January 6, 2024 | Reading Time: 3 minutes

‘What a sick—’: Biden gets righteous about democracy

This week at the Editorial Board.

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The president launched his reelection campaign yesterday with dire warnings about the threat to democracy, individual liberty and the common good posed by the criminal former president (not his words). 

In a speech on the eve of the third anniversary of the J6 insurrection, Joe Biden “offered some of his sharpest warnings yet about the threat he says [Donald] Trump poses to the country’s institutions, a message Biden is placing at the center of his reelection bid as polls show the two barreling toward a rematch,” according to Bloomberg News.

The failed paramilitary takeover of the US government wasn’t the end of Trump’s preference for political violence. Biden “cited Trump’s statements that he will pardon those who took part in the Capitol assault, threats to retaliate against political opponents and comments critics said made light of an attack by a hammer-wielding assailant on the husband of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi,” Bloomberg said.

On the October 2022 attack on Paul Pelosi, the president seemed to well up with righteous emotion, coming this close to using a profanity. Again, Bloomberg: “‘[Trump] thinks that’s funny,’ Biden added. ‘What a sick—’ he continued, before abruptly pausing and clenching his fists.”

A “sick fuck” is what the president meant to say (probably).

And he is. That’s why I’m dedicated to making sense of politics every day, for the sake of normal people, democracy and the common good. But I can’t do it alone. I need the support of readers who care about the country and its future prosperity. That’s why I’m asking you to consider subscribing to this newsletter for the super-low price of $6 a month (or $60 a year, saving nearly 20 percent!). It’s really not much.

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Here’s what the Editorial Board published this week

January 5, 2024
No, Biden and the Democrats are not sleepwalking toward disaster
Like 2023 in retrospect, they are looking pretty good.

In the beginning of 2023, most people were not paying attention to this year’s election. By the end, they were. In the beginning, 2023 was terrible. By the end, it was pretty good! The stakes of this year’s election motivated people to re-remember last year.

January 4, 2024
2024, a referendum on the loser 
Normally, it’s a referendum on the incumbent. Not this year.

Biden and Trump represent opposites in every way, but they seem to agree that 2024 is going to be determined by attention. For Trump, “more attention on me means I win.” For Biden, “more attention on him means I win.”

January 3, 2024
Democracy isn’t a hostage crisis 
We have a choice.

What they are really saying is that they fear the outcome of provoking people who can’t be reasoned with. They are afraid of what might happen when democratic politics reacts to antidemocratic politics. They are afraid of rightwing violence and the threat of it.

January 2, 2024
With disqualification in Colorado and Maine, the damage is done – to Donald Trump, not democracy 
Seeming invincible is an election strategy.

The idea is that he’s going to win, because he can’t lose, and even when he loses, he wins. It’s stupid and dangerous, but it worked once, so it might work a second time – if enough people choose to forget about our shared experience of witnessing the greatest act of antidemocratic politics of our lifetimes.

Recent highlights

December 28, 2023
Every time he complains about losing, Trump reveals weakness 
The man can’t stop talking about it.

At some point in the future, we will look back at this moment to see that Trump’s weakness should have been obvious, but wasn’t, because most people, most of the time, didn’t want to think about the dreadful idea of a second Trump term.

December 21, 2023
The fall of Roe has triggered bipartisan radicalization 
11 states will ask voters to settle abortion rights in 2024.

Donald Trump and the Republicans should be worried. The thing about these ballot initiatives is that they motivate people to get educated, participate, contribute and vote – ultimately to the benefit of the presidential candidate who is most aligned with the cause.

December 11, 2023
The Biden impeachment story is a Trump revenge story 
It’s getting clearer and clearer.

I think the last step for members of the Washington press corps is spelling things out in plain English – that these insurgent Republicans are probably going to impeach the president because Donald Trump wants them to.

John Stoehr is the editor of the Editorial Board. He writes the daily edition. Find him @johnastoehr.

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