The Biden campaign is far from confident heading into Tuesday’s election and their behavior proves it. It’s not uncommon for campaigns to blitz multiple states with television ads and rally appearances in the final few days before the election; Trump, for example, has been holding multiple rallies per day in key swing states. However, Biden’s last minute rush to turn out the vote stands in stark contrast to his months-long strategy of sitting back and letting Trump talk his way out of victory. Clearly the campaign is feeling some serious unease with the latest polls and is second guessing keeping Joe in the basement for so long.
Biden kept perhaps his biggest weapon, Barack Obama, on the back burner for months as the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent economic shutdown seemed poised to tank Trump’s campaign. But in the last two weeks, Biden has sent Obama to Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Florida.
In Pennsylvania, Obama was set to convince black males to turn out for Biden. Recent polls reveal why the campaign may be worried about this usually safely Democratic demographic: a POWER Interfaith coalition poll this month showed that 14 percent of black males under the age of 50 in Philadelphia intend to vote for Trump, whereas 9 percent are undecided. Combine that with Trump repeatedly hammering Biden for saying he’d eventually get rid of oil, the riots in Philly, and a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette endorsement of Trump, and it’s no wonder that Biden felt the need to add multiple PA events to his schedule and snatch up television ads.
The real head scratcher is why Biden thought he could make up any ground by employing Lady Gaga’s help on the rust belt campaign trail. The superstar singer cut one of the most horrendous ‘ads’ of the cycle, in which she wore a camouflage crop top, black and pink wrestling boots, American flag-printed sunglasses, stood in front of a pickup truck and took a sip of a beer before smashing the full can and throwing it on the ground while urging swing staters to vote for Biden. It was the Biden campaign’s version of Hillary Clinton telling The Breakfast Club that she always carried hot sauce in her purse. Then, Gaga joined Biden in Pittsburgh, because no one appeals more to blue collar voters than a woman who wastes good meat by fashioning it into a dress.
An NBC/Marist poll released Monday confirms that the Pennsylvania race is tighter than Biden would have hoped at this point. He leads by just a 5-point margin and that advantage is within the margin of error (the poll also shows them tied in Arizona). The Trump campaign revealed during a press call on Monday that they are expecting the President to do very well in PA based on their Election Day models. Biden will have about a 750,000 vote head start in the state, but the Trump campaign expects 2.6 million people to turn out for Trump tomorrow and just 1.5 million for Biden. That would give him an approximately 350,000 vote advantage. Trump won Pennsylvania by just over 44,000 votes in 2016.
The campaign is predicting similar election day margins in other key states: they project Trump has an Election Day advantage of over 400,000 net votes in Ohio, 400,000 in Michigan, 500,000 in Florida, 100,000 in Wisconsin and 50,000 in Nevada.
”Election Day is going to look like a Trump rally,’ director of battleground strategy Nick Trainer said.
A Trump victory in Florida could be spurred by high support and turnout among Latino voters in the southern part of the state. This voting bloc has grown significantly since 2016 and although Democrats usually fare well with Latinos in other parts of the country, Cubans and Venezuelans tend to vote Republican because of the party’s vocal opposition to communism and socialism. Obama notably stopped in Miami-Dade County on the final day of the campaign and local Democrats last week fretted that they needed to ‘stop the bleeding’ because early turnout numbers in the county were not what they had hoped.
According to Trainer, the Biden campaign said Monday during a Zoom call that the President is within one state of winning the election. That’s a marked difference from the confidence portrayed by the Trump campaign on their own call. This realization from the Biden campaign, the Trump campaign claimed, has spurred a Democratic strategy to delegitimize the Election Day results.
‘Democrats are panicking because Joe Biden has not run up a large enough lead in early votes in battleground states and they know that President Trump’s in-person votes on Election Day will make up the difference and propel him to victory. Biden’s political operatives have already been distributing talking points and research to delegitimize Election Day results by coaching surrogates to refer to the President’s Election Day success as a “Red Mirage,”’ the campaign said in a statement Monday.
The Biden campaign, they noted, has a team of lawyers prepared to challenge the results and that Americans should not be surprised to see them try to count mail-in ballots that were turned in late or not properly filled out. It’s not as conspiratorial as it sounds. Pennsylvania attorney general Josh Shapiro tweeted Monday, ‘If all the votes are added up in Pennsylvania, Trump is going to lose. That’s why he’s working overtime to subtract as many votes as possible from this process.’ It is not a good sign when the individual responsible for ensuring a free and fair election has already determined the outcome.
Unfortunately for the Democrats, too little too late campaigning, celebrity endorsements, and illegitimate cries of voter fraud don’t make up for a lack of voter enthusiasm and a poorly developed ground game. They have every right to be nervous heading into Election Day.