President Trump is holding a rally in North Carolina tonight. Rudy Giuliani said he did not do anything “inappropriate” in the new “Borat” movie. A man in Maryland is charged with threatening to kill Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

Biden calls Trump’s policy of separating parents from their children at the border a ‘stain on our national character.’

40 million Americans have already voted, with the key state of Wisconsin seeing a big early vote.

Biden has an edge over Trump in Iowa, according to a New York Times/Siena College poll.

A man in Maryland was arrested and charged with threatening to kidnap and kill Biden and Harris.

President Barack Obama burned rubber racing off the high road in Philadelphia on Wednesday during his return to the trail — ridiculing President Trump for complaining about campaigning in Pennsylvania, for contracting the coronavirus, and for hiding business dealings with China.

“We know that he continues to do business with China because he has a secret Chinese bank account. How is that possible?” Mr. Obama asked a crowd of supporters invited to hear him speak in the parking lot of South Philadelphia Sports Complex.

He was referring to a New York Times report that revealed previously unknown financial holdings in China — at a time when the president is criticizing Joseph R. Biden Jr. for ties to that country.

“Can you imagine if I had a secret Chinese bank account?” he said. “Can you imagine if I had secret Chinese bank account when I was running for re-election?” His voice straining, he added, “They would’ve called me Beijing Barry.”

It is “not a great idea to have a president who owes a bunch of money to people overseas,” Mr. Obama said, adding that he had probably paid more in taxes working a high school job at an ice-cream parlor than Mr. Trump paid during each of his first two years as president — $750.

Mr. Obama’s long-anticipated speech, the first of several he intends to deliver on behalf of the Biden-Harris ticket over the next two weeks, marked a reversal of his initial reluctance to engage Mr. Trump directly.

And even though his remarks, interrupted from time to time by the honking of horns at the drive-in rally, had moments of his signature soaring rhetoric, he seemed to divert somewhat from the kindler-gentler 2016 mantra inspired by his wife, “When they go low, we go high.”

“By the way, his TV ratings are down,” the former president said. “So you know that upsets him. But the thing is, this is not a reality show. This is reality. And the rest of us have had to live with the consequences of him proving himself incapable of taking the job seriously.”

Mr. Obama, who has helped raise millions for his former vice president online but has not appeared in person at campaign events during the coronavirus pandemic, slammed Mr. Trump’s failure to contain the outbreak in more personal terms than he has used before.

“Eight months into this pandemic, cases are rising again across this country,” he said. “Donald Trump isn’t suddenly going to protect all of us. He can’t even take the basic steps to protect himself.”

Mr. Obama, who set aside his lofty campaign style in a go-for-the-jugular moment, seized on a misstep, recalling that Mr. Trump told supporters on Tuesday at a rally in western Pennsylvania that he would not have visited them if his campaign had not been struggling.

“The president spent some time in Erie last night and apparently he complained about having to travel here,” Mr. Obama said, laughing. “Then he cut the event short. Poor guy. I don’t feel that way. I love coming to Pennsylvania.”

In Philadelphia in August, for the virtual Democratic National Convention, Mr. Obama delivered a televised speech that cast the election as an existential battle for the future of American democracy. He struck those same themes in his return visit on Wednesday.

He said that Mr. Trump’s antics were unacceptable and wouldn’t be tolerated if the person were a school principal, coach or even a family member.

He warned Democrats not to let up because of the polling advantage Mr. Biden is now seeing and said that some had become “lazy” in 2016. “I don’t care about the poll,” Mr. Obama said, referring to Hillary Clinton’s polling lead. “There were a whole bunch of polls last time. It didn’t work out.”

“We’ve got to out hustle the other side,” he added, as the Democratic horns began to honk in unison.

Joseph R. Biden Jr. called President Trump’s border policy an “outrage” and a “moral failing” that he would reverse if elected, responding to court filings that revealed that the parents of 545 children separated from their families under the Trump crackdown have yet to be located.

