When a campaign attacks its opponent, the hit usually only works if the attack is both true and believable. The Republicans seem to be attacking Joe Biden for being an extremist or at least beholden to extremists. They’re telling voters that if Donald Trump is not elected, the country will fall into the hands of socialists and Marxists. The accusation is neither true nor believable.
Just few short months ago, though it may seem like years, Democratic primary voters soundly rejected Bernie Sanders, a self-described Democratic socialist, for Joe Biden, a man who ran as a centrist, has a 30+ year record as a centrist and has a clearly centrist vision for the country. The idea that Biden is a closeted socialist with a far-left agenda is just not believable. But that’s not really what Republicans mean when they say “socialist” anyway. The mean not white.
Republicans are trying to lay the unrest in America at the feet of Biden and have demonized the Black Lives Matter movement to do so. Most of America seems to have a different take. Biden has condemned the violence and looting plaguing places like Portland and Kenosha, Wisconsin, but also understands the underlying problems causing the response. Young unarmed Black men keep getting shot by police and we keep watching it on video tape. Republicans demonize the victims and tell us not to believe what is happening in front of our eyes. They’ve been believing “alternative facts” for so long, they expect the rest us to believe them, too.
While most of America doesn’t approve of the looting and violence, they also don’t believe 17-year-old boys should be wandering around armed with semi-automatic rifles, either. The difference between Republicans and Democrats is that Democrats condemn the behavior of the rioters and Republicans celebrate the behavior Kyle Rittenhouse, the boy who killed two people and wounded another. Joe Biden took to the airways to make clear that we need to end the violence but that we need to address discrimination and begin to heal the nation. Donald Trump defended Rittenhouse and has said virtually nothing about the shooting of unarmed Black men by police.
Support for Blacks Lives Matter is quickly becoming mainstream. Athletes across the spectrum are drawing attention to the discrepancies that seem to be obvious to everybody but older white Republicans. NBA teams and MLB teams refused to play to draw attention to the problems we’re facing. Now, college football teams are walking out to show their solidarity with the movement. Conservatives carp that they should just be athletes and just play ball, but many of them are also African Americans and all of them are human beings who see a callous disregard for other people.
The GOP wants to convince Americans that Democrats are the party of extremism but the country just watched the moderate wing of the party defeat the left-flank for the second time in a row. The GOP, on the other hand, is defending armed marauders and weekend warriors who see themselves as some sort of macho militia defending white America. The Republicans have become the party of extremists, not Democrats.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >