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Trump ramps up campaign rallies two weeks to election

With exactly two weeks until the election, President Donald Trump was continuing his campaign rally marathon Tuesday with a trip to swing state Pennsylvania, the day after early voting began in another key state, Florida.

Trump and his wife Melania will head to Erie, Pennsylvania, where he will host another of his massive rallies. US media reported that the First Lady will be by her husband’s side at the rally, her first such appearance in more than a year.

Record numbers of Americans have already cast ballots in person or by mail — 30 million, according to one tracker — ahead of the November 3 election, as Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden race from one swing state to another to marshal support.

Nationwide, Biden leads Trump by 8.9 percentage points, according to a RealClearPolitics average of polls, and the Democrat has more modest leads in several battleground states.

With Biden dispatching his running mate Kamala Harris to Florida to rally voters there, Trump was on a western swing Monday in battleground Arizona, where he won in 2016 but now narrowly trails his rival in statewide polling.

In Tucson, Trump pledged to build the coronavirus-ravaged economy back to pre-pandemic levels, calling the election “a choice between a Trump super-recovery… or a Biden depression.”

Americans are “pandemic-ed out,” he boomed to masses of supporters, many without masks and not practising social distancing, gathered at the outdoor rally.

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The election is rapidly boiling down to whether voters see Trump as best placed to revive the battered economy, or they believe the president has exacerbated the pandemic and want Biden to fulfil his pledge to unify a divided country.

The battle has played out in eight or nine swing states for months, but perhaps nowhere more intensely than Florida, the largest up-for-grabs prize of them all, delivering 29 of the state-by-state Electoral College votes that decide who wins the presidency.

Early voting began Monday in Florida, and voters in the southern part of the state converged on polling stations, wearing masks and standing in line at a social distance.

At a Miami Beach polling station, Jackeline Maurice, a writer in her 40s, was excitedly snapping selfies with an “I voted” sticker on after casting her ballot for Biden.

“I’ve been waiting four years to vote,” she said.

(AFP)

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