Former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden is going after so-called “MAGA Republicans” to help Democrats win in the November midterms.
Appearing as a panelist on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, Psaki said that in the early stages of Biden’s presidency, the American people did not want him to attack former President Donald Trump and his supporters. But now that many of Biden’s major agenda items have been passed, he is taking a harder line in hopes of holding Democratic majorities in the House and Senate.
“You were there [at a time] when you didn’t say [Trump’s] name,” Todd began his interview with Psaki. “‘Don’t say their names.’ It’s like Beetlejuice, somehow it won’t show up if you don’t say their name. Now [Biden] leans into it more. Why?”
“There was a strategic decision made when he came into office that ‘that’s not what the public wanted,'” Psaki replied. “The public wanted a President who was going to … kind of expand the base of people who [are] interested in them. But now, it’s election season again, he did a lot of what he wanted to do, much of it in a bipartisan way, getting legislation done. And now the gloves are off. He’s got to maintain control of at least one house of Congress.”
Biden has stepped up his rhetoric over the summer, saying that Trump and his supporters in the Republican Party are motivated by “semi-fascism” at a donor event in August. He went on to brand them as threats to American democracy in his now-infamous “Soul of the Nation” address on September 1, which was widely decried as one of the most divisive political speeches by an American president.
Biden’s heated rhetoric, however, might not help him or the Democratic Party retain control of Congress. An ABC News/Washington Post poll of likely voters released Sunday found that Republicans have a five-point advantage in the generic Congressional ballot in 2022, and former President Trump holds a two-point advantage in a hypothetical 2024 matchup among registered voters.
Last week, one of the nation’s leading independent pollsters pointed out that Biden’s divisive tone would likely make polling Trump supporters even more complicated, meaning pollsters could undercount Trump voters, and GOP turnout would be even higher than expected in 2022.
“Now [the] Biden administration has essentially classified ‘MAGA Republicans’ as a threat to democracy marshaling federal law enforcement to focus on them,” Trafalgar Group chief pollster Robert Cahaly said in a Twitter thread. “This move has created a new type of voter that will be even harder to poll or even estimate.”
“I call this new group ‘submerged voters,’” Cahaly said. “They aren’t putting stickers on their cars, signs in their yards, posting their opinions, or even answering polls. At this point I think it’s fair to say that Biden’s pursuit of and attacks on ‘MAGA Republicans’ has created an army of voters who will be virtually impossible to poll (even for us) and more difficult still to estimate.”
”The 2022 Republican turnout will likely be higher than any of the polls or models are showing,” he concluded. “All polls (including ours) will understate the impact of these ‘submerged voters.’”