Speaking to hundreds of party faithful in Maryland, near Washington, Biden sought to build on the growing energy in a party that believes it can fend off the threat of a Republican victory in the Nov. 8 vote.

US President Joe Biden attends a Democratic National Committee (DNC) rally at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, Maryland on August 25, 2022. Photo: OLIVIE DULIERY/AFP

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden told Democrats at a rally Thursday that they need to save the country from the “semi-fascism” of Republican Donald Trump and keep control of Congress in the upcoming midterm elections.

Speaking to hundreds of party faithful in Maryland, near Washington, Biden sought to build on the growing energy in a party that believes it can fend off the threat of a Republican victory in the Nov. 8 vote.

Describing Republicans under former President Trump as a party of “anger, violence, hatred and division,” Biden said: “We have chosen a different path forward: a future of unity, hope and optimism.”

“This fall there will be a choice between these two visions. We have to make our case to the American people and be crystal clear about it,” he said.

Earlier, in remarks before the speech, Biden compared Trump’s Make America Great Again, or MAGA, brand to “extreme.”

“It’s not just Trump, it’s a whole philosophy that’s underlying — I’m going to say something, it’s like semi-fascism,” Biden said.

“You need to vote to literally save democracy again,” he said in his speech.

DEMOCRATS IN RULE

Just a few weeks ago, the Democrats were in decline.

With Biden’s approval rating below 40% and the party seemingly unable to seal a deal on a number of campaign promises, there were widespread expectations that Republicans would easily take control of at least one chamber of Congress.

But a dramatic August sowed the seeds of what some Democrats hope will be a political miracle if their party holds the Senate and, at the very least, reduces the Republican victory in the House.

The rally in Maryland came after a series of legislative victories in Congress, coupled with anger among many Americans over the conservative-dominated Supreme Court’s decision to end automatic nationwide abortion rights.

Biden warned that Republicans would push for a total abortion ban if they controlled Congress, but said the issue would activate the “powerful force” of women voters.

And he cited the strengthening of laws to finance investments in high technology, the green economy, health care, and the limited but still politically impressive approval of new restrictions on gun safety.

Just Wednesday, he took his latest step, announcing that millions of voters would be eligible to have $10,000 to $20,000 of their often crippling student debt written off — a longtime demand of Democratic supporters.

“Even our critics have been forced to admit real progress,” he said to applause.

In contrast, Republicans have become distracted by the drama surrounding Trump’s spat with the Justice Department and the FBI over his alleged illegal removal of classified documents from the White House to his Florida golf club residence.

CHANGE OF POLLS

One of the reasons why Republicans expected big wins in the midterm elections is that the opposition parties almost always punish the president’s party in the midterm elections.

Another is that Biden is so unpopular after a difficult year marred by repeated new variants of COVID and the highest inflation in 40 years. His average approval rating has been stuck below 40% since late June, making him as unpopular as Trump before him.

Add to that the redistricting of the House of Representatives, which was widely seen as favoring the Republicans – in fact almost guaranteeing them a few extra seats – and GOP leaders predicted a “red wave” that would sweep away the “blue” Democrats.

Now, to the left of the blue riptide, which is swimming in the other direction, there are giddy conversations.

The average of the basic polls, which asked which party should control Congress, changed from several months when Republicans led Democrats by a narrow 44-43.6% advantage.

There are also glimmers of hope for Biden’s party in individual races. A Democrat won a special election Wednesday in a House district in New York — exactly the kind of district Republicans would have expected to trigger a red wave.

The Senate, which Democrats currently control by just one vote, was also considered to be trending Republican, but even Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell says it’s now a 50-50 proposition.

“I think the House is more likely to flip than the Senate,” McConnell said.

The veteran insider described the “quality” of his party’s Senate candidates. It was a clear jab at some of the Republican contenders elected largely because of their populist and pro-Trump credentials rather than trust among the general electorate.

Meanwhile, Biden’s own polling, while terrible, is also creeping up.

A Gallup poll on Thursday showed his approval rating at 44 percent, his best showing of the year. By comparison, that’s actually a better poll in August before the midterm elections than Trump in 2018 or Barack Obama in 2014, Gallup said.

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