Politics Explained

Joe Biden is targeting ‘Maga’ Republicans – but will the gambit work?

The president is taking a calculated risk that swing voters see the ‘Make America Great Again’ brand of politics as repellent, writes Chris Stevenson

<p>Biden is trying to show that the more moderate Republicans have lost control of their party </p>

Biden is trying to show that the more moderate Republicans have lost control of their party

Joe Biden has refined his attack line on the Republican Party over the past week – referring to the GOP by the acronym Maga, which stands for “Make America Great Again”, an election slogan synonymous with Donald Trump. Needless to say, the comparison is not a kind one.

Biden has spoken of the “ultra-Maga” agenda of the Republicans, which is “extreme, as most Maga things are”. Trump has even been scoffed at as “the great Maga king”. It is a moniker that those within Biden’s circle have insisted to several outlets in recent days (mostly anonymously, it should be said) as one that plays well with potential swing voters.

The reason they would have to be sure of that before rolling it out to this degree is that it gives the pro-Trump elements of the Republican Party exactly what many of them will be looking for – an opportunity to reinforce the “us v them” mentality. It is always going to be part of the Trump (and Trump acolyte) playbook, but if Biden is leaning into it too, that makes their job easier. Note the reaction of New York representative Elise Stefanik, the third-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives and chair of the House Republican Conference: “I am ultra-Maga. I’m proud of it.”

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