Biden leans on Pennsylvania as campaign season kicks into full gear | Elections

When President Joe Biden touches down in Pittsburgh on Monday to celebrate “the dignity of working Americans,” where he is about to take part in one of the largest and oldest Labor Day parades in the country, he will have visited the Pennsylvania three times in just one week.

Last week, he launched an assault on “MAGA Republicans” in a searing speech about gun safety, crime and law enforcement he delivered from Wilkes-Barre, where he is. lashes out at former President Donald Trump’s staunchest supporters for defending the rioters who stormed the Capitol last year, for calling for FBI funding and for refusing to back security measures more stringent for firearms.

Biden resumed the aggressive offensive Thursday night in Philadelphia, where he warned Americans that democracy was under attack from former President Donald Trump and his “MAGA Republicans,” who he said posed unprecedented threats to democracy. ability of the United States to remain a Democrat. Republic. The prime-time speech reignited the ‘battle for the soul of the nation’ – the phrase that defined his 2020 campaign against Trump and became his administration’s rallying cry throughout his first term. — and served to isolate Trump and his “Make America Great Again.” ” evangelists, conservative ideologues and those dedicated to election denialism.

“Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundation of our republic,” he said. “The Republicans of MAGA do not respect the Constitution. They don’t believe in the rule of law. They do not recognize the will of the people. They refuse to accept the results of free elections and they are working as I speak, state after state, to give the power to decide elections in America to supporters and cronies, empowering Holocaust deniers to undermine the democracy itself.

Political cartoons about Joe Biden

The trifecta of speeches kicked off the 2022 midterm elections and marked a notable shift in tone and energy as the White House seeks to describe in clear and combative terms what is at stake in November, as well as feature a string of legislative victories ahead of November’s election and capitalize on a small uptick in Biden’s polling numbers after months of declining approval ratings. And while the President was born in Pennsylvania and likes to tout his tough Scranton roots, the focus on the Keystone State also underscores the importance of the highly competitive battleground state where a Senate seat and a governor are up for grabs.

“It tries to accomplish several things in Pennsylvania and tie together several themes and elements of where we are and where we come from,” says Barbara Perry, director of presidential studies at the Miller Center at the University of Virginia. “In a way, he’s trying to use that to put a bow on a package he started packing when he first announced his candidacy.”

Democrat John Fetterman, Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania, is running against famed doctor Mehmet Oz for a seat vacated by retiring GOP Sen. Pat Toomey – a race unfolding one social media snob at a time , but also one that could decide whether the Senate remains under Democratic control or is taken over by Republicans. And in the race for the governor’s mansion, Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro takes on Trump-endorsed Republican Doug Mastriano in a contest that could have major ramifications for the 2024 election, given that Pennsylvania is one of the few states where the Secretary of State is appointed.

In addition to having Trump’s blessing, Mastriano is also part of the camp of Republicans who have backed the former president’s campaign lies — the very ones Biden is increasingly aggressively calling out.

“Democracy cannot survive when a party believes there are only two outcomes to an election – either it wins or it has been cheated,” Biden said. “And that’s where the MAGA Republicans are today.”

Speaking at Wilkes-Barre earlier this week, Biden called Shapiro a “champion of the rule of law” and Fetterman a “powerful voice for working people.”

As the midterm campaign season heats up, Biden will likely continue to prioritize states where two or more major races are at stake — like Georgia, where Sen. Raphael Warnock is trying to fend off GOP challenger Herschel Walker , and Democrat Stacy Abrams hopes to overthrow Republican Gov. Brian Kemp.

In fact, Biden is also expected to appear on Labor Day in Milwaukee, where incumbent GOP Senator Ron Johnson is trying to fend off Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, and Democratic Gov. Tony Evers is looking to do the same. with the Republican. challenger Tim Michels in a gubernatorial race that could have significant implications for abortion rights.

But in Pennsylvania, the White House has looked to the state’s relatively young, mostly white, middle class. electorate which should significantly benefit from the string of recent legislative victories for Democrats, including the Cut Inflation Act, which is expected to expand Medicare benefits, lower prescription drug prices and lower energy bills and create jobs in the manufacturing sector; the Safer Communities Act, which pours hundreds of billions of dollars into mental health resources and establishes stricter background checks; and the Chips and Science Act, which aims to stimulate domestic chipmaking and scientific research.

Plus, gas prices are down, more than 20 million student borrowers are set to have their debts forgiven, K-12 schools are underway in the most normal back to school since the pandemic began, Democrats are reaping the benefits of the primal rage unleashed following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, and Trump is embroiled in a Justice Department investigation into whether he mishandled classified documents.

And for a president who bills himself as the “most pro-union president” ever – and whose start of term coincided with a new wave of efforts to mobilize and organize workers, including in large companies like Kellogg’s, Starbucks and Amazon, among employees at major news conglomerates and even among congressional staffers — the Labor Day visit is just the latest example of him leaning into his organized labor roots ahead of a midterm election that will depend on the voting energy that unions are known for and that Democrats often depend on.

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics – that’s up from 12% in 2019 and above the union density rate of 10.3% for the country. Biden is expected to appear alongside a number of national labor leaders in Pittsburgh, including AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and United Steelworkers International President Tom Conway, as well than Fetterman and Shapiro.

What better place to strike while the iron – or in this case steel – is hot?

“Our governor’s race is not just about control of the state, but I think Biden also sees it as critical for the 2024 election because of Mastriano’s willingness to face election challenges,” Michael said. Berkman, director of the McCourtney Institute for Democracy. at Penn State and professor of political science. “So they view Pennsylvania as critical for 2024, and of course our Senate race is critical to maintaining control of the Senate.”

“It seems like a good time for him to try and get some momentum back,” Berkman said. “Joe Biden has always been a fiery activist and now he is making a clear change. We are in the middle of the campaign season now.

About Michael S. Montanez

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