For the first time in U.S. history, the U.S. head of state and government has visited a picket line of striking workers. Joe Biden traveled to Detroit today, where he met with members of the United Motor Workers (UAW), who have been on strike for more than a week at certain factories of the 'big three' US automakers: Ford, General Motors and Stellantis (which includes the former Chrysler and is actually a European company). consequence of the merger of the Italian Fiat and the French GPA a year and a half ago).

Joe Biden's visit has political significance. Today, it is him. Tomorrow, it will be his predecessor, and main rival in next year's elections, Donald Trump, who will give a rally to the employees of the automotive industry in Detroit. Trump, who belongs to the party of big business, the Republican, and who during his presidency was roundly opposed to raising the Minimum Interprofessional Wage (which has been frozen for 14 years), has a considerable pull among industrial workers. In 2016, Trump beat Hillary Clinton by just Michigan, the state in which Detroit is located, by 0.23% of the vote, which is just 10,704 ballots. Four years later, Biden won by 2.78%, or 154,188 votes.

Therefore, Michigan is a territory that can decide who will live in the White House until 2028. And Biden, famously slow to react, has moved fast this time. The president has declared on the picket line through a loudspeaker that "you deserve the important rise you demand", and encouraged attendees to continue.

Both Biden and Trump culturally fit the mold of the Detroit autoworker. Both are elderly white men, with a certain conservative image far from the 'culture wars' that frighten that group and that sank Hillary Clinton's candidacy in 2016 (aggravated by the fact of being a woman). Biden has been close to unions all his life, while Trump rejects the woke agenda much more intensely than the president and, in addition, opposes electric cars - the main threat of the 'Big Three' - and has promised that, if he wins the election, he will impose 10% tariffs on the import of foreign cars into the US.

The UAW has not called for a vote for any of the candidates in the 2024 election.

  • Joe Biden
  • United States