If the polls are to be believed, Joe Biden is heading to a landslide victory in Minnesota. So why did his campaign suddenly add a trip to the Duluth area to his Friday afternoon schedule? Could it be that Democrats are afraid of something that doesn’t show up in the public polls?
When the history of the 2020 presidential campaign is written, perhaps Biden’s last-minute trip to Duluth will be fully explained. As of Friday afternoon, however, seasoned political observers were mystified and local journalists in Minnesota were fuming. The Biden campaign’s initial announcement of the Democrat’s visit omitted basic details of where and when he would speak, and only “pool” coverage was allowed, meaning local media would have no opportunity to do their own reporting on the former vice president’s first campaign appearance in Minnesota. The Duluth News-Tribune included this in their Friday morning report:
The campaign has not publicly disclosed details of the visit, at least in part because organizers say they are adhering to a crowd limit and COVID-19 precautionary standards. While there are a small number of reporters approved to cover the event, campaign officials have not approved the News Tribune’s request to have a photographer document the visit with photos and video. Photos from traveling wire service photographers have been offered instead.…
President Donald Trump will also be campaigning in northern Minnesota on Friday, with an afternoon visit planned in Bemidji.
What could explain this? The Real Clear Politics average of Minnesota polls shows Biden with a 10-point lead, but Trump’s visit would seem to indicate the president’s campaign thinks Biden is vulnerable there. As I explained last month (“Can Trump Win Minnesota?” Aug. 31), the Democratic Party’s policies are hostile to mining in the state’s Iron Range, which has undermined Biden’s support among union workers in the region. And the fact that Democrats supported anti-police rioters in Minneapolis is also a liability for Biden and his running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris:
When the death of George Floyd touched off what the mainstream media prefer to call “mostly peaceful protests” three months ago, Biden and other Democrats did not seem to recognize the potential danger these riots posed to their chances in November. Eager to “energize” their party’s support among black voters, Biden’s campaign embraced the #BlackLivesMatter (BLM) movement, even contributing money to a fund that bailed Minnesota rioters out of jail …
At least 13 members of Biden’s campaign staff contributed to the fund that bailed out those criminals, and Biden’s campaign spokesman told Reuters that the Democratic candidate opposes requiring cash bail as a “modern day debtors prison.” By endorsing this “turn-’em-loose” policy for criminals, the Democrats have endangered public safety, especially including the safety of the black community.
Democrats may also be worried about a strong challenge to rookie Sen. Tina Smith from former Republican Rep. Jason Lewis, as Salena Zito reported in the Washington Examiner:
Smith, then the lieutenant governor, was first appointed to the Senate in 2018 by Gov. Mark Dayton. The appointment was to fill the Senate seat vacated by Sen. Al Franken, who resigned amid sexual misconduct allegations. She served less than a year before facing and defeating her Republican opponent Karin Housley by 10.6 percentage points in a 2018 special election.…
Smith, a former state Planned Parenthood executive, still struggles with a broad political presence. Everyone in Minnesota knew who Franken was, everyone knows who Amy Klobuchar is, and Lewis is also a known commodity for the syndicated radio show he had in the state before he ran for the House in 2014.…
For Lewis and Trump to flip the state may not be as Herculean a task as it seems, even though the last time the state sent its electoral votes in for a Republican presidential candidate was 1972. Outside of the cities, both Trump and Lewis are looking for oversized rural turnout, as well as just enough suburban votes, to overcome Democrats’ strength in the Twin Cities.
Even the most optimistic Republican must rate Minnesota as a long-shot chance, but the fact that Biden felt a need to counter Trump’s rally today indicates that the Democrat’s campaign may be suffering a crisis of confidence.
The president just negotiated the biggest Mideast peace agreement since the Camp David accords, and Americans are increasingly frustrated by the coronavirus “lockdown forever” stance of Democratic politicians like Minnesota’s Gov. Tim Walz, who imposed a statewide mask mandate in July. Joe Biden has flip-flopped on this issue. He previously called for making masks mandatory nationwide, then appeared to back away from that stance, but just this week Biden again indicated he would impose a mask mandate by executive order.
Friday’s dueling presidential events in Minnesota offer a stark contrast: Trump appearing before cheering throngs of enthusiastic supporters, while Biden gives a canned speech with only pre-approved media in attendance.