With less than a week to go, both parties are bringing out the big guns to campaign for lesser lights. For the Democrats, Joe Biden and Barack Obama are out on the hustings. So is Donald Trump, though George W. Bush is nowhere to be seen. Maybe he is ashamed of what the Republican Party has become. He's not saying.
On Saturday, for example, Biden, Obama, and Trump will all be in Pennsylvania, a state that could determine control of the Senate. The gubernatorial race will also determine if the next governor will sign bills the Republican-controlled legislature may pass to restrict voting. Biden certainly understands this. Scranton Joe has been to his native state nine times already this year. But the Keystone State is not the only one on Biden's agenda. He will also visit Florida, Maryland, New Mexico, and California before Election Day. First Lady Jill Biden is also out on the trail, most recently in New Hampshire. Similary, Kamala Harris is stumping for Democrats all over.
Donald Trump has visited Arizona, Nevada, and Texas recently, with planned stops in Pennsylvania, Florida, and Ohio in the remaining days. The fact that key contests are spread all over the country, from Nevada to New Hampshire, limits how much campaigning a politician can do. A flight from Las Vegas to the East Coast takes about 5-6 hours, even with a chartered plane, and you lose 2 hours due to the time zones. So if you have a 10 a.m. rally in Las Vegas and leave at 11 a.m., you will arrive on the East Coast 6-7 p.m. By the time you get to the rally site it is probably 8 p.m. and dark. Skipping the West isn't a good idea because the races in Nevada and Arizona are so important and close.
Even Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) is having a swan song. She held her first general-election campaign event on Tuesday in Michigan, campaigning with Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI). She has also endorsed a couple of other Democrats, including Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), and might campaign a bit for them in the remaining days.
What is also interesting is who is not campaigning, or is at least being very selective. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) recently campaigned in Madison, WI, for progressive Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes (D-WI) who is running for the Senate. She fired up the students, as usual. The only odd thing was that Barnes himself wasn't there. He claims to have had a "scheduling conflict." Don't believe that for a second. Both Warren and Barnes know that while she fires up Democrats, she also fires up Republicans. A photo of her and Barnes together would be used by both parties. They decided he would be better off without this photo.
In fact, other top progressives, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), have also been carefully limiting their appearances to places where they believe they will do more good than harm. Sanders recently campaigned at the University of Oregon in Eugene, and is planning to spend 2 whole days campaigning in university towns in Wisconsin, a state he won in the 2016 primary. But Barnes will not be joining him. AOC, for her part, recently held a rally at the University of California at Irvine to get students to vote in the important House elections in Orange County.
This isn't to say progressive members of Congress are sitting this one out. Far from it. They are working the phones and the emails to raise money for their favorite candidates. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) has donated $128,000 to other Democrats this cycle. AOC has donated $247,000 to other Democrats from her own campaign funds and another $213,000 from her PAC. Some progressive Democrats say their records aren't the problem. The real problem is the flood of lies Republicans tell about them. To the extent this is true, staying at home and quietly raising money for candidates they like is probably more effective than getting out there and making themselves targets. (V)