In campaign’s closing hours, Trump, Harris make a pitch for decisive NEPA

President Donald Trump campaigns in Avoca, Pa.. on Nov. 2, 2020 (screen capture)

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris and President Donald Trump made closing arguments to voters in northeastern Pennsylvania on Monday, each hoping to energize critical voters in a part of the state that helped put Trump in the White House four years ago.

During an appearance at Wilkes-Barre Scranton Aiport in Avoca, Luzerne County, on Monday afternoon, Trump falsely accused Democratic nominee Joe Biden of wanting to ban fracking, used a racist nickname to describe U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, and directed an ominous threat at Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, calling on him “to reopen” the state, though it has been reopened for months.

“We’re all watching you, governor. We have a lot of eyes on the governor and his friends. A couple of other governors out there too,” said Trump, whose campaign billed him in being Biden’s former hometown of Scranton, though the event was actually in Luzerne County.

Trump famously flipped Luzerne County in 2016, transforming the blue-collar county into a case study for the shift of working-class whites to the Republican Party. Trump, who is trailing in national polls, predicted a “red wave” on Election Day.

Biden, who was born and Scranton and spent part of his childhood there, has made an explicit play for those voters. Nonetheless, a Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll showed Trump leading Biden in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Harris, meanwhile, participated in a voter canvassing event at an branch office of Local 1776 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, the Citizens-Voice newspaper reported.

“We know that the real measure of strength of any human being is not based on who you beat down,” Harris, who never mentioned Trump by name, told a crowd of about 100 people, the newspaper reported. “It’s based on who you lift up. And, that’s how Joe thinks about us. That’s how he thinks about our country. And that’s how he thinks about what a real leader looks like. And we need that right now. We are so much better than what we’ve had to endure these last four years.”

Harris was to travel to another electoral bellwether, Bethlehem, Northampton County, which Trump flipped in 2016 to help win the White House. Recent polling had shown Biden leading Trump in Northampton County.

The Democratic nominee’s campaign parked itself in Pennsylvania on Monday, staging a series of events across the state featuring Biden, Harris, and their respective spouses, Dr. Jill Biden and Doug Emhoff. Biden was to make his closing argument with a drive-in event at Heinz Field, with the pop singer Lady Gaga, on Monday night. Soul singer John Legend was to join Harris and Emhoff at a similar event in Philadelphia on Monday night.

An NBC News/Marist College poll showed Biden with a 51-46 percent edge in Pennsylvania as the final day of campaigning began.

John L. Micek
A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press