On this final weekend of the 2020 presidential campaign, I wanted to hear from two reporters who have spent hours on the trail with these candidates. They’re just one piece of CNN’s army of embeds, producers, reporters and more who have all done tremendous work over the course of this years-long campaign (and amid a pandemic) to bring the trail into focus for the rest of us.
Here’s the perspective of two of CNN’s best, leading into the final weekend of the campaign:
Kevin Liptak on President Donald Trump’s final sprint:
Win or lose on Tuesday, Trump will likely never run for office himself again, making these next few days his last ever as a candidate. And like much of his political career, they will be relentless.
His animating strategy for the entire final stretch has been to appear like he’s out-hustling Joe Biden, believing that is what put him over the top against Hillary Clinton and that repeating it this time, despite rampant coronavirus, will work again.
Trump is supposed to hold at least 14 rallies between Saturday and Monday, an exhausting sprint for any candidate let alone someone who had coronavirus a month ago. His focus will be in Pennsylvania and the upper Midwest, though he’s also due to hit other states like Georgia and Iowa where the race is tight.
Trump very much believes he can win this election, despite the polls, and at his rallies he has mostly exuded confidence. But by rally No. 14 on Monday night, I’ll be interested to see how Trump sounds and whether, on his final night ever as a political candidate, he might offer anything new.
Arlette Saenz assesses Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s last weekend on the stump:
For Biden this weekend, it’s all about re-establishing that blue wall that fell to Trump in 2016.
After traveling to Wisconsin on Friday, he’ll campaign in Michigan, making stops in Flint and Detroit with his former boss and most powerful surrogate - former President Barack Obama. The two men are reprising their campaign roadshow as they look to boost turnout, including among Black voters, in the final stretch of the election.
Biden then travels to Pennsylvania on Sunday, campaigning in Philadelphia – the birthplace of democracy and the site of Biden’s campaign kickoff rally where he declared the race a “battle for the soul of the nation.”
While Biden focuses on those three Great Lakes states, his running mate Kamala Harris will target the sunbelt - making stops in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina, all states Trump won in 2016 that the Biden campaign is hoping to pick off to make Trump’s path to the re-election much more difficult.
The Point: With both campaigns keeping an eye on their road to 270 electoral votes, we are on the last stretch of the campaign trail.