The Note: For Democrats, 2016's memories mix with 2020's anxieties

Any honest reading of the data suggests that this is Joe Biden’s race to lose.

The TAKE with Rick Klein

Fifteen days out from Election Day, any honest reading of the data suggests that this is Biden's race to lose. The race's stubborn fundamentals are combining with COVID-19 spikes and the president's scattered messaging, while 28 million Americans and counting have already cast ballots.

Democrats, of course, are terrified that Biden could still lose. The buzz in numbers-obsessed circles is about party registration gaps and early vote spikes among white, non-college voters; the word from the Biden campaign is not to put stock in public polling and to expect a nasty finish.

It's easy to see Trump's late-stage attacks on Biden and his family, along with his squabbles with fellow Republicans, and view it as self-destructive or simply irrelevant. Add Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, to a growing list of incumbents in tight races to put distance between himself and Trump, and welcome Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., back to Trump's Twitter attack list.

But even those story lines carry a gnawing familiarity to Democrats who remember how messy the last few weeks of the last campaign really were. Running confident is less appealing than running scared, at least for now.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

Both President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden met with church leaders Sunday and argued they were on the right side of history.

President Trump, at a church service in Nevada, stated, "We happen to be right. So, get out there on Nov. 3 or sooner and do your thing."

Meanwhile, Biden held a virtual event with African American clergy during his swing through North Carolina, where over a million voters have cast their ballots early.

Though in-person voting just began in the key battleground state late last week, over 800,000 North Carolinians have participated so far and another 600,000 have sent in absentee ballots.

"I don't pray for God to protect me. I pray for God to give me strength to see what other people are dealing with," Biden said to the faith leaders attending his event.

"Keep me in your prayers. Pray I have capacity to step up and do this job. [Because] four more years of Donald Trump will fundamentally change the nature of this country for several generations. Pray for me please," Biden said.

The TIP with Soo Rin Kim

As Joe Biden's fundraising advantage over Donald Trump mounts in the final stretch of the presidential election, outside efforts supporting Biden are further widening the money gap in the on-air battle. In the final two weeks until Election Day, the Biden campaign and pro-Biden outside efforts have reserved a total of $141.5 million of television airtime, twice the $70.8 million that the Trump campaign and pro-Trump outside groups have during the same period, according to ad spending data from media research firm Kantar/CMAG.

While the Biden campaign itself is outspending the Trump campaign $54 million to $45 million, much of that gap comes from spending from pro-Biden and pro-Trump outside groups. Pro-Biden outside groups, led by Future Forward PAC, Independence USA PAC and Priorities USA Action, have $88 million reserved for airtime in the last two weeks, more than three times the $26 million pro-Trump outside groups, including America First Action, Restoration PAC and Preserve America PAC, have reserved during that time.

Florida and North Carolina are the two biggest spending markets for both the Biden campaign and the Trump campaign, while outside groups from both sides are further driving up the spending in Pennsylvania. Both sides are also spending heavily in key states like Michigan and Wisconsin, with Biden's team making additional investments in Arizona, Nevada and Texas, while Trump's team is choosing to spend more in Ohio and Minnesota.

THE PLAYLIST

ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Monday morning's episode features ABC "Nightline" co-anchor Juju Chang on her interview with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as President Trump encourages "lock her up" chants against the governor at a campaign rally. Then, ABC News contributor Dr. John Brownstein explains what's different about the latest surge in COVID-19 cases. And ABC News Foreign Correspondent James Longman reports from France on the gruesome beheading of a teacher near Paris. http://apple.co/2HPocUL

FiveThirtyEight Politics Podcast. Over the past week and a half, Democrats' chances of winning the Senate have ticked up in our forecast, from a 63% chance to a 73% chance. In this installment of Model Talk on the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, Nate Silver and Galen Druke discuss what is responsible for the shift and what recent polling looks like in key states. https://apple.co/23r5y7w

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

  • Vice President Mike Pence delivers remarks at a campaign rally in Hermon, Maine, at 11:30 a.m. and then speaks at a campaign rally in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, at 4 p.m.
  • President Donald Trump delivers remarks at a campaign rally in Prescott, Arizona, at noon MT and then speaks in Tucson, Arizona, at 3 p.m. MT.
  • Sen. Kamala Harris, D.-Calif., travels to Orlando and Jacksonville, Florida, for the first day of in-person early voting in the state.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will appear on ABC's "Good Morning America."
  • Download the ABC News app and select "The Note" as an item of interest to receive the day's sharpest political analysis.

    The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the day's top stories in politics. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.

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