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Protesters confront Sen. Rand Paul outside the White House early Friday. Photo: Leah Millis/Reuters

Democrats close to Joe Biden increasingly fear the looting and violence in cities could help President Trump, especially among the few undecided or wavering Americans.

Why it matters: This is a huge story that helps explain the state of the race, with some Democrats panicking that Trump could win.

A new poll out of Wisconsin has heightened worry among top Democrats:

  • In a Marquette Law School poll of registered voters in battleground Wisconsin, support for Black Lives Matters protests dropped 13 points from June to August, just ahead of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha.

"There was an initial surge in support for and sympathy with BLM in June," Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette Law School Poll, told me.

  • "The shift to a more negative view in August is strongest among Republicans, but independents and Democrats also became less approving. The decline was across all regions except for the city of Milwaukee."

At a rally last night in Manchester, N.H., the Trump campaign amplified the issue by handing out official signs saying "PEACEFUL PROTESTER" and "THIS IS A PEACEFUL PROTEST."

  • "You know what I say? Protesters, your ass," Trump said. "I don't talk about my ass. They're not protesters. ... Those are anarchists. They're agitators. They're rioters. They're looters."
  • "They don't even know who George Floyd is. If you ask 'em: 'Who's George Floyd?' they couldn't even tell you."

Video of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and his wife, Kelley — being chased back to their hotel, shielded by police — has gotten more than 10 million views.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Paul said on "Fox & Friends" that the attackers were yelling: "Say her name — Breonna Taylor," killed by police in a no-knock raid in Kentucky.

  • "I'm actually the author of the [Justice for Breonna Taylor Act], to end no-knock raids," Paul said. "So the irony is lost on these idiots."

Andrew Sullivan writes, in "The Trap The Democrats Walked Right Into": "If law and order are what this election is about, they will lose it."

  • "Biden needs a gesture of real Sister Souljah clarity to put daylight between him and the violent left."

The bottom line ... David Axelrod warned fellow Dems about Trump's effort to shift attention from COVID and unemployment to "law and order":

  • "[T]he timing of unrest in Kenosha has been a gift to him in that project."
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Go deeper

Trump campaign says it will request recount in Wisconsin

The Whiskey Ranch Bar and Grill in Janesville, Wisconsin on Nov. 3. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Trump campaign on Wednesday said it would "immediately" request a recount in Wisconsin, after the key battleground state appeared to be leaning in Joe Biden's direction. The AP has not yet called this race.

The big picture: The final outcome of the presidential election is down to swing states that are too close to call, including Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Florida swing voters desperate for an end to the race

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

After months of a grueling campaign season, some swing voters around Florida are desperately searching for an end to this cycle — even if it means accepting a President Biden win after they voted for President Trump.

Why it matters: Fatigue over the level of political outreach and content they've been inundated with during this race — as well as fear that there will be extreme civil unrest no matter who wins — is pushing these voters to accept a president they don't even want if it means the chaos will end.

Updated 1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

Ransomware attack forces shutdown of major U.S. fuel pipeline

A police officer stands guard inside the gate to the Colonial Pipeline Co. Pelham junction and tank farm in Pelham, Alabama, in 2016. Photo: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A major U.S. fuel pipeline running from Texas to New York has been taken offline by its operator because of a ransomware attack, Colonial Pipeline said Saturday.

Why it matters: It's a significant breach of critical infrastructure and comes on the heels of multiple other major cyberattacks on both U.S. companies and the federal government.