President Trump and Joe Biden clashed tonight, albeit not on the same stage, or even the same channel.
Their dueling town halls on rival networks marked yet another first in this tumultuous race repeatedly disrupted by the pandemic. The televised events took the place of an originally scheduled second debate, which President Trump refused to participate in despite trailing significantly in the polls.
The president was in dire need of a strong and persuasive performance. Biden now leads in nearly every major battleground state, and the Democratic nominee is also threatening to overtake the president in some states Trump won easily in 2016.
Evan Halper is a former staff writer who wrote about a broad range of policy issues out of Washington, D.C., with particular emphasis on how Washington regulates, agitates and very often miscalculates in its dealings with California. Before heading east, he was the Los Angeles Times bureau chief in Sacramento, where he spent a decade untangling California’s epic budget mess and political dysfunction.
Brittny Mejia is a Metro reporter who joined the Los Angeles Times in 2014. She writes narrative pieces with a strong emphasis on the Latino community and others that make up the diversity of L.A. and California. Mejia was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2021 in local reporting for her investigation with colleague Jack Dolan that exposed failures in Los Angeles County’s safety-net healthcare system.