Biden referred to “MAGA Republicans” as a “clear and present danger” to democracy and the “very foundations of our Republic.”

This is an opinion column.

If you didn’t catch President Joe Biden’s speech live Thursday night, you’ve probably seen the highlights by now, which more or less equate to him declaring civil war.

As hyperbolic as that sounds, it’s hard not to get that impression when he repeatedly referred to “MAGA Republicans,” aka Trump voters, aka half the country, as a “clear and present danger” to democracy and the “very foundations of our Republic.”

These comments were made even more frightening by the grim optics of the whole affair with an angry, almost certainly drugged-fueled Biden pounding his fists while perched in front of a dark, black and blood-red background flanked by silhouetted soldiers.

He tried to couch his remarks around calls for unity, being sure he said not all Republicans are bad — some are very good and obedient — but it’s just the “MAGA Republicans,” his latest buzzword persuasion play, that are so dangerous. 

But what is a MAGA Republican? 

Ask just about any Trump voter and they’ll tell you, a MAGA Republican is simply a Republican who dares stand against the establishment narrative. They may not like Trump the man, but they hate seeing their country fall apart even more. 

You can’t yet separate MAGA from Trump, not completely. He started the Make America Great Again movement after all with his campaign in 2016. For better or worse, the Republican party is the MAGA party now, no matter who becomes the next nominee. But it’s always been more than the man, more than a campaign or party.

It’s the conviction that, despite any flaws, America was, is and will be the greatest country in the world because our values are so great. It’s about living into our founding creed of true equality through life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 

Trump didn’t come up with these ideas, but he was a very loud, effective vessel to bring them back to the forefront of American politics for people who have for too long felt left out and like they were losing their free country.

That’s the good, and of course there’s alway some bad in politics. But whatever the excesses of the MAGA movement, which are typically fringe and widely panned by MAGA voters, they are nothing compared to the approved violence and vitriol of the mainstream Democratic party today. Which is to say nothing of the failures of the Democratic party that has squandered the progress and health built up during the Trump administration. 

In terms of his political agenda, Biden has been fairly successful, I won’t deny. But everything else isn’t looking so hot, and the general atmosphere in America leans toward anxiety and panic. 

That’s why Biden said the things he did in his speech. That’s why they drug out the sham show January 6 trials. That’s why they raided Mar-a-Lago. It’s all a misdirect to stem the coming red tide in November, to get us talking about Trump and not all of Biden’s failures. 

Chaos, division and war are great for boosting polls for failing politicians. Don’t fall for the trap. Don’t fall for Trump either. Things are only going to get crazier from here. But there is light on the horizon.

Daniel Taylor is news editor for The Reporter. His email is daniel.taylor@sandmountainreporter.com.

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