Joe Biden’s September 1 address to supporters in Philadelphia was quite remarkable, though not in a positive way. The sinister backdrop with blood-red lighting raised a lot of eyebrows, as did the fact that he delivered a political tirade on federal ground with US Marines standing guard behind him. It all resembled a scene from some dystopian movie, but did it help or hurt Mr. Biden’s political fortunes or those of his party? Will it serve to unite or further divide the nation? The answer to that second question seems obvious – and if he had any intention of reaching out to Republican voters, how deep a hole has the commander-in-chief dug for himself by describing MAGA Republicans as a threat to democracy?
The backtracking has already begun but how sincere are Biden’s attempts to mitigate the damage done by his “basket of deplorables” moment? Could it be that Democrats now believe they are capable of winning elections without the need to reach beyond their base for votes? Perhaps the new strategy is not to persuade Republican voters to vote Democrat but to shame them into not voting at all.
It was truly surreal to watch the supposed leader of the free world disparage and denigrate half the nation he leads, while at the same time attempting to claim that his scorn was directed only at a small minority of Americans who he describes as MAGA Republicans. Either Mr. Biden was being entirely duplicitous, or he is not aware of the level of support still enjoyed by his hated predecessor, Donald Trump.
MAGA Republicans a Minority?
“Now, I want to be very clear – very clear up front,” Biden told his audience, “Not every Republican, not even the majority of Republicans, are MAGA Republicans. Not every Republican embraces their extreme ideology.” Obviously, there was going to be no explanation of what Mr. Biden considers “extreme” ideology, and one can only assume he means any worldview that departs from the ideology of Democrats, whatever that may be. Beyond that, however, it seems the chief executive is not aware of the fact that survey after survey reveals that most Republicans still support Mr. Trump and still favor him above all others as the GOP’s 2024 presidential candidate. So, most Republicans are indeed MAGA Republicans. Even those who might perhaps favor going forward under the leadership of, say, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis still support the Make America Great Again populist conservatism with which Trump infused the party in 2016.
Perhaps Biden really does understand this, though, and so his observation, flawed as it was, served to tell America’s conservatives, I don’t like any of you but I’m going to pretend I dislike only a fringe minority of you. Liberty Nation’s Tim Donner made an astute observation; during the recording of the latest edition of The Uprising Podcast, he asked the question, “If [MAGA Republicans] were such a small minority, why were they a danger?”
Over the past year and a half, Biden has proven himself more capable than any other Democrat of looking the American people in the eye and, with a straight face, pinning on conservatives all the characteristics that modern Democrats constantly display. “MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution,” he claimed, stunningly. “They do not believe in the rule of law. They do not recognize the will of the people.” While Democrats have, over the past six years, railed against the Constitution and, in particular, certain constitutional rights; while they have actively campaigned to defund or even abolish police departments, refused to keep violent offenders incarcerated, and all but nullified federal immigration law, MAGA Republicans have said and done nothing that supports Biden’s allegations. In fact, it is the steadfast loyalty to constitutional principles that has led to the branding of conservatives as extremists by the left.
Switching the Parties to Make a Point
“[MAGA Republicans] promote authoritarian leaders, and they fan the flames of political violence that are a threat to our personal rights, to the pursuit of justice, to the rule of law, to the very soul of this country,” Biden continued. Democrats are very much in favor of forcing others to accept their views on a variety of issues. When Republican governors push back against that behavior by signing laws that make it more difficult to achieve, Democrats consider that “authoritarian.” Mr. Biden also accused his critics of refusing to accept the outcomes of elections, which inspires one to recall 2016. After Trump won the election, Democrats claimed – and many still do – that the victory was illegitimate; that it was stolen from Hillary Clinton through a conspiracy between Trump and the Russian government. That conspiracy theory was investigated by the FBI, a special counsel, and congressional Democrats. Nothing was proven because the conspiracy never existed.
Left-wing political violence began when Trump was inaugurated. While Democrats on Capitol Hill attempted to halt the certification of Electoral College votes from several states, left-wing extremists rampaged through Washington, DC, rioting and burning. A movement began that was called “The Resistance,” a label that implies disregard for both the rule of law and the result of the election – the will of the people. The violence and destruction visited upon several American cities in 2020 was also political, though it was disguised as a demand for racial justice.
Democrats have also called for fundamental changes to the Supreme Court, which demonstrates blatant animosity toward the institutions of government, the Constitution, and the rule of law. Mr. Biden was very accurately describing his own party and many of its supporters – he just substituted Democrats for MAGA Republicans.
Answering reporters’ questions on Sept. 2, Biden tried to walk back his divisive rhetoric. “I don’t consider any Trump supporters a threat to the country,” he said. “I do think anyone who calls for the use of violence, refuses to acknowledge an election – changing the way you count votes, that is a threat to democracy.” Ironic, since Democrat legislatures and judges in multiple states literally changed the way votes are counted in the months and weeks before the 2020 election. But that is almost beside the point. Biden’s attempt to clarify his incendiary remarks of the day before was weak. Just as Hillary Clinton did during an infamous campaign speech in 2016, Biden dismissed approximately half of the American population as violent extremists, intent on destroying the country. To interpret his remarks any other way is to give him a benefit of the doubt he has not earned. This is not a leader who has any desire to unify the nation, and his speech likely did nothing to help his party’s chances either in 2022 or 2024.