Joe Biden on the offensive against Donald Trump’s electoral base

The test of reality is pitiless. A year and a half has passed since Joe Biden’s inauguration speech, in which he promised to “restore the soul and secure the future of America”. Its beacon was the unity of the nation. However, this no longer resembles anything but an inaccessible dream. The Buffalo and Uvalde school shootings, the calling into question of the right to abortion, the culture war unleashed by the Republicans over school textbooks: the fractures are getting worse, a few months before the mid- mandate, in November.

In Congress, topics of bipartisan understanding have the rarity of four-leaf clovers, like massive military support for Ukraine. However, the polls show that large pragmatic majorities are emerging on certain subjects, such as the prohibition of weapons of war. But they remain without political translation. On June 2, Joe Biden called on elected Republicans to accept so-called measures “common sense” strengthening gun laws. For lack of a comfortable majority, this plea speaks of impotence.

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Faced with discouraging polls, which place him just above 40% popularity, Joe Biden was unable to respond to Republican attacks on three themes: inflation, unprecedented for forty years, the vagueness of his migration policy at the Mexican border and rising crime. Added to this is the nagging crisis linked to Covid-19, an inexhaustible source of conspiracy theories, but which Americans have, for the most part, chosen to ignore on a daily basis. In this depressive context, Joe Biden decided to change his rhetoric. Farewell, the fairy tale called national unity. It’s time to dramatize the MAGA threat (“Make America Great Again”, slogan of the Trumpist base). “Politics today is organized according to aversions, not affinitiesnoted journalist Timothy Noah, in an article by New RepublicMay 13. You may not like me, Biden says, but don’t forget how much you hate those other guys. »

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For more than a year, the American president had refrained from mentioning his predecessor. Guided by his natural optimism and his long practice in Congress, he had also made regular appeals to pragmatic Republicans. He had been reinforced in his approach by the support of certain elected representatives of the Grand Old Party for his massive infrastructure plan ($1.2 trillion). Even if the latter thought above all of their chosen lands and the sites they could claim.

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