Joe Biden takes campaign to swing states as Donald Trump continues recovery

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Joe Biden is capitalising on having the campaign trail largely to himself by hitting critical swing states and investing in long-time Republican bastions that he hopes might expand his path to victory.

The Democratic presidential nominee made his second trip to Florida in a little over two weeks on Monday while his opponent President Donald Trump continues his recovery from coronavirus.

His visit to Miami was designed to encroach on some of Mr Trump’s turf, even in Little Havana, a typically conservative area known for its staunch opposition to the communist government that Fidel Castro installed in Cuba.

He will follow up with a trip later this week to Arizona, which has not backed a Democratic presidential candidate since 1996.

(PA Graphics)

Even Mr Biden’s former primary rival, Bernie Sanders, has resumed in-person campaigning for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak in March.

The progressive Vermont senator held socially distanced rallies in the battlegrounds of New Hampshire and Michigan, proclaiming: “We need Joe Biden as our president.”

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Sitting on a massive pile of campaign cash less than a month before election day, Mr Biden is trying to put Mr Trump on defence across the country and build an advantage in the Electoral College so large that the president might struggle to contest it.

That is especially important since Mr Trump, who lost the popular vote in 2016, has said he may not accept the election results this year and has raised unfounded allegations that the increased use of mail-in voting amid the coronavirus pandemic could lead to fraud.

Senator Bernie Sanders has been campaigning for Joe Biden in Michigan (Nicole Hester/AP)

Mr Biden is complementing the expanded campaign travel with a late-stage ad push, reserving more than six million US dollars in television airtime in Texas, for decades deeply red, through the end of October, according to an Associated Press analysis of CMAG data.

He also plans to spend four million US dollars on advertising in Georgia, another Republican-leaning state that Democrats are feeling bullish about.

Mr Trump, meanwhile, has scaled back advertising in both states and has begun doing the same in Ohio, which he also won in 2016.

“2020 is not 2016. The ‘Dems in disarray,’ fretting that we’re going to go too far, that’s not the reality this time,” said Kelly Dietrich, founder of the National Democratic Training Committee, which has worked with around 1,500 of the party’s candidates for offices nationwide this cycle.

“They are running a solid race focused on the swing states we need to win but now have excess resources to expand the map.”

Joe Biden speaks at the Little Haiti Cultural Complex in Miami (Andrew Harnik/AP)

As election day nears, Democrats are still stung by the 2016 campaign, when Hillary Clinton focused on Republican-leaning states like North Carolina and Arizona in the final weeks, only to lose ones that long supported Democrats, including Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

Democratic strategist Brad Bannon said: “It would be a mistake for Biden to take his foot off the pedal”, but added: “I wouldn’t want Biden to make the same mistake Clinton did.”

“I’d be careful, if I was Biden, about expanding the map too much,” Mr Bannon said.

Mr Biden’s advisers say they have been confident for months they can expand the electoral map while never wavering from their promise to have their candidate travel only when local health guidelines allowed for it.

Adhering to that plan has allowed them to expand into other parts of the country at the most critical of moments.

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