Biden calling Trump, allies 'threat to democracy' highlights deep divisions in US
Published: Sep 02, 2022 10:30 PM
US President Joe Biden Photo: AFP

US President Joe Biden Photo: AFP

By calling former US president Donald Trump and his allies a threat to US democracy, US President Joe Biden urged American voters to reject "extremism" ahead of November's midterm elections, and analysts said that such rare, sharp criticism by a US president of his predecessor highlights the fierceness of the coming elections and the deep divisions in US politics and society. 

While delivering a speech at the Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia on Thursday, Biden stepped up attacks on conservatives and said "too much of what's happening in our country today is not normal. Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic," US media outlets reported.

Biden also accused lawmakers and others devoted to the Make America Great Again (MAGA) agenda led by Trump as being willing to overturn democratic elections, ignore the Constitution and be "determined to take this country backwards" to a time without rights to abortion, privacy or contraception . 

Biden's attack on Trump and his allies drew wide attention, with many Western media reports saying it "marked a sharp turn for Biden" as the midterm elections approach. 

Soon after Biden's speech, Trump responded, saying "…he [Biden] threatened America, including with the possible use of military force. He must be insane, or suffering from late stage dementia," according to media reports.

As Biden escalated criticism of Republicans, he even blasted the MAGA philosophy as "semi-fascism" in public, which is a rare move in US history. Meanwhile, Republicans also used harsh words and blamed Democrats.

Given the current chaos in the US, we can see that the checks and balances in "American-style democracy" have resulted in a "vetocracy." Elections this year and in 2024 could be the most dramatic ones in terms of US politics we have observed for many years, Lü Xiang, a research fellow on US studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times on Friday.

Biden's remarks triggered some Republicans' discontent. "Horribly insulting," said Governor Chris Sununu of the state of New Hampshire, a Republican, according to CNN. "He's trying to stir up controversy, he's trying to stir up this anti-Republican sentiment right before the election, it's just - it's horribly inappropriate."

Analysts noted that deep divisions in the US are hard to fix and as the two parties are working even harder to win more votes, there will be more clashes and frictions in the US. 

Lü also noted that as the Biden administration is trying to win over young voters with its student debt relief plan, it will be hard to judge the economic impact.

Moreover, the international community should also be vigilant as the US government always tends to transfer its domestic conflicts to other countries by stirring up trouble globally. For example, it may stir up more trouble in the West Pacific after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's highly provocative visit to the island of Taiwan.