WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden embarked on the campaign trail to spur Democrats as the critical moment before the midterm elections begin, visiting the swing states of Wisconsin and Pennsylvania to mark Labor Day with trade unionists whom he hopes to participate in force for his party in November.

Bien was to address a gathering of workers at an outdoor park in Milwaukee. Later Monday, he was flying to Pittsburgh – returning to Pennsylvania for the third time in less than a week and just two days after his predecessor, Donald Trump, held his own rally in the state.

Trump spoke Saturday night in Wilkes-Barre, near Scranton, where Biden was born. The president made his own trip to Wilkes-Barre last week to discuss increased police funding, denounce GOP criticism of the FBI after the raid on Trump’s Florida estate and to affirm that new bipartisan gun safety measures can help reduce violent crime.

Two days later, Biden traveled to Independence Hall in Philadelphia for a prime-time speech denouncing the “extremism” of Trump’s staunchest supporters. On Monday, he attends Labor Day festivities in Milwaukee, another key swing state of Wisconsin, before heading to Pittsburgh for that city’s parade.

The White House says Biden celebrates “the dignity of American workers”. The unofficial start of fall, Labor Day, also traditionally kicks off a busy political season where campaigns jostle to excite voters ahead of Election Day on Nov. 8. This is when the control of the House and Senate, as well as some of the main governorates of the country, will be decided.

Trump has endorsed candidates in key races across the country and Biden warns that some Republicans now believe so strongly in Trumpism that they are willing to undermine core American values ​​to promote it. The president said on Thursday that the midterm elections will be a battle “for the soul of the nation”, the same slogan he used to win the 2020 election, and that “blind loyalty to a single leader and the willingness to engage in political violence, is fatal to democracy.

Biden added in that speech that “MAGA Republicans are destroying American democracy,” referencing Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign cry and pointing to incidents like last year’s mob attack on the Capitol. American.

Trump said at his Saturday rally that Biden’s appearance in Philadelphia featured “the most vicious, hateful and divisive speech ever delivered by an American president.”

“He’s an enemy of the state,” the former president said.

On Monday, Biden returns to another theme that was central to his 2020 campaign, that unions have polished the middle class, which in turn has built and strengthened modern American society.

Endorsements from key unions helped Biden overcome disastrous early results in Iowa and New Hampshire to win the Democratic primary, and ultimately the White House. He has since continued to praise unions — even though many voters without a college degree, including many from the working class, remain among Trump’s strongest bloc of supporters.

Mary Kay Henry, president of the 2 million-member Service Employees International Union, called Biden “critical” for defending unions as we approach midterms and said the labor movement must ” mobilize on battlefields across the country to make sure workers show up.” ”

“We’re really excited for the president to speak directly to the workers, if given the chance he would join a union,” Henry said. She added: “This president has indicated which side he is on. And he is on the side of the workers. And that matters a lot.

Biden, meanwhile, has a personal history with Pittsburgh’s Labor Day parade, which is one of the largest in the country. He attended the 2015 installment as vice president and returned in 2018. Both times Biden, now 79, had to consider whether he would run for president in the next election – against which he opted for in 2016 before winning the White House in 2020.

This year the oldest president in the country’s history has been the subject of speculation over whether he will seek a second term in 2024 – although he insisted that was his intention, and the pressure has eased somewhat in recent weeks, amid a series of political and political successes. for Biden and his party.

Still, the two eternal presidential battleground states Biden visits on Monday can provide key measures of Democrat strength ahead of November and 2024. With inflation still raging and the president’s approval ratings remaining low, how much will Biden can help his party in the best races yet to be seen.

It’s been on full display in Wisconsin, where Democratic Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes is trying to unseat incumbent Republican Senator Ron Johnson, but has drawn criticism from Johnson’s campaign for not first committing to appear with Biden. in Milwaukee. In the other race for the top of the state, Tim Michels, a Trump-endorsed construction executive, is trying to deny Democratic Gov. Tony Evers a second term.

Evers was speaking at the union event Biden addressed and also briefly greeted the president in a line of backstage photos. Barnes did not.

Pennsylvania voters choose a new governor, with state Attorney General John Shapiro facing another Trump-endorsed Republican, Doug Mastriano, and a new senator. This race is between Democratic Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman and famed Trump-backed cardiologist Mehmet Oz. Shapiro and Fetterman both planned to attend the Pittsburgh parade on Monday.

The races in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin could decide which party controls the Senate next year, while the winner of each gubernatorial post could influence the results of the 2024 presidential election. The stakes are particularly high given that some candidates Trump-aligned people have been spreading lies about widespread fraud that didn’t happen in the 2020 election, raising questions about what might happen if a candidate they don’t support wins the next presidential election.

Vice President Kamala Harris celebrated Labor Day in Massachusetts, where during a breakfast with the Greater Boston Labor Council she said, “When union wages go up, everyone’s wages go up. .

“When unionized workplaces are safer, everyone is safer,” Harris said. “When unions are strong, America is strong.”


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