US midterms: Biden plays ‘semi-fascist’ role in GOP


With the goal of turning months of legislative achievement into political energy, President Joe Biden sought Thursday to highlight the choice voters face in the midterm elections, comparing Republican ideology with “semi-fascism,” as he led a launch rally and a fundraiser in Maryland.

The events, in safe Democratic suburbs, are meant to make it easier for Biden to understand what White House aides say will be a positive season in favor of policy victories. and support his party’s candidates. It comes as Democrats have seen their political hopes rebound in recent months amid a series of legacy actions by Biden and Congress.

From bipartisan action on gun control, infrastructure and domestic tech manufacturing to Democrats’ efforts to tackle climate change and health care costs, Biden is expected to highlight the achievements of the party’s unified but razor-thin control of Washington. And he will try to draw a sharp contrast to the Republican Party, who once looked poised for sizable wins in November.

Just a few months ago, when inflation spiked, Biden’s poll numbers tumbled and his agenda stalled, Democrats had to brace for significant losses. But the voter backlash to the Supreme Court’s overturning of the Roe v. Wade case and a fruitful summer of issues of core Democratic concern made the party feel as though it was finally fighting back. attack on the November 8 vote, even if the president remains unpopular.

Democrats, said John Anzalone, Biden’s pollster, are “in a better position to compete because Joe Biden has put us there.”

“It doesn’t mean the wind is behind us,” he added. “But we have more of a passing breeze than a feeling of a hurricane hitting us in the face.”

Prior to the overwhelming crowd rally at Montgomery High School in Rockville, Biden raised about $1 million at an event with about 100 donors for the Democratic National Committee and the Foundation for Victory. Democratic Party headquarters in the backyard of a lavish home in Bethesda.

“I think the American people are waking up to the fact that things have changed so dramatically,” he told donors, adding, “Mark your words. me” that if Democrats lose midterm, Republicans will move to “eliminate the choice, over the Board.”

Biden’s Thursday event comes a day after the president moved to fulfill his long-delayed campaign pledge to forgive federal student loans for low- and middle-income borrowers. peace — a move Democrats believe will excite younger and black and Latino voters.

Republicans, though, saw their own political advantage in the move, seeing it as an unfair gift to Democratic voters.

“President Biden’s inflation is crushing working families, and his answer is to give more government money to elites with higher wages,” said Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell. know. “The Democrats are actually using the money of working Americans to try to buy themselves some enthusiasm from their political base.”

Biden aides have said he will continue to regard Republicans as the “MAGA extremist” party – a reference to former President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan – opposing the program. his agenda and acceptance of conservative ideological proposals, and Trump’s false statements about the 2020 election.

“What we’re seeing now is the beginning or death knell of an extreme MAGA philosophy,” Biden said. “It’s not just Trump, that’s the whole philosophy underpinning – I’ll say something, it’s like semi-fascism.”

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

“Biden has forced Americans out of work, diverted money from working families to Harvard lawyers, and pushed our country into a recession while families don’t,” said spokesman Nathan Brand. enough money to buy gas and groceries. “Democrats don’t care about suffering Americans – they never did.”

Since the Supreme Court ruling in June, Democrats have seen increases in donations, voting and performance in special elections for open congressional seats. The most recent came on Tuesday in an area around the Hudson Valley that, in a wave of Republicans, should have been an easy GOP victory. Instead, Democratic chief executive Pat Ryan, who has campaigned on the pro-abortion platform, defeated his Republican counterpart from Duchess County, Marc Molinaro.

The change is giving Democrats a new sense that a Republican sweep of the House of Representatives is no longer such a sure bet, especially as the polling better than Biden and incumbents have tested working in their regions

Meanwhile, Democrats benefited from Republican candidates winning the primaries but struggling in the general election campaign. Trump-backed Senate candidates have complicated the GOP’s chances in battleground states like Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona, while some candidates have sided with Trump in the House races at the wrong time. which is the party’s first choice.

Trump’s grip on the GOP remains strong and has perhaps become even tighter after the FBI raided his Mar-a-Lago home.

JB Poersch, chair of the Senate Majority Project, an outside group working to elect Democrats to the Senate, said Republican candidates are “caught up in a one-off Trump tornado. more – that’s exactly what voters of both parties don’t want. “

Biden’s political event, sponsored by the Democratic National Committee, comes as the president and members of his Cabinet prepare to embark on what the White House has billed as “Building a Trip” tour a better America” ​​to promote “the benefits of the President’s achievements and the Inflation Reduction Act to the American people and to highlight contrasts with the Republican vision in Congress. “

It comes as the White House has benefited from a steady drop in gasoline prices that, while still high, have fallen on a daily basis since mid-June.

Months ago, Democratic lawmakers facing stiff re-election battles sought to make themselves scarce when Biden arrived in town, although White House aides said Biden remained a talent. power over them by raising issues that resonate with voters and highlighting differences with Republicans.

Now, allies see fortunes beginning to shift and the president is a more direct asset to campaigns.

In Maryland, Biden is set to join gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore and a host of other officials in the vote. Senator Chris Van Hollen, who is set to run for re-election, missed it, according to a spokesman, because the wedding anniversary trip was long-planned with his wife, but he filmed a Video welcoming Biden to his state will play at the rally. .

“Technically, Joe Biden isn’t a voter, but Joe Biden is on the ballot,” House of Representatives Steny Hoyer said at the rally. “And Joe Biden needs your support”

Cedric Richmond, a former Louisiana congressman and senior Biden adviser who now advises the Democratic National Committee, said if he were the candidate, he would rush to have Biden on his side. edge.

“I’m going to stand in front of the truck and be the main drummer and talk about all the accomplishments that have been achieved under Biden’s leadership,” Richmond said on Wednesday. “You have a president who keeps his head down and gets the job done and I think the voters, as we begin this campaign season, will see and appreciate that.”

He acknowledged some Democrats may choose against “bringing Washington to their district.”

“There are a couple of circumstances where it might make sense when you don’t even want to be associated with Washington,” says Richmond. “That has nothing to do with the president. It has to do with everything to do with typical Washington dysfunction.”

He added, “The point of stress is that you don’t have that dysfunction right now because of President Biden.”


AP Congressional correspondent Lisa Mascaro and AP writer Nicholas Riccardi contributed to this report.

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