“This administration ripped babies from their mothers’ arms, and then it seems, those parents were in many cases deported without their children and have not been found. It’s an outrage, a moral failing, and a stain on our national character,” Mr. Biden said in a statement.

Earlier Wednesday, Mr. Biden’s wife, Jill Biden, had said, “There would be no separation of families at the border” if her husband were elected.

“We have to find a way to reunite these families,” Dr. Biden, who met with refugees at a camp in Matamoros, Mexico, last year as part of her campaign to shed light on the policy, said during an appearance on “The View” on ABC. “As a mother, it breaks my heart, I can’t even imagine it. I think all Americans feel that way, I don’t care whether you’re a Democrat, whether you’re a Republican.”

Under Mr. Trump, in April 2018, the Justice Department announced a “zero-tolerance policy” for illegal entry into the United States that led to nearly 3,000 children being forcibly separated from adult family members who were detained on immigration-law violations.

About 60 of the 545 migrant children whose parents still have not been found were under the age of 5, according to court documents filed this week in a case challenging the practice.

Though attempts to find the separated parents have been going on for years, the number of parents who have been deemed “unreachable” is much larger than was previously known.

In January 2019, a report by the Health and Human Services Department’s Office of the Inspector General confirmed that many more children had been separated than had initially been made public, including under a previously undisclosed pilot program conducted in El Paso between June and November 2017, before the zero-tolerance policy officially went into effect.

Mr. Trump and his allies have often made the misleading claim that the separations began on President Barack Obama’s watch and that Mr. Biden, who was then the vice president, was complicit.

While the Obama administration did order the detention of migrants during a surge at the border in 2014, splitting up families was rare, according to current and former officials.

President Trump continued his taunting of the “60 Minutes” anchor Lesley Stahl on Twitter Wednesday, tweeting several photographs of himself with the CBS star he has been angry with since an as-yet-unaired interview she conducted with him at the White House on Tuesday that he called “fake and biased.”

Among the images Mr. Trump posted were a sequence in which his press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, presented Ms. Stahl with a large book filled with what he said were his achievements on health care, an issue on which even some Republicans admit his record is thin.

Mr. Trump wrote that Ms. McEnany was providing Ms. Stahl “with some of the many things we’ve done for Healthcare. Lesley had no idea!” Ms. McEnany tweeted one of the same photos on Tuesday evening and wrote that Ms. Stahl “couldn’t believe how HUGE it was and said, ‘I can hardly lift this!!’”

But Mr. Trump’s tweet on Wednesday became fodder for ridicule online. Noting that Mr. Trump has never delivered on regular promises to unveil a comprehensive health care plan to replace Obamacare, which he has worked to eliminate, Twitter users shared memes in which the book was variously filled with hundreds of blank pages, the names of people who had lost health insurance under Mr. Trump’s presidency, or even obituaries for some of the more than 200,000 Americans who have died from coronavirus.

“It was a very large book of everything President Trump has signed — executive orders and legislation — to improve health care for Americans over the past three and a half years,” she wrote. “All of these items are public, just compiled in one place in this book.”

Mr. Trump grew irritated with Ms. Stahl’s questions during a 45-minute sit-down with her at the White House on Tuesday. According to people familiar with the exchange, the president refused to participate in a subsequent “walk-and-talk” that had been planned with Ms. Stahl and Vice President Mike Pence. He later tweeted a short video clip showing Ms. Stahl in the White House without a mask.

Mr. Trump also tweeted on Wednesday several photographs of Ms. Stahl speaking to him on camera, providing no commentary and thus leaving their point unclear — but perhaps suggesting he is ready to make good on a threat he tweeted on Tuesday to release White House video of their interview before “60 Minutes” airs on CBS Sunday. The interview with the president is scheduled to be broadcast Sunday, and will also feature an interview with former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. Senator Kamala Harris and Mr. Pence were also interviewed for the broadcast. Norah O’Donnell spoke with Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris.

