a week of American presidential elections

a week of American presidential elections

In Scranton, Pennsylvania, the house where Joe Biden grew up (center).

© Peter van Agtmael/Magnum Photos
In Scranton, Pennsylvania, the house where Joe Biden grew up (center).

Every week, Release takes stock of the news of the American presidential campaign, in view of the duel between Donald Trump and Joe Biden on Tuesday, November 3. Read the previous episode here.


• Donald Trump is back. Recovered from the Covid-19, the American president has returned to meetings from Monday in Florida, confident to feel “So powerful”. He travels the swing states at no charge: Pennsylvania Tuesday, Iowa Wednesday, North Carolina Thursday, Florida and Georgia Friday.

• Joe Biden, he was Monday in Ohio and Tuesday in Florida. Still leading in the polls, the former vice president set a new fundraising record in September: $ 383 million (see “Ca $ h” below).

• Very few door-to-door meetings, videoconferencing meetings, distant snacks: in these times of pandemic, campaign teams have had to adapt. Report in New Jersey.

• Early voting began Tuesday in Texas, with turnout records despite efforts by the local Republican Party to obstruct the vote. “It is the most important vote of our life”, Progressive activist Joy told our correspondent in Houston.

• The hearings of Donald Trump’s candidate for the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett, began on Monday, giving rise as planned to a partisan fight. Minority in the Senate, the Democrats have no way to prevent this appointment, which will complete Donald Trump’s Conservative Transformation of Federal Justice.

My 2 cents

Every week, the post from our correspondent in the United States, Isabelle Hanne.

The house is gray with navy blue shutters, pretty although a little shabby. «Scranton loves Joe !» exclaims a sign with a red heart, planted in the manicured lawn. A precise poster, with humor and conviction: “Yes, it is indeed the childhood home of the next president Joe Biden. He lived there until he was 10 years old. ” “Make sure to vote for Joe!” also intimate the message written by the current owners, accompanied by a black and white photo of the Democratic presidential candidate, child, playing baseball in front of the steps.

In this residential and middle-class neighborhood of Scranton, a city of 77,000 inhabitants in northeastern Pennsylvania, houses and gardens are lined up. Two elderly ladies brisk walking thumbs up at Biden’s childhood home, nodding behind their visors and masks. Journalists fromUSA Today park: they write an article on “How Biden’s house became a story of its own in the countryside”.

In recent weeks, Joe Biden, accused by Trump to want “demolish” American cities and suburbs, does everything to frame the November election as an opposition “Between Scranton and Park Avenue”. Contrasting his origins with those of Trump, who grew up within New York’s economic elite and inherited millions of dollars from his father, in hopes of connecting better with voters in the swing states. And especially those from Pennsylvania: “Biden is a child of Scranton”, insists Jim, a building retiree who lives in the neighborhood and will vote for the former vice-president, for “His honesty, his personality and his experience”. “I don’t understand how the locals can vote for this Trump liar”, he laments. Jim has lived all his life in this historically democratic region. Lackawanna County, where Scranton is located, voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 with a surprisingly short lead. Neighboring Luzerne County chose Trump with a staggering 19-point margin. In particular, allowing the Republican billionaire to win Pennsylvania, a Democratic stronghold, and paving the way for him to the White House.

Video: US Presidential: “We win in Florida and it’s over,” says Joe Biden (Le Figaro)

US Presidential: “We win in Florida and it’s over,” says Joe Biden




With less than three weeks to go, more than 24 million people have already voted according to figures from the US Elections Project, or 17.5% of the votes cast in 2016. At the same stage four years ago, only 5 million Americans had already voted. This unprecedented early participation is obviously explained by the Covid-19 epidemic, which has led the vast majority of states to facilitate and expand access to postal voting, so denigrated by Donald Trump. In some key states, the turnout already exceeded 20% of the total 2016 vote on Friday, including Florida (23.7%), Michigan (28.7%) and Wisconsin (27.6%), three states narrowly won by Trump four years ago.

