International

U.S. presidential election 2020 | Trump campaigns in crucial Erie County

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Erie International Airport, Tom Ridge Field in Erie, Pennsylvania on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020.   | Photo Credit: AP

With just two weeks left to go for Election Day, U.S. President Donald Trump and opponent Joe Biden are speaking at rallies in swing States trying to make each day of campaigning count. Among these States, Pennsylvania has acquired special focus. Mr. Trump spent Tuesday evening in Erie, Pennsylvania, where he held a rally at the airport, and former U.S. President Barack Obama is scheduled to campaign for Mr. Biden in Philadelphia on Wednesday.

Also read: Kamala Harris turns 56, Biden says wants to celebrate her next birthday at White House

In Erie County — an overwhelmingly (87%) white, long-standing Democratic constituency — working class voters, driven by the decline in the manufacturing sector, had turned to Mr. Trump in 2016. The President flipped the county, beating opponent Hillary Clinton by 2 points.

Mr. Trump also won Pennsylvania by less than 1 percentage point in 2016. Mr. Biden had also campaigned in Erie earlier this month — the former Vice President is currently leading Pennsylvania 52% to Trump’s 43% based on polling averages from September 20 to October 5.

Mr. Trump, however, is leading in Erie and other western Pennsylvania counties (barring Alleghany counting where Pittsburgh is) by a narrow 50%-47% margin, according to a Washington Post/ABC poll from the end of September.

‘Great victory’

“Hello Erie, remember that great victory we had?” Mr. Trump said at the start of his rally on Tuesday night.

Also read: Joe Biden not good for India as he could be soft on China, says Donald Trump Jr

“With your vote, we will continue to cut your taxes, cut regulations, support our great police, protect our Second Amendment, defend our borders, keep jobs and wealth in America, where it belongs,” he said, summing up his standard set of campaign talking points.

“This is an election between a Trump super recovery, which is happening right now, and a Biden depression,” Mr. Trump said, adding that Mr. Biden would “double, triple and quadruple” taxes. “By the way, Pennsylvania’s been shut down long enough. Get your Governor to open up Pennsylvania.”

The President has been banking on his economic record to get re-elected, but the economy has suffered a severe setback due to the pandemic. The country experienced record high joblessness earlier this summer — putting Mr. Trump on shaky ground. Voters are evenly split on which candidate can better manage the economy, the New York Times reported, based on an October 15-18 poll it did with Seina College.

Mr. Trump dwelt at length on the economy and the energy sector in particular at his rally on Tuesday.

“Joe Biden will ban fracking and abolish Pennsylvania energy,” Mr. Trump said. He also had a clip played — a departure from his rally routine — where Mr. Biden and running mate Kamala Harris had made statements opposing fossil fuels and fracking.

Mr. Biden has repeatedly stated he will not ban fracking: he plans to ban new gas and oil extraction permits on federal lands and wants to move the country towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 (which would have implications for fracking).

Mr. Trump also said a Biden administration would destroy the suburbs. [Mr. Biden has called this a dog whistle].

“No, you don't like projects being next to your house,” Mr. Trump said. “So much for your American dream.”

At one point in his speech, Mr. Trump’s mic stopped working. He joked that it must have been “Crooked Hillary” [Hillary Clinton] who was behind it, quickly moving to Ms. Harris. “But Kamala … Kamala…she will not be your first woman President. You cannot let that happen,” he said.

Attack on media

Mr. Trump also made repeated attacks on the media during the speech. He listed the media was in cahoots with the Democrats, big tech and the Washington establishment.

On Tuesday, Mr. Biden issued a statement on Mr. Trump’s visit. “When candidate Donald Trump visited Erie four years ago, he promised to bring back jobs. President Trump’s visit to Erie today is a desperate attempt to distract from the fact that he broke that promise and has repeatedly failed Pennsylvania’s families over the last four years,” Mr. Biden said.

He also said Mr. Trump had incentivised companies to offshore jobs, “waged war on unions” and misled Americans on the severity of COVID-19.

Both candidates are acutely aware of what the State could do for them with its 20 electoral college votes. Mr. Trump conveyed this at his Erie rally. “You know if we win Pennsylvania, we win the whole thing,” he said.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Dec 5, 2020 9:29:28 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/us-presidential-election-2020-trump-campaigns-in-crucial-erie-county/article32905920.ece

Next Story