“You have to watch what we do to ‘60 Minutes,’” Trump told supporters in Erie, Pa., on Tuesday night. “You’ll get such a kick out of it. You’re going to get a kick out of it. Lesley Stahl’s not going to be happy.”

President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, has become caught up in Sacha Baron Cohen’s new “Borat” satire, shown in an edited scene following an actress impersonating a reporter into a bedroom and at one point reclining on the bed and putting his hands in his pants in what he later said was an attempt to adjust his clothing.

The excerpt from Mr. Cohen’s new “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” which will be released on Friday, was posted on social media early Wednesday after The Guardian reported that the movie contained “a compromising scene” featuring Mr. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor.

Late Wednesday, Mr. Giuliani called into WABC radio in New York to say that he was tucking in his shirt after removing microphone wires, and chalked the scene’s early release up to a scheme to discredit his recent attempts to push corruption accusations against Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s son, Hunter Biden.

“The Borat video is a complete fabrication,” Mr. Giuliani, 76, tweeted after he got off the air. “At no time before, during, or after the interview was I ever inappropriate. If Sacha Baron Cohen implies otherwise he is a stone-cold liar.”

“I called the police,” he said in a brief text exchange on Wednesday. “He and all his crew ran away leaving their equipment behind.”

A clip that surfaced on social media, heavily edited to fit the actor’s signature mockumentary format, begins with Mr. Giuliani, seated on a couch answering questions. Soon after, the actress, who speaks with a heavy Eastern European accent, asks the former mayor if they can continue their discussion in the bedroom. Mr. Giuliani agrees, and is then shown sitting on a bed, as she appears to take his microphone off and he appears to pat her.

The segment then cuts to the image of Mr. Giuliani, reclining on the bed, placing his hands down the front of his pants.

“I had to take off the electronic equipment,” Mr. Giuliani told the hosts of the “Curtis & Juliet Show.” “And when the electronic equipment came off, some of it was in the back and my shirt came a little out, although my clothes were entirely on. I leaned back, and I tucked my shirt in, and at that point, at that point, they have this picture they take which looks doctored, but in any event, I’m tucking my shirt in. I assure you that’s all I was doing.”

The scene ends with Mr. Cohen, dressed in an outlandish pink costume, bursting in to the room and shouting that the woman, played by the actor Maria Bakalova, was 15 years old (the actor is 24, according to the IMDB database).

Mr. Giuliani said Mr. Cohen was frightened by his call to the police, bolted away and left him talking with the filmmaker’s attorney.

The former mayor is not the first Republican politician to be ensnared in one of Mr. Cohen’s cringe-inducing pranks.

In 2018, Mr. Cohen tricked the former G.O.P. Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama into giving him an interview for the Showtime satire show “Who Is America?”

Later in 2018, a Republican lawmaker in Georgia resigned after he was fooled into repeatedly yelling a racial epithet on Mr. Cohen’s Showtime series.

The former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, accused Mr. Cohen of pretending to be a disabled veteran to land an interview with her, which she said was part of his repeated attempts to humiliate and “devalue” middle-class Americans.

“He’s got a lot of people — Newt Gingrich,” added Mr. Giuliani, who insisted he was not taken in by Mr. Cohen. “He got Donald Trump before he was president.”

Mr. Cohen’s new movie, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” is scheduled to be released on Friday on Amazon Prime.

A pair of towering transparent dividers have been installed next to the lecterns where Joseph R. Biden Jr. and President Trump will meet for their final debate on Thursday in Nashville. The dividers — described by campaign aides as seven feet tall and four feet wide — are a safety measure intended to help prevent any aerial transmission of the coronavirus.

Experts in airborne viruses called the plastic barriers basically useless, saying that an air filter and a box fan would be far more effective. Aides to Mike Pence called for the vice president to be allowed to debate without a dividers nearby, saying there was no justification for it. (Mr. Pence’s team ultimately acquiesced.)

