Tuesday, May 10, 2022


Is this working?
Biden pushes ‘ultra-MAGA’ label on GOP as he defends record

President Joe Biden on Tuesday warned voters unhappy with soaring inflation and his stalled domestic agenda against turning power over to “ultra-MAGA” Republicans in the midterm elections as he increasingly tries to cast former President Donald Trump and his adherents as a political foil.

... Biden’s branding of his opposition as “ultra-MAGA Republicans” — a reference to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan — has emerged as a White House trope in recent weeks as the White House hopes for a pre-midterms reset for Democrats, who face stiff headwinds heading into the November elections. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that “it’s the president’s phrase.”
What I don't like about "ultra-MAGA" is that it's an effort to define Trump Republicanism as an aberrant strain within the party, rather than as the culmination of decades of GOP extremism. Biden looks at the Republican dungheap and still believes there's a pony in there somewhere. He can't let that idea go.

"Ultra-MAGA" has become the new "deplorable" -- a Democratic pejorative that Republicans are wearing as a badge of honor. On Twitter, it's all the rage to make "ultra-MAGA" part of your screen name.

It's not a particularly cutting attack -- but maybe that's good. The civility police never stopped attacking Hillary Clinton for using the phrase "basket of deplorables" in reference to some Trump supporters, even as Trump made much more vicious attacks. "Ultra-MAGA" won't send any middle-of-the-road pundits to the fainting couch.

The GOP voter base and many (most?) Republican candidates will boast that they're ultra-MAGA even as they say and do extreme, off-putting things. Maybe that's good. Maybe this not particularly clever insult will find itself attached to truly pathological behavior, and non-Republican voters will conclude that Biden had a point. This could actually work.

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