President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden have kicked off the final leg of the election season with campaign events in states that both aim to turn around on November 3rd.
A little over two weeks before the election, Trump started in Nevada on Sunday and made a rare visit to church before an evening rally in Carson City. Nevada, once considered a battlefield, hasn’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 2004. Hillary Clinton won the state by just 2.4 percentage points in 2016.
Meanwhile, Biden, a practicing Catholic, attended Mass in Delaware before fighting in North Carolina, where a Democrat hasn’t won the White House race since Barack Obama in 2008. Trump won the state in 2016 by 3.6 percentage points.
Both candidates are trying to gain a foothold in states that could help find a path to victory, but the dynamics of the race are remarkably stable. Biden enjoys a significant advantage in national polls. On the RealClearPolitics news site, the former Vice President is listed nationwide with an average of 9 percentage points. Biden has less of an advantage in surveying the battlefield.
Trump in Nevada
With Trump in the front row of the non-denominational International Church of Las Vegas, the Senior Associate Pastor, Denise Goulet told attendees that God told her the President was the apple of his eye and would secure a second term.
“At 4:30 am the Lord said to me,” I’m going to give your President a second victory, “she said, and told Trump,” You will be President again. “
President Donald Trump closes his eyes as he accepts blessings to attend church at the International Church of Las Vegas, Nevada [Alex Brandon/AP Photo]Trump, whose support from evangelicals was key to his victory in 2016, spoke briefly, saying, “I enjoy going to church” and it was “a great honor” to attend the service. The president also said, “We have a group on the other side that disagrees with us.” He urged people “to get out of there on November 3rd or earlier” to vote. He tossed a wad of $ 20 bills on the collecting plate before leaving.
Despite the pandemic, there has been no social distancing or singing restriction, which health officials consider a high risk activity. Few of the participants wore masks in church.
Biden in North Carolina
Meanwhile, Biden spoke to followers at a car campaign in Durham, North Carolina, where he focused heavily on promoting criminal justice changes to combat institutional racism and pledged to help build prosperity in the African American community.
Speaking of a stage in a parking lot with about 70 cars, Biden said North Carolina was critical to his chance to win.
I’m in Durham, North Carolina, and I encourage people to make their plan, vote early. Turn it on – then go to https://t.co/uoiVh9HPb8 to create yours. https://t.co/lNw7Jxuh65
– Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) October 18, 2020
“It’ll make all the difference here in North Carolina,” said Biden, who was removing his face mask as he spoke. “And the stakes couldn’t be higher.”
He noted that Trump had said at one of his rallies that the country had turned the pandemic around.
“As my grandfather would say, this guy went around the corner when he thinks we went around the corner. Around the corner? It’s getting worse, ”said Biden.
Democratic vice-presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris canceled as a precautionary in-person events over the weekend after an aide test positive for COVID-19. She will return to campaign on Monday with a visit to Florida to mark the first day of early personal voting in that state.
Harris tested negative for the virus on Sunday, the campaign said.
The approaches each candidate takes in the final days of the competition are very different. Biden endorses public health guidelines for campaigning during a pandemic.
He wears a mask in public when he’s not speaking, and his events emphasize social distancing.
For his part, Trump has returned to host his signature rallies, where participants are squeezed shoulder to shoulder and many are not wearing masks. He continues to downplay the coronavirus despite recovering from his own struggle.
In addition to public polls suggesting Biden has an advantage, the Democratic Challenger’s campaign has another significant advantage over Trump: money.
His campaign has raised more than $ 1 billion in the past four months, and that has enabled him to dwarf Trump’s once massive cash advantage.
This has been shown in advertising, where Biden and his Democratic allies aim to outperform Trump and the Republicans in two ways, according to ad tracking firm Kantar / CMAG in the final days of the race.
Although Trump has largely withdrawn from the advertising in the Midwestern states that secured his 2016 victory, he has invested heavily elsewhere, including North Carolina, where he is well on his way to easily outperform Biden in the coming days .
In Nevada, Democrats are set to outperform Trump by more than 3 to 1 in the past few days.
Trump’s state visit is part of an aggressive schedule of campaign events where he has been heavily focused on fear tactics.
Despite the positive polls and financial outlook, Jen O’Malley Dillon, campaign manager at Biden, said over the weekend that the national numbers are misleading because the must-win states are close together.
“We can’t get complacent because the very scorching truth is that Donald Trump can still win this race and every clue we have shows this thing is going to get hooked,” she wrote in a memo the donors.