The Commission on Presidential Debates has not yet announced any specific medical precautions ahead of Thursday’s debate, such as requiring Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump to submit to independent tests for the virus. At the first debate in Cleveland, each campaign was allowed to test its own candidate on the honor system; two days later, Mr. Trump tested positive for the virus.

The president has been highly critical of the debate commission’s handling of Thursday’s matchup. Talking to reporters at the White House on Wednesday, he deemed it “unfair” that the commission had decided to mute the candidates’ microphones during certain portions of the debate.

Mr. Trump — who picked a fight with Lesley Stahl of “60 Minutes” on Tuesday — also repeated baseless claims that the debate’s moderator, Kristen Welker of NBC News, would be biased against him.

Two polls were released Wednesday by Quinnipiac University, showing a solid lead for Joseph R. Biden Jr. in Pennsylvania and a tight race in Texas.

In Pennsylvania, Mr. Biden led President Trump 51 percent to 43 percent, with a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points. Hoping to help solidify that lead, former President Barack Obama made his first live appearance on the campaign trail in Philadelphia Wednesday at a drive-in rally in support of Mr. Biden.

In Texas, Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump were tied at 47 percent each, with a margin of 2.9 percentage points. Support for Mr. Trump in the reliably red state has dropped by 3 percentage points since last month, and Mr. Biden saw a bump of 2 percentage points.

The results were fairly similar to polling averages, which show Mr. Biden leading by about six points in Pennsylvania and Mr. Trump leading by about one point in Texas. In 2016, Mr. Trump won Pennsylvania by seven-tenths of a percentage point and Texas by nine points.

Quinnipiac also polled the race between Senator John Cornyn, a Republican of Texas, and his Democratic opponent, M.J. Hegar, and found Mr. Cornyn leading 49 percent to 43 percent. The seat is on Democrats’ wish list, but is not one of the party’s main targets in its effort to retake control of the Senate.

The poll interviewed 1,241 likely voters in Pennsylvania and 1,145 in Texas by phone from Oct. 16 to 19.

Democrats plan to boycott a Senate Judiciary Committee vote on Thursday to approve the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, in a symbolic move intended to protest Republicans’ push to confirm President Trump’s nominee before Election Day.

Around the time that the committee convenes, Democrats intend to gather instead on the steps of the Capitol for a news conference spotlighting their opposition to Judge Barrett and an extraordinarily swift confirmation process they say has been deeply unfair.

Left in their places in the hearing room will be large posters of Americans whose health care coverage they argue could evaporate in the event Judge Barrett sides with a conservative majority next month when the Supreme Court hears a Republican challenge to the Affordable Care Act.

“Throughout the hearings last week, committee Democrats demonstrated the damage a Justice Barrett would do — to health care, reproductive freedoms, the ability to vote and other core rights that Americans cherish,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, said in a statement on Wednesday. “We will not grant this process any further legitimacy by participating in a committee markup of this nomination just 12 days before the culmination of an election that is already underway.”

Three Democratic aides who discussed the plans cautioned on Wednesday that they were still subject to change.

Democrats have sharply opposed Judge Barrett, a conservative in the mold of former Justice Antonin Scalia, on policy grounds. But their goal on Thursday was to tarnish the legitimacy of her confirmation, arguing that Republicans have no right to fill the seat vacated by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg when millions of Americans are already voting.

Democrats are particularly angry that Republicans have reversed themselves since 2016, when they refused to consider President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee because the election was only nine months away.

Republicans intend to proceed anyway, even if it means tossing out Judiciary Committee rules that require members of the minority party to be present to conduct official business. Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican and the chairman of the committee, argued this week that broader Senate rules only require a simple majority of all committee members present.

Republicans on the panel have the votes to recommend Judge Barrett’s confirmation to the full Senate, and are expected to do so unanimously.

