Joe Biden criticized extremist factions within the Republican Party, as the US president addressed Democratic supporters at his first rally ahead of the crucial upcoming midterm elections.
Speaking to party supporters in Maryland on Thursday, Biden spoke of the need to save the country from the “semi-fascism” of Donald Trump’s Republicans and prevent these “radical” Republicans from taking control of Congress in the vote November 8.
“It’s not too far now, you have to vote to literally save democracy again,” Biden told a packed crowd of several thousand at the Democratic National Committee event at Richard Montgomery High School.
“You have to choose,” Biden added. “Will we be a progressing country or a declining country?”
“We have chosen a different path forward: a future of unity, hope and optimism,” said Biden, who described Republicans under former President Trump as a party of “anger, violence, hatred and division”.
“In this case there will be a choice between these two visions. We must take our case to the American people and be very clear about it.
Earlier, in remarks before the speech, Biden compared Trump’s Make America Great Again or MAGA brand to “extremists”.
“It’s not just Trump, it’s the whole philosophy — I’ll say something, it’s like a quasi-fascist,” Biden said.
Then he added, “You have to vote to literally save democracy again.”
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 sent our country into recession while families can’t afford gas and groceries,” said company spokesman Nathan Brand. “Democrats don’t care about Americans’ suffering – they never did”.
Democrats on a roll
Just weeks ago, the Democrats were in gridlock.
With Biden’s approval ratings below 40 percent and the party seemingly unable to close the deal on a series of campaign promises, there were widespread expectations that Republicans would easily control at least one house of Congress.
However, the dramatic month of August sowed the seeds for what some Democrats hope will be a political miracle as their party holds the Senate and at least underestimates the size of the Republican victory in the House.
The Maryland rally followed a series of legislative victories in Congress, along with anger among many Americans over a conservative-dominated Supreme Court decision to end automatic nationwide abortion rights.
Biden warned that Republicans would seek to outlaw abortion if they took control of Congress, but said the issue was fueling the “strong power” of female voters.
Only Wednesday did he make his final move, declaring that millions of voters would be eligible for between $10,000 and $20,000 to cancel their often crippling student debt — a longtime demand of Democratic supporters.
By contrast, Republicans were distracted by the drama surrounding Trump’s dispute with the Justice Department and the FBI over his alleged illegal transfer of top-class documents from the White House to his golf club residence in Florida.
Changing opinion polls
One reason Republicans expect to make significant gains in midterm elections is that opposition parties almost always penalize the president’s party in midterm elections.
Another is that Biden, after a difficult year marked by frequent new COVID variants and the highest inflation rate in 40 years, is unpopular. His average approval rating has remained below 40 percent since late June, leaving him as unpopular as Trump before him.
Add to this a redistricting of seats in the House that was widely believed to favor the Republicans – effectively guaranteeing them several additional seats – and GOP leaders expected a “red wave” to sweep away the “blue” Democrats to rush
Now there is giddy talk to the left of a blue wave retreating in the other direction.
The average of primary polls asking which party should control Congress has shifted from months in which Republicans led to a small 44-43.6 percent advantage for Democrats.
The Senate, which the Democrats currently hold by just one vote, has also considered turning to the GOP, but even the Republican leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, says that proposal now turns 50-50.
“I think the House is more likely to overturn than the Senate,” McConnell said.
Meanwhile, Biden’s polls, while still abysmal, are also creeping in.
A Gallup poll Thursday showed 44 percent approval, the best result in a year. By comparison, that’s actually a better August poll ahead of the midterm elections than Trump in 2018 or Barack Obama in 2014, Gallup says.