Biden stumps for Clinton in Parma

Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the UAW hall in Parma, Ohio, on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016, in support of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Story by Alex Delaney-Gesing & Video by Christiana Ford

Biden stumps for Clinton in Parma from KentWired.com on Vimeo.

Vice President Joe Biden visited Parma’s United Automobiles Workers hall Thursday to campaign for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Parma was Biden’s second stop in Ohio in less than 24 hours; he stopped at Warren’s UAW Local 1714 hall earlier in the day.

Fewer than 200 people gathered to hear the vice president speak. Though he appeared on stage more than an hour after the scheduled time, the majority of attendees listened in silence as he delivered his speech.

“You have been with us the whole way,” Biden said when he took over the podium. “The last time I was here I asked you to trust me — and you did — and I hope I returned that trust.”

His focus during both visits was geared toward “(laying) out the high stakes of November’s election and (urging) Ohioans to support Clinton and her vision for an America that is stronger together, with an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top,” according to the Clinton campaign’s website.

Both Biden and President Barack Obama have scheduled September campaign stops in support of Clinton and her running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, at various locations throughout Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Recent national polls have shown Clinton ahead of Trump by a slim margin. She leads in the Real Clear Politics poll average that puts her at 42 percent, while he follows at 38.1 percent.

In a Suffolk University/USA Today four-way matchup poll released Thursday, Clinton leads by 7 points. The survey, conducted Aug. 24-29 among 1,000 likely voters, puts support for Clinton at 42 percent, Trump at 35 percent, Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson with 9 percent and Green Party nominee Jill Stein at 3 percent.

Chris Guarnier of Cleveland came out to hear the vice president stump for Clinton. A long-time supporter of both politicians, she said “there’s no contest” between the Democratic and Republican nominees.

“She’s got the experience and has put in the time,” Guarnier said. “She may have her faults, but (Republican presidential nominee Donald) Trump is crazy.”

With Trump’s Wednesday night immigration policy speech still fresh — where he reaffirmed his plan of “no amnesty” for undocumented immigrants in the country, as well as a “beautiful” and “impenetrable” wall at the Mexican border—Guarnier said she simply doesn’t see how his plans will work.

“Building a wall isn’t going to solve anything,” Guarnier said. “Between that and the mass deportations, his plans are dangerous. I think it’s really going to be a case-by-case basis with how the immigrants are treated.”

Wadsworth residents and Kent State University alums Mary Ellen Murray and Mark Rosenthal shared similar viewpoints on Trump’s immigration and foreign policy plans.

“That’s not what our country is about,” said Murray, a ‘74 graduate. “I think he’s plugging into something that resonates with a small minority in this country who have been fed a line. And as much as I try to understand the opposition, it doesn’t make sense.”

Throughout his speech, Biden reiterated one point regarding the Republican presidential candidate: “He just doesn’t get it.”

With the large presence of current and former United Automobile workers in the audience, the vice president zeroed in on middle-class values and the adverse effects a Trump administration would bring.

“He’s going to cut taxes — $9.5 trillion dollars,” he said. “Millionaires and multimillionaires are going to get hundreds of millions of dollars of tax breaks.”

Studies have shown if Trump does (cut taxes), Biden said, he’s going to have to cut everything by 40 percent.

“Unless you increase the deficit by $9.5 trillion, which will ruin economic growth,” he said. “This is not made-up stuff, it’s real.”

Larry Hahn, a 37-year veteran of the local UA, said Biden’s speech was “short, precise and well worth the wait.”

Hahn receives a pension and social security. The tax break Trump proposed would take those benefits away, something he doesn’t want to have happen, he said.

“Trump doesn’t care about the working people,” Hahn said. “He cares about the billionaires and the millionaires.”

During his speech, Biden said his biggest issue with Trump is “he has no idea about the middle class.”

He referenced a study done by the Economic Policy Institute that showed if American labor had as many members as there were in 1979, the average non-union worker in the country would be making around $2,700 a year more right now.

“You guys built the middle class,” he said. “Everything this guy stands for will lower the standard of living for hardworking Americans.”

Biden’s stump for Clinton on behalf of the Democratic platform — and being a type of “surrogate” for her — couldn’t make more sense, according to rally attendee Mark Rosenthal, also a Kent State alum.

“He is gregarious and tells it like it is,” he said. “He represents everything Democrats stand for. Plus, he talks the talk and walks the walk. I think he’s a good surrogate for Hillary. He just resonates for everybody.”

Clinton couldn’t be more qualified for the role of commander-in-chief, Rosenthal said.

“She’s got the background and knowledge to sit in that chair and discuss things intelligently with her opponents,” he said. “Just look at her career path and the different positions she’s held over the decades.”

Murray echoed her husband.

“Clinton knows what is best for the working class of this country and how we need to come back from the recession and continue to build on what President Obama started and continue on those eight years,” Murray said.

While seeing Biden run for president is something she wouldn’t mind seeing, Murray said having a woman run is far more crucial for the sake of the country.

“I’ve been voting since 1972 and just can’t believe we had to wait this long,” she said.

Alex Delaney-Gesing is a senior reporter, contact her at [email protected]