Mia Mattingly and Andrew Plunkett, Staff
On Sat. Nov 6, La Salle Students were fortunate enough to attend the Philadelphia grassroots event at Temple University’s Liacouras Center. Here, they spent their afternoon hearing from local, state, and federal leaders discuss the Democratic Party and their beliefs this election season. Some of these political leaders included La Salle alumni State Rep. Joanna McClinton and Rep. Dwight Evans, Lieutenant Governor candidate Austin Davis, current Governor Tom Wolf, incumbent Senator Bob Casey, and many other prominent leaders of the Democratic Party. A common trend among the speeches was the main goals for this midterm election. These include: creating pro-choice policies, funding public education, allowing the unionization of workers, combatting gun violence, and ensuring democracy for the future of our country.
While there are several tight races across the nation, Pennsylvania is again at the center of the political world. In the race for United States Senate, John Fetterman hopes to solidify a Democratic majority in the Senate over Republican Dr. Memhet Oz. The campaign between the two has been tight and has featured a ruthless political advertising campaign. Fetterman has criticized Oz’s allegiance to the commonwealth and personal character, while Oz has labeled Fetterman as a radical liberal and has attacked his health following a stroke Fetterman suffered this summer. Consequently, most polls find that the race is virtually tied heading into election day.
Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro is running against Republican state senator Doug Mastriano at the state level . Mastriano, who was present at the January 6th insurrection and has been recently criticized for his antisemitic comments, faces a severe disadvantage. Shapiro holds a lead over Mastriano in both the polls and fundraising. An article from Penn-Live finds that Shapiro has outspent Mastriano by a margin of 6:1 and a recent Marist poll finds that Shapiro is leading Mastriano by 14 points (54%-40%). Nevertheless, the races in Pennsylvania are some of the most contentious in the country and have caught the eye of political leaders from around the country.
As such, on Sat., both Democratic and Republican candidates made stops around the state to gain some last-minute traction and votes for their parties up and down the ballot. Mehmet Oz and Doug Mastriano traveled to rurals areas with former-President Donald Trump, where they called for stricter abortion laws and policies that is tougher on crime and immigration. It is also worth noting that Trump was adamant about the past presidential election being “rigged and stolen” and that he does not want to see that happen in Pennsylvania. On the flip side for the Democrats, John Fetterman and Josh Shapiro visited cities like Philadelphia, with President Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama joining them on stage.
After various state leaders made their case to the crowd, President Biden, former-President Obama, Fetterman, and Shapiro walked out on stage to encourage voters to get out to the polls on Nov. 8. Biden emphasized his legislative accomplishments, including the Inflation Reduction Act and the PACT Act and encouraged the crowd to vote for Fetterman and Shapiro.
Shapiro promptly followed Biden, who commanded the room and was an engaging and passionate speaker. He emphasized being a governor for all the people of Pennsylvania, not just the ones who voted for him. On top of this, he reiterated the previously mentioned ideologies of the party and vetoed any anti-abortion law that was to come across his desk.
Fetterman, who recently made headlines for having a stroke, engaged the audience with humor and confidence in his speaking. La Salle students admitted they were nervous to see him speak so publicly. However, the students who attended explained that Fetterman was concise and, quite honestly, if one did not know he had just suffered from a stroke, one would have had no idea by the way he spoke at that rally. In addition to a few zingers about Oz, Fetterman committed himself to protect reproductive rights and being the 51st vote in the United States Senate.
After Fetterman and Shapiro spoke, Obama echoed Biden’s sentiments and encouraged the crowd to utilize their voices to enact real policy change. He was his usual charismatic self and captivated the room with his public speaking. Obama spoke about the importance of these elections and urged the crowd to get family and friends out to the polls.
At the end of the rally, we left with a sense of pride and optimism toward the election. Not only were the candidates passionate about their stances, but the crowd was too. Josh Shapiro stated, “if you show up for me in two days…I’ll fight for you every day these next four years as your Governor,” and this sentiment stuck with us.
These candidates are running to ensure democracy in our state and country and equality for all, which is something that is worth voting for. So, be sure to head out to the polls and vote on Tue, Nov. 8th, and vote for the future that you want to see, not only in Pennsylvania but in our country.