The US election campaign is entering the decisive phase. Donald Trump uses various appearances to demonstrate his recovery from Covid-19. While at the same time playing down the threat posed by the virus.
On the penultimate weekend before the US presidential election, incumbent Donald Trump and challenger Joe Biden intensify their battle for votes in key regions. Trump, who was behind the polls, gave three campaign speeches in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin. Biden performed twice in Pennsylvania. These states could decide the outcome of the November 3rd election. Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff has tested positive for the coronavirus. Pence still wants to continue with his campaign appearances.
Overall, the final spurt of the US election campaign is accompanied by a steep increase in corona cases. A record was set with more than 83,000 new infections in one day. More than 900 Americans died, the total death toll surpassing 224,000. Trump, who many voters in polls do not trust to master the corona crisis, consistently downplayed the pandemic in the face of the poor numbers.
“Now they say I’m immune”
“I had it, here I am,” announced Trump, alluding to his Covid 19 illness at one of the campaign appearances. “And now they say I’m immune.” Trump had been treated, among other things, with a still experimental antibody drug, which he called a “cure”. At each of the appearances, he also said that his 14-year-old son Barron had been declared healthy by the doctors shortly after the positive test. In the three speeches, Trump gave three variants of how quickly it went: after 15 seconds, after 15 minutes and the next day.
Trump attributed the rise in corona infections in the country to the fact that more tests were carried out than before. “If we tested half as much, the number would be half that.” In general, there is constant talk of the virus in the media. “If you turn on the television:” Covid, Covid, Covid, Covid, Covid “”, complained the President.
“A plane crashes, 500 people are dead, they don’t talk about it. ‘Covid, Covid, Covid, Covid.” . Thousands of supporters were crowded together at his performances, many of them not wearing masks.
Biden again accused Trump of failure in the Corona crisis, which cost the lives of Americans. He called on people to wear masks. “It will be a gloomy winter if we don’t change our behavior,” he said. “And all because the president is more concerned about the stock market than about you,” Biden said to the voters.
“He doesn’t even acknowledge”
Unlike Trump, Biden spoke in front of people who came to the election campaign events with their vehicles like in a drive-in cinema. They expressed their approval with a concert of horns. At one of the performances, rock star Jon Bon Jovi gave a mini concert. A new commercial for Biden, which premiered on Saturday, was voiced by Hollywood actor Brad Pitt.
Ex-President Barack Obama, whose Vice Biden was once, campaigned for him in Florida. Obama was also tough on Trump’s crisis management in the pandemic: “He doesn’t even recognize that there is a problem.”
On Saturday morning, Trump made use of the opportunity to cast his vote early in the presidential election. Trump went to a polling station in a library in West Palm Beach, Florida. “I voted for a guy named Trump,” he said afterwards on the television cameras. He emphasized again that voting in person is safer than postal voting.
More than 50 million votes already
Florida, where Trump has been officially resident for over a year, is one of the states that have their residents vote before the official election date.
So far, more than 50 million people have cast their votes in polling stations or by letter. In the 2016 presidential election, almost 139 million Americans voted. In view of the corona crisis, more people than usual are using the opportunity to vote early. After there have been concerns in recent months that ballot papers sent by letter might not arrive on time, many people have to wait hours to vote in person – for example in New York, where polling stations opened for early votes on Saturday.
Trump has been claiming for months that with mass ballots sent by post, the risk of election fraud increases dramatically. Experts and electoral authorities emphasize that there is no evidence for this. The Democrats warn against an attempt by the Republican president to sow doubts about the election result.
In the presidential election four years ago, a good 47 million US citizens took the opportunity to vote early. This time, according to data from the “US Elections Project” by political scientist Michael McDonald of the University of Florida, it was already almost 57.5 million. Of them, almost 18 million would have voted personally and around 39.5 million by letter.