President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are shadowboxing their way from the Rust Belt to the Sun Belt and back again.
The candidates’ travels in the last week of the election tell the story of campaigns focused on specific portions of a massive country as they try to piece together 270 electoral votes.
- Rust belt – Democrats have worked to reconstruct the Michigan-Pennsylvania-Wisconsin Blue Wall and President Trump wants to kick it down like he did in 2016.
- Sun belt – Trump is also on defense in the south and Sun belt – Arizona and Georgia – states that have long been in the Republican column, but where exploding and diversifying populations make it Democrats’ future.
- And Florida, which is its own special blend of America.
CNN’s cartographer Renée Rigdon made this map of where Trump and Biden traveled and plan to travel in this last week before Election Day.
Trump is certainly the more aggressive campaigner of the two. And he’s tried to use his travel schedule to push the idea that he’s a “hard worker” and to paint Biden as “sleepy.”
But it’s total number of votes, not the number of campaign stops, that win elections. Trump’s had to contend with Covid outbreaks, particularly in Wisconsin, where he’s already held two events and plans to hold more.
Biden can point to the Covid problems there and argue he’ll be a more thoughtful and measured leader. (Wisconsin is also the state Hillary Clinton failed to visit in 2016. Biden’s not making that mistake.)
Here’s John King’s Magic Wall video on Wisconsin.
A swing out west. The map also shows Trump’s trip to Arizona and Nevada (where he raised money and stayed in his Las Vegas hotel). Biden didn’t go, but dispatched his running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, to Arizona and Texas.
Biden chooses Georgia. It’s interesting that Biden has chosen to spend more time in Georgia, where he made two stops, including at FDR’s Warm Springs retreat, than in North Carolina. Both are states where Democrats want to improve their performance – and where there are competitive Senate races (see that whole map here). Biden’s movement may suggest Democrats have shifted their thinking and now consider Georgia the more ripe target. Barack Obama won North Carolina in 2008. Bill Clinton was the last Democrat to win Georgia, back in 1992.
King’s Magic Wall dive into Georgia is here and North Carolina is here.
Why Nebraska? Most 269-269 tie scenarios rely on splitting Maine and Nebraska, the states that break out certain electoral votes. It might not help that Trump supporters got stranded in the cold for hours there.
Pennsylvania showdown. The fact that both candidates will criss-cross Pennsylvania is no surprise. With 20 electoral votes, it’s a prize, and Biden is a native son. In between the cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, in rural Pennsylvania, and in the western part of the state is also where Trump’s message, particularly on fracking, will find an audience again.
If Trump’s on offense anywhere, it’s Minnesota, where both candidates visited. Hillary Clinton won there in 2016, but just barely.
: Things to watch
7 Pennsylvania counties won’t count mail-in ballots until after Election Day – Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said at a press briefing that seven counties have indicated they’ll wait until after Election Day to even begin counting mail-in ballots. Cumberland county, near Harrisburg, is the largest of them.
“We are directly reaching out to the counties that are being indicated as not planning to count. We are also reaching out to all of the counties to explain why this matters,” said Boockvar.
“Even if you can only do part to get started as early as humanly possible on Election Day matters, for every single county of any size. But certainly the more mail-in and absentee ballots they have, the more it matters,” said Boockvar.
What’s it mean? Hit snooze on November 4. We already know there will be a lot of outstanding votes in Pennsylvania even at the end of Election Night. So be patient.
These people exist. Only two QAnon-pushing candidates are expected to win congressional seats on Tuesday, but there is an entire army of Q-friendly people on the ballot, which says a lot about the openness of the GOP to this bananas lie about satan-worshiping pedophiles running the government. CNN’s KFile has the definitive list of candidates on board with QAnon.
: Stimulus is on hold. The economy is not.
Maybe next year. While it’s officially too late to get a a new Covid stimulus bill passed before the election, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made clear he’s looking even further down the road – to next year, when he may no longer be Senate Majority Leader.
Regardless, he’ll be looking at a smaller figure than the $3 trillion pushed by House Democrats.
Takeaway. When McConnell wants to go fast, he can. When he wants to go slow, he will. He’s deliberating on whether to pass new money to help Americans hit by the pandemic, after such urgency to full the Supreme Court before the election.
Fed steps in. With lawmakers failing to act, the Federal Reserve is changing the rules of its Main Street Lending Program to help smaller businesses that have been struggling to get by while waiting for additional stimulus from Congress, according to CNN’s Chris Isidore.
Details: The Fed will issue loans as low as $100,000 and reduce the fees. Previously minimum: $250,000.
New indicator of stress: White collar jobs cuts. Dow has worst week since March.
The 2020 US election is the most wagered-on event ever for British bettors.
What are the odds? Isidore writes: A £10 bet on the incumbent will return a profit of £18.80 if he wins, versus £5.26 on challenger Joe Biden — essentially giving Trump a 34.8% chance of winning.