Inside the Last Week of the Campaign Trail Amidst Record Breaking Voting Numbers
The presidential candidates visit battleground states to attempt to sway voters.
By Riley Mulcahy
Today’s presidential election marks the conclusion of the most talked-about election in decades, and the candidate’s President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden make their last pleas to try to convince voters to vote for them. A record number of registered voters have taken advantage of early voting, with more than 90 million votes already cast. Compared to Trump’s victory to Hilary Clinton, the number is two-thirds of the 120 million votes in 2016, and states are reporting a higher percentage of voter turnout than four years ago before election day.
Both campaigns have made a concentrated effort to hit key swing states, including Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. According to NBC News, at a rally Trump held last Friday in Michigan, Trump touted that the reason why there have been spikes in COVID-19 is that “of a scam being carried out by doctors who are padding the numbers to pocket money from the insurance agencies.” This claim has not been proven, and Trump has also been saying that the United States has tested more, and that is the reason why the country is seeing more cases.
In Minnesota, Trump held a socially distant rally with 250 people allowed to attend. The event was a rarity for the Trump campaign, which has regularly hosted what many have considered to be “Super Spreaders” events because of the lack of adherence to local laws regarding physical distancing and mask-wearing. The president also made it a point to call out Laura Ingraham of Fox News in Iowa for wearing a mask, accusing her of being “very politically correct.”
In a particularly jarring incident caught on video in Texas, Trump supporters can be seen ambushing a Biden-Harris bus, with the van travelling from an event from San Antonio to Austin. The audio captures the group saying they are “here to escort you out of Texas.” The Biden-Harris campaign accused the group of Trump supporters of trying to run them off the road. Both Biden and Harris were not on the bus, however, the incident has raised concerns over voter intimidation and the safety of voters on Election Day.
Trump responded to the video via Twitter, merely retweeting the video and commenting “I LOVE TEXAS.” Critics of the President argue that this was the President’s latest attempt to incite violence and disorder. When asked to condemn the white supremacy group Proud Boys in the first Presidential Debate, the President addressed the group and told them to “stand back and stand by.” In recent weeks, the President has been repeating falsehoods about the voting process, making some question the integrity of the election.
Although polls show Biden appears to be in the lead in battleground states, supporters are apprehensive to believe polls. The election may be too close to call on Tuesday night due to the different procedures of voting in each state. Some do not start to count the ballots until the day of the election, while others have been processing votes since early voting started. Democrats have led early voting numbers; however, Republicans are more likely to vote on Election Day. Trump has urged his voters to not rely on the mail-in ballots, citing false claims that mail-in ballots lead to voter fraud.
In a year that has been dominated with election news, it is hard to believe that it will come down to a few key states. Trump and Biden have travelled across the country a countless number of times, persuading voters to vote for them. Racial injustice, COVID-19 and the results of the 2016 election has stressed the importance of voting to millions of Americans nationwide.
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Ryan Ford '23,