With Election Day just about two weeks away, President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden have been concentrating their campaign efforts on battleground states. What does that mean, and why aren’t they spreading their time evenly between all U.S. states?
Sometimes also called “swing” states, battleground states are seen as critical to determining an Electoral College victory. (See “Popular Vote vs Electoral Vote.”) These are states which do not historically vote either strongly Republican or strongly Democratic. Some election years, they “swing” toward Red (Republican). Other years, they swing toward Blue (Democratic). And whichever way the polls go after the ballots are counted, so do the electoral votes.
In recent travels, Biden went to Florida to court seniors and retirees there. It was his third visit to the Sunshine State in a month. Florida is a high-population state (which means lots of electoral votes) that could be wooed toward one side or the other. President Trump went to Pennsylvania, where he spoke for more than an hour to a crowd of thousands. Some political analysts say Pennsylvania is the most important state on the electoral map. It has a solid population of big-city professionals and inner-city poor—who tend to vote Democratic—as well as a concentration of rural and blue-collar (industrial worker) residents who generally vote Republican.
Arizona, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Ohio are other possible swing or battleground states in the 2020 election. Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris had planned a campaign visit to Asheville, North Carolina, last week. She canceled that appearance after two members of her staff tested positive for the coronavirus.
(President Donald Trump arrives to speak during a campaign rally at John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, October 13, 2020. AP Photo/Evan Vucci)