Biden and Trump focus on the Midwest in the run-up to the US presidential election

TRUMP-BIDEN-US-ELECTION-FINAL-DASH

Barack Obama will team up with Joe Biden in Michigan as Donald Trump enters the crucial part of Pennsylvania on Saturday and the two candidates dig deep in the final weekend before Tuesday’s US presidential election.

For the first time since the campaign began, Biden, 77, will be staying with his former boss and most popular campaigner, former President Barack Obama.

They are holding two run-in meetings in the cities of Flint and Detroit, Michigan. Stevie Wonder is expected to be tonight’s musical guest.

Trump, 74, won the industrial state by a narrow margin of 0.2 points in 2016 – but this year, the former vice president leads by seven points.

This puts him in pole position to take his 16 ballots, a big leap toward the 270 he needs to win the White House.

Over the past week, Obama has put his popularity in the service of his former vice president and held several rallies where he repeatedly slammed Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, particularly in Florida and Pennsylvania.

But Trump – who has fired Obama’s rallies so much smaller than his own – will even go to Pennsylvania on Saturday, where he will host three rallies, a sign that the key state is on its own path to 270 votes.

He won Pennsylvania, where Biden was born, by a razor-sharp margin against Hillary Clinton in 2016. Therefore, every vote counts on November 3 if he hopes to get his 20 electoral votes back.

Biden will follow suit there both Sunday and Monday in a clear sign that his campaign also sees Keystone State as absolutely crucial to the victory.

Millions vote early

On Friday, the two candidates fought across the U.S. Midwest, storming three heart states each as they chased every last vote in a region that drove the Republican to victory in 2016.

But the race was overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic with infections spreading across the country. More than 94,000 new infections were registered on Friday – a new high for the second day in a row – and the total number of cases exceeded nine million.

Nevertheless, Trump, who has long said the virus will “disappear,” remained defiant at demonstrations in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

“We just want the normal,” he told supporters – many of them unmasked – at an outdoor rally near Detroit as he pushed states to relax public health restrictions and resume daily life.

He again gave advice from his own administration’s health experts and downplayed the threat from coronavirus, saying “if you get it, you will get better and then you will become immune.”

The virus has killed nearly 230,000 Americans.

U.S. hospitals support as infections hover in almost every state, with winter flu season looming.

The eruption has ravaged the economy, and while there have been signs of improvement, millions are still unemployed.

Trump has proclaimed economic success with his presidency, including positive GDP figures on Thursday. But U.S. stocks closed their worst week since March, highlighting concerns about a shocking recovery.

And with voters concerned about the health hazards of overcrowded polling stations on Nov. 3, a record 86 million have already cast early ballots by mail or in person.

‘Will Texas turn blue?’

After a campaign largely subdued by the pandemic, Biden is on the offensive, pushing Trump on the back foot in unexpected battlefields like Texas, a large, traditionally conservative bastion now considered a throw-up by several analysts.

On Friday, the state reported that a staggering nine million residents had already voted, exceeding its overall 2016.

Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris visited Texas on Friday in an attempt to turn the State Democrat for the first time since President Jimmy Carter in 1976.

Biden wins there would be a big blow for Trump, but the president rejected the show, saying, “Texas, we’re doing very well.”

Biden also blunted Friday in Wisconsin and Minnesota, sharpening his attacks on the president on everything from Trump, who sought to abolish protection from the Obama-era health care system and keep his taxes secret from climate change and trade policy with China.

“We can not afford another four years of Donald Trump,” the Democrat said at a socially distant run-in rally in St. Louis. Paul, Minnesota.

“So tut your horn if you want America to lead again!” he said, embracing the awkward campaign of the pandemic-era campaign to rally supporters in their vehicles.

In Iowa, he attacked Trump over his handling of the pandemic, telling yet another run-in meeting in Des Moines that Trump has “given up (and) waved the white flag.”

(AFP)