Highly divisive: President Joe Biden’s speech portrayed the 74 million Americans who voted for Donald Trump as forces “determined to take this country backward” and as a threat to democracy.
Increasing the stakes: Biden also framed this moment in history, right before the midterms, as the moment when Americans will decide the country’s future. For Biden, a vote with Democrats means a vote for democracy, while a vote for Republicans is for authoritarianism, fascism, and political violence.
Responses from the press: Mainstream outlets like The Atlantic, NBC, and others have been quick to defend the president and justify the intense rhetoric. Conservative outlets and politicians denounced Biden’s “demagogic” speech as dangerous.
Big picture: A common criticism of former President Trump was his divisiveness. While Biden campaigned on the need for uniting the country, this speech marks the complete dissolution of that promise. It encapsulates the administration’s midterm strategy of using extreme language to portray a large segment of the population as a threat that must be quashed.