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Joe Biden’s MAGA Speech Will Come Back to Haunt Him

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the October jobs report, Friday, November 5, 2021, in the State Dining Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Cameron Smith)
President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the October jobs report, Friday, November 5, 2021, in the State Dining Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Cameron Smith) This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

President Joe Biden stood in front of Independence Hall Thursday night to declare, “I will not stand by and watch the most fundamental freedom in this country, the freedom to vote and have your vote counted, be taken from you and the American people.”

I half expected him to say he will not allow the elimination of sunshine, nor the banning of apple pie, the Super Bowl, and ice cream.

Just two days after joking about turning U.S. fighter jets on disagreeable Americans at a speech in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, Biden returned to the SAME STATE, this time in Philadelphia, to cast himself as the great defender of democracy.

“As I stand here tonight, equality and democracy are under assault. We do ourselves no favors to pretend otherwise,” Joe Biden said. He later added, “Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundation of our republic.”

Alarmist rhetoric about the other side being Nazis, fascists, or communists isn’t new from pundits or even members of Congress, but is somewhat unique coming from a president who referred to supporters of his vanquished opponent Donald Trump as “semi-fascists.”

Whatever one thinks of Trump and his supporters, there is no clear and present danger to democracy as the president suggested. No credible individual or group is calling for an end to elections.

Yes, 19 states passed election integrity laws in 2021 primarily to expand voter ID to absentee ballots; clean up voter rolls of deceased names and names of people who moved to another state, and to curb ballot harvesting—or the practice of political operatives collecting and distributing large sums of absentee ballots.

The state voting reforms that Democrats maligned most as “Jim Crow 2.0” voter suppression were in Georgia, Texas, Arizona and Florida. But voter turnout was significantly higher in the 2022 primaries in Georgia, Texas, and Arizona and nominally higher in Florida than in the comparable 2018 primaries. So these laws did a lousy job of suppressing the vote.

He, of course, referenced Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, a legitimately dark moment in history marking the first non-peaceful transition of power. This mix of (so far as we know) thugs with violent chants at no point posed a danger of overthrowing the federal government. Under even the worst-case scenario, as horrific as that could have been, there is zero chance these rioters would have prevented a duly-elected Biden from taking office.

Moreover, Joe Biden mingled abortion and other social issues that excite his base in the same light as election deniers—which didn’t really make sense other than to rally the base ahead of the midterm elections.

“MAGA forces are determined to take this country backwards, backwards to an America where there is no right to choose, no right to privacy, no right to contraception, no right to marry who you love,” Biden said.

This was a presidential, not a political speech mind you, though the president said, “vote, vote, vote. … Do your duty in 2022 and beyond.”

If democracy is what Biden cares about, he should embrace the Dobbs ruling, not pine for the days of the Roe v. Wade judicial fiat that took a polarizing issue away from the public. Justice Samuel Alito’s majority opinion says, the “authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.” And well, in Kansas, the people did speak, giving a boost for the pro-choice lobby.

The pro-life and pro-choice forces will be making their cases to voters for ballot measures in at least four other states this year and could have varying results. In other states, without a direct referendum, legislators will be accountable to their constituents. To oppose this is for Biden to say he backs democracy only when his side wins.

That said, the remarks were not entirely wrong. The president correctly said, “For a long time, we’ve reassured ourselves that American democracy is guaranteed. But it is not. We have to defend it. Protect it. Stand up for it. Each and every one of us.”

This is true. Like the message of the Sinclair Lewis novel, “It Can’t Happen Here,” Americans must not take democracy for granted. As President Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is a fragile thing and it’s never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by way of inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people.”

But bona fide threats come incrementally, often through censoring free speech, and other infringements on the Bill of Rights that go unanswered. It also comes through undermining separation of powers, and concentration of executive power—something Biden had no problem with when invoking his student loan policy without support of Congress. It won’t come through some overnight decision to end elections in America that Biden seems to be warning of.

Nor will democracy die because Trump happened to be a sore loser in 2020. Hillary Clinton was a sore loser in 2016. Add to that Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams, running for governor a second time this year, claimed without evidence that she was the rightful winner of the 2018 race. Collectively, these and others undermine confidence in democracy. This could lead to incremental chipping away.

But Joe Biden compounded this problem, asserting in January about the November midterms:

“I’m not going to say it’s going to be legit. The increase and the prospect of being illegitimate is in direct proportion to us not being able to get these reforms passed.”

The test will be in November, if Democrats lose, whether Biden embraces democracy or if he blames it on Senate Republicans for filibustering the federal election takeover legislation that passed the House of Representatives.

Finally, Biden made a positive point in front of the historic building, when he said, “We’ve never fully realized the aspirations of our founding, but every generation has opened those doors a little bit wider to include more people that had been excluded before.”

Far too many in Biden’s party attack the Founding Fathers and the founding itself of America as unjust because flawed men failed to meet an ever-changing standard of perfection demanded among those on the woke left. Rejecting the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution simply because of the profoundly flawed humans that wrote the documents also poses a threat to eroding democracy and freedom.

With his reference to the aspiration, our American president recognized the original sins of the country but that it was founded on ideas that Americans struggle to live up to. Joe Biden defended the ideas themselves as good, which was at least refreshing.

Expert Biography: Fred Lucas is chief national affairs correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Lucas is also the author of “Abuse of Power: Inside The Three-Year Campaign to Impeach Donald Trump.” Follow him on Twitter: @FredLucasWH

Written By

Fred Lucas is chief national affairs correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of "The Right Side of History" podcast. Lucas is also the author of "Abuse of Power: Inside The Three-Year Campaign to Impeach Donald Trump."