On the morning of Sept. 27, National Voter Registration Day, Vice President Joe Biden took the podium at Drexel University’s Main Building with one simple message for students, faculty and all other Philadelphia residents: don’t vote for Donald Trump.
“He doesn’t represent America. He does not represent our basic, fundamental values,” Biden said.
Two massive Clinton/Kaine posters were placed in the lobby — one over the auditorium and another over the front entrance — to emphasize the alternative option for voters.
“I’m glad Donald Trump found out that Crimea is part of Ukraine. He’s on the verge of acknowledging gravity,” Biden said of Clinton’s opponent.
The vice president acknowledged that many students were displeased with both presidential candidates, but implored them to vote for Clinton regardless.
“I know a lot of students on campus are frustrated. And I know they are not overjoyed about the choices. I know they think that Hillary didn’t do A, B, C or D. I know that well. But my lord, my lord, what are we going to do?” he asked.
Biden was preceded by Katie McGinty, the Pennsylvania Democratic candidate running for a seat on the U.S. Senate against incumbent Republican Pat Toomey. She encouraged the audience to break two glass ceilings at once by electing her as Pennsylvania’s first female senator and Hillary Clinton as the first female president.
“This is the most optimistic time in modern history. We are second to no one … and, god willing, Hillary Clinton and Katie McGinty will write the next chapter of that history,” Biden said.
Throughout the event, Drexel students and members of the Philadelphia community packed the Main Building lobby, spilling over onto the grand staircase. Following Biden’s address, they gave their opinions on the messages he expressed.
“What I think the most impactful thing that Biden brought up was kind of the whole positive side of America, and how really our country is defined by people working hard and thinking positively,” C.J. Kraft, a technology management and marketing major at Drexel, said after the rally.
For economics student Grace Mellor,the rally reinforced her desire to see Clinton clinch the presidency.
“For me, it was really encouraging and really powerful and it really made me stand up for what I believe in, which is Hillary Clinton. I just thought it was an amazing experience,” Mellor said.
International area studies major Rachel Wallace expanded on that sentiment.
“I think it also just reassured us [about] any fears we had in this election, and really nailed home that Trump isn’t the solution. Clinton is the only solution that we have right now,” Wallace stated.
Biden spoke for half an hour, but in that time he was able to engender strong feelings in many members of the audience. Some felt that his blue collar attitude — he referred to himself at one point as “middle class Joe” — helped to appeal to members of the audience of all socioeconomic classes.
“He’s personable too. He was saying stuff that I think everyone in the audience could relate to,” Mellor said. “There were college students in there, little kids in there and I was sitting next to two women who were from West Philadelphia…and I felt very unified in there.”
Regardless of party affiliation, the deadline to register to vote in Pennsylvania is Oct. 11. Those who are currently unregistered or need to update their address can do so online at https://www.pavoterservices.state.pa.us/.