If Joe Biden’s visit to Bristol Township last week was any indication, people are paying attention to how the presidential race plays out in Bucks County, even those ineligible to vote.
Hundreds of Hillary Clinton supporters, including some younger than 18, came out to Bucks County Community College’s Lower Bucks Campus to see what the vice president had to say about the Democratic nominee.
“I don’t want history to repeat itself. I want a better future for us,” Priscilla Morris, a 15-year-old sophomore at Bensalem High School, said after the event.
Morris talked about how most of her peers seem disengaged from politics, something she sees as important for the nation’s future. As a Clinton supporter, she spends time volunteering at the Democratic campaign office in Bristol Borough, even though she won’t be able to vote for three more years.
“It’s scary,” she said. “I think it’s a product of being young, and some things just get passed down by previous generations.”
Her own interests might come from her family — her mom, Betty Bond Morris, was there in support of Clinton, too. She was behind Biden’s message that America is already great, and spoke to her concerns about Republican nominee Donald Trump’s views.
“Especially with foreign policy, I think we’re going to be in big fat trouble. We need to handle global warming, which he thinks is a joke. The things he said about NATO make me afraid for the world,” Bond Morris said. “I think the vice president was right on target.”
She, like her daughter, volunteers to “stay involved with the process,” and thinks that younger students need to be more engaged.
“I feel terrible about Trump. I see those signs and I wonder what these people are seeing, what their mindsets are,” she said. “How can they not see that a vote for this man would throw us back so many years? Especially for us people of color.”
Biden painted America as an economic power, and said that North America should be the “epicenter of energy” through exporting technology for green energy.
“We have the capacity to do that,” he said. “That creates millions of jobs here.”
He spoke in support of Clinton’s plan to have community colleges offer two years of school tuition-free, funded by closing tax loopholes for the wealthy.
Biden also stumped for Democrats running in Pennsylvania, like U.S. Senate candidate Katie McGinty, 8th Congressional District candidate Steve Santarsiero and Pennsylvania attorney general candidate Josh Shapiro.
Santarsiero and Shapiro spoke before Biden, as did Bucks Democratic Party Chairman John Cordisco, state Rep. Tina Davis and Bucks Commissioner Diane Ellis-Marseglia.
Other students were there to take in the message. Dozens of Bucks County Community College students were in attendance, as well as some who might go there one day.
Mattias van ‘t Hoenderdaal, high school principal at Bensalem’s School Lane Charter, brought along 15 students who hold office or are interested in running for student government at the school to give them a view into real-world politics.
“I’m hoping they see that these are real people, not just people we see on TV,” he said. “I feel like they’d learn so much more here than at a full day of classes.”
Jabbar Shah, a 13-year-old student who is running for treasurer at the school, called Biden’s speech “influential and interesting,” but said he doesn’t pay much attention to the national conversation about the upcoming election.
“I don’t really watch the news that much,” he said.
What he saw live was the Democrats’ best effort to take Pennsylvania, locally and in the presidential race.
“My home state, a place I love, is a place that will play a gigantic role in determining the next president. That puts an extra burden on us,” Biden said. “Don’t wake up on November 9 and find out we lost Pennsylvania by 2,000 votes.”