For Sen. Bob Casey, the 2020 presidential election is the “most important since 1932,” he told Temple students in a remote webinar on June 30th.
The webinar, held via Zoom, was hosted by Temple Students for Biden, a campus group formed to support former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 general election against President Donald Trump. Casey took questions from students on the call while encouraging them to vote blue on November 8.
Pennsylvania is a swing state likely to be crucial to the Democratic nominee’s chances in the general election, according to recent polls gathered by FiveThirtyEight.com. Biden chose Philadelphia, the state’s largest city, as the site of his campaign headquarters last May.
Casey was among the first to endorse Biden’s 2020 bid, the Associated Press reported, and shares his hometown of Scranton, PA with the former Vice President.
One student asked Casey for advice on what to tell friends unsure or ambivalent about voting for Biden in the general. In response, Casey emphasized Biden’s sharp differences on policy from President Trump, who narrowly carried the state in 2016.
“They have diametrically opposing views on nearly every issue,” Casey said. “Whether it’s climate change or healthcare or dealing with this pandemic, dealing with the jobs crisis in the wake of the virus, dealing with policing and criminal justice issues, the contrast has never been clearer.”
Casey likened the circumstances of the 1932 election, when Democratic candidate Franklin Delano Roosevelt defeated incumbent Herbert Hoover and entered office at the height of the Great Depression, to the massive unemployment and economic damage caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have to confront the challenges we have today like it’s the New Deal. Like it’s the early 1930s, and we have the kind of unemployment numbers we had then,” Casey said.
Two students, Gary Lawery and Sunvy Yalamarthy, asked Casey about how Senate Democrats planned to respond to calls for police reform and racial justice that have become more popular since the police killing of George Floyd, a Black man, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
“You have to meet it with a bill that is commensurate,” Casey said. “There’s also an opportunity now to get the country focused on additional measures we have to take on housing, on education, on health care, on poverty itself, which Black Americans have been burdened by for so many generations because there was no strategy to lift people up.”