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President Trump in Warren, Mich., in January. Photo: Brittany Greeson/Getty Images

The Cook Political Report on Friday moved its prediction of Michigan's 2020 presidential election results from "toss up" to "leans Democratic."

Why it matters: The state, which President Trump flipped in 2016, remains a key swing state in 2020 — and can be viewed as a bellwether for an important section of the president's base due to its concentration of white, working-class voters.

  • Cook based its decision on the fact that polling averages have Joe Biden leading by 10 points in the state — higher than other similar battlegrounds, like Pennsylvania — and increasingly winning over shares of Republican and independent voters there.
  • But Cook's Amy Walter does note that Trump's polling currently is at a trough — and says it's not yet clear if "he's done permanent damage to his re-election prospects among" his base in Michigan.

Worth noting: In Cook's latest update, Iowa and Ohio also moved from "likely Republican" to the more competitive "lean Republican" category.

Go deeper

The apocalypse scenario

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democratic lawyers are preparing to challenge any effort by President Trump to swap electors chosen by voters with electors selected by Republican-controlled legislatures. One state of particular concern: Pennsylvania, where the GOP controls the state house.

Why it matters: Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, together with a widely circulated article in The Atlantic about how bad the worst-case scenarios could get, is drawing new attention to the brutal fights that could jeopardize a final outcome.

Democrats' mail voting pivot

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Democrats spent the early months of the coronavirus pandemic urging their base to vote absentee. But as threats of U.S. Postal Service delays, Team Trump litigation and higher ballot rejection rates become clearer, many are pivoting to promote more in-person voting as well.

Why it matters: Democrats are exponentially more likely to vote by mail than Republicans this year — and if enough mail-in ballots are lost, rejected on a technicality or undercounted, it could change the outcome of the presidential election or other key races.

Sanders: "This is an election between Donald Trump and democracy"

Photo: BernieSanders.com

In an urgent appeal on Thursday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said President Trump presented "unique threats to our democracy" and detailed a plan to ensure the election results will be honored and that voters can cast their ballots safely.

Driving the news: When asked yesterday whether he would commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses, Trump would not, and said: "We're going to have to see what happens."