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Suzanne Lynch’s US Election Diary: Trump campaigns relentlessly in bid to close polling gap

Obama, Bon Jovi and Cher add some razzmatazz to the Biden campaign

With just eight days to go until election day, President Trump has embarked on a relentless campaign schedule as he tries to close the polling gap with his Democratic opponent Joe Biden.

The 74 year-old president, not long out of his hospital bed after contracting coronavirus, visited no less than six states at the weekend, even managing to deliver his signature dance moves to YMCA as his rallies came to a close, delighting his legions of cheering fans. He finished the weekend with a Halloween event in the White House last night where he smiled and waved at dozens of costumed kids, including two who had dressed up as Donald and Melania.

Joe Biden is continuing with his more low-key campaign, shunning big events for more targeted campaign speeches, such as the two sober events he held in Pennsylvania on Saturday.

There is some razzmatazz to the Biden campaign, however.


Veteran rocker Jon Bon Jovi campaigned with Biden and his wife Jill in Luzerne County on Saturday afternoon. Cher also held events in Arizona and where else, but Las Vegas. The multi-award winning music legend described her own experience with poverty growing up, "I am excited about making this world a better place. I'm excited about Joe making this world a better place," she said, dressed in a killer sequined black jacket and heels before blasting out a version of Walking in Memphis and other hits.

Another star attraction was former president Barack Obama who held a drive-in rally in Miami, Florida on Saturday. He is also due to head back to the sunshine state on Tuesday. The latest polls show a tight race in Florida – a must-win state for Trump as he seeks to defend the states he won in 2016.

The intrepid Mike Pence – who has been crisscrossing the United States in recent weeks in a bid to get out the vote among the party faithful – vowed to continue his campaign schedule despite his chief of staff and at least four other aides testing positive for coronavirus. He flew to North Carolina last night, wearing a mask as he boarded Air Force Two, for a campaign event.

America’s covid numbers are continuing to rise, with a new record of 85,000 daily cases reported on Friday and the total deaths passing 225,000. But Trump stated several times at his campaign events over the weekend that America had “rounded the corner.”

Meanwhile, the US is on track to post record-breaking early voting numbers. In Texas, seven million people have already voted– almost 80 per cent of the total number of votes cast in 2016. A new poll from the Dallas Morning News yesterday but Biden three points ahead. Though Trump is still leading according to the Real Clear Politics average of polls, it's a warning-sign for Republicans, and Kamala Harris is due to campaign there later in the week. Democrats have long argued that demographic changes will turn Texas blue eventually – if this is the year that the Republican-leaning state votes to send a Democrat to the White House, then it may be game-over for Donald Trump.

On the campaign trail

Donald Trump will hold three back-to-back rallies in rural counties of Pennsylvania today as he strives to win the electorally-important state.

Mike Pence is due to travel to Minnesota, a state that last voted for a Republican president in 1972 when it chose Richard Nixon, but which Republicans are hoping to flip.

Jill Biden, the wife of the Democratic candidate, will be in Georgia, a Republican-leaning state that Democrats are hoping to win.

Meanwhile Kamala Harris will partake in a 30-hour "digital filibuster" against the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Mr Trump's nominee to the highest court in the land is widely expected to be confirmed by the Senate as early as Monday evening.

Quote of the day

"Over eight and a half million people have contracted this virus and will have unknown long-term health consequences . . . and here's the thing about it: it didn't have to be this way. It did not have to be this way. Thanks to a fellow by the name of Bob Woodward we know that Donald Trump knew about this back on January 28th and then he has the nerve . . .to talk about how we're rounding the corner." Kamala Harris at a campaign event in Detroit, Michigan on Sunday.

Recommended reads

Maureen Dowd argues that while voters were electrified by Obama in 2008, in this election "a lot of Americans seem resigned yet relieved to step back in time with a sentimental old-school Irish pol who was born the year Bing Crosby topped the charts with White Christmas".

I will be joining Maureen on a special edition of the Irish Times Inside Politics live this Thursday, moderated by Hugh Linehan.

A moving and disturbing story by Stephen Starr from Louisville, Kentucky, a city that has witnessed widespread protests since the death of African-American woman Breonna Taylor earlier this year.

I looked at the issue of Biden's foreign policy and how a Biden presidency could impact Ireland's two-year stint on the UN Security Council in this weekend's Irish Times.

The Economist on why Trump could be in trouble in the Midwest this time around. Its forecast gives Joe Biden a greater than 90 per cent chance of winning Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan in this election.

Sign up to get Suzanne Lynch's US Election Diary by email every weekday morning of the campaign here.