Joe Biden’s Kickoff Rally in Philadelphia
But the voters I spoke to at the rally told me they’d support Biden even if they weren’t confident he’d win. “I’ve seen what he does in the office, and I want more of that,” said Jackie Jozefisk, a 20-year-old student who’d traveled from Boston to attend the rally, and who was standing in line for the official campaign-gear table, which was full of tote bags and T-shirts (including a $35 special-edition T-shirt with the Liberty Bell worked into the campaign’s logo).
Adam Forgie, a 41-year-old 7th and 8th grade history teacher from Pittsburgh who was in town for a conference, told me Biden is his candidate, in part, because he has always been for unions and public education. “I’d be foolish not to stand up for my whole way of life,” Forgis said, noting that his wife is a teacher, too.
“He’s got a history behind him,” said Tom Brown, a 70-year-old retired telephone-company splicer, though he said he worries about Biden’s age. Tracy Beaty, a 55-year-old Post Office employee, told me she thinks any Democrat could beat Trump, but she’s drawn to how Biden has been talking about unity. Her friend James Gaston, a 72-year-old HVAC instructor, told me his support for Biden is all about gut instinct: “I think I know a winner when I see one.”
During his remarks on Saturday, Biden took some digs at Trump, which drew some of the more enthusiastic responses from the crowd. In a bit calling on his work with Obama and the economic recovery after the 2008 collapse, he said the current president “inherited an economy that was given to him by the Obama-Biden administration—just like he inherited everything else in his life. And he’s in the process of squandering that, too.”
Overall, though, Biden’s message was a call for unity. “The only thing that can tear America apart is America itself, and we can’t let that happen,” Biden said, repurposing a line from his first campaign event, in Pittsburgh, two weeks ago. His wife, Jill Biden, wore a jacket with the word “LOVE” bedazzled in gold on the back—a fashion statement that contrasted with the jacket Melania Trump famously wore last June, as she went to visit immigrant children at the border, which was emblazoned with the words “I Don’t Really Care, Do U?” on the back.
Biden promised on Saturday that “no one’s going to work harder, no one’s going to campaign longer to win your support.” But at least for the foreseeable future, he’s keeping his schedule pretty light. He’ll be off the trail the next few days, and while he has fundraising trips to Nashville and Miami next week—followed by a few stops in Texas—there are no public events currently attached to either.
Biden’s competitors may be keeping more punishing agendas than he is, trying to convince as many voters as possible that they, and only they, can beat Trump. But none of them yet have the poll numbers to show their way is working better than Biden’s.