Joe Biden, the Democrat nominee, is making a last-minute visit to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on the eve of the election after losing a major endorsement to President Donald Trump.
The former vice president’s campaign announced on Sunday that he would close out the 2020 campaign with a swing through western Pennsylvania. Biden, who polls show narrowly ahead in the commonwealth, will speak to canvassers in suburban Beaver County on Monday, before rallying African American supporters in Pittsburgh later in the day. The Democrat nominee will finish out Monday evening with a drive-in rally in the city that will feature the pop singer Lady Gaga as a special guest.
Biden’s convergence on Pittsburgh comes after the editorial board of the region’s largest newspaper, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, announced it was endorsing Trump for reelection.
In announcing its decision, the editorial board admitted that while it was not a fan of Trump’s style, it could not deny his accomplishments. The board, in particular, praised the incumbent’s support for domestic manufacturing and fairer trade practices.
“No one ever asked the American people, or the people in ‘flyover,’ country, if they wanted to send their jobs abroad — until Mr. Trump,” the Post-Gazette’s editorial board wrote.
The Post-Gazette’s backing of Trump marks the first time the paper has endorsed a Republican for the White House since 1972. When explaining its reasoning for breaking with that long tradition and snubbing Biden, the paper’s editorial board argued that Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), had staked out positions that were out of the political mainstream for Western Pennsylvania.
“The Biden-Harris ticket offers us higher taxes and a nanny state that will bow to the bullies and the woke… It offers an end to fracking and other Cuckoo California dreams that will cost the economy and the people who most need work right now,” the board wrote.
“‘Good-paying green jobs'” are probably not jobs for Pittsburgh, or Cleveland, or Toledo, or Youngstown,” the editorial board added.
The outlet’s endorsement of Trump indicates the staying power of the president’s populist appeal. Although a New York City real estate developer by trade, Trump has fashioned himself since entering electoral politics as a champion of the working man. Trump’s populist stands on immigration and jobs, coupled with strong support for the Second Amendment, have been met with tremendous approval by blue-collar and working-class voters in areas like Western Pennsylvania.
In 2016, voters without a college degree backed Trump over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by a margin of 52 percent to 44 percent. The split was even more decisive among non-college-educated whites, who broke for the Republican by the largest margin since 1980 — 67 percent to 28 percent. Even though their numbers are decreasing nationally, non-college-educated white voters remain a sizable portion of the electorate throughout Pennsylvania and much of the Midwest.
Trump’s success with blue-collar voters helped him four years ago become the first Republican to carry Pennsylvania on his way to the White House since 1988.
Although polls show a close race, there is some indication that the president’s support in areas like Western Pennsylvania is holding strong. On Saturday, Trump drew a crowd that was estimated to number nearly 57,000 supporters during a rally in Butler.