Analysis: Biden’s intervention is high-risk and controversial
This is not a normal pre-election speech, and no doubt such an intervention is highly controversial.
By saying that only his Democrats represent democracy – however true he may believe that is – is he essentially telling voters that democracy has been lost in this country?
With the election just a few days away in such a tense environment, it was indeed a high-stakes speech.
Scheduled for later in the day, with a sense of urgency, it was not about politics but about the stability of the country — as he called it “the soul of the country.”
“We are facing a defining moment, an inflection point,” Mr Biden warned. “Make no mistake—democracy is on the ballot.”
His party is likely to be lagging behind the polls – it could be a crushing defeat next week, so of course he’s looking for votes. But the president is trying to go beyond that.
“It’s not about me … it’s about all of us. It’s about what makes America America. It’s about the durability of our democracy.”
The backdrop is a deeply divided country and a former president who continues to insist he won the last election.
Since the 2020 presidential campaign, Donald Trump has claimed without any evidence that he was robbed. A large percentage of his supporters believe in him – some polls put it as high as 70%.
Defending the integrity of the election, Mr. Biden said: “Every legal challenge that could have been raised has been raised. Every recount that could have taken place has taken place. Every recount has confirmed the outcome.”
As many as 300 Republican electoral naysayers — Trump allies such as Arizona gubernatorial candidate Cary Lake — are on the ballot next week.
Mr Biden has drawn a fine line between what he called a “big lie” and the hammering of the House Speaker’s husband last week.
“The attackers ended up smashing Paul’s skull with a hammer. We will not use riots, rioters, bullets or hammers to resolve our differences in America,” he said in a stark warning against violent political extremism.
Mr Biden’s speech builds on similar comments and remarks he has made over the past few weeks.
“This hasn’t happened since the Civil War,” he said a few days ago. “It sounds like an exaggeration, but it hasn’t happened since, as bad as it is now.”