Yon President Biden’s first major 2024 campaign ad, piano chords build as footage of people voting flashes by. “I have made the preservation of American democracy the central theme of my presidency,” Biden says in the 60 second ad published online Thursday, as part of a $500,000 advertising campaign that will also hit local evening newscasts in key states. He goes on to say that “something dangerous is happening in America” and that “there is an extremist movement that does not share the basic beliefs of our democracy.”
It’s similar to the message Biden repeatedly stressed ahead of the 2022 midterm elections that former President Donald Trump and the election deniers he leads constitute a persistent threat to the future of American democracy. At the time, critics, including many within his party, said the president was misreading the electorate, who they said was more concerned about issues like the economy and crime. When the expected Republican “red wave” failed to materialize, Biden’s advisers believed his The strategy had proven to be correct..
Now Biden is doubling down on that approach, with his first campaign speech of 2024 scheduled for Friday in Valley Forge outside Philadelphia, where George Washington gathered disparate colonial militias on the banks of the Schuylkill River nearly 250 years ago to fight against the British monarchy. Campaign aides say the speech, on the eve of Saturday’s third anniversary of the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, is intended to frame the upcoming election as another turning point in the nation’s democracy.
It’s a strategy that’s sure to raise another round of doubt as Biden enters an election year with some of the worst polling for a first-term president. from jimmy carter. And some would say that with Trump competing with multiple criminal trialsincluding two related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, the threat to democracy is already a priority for many voters.
Focusing solely on Trump and democracy would be an “incomplete” re-election strategy for Biden, says Conor Lamb, a former Democratic congressman from Pennsylvania. “I understand that the presidential campaign wants to emphasize the threats to democracy and the unique danger of Trump, and I agree with that,” Lamb says. “But I would just caution that there is a lot of anxiety in this state about the economy, particularly but not exclusively driven by seniors and seniors on fixed incomes whose checks just don’t go as far this year as they did two years ago.”
While they do not intend to ignore the pocketbook issues, his advisers say Biden will frame his campaign primarily as a fight to defend both democracy and individual freedoms. In her campaign, Republicans strip women of reproductive rights, whitewash history lessons in schools, and refuse to stand up to extremists who encourage political violence. “In our view, it’s a very difficult choice between the president and vice president, who want to preserve and protect people’s freedoms, and the Republicans who want to take them away from them,” a senior Biden campaign official said. “They don’t want to just take them away, they already have. Donald Trump named three Supreme Court justices responsible for overturning Roe v. Wade“.
Biden’s message addresses an electorate increasingly concerned about American political differences becoming deadly. one december survey of Navigator Research found that 83% of Americans are concerned about political violence, a concern shared across the political spectrum, including 86% of Democrats, 83% of independents and 80% of Republicans. The same survey found that 2 in 3 Americans are concerned that the violent attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election on January 6, 2021 could happen again. A Quinnipiac University survey published in November found that preserving democracy was the second most important issue for voters after the economy.
In addition to warning about Trump’s threat to democracy and the Republican effort to eliminate reproductive rights, Biden will also tout his efforts to transform the economy to boost the middle class, a senior White House official said. The President will talk about “all those things” when he launches his re-election campaign in earnest this month. Top campaign talking points will include 14 million new jobs since Biden took office, reducing inflation, a rise in consumer confidence and signs that investments in American infrastructure are starting to pay off.
But for now, the president wants voters to hear him speak more directly about the dangers of Trump and right-wing extremism when the election year begins. Following his speech on Friday, Biden will make a campaign swing to South Carolina on Monday, where Black voter turnout won him the Democratic primary in 2020. In Charleston, Biden will visit the historic Mother Emanuel AME Church, where a shooter white supremacist killed nine black parishioners during a Bible study meeting in 2015. Biden has told aides that Trump’s indifferent reaction to the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, was a major motivation for the decision to run against Trump for president.
Lamb says Biden should avoid appearing to be berating voters and make sure he remembers to tell voters that Trump is a threat to more than just democracy. “We won’t have a strong economy with the chaos that Trump brings,” Lamb says. “We can have a fair economy where everyone has opportunities.”