“It’s a nice area,” Biden remarked to one of the facility’s staff as they passed a taxi assembly line. “It’s almost heaven. I’m from Scranton.”

As President, Biden has set a relatively limited radius of travel within the United States and focuses on his visits to states that can be visited in a day and do not require an overnight stay. Aside from Pennsylvania and Delaware, where he often spends weekends, the most frequently visited states are Ohio and Michigan, which he has visited three times each.

Repeated visits to critical election battlefields are not particularly surprising for a first-term president, although Biden himself has only been up for re-election for three years. All are short flights aboard Air Force One from Washington. Pennsylvania and Ohio will host competitive Senate races next year. And the working-class cities and industrial heritage of these states make them well-suited to boosting infrastructure, Biden’s current main agenda item.

Still, Biden’s habit of returning to Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan time and time again has come to the exclusion of other parts of the country. He has not visited the most populous state in California or the most populous city of New York. Aside from his overseas trip in June, he has not spent a night outside the White House, Camp David, or its Delaware homes.

The White House declined to expand Biden’s travel strategy. But with each of Biden’s trips, a pattern has emerged that underscores his attention to workers. After visiting an electrical worker training center in Cincinnati last week, Biden underscored why his particular focus was on union workers.

“If every IBEW person decides they are going to quit, this country will come screeching to a halt,” he said in a video posted on Instagram. “There are a lot of commercial enterprises that might actually quit tomorrow, and the nation will still be moving.”

On previous visits to Pennsylvania, Biden has been touring a flooring company in Chester, speaking at a carpenter’s workshop in Pittsburgh, and celebrating Amtrak’s 50th anniversary at Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station. He even made a brief dive into the Commonwealth on Saturday when he went to dinner with his sister Val.

He’s been doing similar activities in neighboring Ohio, which he last visited last week, and Michigan, where he took a spin in one of Ford’s new electric pickup trucks in May.

“Biden’s frequent trips to Pennsylvania and Michigan follow in the footsteps of George W. Bush, Obama and Trump, all of whom devoted significant portions of their early presidential trips to states they narrowly won or lost in previous elections,” said Brendan Doherty , US Naval Academy professor studying presidential travel.

Six months after his presidency, Biden has toured a total of 15 states, almost all of them east of the Mississippi.

Trips into the distance – including Houston in February to investigate storm damage and Miami this month following a catastrophic condominium collapse – came after disaster rather than furthering its agenda.

Critical Seats Campaign

The places he has visited most frequently – Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Ohio – form a major electoral belt in which he hopes to maintain Democratic support through infrastructure investments, expanded family support, and an ongoing vaccination campaign. The Democrats are struggling to maintain control of Congress for the next year in competitions that have historically gone bad for the incumbent president’s party.

The final stops were aimed at the battlefields of the house, including a district outside of Chicago that houses Democratic MP Lauren Underwood is a top destination for Republicans looking to win seats in next year’s midterm elections.

“This woman here, hold on to her,” Biden said as he toured a daycare center with the legislature.

This month, Biden also has competitive districts in. visited Wisconsin and Michigan, a sign of his early willingness to use his tie to bolster the Democrats in the upcoming election.

Jen O’Malley Dillon, Biden’s 2020 campaign manager and his deputy chief of staff at the White House, said the president had been a party-building supporter throughout his decades in public life and told his top aides that he would do “whatever” want he can “to help the party while he is in the White House.

“He made it clear that his priorities are to keep doing what he always did, what he did in ’18, what he did in ’16, which is to go across the country and help, wherever possible, “said O’Malley Dillon. “As party leader, he wants to ensure that the DNC and the state parties have the necessary resources.”

Biden’s desire to actively sell his agenda items in the places that will determine the fate of the Democrats in next year’s midterm elections reflects his belief that his politics make good politics. It’s also a sign he hopes to avoid, what he has identified as a major mistake during the Obama administration: the failure to sell what the president accomplished in his early years in office.

Visiting swing districts – and even some areas where he lost in the 2020 elections – marked a departure from former President Donald Trump, who mainly traveled to places where he was popular and could draw large crowds for his rallies .

Still, presidential travel isn’t all about politics. Commanders in chief are called to visit disaster-hit locations, spotlight areas of the country that are being overlooked in the national conversation, and involve all Americans. Presidents Barack Obama, Richard Nixon and George HW Bush visited all 50 states during their tenure.

United States President Joe Biden speaks about American manufacturing and the American workforce after touring the Mack Trucks Lehigh Valley Operations Manufacturing Facility in Macungie, Pennsylvania on July 28, 2021.

Historically, the states with the most presidential visits in the past three decades are the most populous: California, New York, Florida, and Texas.

Biden has tried to highlight the west coast’s problems by virtually convening governors to discuss historic heat and forest fires. The White House recently said the president was “very focused” on the fire issue. But he has not made a trip to the time zones of the Pacific or the mountains.

“At the time of your presidency, Carter, Reagan, George HW Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama had all traveled to the West Coast. Trump’s furthest westward journey at this point in his tenure was to Iowa, “Doherty said.

The travel routes close to home are partly due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which restricted travel options in the first few months of Biden’s presidency. After new mask guidelines were issued Tuesday for parts of the country with high transmission rates, Biden’s staff said they would be sure to follow local rules when the president travels.

His wife, on the other hand, has ventured far away to promote vaccinations in California, Arizona, and New Mexico. On her way to and from the Tokyo Olympics, she also visited Alaska and Hawaii. Vice President Kamala Harris has also made several trips to her home state of California since taking office.

At this point in their presidency, both Trump and Obama had each traveled to a relatively similar number of states at Biden: Trump had visited 15 after six months, while Obama was 17.

Like Biden, Trump stayed near the east coast, but Obama had stopped in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and California.

All are dwarfed by former President George W. Bush, who had stopped in 29 states by July 20, 2001 – including the two Dakotas.