Even before President Joe Biden gave his divisive speech on Thursday night, accusing half of the country of undermining democracy, both he and his administration had already spent years mischaracterizing opponents and sowing division. The behavior exhibited by people within the Biden administration, from the president himself to press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, could easily be compared to the “reversal” tricks played by sufferers of cluster B personality disorders.
Knowing full well that the Democratic Party actively endorsed the violence committed by Antifa and Black Lives Matter extremists in 2020, the Biden administration now wants you to believe that the Republican Party supports violence, that Republican voters are likely to commit more violence, and that the only way to save democracy is to vote for Democrats in the mid-terms.
“You hear some of my friends on the other team talking about political violence and how it’s necessary,” Biden said at a rally on August 30. The assertion is not only wildly incorrect, and of course, the president provided no evidence to support the claim, but the damage done by Democrat voters in the 2020 riots has been either ignored or endorsed by high-profile Democrats ever since.
It’s easy to point out Democrats’ “hypocrisy.” Republicans do it all the time. But this isn’t just hypocrisy; it’s the very definition of gaslighting, and it’s a deliberate effort to achieve two things. First of all, the Biden administration is laying the groundwork for radical action from the ruling Democrats. The Biden administration is creating a narrative, smearing its opponents, and building on the events of January 6, 2021, to paint a picture of Republican violence.
It’s a tactic used by authoritarians throughout history, and a quote often attributed to chief Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels embodies what Joe Biden and the Democrats are doing.
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it,” the famous quote goes.
Whether or not Goebbels actually said this is really beside the point. The fact is, it’s true. We’ve seen over the last several years that when politicians with enough power repeat lies, people believe them. It could be Joe Biden claiming democracy is under threat, or it could be Hillary Clinton claiming the Russians stole an election. The tactic works, and the Democrats know it.
That’s why White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre felt confident enough to label five elected Republican legislators “extreme” and to claim that those who disagree with the “majority of Americans” as having an “extreme way of thinking.”
When a majority can mean 51%, claiming the 49% is “extreme” is an extreme way of thinking.
She also claimed that Democrats wanted to reopen schools during COVID, and Trump insisted they remain closed. Another verifiable lie.
Just as the Democrats turned a couple of hours of rowdy protestors trespassing in the Capitol Building into a terror attack on the scale of 9/11, the Biden administration aims to convince millions of Americans that the country is under attack from democratically elected legislators and a Republican Party hell-bent on…securing the border and stopping the medical mutilation of children.
Beyond laying the groundwork for radical new action, the Biden administration is also proactively pushing the buttons of its critics in the hope of some kind of violent response. Standing behind a lectern, backed by sinister red lighting and pounding his fists as he spoke, Biden used his immense power and influence to make baseless claims about some of the least powerful people in the country – and he was rewarded with all the praise in the world from the nation’s media for doing it.
If the Biden administration wants to heighten political tensions and partisanship, this is absolutely the way to achieve it. In my most recent book, Monster Of Their Own Making, I outline my experience as a young man in a working-class English town, where I was groomed by far-right extremists and attracted to the politics of white nationalism. I describe how I found myself among Britain’s most notorious far-right extremists, how young men from my home county became terrorists, and how politicians can play a part in creating extremists.
I described a three-pronged attack that pushes young white men to the far right – the real far right – which starts with politicians ignoring political issues that impact white working-class communities the most. That process of radicalization is then compounded by a media class willing to smear the targets of the bullies in Congress or Parliament, and completed by the extreme activism of far-left radicals who will throw bricks through your window or get you fired if you dare to disagree with them.
In Britain, progress is being made to tackle this process of radicalization. New right-leaning TV news stations GB News and Talk TV, which are comparable to America’s Fox News, are giving a voice to those who previously had no real representation in the media. In the United States, Fox News has long given Republicans and conservatives that voice, and alternative right-wing news stations continue and expand on that tradition. The media element of the three-pronged attack, therefore, is slightly less relevant in the United States.
But President Joe Biden seems to be doing all that he can to amplify the first prong – the purposeful neglect of the working class by politicians – and to embody both the second and third prongs, too. The president of the United States is not only ignoring major political issues that hurt the working class, namely immigration and the crisis on the southern border but is also clamping down on free expression online and joining both the mainstream media and extremist Antifa activists in smearing half of the American public as violent fascists.
With rising inflation and plummeting approval ratings, the Biden White House needs an enemy to scare voters into backing his party in November. Absent a real threat from the far right, the White House is now seeking to invent one – starting first with big lies and then hoping those lies become reality.
President Biden’s Thursday night speech was the culmination of years spent demonizing Republicans instead of debating.
Make no mistake – the president of the United States is begging for more violence.
Joe Biden may not seem particularly sharp, but he and his team know that when people are pushed into a corner, bullied, and subjugated, some of those people are eventually going to snap.
The White House wants violent unrest. Republicans are angry, and he wants that too. Joe Biden, after spending years legitimizing Antifa violence, knows that his gaslighting could just generate enough anger for a handful of angry people to do something terrible.
We can only hope and pray that doesn’t happen, but if it does, you can bet that his party will use it as justification for more authoritarian action. Whether it’s the indictment of former President Donald Trump (for what?), new censorship laws, the removal of the filibuster, or electoral system reforms designed to usher in an era of permanent Democrat rule, violent response from even a single Republican voter will be the justification for even more extreme action from this president.
Republicans must now do everything within their power to prevent this three-pronged attack from the politicians, the media, and the radical left from radicalizing vulnerable young, white men.
Take it from a former radical; this is bad.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.