Aiming to turn months of legislative accomplishments into political energy, President Joe Biden sought Thursday to underscore the choice facing voters in the midterm elections, comparing Republican ideology to “semi-fascism,” as he led a kickoff rally and a fundraiser in Maryland.
The comments, made at a fundraiser with about 100 donors in a lavish suburban Maryland backyard, came as Biden kicked off what White House aides say will be an aggressive season of championing his policy victories and aiding his party’s candidates. That means painting Republicans as under the sway of former president Donald Trump and his “extreme” Make America Great Again ideology.
“What we’re seeing now is either the beginning or the death knell of an extreme MAGA philosophy,” Biden said, ahead of a rally at Montgomery High School in Rockville, Maryland. “It’s not just Trump, it’s the entire philosophy that underpins the — I’m going to say something, it’s like semi-fascism.”
The Republican National Committee called Biden’s comments “despicable.”
“Biden forced Americans out of their jobs, transferred money from working families to Harvard lawyers, and sent our country into a recession while families can’t afford gas and groceries,” said spokesperson Nathan Brand. “Democrats don’t care about suffering Americans — they never did.”
Biden aides said he would continue to paint Republicans as the “ultra-MAGA” party, embracing conservative ideological proposals and Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election.
“This is not your father’s Republican party. This is a different deal,” Biden said.
He warned that if Democrats lost ground in the midterm elections, Republicans would move to block women’s access to abortions wherever possible.
“I think the American people are waking up to reality that things have changed so drastically” with Republicans, he told donors, adding, “Mark my words” that if Democrats lose the midterms, Republicans would move to “wiping out choice, across the board.”
At the political rally, Biden attempted to highlight what Democrats say is at stake when Americans go to the polls on November 8.
“You need to vote to literally save democracy once again,” Biden told an overflow crowd of thousands. “Your right to choose is on the ballot this year. The Social Security you paid for from the time you had a job is on the ballot. The safety of your kids from gun violence is on the ballot, and it’s not hyperbole, the very survival of our planet is on the ballot.”
“You have to choose,” Biden added. “Will we be a country that moves forward or a country that moves backward?”
Since the June Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, Democrats have seen a boost in donations, polling and performance in special elections for open congressional seats. The latest came Tuesday in a Hudson Valley swing district that, in a Republican wave year, should have been an easy GOP win. Instead, Democratic Ulster County executive Pat Ryan, who campaigned on a platform of standing up for abortion rights, defeated his Republican counterpart from Duchess County, Marc Molinaro.
The shift is giving Democrats a new sense that a Republican sweep of the House is no longer such a sure bet.
Democrats have benefited from Republican candidates who won primaries but are struggling in the general campaign. Trump-backed Senate candidates have complicated the GOP’s chances in battleground states like Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona, while several Trump-aligned candidates in House races were not always the party’s first choice.
Trump’s grip on the GOP remains strong and has perhaps even become tighter in the aftermath of the FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago home.
JB Poersch, the president of Senate Majority Project, an outside group that is working to elect Democrats to the Senate, said the Republican candidates are “getting caught up in the Trump tornado once again — that is exactly what voters of both parties don’t want.”
At the backyard event, Biden also defended his own record in office, saying “things are beginning to change.”
He cited his leadership in building NATO unity against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and restoring alliances after the turbulent Trump presidency.
“I underestimated how much damage the previous four years had done in terms of America’s reputation in the world,” he said.