Joe Biden is poised to give the most important speech of his long political career to date on Thursday night, as he accepts the Democratic Party’s nomination for president and seeks to convince the nation to choose him in November over Donald Trump.
Capping the Democrats’ almost-entirely virtual convention, and coming in the midst of a global pandemic that has claimed more than 173,000 American lives, Biden is scheduled to speak from his home state of Delaware. His address will follow testaments earlier in the week from party luminaries including former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, former first lady Michelle Obama, and vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris, who spoke Wednesday night.
Trump, meanwhile, is staging an event Thursday just outside the former vice president’s birthplace in Scranton, Pa., hours before Biden formally accepts the nomination.
Though convention speeches don’t delve deeply into policy, Biden’s proposals include expanding Obamacare by offering a public-insurance option; increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour; spending $2 trillion over four years on clean-energy projects; and free COVID-19 testing.
With unemployment above 10% as the U.S. struggles amid the coronavirus pandemic, Biden and Harris have been pushing a message of job creation and have pledged to manage the viral outbreak better than Trump.
Stocks SPX, +0.13% have reclaimed their perches at all-time highs, but other grim statistics give Biden an opening in November, Widener University political scientist J. Wesley Leckrone recently told MarketWatch.
“Now, [Biden] can start reaching out and saying, ‘I know what you’re going through right now, I grew up in that environment, and we’re going to build back,’ ” said Leckrone. Biden frequently references his middle-class upbringing, and called Harris a “fearless fighter for the little guy” when he announced her as his running mate.
Trump’s visit to Pennsylvania will conclude four days of events in battleground states, and highlight what his campaign calls “a half-century of Joe Biden failing America.”
The Republican incumbent is trailing Biden in polls of Pennsylvania voters, and also lags in other battleground states, including Florida and Wisconsin. Betting markets are pointing to a Biden victory.
Trump will be renominated by Republicans next week, during their own largely virtual convention. Shortly before Trump was scheduled to leave for Pennsylvania, his former adviser Steve Bannon was arrested on charges that he and three others ripped off donors to an online fundraising scheme “We Build The Wall.”
Trump told reporters separately that he felt “very badly” but hadn’t “been dealing with [Bannon] for a very long period of time, haven’t been dealing with him at all.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.