Joe Biden delivers speech at Carnegie Mellon

Written By Nardos Haile, Co-News Editor

Democratic nominee Joe Biden delivered a rousing speech at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh on Monday, Aug. 31 addressing his anti-Trump agenda, public safety, police brutality and his message to unify the country.

Biden began the speech with a quote from former President Franklin Roosevelt, “’The news is going to get worse and worse before it gets better and better. And the American people deserve to have it straight from the shoulder.’”

Through the mention of past presidents, Biden intentionally created a juxtaposition between himself and President Donald Trump.

“The job of a president is to tell it straight from the shoulder, tell the truth, to be candid, to face facts, to lead, not to insight. That’s why I’m speaking to you today,” Biden said. “The incumbent president is incapable of telling us the truth, incapable of facing the facts and incapable of healing.”

Biden’s speech greatly centered on a strong direct response to Trump and his presidency. His anti-Trump agenda could potentially have pull with Pennsylvania voters.

“For many Pennsylvania voters, an anti-Trump agenda is just fine,” Lara Putnam, a professor and historian at the University of Pittsburgh, said. “There are many Pennsylvania voters who articulate their core goal in the November 2020 election as removing Donald Trump from office because they see him as an existential threat to democracy.”

Putnam elaborated that voters in favor of Trump will vote for him with the same firm sense of national crisis as Biden voters will in November.

“Then there are other people who are less hyper in tune with political news and debates for whom the message that Joe Biden isn’t Donald Trump may not be persuasive, but also the message that Donald Trump is Donald Trump is not on its own persuasive,” she said.

According to newly released data from Monmouth University, Biden holds a four-point lead over Trump among all registered voters in PA. This is a downward shift from a higher lead that Biden held in July.

“This is really a game of inches. The Trump campaign is looking to peel off a little bit of Biden support here and a little bit there,” Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, said. “It may be working, despite the fact that Pennsylvania voters personally like the Democrat more, although this gap has narrowed.”

The outcome of this election is ultimately the direct result of the American people voting with major social, political and economic issues at the forefront of their minds, said Putnam.

“Right now, in Pennsylvania, the really crucial issues that people are naming as most important, that are shaping their thinking about voting and their lives, are both the state of the economy and the Coronavirus,” Putnam said.

Biden reiterated this same sentiment in his speech. He carried on mentioning the need for safety and justice in America.

“We’re facing multiple crises. Crises that under Donald Trump have kept multiplying. COVID, economic devastation, unwarranted police violence, white nationalists, a reckoning on race, declining faith in the birth of the right American future,” Biden said.

In this time of civil unrest, Pennsylvanians in cities and non-metropolitan areas have unexpectedly shown their support for racial justice causes like Black Lives Matter (BLM).

“These protests have happened in a much wider range of places in Pennsylvania than I think anyone could have predicted in May,” Putnam said. “Just over the course of the month of June alone, five weeks after the killing of George Floyd, there were protests in support of BLM in 230 different communities in Pennsylvania.”

BLM protests had ten times more turnout than the number of communities that held a Tea Party protest in 2009 or the Women’s March in 2017, according to Putnam.

Biden addressed the civil unrest in America, but only in some respects regarding the violence and Trump’s handling of the protests.

“The violence we’re seeing in Donald Trump’s America. These are not images of some imagined Joe Biden America in the future. These are images of Donald Trump’s America today,” Biden said. “Donald Trump adds fuel to every fire because he refuses to even acknowledge that there’s a racial justice problem in America because he won’t stand up to any form of violence.”

Pittsburgh Councilmen R. Daniel Lavelle and Reverend Ricky V. Burgess released a joint statement in support of Biden’s campaign,speech and his dedication to racial justice.

Councilmen Lavelle and Burgess stated that with Mayor Bill Peduto’s help, the city declared racism a public health crisis and started an initiative named Black Pittsburgh Matters. The Councilmen also urged Biden to return to Pittsburgh and support their plans for the city and the Black community.

“As such, in Pittsburgh the health, safety and well-being of Black people must be protected, Black communities must be invested in and rebuilt and massive investments to secure Black employment, Black business ownership and Black home ownership must be the manifest intent of governments at all levels,” Councilmen Lavelle and Burgess said.

Furthermore, Biden finished the speech with idealistic glimmers of a better America.

“At her best, America’s always been, and if I have anything to do it, it will be again, generous, confident, an optimistic nation full of hope and resolve. Donald Trump is determined to instill fear in America. That’s what his entire campaign for the president has come down to: fear. But I believe Americans are stronger than that,” Biden said.