“Judge Barrett deserves a vote and she will receive a vote,” Mr. Graham said. “Judge Barrett deserves to be reported out of committee and she will be reported out of committee. Judge Barrett deserves to be on the Supreme Court and she will be confirmed.”

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, has indicated that after the committee’s action, the Senate will proceed on Friday to bring up Judge Barrett’s nomination, with a final vote on Monday.

Election Day is still almost two weeks away, but more than 40 million Americans have already cast their ballots by mail or at early voting sites — 29 percent of all the votes tallied in the 2016 general election, according to data collected by the United States Elections Project.

The high early-voting numbers reflect a combination of motivated voters and an unusual year in which the twin threats of the coronavirus and mail delays have led millions to mail their ballots early or vote early in person.

In the battleground state of Wisconsin, which President Trump won by fewer than 23,000 votes in 2016, more than one million people have already voted in this election. That is more than a third of the total who voted there in the 2016 election, according to state data collected by Michael P. McDonald, a professor of political science at the University of Florida. Here’s what the data showed as of early Wednesday afternoon:

1,027,585 Wisconsinites have voted so far, which is 34.5 percent of all the votes that were counted there in the 2016 election.

Of those, 79,774 voted in person on Tuesday, the first day voters were allowed to cast in-person ballots, as long lines formed at polling stations around the state.

The remaining 947,811 have voted by mail, continuing the trend of large numbers of Wisconsinites choosing to vote by mail since the coronavirus began to spread.

Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, who was the Republican nominee for president in 2012, said Wednesday that he had already voted in this year’s presidential election — and not for his party’s nominee, President Trump.

“I did not vote for President Trump — that’s all I’ve got for you,” Mr. Romney said in the Capitol on Wednesday, declining to say whom he did support.

Mr. Romney’s vote, which was confirmed by an aide, was not exactly a surprise: He did not vote for Mr. Trump in 2016 either, writing in the name of his wife, Ann Romney. Earlier this year, he was the lone Republican to vote to convict the president at his impeachment trial.

But the news put him in the company of a growing number of prominent Republicans who are publicly making it plain that they do not intend to support Mr. Trump.

Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, who holds an office once occupied by Mr. Romney, said at a news conference earlier this month that he was considering abstaining in the presidential election. “You know, I think I may take a pass on that one,” he said.

Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland, who has clashed with Mr. Trump on his response to the coronavirus pandemic, wrote in the name “Ronald Reagan” this year when he cast his ballot for the 2020 election, acknowledging at a news conference earlier this week that it was a “symbolic” gesture.

Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska castigated Mr. Trump in a telephone town hall with constituents last week, accusing the president of bungling the response to the coronavirus pandemic, cozying up to dictators and white supremacists and offending voters so broadly that he might cause a “Republican blood bath” in the Senate.

And Cindy McCain, whose late husband, Senator John McCain of Arizona, was the Republican presidential nominee in 2008, endorsed Joseph R. Biden Jr. last month, citing Mr. Trump’s disparagement of members of the armed forces, and she later campaigned with Mr. Biden in Arizona.

Joseph R. Biden Jr. has a narrow edge over President Trump in Iowa, a state Mr. Trump carried by more than nine percentage points in 2016, and the high-stakes Senate race there appears even closer, according to a New York Times/Siena College poll released Wednesday.

Mr. Biden leads Mr. Trump 46 percent to 43 percent among likely voters in Iowa, which is within the poll’s margin of error, with 7 percent saying they were undecided or refusing to name a preference, according to the survey.

Senator Joni Ernst, a Republican whose re-election race could help determine control of the Senate, is capturing 45 percent support while Theresa Greenfield, her Democratic opponent, has 44 percent.

Joe Biden holds a slim lead over Donald Trump in Iowa, a state Mr. Trump flipped in 2016.

Based on a New York Times/Siena College poll of 753 likely voters in Iowa from Oct. 18 to Oct. 20.

