There are 15 days left until Election Day. Tens of millions of Americans have already voted. Joseph R. Biden Jr. is leading in the polls, and President Trump’s last chance to turn things around might be the second — and last — presidential debate on Thursday.
And so far, Mr. Trump is not doing formal debate prep.
Rather than attending a pre-debate boot camp to help him avoid another onstage meltdown against Mr. Biden, the president appears likely to spend most of the week on a kind of political joy ride, flitting from rally to rally and revving up his grateful, mostly maskless crowds. He kicks off the week with two such events in Arizona, stumping up north in Prescott and then down in Tucson.
Republicans hope that Mr. Trump’s travels will excite conservative voters who might otherwise be somewhat demoralized at this point in the race, and drive them to the polls in greater numbers.
But since leaving the hospital, he has not delivered any kind of focused political message and has at times done more harm than good at his events: On Saturday, for instance, he railed against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan at an event in her home state, stoking “lock her up” chants against a popular Democrat who was recently the target of a violent militant plot.
Arizona may be a particularly delicate venue for Mr. Trump: At stake are not only the state’s 11 Electoral College votes but also a competitive Senate race, a vulnerable Republican House seat and the G.O.P. majority in the State Legislature. Mr. Trump’s divisive approach has helped upend the Republicans’ longtime dominance in Arizona politics, sending suburban voters and retirees racing into the Democratic camp and stirring greater participation among core Democratic groups.
For Arizona Republicans who already have a thin grip on power there, a let-it-rip Trump rally might be a mixed blessing in late October.
Mr. Biden, meanwhile, is expected to keep a low profile in the next few days as he prepares for the debate. Though his campaign continues to insist that the race is closer than public polls suggest, the former vice president appears likely to maintain his reserved approach to public campaigning and focus above all on denying Mr. Trump the opportunities he needs to change the basic dynamics of the race.
The New York Post’s front-page article about Hunter Biden on Wednesday was written mostly by a staff reporter who refused to put his name on it, two Post employees said.
Bruce Golding, a reporter at the Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid since 2007, did not allow his byline to be used because he had concerns over the article’s credibility, the two Post employees said, speaking on the condition of anonymity out of fear of retaliation.
Coming late in a heated presidential campaign, the article suggested that Joseph R. Biden Jr. had used his position to enrich his son Hunter when he was vice president. The Post based the story on photos and documents the paper said it had taken from the hard drive of a laptop purportedly belonging to Hunter Biden.
Many Post staff members questioned whether the paper had done enough to verify the authenticity of the hard drive’s contents, said five people with knowledge of the tabloid’s inner workings. Staff members also had concerns about the reliability of its sources and its timing, the people said.
The article named two sources: Stephen K. Bannon, the former adviser to President Trump now facing federal fraud charges, who was said to have made the paper aware of the hard drive last month; and Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, who was said to have given the paper “a copy” of the hard drive on Oct. 11.
Mr. Giuliani said he chose The Post because “either nobody else would take it, or if they took it, they would spend all the time they could to try to contradict it before they put it out.”
Joseph R. Biden Jr. is flipping the script on President Trump, who has tried to frame the election as a choice between keeping the economy open or returning to coronavirus lockdowns under Democrats.
In Michigan, Mr. Trump has clashed with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, over restrictions, with the president telling tens of millions of Twitter followers earlier this year that they should liberate the state.
This month, the F.B.I. announced terrorism, conspiracy and weapons charges against 13 men for their part in a plot to try to overthrow the government in Michigan. At least six of the people arrested, law enforcement officials said, had hatched a detailed plan to kidnap Ms. Whitmer.
With early voting underway, states are working to reassure voters that their ballots will be counted. The latest video in the Stressed Election series shows how states’ responses to Russian hacking and the coronavirus crisis have helped make the election more secure than ever.
Angelynne Hinson, who helps to oversee voting in the New Hampshire seacoast town of Portsmouth, has never seen such a jittery group of voters in her life.
“They’re terrified,” Ms. Hinson said. “The level of anxiety is really very high.”
Polls released this week suggested that Joseph R. Biden Jr. was ahead by a comfortable 10 points in New Hampshire, a state that President Trump very nearly won in 2016.
Losing it again would be a disappointment for the Trump campaign, since it has invested considerable resources there, repeatedly dispatching the president and members of his family to the state in recent months. Mr. Biden and Senator Kamala Harris, his running mate, haven’t visited since the Democratic primary.
New Hampshire, a state with a pugnacious, small-government ethos, was once seen as a tossup, but then the coronavirus pandemic sent the economy into a slump. If Mr. Biden wins, it will mark the fifth consecutive victory in the state for a Democrat in a presidential election.
In interviews last week, many voters said they were aware that the polls showed Mr. Biden in the lead — but they didn’t believe them.
“I don’t trust it,” said Bernadette Ruscillo, 55, a nurse from Salem, who supports Mr. Biden. “I see a lot of Trump signs popping up that weren’t there two weeks ago.”
Ms. Ruscillo, who is biracial, said she believed that many Trump supporters kept their allegiance quiet for fear of being met with disapproval. “It’s closet racism,” she said.
Brian Murphy, the chairman of the Republican Party in Rockingham County, also said pollsters were missing a large slice of voters — those who “have said, we’re going to keep our business to ourselves, we don’t want the intrusion or the scorn or whatever it is.”
New Hampshire’s demographics, however, have been working against Republican interests. Unlike other New England states, New Hampshire has seen an influx of new voters between presidential elections. One in five New Hampshire voters will be casting ballots in the state for the first time this year, according to Kenneth M. Johnson, a demographer at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.
In the past, it might have been reasonable to assume that those new arrivals leaned conservative, having chosen New Hampshire because it has no income tax. But recent transplants have tended to be younger and well educated, and say they are drawn to the state more because of the quality of life and the proximity to their work.