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Joe Biden Wants You To Be Terrified of Donald Trump

President Joe Biden recently announced his reelection campaign with a video titled “Freedom,” helping to shed light on the messaging Biden intends to use to win a second term. 

Former Vice President of the United States Joe Biden speaking with attendees at the 2020 Iowa State Education Association (ISEA) Legislative Conference at the Sheraton West Des Moines Hotel in West Des Moines, Iowa. By Gage Skidmore.
Former Vice President of the United States Joe Biden speaking with attendees at the 2020 Iowa State Education Association (ISEA) Legislative Conference at the Sheraton West Des Moines Hotel in West Des Moines, Iowa. By Gage Skidmore.

President Joe Biden recently announced his reelection campaign with a video titled “Freedom,” helping to shed light on the messaging Biden intends to use to win a second term. 

Whereas most incumbents might lean into their record as President of the United States to promote the idea that they are deserving of reelection, Biden appears to be relying on the threat of the alternative – namely, the threat of freedom-eroding MAGA Republicans. Basically, Biden is playing back 2020, and stoking fears of a Trump takeover and the resultant collapse of society. 

Joe Biden Has a Plan for 2024

According to The Hill, Biden’s launch video referenced “freedom” or “freedoms” six times while “the campaign’s first official ad used the words seven times.”

“President Biden is flipping the script on Republicans by casting himself as the protector of “freedom,” going on offense by using a word and concept conservatives have frequently cited to push back on the president and his party,” The Hill reported

Yeah, I’m not sure that what Team Biden is doing here is as clever as “flipping the script.” Rather, Biden’s move seems like a 2020 recycle – which was essentially a referendum on Trump and MAGA – only now, Biden has some extra ammunition: one, the January 6th riots, two (related), Trump’s denial in accepting the 2020 election results, and three, Republican attacks on abortion.

“To portray the president as a defender of the basic pillars of democracy, Biden’s launch video begins with and features violent images from Jan.6 … and Biden and the campaign have framed conservative culture war issues like book bans and laws targeting gender-affirming care as a matter of freedom, believing it will resonate with Americans who see GOP lawmakers as overstepping,” The Hill reported. 

Maybe Biden’s messaging is the most effective tact, I can’t really speak to that. But I don’t agree with constantly framing every political choice in existential terms. I don’t think the elect-me-or-the-United-States-will-cease-to-exist message is super healthy for American politics. I think it’s hyperbolic and toxic and only feeds into the partisan divisiveness Joe Biden promised to address when he was elected the first time.

Framing each and every policy debate as a good versus evil struggle is deeply irresponsible in that it frames not just politicians, but the citizens who support those politicians, as the enemy of democracy itself. Biden should know better.  

What Happened to Touting Accomplishments?

Typically when a president makes the case for being reelected that president relies on his track record as president. Obama relied on Obamacare and Bin Laden’s assassination. Bush 43 relied on Mission Accomplished. Clinton relied on economic growth. Bush 41 relied (unsuccessfully) on the Gulf War. You get the idea. Joe Biden doesn’t seem to be sticking to the trend – arguably because he hasn’t accomplished much.

I’m in a critical mood, given Biden’s heinous mortgage rule that went into effect this week. Still, I’m wondering if Biden is leaning into the freedom thing because he just doesn’t have substantial accomplishments to advertise. 

Joe Biden passed some legislation last summer (IRA, CHIPS, Burn Pile), yes, but that doesn’t seem to be the sort of thing you can build a reelection campaign around. 

What else?

Joe Biden may have been tempted into promoting his administration’s “ending” the pandemic, but that would probably raise questions about the liberal/Democrat initial response to COVID (which the administration would be wise to avoid). What else is there? Ukraine? That’s not a great sell either. There’s just not much of a track record to promote. 

And that’s how you get to an emphasis on the alternative.

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Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.

Written By

Harrison Kass is a Senior Defense Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison has degrees from Lake Forest College, the University of Oregon School of Law, and New York University’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. He lives in Oregon and regularly listens to Dokken.