By Lucia Leal
Washington DC, Oct 28 (efe-epa).- United States president Donald Trump and the Democratic candidate for the vice presidency, Kamala Harris, coincided Wednesday in the battleground state of Arizona, where they competed for the Latino vote, barely touching on immigration, an issue that has been conspicuous by its absence in this campaign.
Six days before the election, both Trump and Harris traveled to Arizona, a state the president won in 2016 by a narrow margin and where Democratic candidate Joe Biden is now 3.7 points ahead, within the margin of error, according to the weighted average of surveys of the FiveThirtyEight website.
“You guys are going to make the difference. You will elect the next president and vice president of the United States,” Harris said during her visit to Tucson, where she took the stage in a rally in front of dozens of vehicles, a format popularized by the Biden campaign in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.
LESS IMMIGRATION, MORE ECONOMY
Biden’s campaign is convinced that to take over the White House, it has to win Pima county, where Tucson is located and where more than 40 percent of the population is Latino.
Although she sought to convince the audience to vote for the Democrat with her visit, Harris only mentioned immigration in her speech when she promised to “create a pathway to citizenship and honor America’s promise to our dreamers and renew DACA,” a protection program for certain undocumented youths that Trump has weakened since he came to power.
The senator focused primarily on the economy and health, the two issues that are of most concern to Latinos this election cycle, according to a September poll by the Pew think tank.
“We’re in the midst of a hunger crisis in America… Here in Arizona, one in seven households is having a difficult time paying rent,” stressed the senator.
“We need to understand Latinos and African-Americans have been three times more likely to contract COVID and twice as likely to die from it,” she added.
TRUMP ALSO PARKS IMMIGRATION
About 560 kilometers away, on the Arizona border with Nevada, Trump also did not place too much emphasis on immigration in his attempt to convince the population of those two states to support him next Tuesday.
“I’m fighting for the dreams of all Americans, including millions of truly amazing Hispanic-Americans. Who’s Hispanic?… The polls with Hispanics are through the roof,” the president cried out before the thousands of people who had come to see him, without any social distancing in place, at Bullhead City airport.
Trump won just 28 percent of the Latino vote in 2016, but far from losing some of that support over his first term – as has happened with his white supporters – around 30 percent of Hispanic voters say they support him, and his campaign is now confident of improving on his brand from four years ago.
However, his team has not chosen to revive the aggressive anti-immigration rhetoric that characterized his 2016 campaign. Immigration is not even among the top 10 issues mentioned in Trump’s election announcements, according to an analysis from The Wall Street Journal.
The president’s reelection campaign has instead focused on the economy, job creation, rivalry with China and the violence at some of the anti-racism protests in the US.
In the first of his two rallies of the day in Arizona, Trump defended the wall on the border with Mexico and warned that if Biden comes to power, it will be torn down. Contrary to that statement, the Democratic candidate has promised that he will not continue with the project, but will leave the construction as it is.
Beyond that and his usual warning that a Biden victory “would trigger a tsunami of illegal immigration,” Trump barely touched on the matter, insisting instead on criticizing his rival as weak and warning of economic catastrophe if the Democrat wins: “There will be a depression never seen, perhaps since the crash of 1929.”
BIDEN VOTES IN MOST EXPENSIVE ELECTION IN HISTORY
Meanwhile, Biden voted in advance in his home state of Delaware, something that Trump also did in Florida on Saturday, and gave a speech criticizing the president’s management of the pandemic, at a time when there is a rebound in infections in the country.