On air

Barely recovered from Covid-19 and declared non-contagious by his doctor, Donald Trump went to Florida on Monday for a campaign rally. At the end of which he offered himself a little dance that did not go unnoticed. Greeting the crowd, the US president has repeatedly taken steps on (the gay anthem) YMCA, des Village People :

President Donald Trump moves to the song YMCA as he finishes a campaign rally at John P. Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport in Johnstown, Pa., Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

© Gene J. Puskar
President Donald Trump moves to the song YMCA as he finishes a campaign rally at John P. Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport in Johnstown, Pa., Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Donald Trump in Florida on Monday. Photo Gene J. Puskar. AP

One way to show that he is as fit as he claims, cured of the coronavirus and still alert at 74 years old. But also, according to the philosopher Julia Beauquel, that “Nothing has changed” : “American life is a celebration that nothing can disturb, the President is a winner, winner of the disease still standing which by his rhythmic gestures invites collective joy and revives the hope of the resurrection, she writes in a column published by Release. The United States will triumph over Covid-19 like any other evil, because there, good always wins out. “

Ca $ h

An absolute record that makes you dizzy, and confirms the incredible comeback of Joe Biden in this year 2020 decidedly like no other. At the end of February, after slaps in the first three Democratic primaries – Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada – and one life-saving burst in South Carolina, the former vice president’s campaign was on the verge of bankruptcy, with $ 12 million in the coffers. We know the rest: rallies from several rivals, a cardboard during Super Tuesday of March 3, and a final victory over Bernie Sanders. Since then, Joe Biden has been riding the anti-Trump wave to raise unprecedented amounts. After 364 million in August, he broke a new record in September: 383 million dollars (327 million euros). That’s nearly $ 13 million per day, half a million per hour and $ 8,866… per minute. The Democratic candidate celebrated the news by calling Trimicka, one of his 5.5 million donors of the month. “It’s more than I have lifted in my whole life”, Biden joked.

The Trump campaign, which had raised “only” $ 210 million in August, did better in September ($ 248 million) but remains far behind its rival. The president can however count on the loyal support of some mega-donors, starting with the billionaire of casinos Sheldon Adelson and his wife. They donated $ 75 million last month to a super PAC (external support committee for the official campaign) which funds anti-Biden ads in the main key states.

US Congress

Besides obviously their President, Americans are called to the polls on November 3 to elect a third of the senators as well as all the members of the House of Representatives (the equivalent of our Assembly). Predicting what will become of the latter is always perilous: entirely renewed every two years, it only gives a seat to seven states (Alaska, the two Dakota, etc.) but up to 53 in California or 36 in Texas, depending on the demographic weight of each. A cutting sometimes very political and who knows how to handle the suspense. But the optimism is clearly more on the blue side than the red side, in the home stretch of the campaign. Returned to the majority in 2018 after eight years in the Republican Chamber, the Democrats even hope to win seats. «[Les républicains] are struggling in districts where I believe they expected to win easily. This year, nothing is easy for them ”, explains on Politico the director of a Super PAC for Democratic House candidates. To regain a majority, Republicans must reclaim districts lost in 2018, a struggle much tougher than it looks. Even in conservative Oklahoma, the Fifth District, won to everyone’s surprise by Democrat Kendra Horn in 2018 after staying red for more than fifty years, has become difficult prey. “If we don’t win in this district, then there are a lot of other places we won’t win, acknowledges Chad Alexander, a former leader of the Republican Party in Oklahoma. It would mean a very bad night for Republicans. ”

Four more years ?

A look in the rearview mirror at the previous elections which concerned an incumbent American president. This week: 1996, quiet Bill Clinton.

View the archive in PDF

US presidential re-election campaigns are not always the same. Four years after having prevented George Bush (father) from renewing his lease at the White House, Bill Clinton is living a new rather easy campaign, while he is now in the shoes of the outgoing. Twenty-three years older than the President, the Republican candidate Bob Dole is unable to free himself from an image of a man of the past. “Closing his intervention during the televised debate, Bob Dole advised viewers to consult his web page on the Internet”, writes Luc Lamprière in Release on October 8, 1996, highlighting his attempts to appear in the coup. But the Internet is still in its infancy and what marks this election (won by 379 voters to 159 by Clinton) is the omnipresence of political ads… on television. “The sums invested in television advertising should, this year, reach new heights and make this campaign the most expensive in American electoral history”, write again Libé (sentence reproducible identically every four years since), which questions the role of television journalists: “How do you cover a campaign where it’s more about hammering out a message designed according to marketing rules than trying to answer questions raised by voters?” A quarter of a century later, it is difficult not to see in this reflection the origins of the current political system.


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