Biden’s Presidential Address Was Actually a Campaign Speech
Standing in what looked like some sort of medieval crypt, President Joe Biden last night gave a televised speech on the “battle for the soul of the nation.” On one level, it was quite ho-hum—so unrooted in anything of the moment, so lackluster in its delivery, so full of pablum and platitudes that it’s easy to wonder what the point of it all was.
But of course, on another level, the point was very clear. Biden’s soul of the nation speech was meant to rally people to vote for Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections, through a combination of pointing out the things Democrats have (allegedly) done right and, more emphatically, things former President Donald Trump and “MAGA Republicans” have done wrong.
In the speech, Biden repeatedly distinguished mainstream Republicans, who he implied believe in all the good American principles that Democrats do, from MAGA Republicans. MAGA Republicans are the kind of conservatives who “do not respect the Constitution,” “do not believe in the rule of law,” “do not recognize the will of the people,” and “represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic,” said Biden. They “refuse to accept the results of a free election,” “promote authoritarian leaders,” and “fan the flames of political violence.” They’re “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.”
Maybe the distinction was meant as cover against accusations that this was a totally partisan speech. Maybe it was an attempt to welcome “mainstream Republicans” or Republican-leaning independents over to Democrats’ side. But Biden’s premise here is tragically flawed, because “mainstream” Republicans today are MAGA Republicans. Maybe not quite the caricature of MAGA Republicans that Biden laid out. But Trump fans (with all that entails) are not some fringe. They’re at the center of today’s Republican Party and account for many of its candidates.
Biden is harking back to an era of “mainstream” Republicanism that no longer exists.
Holding up MAGA Republicans as particularly dangerous is also interesting given all the money Democrats have poured into MAGA Republican primary candidates. Their reasoning here is that it will be easier for Democrats to win in the general election against extremist, conspiracy-promoting GOP candidates than against nice, normie Republicans [OK?].
Even if these “MAGA Republicans” do not win in 2022 midterms, Democrats spending to boost the candidates’ profiles gives them a bigger platform on the national stage — a platform that can be used to spread disproven theories about the 2020 election being stolen from Donald Trump. https://t.co/6RZexFnygK
— Anna Massoglia (@annalecta) September 2, 2022
Will it pay off as a political strategy? Maybe. But that doesn’t detract from the moral bankruptcy of it—and also undercuts Democra
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