President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump campaigned on opposite sides of Pennsylvania on Saturday, offering a preview of a potential 2024 rematch, giving their parties’ Senate and gubernatorial candidates a final push in a key 2022 primary.
The commonwealth, which offers the best chance to pick up a seat that could help Democrats retain control of the US Senate, went from endorsing Trump in 2016 to endorsing Biden in 2020. But the anger against inflation, along with the economic uncertainty of the electorate. nation, creating an even more difficult climate for Democrats facing historically tough prospects this year, as the party in the White House often suffers heavy congressional losses in the first half of a new administration.
Democrats – including Biden and former President Barack Obama, who rallied in Philadelphia on Saturday – are ending the campaign by arguing that Republicans have no intention of easing the burden of inflation, saying they could also jeopardize Social Security and Medicare. as a basic tenant of democracy because of their blind loyalty to Trump.
Biden’s approval ratings are underwater, which means the Scranton, Pennsylvania native is one of the few places where he has appeared in a contested race with a Senate candidate. Gov. John Fetterman, who is running against Trump’s handpicked nominee Mehmet Oz, is trying to win the Senate seat vacated by Sen. Pat Toomey. Democrats, who control the Senate 50-50 because of Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote, are struggling to hold onto seats in Nevada, Georgia and Arizona. Republicans need a net gain of one seat to win the majority, so Democrats are hoping a win in Pennsylvania will ease their losses in those other states.
After walking on stage with Obama, Biden took to his former and possibly future rival, telling the raucous crowd he could be heard in Latrobe, where Trump was appearing two hours later with Oz and GOP gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano. On January 6, 2021, there was an election denial in the US Capitol.
“Your right to choose is in the vote. Your right to vote is on the ballot. Social Security and Medicare are on the ballot,” Biden said at the Liacouras Center on the campus of Temple University in North Philadelphia.
He stated that his goal when he ran for president was to “build an economy from the bottom up and from the middle,” a “fundamental change from the trickledown economics of Oz and Mega MAGA Republicans.”
“This is not your father’s Republican Party,” the president added. “This is a different breed of cat. I really mean it. Look, everyone is trying to get richer. And the richest stay rich. The middle class gets squeezed. The poor get poorer according to their policies.”
Appearing behind Biden, Fetterman called out Oz for appearing on a rally stage with Trump — “a real exercise in moderation,” he quipped — in an attempt to remind Pennsylvanians of how Trump fueled the conspiracy theories that fueled the Jan. 6 riot. the capitol
He added that “inflation has hurt working families in Pennsylvania, but you need a senator who understands what that really means,” pointing to Oz’s wealth to argue that he doesn’t know the pain of higher prices.
Trump campaigned in Oz during the Latrobe days after teasing a 2024 run in Iowa, where he told the crowd he would “very, very, very likely” run for the White House again.
While Trump’s presence in western Pennsylvania could help Oz shore up GOP voters, his latest appeals could make it harder for the GOP Senate candidate to win over the moderates and independents he needs to win — voters Trump alienated during his presidency. When he spoke in front of Trump at the rally, Oz didn’t mention the former president — a significant move, as Trump-backed candidates often praise the former president at their events.
It was an indication that Trump’s visit could do more for Oz as Trump tries to build anticipation for his plans. His aides are eyeing the third week of November for a possible announcement if Republicans do well in next week’s midterm elections, sources familiar with the matter told CNN.
Much of Trump’s speech focused on his accomplishments, grievances and conspiracy theories about voter fraud in the 2020 election. He called Oz a “good man” who could help turn around “a country in decline.”
“This could be the vote that makes the difference between a country and not a country,” Trump said in his push for Oz. “It could be 51 it could be 50,” he said of the balance of power in the Senate. “For 49 Republicans, this country — I don’t know if it’s going to live another two years.”
But Trump also spent part of the rally in Latrobe shaking up the latest poll numbers he’s seen for his 2024 rematch with Biden in swing states (and even some red states).
Not all Republicans are happy with the former president’s departure in the final leg of his midterm term. Former New York Gov. George Pataki said Saturday on CNN’s “Newsroom” that the increased attention Trump is getting so close to Election Day in 2024 has not helped GOP candidates running in blue states, including New York GOP gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin. who is facing Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul in an unexpectedly close race.
“Trump is classic what it should be about. It’s not about him,” Pataki told CNN’s Jim Acosta. “It’s about the future of our states, the future of America, and I’m horrified when he does everything he can to get publicity.”
While Trump may be causing headaches for some GOP candidates, it is Obama – rather than Biden – who has been the most powerful messenger for Democrats in these final days of the midterm elections.
Campaigning with Fetterman and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro, Obama hammered home his two-pronged message that election-denying Republicans like Mastriano could endanger democracy in 2024, as he accused Republicans of failing to help American families pay their bills.
In this respect he tried to draw a special contrast between Oz and Fetterman, attacking the career of the famous surgeon on television. “If somebody’s willing to sell snake oil to make money, they’re probably willing to sell snake oil to get elected,” Obama said in Pittsburgh. Later in Philadelphia, he described Fetterman as “a guy who’s been fighting for the common people all his life.”
In a midterm year to galvanize less trusting youth and other voters in Philadelphia — where Democrats need to run up the score to win Pennsylvania — Obama reflected on his midterm setbacks, telling people he wanted to “give a history lesson.” ” based on his party’s 2010 and 2014 losses.
“Sometimes I can’t imagine what it would be like to get enough people to vote in that election,” Obama said. “Imagine if we could fix our broken immigration system in 2011. Imagine if we then passed meaningful gun safety legislation to prevent more deaths. Imagine if we were able to reduce our emissions even more than we do. We would be further ahead in avoiding the worst effects of climate change. If we had retained the Senate in 2014, we would have had a very different Supreme Court making decisions about our basic rights. Therefore, mid-term calls are not a joke.”
Earlier in Pittsburgh, Obama indicated that some Republicans are already talking about impeaching Biden if he wins the majority. “How will this help you pay your bills?” he asked.
Although Obama has been able to criss-cross the country campaigning in competitive states like Arizona, Nevada and Wisconsin, disillusionment with Biden has continued to drag on weaker Democrats and limited his appearances.
And his comments in California on Friday, suggesting that coal plants across the country should be shut down, did not play well outside the blue state. He earned a quick rebuke from Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a moderate in the Senate, and Republicans argued that his comments would not help Democrats in coal-producing states like Pennsylvania.
Manchin said in a statement that Biden’s comments were “not only out of touch and outrageous, but also ignore the severe economic pain the American people are feeling from rising energy costs.”
Trump also tried to seize the moment at his rally in Pennsylvania. “Biden has started a war on coal – your coal. Yesterday he announced that we are going to shut down coal plants across America. Can you believe it? In favor of very unreliable wind and solar, which has cost us a fortune. The most expensive energy you can have: a huge slap in the face to Pennsylvania coal country.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement on Saturday that Biden’s words had been “twisted” to suggest “a meaning that was not intended; he regrets that anyone who heard these remarks was offended.”