Andrew Harnik / AP
A few dozen cars at a drive-through rally in suburban Pennsylvania honked in unison as Democratic candidate Joe Biden criticized President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus. In North Carolina, Trump told a crowded crowd, “Covid, covid, covid. By the way, on November 4, you won’t hear about it again.”
With 10 days before Election Day, the president is touring the country on Air Force One on Saturday, staging large rallies and trying to replicate the energy of the last week of his first campaign in 2016. Biden, meanwhile, performs one final straight line. adapted to the realities of a worsening pandemic, maintaining a reduced route for itself and deploying the best substitutes for socially distant gatherings and driving in swing states.
The approach the two candidates take in this final stage of the campaign reflects the divergent narratives they are trying to convey about the pandemic and the choice voters face this fall.
Supported by wagons and a stage decorated with pumpkins and hay bales, Biden told a small audience that if social distancing isn’t ideal, “what we don’t want to do is become super spreaders. “, a nod to the White House Ceremony at the Rose Garden where several members of the presidential circle have reportedly been infected with the coronavirus.
The former vice president has gutted Trump’s handling of the pandemic and painted a darker picture of the road ahead with the pandemic.
“It will be a dark winter unless we change our ways,” Biden said. “Experts tell us we’re going to lose almost 200,000 more lives across the country over the next few months, all because this president cares more about the stock market than you do.”
His remarks came a day after the United States reached a record number of daily confirmed cases of coronavirus, registering more than 83,000 new cases on Friday.
As Biden built his closing argument around the pandemic, Trump painted a rosier picture of the trajectory of the coronavirus.
In North Carolina, the president appeared before a crowd of several thousand wearing small masks and mocked Biden’s assessment that Americans were watching a bleak winter ahead.
“A very inspiring guy,” Trump said of his opponent. “We are turning the corner. We are doing very well, our numbers are incredible.”
Trump repeated unverified allegations about the business activities of Biden’s son, Hunter, and otherwise stuck to his typical campaign speech, vowing to reopen the country and promote law and order. .
He also said, without evidence, that the only way to lose would be through mail-order electoral fraud, pointing to the small size of Biden’s campaign events compared to his heated rallies.
Evan Vucci / AP
Trump is headlining Saturday rallies in three states he won in 2016 but is now in danger of losing, with polls showing Biden leading or in a tight race with the president in several key states.
From North Carolina, the president travels to Ohio and then to Wisconsin, which is facing one of the nation’s worst coronavirus outbreaks.
In Ohio, Trump will be in Pickaway County, where he won 68.5% of the vote in 2016, before heading to Waukesha County, Wisconsin, where Trump won in 2016 by a margin of nearly 30 points. Vice President Mike Pence is campaigning in Florida.
Trump on Sunday will gather in New Hampshire, the only state on his calendar this weekend that would expand his card starting in 2016. Biden is expected to stay in Delaware on Sunday.
In a campaign call, the Trump campaign said the Republicans’ ground game, along with Trump’s frenzied campaign schedule in the final days of the race, would propel the president to a second term. The Trump campaign boasted of millions of doors knocked by volunteers, while the Biden campaign has largely confined itself to outreach from a distance.
On Saturday, Biden and his top surrogates were campaigning in states Democrats lost in 2016 – states important to a Biden victory like Pennsylvania and Florida, but also places once considered more Trump-friendly territory, like Ohio.
The former vice president started Saturday in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, a suburban Hillary Clinton county narrowly won in 2016 and where Biden wants to do even better. He then flew to Luzerne County, which Trump turned red in 2016, for a drive-in rally with rock star Jon Bon Jovi. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is also pushing Biden in Pennsylvania today.
“We have 10 days left and it could happen in Pennsylvania,” Biden told the Bucks County crowd.
Biden’s vice president, California senator Kamala Harris, campaigned in Cleveland on Saturday and former President Barack Obama hosted an event in Miami.
According to a database compiled by Michael McDonald at the University of Florida, more than 50 million people have already voted in the election.