Trump, Biden campaign in the Midwest in last get-out-the-vote push
U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in the first 2020 presidential campaign debate held on the campus of the Cleveland Clinic at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., September 29, 2020
(photo credit: OLIVIER DOULIERY/POOL VIA REUTERS)
Opinion polls show Trump trailing former vice president Biden nationally, but with a closer contest in the most competitive states that will decide the election.
With 72 hours until election day, both presidential candidates spent Saturday touring the Midwest in the last push to increase turnout among their supporters.
Trump was to hold four election rallies in the battleground state of Pennsylvania on Saturday, as he tries to close ground with Democratic rival Joe Biden before Tuesday’s election.
The key battleground state has 20 electoral votes, and it is considered the likeliest tipping point of the election. Trump won Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin by narrow margins in 2016. The president plans to hold 14 rallies between Saturday and election day, focusing on these three states: nine events overall are scheduled in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
Opinion polls show Trump trailing former vice president Biden nationally, but with a closer contest in the most competitive states that will decide the election. According to the FiveThirtyEight polling average, Biden holds a 5.1% lead in Pennsylvania, the largest state of the three. The Real Clear Politics polling average indicates a narrower gap of 3.7%.
“I watched Joe Biden speak yesterday. All he talks about is COVID, COVID. He’s got nothing else to say. COVID, COVID,” Trump told the crowd in Newton, Pennsylvania. The president also said the US was “just weeks away” from mass distribution of a safe vaccine against COVID-19.
In his second rally for Saturday in Reading, Pennsylvania, the president appeared in front of thousands of supporters, and handed out some “Make America Great Again” hats to people in the crowd.
“Three days from now we are going to win the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and we are going to win four more years in the White House,” he said. “A great red wave is going to be beautiful to watch, and if we win Pennsylvania, it’s over.”
On the Democratic side, former president Barack Obama appeared together with Biden on a campaign event for the first time on Saturday, as the two addressed a drive-in rally in Flint, Michigan. While Biden is leading the state by some eight points, his campaign is invested in get-out-the-vote efforts.
In 2016, then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton was criticized for avoiding Michigan and Wisconsin – two states that she considered as a part of “the blue wall” but ended up losing.
Obama criticized Trump’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and praised his former vice president. “Joe Biden is my brother, I love Joe Biden, and he will be a great president,” Obama said.
The Democratic nominee took the stage after Obama, and said: “In three days we could put an end to this presidency that we have now, that has divided the nation.
“The power to change the country is literally in your hands,” he continued. “And when Americans vote, America will be heard [and] I believe that the message is going to be loud and it’s going to be clear – it’s time for Donald Trump to pack his bags and go home,” Biden added.
On Saturday, the Biden campaign announced that the Democratic nominee will give his election night remarks from Willmington, Delaware.
On Friday, the president criticized Democratic officials in Minnesota for enforcing social-distancing rules that limited his rally to 250 people. “It’s a small thing, but a horrible thing,” he said.
Biden, for his part, has accused Trump of giving up in the fight against the disease, which has killed almost 229,000 people in the US.
Analysts expect record turnout in the election. More than 90 million Americans have already cast ballots in person or through the mail, according to the University of Florida’s Elections Project, roughly 65% of the total 2016 turnout.
But Pennsylvania’s situation is different. According to the Elections Project, only 37 percent of Pennsylvanians have voted so far, drawing both campaigns’ attention. In Texas, by comparison, more people have cast ballots in early voting than during the entire 2016 election cycle.