Voters were wracked with nervous energy. Katie Whelan, a high school history teacher from New Jersey, crossed the Pennsylvania border to knock on doors over the weekend for Mr. Biden in the key battleground. The previous night, she said, she had awakened from a panic dream involving Hillary Clinton and the dread of falling just short at the ballot box. “She was like, ‘Honey, I’ve been there,’” Ms. Whelan recalled Mrs. Clinton telling her in the dream.
Adding to her anxiety, Ms. Whelan could not tell if the nightmare was set in 2016 or 2020. “I stood over the sink and drank three pints of water,” Ms. Whelan said. “And I said to myself, ‘I better get canvassing.’”
For Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden, their final events on the last full day of 2020 campaigning offered as stark a display of their differences as anything they said.
Seeking to project a sense of normalcy even as infection caseloads surge, Mr. Trump flouted public health guidelines with a slate of large rallies in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, and even made a winking nod to firing the country’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, should he win another term, in a Florida rally that lasted past midnight on Sunday.
In Ohio and Pennsylvania, Mr. Biden argued there could be no return to routine until the virus was under control and his itinerary of socially distanced, drive-in rallies — “Honk if you agree with me!” he shouted in Cleveland — served a visual expression of his sober approach. Mr. Biden, the former vice president, cast race as a referendum on Mr. Trump’s stewardship of a pandemic that has infected more than nine million people in the United States and cost more than 230,000 lives.
“The first step to beating the virus is beating Donald Trump,” Mr. Biden declared, adding, “The power to change the country is in your hands.”