President Biden, campaigning for a Democratic congressman from embattled Southern California, argued that Tuesday’s election will have generational ramifications for the nation’s future.
“This is going to shape our country for decades to come,” Biden told a few hundred supporters at a community college gymnasium in Oceanside. He acknowledged that politicians often see elections as the most important of their lives, but this year is truly different.
“This is going to determine the direction of the country for at least a decade or more,” he said. “Everyone is talking about a referendum. It is not a referendum. It’s a choice, a choice between two fundamentally different versions of America.
Biden plugged Rep. Karen Bass’ mayoral campaign in Los Angeles as he took the stage for Rep. Mike Levin, whose district straddles Orange and San Diego counties. The congressman and environmental lawyer is in one of the nation’s tightest competitions as Democrats battle predictions that they will lose control of the House in Tuesday’s midterm elections. .
“This guy delivers,” Biden said of Levin. “It cuts costs for families, takes care of our veterans, protects the environment. It’s a big deal; rebuilding efforts, protecting Social Security and Medicare — and it’s fight to protect democracy. Listen, we need to re-elect Mike.”
The congressman, along with Governor Gavin Newsom, Rep. Scott Peters (D-San Diego), San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and members of the military greeted Biden on the tarmac at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar before the president traveled to MiraCosta College in Oceanside to rally voters less than a week before the election.
Levin praised the administration’s work on COVID-19 relief, reducing insulin costs for seniors and improving services for veterans. But he argued that it was imperative for Democrats to not only go to the polls, but also get other voters out to vote so he and others in his party could work on inflation, control firearms and the protection of women’s reproductive rights.
“I need everyone for the next five days to do more than just yell at the TV. I need you to knock on doors. I need you to make phone calls. I need you to get out this vote,” Levin said.
“Democracy is not automatic, like gravity or the sunrise. Democracy only exists when people like all of you in this room make it happen. We have to get there. Our democracy and our life as we know it in this country is on the ballot. This is what we are fighting for. »
Biden’s appearance with Levin shows the importance of holding California’s 49th district as Democrats try to keep control of the House. And it made more sense for Biden to appear alongside Levin than Democratic candidates in other parts of the state, like the Central Valley, where there are two districts rated by Cook’s nonpartisan policy report, Rose said. Kapolczynski, a longtime adviser. to former Senator Barbara Boxer.
“A lot more of your audience in the Central Valley will be more moderate Republicans or Democrats, and you really don’t want to go somewhere and push the Republican base forward,” she said.
As voters grapple with the high cost of gas and groceries — key issues for many voters in the busy Levin district — Biden’s approval ratings remain low, at 40%, according to a recent Reuters-Ipsos poll.
“The other dynamic is that Levin is a starter and a priority to protect,” Kapolczynski said.
The race between Levin and Republican Brian Maryott, a former Wells Fargo executive and former mayor of San Juan Capistrano, is also considered a draw by Cook.
Biden won the 49th district by more than 11 points in 2020, but Democrats have a slim 2.9 percentage point advantage among registered voters in the remapped district.
Biden’s campaign swing comes as he and other top politicians, including former Presidents Trump and Obama, fan out across the country to energize supporters in the most competitive and critical races.
On Saturday, Biden, Trump and Obama are all due to campaign in the battleground state of Pennsylvania, where there is a close race to replace a Democratic nominee governor and where progressive Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman is battling Republican Mehmet. Oz, endorsed by Trump. for an open seat in the Senate, crucial for control of the chamber. Biden, Trump and Obama have also campaigned in recent days in Arizona, Nevada, Florida, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin, among other states.
Biden touched on foreign affairs during his appearance in North San Diego County. A member of the crowd shouted the name of Brittney Griner, the WNBA star and Olympic gold medalist detained in Russia since February and sentenced to nine years in prison for having a small amount of cannabis oil in her luggage .
“I’m trying to bring her home,” Biden said. “I have spoken with Brittney’s wife and have been in constant contact. We are not giving up.”
When women in the crowd held up smartphones that read “Free Iran,” Biden told them, “Don’t worry, we’re going to free Iran.
Iran is in the midst of popular unrest sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in the custody of the country’s so-called morality police. Biden continued, “They’re going to be released very soon.”
Before heading to California on Thursday, Biden campaigned in New Mexico for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who narrowly edged out her GOP challenger.
In remarks at a Democratic rally and an Albuquerque community college, Biden sought to remind voters of his administration’s accomplishments, including the nomination of the first black woman to the United States Supreme Court, the pardons for those convicted of federal marijuana possession and the forgiveness of certain federal student loan debts.
Biden has said he would ban assault weapons and pass legislation to protect access to abortion nationwide if voters help expand Democratic majorities in Congress.
Biden sought to allay concerns about a potential economic slowdown, touting low jobless numbers and high export numbers. But voters’ outlook on the economy has darkened. In a late October poll by the Wall Street Journal, 71% of respondents said the US economy was headed in the wrong direction, while 54% believed Biden’s policies were having a negative effect on the economy.
The Federal Reserve needs to make substantial progress in tackling inflation, central bank chairman Jerome Powell said this week, leaving investors worried that a recession is looming.
Economic anxiety has given Republicans an edge in many congressional races, polls show. GOP candidates have called Biden ill-equipped to steer the country out of a recession and dismissed his bullish view of the economy.
“Biden wants to brag about the economy but families know best,” tweeted Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee. “57% of Americans say their financial situation is getting worse – that’s nothing to brag about.”
Biden touted the bipartisan infrastructure law passed last year and warned voters against supporting Republican congressional candidates, saying the GOP is campaigning to undermine longstanding backstop programs, including social Security.
Biden was careful to highlight his student debt cancellation plan. In August, it announced it would waive up to $10,000 for certain borrowers and up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients. During remarks at Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque, Biden said about 26 million borrowers have already applied to the Department of Education for debt relief.
Republicans criticized Biden’s debt cancellation plan on the campaign trail, telling voters it would increase the national debt and exacerbate inflation. At community college, Biden said Republican outrage over the plan was “wrong” and “hypocritical,” noting that many GOP lawmakers had millions of dollars in pandemic-era loans canceled by the government. federal.
Mehta reported from Los Angeles and Logan from Oceanside and Albuquerque.
This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.