Mr. Biden is being propelled by women, younger voters and white voters with college degrees, the same demographics lifting him across the country. But he is also running stronger in Iowa among seniors and working-class white voters than he is in other similarly Republican-leaning states.

Mr. Biden is leading among voters 65 and older, 49 percent to 42 percent, and he is trailing Mr. Trump among white voters without college degrees by only seven points, 48 percent to 41 percent.

The poll, which interviewed 753 likely voters in Iowa by phone from Oct. 18 to 20, has a margin of sampling error of about four percentage points.

The Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield is trailing the Republican incumbent Joni Ernst by only one point in the Iowa Senate race.

Based on a New York Times/Siena College poll of 753 likely voters in Iowa from Oct. 18 to Oct. 20.

President Barack Obama carried Iowa twice, but the state swung decisively to Mr. Trump in 2016. But as in other Midwestern states, Mr. Trump’s incendiary conduct has alienated many voters. The president is viewed unfavorably by more than half of likely Iowa voters, and very unfavorably by over half of women and college-educated voters there.

Another survey of Iowa, released Wednesday by Monmouth University, found Mr. Biden leading Mr. Trump by 50 to 47 percent among likely voters there. Mr. Biden’s edge, which is within the poll’s margin of error, was calculated using a high-turnout scenario that most observers say is already playing out in early voting and absentee balloting.

It also represents a dramatic shift in just the last month: In September, Monmouth found Mr. Trump leading by a 49-to-46 percent margin using the same voter model.

The Monmouth poll found Ms. Greenfield narrowly leading Ms. Ernst, by a 49-to-47 percent margin, which was also within the poll’s 4.4 percent margin of error.

A man in Maryland has been arrested on charges that he threatened to kidnap and kill Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic presidential nominee, and his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris, law enforcement officials said on Wednesday.

A criminal complaint filed by the Secret Service on Wednesday did not describe any steps taken by the man, identified as James Dale Reed, to carry out the alleged threat. It said that on Oct. 4, Mr. Reed approached a house in his hometown, Frederick, Md., northwest of Washington, that had Biden-Harris campaign signs in the yard and left a handwritten note that contained graphic threats against the candidates and their supporters.

The resident’s video doorbell had captured an image of the man who left the note, the complaint said.

“We are the ones with these scary guns, we are the ones your children have nightmares about,” the note read in part. Mr. Reed, 42, was arrested last Friday and is being held without bond in Frederick County, Md., according to court records. A spokeswoman for the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, which is representing Mr. Reed, declined to comment.

He provided a palm print and handwriting sample and acknowledged having written the letter, according to the complaint. He is charged with the federal offense of threatening a major candidate, which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison, and two violations of state law: threatening mass violence and voter intimidation.

The complaint said that Mr. Reed was known to law enforcement for making a complaint against a person under Secret Service protection in 2014.

Death threats against the United States president and presidential candidates are not uncommon in election years. In another high-profile threat this month, several men were charged with hatching a detailed plan to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, a Democrat who has become a focal point of anti-government groups and anger over coronavirus control measures.

President Trump will hold a rally Wednesday night in Gastonia, N.C., in a state whose officials he clashed with earlier this year over the Republican National Convention, which was scheduled to be held there. The president balked at their demands that convention-goers follow social-distancing measures intended to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Mr. Trump tried to move the convention to Florida, only to be stymied by a virus outbreak there. So Republicans wound up holding a few convention events in North Carolina while holding most in Washington, including at the White House, which later had its own outbreak.

Current North Carolina polls show Joseph R. Biden Jr. with a narrow edge over Mr. Trump, averaging 2 percentage points, according to the Upshot’s calculator. Here is a look at how North Carolina is doing on two the biggest issues of the election: the coronavirus and the economy.

