President Biden begins his three-day election tour from New Mexico and will travel to California, Chicago and Pennsylvania, while ex-US leader Trump is hitting four key electoral states in five days.
President Joe Biden and Donald Trump have launched multi-state campaign blitzes ahead of midterm elections that could end up hobbling the Democrat's next two years while setting the stage for a Trump comeback attempt.
Biden's three-day tour began on Thursday in Albuquerque, New Mexico's largest city, where he spoke at a community college on his cancellation of billions of dollars in student debt and other policies that have "delivered enormous progress for the nation."
"You represent the best of us, the very best of us," Biden told students at Central New Mexico Community College.
"Your generation is not going to be ignored, you will not be shunned, you will not be silenced."
During the tour, Biden is flying on to California, Chicago and finally battleground Pennsylvania, where popular former president Barack Obama -- for whom he served as vice president for eight years -- will join him at a rally on Saturday.
Biden's big final push comes on the heels of a speech on Wednesday warning that Trump and the increasingly dominant far-right wing of the Republican party are threatening the survival of US democracy with conspiracy theories aimed at undermining confidence in election results.
But Trump -- who remains the Republican party's de facto leader and possible 2024 presidential candidate despite losing the 2020 election and being under investigation for stashing top secret presidential documents at his Florida golf resort -- is on the offensive.
Republicans on offensive
Hitting four key electoral states in five days -- Iowa on Thursday, then Florida, Pennsylvania and finally Ohio on Monday -- Trump is reinforcing his role as Republican overlord.
If his efforts pay off with victories for his preferred candidates on Tuesday, he will not only expand his powerful group in Congress but create momentum for what many believe is a likely announcement that he's seeking a second presidential term in 2024.
If Trump Republicans seize control of Congress, Biden will likely face a permanent political dogfight and legislative gridlock over the next two years of his administration.
Biden passionately argues that refusals by Republicans to accept election defeats -- starting with Trump's unprecedented attempt to overturn the 2020 election -- imperils the nation's democratic survival.
But polls show Americans paying far more attention to what they see as more immediate issues, starting with the highest inflation in four decades, which has driven up costs of staples like food and fuel.
'Democrats are desperate'
More than half of Americans say the price of fuel and consumer goods is the economic issue that worries them the most in a new Quinnipiac University national poll.
Republicans have also successfully energised their base with messaging on spikes in illegal immigration and crime, often conflating the two issues to portray the country, and white people, in particular, as under assault.
"From surging crime, uncomfortably high inflation, and an open border, New Mexico families deserve better than Biden's failures," said Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel as Biden landed in the southwestern state.
"Democrats are desperate," she said. "Bringing in Biden to stump for them will only backfire."
With Republicans clear favourites to take control of the House, all eyes are on the Senate.