All this means there are no young volunteers in Biden shirts pounding the pavement for their candidate, no clusters of posters marking the Biden field offices in various precincts, few bumper stickers on the highways. There are more Biden signs than Hillary Clinton had in 2016, locals say, but not enough to give the impression of an enthusiastic presidential campaign in a crucial swing state. When Biden visited Michigan last week, only a handful of supporters came to see him; his campaign didn’t disclose the location of the event in advance, even to the local Democratic county chair, because it didn’t want to attract a crowd that could spread COVID-19 or violate Michigan’s prohibition on gatherings of more than 100 people.

In short, in one of the most important swing states in the country, Biden’s campaign is all but invisible to the naked eye. His lack of a physical footprint is all the more striking because Trump flags festoon everything from pickup trucks to massive airplane parts being transported down the highway. Roughly 30 Trump supporters gathered to protest outside the Biden event last week, waving their flags and cheering as passing cars honked. (Roughly eight Biden supporters showed up.) After driving around some of the state’s swing districts for the past week, talking to than dozens of voters, the only reason you’d think Biden was up in Michigan is because the polls have consistently said so.

Trying to evaluate the strength of the Biden campaign in Michigan is like trying to determine whether the Emperor has no clothes or is actually wearing an elaborate invisible suit. The Biden campaign says it’s swarming the state; you just can’t see it.