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The campaign of Vice President Joe Biden, now officially the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, believes their candidate can beat President Donald Trump in November by winning a single swing state: Florida.
As reported by The Hill, the Biden camp is putting a lot of resources into the Sunshine State, which the president won in 2016 by more than 100,000 votes over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
However, in this election cycle, the Biden campaign believes it can put Florida back into the ‘blue’ column on the presumption that the state went for the Obama-Biden ticket twice, in 2008 and 2012.
One strategy being employed thus far: The Biden camp is hitting the president over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, as cases have risen in Florida in recent days. The former VP’s campaign advisers sense that COVID-19 will become a key campaign issue that will work in Biden’s favor in Florida especially.
In addition, Biden has slammed the president and his administration over an alleged lack of preparation for the upcoming hurricane season.
“This year, we have headed into hurricane season while combating a catastrophic public health and economic crisis. Unemployment is at historic levels. State safety-net systems and services already are overwhelmed. Daily protests have brought thousands into the streets to demand racial justice,” Biden wrote in a Miami Herald op-ed.
“With cases of COVID-19 still rising in Florida and other parts of the country, President Trump has abdicated any effective federal leadership at this moment of national anguish and suffering. His failure to prepare our nation for this pandemic or take decisive action to curb its impact has opened the door to follow-on crises. Our communities are now dangerously vulnerable to new outside shocks and natural disasters, like hurricanes,” he added.
In addition, the Biden camp no doubt will point to recent polling in the state showing their candidate with a double-digit lead over the president. In a separate report, The Hill, citing a new Reuters/Ipsos poll this week, claimed that Biden has a 13-point lead over Trump nationally.
“In the June 10-16 poll, 48% of registered voters said they would back Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, in the Nov. 3 election, while 35% said they would support Trump,” Reuters added, even going so far as to report that its poll was skewed.
“The poll gathered responses from 4,426 American adults, including 2,047 Democrats and 1,593 Republicans,” the report noted — in the last paragraph of the story.
“There are two reasons that Biden is leading in the polls in Florida right now: He’s not Donald Trump and he’s not Hillary Clinton,” Barry Edwards, a professor at the University of Central Florida’s School of Politics, Security and International Affairs, told The Hill.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated Florida’s tourism-dependent economy, and people don’t think the president has managed the crisis very well,” he continued.
But the Biden campaign may be over-confident.
First, the president has a very powerful advocate in Florida — Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has received plaudits for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. In early April, his approval rating for his handling of the outbreak was higher than his disapproval rating. And since then, DeSantis has moved to reopen the state’s tourism economy.
Also, polling from mainstream media sources was consistently wrong during the 2016 presidential election cycle, when nearly all outlets had Clinton up by high single-digits or double digits.
What’s more, even some congressional Democrats have expressed doubt about Biden’s reportedly large polling advantage over Trump.
“Some people say, ‘Oh, look at the numbers.’ I don’t believe those numbers,” Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., said this week.
“And look what’s happened in five months. The world is upside down and not one of us on this phone call would have predicted that the world will be as it is today. And it is five months from now until November,” she added.
Trump won Michigan, unexpectedly, by 11,000 votes in 2016, becoming the first Republican to do so since George H. W. Bush.
Also, there appears to a lot of enthusiasm for, and momentum behind, the president’s reelection bid, as evidenced by the record single-day online donation haul the 2020 campaign and the Republican National Committee took in on Trump’s birthday.
And Americans have flocked in droves to the president’s first reelection rally since the coronavirus pandemic, scheduled for June 20 in Tulsa.
“The grassroots support behind President Trump’s re-election is something no campaign has ever seen,” campaign manager Brad Parscale noted. “Just as more than a million people have registered for tickets to the President’s rally this weekend [in Oklahoma], they are also donating to help his campaign in record numbers.
“There is an enthusiasm gap – it is real and it is wide. President Trump’s supporters would run through a brick wall to vote for him. Nobody is running through a brick wall for Joe Biden.”
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