joe Biden has no planned events ahead of Thursday’s debate in Nashville.
- Trump’s campaign says he will join the debate despite protesting issues and muted microphones.
- Early voting begins in Wisconsin, as well as Hawaii, Louisiana, and Utah.
- According to the United States Elections Project tracker, more than 31.6 million US voters have already cast ballots.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continued coverage of the US election. This is Joseph Stepansky.
Tuesday, October 20th:
10:00 ET – Trump has announced that he will participate in the debate with Biden but believes it is unfair
Trump said Monday that he will participate in a debate with former Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday, despite conditions he believes are unfair, including muting candidates’ microphones during sections of the face-off.
“I’m going to participate, I just find it very unfair,” Trump told reporters. “I will be attending, but it is very unfair that they changed the subject and it is very unfair that we have an anchor again that is totally biased.”
Trump’s campaign has written a letter to the Presidential Debate Commission questioning the list of topics selected by moderator, NBC television presenter Kristen Welker.
The October 22 debate should focus on foreign policy, the Trump campaign claimed. But the topics that Welker announced are fighting COVID-19, American families, racing in America, climate change, national security, and leadership. The letter asked the Commission to “reconsider and republish a number of subjects … with a focus on foreign policy”.
Trump and Biden have only participated in one debate this election season after a second debate scheduled for last week was canceled when Trump turned down a digital format [File: Morry Gash/EPA]
9:30 am ET – Republicans see ray of hope in voter registration
The Republican Party has diminished the Democrats’ voter registration advantage in some of the president’s critical battlefield states, a fact they point to as evidence of the continued – and overlooked – enthusiasm for Trump and his party, according to the Associated Press.
Despite Trump battling national polls and fundraisers just weeks before election day, Republicans see their progress in registering voters in Florida, Pennsylvania, Arizona and other states as a rare ray of hope.
In Florida, Republicans have counted 146,644 voters versus Democrats since the March pandemic, leaving the Democrats with the smallest lead in party registrations since the state began persecuting them in 1972, according to the news agency. In Pennsylvania, which Trump won by 44,000 votes in 2016, the GOP has added 103,171 more voters than the Democrats since November.
Democrats have argued that Republican gains are partially illusory: some of the GOP registrants are ex-Democratic voters who voted for Republicans but have not yet updated their registrations. They also find that young voters who are heavily democratic are increasingly registering as disconnected from both parties, which helps put the GOP’s benefit on paper but may not help on election day.
Read more about how not to be fooled by high numbers of votes here.
9:00 am ET – Trump campaigns in Pennsylvania
Trump will fight Monday night in Erie, Pennsylvania.
Trump won just under the battlefield state’s 20 electoral votes in the 2016 election, but polls have shown that Biden is a leader in the state. However, a Reuters / Ipsos poll published Monday found that leadership may tighten.
Biden is originally from the state, a fact he often pointed out during the election campaign.
Read more about the Battle of Pennsylvania here.
Read all updates from Monday (October 19th) here.