President Donald Trump is entering the final four-month stretch before Election Day presiding over a country that faces a public health crisis, mass unemployment and a reckoning over racism. His Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, is raking in cash. And a series of national and battleground polls suggests growing obstacles to Trump's re-election.
However, the election is far from locked in.
Biden and his leading supporters are stepping up warnings to Democrats to avoid becoming complacent. Former President Barack Obama and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer insist plenty could change between now and Nov. 3, and the party must be vigilant against Trump.
"We understand that what happens five months before the election and what happens at the election can be very different things," Whitmer said.
Michigan was one of the Midwestern states Trump carried by a thin margin in 2016, helping him win the Electoral College even as he lost the popular vote. Other Democrats in the state said the strength of the president's support shouldn't be underestimated.
"If the election were held today, I think Biden would win Michigan," Michigan Rep. Debbie Dingell said. "But the Trump supporters are out there, and they're still intense."
Obama underscored that point this week during his first joint fundraiser with Biden.
"We can't be complacent or smug or suggest that somehow it's so obvious that this president hasn't done a good job," Obama told thousands of donors who gathered online. "He won once, and it's not like we didn't have a good clue as to how he was going to operate the last time."
Four years ago, Hillary Clinton was leading by wide margins nationally and in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — the very states that ultimately put Trump over the top. However, in the final weeks before the election, Republicans coalesced around their nominee, leading to his upset win.
Trump is aiming for a repeat this year. He is stoking culture wars on health care and race relations. After warning the 2016 election would be "rigged" against him, Trump said without evidence this week the fall campaign would be the "most corrupt election ever."
Trump and many of his GOP allies, meanwhile, are working to squelch the expansion of absentee voting, which they worry would hand Democrats an advantage, despite no evidence supporting that.
Trump's fundraising and organizing still dwarfs those of Biden, who has named state-based staff in just three battlegrounds: Wisconsin, Arizona and North Carolina. When Biden announced his Wisconsin team Wednesday, Trump's campaign retorted its 2016 operation there never closed and already this year has trained 3,200 volunteers, held 750 "MAGA Meet-ups" and made 6 million voter contacts, which means their targets have been reached multiple times already.
Still, the current dynamics don't fit seamlessly with 2016.
Trump benefited four years ago from Clinton being almost as unpopular as he was. And as a first-time candidate, Trump took advantage of his disruptive brand. It's harder to be the anti-establishment outsider from the Oval Office.
Trump's Gallup job approval rating stands at 39 percent this month, putting him in dangerous territory historically.
Since World War II, all incumbent presidents who lost were at 45 percent or lower in Gallup polls conducted in June of their re-election year. Only Harry S Truman, at 40 percent in 1948, managed a comeback win. Trump's ahead of one-term presidents Jimmy Carter (32 percent in 1980) and George H.W. Bush (37 percent in 1992). However, he's behind Obama's 46 percent in 2012 and George W. Bush's 49 percent in 2004.