How Joe Biden Goes From Anticipating a Republican ‘Epiphany’ To Declaring War on ‘Maga Party’

WASHINGTON — Three years ago, candidate Joe Biden boldly predicted that once Donald Trump is defeated, Republicans will have an “epipal,” freeing themselves from the shackles of the far right and working collaboratively with Democrats toward consensus.

“The thing that’s going to change drastically with Donald Trump out of the White House – and it’s no joke – is that you’re going to have an epiphany among many of my Republican friends,” Biden said on May 14, 2019 while campaigning in New Hampshire. That Republicans were “appalled” by Trump to make concessions.

This week, President Biden rolled out a new message describing the Republican Party as a “MAGA party” — linking Republicans to the controversial former president’s political brand with an election-year offensive designed to revitalize frustrated Democrats and convince independents that the Republican Party is too radical. to hold power.

“The MAGA Republicans – ‘Make America Great Again’ Republicans,” he said Wednesday at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser, carried the same message in his speeches all week. “They’re the most extreme party. And that’s what the GOP is now…running the show, the Republicans from MAGA.”

Biden’s speech is an attempt to fine-tune his Republican indictment ahead of the midterm elections when his party could lose control of the House and Senate. It comes as Trump maintains a firm grip on the Republican Party, wields influence with conservative voters to purge his critics and uses his endorsements in the 2022 primaries to retaliate against those he considers disloyal.

Some Republicans say Biden has a political strategy.

“The president is desperate,” said Republican Senator John F. Kennedy. “His poll numbers, especially among freelancers, are on a journey to the center of the Earth. And I think they’re trying to change the narrative.”

But Biden’s allies say the president’s pessimism, a 45-year-old Washington veteran who has built his political identity on cross-party cooperation and finding common ground, is more than a harsh indictment of the opposition.

Biden’s agenda to address major economic problems — from rising costs for child care, college education, and prescription drugs, to climate change and access to health care — faces unanimous Republican opposition and has faltered in the 50-50 Senate. His efforts on voting rights have crippled the United Republican Party.

“In my 36 years as a senator, few senators have been more bipartisan, building true personal relationships, working across the aisle and ex-Senator Biden,” said Senator Chris Coons, Senator, Biden’s friend and senator. successor. “For him to say ‘This is a new Republican Party and I’m struggling to find common ground with it’ is really a wonderful statement.”

“The Republicans from MAGA…Take the Battle to Them”

A Biden adviser, who requested anonymity to discuss the president’s thinking, assured NBC News that he is not giving up working with Republicans where possible, citing the infrastructure law and the US-China competition package as examples.

The chancellor said Biden’s new message is based on his view that most party members have taken a sharp turn to the hard right, evoking the agenda of Senator Rick Scott as well as party elites waging culture wars against Disney, seeking to ban books and trying to outlaw abortion. The chancellor added that Democrats will argue that the Republican Party is Scott, Republican of Florida, Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green, Rep. Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida.

As another example of MAGA’s influence, Biden’s adviser cited this week’s Republican primary in West Virginia, where Representative Alex Money defeated Representative David McKinley, who voted for and has been criticized for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act.

However, it’s not clear that focusing on Trump will be enough to save Democrats from heavy midterm losses. the former president is out of power and out of the ballot; Banned from Twitter and Facebook. The recent governor’s race in Virginia, where Democrats have sought unsuccessfully to link Republican Glenn Youngkin to Trump, reveals the limits of this strategy.

Biden has taken a specific goal of Senator Rick Scott, R-Fla., chair of the Republican Party’s campaign arm in the Senate, for proposing a “super-MAGA” agenda that calls for increased federal income taxes on nearly half of Americans and the repeal of all federal laws within five years — Biden said It is the equivalent of eliminating Medicare and Social Security.

“It really goes beyond pallid,” Biden said, adding that while “MAGA Republicans” make up about a third of the American electorate, their politicians dominate the party. “We have to take the fight to them. We had to prove our case and make it very strong.”

“Ultra-MAGA” and the proud Republicans

The president is “simply watching reality,” Koons said.

Unfortunately, the political reality is that more and more Republicans at the state and federal levels are under the control, opinions and positions of the former president. I think that might make compromise and compromise more difficult.

Some senior Republicans adopt the Biden label.

“I am a super maga,” said Representative Elise Stefanik, a New York GOP whose loyalty to Trump cemented her leadership position as the third-placed Republican in the House of Representatives, replacing Representative Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyo.

When asked about Biden’s message, Minority Senator John Thune said, “It’s an election year.”

“The speech is going to get hot,” he said. “I think he’s trying to take a bad hand and play it as best he can and start counter-kicks or attacking. But I don’t think that works collectively. Because we have a lot of people that I don’t think fit that description. But that’s definitely an election year strategy.” .

It represents a sharp departure from a long-standing approach that has drawn his share of criticism from within his own party.

In 2019 and 2020, some Democrats criticized Biden’s predictions of a Republican epiphany, accusing him of being naive about the nature of his opposition. One of those critics, progressive strategist Max Berger, said he’s happy to see Biden move on from that vision — although it won’t be an easy transition.

“I think it’s a huge step in the right direction, but it’s a tough focus of all his talk about trying to achieve bipartisanship,” Berger said.

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