With the 2020 primaries finally over, the United States can finally focus on Election Day and the presidential race between the two leading candidates – Donald Trump and Joe Biden. President Trump and his Vice President Mike Pence easily secured the Republican nomination ticket without any serious opposition. Former Vice President Joe Biden, however, secured his nomination in a competitive primary for the Democratic nomination and chose Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate.
Both Trump and Biden are stepping up their campaigns, with each trying to cover as much ground as possible to win over more voters. Joe Biden was in Florida on Tuesday to drum up support for himself in a state where he is facing a tight race. At the Hispanic Heritage Month event in Kissimmee, he unveiled a plan to support Puerto Rico in a move to get more support from Puerto Ricans, who are many in Florida. The event was graced by celebrities such as Eva Longoria, Ricky Martin, and Luis Fonsi, who introduced Biden. In a bid to perhaps lighten the mood, Biden played the hit song “Despacito”, by Fonsi, on his phone. Trump shared on Twitter a doctored version of the video, where N.W.A.’s anti-police anthem replaced Despacito. This was another attempt to suggest that Biden opposes law enforcement and wants to defund the police, something that Biden repeatedly denies. Twitter added a “Manipulated media” warning to the video.
While Twitter has tried to add warnings and fact checks to some of his misleading tweets, Biden’s camp feels like the company is not doing enough. In May, Trump threatened to strongly regulate or shut down social media platforms because Twitter added a fact check to his tweets referring to mail-in ballots as fraudulent.
While he does a lot of tweeting, Trump was also on the ground on Tuesday, having a town hall event with undecided voters in Philadelphia. He badly fumbled and appeared to contradict his earlier words. Asked about his decision to downplay the COVID-19 pandemic in the early days, Trump said that he did not downplay it; that he actually up-played it in terms of action. However, n March, Trump had said, “I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down.” He also could not differentiate between herd immunity and herd mentality, claiming that the coronavirus would disappear over time as people developed “herd mentality”. In a more interesting part of the evening, Trump tried to blame Biden and the Democrats for not following through a national mask mandate, something that can only be implemented by the POTUS.
While both candidates have different ways of campaigning, both want to win over any undecided voters and win in swing states. The Biden campaign has not hosted any big rallies since March, instead relying on prepared remarks to journalists, roundtable discussions with few voters in attendance, and retail-type stops at local businesses. They also suspended in-person canvassing to avoid putting people at risk of contracting the coronavirus. In June, the Trump campaign held its first arena event since the start of the pandemic in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which did not have as many attendees as predicted, and likely led to an increase in coronavirus cases. They then abandoned rallies for three months before hosting a large indoor rally on Sunday in Nevada, with Trump saying he felt safe because the stage was far away, and attendees had a temperature check, were given masks and encouraged to wear them.
With about two months to go before the general elections, each candidate is trying to garner support and votes in battleground states. According to a poll by the Financial Times, Biden is ahead of Trump in key battleground states. For instance, in Florida, Biden leads by 4% while in Wisconsin he leads by 6%. In North Carolina, a state that almost always votes for the Republican candidate, Biden has a surprising narrow lead, and another slim lead in Arizona, a state that has seen only one Democratic winner in the last 70 years. While polls currently have Joe Biden in the lead with good numbers in the battleground states, things do not always go according to the polls. Only time will tell how things play out.