Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump in Michigan, adding its 16 electoral votes to his general election tally four years after Trump painted it red in a narrow, shocking victory.
Michigan's large population of white and blue-collar voters helped Trump narrowly defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016, by 11,000 votes, but Biden's higher popularity made the state a heavier lift for Trump in 2020. Biden led in nearly every poll taken of Michigan since he won the Democratic primary there earlier this year, though his final results lagged behind his polling results.
Biden also poured in tens of millions of dollars in advertising, heavily outspending Trump. The Democratic nominee visited the state on Oct. 2, after spending much of the summer in quarantine to avoid the coronavirus, and returned again just before the election to appear alongside former President Barack Obama. Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, also stopped in the state on Oct. 25, when she spent much of her time boosting Sen. Gary Peters’ (D-Mich.) reelection bid.
The state was a top destination for both campaigns: Trump also visited Michigan in September and October, holding a two-hour rally just weeks after testing positive for Covid-19. Vice President Mike Pence, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. also made speeches in the state last month. But Trump dialed back his ad spending in Michigan in July and didn't return to the airwaves until late October.
Both Biden and Trump focused on the economy in their visits to the state. Michigan has been slammed by the pandemic, and its 8.5 percent unemployment rate in September exceeded that of the nation as a whole, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most of the layoffs have come in the tourism and leisure industries, but heavy industry companies like U.S. Steel have also issued notices of massive layoffs to the state.
Indeed, the state appeared to move away from Trump soon after he won it. Democrats made major gains in Michigan in the 2018 midterms, sweeping the races for statewide office and picking up two suburban congressional districts where backlash against Trump swept in first-time Democratic candidates.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, one of the victorious Democrats in 2018, became an occasional sparring partner with Trump online and in the national media, over issues including coronavirus aid to the states and a foiled kidnapping plot against her concocted by militia members, which she blamed partially on Trump’s rhetoric.