Biden slams ‘MAGA Republicans’, compares philosophy to ‘semi-fascism’

President Biden on Thursday called on Democrats ‘to vote to literally save democracy again’ – and likened Republican ideology to ‘semi-fascism’ – as he led a launch rally and fundraiser in the Maryland 75 days from the midterm elections.

Addressing an overflowing crowd of thousands at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, Mr Biden said: “Your right to choose is on the ballot this year. The social security you’ve paid for since the time you have had a job is on the ballot. Your children’s safety from gun violence is on the ballot, and that’s not hyperbole – the very survival of our planet is on the ballot. “

“You have to choose,” Mr. Biden added. “Will we be a country moving forward or a country going backwards?

The events, in the safe, Democratic suburb of Washington, were intended to ease Mr Biden into what White House aides say will be an aggressive season of defending his political victories and helping his party’s candidates. It aims to turn months of accomplishments into political energy as Democrats saw their hopes rebound amid decisive momentum for action from Mr. Biden and Congress.

From bipartisan action on gun control, infrastructure and domestic tech manufacturing to Democrat-only efforts to fight climate change and health care costs, Mr. Biden pointed to the achievements of the party’s unified but very thin control over Washington. And he tried to sharpen the contrast with Republicans, who once seemed poised for big wins in November.

Just a few months ago, as inflation soared, Mr Biden’s poll numbers deteriorated and his platform stalled, Democrats braced for steep losses. But the intense voter reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision Roe v. Wade overthrow and a productive summer on issues at the heart of Democrats’ concerns gives the party the feeling that it is finally on the offensive ahead of the Nov. 8 vote, even if the president remains unpopular.

APTOPIX Biden Midterms
President Biden during a rally for the Democratic National Committee at Richard Montgomery High School on August 25, 2022 in Rockville, Maryland.

Alex Brandon/AP


Before the rally, Mr. Biden raised about $1 million at an event with about 100 donors for the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Grassroots Victory Fund in the backyard of a lavish Bethesda home.

After his speech at the rally, Mr Biden lingered with the largely maskless crowd for nearly 30 minutes, diving back into the style of campaigning that had been disrupted for Democrats for more than two years by the COVID-19 pandemic. The president, who was identified as a close contact of first lady Jill M. Biden on Wednesday when she was diagnosed with a “rebound” case of the virus, did not appear to be wearing a face covering as he posed for selfies and hugged supporters.

Mr Biden’s Thursday events come a day after the president moved to fulfill a long-delayed campaign pledge to cancel federal student loans for low- and middle-income borrowers — a move Democrats say will animate younger and black and Latino voters.

Republicans, however, saw their own political advantage in the decision, presenting it as an unfair giveaway to would-be Democratic voters.

“President Biden’s inflation is crushing working families, and his response is to give even more government money to the elites with higher salaries,” said Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell. “The Democrats are literally using American working people’s money to try to buy some enthusiasm from their political base.”

On Thursday, Mr Biden broadened his efforts to portray Republicans as the “ultra-MAGA” party – a reference to former President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan – opposing his agenda and embracing conservative ideological proposals as well as Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election.

“What we’re seeing now is either the beginning or the end of an extreme MAGA philosophy,” Biden told donors at the fundraiser. “It’s not just Trump, it’s the whole philosophy behind the — I’m going to say something, it’s like semi-fascism.”

“I respect conservative Republicans,” Mr. Biden said later. “I don’t respect those MAGA Republicans.”

US President Biden attends a DNC rally in Rockville, Maryland
President Biden at a Democratic National Committee rally at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, Maryland on August 25, 2022.

JONATHAN ERNST / REUTERS


The Republican National Committee called Mr Biden’s comments “despicable”.

“Mr. Biden has forced Americans out of their jobs, funneled money from working families to Harvard lawyers, and plunged our country into a recession when families can’t afford gas. and groceries,” spokesman Nathan Brand said. “Democrats don’t care about Americans suffering – they never have.”

The president presented a vision for the next two years if his party can retain control of Congress, points out Musadiq Bidar of CBS News.

“We will codify Roe v. Wade, we will ban assault weapons, we will protect Social Security and Medicare, we will pass Universal Pre-K, we will restore the Child Care Tax Credit, we will protect voting rights, we’ll embrace electoral reform and ensure that no one, no one again has the opportunity to steal an election,” Biden said, adding that his “radically different view” is best for America.

The president said he was “committed to banning assault weapons” in that country and urged voters to ask each candidate whether they would support such a ban, Bidar noted. “If you’re not, we’re not going to vote for you. Period,” Biden said.

Since the June Supreme Court ruling stripping constitutional abortion protections for women, Democrats have seen an increase in giving, polling and performing in special elections for open seats in Congress. The latest came on Tuesday in a swinging Hudson Valley district that, in a Republican wave year, should have been an easy GOP victory. Instead, Democrat Pat Ryan, who campaigned on an abortion rights platform, defeated Republican Marc Molinaro.

“MAGA Republicans have no idea the power of women,” Biden said, noting the resonance of the abortion issue with female voters as some GOP members push for a nationwide ban on the procedure. “Let me tell you something: they are about to find out.

The change gives Democrats a new sense that a Republican House sweep is no longer such a safe bet, especially since battle-tested incumbents who outvote Mr. Biden work in their districts.

Meanwhile, Democrats have taken advantage of Republican candidates who won the primaries but struggled in the overall campaign.

Trump-backed Senate candidates have complicated the GOP’s chances in battleground states like Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona, while several Trump-aligned candidates in House races weren’t always the party’s first choice.

Trump’s grip on the GOP remains strong and may have even tightened in the wake of the FBI search of his home in Mar-a-Lago.

JB Poersch, chairman of the Senate Majority Project, an outside group that works to elect Democrats to the Senate, said Republican candidates “are once again caught in the Trump tornado – that’s exactly what that voters of both parties do not”. want to.”

Mr. Biden’s political event, sponsored by the Democratic National Committee, comes as the president and members of his cabinet are set to embark on what the White House has billed as the “Building a Better America Tour.” to promote “benefits of the President’s Tour”. achievements and the Cut Inflation Act to the American people and highlight the contrast to the view of Congressional Republicans.”

Meanwhile, the White House has benefited from a steady decline in gasoline prices which, while still high, have fallen daily since mid-June.

“Our critics say inflation,” Biden said, dismissing GOP attacks that his policies had driven inflation to its highest level in 40 years. “You mean the global inflation caused by the global pandemic and Putin’s policy war in ukraine?”

In Maryland, Mr. Biden was joined by gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore and a host of other officials on the ballot. Moore, introducing Mr Biden, said his Trump-backed rival “Dan Cox is not an adversary. He is a threat.”

Months ago, Democratic lawmakers facing tough re-election fights sought to make themselves scarce when Mr Biden arrived in town, although White House aides said Mr Biden could still be an asset elevating issues that resonate with voters and sharpening the distinction with Republicans.

Now allies see fortunes beginning to change and the president as a direct asset to the campaigns.

“Technically, Joe Biden is not the ballot,” said House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland. “But Joe Biden is on the ballot, and Joe Biden needs your support.”

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