Last night, Joe Biden gave an address warning of dire consequences if voters elect Republican extremists to office next Tuesday. Today, he’s heading west to campaign not in the tightest contests or those considered the best chances to oust sitting Republicans, but rather for incumbent Democrats trying to hang on to their seats.

It’s the perfect illustration of the dynamic for Biden, more than a year after his approval ratings tanked and stayed there. His presidential bully pulpit allowed him to make a speech where he warned, “Make no mistake, democracy is on the ballot for all of us.” But his unpopularity had forced him into a cautious approach to campaigning – almost a tacit admission that when it comes to the races that could define the next two years of his presidency, his ability to help is limited.

The Associated Press today published a piece looking at what today’s travel itinerary says about the dynamic. Here’s how they put it:

His itinerary illustrates the limited political clout of a president who has been held at arm’s length by most Democrats in tough races this cycle. It also suggests that the president, whose approval rating remains underwater, has concluded that he can be most effective using the waning days before polls close to shore up support for Democratic candidates in areas that he easily won in 2020.

Key events

In his response to Biden’s speech last night, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell sought to refocus the attention to crime, the economy and immigration, issues the GOP has campaigned on nationwide:

President Biden is desperate to change the subject from inflation, crime, and open borders. Now he’s claiming that democracy only works if his party wins.

What nonsense. Americans aren’t buying it.

Ask how the last two years have affected your family, and then get out and vote!

— Leader McConnell (@LeaderMcConnell) November 3, 2022

Stepping away for a minute from its context in relation to the midterms, here’s what University of Chicago political violence expert Robert A. Pape had to say about the substance of Biden’s speech last night:

The data shows that President Biden is right: The violent threat to our democracy comes from an extreme minority— not just a minority of all Americans but a minority of even pro-Trump Republicans. Our national survey from September shows that an estimated 13 million adults support the use of force for Trump. That means well over 80% of Americans, both Democrats and most Republicans, reject violence for political reasons. Bipartisan majority opposes political violence. Now it is crucial to turn that democratic majority into a bipartisan coalition against political violence.

Here’s the University of Chicago Project on Security and Threats’s latest study on political violence, which indicates only a small minority would support restoring Donald Trump to office through violent means. But as the data makes clear, that group may be five percent of those surveyed, but it’s still representative of about 13 mn people.

Last night, Joe Biden gave an address warning of dire consequences if voters elect Republican extremists to office next Tuesday. Today, he’s heading west to campaign not in the tightest contests or those considered the best chances to oust sitting Republicans, but rather for incumbent Democrats trying to hang on to their seats.

It’s the perfect illustration of the dynamic for Biden, more than a year after his approval ratings tanked and stayed there. His presidential bully pulpit allowed him to make a speech where he warned, “Make no mistake, democracy is on the ballot for all of us.” But his unpopularity had forced him into a cautious approach to campaigning – almost a tacit admission that when it comes to the races that could define the next two years of his presidency, his ability to help is limited.

The Associated Press today published a piece looking at what today’s travel itinerary says about the dynamic. Here’s how they put it:

His itinerary illustrates the limited political clout of a president who has been held at arm’s length by most Democrats in tough races this cycle. It also suggests that the president, whose approval rating remains underwater, has concluded that he can be most effective using the waning days before polls close to shore up support for Democratic candidates in areas that he easily won in 2020.

‘We’re facing a defining moment’, Biden argued. Will voters agree?

Good morning, US politics blog readers. Last night, Joe Biden made a primetime address to warn Americans about the threats to democracy posed by political violence and Republicans who deny the outcome of the 2020 election. It’s a salient message, given that many GOP candidates nationwide have embraced baseless conspiracy theories about the election that brought Biden to power, but there’s a problem: poll after poll has shown most Americans have a sour view of Biden’s time in office, to the point that the president is avoiding many swing states in the final days before the 8 November midterms. Last night’s speech was meant as a reminder to voters of what the stakes are in next week’s elections. We’ll see if they care.

Here’s what else is happening today:

  • Biden heads out west, first to deliver remarks on student debt relief at a community college in Albuquerque, New Mexico, then to rally with democratic candidates. After that, he’s in San Diego, California, where he will appear at an event for democratic congressman Mike Levin.

  • Vice-president Kamala Harris will go to New York to rally Democrats.

  • Midterm countdown: we are five days away from Tuesday’s election.





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