Biden Gets Nobel Nomination, Joining Trump: Campaign Update

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, joining President Donald Trump. Pennsylvania Republicans are asking the Supreme Court to block a decision on mail-in ballots. And voters are split over confirming a Supreme Court justice before the election.

There are 36 days until the election and 77 days until the Electoral College meets.

Other Developments:

Biden Gets Nobel Nomination, Joining Trump

Biden will compete with Trump on another front, after a European lawmaker on Monday nominated the Democratic presidential nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Biden was nominated for the award by Chris Bryant, a Labour Party member of the U.K. Parliament, according to the British network Sky News. Bryant said the former vice president “has been a calming influence” in a period “when American cities have been in flames and citizen has been pitched against citizen.”

The prize, which has been awarded to numerous Americans, including President Theodore Roosevelt and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., has played an outsize role in this year’s presidential election. A right-wing Norwegian MP nominated Trump earlier this month, citing the president’s efforts to normalize relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

Trump, who once speculated that he’ll get a Nobel Prize “for a lot of things,” frequently raises his nomination in interviews and at rallies, complaining that he is not receiving more attention for it and that Barack Obama received the prize “like almost immediately” after becoming president. Biden’s presidential bid has been endorsed a record-breaking 94 Nobel laureates.

The prize will be announced in October, and the award ceremony will take place in Oslo in December. -- Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou

Pennsylvania Republicans Ask Supreme Court to Block Late Mail-In Ballots (3:08 p.m.)

Pennsylvania Republicans are already trying to get the U.S. Supreme Court involved in the election as they seek to get potentially thousands of mail-in ballots in the state thrown out.

State GOP leaders asked the nation’s highest court to block mail-in ballots from counting in Pennsylvania if they arrive after Election Day without a clear postmark showing that they were submitted by the Nov. 3 election.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death means the high court would have to decide the issue shorthanded. A 4-4 split among the remaining eight justices would leave the state court decision in force.

The emergency application seeks to block part of a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling that said ballots received by Nov. 6 could be counted even if they don’t have a legible postmark or were missing a postmark entirely.

The case could add a wrinkle to the already complicated rules over postmarked ballots. In Wisconsin’s April primary, 390 absentee ballots in Milwaukee weren’t counted initially because they didn’t have a postmark, had illegible postmarks or had a postmark without a date. The U.S. Postal Service worked with elections officials to validate all but about 40 of the postmarks. -- Greg Stohr

Voters Split on Confirming Supreme Court Justice Before the Election (1:53 p.m.)

Lawmakers aren’t the only ones who’ve changed their minds about when it’s appropriate to confirm a Supreme Court justice.

In a Monmouth University poll released Monday, voters were evenly split, with 49% saying a Supreme Court vacancy at the end of a president’s term should be put on hold, and 47% saying the Senate should consider the nomination.

That’s a 10-point increase in the number of voters who say they want a delay compared to the same question in 2016.

One difference may be timing. The current poll comes as Senate Republicans look to confirm a justice with just five weeks until Election Day. The previous poll was taken in March of 2016, eight months before the election, after President Barack Obama had nominated Merrick Garland to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

The poll of 809 registered voters was conducted Sept. 24-27 and has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points. -- Emma Kinery

Few Believe Debate Will Change Their Minds, Poll Shows (1:04 p.m.)

Only a tiny fraction of voters say the presidential debate between Biden and Trump on Tuesday is likely to change their minds, as public opinion on the candidates remains set in concrete.

In a Monmouth University poll released Monday, 87% say they are not likely to be swayed by the debate, 10% say it’s somewhat likely and only 3% say it’s very likely.

Still, three in four voters say they plan to watch the forum.

The results are almost identical to those of a Monmouth poll ahead of the first debate in September 2016. Last cycle, 75% of voters planned to watch and only 2% said it was very likely they would hear something that would affect their vote choice; 10% said it was somewhat likely.

The poll of 809 registered voters was conducted over the phone from Sept. 24-27 and has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points. -- Emma Kinery

Cindy McCain Takes Role With Biden Transition Team (12:46 p.m.)

Cindy McCain has gone from narrating a video for Joe Biden to endorsing him to advising his transition team.

The widow of Arizona Senator John McCain has taken a bigger role in promoting Biden’s campaign in the wake of a report in the Atlantic magazine about disparaging remarks Trump has made about veterans.

As the wife of the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, she helps Biden’s outreach to disaffected Republicans as well as the candidate’s efforts to draw a contrast with Trump. She was the narrator of a video shown at the Democratic National Convention about the friendship between Biden and John McCain.

The Biden campaign cited McCain’s experience in business and philanthropy for the post. “Cindy McCain is joining our already strong advisory board of diverse experts who are committed to ensuring a Biden-Harris administration is ready to meet our country’s most urgent challenges on Day One,” transition co-chair Ted Kaufman said in a statement.

The advisory board features another Republican, former Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald.

James Baker Will Vote for ‘Crazy’ Trump After All (11:33 a.m.)

