With seven days remaining until Election Day, Joesph R. Biden held a drive-in rally at Lakewood Amphitheatre as he makes his closing arguments. Many political observers stated it wasn’t smart for Biden to campaign in the Peach State because quadrennial battleground states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin hang in the balance. In the latest RealClearPolitics average of polls, President Donald J. Trump leads Biden 47.2% to 46.8% percent, a difference of 0.4 points. At this juncture in the race four years ago, Trump led Hillary Clinton by 5.1 points heading into the final week of the 2016 campaign. Georgia’s sixteen Electoral College votes are hanging in the balance.
“There aren’t a lot of pundits that said a Democratic candidate for President would be campaigning in Georgia during the final week of an election,” said Biden. “But something is happening here in Georgia and across America. People of different races and backgrounds are coming together to transcend the old divides. It is the battle for the soul of America.”
Biden told the crowd he would not shut down the country, he would shut down the virus.
“Trump has waved the white flag, abandoned our families, and surrendered to this virus,” Biden said. “It’s estimated that if we wore a mask the next few months, we’d save 100,000 lives.” He would later say Donald Trump refuses to listen to science and “he’s not brought anybody together.”
More than 7,800 Georgians have died from the novel Coronavirus.
Rappers Common and Offset set the tone for the rally by holding mini-performances. Offset, a native of Gwinnett County and one-third of rap supergroup, Migos, performed, “Clout” and his hit “Ric Flair Drip.” Meanwhile, Common freestyled and later would close his set by performing “Glory.”
— The Atlanta Voice (@theatlantavoice) October 27, 2020
Interspersed between the music acts, U.S. Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock gave their remarks. Both Senate races are being watched closely around the nation. Ossoff implored the crowd to vote early.
“There is too much on the line just to sit this one out,” Ossoff said. “We can’t take four more years of Donald Trump. We deserve better than this. We need ethical leaders who put the interests of this nation and the American people above their own self-interests. We are all Americans. We rise and fall together.”
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms spoke to the audience as well. She told a story of Black men across Atlanta and Georgia who stayed in jail because of petty crimes.
“The story of them, the story of they, and the story of you, is the story of us,” Bottoms exclaimed as she highlighted the closing of the city jail and its transformation into a reformation center.
Bottoms endorsed Joe Biden in June 2019 and admitted to feeling vulnerable because she laid it on the line to support the former Vice President.
“When he drafted his criminal justice reform package, he sent them to us in Atlanta and asked if he was doing enough. Joe Biden stood beside Barack Obama for eight years, did not have to ask for our input,” Bottoms said, harkening back to the moment she and Biden met to craft their agenda. “I stand here victorious Atlanta because I believe we will not fall for the trickery of 2016. We will not leave our children’s future in the hands of a man who behaves worse than a child.”
Biden pledged he would pass a $15 an hour national minimum wage.
“Nobody should have to work two jobs to be above the poverty level,” Biden said. “When folks at the bottom do better, everyone else up the ladder does better.”
Biden also pledged to invest $70 billion into America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Also, Biden says he would commit the Divine Nine, the nine Black Greek Letter Organizations that make up the National Pan-Hellenic Council, into the White House’s outreach programs.
“When I read something if I were elected president, I would be the first president that didn’t attend an ivy league school in a long time somehow saying I didn’t belong,” said Biden. “I know Kamala Harris would be the first HBCU graduate to serve as Vice President. And I say it’s about time a graduate from a state university and an HBCU are in the White House. Don’t tell me we can’t do it.”
Biden arrived at the stage as Outkast’s “Hey Ya!” blared over the speakers.
“That’s President Trump over there, he’s having trouble being heard,” Biden said as he acknowledged the Trump supporters across the street. Near the end of the speech, Biden said, “The people across the street would be respected by me when I become President.”
More than 60 million people have voted early and Biden said Georgians must continue to keep that same level of empowerment heading into Election Day.