What’s happening: President Joe Biden announced that he and Vice President Kamala Harris are seeking reelection in his first 2024 campaign video released yesterday. In the video, the president declares that “personal freedom” is the most “sacred” and “fundamental” trait of America and has been his focus for the last three years.
Is it true? The Biden administration has tried to limit freedom of speech, especially when it comes to scientific debate and election integrity concerns. Biden also mandated private companies to force employees to either take experimental vaccines or lose their livelihoods, infamously saying, “This is not about freedom or personal choice.” Children were prevented from attending school and citizens from traveling due to vaccine status. The administration also forced progressive ideology into public schools, hindering academic freedom.
Who will define freedom? Despite these other initiatives, the Biden campaign is framing efforts to preserve abortion as the center of its fight for freedom. Meanwhile, Republicans have made efforts to stop vaccine mandates, censorship, and indoctrination in public schools, all efforts that are also framed to preserve freedom. It’s clear that there is a war to define freedom: Efforts to remove radical progressive books from schools are seen by Biden as an attack on freedom, while conservatives see it as a necessary step to preserve freedom, for example.
Big picture: Republicans have campaigned on being the party of freedom for decades, and the Biden campaign, along with Democrats nationwide, are attempting to redefine the term and portray them as the opposite. So far it’s been a successful tactic—Democrats have portrayed Republican pro-life efforts as an attack on personal freedoms to achieve electoral wins. Republican messaging hasn’t effectively addressed this weakness.