Trumpism Threatens Democracy, Says Biden

In a prime-time address, President Joe Biden claimed that the “extreme ideology” of Donald Trump and his supporters “threatens the very foundation of our republic,” and he called on all Americans to work together to combat what he portrayed as shadowy forces within the Republican Party out to undermine democracy.

On Thursday, at Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, former Vice President Joe Biden delivered an unusually strong and sweeping indictment of President Donald Trump and the dominant strain of the opposition party, which he claimed to have identified. Biden has called the upcoming midterm elections a “crossroads for the nation,” and his broadside came just two months before voters head to the polls.

Trumpism Threatens Democracy, Says Biden
Trumpism Threatens Democracy, Says Biden

At one point, he had to raise his voice above pro-Trump hecklers outside the building where the Constitution was argued in order to be heard by the hundreds of people in the audience. He said he wasn’t condemning the 74 million people who voted for Trump in 2020, but added, “There’s no question that the Republican Party today is dominated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans,” using the acronym for Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan.
President Trump recently made headlines when he reversed course and declared his desire to bring about national unity in his Inaugural address, but now Vice President Joe Biden is actively working to marginalize Trump and his supporters.

Even though he rarely mentioned “the former guy” during his first year in office, Biden has become more outspoken in his criticism of Trump since then. Now, emboldened by his party’s summertime legislative wins and wary of Trump’s return to the headlines, he has sharpened his attacks, last week likening the “MAGA philosophy” to “semi-fascism.”

Biden, stepping into uncharted political territory, struggled to strike a balance between his criticism and an appeal to more moderate Republicans to speak up. Meanwhile, Republican leaders were quick to accuse him of doing nothing but sowing discord.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy countered early on from Biden’s birthplace of Scranton, Pennsylvania, that it is the Democratic president, not Republicans, who are trying to divide Americans.

Biden’s sharp tone, according to White House officials, reflected his growing concern about the ideological proposals and relentless denial of the nation’s 2020 election results by Trump allies.

To show that he considers defeating the Trump agenda to be a policy goal as well as a political one, the president promoted Biden’s appearance as an official, taxpayer-funded event. The Marine Band played “Hail to the Chief” while two sentries stood at parade rest against a red and blue illuminated Independence Hall. Even so, the address was not broadcast live on any of the major networks.

Biden referenced the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017 and said it inspired him to come out of retirement and run against Trump. According to Biden, America will soon face a similar choice, and he plans to make protecting the “soul of the nation” “the work of my presidency — a mission I believe in with my whole soul.”

The White House has made efforts to keep President Biden out of the political and legal upheaval that has ensued since the Department of Justice discovered classified documents in Trump’s Florida mansion. Biden has nonetheless used the swift criticism of federal law enforcement by some Republicans to support his claim that “you can’t be pro-insurrectionist and pro-American.”

The significance of Pennsylvania in the upcoming midterm elections, with contested Senate and governor’s races, prompted him to make not one but three visits to the state within a week, including his stop in Philadelphia. Neither Democratic Senate nominee Lt. Governor John Fetterman nor Democratic gubernatorial nominee Attorney General Josh Shapiro were present on Thursday night.

The White House wanted to use the speech to rally support around some common talking points, such as the administration’s defense of its recent bipartisan legislative victories on guns and infrastructure as proof that democracies “can deliver” and Vice President Biden’s criticism of the Republican Party’s “out of step” policies on guns and abortion.

Since the chaos of the 2020 election and the attack on the Capitol, things have only gotten worse.

As a result of the lies spread during this presidential campaign, election officials at the state and local levels have been harassed and threatened with death, and mail voting has been restricted in states where the GOP holds a majority. Conspiracy theories claiming that voting machines could be manipulated to steal the election have led to calls for their ban and increased pressure on county election officials to do so.

State and local elections have been bolstered by the rise of candidates who dispute Trump’s loss and who promise to restore the system’s integrity after it has been eroded by false claims.

Neither widespread fraud nor attempted manipulation of voting machines has been substantiated. Dozens of lawsuits filed after the election were dismissed by judges, some of whom were appointed by Trump, and Trump’s own attorney general dismissed the claims as baseless. Two-thirds of Republicans, according to a poll conducted by the Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, do not believe that Joe Biden was lawfully elected president.