Former Vice President Joe Biden, who has intimated that he may make a bid for the White House in 2020, said Saturday that Donald Trump had played to the fears of the American public in a “disheartening” election cycle. Giving the commencement speech at Cornell University, Biden said that while the effects of globalization on the American worker were real enough, Trump capitalized on their fears “rather than their hopes and better angels.”
“The forces of populism are not only here but around the world,” he said. “They want to close our nation’s gates against the challenges of a rapidly changing world.”
But Biden said that while the rise of nationalism and populism was “disorienting,” it was only a “temporary state of affairs.”
That said, however, Biden insisted that Trump had managed to “churn up some of the ugliest realities that still remain in our country” by using the “coarsest rhetoric” and playing to our “darkest emotions.”
“I thought we had passed the days where it was acceptable for political leaders at local and national levels to bestow legitimacy on hate speech and fringe ideologies,” Biden said.
He said the “world is changing so rapidly, there are a lot of folks out there who both are afraid and susceptible to this kind of negative appeal.”
“The immigrant, the minority, the transgender,” he said. “Anyone not like me became a scapegoat. Just build a wall. Keep Muslims from coming into the United States.”
It’s so easy to simplify Trump’s message down to this basic level, but they are never going to win over those on-the-fence Trump supporters with this kind of strawman debate tactic. You’d think they would have gotten this through their heads by now. That is, after all, what they did throughout the election. Does Biden have no memory of the non-stop protests with Mexican flags flying high? No memory of “basket of deplorables”? It’s all been said. And every time, it simply drove more voters to cast their votes – some extremely reluctantly – for Trump.
Trump’s message, insofar as it targeted “minorities” like Muslims and illegal immigrants, was never about scapegoating. It was about addressing real problems that politicians – terrified of breaking the rules of political correctness – had been ignoring for years. Illegal immigration is having a tangible, real effect on American workers. Muslims ARE the ones committing terrorist atrocities. Transgenders…well, Trump didn’t say anything about them, so there’s no point in bringing it up. But it was OBAMA who decided to push the issue, forcing us into a national division over a subject that no one even cared about before.
And that’s really the problem. Americans are sick and tired of the Democratic Party forcing their socio-cultural views on the country while IGNORING the real problems we’re facing. That’s the anger that Trump rode to victory, and it was a righteous anger. And if Biden and the rest of the Democrats continue to paint it as unwarranted fear, scapegoating, or racism, they’re going to keep losing.