Axios PM

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November 06, 2020

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 573 words, a 2-minute read.

📺 Monday on “Axios on HBO”: Longtime pollster Frank Luntz explains why it’s “impossible” to poll Trump voters. (clip)

  • Full interview and much more Monday at 11 p.m. ET/PT on all HBO platforms.

1 big thing: Biden's nearly insurmountable math

Joe Biden waves to a crowd outside The Queen theater in Wilmington yesterday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Joe Biden has nearly insurmountable math on his side, as the stunningly close count continued all day. Network morning shows stayed live as long as 1 p.m. ET, with the nation's news machinery poised to resolve Election Week.

  • Pennsylvania, where Biden is ahead by just under 15,000 counted votes, could be the ballgame: If he wins there, he's president-elect.
  • NBC's Chuck Todd gave a window into decision-desk thinking when he said on the extended 'Today" show, just before 11 a.m., that the network had over 90% confidence Biden would win Pennsylvania — but needed to be at 99.5%.

After multiple decision desks call the race for Biden, expect him and Sen. Kamala Harris to appear and publicly establish themselves as the victors — no matter what President Trump is saying, Axios' Alexi McCammond reports from Biden HQ in Wilmington, Del.

  • The two were expected to speak as soon as 8 p.m. ET tonight.

The event site — a Wilmington parking lot bedecked with American flags — buzzed with microphone checks and Secret Service activity.

  • Harris will introduce Biden, and aides said she'll keep it short — this is Biden's moment, after his third presidential run.
  • Biden is expected to hit familiar themes from his campaign: uniting the country, restoring the soul of the nation and moving past partisanship.

Trump stayed out of sight, with a few tweets. His campaign released a statement in his name that sounded like a concession, although past performance suggests that tone may not last long.

  • "We believe the American people deserve to have full transparency into all vote counting and election certification, and that this is no longer about any single election," Trump said in the statement. "This is about the integrity of our entire election process."
  • "We will pursue this process through every aspect of the law," he concluded. "I will never give up fighting for you and our nation.

The Trump campaign said it's confident the president will ultimately pull out a victory in Arizona, including in Maricopa County, the state’s most populous area, AP reported.

  • But he would also need to win most of the other remaining battlegrounds.

2. Don't count on recounts

The Trump campaign says it will seek recounts in several key states, but that's highly unlikely to change the outcome, reports Axios' Stef Kight.

Data: FairVote; Table: Axios Visuals
Data: FairVote; Table: Axios Visuals

The bottom line: Statewide recounts have historically only changed electoral margins by an average of 430 votes.

3. Catch up quick

Pro-Trump protesters in Maricopa County, Ariz. Photo: Dion Rabouin/Axios

  1. Good news for workers: The unemployment rate fell by a full percentage point to 6.9% last month. Go deeper.
  2. The potential 2024 GOP presidential field's quick response to a Donald Trump Jr. call to action shows the huge hold the Trump family has on the Republican Party, reports Axios' Jacob Knutson. Go deeper.
  3. Pennsylvania Republicans asked the Supreme Court to reiterate the rules for counting mail-in votes in the state. Go deeper.
  4. Lincoln Project co-founder Steve Schmidt said at a virtual Axios event that Trumpism is a “noxious weed." Go deeper.

Bonus: Tweet du jour

4. Distractions du jour

Notre Dame at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. Photo: Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

🏈 A monster weekend of college football is on the way, with the Pac-12 starting its season and a few major matchups in the SEC and ACC, notes Axios Sports editor Kendall Baker.

  • No. 5 Georgia at No. 8 Florida (3:30 Eastern): Georgia's defense faces its toughest test yet.
  • No. 1 Clemson at No. 4 Notre Dame (7:30 Eastern): The Irish will face Trevor Lawrence's replacement, D.J. Uiagalelei — the No. 1 pro-style QB prospect in the 2020 class.