Most political strategy is simple. President Joe Biden is rallying Philadelphia union members to start his reelection campaign.
Biden needs Pennsylvania and working-class votes for reelection. Unions helped Biden win in 2020. Pennsylvania figures prominently in Biden’s life and presidential triumph.
“Philadelphia is his home base for so many things,” said Philadelphia public relations consultant Larry Ceisler. “Electoral base. Union and fundraising basis. I suppose Joe Biden’s good luck charm is Philadelphia.”
At a Pittsburgh union hall, Biden declared: “I’m a union man. Period.”
The AFL-CIO, which backed Biden on Friday along with 17 other unions, will organize this launch event to help the president increase his low approval ratings and mobilize the coalition that narrowly gave him a 2020 win.
“Joe Biden ran for President on the promise of rebuilding America’s middle class, the backbone of our country’s economy,” said campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez.
Biden will preview a campaign focused on job creation, decreasing prescription medication costs, and manufacturing. The event follows a six-figure ad campaign on Biden battling Republican budget cutbacks.
Biden trips in Philadelphia are as routine as stadium traffic.
The president visits the city almost regularly this year. He attended a Democratic National Committee winter conference in February, presented his budget plan in March, and attended his granddaughter’s University of Pennsylvania activities in May and April.
His 2020 campaign’s first large fundraiser occurred at David L. Cohen’s residence. His campaign headquarters here. (Wilmington, Del.)
Biden’s greatest remarks were in Philadelphia. He spoke on the Constitution Center’s large stage regarding voting rights. He proposed a funding from a Northeast union training facility and warned of democracy dangers from Independence Hall.
He must inspire Democratic voters in Philadelphia, where turnout has declined.
He will have to travel the state to keep a state he won by 1%. Biden won rural counties in Pennsylvania in 2020. He spoke in front of a locomotive in Johnstown after a rail excursion across rust-belt Ohio and Pennsylvania, telling voters Trump “doesn’t have a plan to help you.”
Biden has long stressed his middle-class roots, formed in Scranton and decades spent commuting Amtrak from Washington to Delaware every night to be with his children.
“I’m Jill’s husband and Jean Finnegan’s son,” he told Scranton crowds in October 2019. “I’m from 2446 N. Washington Ave.”
‘Most pro-union president’
Biden enjoys discussing those who “brought him to the dance.” Labor usually brings dancing. He thanked labor during a 2019 AFL-CIO event in Philadelphia.
After launching his reelection attempt, he attended the North America’s Building Trades Unions Legislative Conference in Washington.
“I make no apologies for being labeled the most pro-union president in American history,” he remarked.
Unions define him politically.
Ceisler said it “goes to his core.” “It’s who he is, and these are the people he wants to be known as supportive and a friend of.”
Biden isn’t fighting for the biggest labor unions’ endorsement. He won unions easily in 2020 and has no major Democratic primary rivals. However, retaining working-class voters, some of whom are unionized, is crucial.
“He made important inroads with union households in 2020, which was critical to picking up important battleground states,” said Brendan McPhillips, Biden’s 2020 Pennsylvania campaign manager. “There’s still work to do there, so it’s smart to come out showing a united labor coalition, which Trump would try to win back.”
Unions may mobilize voters. Former City Councilmember Cherelle Parker won the Philadelphia Democratic mayoral primary with union support.
Gov. Josh Shapiro’s I-95 answer raises his national stature.
However, union officials don’t always back rank-and-file members. AP VoteCast, a nationwide electorate survey, found that six in 10 union members supported Biden in 2020.
Organized labor priorities vary by industry. Unions praise Biden’s labor record, citing his federal appointments, the growing number of unionized government workers, and his attempts to stop union busting and organize.
In December, Biden was criticized for signing a rail strike-prevention bill. The White House press office apologized last month for pushing Insider’s strike-related material.
‘Not good for working class’
Biden will begin his reelection in a friendly atmosphere, but the electorate has soured on him. 54% of Americans disapprove of his work and 40% approve. That matches favorability polls for former President Donald Trump, the GOP primary front-runner who faces federal and state accusations.
GOP presidential candidates are already targeting Biden’s record, blaming him and Democrats for inflation and government spending.
Pennsylvania Republicans pledged to reveal a dismal first term.
“I’m told that Joe Biden is going to have a campaign where he says he needs four more years to finish the job,” U.S. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R., Pa.) said in a briefing with reporters before Biden’s visit Friday. “I don’t know what this job is, but it’s bad for America’s working class. Joe Biden struck the working and middle class hard.