In recent days, North Carolina has seen some of its highest average numbers of new coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, according to a New York Times database. The state has averaged 2,045 new cases per day over the past week, an increase of 19 percent from its average two weeks earlier. As of Wednesday afternoon there had been at least 249,205 cases in the state — the seventh highest state total in the nation — and 4,019 deaths.

The unemployment rate in North Carolina was 7.3 percent in September, which is below the national average of 7.9 percent, according to data collected by Moody’s Analytics, but higher than it was four years ago, when it stood at 5.1 percent.

President Trump held a rally in Georgia on Friday. That he is campaigning in what should be a safely Republican state — and in others that were expected to be solidly in his column, like Iowa and Ohio — is evidence to many Democrats that Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s polling lead in the presidential race is solid and durable. Mr. Trump spent Monday in Arizona, too, a state that was once reliably Republican but where his unpopularity has helped make Mr. Biden competitive.

For some Democrats, Mr. Trump’s attention to red states is also a sign of something else — something few in the party want to discuss out loud, given their scars from Mr. Trump’s surprise victory in 2016. It’s an indication that Mr. Biden could pull off a landslide in November, achieving an ambitious and rare electoral blowout that some Democrats think is necessary to quell any doubts — or disputes by Mr. Trump — that Mr. Biden won the election.

On one level, such a scenario is entirely plausible based on the weeks and the breadth of public polls that show Mr. Biden with leads or narrow edges in key states. But this possibility runs headlong into the political difficulties of pulling off such a win, and perhaps even more, the psychological hurdles for Democrats to entertain the idea. Many think that Mr. Trump, having pulled off a stunning win before, could do it again, even if there are differences from 2016 that hurt his chances.

This much is clear: Landslide presidential victories have become rare — the last big one was in 1988, and a more modest one in 2008 — and Mr. Trump is still ahead of or running closely with Mr. Biden in many of the states he won in 2016 when the margin of error is factored in.

Democrats see flipping states like Texas and Georgia as key to a possible landslide; Texas hasn’t voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1976, and Georgia since 1992. A New York Times and Siena College poll published on Tuesday found Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump tied among likely voters in Georgia.

“Until Democrats win a statewide election, we’re not a purple state,” said Brian Robinson, a Republican political consultant in Georgia. “We may be a purpling state. But until they win, this is a red state.”

Seven months into the coronavirus pandemic, America has figured out how to make big-time sports happen. The World Series is taking place in front of a few thousand fans. The N.B.A. crowned a champion last week. Pro football is on TV three days a week, and the top college football leagues are back in action.

But many smaller sports conferences are on hold, and that’s the crux of a new Biden campaign ad.

Tristen Vance, a linebacker at Northern Arizona University, says that he’s worked his whole life to have a shot at playing professional football, and his dreams were put in jeopardy by the postponement of the fall football season.

“Trump’s failure of leadership is why we can’t play right now,” Mr. Vance says in the ad. “I don’t blame President Trump for the virus, but I 100-percent blame him for the response to the virus.”

This is core of Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s argument in his campaign’s final weeks — one he’s repeating in paid advertising and is expected to return to during Thursday’s final debate: that Mr. Trump has mishandled the national response to the coronavirus and can’t be trusted to make things better.

Mr. Vance was hardly a top professional prospect, but the Lumberjacks’ season was moved to the spring, robbing him of whatever chance he had to play his senior college season in time for National Football League scouts to see him before the league’s draft, which is scheduled to start April 29.

The ad first aired during the Monday night game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Arizona Cardinals. The campaign plans to air the ad during upcoming football games.

Mr. Biden is making this election a referendum on Mr. Trump’s handling of the coronavirus. (This ad isn’t the first one from the Biden campaign lamenting the loss of parts of the college football season.) It’s his best card to play, given that Americans believe by wide margins that the former vice president would do a better job handling the virus.


News – 2020 Live Election Updates: Obama, in First Rally for Biden, Hits Trump Hard on Virus, Finances and Unpresidential Behavior