The fact Joe Biden chose to focus on Pennsylvania in the closing days and hours of this 2020 campaign is a strange augury indeed.
On one hand, it shows the Biden campaign isn’t making the same mistake Hillary Clinton did in 2016 when she realized, far too late, that the state was in play. Of course, that election was different in profound ways; CNBC noted that 94 million ballots have already been cast this year, over two-thirds of the total in 2016. Any last-minute electioneering is like a husband who’s forgotten his anniversary two weeks late. Alea iacta est, as they say. (Or at least how Julius Caesar said it.)
Perhaps not in Pennsylvania and Michigan, though. In both states, the Democrats have to count on a heavy turnout from their black base. And therein lie two problems for the Democrats.
First, Joe Biden’s support among people of color hasn’t quite been what Democrats had hoped.
Second, as The Associated Press reported Saturday, Biden’s party has been relying on mail-in voting, which “runs counter to the tradition of some black voters who prefer to vote in person on Election Day.”
Even Democrats are seeing a problem.
To effect that improvement, Biden’s campaign held a Sunday campaign event in Philadelphia — billed as “Souls to the Polls — tbat blatantly and insultingly pandered to the city’s black voters.
If you have the time today, watch the speech, or at least do some skipping around, because it’s a good indicator of just how desperate Biden is to mobilize black voters.
There are plenty of sops the one-time ally of arch-segregationist James Eastland had, but none quite as laughably absurd as when he described enjoying the primary campaign because “being back on the campaign trail” gave him an opportunity to reconnect with black churches:
“Almost every Sunday I’d get to sit in the pew and get inspired. I’d go to Mass first early in the morning, then I go to the black church to get some hope and some invigoration, man.”
Sure. Biden reminded everyone that in addition to peddling Delaware’s causes during his time in the Senate (hi there, MBNA!), he was also a good friend to Pennsylvania’s entrenched interests. Much of Delaware, after all, is pretty much a suburb of the City of Brotherly Love, and he made sure his audience all knew he was repping Philadelphia’s sports teams.
“One of the reasons I got elected in the first place in Delaware across the line was because of the folks in Pennsylvania. All the media in Pennsylvania, all the media in Delaware for the first 25 years of my career was all Philadelphia television,” Biden said.
“There wasn’t no Delaware television. And I was very happy to have the moniker of being known as Pennsylvania’s Third Senator. I know Philadelphia well. I married a Philly girl, by the way. And, by the way, I got my Eagles jacket on.”
There was one problem. Check out Biden’s boasting here:
[Hushed narrator voice] He didn’t have an Eagles jacket on.
BIDEN: “I was very happy to have the moniker of being PA’s third senator. I married a Philly girl, by the way. And I’ve got my Eagles jacket on.”
He is wearing a Delaware Blue Hens jacket.
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) November 1, 2020
It’s not unusual for Biden to wear a University of Delaware Blue Hens jersey. After all, that’s his undergraduate alma mater. There are several differences, however, between the University of Delaware’s athletic logo and that of the Philadelphia Eagles. It might be more difficult, to tell given one of those all-black logo jackets that have been voguish since the 1990s — but no matter how hard you try to squint, an aggressive hen mascot logo looks a lot different from an aggressive eagle mascot logo.
“And by the way, I’ve got my Eagles jacket on,” @JoeBiden said.
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) November 2, 2020
Yet again, this didn’t escape notice:
Joe Biden, in Philadelphia, declared that was he was wearing the jacket of the hometown Eagles.
But is it? pic.twitter.com/9lYxJxaVJB
— Jonathan Lemire (@JonLemire) November 1, 2020
Joe Biden at the Boathouse just now: “I have my Eagles jacket on today”
Sir I’m not sure that’s an Eagle pic.twitter.com/QSfzJBN1OF
— NS (@ninaschrockxx) November 1, 2020
Fact check: It wasn’t an Eagles jacket as Biden claimed. It was a Delaware Blue Hens jacket. https://t.co/mySRMJ53hi
— Tim Murtaugh (@TimMurtaugh) November 1, 2020
Oh, and by the way, there’s a good reason why he’s treating it like a Pennsylvania Senate race. As FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver pointed out during an appearance on ABC News’ “This Week” on Sunday, “without Pennsylvania, then Biden becomes an underdog.”
However true that may be in fact, Biden’s campaign is treating it as true in theory — which is problematic when you consider how the state is basically Biden’s backyard.
If only he could pander to Philadelphia sports fans properly.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.