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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 28 February 2021

US election: Trump releases breakneck schedule in final days before vote

The President will hold 10 rallies in two days

US President Donald Trump tosses out "Make America Great Again" (MAGA) caps as he arrives for a campaign rally at Oakland County International Airport in Waterford Township, Michigan. Reuters
US President Donald Trump tosses out "Make America Great Again" (MAGA) caps as he arrives for a campaign rally at Oakland County International Airport in Waterford Township, Michigan. Reuters

Donald Trump will travel across the eastern and Midwestern states in a breakneck final campaign push that includes 10 stops in seven states over the last two days of the campaign.

He will visit Michigan three times and North Carolina twice during the final campaign days.

Perhaps viewing Michigan as good luck omen, his closing event will be in Grand Rapids, a repeat of his 2016 strategy.

“Let’s repeat what we did four years ago,” Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel told Bridge Michigan.

The seven swing states the president is putting his final efforts into are: Iowa, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Mr Trump had planned to hold his campaign’s election night viewing party at the Trump hotel in Washington.

But the city’s Covid-19 restrictions, which prevent gatherings of more than 50, are expected to stop the event.

Mr Trump said he might instead watch the results at the White House.

Joe Biden has not announced where he will watch the returns, but he is expected to be in his native Pennsylvania, where he will also spend his final campaign day.

Mr Biden and running mate Kamala Harris are focusing heavily on Pennsylvania and will “fan out across all four corners of the state” on Monday, his campaign said.

He is also expected to spend time there on Sunday.

Mr Trump has maintained a busier schedule than Mr Biden during most of the campaign as he tries to make gains in polling that shows Mr Biden has the lead.

For his part, Mr Biden has kept a lower profile, hoping not to disrupt his advantage.

But on Friday, both candidates planned to visit three states, exhibiting the high-intensity nature of the campaign. The three-state tour marked Biden's busiest day of the campaign.

The two camps have taken vastly different approaches to campaigning during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Biden has relied heavily on drive-in rallies, where participants are confined to their cars to maintain social distancing measures.

While Mr Trump has pushed the limits of state regulations on group gatherings.

A Minnesota rally on Friday was capped at 250 people at the insistence of state and local officials. Mask-wearing and social distancing are not typically enforced at Trump rallies.

Meanwhile, Ms Harris was touring Texas on Friday, indicating a shift in strategy that reveals the Biden campaign believes polling numbers are narrow enough to flip Texas from its longstanding Republican voting history.

More than 9 million Texans cast ballots in early voting, a record high, though neither party knows who will benefit the most from the surge.

A wave of anxiety appears to be washing over America as the election nears.

Mr Trump has already questioned the legitimacy of the election results, while stacking the Supreme Court to vote in his favour on any polls-related cases.

Expectations of a drawn-out vote that continues past November 3 are raising tensions in the country as Americans prepare for possible unrest.

Unions have floated the idea of a general strike if Mr Trump does not recognise a potential Biden victory.

While retailers including Nordstrom, Tiffany and Saks Fifth Avenue have made plans to board up windows or add extra security personnel ahead of the presidential election.

And with tension already raised in Philadelphia over the police killing of an African-American man, WalMart has pulled guns and ammunition from some of its shop shelves, citing “civil unrest”.

Updated: November 2, 2020 02:11 AM

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