Biden to set up poll fight with Trump saying 'democracy at stake'

Washington, Jan 4 (IANS): US President Joe Biden is kicking off the New Year with his first speech of his reelection campaign by calling his predecessor Donald Trump, who appears likely to be the Republican nominee in the November election, as a threat to democracy.

Biden’s advisers who previewed the speech for reporters called it an "opening salvo".

The speech will be rich in symbolism for the venue and timing.

Biden will deliver remarks at a community college just 10 miles from Valley Forge National Historical Park in Pennsylvania state, where George Washington mobilized troops during the Revolutionary War against the British some 250 years ago.

And it will come on the eve of the 2021 January 6 insurrection by supporters of the former President who tried to subvert democracy by preventing the US Congress from certifying Biden as the victor of the 2020 presidential election.

"The fundamental question that the President is going to pose," one of the aides who spoke to reporters said, "is this: Is Democracy still a sacred cause in America? And his answer to that is yes. And he believes that America’s answer to that is yes, but he also believes that the election in 2024 is fundamentally about that question."

The President is expected to be "very straightforward" in January and the role played by Trump in it. A mob of Trump supporters had marched on the US Capitol after fiery speech from the former President in which he had pressed the need for lawmakers to reject Biden as the winner. He had promised to walk with the marchers, but was dissuaded by his Secret Service detail.

The mob had broken into the building that houses both chambers of US Congress and gone around looking for specific lawmakers. One of the rioters was shot by Capitol police and several people had died in the melee.

Trump has sought to portray the January 6 insurrection as a heroic attempt to correct the outcome of the 2020 election, which he has continued to argue, falsely, had been taken away from him by fraud. The twice impeached President faces at least two criminal cases for these lies and actions taken by him and his aides in furtherance of these lies. He has also been booted off the ballot in two states, Colorado and Maine. But he holds a commanding lead over his rivals in the primaries -- former Governor Nikki Haley, Governor Ron DeSantis, former Governor Chris Christie, and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.

Trump also bears Biden in head-to-head matchups.

In fact, Biden trails most of the Republicans in the primaries. Haley’s lead over him is more than Trump’s and the former Governor has touted it on the campaign trail to present herself as the better Republican alternative to the former President, who, she has said, is followed by chaos wherever he goes and in whatever he does.

President Biden has struggled with low poll numbers for most of his presidency, first on account of the aftereffects of the Covid-19 epidemic and then because of runaway inflation which shot to 40-year high in 2022.

The messy withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan has been a stain on his foreign policy report card, which now has two hot wars that are a drain on both US equity and treasury.

Biden’s aides and Democratic strategists have sought to downplay his poll numbers relative to his Republican rivals arguing that Americans are not really focussed on the November 2024 elections so far out and the gap will close once voters get to see Biden in contrast to his rivals in head-to-head matchup of their accomplishments.


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Title: Biden to set up poll fight with Trump saying 'democracy at stake'

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