One week before Election Day, Joe Biden went on the offensive on Tuesday heading for Georgia, which has not supported a Democrat for president since 1992 and pushed into another area where President Donald Trump was once expected to easily repeat his victories from four years ago.
The Democratic presidential candidate planned to travel to Iowa, which Trump took by 10 points in 2016 later in the week. His running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, hits Arizona and Texas, where Republicans have not lost a government office since 1994 – the country’s longest-running political winning streak.
The aggressive schedule is a sign of confidence from the Biden team, which is trying to stretch the election card and open more paths to 270 election coal votes. Trump counteracts by focusing on the Democrats’ “blue wall” says he turned around in 2016 and maintained a far busier itinerary that leads him to more of the country.
He traveled to the Michigan capital of Lansing and visited West Salem, Wisconsin, just three days after holding a demonstration in the state. First Lady Melania Trump was also on her way, making her first solo campaign of the year.
Why did Biden spend precious time in Georgia?
“If this was Georgia in 2008, 2012, I think there is no way we would have seen a Biden come so late,” said Nsé Ufot, CEO of the New Georgia Project, which aims to increase voter registration, especially among young people and minorities. “It is a high signal and recognition of Georgia as a battlefield state.”
After Hillary Clinton flirted with GOP territory in 2016, only to lose these states as well as traditional Democratic Midwestern strongholds, Biden’s campaign is aware of overreaction. Still, a top Biden adviser rejected the notion that the campaign was spreading too thin, noting that the former vice president’s visit follows weeks of paid advertising in Georgia and visits by Harris and Jill Biden.
The adviser said the state has the right mix of young voters, non-white voters whose ranks are rising, and anti-Trump suburban voters to build a winning Biden coalition. Biden will also visit Wisconsin, Michigan and Florida in the coming days, where former President Barack Obama gave a speech in Orlando.
“We have to push the other side out,” Obama said, noting that Florida, the country’s largest consistent swing state, could help Biden run up to the Electoral College score.
Trump expressed his displeasure that Fox News carried his Democratic predecessor’s speech live, tweeting the network “Obama played no audience, fake speech for Biden.”
Melania Trump made her first solo-rally appearance of the campaign in Pennsylvania, weeks after she tested positive for coronavirus. She tweeted about her husband before her arrival: “The people of the great state know that President @realDonaldTrump will always fight to keep Americans safe, secure and prosperous.”
Both Trumps traveled for their campaign trips at the same time, and the president gave the first lady a quick notch on the cheek before boarding separate planes.
The president is also visiting Omaha, Nebraska, after a Sunday stop in Maine. It anticipates a razor-sharp election college margin, as both areas offer an electoral vote after the congressional district. He said of Nebraska’s second congressional district, which includes Omaha, “I want it.”
While Biden rarely travels to more than one state a day, the Republican president has maintained a whirlwind plan, focusing on his argument that he built a thriving economy before the coronavirus pandemic claimed it. Trump will spend the night in Las Vegas on Tuesday, but will remain just as aggressive after that and plans to hold a staggering 11 rallies in the last 48 hours before the polls close.
His latest turn is also a victory shot after the Senate on Monday approved the appointment of Amy Coney Barrett and gave the Conservatives a commanding 6-3 advantage in the Supreme Court. Trump has tried to use the vacancy created by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death last month to animate conservative evangelical and Catholic voters for his candidacy, but the Supreme Court’s fight has been overshadowed by concerns about coronavirus with rising cases.
Meanwhile, Biden hopes to lift Democrats running for Senate in Georgia and Iowa. He planned to visit Atlanta after revealing his concluding message during a speech in Warm Springs, Georgia, where natural hot springs offered comfort to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as he fought polio and ruled a nation weathering the Great Depression and World War II. .
The former vice presidential campaign says his performance will book his visit to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania earlier this month, as Biden used the site of the bloody civil war to voice a call for a two-party system and put the country ahead of the party. On Tuesday, he will try to evoke Roosevelt’s New Deal sensitivity.
“This is our opportunity to leave the dark, angry politics of the last four years behind us,” Biden declared in a 60-second closing ad broadcast on national cable channels, and 16 said his campaign was looking at battlefields.
With more than a third of the expected votes in the election already cast, it is increasingly challenging for Trump and Biden to reshape the race. The bite is leading in most national polls and has an advantage, albeit narrower, in many important battlefields.
The last week of the campaign collides with deeper concerns about the COVID crisis. Trump is eager for voters to focus on other issues such as the economy. Meanwhile, Biden has repeatedly hit Trump on the virus, while presenting himself as a safer, more stable alternative.
Several close aides to Vice President Mike Pence tested positive for the virus last weekend, including his chief of staff, Marc Short. Pence, however, has maintained a full itinerary. On Tuesday, he was to be in South Carolina, where Republican Senator Lindsey Graham is in a potentially tight re-election race. Graham expects to get a boost from the Conservatives to help speed up Barrett’s nomination through the Senate.
Biden has accused Trump of “waving the white flag” in his response to the virus, while Trump says the former vice president “waved a white flag on his waist.”
Democrats have been heard by their leadership in the record number of early votes cast across a number of battlefield states. An important caveat, however, is that Republicans are more likely to show up on election day.