We are now in the final stretch of the campaign and even Joe Biden is leaving the basement for the last big push. He’s recently spent time in Pennsylvania, a key state that may decide the entire election. But it’s where he’s going next that signals something important about where his campaign actually sees this race.
Biden will be heading to Minnesota tomorrow, a state he’s supposedly got in the bag, and the decision to go there was apparently made at the last minute.
Biden, who already was hitting Iowa and Wisconsin tomorrow, now also holding a drive-in rally in St. Paul, MN
— Mike Memoli (@mikememoli) October 29, 2020
How close Trump is in Minnesota depends on what polls you cite, but the average is right at Biden +5. Of course, Minnesota has also been a white whale for Republicans for a long time, with so many candidates coming close there only to see it slip away. Trump nearly pulled the upset in the state in 2016.
As election day nears, you can see the shift in the Biden campaign’s strategy. The air of overwhelming confidence you see in the media and among polling analysts simply isn’t there. Biden is clearly terrified that Trump could sneak out an electoral college victory and he’s right to be fearful. If Trump holds Arizona, Florida, and North Carolina, he’s only got to steal one of the former “blue wall” states he took (or came close to taking) in 2016. He never needed to win all three of Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania again. It’s conceivable Trump could lose the popular vote by 4-6 points and still manage to win the election given the current dynamics. In fact, a recent projection came to the conclusion that a Trump -4 in the popular vote actually gives him an 80% chance of winning the presidency.
That Biden is rushing to Minnesota at the final moment is evidence that his campaign sees Trump rushing through the same holes he took advantage of in 2016. Whether that will actually happen is anyone’s guess, but there’s obviously a palpable concern that it’s a very real possibility. Meanwhile, Trump is leaving nothing on the table, barnstorming the upper midwest, as well as the key states of Florida and North Carolina, among others. He’s been drawing tens of thousands of people while Biden can barely muster a few dozen. We are going to find out just how much massive rallies and enthusiasm actually matter.
While I’d love to make some definitive prediction, I think it truly is anyone’s game at this point. What I do know, though, is that the perception that Biden is running away with this and can’t lose is not reality. There’s no more proof of that than the actions of his own campaign.
(Please follow me on Twitter! @bonchieredstate)