President Biden urged Democrats on Wednesday to show up at the polls during next week’s midterm elections or “allow the dark forces that thirst for power” to chip away at American democracy.
Biden urged a crowd of supporters at a Democratic National Committee event inside Union Station in Washington, D.C. not to take the election for granted. The president argued that Democrats had to show up at the polls because Republicans could not be entrusted with political power.
“We’re facing a defining moment,” said Biden. “We must with one overwhelming, unified voice speak, as a country and say there’s no place for voter intimidation or political violence in America.”
During his remarks, Biden leaned heavily on past rhetoric painting the midterms as an opportunity to rebuff the GOP’s political extremism.
“It’s estimated that more than 300 [GOP] election deniers are on the ballot all across America this year,” said Biden. “This is not about me … It’s about the durability of our democracy.”
Biden’s comments come less than a week after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband was violently attacked in San Francisco, California. While the motive for the assault remains uncertain, Democrats have been quick to claim that years of GOP criticism made Pelosi and her family targets.
“This violence against Democrats, Republicans, and nonpartisan officials just doing their jobs are the consequence of lies told for power and profit,” said Biden. “Lies repeated over and over to generate a cycle of anger, hate, vitriol, and even violence. “
Recent polls show voters, however, are not buying the rhetoric amid 40-year high inflation. While Biden’s approval rating has rebounded in recent weeks, a Fox News poll this month found that Republicans lead Democrats among likely voters on the congressional preference ballot.
The same poll found that 89% of voters said they were extremely concerned about inflation and higher prices, while only 74% said the same about the nation’s lingering political divisions.
“Joe Biden promised unity but has instead demonized and smeared Americans, while making life more expensive for all,” said Ronna Romney McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee. “While Republicans remain focused on the issues that matter most to voters, Biden and Democrats are flailing in the final days because they have lost touch with the concerns of families struggling to get by.”
Some Republicans were also quick to denounce Biden’s comments, saying the president was attempting to boost the electoral prospects of Democrats through fear-mongering.
“President Biden is trying to divide and deflect at a time when America needs to unite—because he can’t talk about his policies that have driven up the cost of living,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.