Who was going to tell the workers of the American auto industry that they are on strike for thirteen days that would become the wish of the two favorite presidential candidates in the 2024 electoral race. Joe Biden traveled to the race yesterday to meet with them in Detroit (Michigan) in an attempt to court the working-class vote that is currently hanging by a thread forks key in the 2024 presidential elections. The support of the working class is so important that it had to steal the headlines with them before it did so today, 24 hours after the visit of US President Donald Trump. The Republican will once again skip a debate against seven Republican opponents tonight in his party’s primary to pursue his own electoral agenda.
With both visits, Michigan has just officially become a key state for the 2024 elections and the country’s working class has become a trophy that cannot be lost. The Democratic territory is already a “swing state”, also known as a “hinge state”, because no party can ensure a clear victory there. And so, without warning, at the stroke of a trip, the battle for the White House begins. That is why yesterday Biden paid close attention to the complaints and claims of workers who demand better salary conditions. Historians claim that it is the first time a sitting president joins a strike by walking with them. Until now, an active leader who, in principle, has to maintain the balance between workers, the country’s economy and the supply chain has never wanted to get “wet” in this direct way. It remains to be seen how this strategy translates into the sentiment of the nation.
It seems that the presidential campaign team was quick to organize a trip to the center of the city a day before Donald Trump visited. And Biden called him an “opportunist” when the Republican announced his intentions to support the protest “in situ.” Donald Trump has always opposed plans for a low-carbon economy that fights climate change, and with that speech he will try to empathize today with the anguish of industrial workers as he already did seven years ago.
In 2016, the former president managed to convince workers disenchanted with factory closures and industrial development to the detriment of their jobs that he was their best option. But he failed to maintain his loyalty during his four years in office, and in 2020 Biden regained this vote by a narrow margin of three percentage points. At the moment, the strikers have not positioned themselves in favor of any candidate. The grouping United Automobile Workers (UAW), for its acronym in English) warned that a second Trump term would be a disaster for unions. But the relationship with Biden is not better either, his electric vehicle plan could completely transform the industry, and this decision is not so popular among the working class vote. With the trip to Detroit, the president has made clear his support for the union branch and the importance that its support has for him in next year’s elections. Furthermore, much of the Democrat’s political career has been defined by always being on the side of the unions.
The most important difference between the two politicians is that the American president went to Michigan at the invitation of union leaders, while Trump will travel today despite warnings not to do so because they do not want him there. Or at least the leaders don’t want it, because the Republican’s strategy is to open a gap between union members and their leaders. In fact, the UAW will participate in Biden’s visit, but not in Trump’s. “We are investing every thread of our union in fighting the billionaire class and an economy that enriches people like Donald Trump at the expense of workers,” Shawn Fain, president of the UAW, said in a statement.
Biden has opted for a risky bet, because if the strike lasts longer than necessary and begins to affect the economy, the Democrat is going to start the official election year on a very bad foot. But right now any support is important, the latest polls have begun to show a tie with his opponent for the 2024 presidential elections.