Americans Reject Biden’s Divisive Rhetoric
President Biden is discovering the hard way that standing at a podium bathed in blood-red light, flanked by marines, and denouncing your political opponents as threats to the country is not as popular a move as he hoped. Poll after poll finds Americans repulsed by the September 1 fear-fest in Philadelphia, which drew comparisons to V for Vendetta and Star Wars for its over-the-top authoritarian tone. The president tried to convince the country that his critics are dangerous, but he seems to have convinced many, instead, that the real peril lives in the White House.
“It represents a dangerous escalation in rhetoric and is designed to incite conflict among Americans” was the choice of 56.8 percent of respondents asked by the Trafalgar Group to characterize Biden’s speech. Another 35.5 percent called it “acceptable campaign messaging” and 7.7 percent weren’t sure.
Sixty percent of respondents told the Harvard CAPS/Harris poll that the speech “divides [the country] and holds it back” while 54 percent added that it “was an example of fear mongering.”
“62 percent of Americans believed Biden’s comments about Trump and his MAGA followers ‘increases division in the country,'” chimes in the I&I/TIPP poll. “Perhaps surprisingly, Democrats—at 73 percent—were more likely to say that Biden’s MAGA comments increased division than either Republicans (50 percent) or independents (57 percent).”
That really is a bit of a surprise, though it might be that those who weren’t already on Team Blue started with such low expectations that the president’s exercise in frothing at the mouth didn’t offer much more room for disappointment. After all, the Philadelphia speech came after Biden had already accused his political enemies of flirting with “semi-fascism.”
It’s true that President Biden’s approval rating bounced back in recent weeks. The FiveThirtyEight average has him at merely 11 points underwater rather than the laughable 20 points he hit back in July. But the reaction to his “threats” speech suggests he’s either poised to send his popularity back off a cliff, or that he’s just firmed up his standing among the true believers while horrifying everybody else. Both Trafalgar and Harvard CAPS/Harris found a majority of Democrats favoring the speech in contrast to I&I/TIPP, so make of that what you will. Everybody found the event unpopular with the general public.
That said, Joe Biden isn’t the entire Democratic Party. His foot-stomping doesn’t necessarily mean bad news for co-partisans as they prepare for the midterm elections. But he’s certainly not do
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