- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 1, 2020

President Trump exhorted voters Sunday in a five-state blitz from Iowa to Florida to keep his “America First” movement alive with a wave of Republican voters on Election Day, while Democrat Joseph R. Biden campaigned closer to home in Pennsylvania as the race, roiled by a year of riots, a pandemic and economic turmoil, headed into its final day.

Even as teams of attorneys for both sides geared up for a drawn-out battle over ballot counting in key states, the candidates urged their supporters to deliver a decisive victory and erase any doubt about the outcome.

The president warned voters in Dubuque, Iowa, that Mr. Biden and running mate Sen. Kamala D. Harris would destroy all the progress of the past four years with more economic lockdowns in response to a surge in cases of COVID-19.

“Everything ends,” Mr. Trump said of a Biden win. “These people are crazy.”

Referring to economic growth at an annualized rate of 33.1% in the third quarter, Mr. Trump said, “We’ve got a thing that’s rocking and rolling. Let’s not blow it.”

Mr. Biden, speaking at a “Souls to Polls” event in Philadelphia, warned that Republicans are trying to suppress the vote in the heavily Democratic city.

“President Trump is terrified of what will happen in Pennsylvania,” Mr. Biden said. “He knows if the people of Pennsylvania get to have their say, he doesn’t stand a chance.”

While the candidates sought to seal victory in 14 battleground states, Pennsylvania emerged as the focus of the final push for both campaigns. Mr. Trump will visit Scranton on Monday after seven rallies in the state in the past week.

Mr. Biden also will campaign again in his native state Monday, this time with singer Lady Gaga. The Trump campaign called the Democrat’s celebrity assist a “desperate effort to drum up enthusiasm for his lackluster candidacy” from an opponent of the state’s natural gas fracking industry.

“Nothing exposes Joe Biden’s disdain for the forgotten working men and women of Pennsylvania like campaigning with anti-fracking activist Lady Gaga,” said Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh.

A major newspaper in Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, endorsed Mr. Trump on Sunday, the first time it has gone for a Republican candidate for president since 1972. The paper favored Mr. Trump’s economic policies and called into question Mr. Biden’s fitness for office, saying the 77-year-old “is too old for the job, and fragile.”

Mr. Trump would win 279 Electoral College votes, enough to clinch a second term in office, under a “Republican surge” Election Day scenario, according to projections from CBS News released Sunday. It takes 270 electoral votes to win the presidency.

Among the more than 93 million people who have already voted, Mr. Biden holds a more than 2-1 edge, 66% to 32%, but the president leads among voters who plan to show up on Election Day, 69% to 27%, according to CBS/YouGov polling.

Under a baseline scenario, Mr. Biden has 279 electoral votes in his column among states he is likely to win or are leaning his way. But under the “Republican surge” scenario on Election Day, Mr. Trump would carry key battlegrounds Pennsylvania, Florida, Arizona and North Carolina and end up with 279 electoral votes to Mr. Biden’s 259.

Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller predicted Sunday that the president will have clinched or will hold clear leads in states tallying more than 290 Electoral College votes on election night Tuesday.

“If you speak with many smart Democrats, they believe that President Trump will be ahead on election night, probably getting 280 electoral [votes], somewhere in that range, and then they’re going to try to steal it back after the election,” Mr. Miller said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“We believe that we will be over 290 electoral votes on election night,” he said. “So no matter what they try to do, what kind of high jinks or lawsuits or whatever kind of nonsense they try to pull off, we’re still going to have enough electoral votes to get President Trump reelected.”

Mr. Miller said Mr. Trump needs to win just one out of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Minnesota to win reelection. Of the four, Mr. Trump lost only Minnesota in 2016.

“The fact that Joe Biden had to go back to Minnesota, a state that Republicans haven’t won since 1972, just the other day shows how they’re worried about states shifting,” he said.

Mr. Trump has protested recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions that will allow absentee and mail-in ballots to be counted even if they are received after Election Day in key states including Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

State officials and election projection experts have warned that it might not be possible to declare a clear winner Tuesday given the expansion in absentee and vote-by-mail options during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The president suggested that he might declare victory on election night if he is ahead in enough states rather than wait for uncounted ballots.

“We should know the result of the election on the evening of Nov. 3,” Mr. Trump said. “That’s the way it’s been, and that’s the way it should be.”

Mr. Biden told reporters on Sunday, “The president is not going to steal this election.”

Mr. Trump, though, denied that he would jump the gun in proclaiming victory.

“We’ll look at what happens,” the president told reporters. “I think it’s a terrible thing when ballots can be collected after an election. I think it’s terrible when we can’t know the results of an election the night of the election in a modern-day age of computer.”

The final NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll before Election Day showed Mr. Biden holding a 10-point lead over Mr. Trump among registered voters nationwide, 52% to 42%. But Republican pollster Bill McInturff noted that Mr. Trump had a nearly 2-1 edge among the 28% of voters who say they plan to vote on Election Day.

In the survey released Sunday, Mr. Biden had a 6-point lead, 51% to 45%, over Mr. Trump across 12 battleground states: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

While Mr. Biden limited his campaigning to Pennsylvania on Sunday, the president barnstormed five battleground states — Michigan, Iowa, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida — in about 12 hours. His last rally of the day in Miami began near midnight.

Even some Democrats expressed amazement at Mr. Trump’s pace. Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, in whose state the president held four rallies Saturday, said Mr. Trump “is doing everything that he can to maximize his chances” of winning the state.

Donald Trump is doing things that have never been done in Pennsylvania politics in terms of the raw barnstorming across small-county Pennsylvania, so it’s hard to predict with certainty how that’s going to activate not only his base of voters from 2016, but also those that sat it out, too,” Mr. Fetterman said on CNN.

Anita Dunn, a senior adviser to the Biden campaign, said the former vice president has been keeping an “active schedule.”

“He showed people what a responsible president does and how a responsible president acts,” Ms. Dunn said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” She said Mr. Trump, by holding large rallies, is putting “communities [and] first responders at risk for his political gains, and that has been something Vice President Biden has never been willing to do.”

Campaigning in Michigan on Sunday, the president said Mr. Biden supported the North American Free Trade Agreement, which he blamed for closing Michigan factories and sending jobs overseas.

“The corrupt establishment hates me because I don’t answer to them; I answer to you,” Mr. Trump said. “They want to close down your factory, ship your jobs to China.”

Mr. Trump has attacked his Democratic rival for planning to vastly increase refugee quotas and has warned that thousands from the Middle East would resettle in Michigan. But the president, standing in a 26-degree wind chill with snow flurries, couldn’t resist joking that refugees from a warm climate wouldn’t want to live there.

“You don’t have to worry about it; they’re never coming,” Mr. Trump said, interrupting himself with guffaws. “It’s freezing up here. This is terrible. Syria never looked so good.”

Mr. Trump won Michigan, a state worth 16 electoral votes, in 2016 by less than 1 percentage point. Mr. Biden has a 6.2-point advantage in the Real Clear Politics average of polls heading into Tuesday.

• Alex Swoyer contributed to this report.

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