Midterm election: Biden, Obama, Trump head to Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania, Nov 06: US President Joe Biden and former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump will attend various campaign events for their respective political parties across the battleground state of Pennsylvania.
The rallies come just days before crucial midterm elections, with the current and former presidents hoping to rally support.
Obama slams heated political rhetoric
Obama first attended a rally in Pittsburgh with Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman, who currently serves as Pennsylvania's lieutenant governor. During the visit, the former president criticized heated rhetoric by political candidates, after the husband of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was attacked with a hammer.
"The habit we have of demonizing political opponents, of saying crazy stuff, it creates a dangerous climate," Obama said at the event, without explicitly mentioning Republicans.
"You've got politicians who work not to bring people together, but to stir up division and to make us angry and afraid of one another just for their own advantage, so they can take power," the former president added.
Later in the day, Obama will go to an event in Philadelphia to rally Democratic voters, with Biden also making an appearance. Both Fetterman and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro will take part too.
Trump to promote GOP candidates
Trump will stump for Republican candidates in a separate rally in southwest Pennsylvania. Trump will promote Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz — known as Dr. Oz — and gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano.
The rally comes amid rumors that Trump will soon launch a comeback bid for the presidency. Trump still hasn't acknowledged his previous defeat to Joe Biden, with the former president also mired in numerous legal, financial and personal scandals.
Democrats face mixed outlook in Pennsylvania
The Democrats, who currently hold both the House of Representatives and Senate, face headwinds both in Pennsylvania and nationwide.
In the Pennsylvania Senate race, for example, Fetterman had a strong polling lead over Oz in the early days of the race. Fetterman, who has run on a pro-criminal justice and marijuana platform, used social media to mock Oz as a wealthy out-of-state elitist.
Oz, however, has made gains after his Democratic rival suffered a stroke in May, raising concerns that Fetterman might be not be fit for office. The national Republican party has also poured money into the race and attempted to paint Fetterman as weak on crime.
The Pennsylvania race could ultimately determine whether Democrats can keep control over the US Senate. Democratic control over the upper chamber allows Biden to not only gain approval of his legislative agenda, but also his judicial picks.
The gubernatorial election in Pennsylvania, however, might be brighter for the Democrats. Shapiro, who currently serves as the state's attorney general, has attempted to position himself as a moderate compared to Mastriano.
Mastriano, a far-right steadfast Trump supporter, was present at the former president's rally in Washington, DC, on January 6, 2021, prior to the Capitol building's being breached later that day. He also attended events linked to the QAnon conspiracy theory.
The Pennsylvania gubernatorial race is important because the governor appoints the state's top election official and has oversight in the voting process. Pennsylvania is a crucial swing state in presidential elections, and victory there was what helped Biden defeat Trump in 2020.
Biden incumbent touts legislative successes
Nationwide, the Republicans may have the upper hand, as the opposition party not in the White House often performs well during midterm races. During the 2010 midterm elections, for example, Republicans took control of the House under Obama's presidency amid economic concerns and unease regarding the passage of health care reform.
Republicans have made inflation a key part of their message, blaming Biden for the rising cost of living across the country. They have also accused Democrats of being weak on crime and seeking to "defund the police."
Biden and the Democrats have touted job gains and the passage of key pieces of legislation regarding pandemic relief, infrastructure and climate change. The incumbent has sought to win support by signing executive orders on student debt and marijuana reform.
The Democrats have also vowed to safeguard abortion rights and accused Republicans of infringing on personal freedoms, after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade earlier this year.
wd/rs (AP, AFP, Reuters)