The forthcoming US election is a choice between a “Trump super-recovery and a Biden depression”, US President Donald Trump has claimed.
Mr Trump continued his campaign with stops in Arizona, in which he attempted to portray a bleak version of events should he lose to his Democratic challenger next week.
“If you vote for Biden, it means no kids in school, no graduations, no weddings, no Thanksgiving, no Christmas and no Fourth of July together,” Mr Trump said at a rally in Goodyear, Arizona.
“Other than that, you have a wonderful life.”
Mr Biden has taken a different tack, with his closing argument to voters focusing on responsible management of the Covid-19 pandemic, highlighting Mr Trump’s promises that the nation is on course to “vanquish the virus” even as it sets records for confirmed new infections.
“Even if I win, it’s going to take a lot of hard work to end this pandemic,” Mr Biden said Wednesday during a speech in Wilmington, Delaware.
“I do promise this: We will start on day one doing the right things.”
The pair will both head to Florida on Thursday as they attempt to chase votes in the state which could help decide the race for the White House.
More than 73 million Americans have already voted, absentee or by mail, and Mr Trump and Mr Biden are trying to energize the millions more who will vote in person next Tuesday.
While the Election Day vote traditionally favours Republicans and early votes tend toward Democrats, the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 227,000 Americans, has injected new uncertainty about the makeup of the electorate.
The pandemic’s consequences were escalating, with deaths climbing in 39 states and an average of 805 people dying daily nationwide – up from 714 two weeks ago.
The sharp rise sent shockwaves through financial markets, causing the Dow Jones Industrial Average to drop 900-plus points.
Mr Trump, who frequently lauds rising markets, failed to mention the decline on Wednesday.
But he promised that economic growth figures for the summer quarter, due on Thursday, would be strong, declaring during a rally in Bullhead City, Arizona: “This election is a choice between a Trump super-recovery and a Biden depression.”
Mr Trump is betting on the Republican Party’s vast field and data operations, and efforts known as “poll flushing” – monitoring precinct lists for who has and has not yet voted – to provide a late boost of votes on Election Day.
The Republican National Committee, which has more than 3,000 field staff and claims to have more than 2.5 million volunteers, will use that information to reach out to Trump supporters who have not voted throughout Election Day to ensure they get to the polls.
“We will continue our historic voter outreach efforts by knocking on over 4.5 million doors and making 15 million more calls to ensure voters turn out to the polls and vote for President Trump and Republicans up and down the ballot,” said party spokesperson Mandi Merritt.
Nowhere may those efforts be more important than in Florida. Without the battleground state’s 29 electoral votes, Mr Trump’s path to victory is exceptionally difficult.
Because of concerns about submission deadlines, Postal Service backlogs and the potential for drawn-out legal challenges, Democrats are pressing their backers who have yet to return a ballot to head to the polls in person.
Mr Trump, meanwhile, is banking on enthusiasm among his Election Day supporters to overcome indicated Democratic strength in some early returns.