‘It’s Game Day’: Biden hits the Philly ‘burbs with 10 days to go

Supporters of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden rally on the campus of Bucks County Community College in Bristol Twp, Pa. (Capital-Star photo by Nick Field)

BRISTOL TWP, Pa.  — In a year like no other, it would only make sense that we’d get a campaign like no other.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden campaigned in the vote-rich Philadelphia suburbs on Saturday for a socially-distanced drive-in campaign event at the campus of the Bucks County Community College.

The former, two-term vice president was joined by his wife Dr. Jill Biden, former Bucks County Congressman Patrick Murphy, and Christina Finello, the Democratic nominee for Murphy’s old 1st Congressional District seat. Finello is challenging incumbent U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick in one of the more closely watched contests in the country.

“In 2018, Southeast [Pennsylvania] sent four Democratic women to Congress. This year, we’re going to make history again and elect the fifth,” Finello wrote on Twitter on Saturday afternoon.

Lower Bucks, a traditionally Democratic, working-class area, is a favorite campaign stop for Biden. He appeared at this same campus in October 2016 and held another event nearby the weekend before that contest. The former VP told the crowd that Pennsylvania may be the pivotal state on Nov. 3.

“It’s go time, it’s game day,” he declared. “We have 10 days left and it may come down to Pennsylvania.”

The candidate opened his stump speech by commenting on Thursday’s debate and promising to tackle the COVID-19 crisis.

“There’s gonna be a dark winter ahead if we don’t change our ways,” Biden warned.

His loudest applause, or honks rather, came after his line that the “middle-class built this country and unions built the middle-class.” 

Tale of Two Parking Lots

There was an entirely different story unfolding one parking lot over from Biden’s rally.

Initially, the lot was full of Biden supporters who couldn’t get into the actual event. Families arrived with signs and even pets in tow, cheering for the Democratic ticket. When the motorcade drove up, a group of kids excitedly ran outside to see what was causing the commotion.

A short time later, a pair of Trump supporters arrived. One man was carrying a sign that asserted that Joe Biden was a pedophile and this man took great pleasure in trolling the Biden supporters. Some ignored him, others argued with him and one particularly heated exchange occurred. Some parents took the opportunity to explain to their kids that in a democracy people disagree.  

As speakers began to take the stage, however, a number of cars and trucks decked out in Trump paraphernalia began to arrive. As Biden started to address his crowd, a Trump truck parade broke out in the other.

A bus appeared and the driver began to shout anti-abortion remarks over the intercom. The man who was trolling the crowd suddenly began to use a megaphone. One Trump truck got too close to the Biden people, had to back up and nearly hit another car. A few yards back, vehicles with Trump flags circled around as a sound system blasted out a remixed Trump speech.

There were obvious divisions between the two groups. Biden’s supporters all wore a mask while Trump’s rarely did. The Democratic challenger’s proponents were also noticeably more diverse than Trump’s.

Biden took note of the rival crowd.

“ … We don’t do things like those chumps out there with the microphone,” he quipped.

The whole experience encapsulated an exceptionally bizarre year. Despite all the furor, or perhaps because of it, Biden’s conclusion was especially appropriate. 

“The only thing that can tear America apart is America itself,” Biden said. “Look folks, everybody knows who Donald Trump is. Let’s show ‘em who we are. We choose hope over fear. We choose unity over division. Science over fiction. Truth over lies. And yes, honor and integrity over lying.”

Correspondent Nick Field covers the Philadelphia suburbs for the Capital-Star. Follow him on Twitter @Nick_Field90.