Joe Biden to sharpen attacks on ‘extreme’ Republicans ahead of midterm elections

Joe Biden to sharpen attacks on ‘extreme’ Republicans ahead of midterm elections


Joe Biden is set to double down on his attempts to portray the Republican party as extremist, hypocritical and captive to Donald Trump’s influence ahead of November’s midterm elections, placing the rule of law and the integrity of America’s democracy at the heart of his pitch to voters.

In a primetime address on Thursday night from Philadelphia, the president is expected to highlight a series of threats to the country’s democracy pushed by Republicans sympathetic to Trump.

These include the denial of the 2020 election results, the downplaying of the January 6 assault on the US Capitol, and the recent attacks on law enforcement entities such as the FBI, following its search of the former president’s Florida estate as part of a probe into his handling of classified documents.

“For a long time, we’ve reassured ourselves that American democracy is guaranteed. But it is not. We have to defend it. Protect it. Stand up for it. Each and every one of us,” Biden will say, according to excerpts provided by the White House.

He will also refer directly to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” movement and its supporters in conservative America as a danger to the country. “MAGA forces are determined to take this country backwards. Backwards to an America where there is no right to choose, no right to privacy, no right to contraception, no right to marry who you love,” he is expected to say.

The theme of the speech highlights the extent to which Democrats are pinning their hopes of retaining control of the House and Senate in the midterm elections on drawing sharp and increasingly punchy contrasts with Trump and his Republican allies — a formula that worked for Biden in the 2020 presidential race.

In May, Biden referred to the Republican party as the “most extreme political organisation” in recent US history.

Democrats have been trailing Republicans politically for most of the year due to voter dissatisfaction at high inflation, soaring petrol prices and Biden’s own low approval ratings.

But they have recently regained some of their footing due to the Supreme Court’s rolling back of abortion rights, which has energised the Democratic base. Meanwhile, a series of legislative accomplishments, including passage of Biden’s flagship climate, tax and healthcare bill and the fallout from the Trump investigation, have also added to Democrats’ momentum.

“Vote for me and prosperity, or Trump and fascism, is the starkest way of putting it — that’s the angle Biden is working on,” said Mark Rom, a political-science professor at Georgetown University. “It’s not just Trump’s maintenance of top secret documents, but it’s one thing after another with Trump, it’s this whole litany of things.”

Biden offered a preview of his message on Tuesday during another appearance in Pennsylvania, which is a vital swing state featuring crucial Senate and governor races in November. He argued Republicans could no longer cast themselves as the party of law and order if they remained in thrall to Trump and tolerated political violence.

“You’re either on the side of a mob or the side of the police. You can’t be pro-law enforcement and pro-insurrection,” Biden said. He also took a thinly veiled swipe at Lindsey Graham, the Republican senator from South Carolina, for predicting that there would be “riots on the streets” if Trump were prosecuted.

“A safer America requires all of us to uphold the rule of law, not the rule of any one party or any one person. Let’s be clear: you hear some of my friends in the other team talking about political violence and how it’s necessary,” Biden said, adding: “It’s never appropriate. Never. Period.”

A Quinnipiac University poll released on Wednesday showed that 67 per cent of Americans think the nation’s democracy is in “danger of collapse” — a 9 per cent jump compared with early in the year — suggesting it is an issue that is resonating with many voters.

“It is sort of a rare, bipartisan issue that Biden’s going to try to kind of leverage to see if he can use that against the Republicans,” said Miles Coleman, of the University of Virginia’s centre for politics. “Really putting the focus on democracy is maybe one way that the Democrats are trying to convince voters to stick with the devil that they know.”

One risk for Biden in focusing on threats to democracy heading into the midterms is that it could appear to distract from bread-and-butter issues such as high prices, which Republicans are focusing on relentlessly in their campaign ads.

But Democrats believe that drawing sharper contrasts with Republicans has already had a positive impact on their prospects in the midterms. According to the Realclearpolitics.com average, the Republican lead in the generic congressional ballot, which was 2.5 percentage points six weeks ago, has been virtually erased to a very slim 0.2 percentage point edge.

Quoted from Various Sources

Published for: Ipodifier