Washington, November 2
President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden were making last-ditch efforts on Monday to convince undecided voters of their plans and policies on the final day of the campaign in critical battleground states, with polls indicating that the race for the White House could be headed for a photo-finish.
The two candidates spent Sunday making their final pitches to voters ahead of Tuesday’s election. Trump, 74, toured five battleground states of Michigan, Iowa, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida while his 77-year-old rival spoke at a campaign event in Pennsylvania, where the race also looks tight.
Trump, a Republican, plans a hectic campaign trip through Wisconsin and Pennsylvania on Monday, aimed at saving the key states he won four years ago.
Both Biden and Trump are also trying to woo Indian-American voters, one of the critical voting blocs in this year’s election.
There is an estimated four million Indian-American population of which about 2.5 million are potential voters in the November 2020 presidential elections. Over 1.3 million Indian-Americans are voters in key battleground states, including Texas, Michigan, Florida and Pennsylvania.
Amidst the raging COVID-19 pandemic, Americans have voted in large numbers, already casting a record 93 million ballots, about two-thirds of the overall 2016 vote count of 138.8 million. Some 239 million people are eligible to vote this year.
The mail-in ballots could take days or weeks to be counted in some states – meaning a winner might not be declared in the hours after polls close on Tuesday. The figure of 93 million includes 33 million in-person votes and 58 million mail-in ballots.
National polls continue to show Biden leading Trump, by about 8 percentage points.
US elections, however, are not determined by the national popular vote, but rather in the 538-member Electoral College, with each candidate needing a majority of 270 to win the presidency.
In all but two of the country’s 50 states, either Trump or Biden will win all the electors from each state by winning the popular vote there, with the most populous states holding the most electors.
The coronavirus pandemic is a major topic during this election. The US has recorded more cases and more deaths than any other country worldwide, reporting more than 81,000 new infections on Sunday alone. Some 9.2 million people are also affected by the disease.
The US economy saw record-breaking 33 per cent growth in the third financial quarter of this year, following a record 31 per cent contraction in the second.
On Monday, Trump and Biden started their war of words on Twitter.
“Under my leadership, our ECONOMY is now growing at the fastest rate EVER recorded-33.1%! While foreign nations are in freefall, we are creating the world’s greatest ECONOMIC POWERHOUSE! Get out and VOTE on November 3rd, so we can keep it going!” Trump tweeted.
Not to be outdone, Biden also took to Twitter to urge his supporters to come out and vote on Tuesday.
“Vote for respect. Vote for decency. Vote for truth. Vote for leadership,” Biden tweeted.
“When you use your voice and vote, things can – and will – change for the better,” he wrote.
“Our president has failed in his most basic duty to this nation: to protect us. It’s unforgivable,” Biden tweeted.
Biden, who criticises the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, has said if voted to power, he would put into place a COVID-19 action plan on the first day of his presidency.
Fighting the toughest political battle of his life, Trump spent his entire Saturday in Pennsylvania, a key battleground state, addressing as many as four rallies.
In Pennsylvania, Trump is trailing behind Biden by four percentage points, according to the latest average of polls by Real Clear Politics. In battleground states, Biden is leading by 3.7 percentage points.
Before leaving for campaigning, Trump in a tweet exuded confidence that his numbers are looking very good.
“Our numbers are looking VERY good all over. Sleepy Joe is already beginning to pull out of certain states. The Radical Left is going down!” he said.
Biden heads into the final day of campaigning with a big lead in national polls and ahead in sufficient swing states to allow multiple routes to the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House.
“We feel very confident about our pathways to victory,” Biden senior adviser Anita Dunn said. Biden is hoping that wins in states like Arizona, Florida, Georgia or North Carolina could send an early signal on Tuesday night that he is heading for victory.
Counting in midwestern battlegrounds like Michigan and Wisconsin, where Biden is expecting to do well, could take longer and lead to the kind of disputed outcome that President Trump is threatening.
Trump on Sunday denied that he is planning to prematurely declare victory after the presidential polls are over, but hinted that he is gearing up for a legal battle against a vote count that stretched past Election Day.
“No, no that was a false report,” Trump said in North Carolina.
Trump, however, said, “I think it is a very dangerous, terrible thing. And I think it is terrible when we cannot know the results of an election the night of the election in a modern-day age of computers. I think it is a terrible thing.”
Meanwhile, Biden has vowed to stop the Trump “stealing” the election. PTI