Did Biden Make the Right Move?

Joe Biden did not soft-pedal his message Thursday night. “There’s no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans,” the president said, adding, “Democracy cannot survive when one side believes there are only two outcomes to an election—either they win or they were cheated."

Consider a few more nuggets of his unfiltered tough talk in Philadelphia:

  • “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. They promote authoritarian leaders, and they fanned the flames of political violence that are a threat to our personal rights, to the pursuit of justice, to the rule of law, to the very soul of this country.”

  • “We can’t be pro-insurrectionist and pro-American. They’re incompatible. We can’t allow violence to be normalized in this country. It’s wrong. We each have to reject political violence with all the moral clarity and conviction this nation can muster now."

  • “While the threat to American democracy is real, I want to say as clearly as we can, we are not powerless in the face of these threats. We are not bystanders in this ongoing attack on democracy…it’s within our power, it’s in our hands, yours and mine, to stop the assault on American democracy.”

This “soul of the nation” speech came in the wake of a recent NBC News poll, which found that “threats to democracy” topped voter concerns ahead of the midterms, ahead of cost of living, jobs and the economy. While Biden decided it was time to directly confront this peril, furious Trumpists—on cue—were up in arms and on attack. Biden, I was hearing more times than I wish to recount, is a fascist, a dictator, another Hitler. The Trumpists’ response belied the view that they can take a punch—and proved they project in the most extreme ways.

What do you think? Did President Biden make the right move? Was it time, perhaps past time, to discuss the dangers facing our democracy in no uncertain terms? Was it necessary to stand up for American values and all Americans committed to the democratic project? Or did you find the speech too partisan and too divisive? And, finally, perhaps most importantly, will it have a positive impact on the midterms?

As always, I look forward to reading what you think and for this community to learn from each other. Please do remember to be considerate of each other in your responses.

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*Photo from President Biden’s “soul of the nation” speech by Alex Wong/Getty Images.