(CNN)With the conventions and the summer behind us, the traditional start of the general election has arrived. And today, North Carolina began sending out ballots to voters.
This means we’re seeing candidates campaign in earnest — and in person. Both President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden traveled to Kenosha, Wisconsin, this week — even though the city’s mayor said it is “too soon” for either candidate to visit. And both plan to visit Shanksville, Pennsylvania, next week to commemorate those killed in the September 11 terrorist attacks 19 years ago.
THE POINT — NOW ON YOUTUBE!
In each episode of his weekly YouTube show, Chris Cillizza will delve a little deeper into the surreal world of politics. Click to subscribe!
While campaigning in the Tar Heel State this week, Trump encouraged supporters to vote twice — once by mail and again in person. State officials in North Carolina and Michigan subsequently had to put out warnings that casting two ballots is illegal. Polling finds the presidential race is tightening — though Biden still holds a lead nationally. A new CNN poll finds Biden and Trump in a statistical tie in North Carolina — hence the added pressure at the ballot box.But voting isn’t the only thing in the spotlight ahead of November. The nation is still in the midst of a pandemic that has claimed more than 187,000 lives.Read MoreAnd with no end in sight, Trump has amped up pressure on health officials to expedite work on a coronavirus vaccine and treatment options ahead of the November election. Officials at the FDA told CNN the “responsibility feels immense and the environment is akin to that of a pressure cooker.” At some point, the FDA will face a decision on authorizing emergency use of a vaccine before it is formally approved, though White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Thursday that “No one is pressuring the FDA to do anything.” Meanwhile, at a packed rally in Pennsylvania on Thursday night, Trump mocked Biden for wearing a mask — the same week his press secretary criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for not wearing a mask while at a hair salon.The Point: Summer’s over, which means one thing — election season is upon us.