“If you all show up and vote, democracy will stand, no joke,” the 79-year-old told a rally in New York State — a historically democratic territory — with two days left until Tuesday’s vote.
“This is your generation’s time to defend it. To preserve it. To choose it,” Biden told the audience at St. Lawrence University.
On the south side of the Atlantic coast, in Miami, Trump held a competitive rally in support of the Republican candidates in Florida, but his own political future was more prominent.
“I’ll probably have to do it again,” the 76-year-old teased, wearing his iconic red hat supporters to “stay tuned” ahead of his final campaign rally Monday night in Midwestern Ohio.
Carrying signs that read “Again!” the crowd yelled back “Four years!” – the length of a US presidential term.
Polls in the final stretch put Republicans ahead of the curve for the House of Representatives, also showing them gaining momentum in key Senate races as voters try to allay their frustration over four decades of high inflation and rising illegal immigration. .
Tens of millions of Americans have already voted early, but Tuesday’s vote will likely be decisive.
With all 435 seats in the House of Representatives up for grabs, a third of the 100-member Senate and a slew of state posts, Democrats are boldly pushing their prospects forward, but the latest polls have pushed them on the defensive.
“This will be a wake-up call for President Biden,” predicted Glenn Youngkin, the Republican governor of Virginia, who said his camp offered “common sense solutions” to everyday problems like inflation and crime.
Midterm elections in the US are typically seen as a referendum on the president in power, whose party tends to lose seats in Congress, especially if — as with Biden — the president’s approval rating is below 50 percent. .
Worryingly for Democrats, a new NBC News poll found that 72 percent of voters believed the country was heading in the wrong direction, to 21 percent who saw it was on the right track.
In the state of Pennsylvania, Republican Senate candidate Mehmet Oz hammered on that message on Sunday to stir up a crowd at his rally.
“How many of you are worried about America right now?” he asked the crowd in suburban Pittsburgh and received a round of applause.
The theme resonated with Paul Nelson, 80, a longtime Republican from a suburb of Philadelphia, who sees two priorities for America: lower inflation and tighten border controls with Mexico to curb drug trafficking.
“If Republicans can take over Congress,” said Nelson, wearing a baseball cap decorated like the American flag, “we’ll have a president like Trump. We’ll get back to where Trump left off.”
While the former president cast his vote on conspiracy theories on the ballot, and several candidates in his camp cast doubt on upcoming interim results, party chairman Ronna McDaniel tried to assure voters that Republicans will accept the outcome even if they lose.
“They will,” she told CNN on Sunday, when asked the question directly.
Biden has repeatedly cited Trumpists’ growing embrace of election conspiracy theories as a cause for great concern, warning at a Philadelphia rally that “democracy is literally on the agenda” and calling it “a defining moment for the nation.”
But there’s little evidence that Biden’s dire warnings have turned the tables in his favor, with polls suggesting Democrats have struggled to convince voters of kitchen-table issues at the heart of the election.
Democrats have resisted the narrative of an inevitable Republican takeover of Congress.
“We’re going to keep this majority,” Congresswoman Sean Patrick Maloney, who heads the Democratic Congressional campaign arm, told NBC.
But Biden’s choice of destination for Sunday — in support of New York’s Democratic governor Kathy Hochul, who faces an unexpectedly strong Republican challenge to get re-elected — is a sign of how nervous his camp has become.