Baker, a Republican former secretary of state, has said that Trump is “crazy” and “nuts,” but he will vote for him again in November after all.

In a new biography previewed in the New Yorker, the elder statesman said that he will vote for Trump because of “conservative judges, tax cuts and deregulation.”

Authors Susan B. Glasser and Peter Baker (no relation) write that Baker said in the summer of 2019 that he might vote for Biden if he won the Democratic nomination.

But he changed his mind by last fall.

“Don’t say that I will vote for Biden,” he is quoted saying. “I will vote for the Republican -- I really will. I won’t leave my party. You can say my party has left me, because the head of it has.”

Baker met with Trump for 25 minutes in 2016, giving him a two-page list of suggestions for how to win over voters as the Republican nominee, but he did not endorse him. He told the authors he thought Trump was “crazy” and did not like his position on free trade, but ultimately voted for him in that election.

Moderator Won’t Fact-Check Biden, Trump at Debate (9:40 a.m.)

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace won’t be fact-checking the candidates at Tuesday’s debate, but that doesn’t mean they’re off the hook.

“We don’t expect Chris or our other moderators to be fact checkers,” Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr., co-chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates, said Sunday. “The minute the TV is off there will be plenty of fact checkers.”

When he moderated a 2016 debate between Trump and Hillary Clinton, Wallace did not fact-check the candidates per se, but he often framed his questions around facts, statistics and past statements that they had contradicted on the campaign trail.

And in one instance, he fact-checked an answer Trump had given at the previous debate.

“Mr. Trump, in the last debate, you were both asked about the situation in the Syrian city of Aleppo,” Wallace said. “And I want to follow up on that, because you said several things in that debate which were not true, sir. You said that Aleppo has basically fallen.”

After some back and forth, Trump responded, “OK, so it hasn’t fallen.”

Nearly 1 Million Have Already Voted for President (8:22 a.m.)

If either candidate stumbles at Tuesday’s debate, they can take solace in the fact that it won’t affect nearly 1 million votes.

As of Sunday, more than 944,000 people have cast their ballots through mail-in and early voting, according to data compiled by University of Florida professor Michael McDonald, an expert on voting.

In a post, he called the number “jaw-dropping.”

“Nearly a million voters this far in advance of an election has never occurred in any American election. Period,” he wrote.

McDonald credited the surge in early voting to changes in state laws that make it easier in states like Virginia, to concerns over the coronavirus and to intense voter interest in the presidential campaign.

But whatever the cause, the surge in early votes will also change the contours of the election, diminishing the potential impact of a so-called “October surprise” or last-minute piece of news that upends the race.

Biden Campaign Mocks Trump on Tax Bill (7:08 a.m.)

The Biden campaign has started to close the mocking merchandise gap with Trump’s team.

Just hours after the New York Times reported Sunday that Trump paid nothing in income tax for 10 out of 15 years before he became president, the Biden campaign began selling three-inch circular vinyl stickers about it.

“I Paid More Income Taxes Than Donald Trump,” read the stickers, which are selling for $5.

Throughout the 2020 election cycle, the Trump campaign has been quick to mock Biden, Democrats and liberals in general with merchandise designed to generate small-dollar donations and collect information on supporters.

When Starbucks and other chains switched to paper straws, the Trump campaign began selling Trump-branded plastic straws.

It also sells T-shirts that say “Peaceful Protester” to mock urban unrest, “You Ain’t Black” to mock a Biden gaffe and the all-purpose “Get Over It.” Another shirt features impeachment head Representative Adam Schiff with a pencil for a neck and a clown nose.

Trump Won’t Shake Hands at Debate, Again

Trump won’t shake hands with his opponent at the presidential debate Tuesday, but this time it won’t be solely by choice.

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced Sunday that the candidates won’t shake hands with each other or moderator Chris Wallace in order to minimize the risk of spreading coronavirus, according to CNN.

Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton did not shake hands at the beginning of their second debate in 2016, a first in the history of televised debates, although they shook hands awkwardly at the end. At their third debate, they didn’t shake hands at all.

For their part, vice presidential candidates Mike Pence and Tim Kaine shook hands at their debate in 2016.

The coronavirus has affected the debate format in other ways. The audience will be reduced from as many as 1,200 at a normal debate to just 60 or 70, and there will not be the traditional “spin room” where campaign representatives make their case to reporters afterward.

Small Donors Gave More Than $300 Million Since Ginsburg’s Death

Small donors have given more than $300 million to Democratic candidates since Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Sept. 18 death.

Democratic fundraising platform ActBlue reported that the money has poured in since the death of Ginsburg, a beloved figure to many grassroots liberals.

The money is already transforming the landscape for congressional candidates, some of whom have gone from a shoestring to a few million in the bank with just weeks to go before Election Day.

That’s unnerved some Republicans. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who is in an unexpectedly tight race, went on Fox News last week to ask for money.

“They’re killing me, money-wise,” Graham said. “Help me.” -- Steven T. Dennis

Coming Up:

Biden and Trump will meet for the first presidential debate on Tuesday in Cleveland from 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Eastern.

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