Photo by Pete Souza)

Biden’s campaign held a fundraiser with former President Barack Obama, raising $7.6 million. Ava DeSantis writes on what Obama thinks will help the Biden campaign.

Last night, Presidential Candidate Biden hosted a virtual fundraiser. 120,000 people logged into the event, which President Obama headlined. The former President endorsed Biden during the Democratic Primary in April and explained last night why Biden is the right candidate to take on Trump.

He also touched on the difficulty of campaigning during a pandemic, saying “unlike our current president we recognize that we have a public health crisis going on. It means that we have to show restraint and how we structure campaigns has to be different and take that into account.” 

Regardless, he believes it is important for voters to involve themselves in the campaign.

“I am here to say the help is on the way if we do the work because there’s nobody I trust more to be able to heal this country and get back on track than my dear friend Joe Biden,” said Obama. This moment, he continued, demands action. “I appreciate you all being on this call but man, this is serious business. Whatever you’ve done so far is not enough. And I hold myself and Michelle and my kids to the same standard,” he said. 

Bringing out the youth vote

Biden has ongoing issues gaining the support of young voters. In the party’s primary, he won about 20% of voters under 30, compared to Sanders, who won young voters in almost every state by a 40 point margin. Obama addressed these voters by name, calling for young people to put their energy into electoral politics. Real change, Obama said is “police departments that work better and district attorneys that are going to prosecute injustice.”

He argued, there is no contradiction between protest and electoral politics. Ultimately, “in a democracy, those decisions are made at a government level.” The focus on issues like police brutality presents a unique opportunity to achieve change through electoral politics, he said. 

Protestors continue to clash with police officers as actions in the wake of George Floyd’s murder continue across the country. “We have this unique chance to translate growing awareness of injustice in society into actual legislation and institutional change…and those moments don’t come too often,” said Obama.

George W. Bush

He also appealed to voters by arguing that President Trump is fundamentally worse than his predecessor, George W. Bush. “I don’t think I have to reiterate the situation that we find ourselves in right now. Things were tough in 2008, 2009. We were going through the worst recessions since the great depression, a massive financial crisis we were still in the midst of two wars . . . And, yet I have to say the foundation stones the institutions we had in place were still more or less intact.” 

Bush, he said, “disagreed with [me] on a whole host of issues [but] still had basic regard for the rule of law and the importance of our institutions.” Trump, and right-wing media sources, now “[suggest] facts don’t matter, science doesn’t matter. That suggests that a deadly disease is a fake news.” 

Obama acknowledged Biden’s age and alluded to his controversial record. “Hopefully Joe doesn’t take offense at this — Joe has been around for a while. And sometimes what happens is we take that for granted.” He promised, however, that Biden’s character is positive: “for my money, one of the things that count the most is having somebody whatever mistakes they’ve made or whatever hardships they’ve gone through, have they shown that they’ve been tested to have the kind of character and stand for something that is there when you need . . . My experience with Joe Biden is that’s who he is.” 

Many young voters find Biden’s record to be disqualifying, citing his support for the 1994 Crime Bill, and his praise for notorious segregationists. Biden, when he finally spoke, called young voters “the brightest, the most informed, least prejudiced, [and] most engaged” generation. It remains skeptical whether this joint appeal to Biden’s weakest voting bloc will get out the youth vote.

Ava DeSantis is Gen Z Voice at The Pavlovic Today. She has a background in political science and history at George Washington University.    

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