Trump Wraps Up Election with Nationwide Rallies, Biden Focuses on 1 State

1

President Donald Trump is mounting one final test of whether the massive crowds that often show up at his signature rallies will translate into votes as he finishes the final 48 hours of his re-election campaign with a dizzying onslaught of events in the battleground states that could decide the race.

Joe Biden, however, is focusing his fire on Pennsylvania, hoping to flip the state Trump narrowly won in 2016.

The president was set to hold five rallies in five states on Sunday alone. He’ll hold seven more on Monday to close out the final full day of the campaign.

Trump sees his ability to connect with everyday Americans as a central element of his outsider appeal, which he hopes will resonate again this year.

“Let me ask you, is there a better place to be anytime, anywhere than a Trump rally?” Trump asked a massive crowd Saturday in Butler, Pennsylvania, that responded in roaring approval.

TRENDING: Report: Ivanka Trump Breaks Major Obama Fundraising Record

With more than 91 million votes already cast, Trump and Biden are out of time to reshape the race.

Instead, they’re focusing on their base and making sure that any potential supporters have either already voted or plan to do so in person on Tuesday.

For Biden, that means paying close attention to black voters who are a critical part of the coalition he needs to build to win.

But some Democrats worry that voters of color may not be excited about Biden and won’t show up in force to support him, which could be devastating in fiercely contested battleground states like Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Is Trump going to win re-election?

100% (18 Votes)

0% (0 Votes)

The challenge is exacerbated by the Democratic push this year to encourage voting by mail. But that runs counter to the tradition of some black voters who prefer to vote in person on Election Day.

“Most black voters in Philly have been skeptical of mail-in voting,” said Joe Hill, a veteran Democratic operative-turned-lobbyist from the city.

“A lot of us have gotten our ballots already,” Hill said, but added, “Election Day has always been everything in Philadelphia.”

Biden was set to spend much of Sunday in Philadelphia encouraging voters to turn out. He was scheduled to participate in a “souls to the polls” event that’s aimed at encouraging black church congregations to organize and vote.

He held his first in-person campaign events with former President Barack Obama on Saturday in the predominantly black cities of Detroit and Flint, Michigan. Obama will also campaign for Biden on Monday in Georgia and in South Florida, another area of potential concern if Latino voters sit out the election.

RELATED: Protesters Gather Outside Barr’s Home, Demand He ‘Lock Up’ Biden

As the largest city in a state that could decide the presidency, Philadelphia has always held special significance for Biden. Just 30 miles from his longtime home in Wilmington, Delaware, Biden planted his campaign headquarters in Philadelphia before the pandemic forced most of his staff to work remotely.

The city gets intense focus because it’s such a deep trove of Democratic votes, especially non-white voters.

Democrat Hillary Clinton lost Pennsylvania by almost 45,000 votes four years ago even as she fell just 4,800 votes shy of Obama’s Philadelphia County total in 2012. Clinton’s bigger problem was that she lost ground to Trump in other parts of the state beyond Philadelphia and its suburbs.

According to an analysis by University of Florida professor Michael McDonald, a nonpartisan political data expert, almost 2.3 million Pennsylvania voters had returned absentee ballots as of Friday out of almost 3.1 million requested. That’s a statewide return rate of 74.2 percent.

Philadelphia’s return rate was a tick higher, at 74.6 percent, but it had the highest raw total of outstanding ballots, with more than 101,000.

Statewide, registered Democrats maintained a solid advantage over Republicans on returned ballots: 1.54 million to about 520,000. In a separate analysis, the Democratic data firm TargetSmart found that more than 385,000 of the early Democratic voters didn’t vote at all in 2016.

Across the state in Pittsburgh, Democratic consultant Mike Mikus stressed that Philadelphia isn’t Biden’s only path to flipping Pennsylvania. Mikus noted that Trump won a Pittsburgh-area congressional district by nearly 20 percentage points in 2016 only to watch Democrat Conor Lamb win a special congressional election there a year later. Lamb won a full term in 2018 and is heavily favored again Tuesday.

Mikus said that trend will help Biden run up a wide margin in Allegheny County, the state’s second-most-populous county.

“He’s got a real base, but there’s just no evidence that he’s done anything to reach anybody who didn’t already like him in 2016,” Mikus said, “and he’s lost people who weren’t sure about him but were willing to take the gamble.”

“It’s not just about Philadelphia.”

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

View original post