Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP/Gety Images

Joe Biden's campaign is doubling down on its criticism of President Trump's mishandling of the coronavirus, launching two new 30-second ads today on the heels of Biden's own call for an outdoor mask mandate.

Why it matters: With Biden's running mate, Kamala Harris, now in place to amplify and augment the message, the campaign is signaling it will hit Trump on the pandemic every day until Nov. 3.

  • A campaign official tells Axios that “Ready to Lead” will run in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, Arizona and Nevada, weaving in Biden’s call for a universal mask mandate with a pledge to produce more protective gear in the U.S.
  • “Dignity,” will cycle into the campaign’s existing media buys targeting seniors, with cuts from Biden’s June 30 coronavirus speech played over scenes of the former vice president comforting older Americans.
  • Both, as well as a 60-second spot released yesterday, are part of existing buys worth $20m this week and $24m next week.

Go deeper: In a new campaign memo, deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield says Trump has told more than 150 lies regarding the coronavirus.

  • “As Vice President Biden has said many times, the American people can face any challenge if you simply tell them the truth, but from the very beginning of this crisis President Trump has refused to be honest with the American people," she says.
  • The memo underscores the Biden campaign’s theory of the election: It will come down the coronavirus and Trump’s response to it.

Between the lines: Bedingfield's memo also signals that, if elected, Biden is prepared to tell Americans things they may not want to hear when it comes to getting the virus under control.

  • Biden suggested the same, when he acknowledged Thursday that masks are “uncomfortable” before adding that a mandate would get “our kids back to school sooner and safer.”

The other side: President Trump appears to welcome a campaign that’s contested over masks, coronavirus and the economy.

  • He accused Biden on Thursday of wanting "the president of the United States with the mere stroke of a pen to order over 300 million American citizens to wear a mask for a minimum of three straight months."
  • But Trump campaign's is more focused on painting Biden as a secret agent of the left, with new ads including footage of Biden saying: "If you elect me, your taxes are gonna be raised, not cut."

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.

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


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."

New interactive tool shows Biden's mail voting danger

Data: SurveyMonkey; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Voters who disapprove of President Trump most strongly are by far the most likely to vote by mail in the presidential election, according to an Axios analysis of exclusive data from SurveyMonkey and Tableau.

Why it matters: The new data shows just how strongly the mail-in vote is likely to favor Joe Biden — with potentially enormous implications in the swing states due to the greater risk of rejection with mail ballots.