Not only is the most uncertain US election in modern history, it's also the strangest.

Donald Trump and Joe Biden appear to be in alternate realities, with Mr Biden staying put at home in Delaware more days than he's out as his opponent storms across the country.

"I'm working my ass off here," Mr Trump said this week on one of his multistate, three-day rallies.

A visit to the Biden's Delaware neighbourhood gives some insight into why the Democrat candidate likes to spend so much time there, electing again today not to leave his state for any campaigning.

 

While Mr Biden characterises the presidential race as a battle being between his gritty birthplace of Scranton and Park Ave, where the gold-plated Trump Tower casts its shadow, he lives a long way from the working class Pennsylvania town where he spent his first nine years.

Through 47 years in public life, Mr Biden has amassed a multimillion-dollar real estate portfolio, including his lakefront family home in an upscale neighbourhood in the neat little town of Wilmington, Delaware.

Just over two hours from Manhattan, Wilmington is neat and tidy and well laid out, but there isn't much going on.

The Biden's neighbourhood of Greenville, about 10 minutes from the town centre, is far removed from the working class hero image he likes to portray to the media.

 

Their pretty leafy area street has heavy woods on one side of the road and stunning rockwall fences lining the way.

But there is no chance of seeing his home from the street. It has a massive security centre in front as well as a number of state police cars blocking the drive - as well as a black car parked straight across the drive to block access.

This is similar to the set-up Mr Biden used when he served as vice president to Barack Obama for eight years, and if the polls are to be believed, this Secret Service detail is about to get a lot bigger.

But as the world learned four years ago with the most unexpected US election result, and as Australians experienced at the last federal election when Scott Morrison defied the polls, it doesn't pay to trust the pundits.

 

 

 

At the last election, respected media outlets in the US gave Hillary Clinton a 90 per cent or greater chance of victory.

The world watched in shock as the needle gradually swung towards Mr Trump as the votes were counted.

Come next week, some expect the outcome to be so close that a result may not be known for weeks after polling day on November 3.

Mr Trump's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner said polling by phone calls was now "an obsolete method, especially in the era of cancel culture."

Some pollsters "in the business for a long time" are "snake oil salesmen," he scoffed.

The Trump camp is relying on its own polling which they say shows far more positive support for the President than indicated in mainstream media surveys.

Joe Biden’s home on a sprawling property in Wilmington, Delaware. Picture: Google Earth
Joe Biden’s home on a sprawling property in Wilmington, Delaware. Picture: Google Earth

News Corp Australia has travelled through many states during the campaign and spoken to Democrat supporters who say they fear "it's going to happen again" because the polls are creating a false sense of security.

Quantitative finance executive Chetan Raina, however, says the polls should not be completely dismissed in 2020.

"The instinct to be sceptical is good, but to not trust all polls is wrong. Trust the polls, but understand their claims, uncertainty and limitations," he told the Tampa Bay Times.

"Once again, a Trump loss is the expected outcome, but a Trump win would not be entirely unexpected. Should Trump win, it would again be difficult to state the predictions were wrong."

Secret Service vehicles sit parked outside Joe Biden’s home in the Greenville Neighbourhood of Wilmington, Delaware. Picture: Angus Mordant
Secret Service vehicles sit parked outside Joe Biden’s home in the Greenville Neighbourhood of Wilmington, Delaware. Picture: Angus Mordant

The other big unknown in this election is how the result will be affected by the huge turnout for early voting and mail-in ballots, largely driven by fears of COVID-19.

The number of early voters could hit 100 million by election day and today early votes already accounted for more than half the number of 2016's total ballots cast, with more than 70 million having voted.

Reports in the US say early voting is strongly favouring Mr Biden, but those who plan to vote on election day are expected to cast more votes for Mr Trump, who has tried to whip up fears of widespread voter fraud.

Libby Flowers, an election supervisor outside an early voting location on the University of North Carolina campus in Asheville, North Carolina, USA.
Libby Flowers, an election supervisor outside an early voting location on the University of North Carolina campus in Asheville, North Carolina, USA.

Libby Flowers, a retired intensive care nurse from is poll supervisor at the University of North Carolina Asheville, has worked the past four elections and said she had never seen so much early interest.

"We had over 42000 ask for absentee ballots so it was a little frantic there trying to get them all stuffed and into envelopes," she said.

"Previously we've had almost none."

 

 

Austin Cook, the communications director with the North Carolina Democratic Party was driving his early voting van across the state last week with the party state chair Wayne Goodwin.

He described early voting interest as "astronomical".

"We're incredibly encouraged by the turnout we've seen. It's been astronomical, much higher than it was the same point that it was in 2016," he said.

"The partisan breakdown in people who have requested absentee ballots is looking very positive for Democrats, much more heavily Democrats than Republicans who have requested mail in ballots.

"Between that and the fundraising that our candidates have seen all across the state has been historic and truly record breaking."

Francisco “Frank” Perez, 33, in the Kelly High School which is being used as an early voting location in Chicago, Illinois. Picture: Angus Mordant for News Corp Australia
Francisco “Frank” Perez, 33, in the Kelly High School which is being used as an early voting location in Chicago, Illinois. Picture: Angus Mordant for News Corp Australia

In Chicago, poll election worker Frank Perez said early voting numbers were big in the traditionally Democratic state.

"It's real hard to get Chicagoans to vote. It's real hard. They don't seem to care. It is what it is, whoever is chosen, that's what it's gonna be.

"They feel that their vote doesn't count. Then when they're voted in, they don't do anything they said they would do to help out. It's hard to get people to come out and vote. People feel, our vote don't count. But who knows? There is a lot of people voting."

The other very weird fact about this election is that Mr Trump is out and about all over the nation holding public rallies in front of thousands of people, while Mr Biden spends most of his time in his basement or his home state of Delaware.

 

 

"In eight days, we are about to go into an evening that I think is going to have a similar result to 2016 and maybe it will be even a bigger margin," Mr Trump told a rally in Pennsylvania.

"The same thing is happening. They only show these fake polls. Nobody's ever had rallies like this. You might have a rally like this on the night before the election, right? It is an amazing thing."

Former conservative White House adviser Karl Rove has described 2020 as "one of the strangest years in American politics which keeps on getting stranger".

"The race is as unsettled as the nation," he wrote in The Wall Street Journal.

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Oddest moments of US election campaign



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