Biden and Trump Focus on Midwestern Battlegrounds in Final Push

October 30, 2020 Updated: October 30, 2020

DES MOINES, Iowa/WATERFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich.—President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden campaigned on Friday across Midwestern battleground states.

With four days left until Tuesday’s election, Trump held a rally in Michigan ahead of planned stops in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Biden visited Iowa before heading to Wisconsin and Minnesota on his busiest day of campaigning yet.

“A vote for me is to keep and create auto jobs and all sorts of jobs in Michigan, where they belong,” Trump said in Waterford Township outside Detroit, praising his stewardship of the economy and warning workers in the state’s auto-making industry that Biden’s policies would threaten their jobs.

Trump smiles at a campaign rally
President Donald Trump smiles at a campaign rally at Oakland County International Airport in Waterford, Mich., on Oct. 30, 2020. (John Moore/Getty Images)

In Iowa, Biden said the president failed to contain the pandemic, which cost lives and sent the economy into a tailspin.

“One in six businesses is now out of business because he won’t act,” Biden said at a drive-in rally at the Iowa state fairgrounds in Des Moines, where a pair of bald eagles circled overhead as he wrapped up.

“We cannot afford four more years of Donald Trump,” he said.

Joe Biden gestures
Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden gestures before he departs on campaign travel to Iowa, from the airport in New Castle, Del., on Oct. 30, 2020. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

The focus on the upper Midwest underlined the region’s importance in the race. Michigan and Wisconsin were two of the three historically Democratic industrial states, along with Pennsylvania, that narrowly voted for the Republican Trump in 2016, delivering him an upset victory.

The pandemic and an extraordinary level of enthusiasm have prompted Americans to vote early in unprecedented numbers.

More than 85 million votes have been cast either by mail or in person, more than 62 percent of the total number of votes in the entire 2016 election, according to the U.S. Elections Project at the University of Florida.

In Texas, a traditionally Republican state, more than 9 million people have cast ballots, eclipsing total turnout from 2016, the Texas secretary of state’s office said. Texas is the second state, along with Hawaii, to already surpass its 2016 total.

The deluge of mail-in ballots makes it likely that the winner of several states, including major battlegrounds such as Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, will not be clear on Tuesday night. Election officials expect vote-tallying to take days.

On Thursday, a federal appeals court barred Minnesota election officials from implementing a plan to count ballots arriving up to a week after Election Day as long as they were postmarked by next Tuesday.

Trump has repeatedly said that mail-in ballots are susceptible to fraud, and has more recently argued that only the results available on election night should count.

Early voting data show that far more Democrats have voted by mail, while Republicans are expected to turn out in greater numbers on Tuesday.

By Trevor Hunnicutt and Alexandra Alper