By Monica Chen
Give the Biden administration – let’s say “credit” — for being this slick and confident about all the lies they spew. This is peak Fascism, Fascism at its most mature.
Three main observations about President Joe Biden’s first campaign ad for re-election:
1. Biden has co-opted Trump’s message to a certain extent. Has he done that successfully though? Probably not.
2. The crucial part of this ad is Jan. 6. Without it, everything else falls apart.
3. “Obama’s VP Joe Biden” for 2020 has turned into “working class hero Joe Biden” for 2024. Yes, both in quotation marks.
Here’s my analysis. A humorous take (with some emojis):
The ad opens with images of Jan. 6. Chaos! Violence! Danger! Blue, stark, cold colors.
Then images of the American flag quickly flash. Suddenly, Joe Biden’s face pops into view and says, “Freedom.”
“Personal freedom is fundamental to who we are as Americans.”
Yes, it is! But Biden has been trying to destroy that. Right off the bat, Biden co-opts your perspective and uses it as his own. Interesting.
This is a country on the brink of economic depression and societal collapse caused by, oh wait, the Biden administration.
“That’s been the work of my first term.”
Fact check and reminder: Joe Biden’s cruel vaccine mandate in 2021.
“To fight for our democracy. To protect our rights. To make sure that everyone in this country is treated equally. And that everyone is given a fair shot at making it.”
Fact check: Cancelling the Keystone Pipeline on his first day. “Equity” ensuring that merit is destroyed so there is no “fair shot.”
“But you know around the country, MAGA extremists are lining up to take on those bedrock freedoms.”
“MAGA extremists!” 😆
Oh no, more danger! Marjorie Taylor Greene in her white fur-collar coat! Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis!
Alright, now we’re getting to the issues:
“Cutting Social Security that you’ve paid for your entire life while cutting taxes for the very wealthy.”
Fact check: False
“Dictating what health choices women can make”
Fact check: Like COVID lockdowns and mandates?
Fact check: That are pornographic and pedophilic
“Telling people who they can love.”
Fact check: False
“All while making it more difficult for you to vote.”
Fact check: Absolutely false
Then, quick cut to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris walking at the White House. Yellow, warm hues for the ad now. Ah, leadership. Safety.
They hug people. This is nicely done. The music gets more uplifting.
“When I ran for president four years ago, I said we’re in a battle for the soul of America.”
You are in a battle for the soul of America? That’s the other side, bub.
“And we still are.”
“The question we face is whether in the years ahead, we have more freedom or less freedom. More rights or fewer.”
“I know what I want the answer to be and I think you do too.”
OK, he’s really trying to sell you.
“This is not a time to be complacent.”
The music swells and several different – weird similar photos of Biden at a podium in front of the White House flash.
And that’s when Biden says, “That’s why I’m running for re-election.”
Nice timing. Excellent execution.
The music goes lower. There’s a house with worn siding. Ooh, we’re about to see images of people fallen on hard times.
Is Biden going to start talking about Scranton? Because Scranton hates him.
No, they just hint but stay away from that.
“I know America.”
“I know we’re good and decent people.”
Blue collar workers and black people on the screen now.
Are we sure this is not an ad for, um, Trump?
“I know we’re still a country that still believes in honesty and respect. And treating each other with dignity.”
Quick flashback of Biden walking with Obama at the White House. Yes, this is how the public used to think of Biden.
“That we’re a nation where we give hate no safe harbor. We believe that everyone is equal, that everyone should be given a fair shot to succeed in this country.”
And now the video cuts to Ketanji Brown Jackson. Interesting. The first black woman on the Supreme Court, who doesn’t know what a woman is, who got there not on her merit but because of her race.
“Every generation of Americans have gotten to the moment where they have to defend democracy.”
Again, this is not an ad for Trump? Are we sure?
“Stand up for our personal freedom. Stand up for our right to vote and our civil rights.”
Biden marching with civil rights leaders. Now, fireworks. That’s a nice touch. Music picks up the beat, a guitar. It’s rock ‘n roll time.
“We, the people, will not be silenced.”
Biden interacting with voters. A lot of black and brown people. Hugging a black kid. Ok, some white people pop into view.
“So if you’re with me, go to JoeBiden.com and sign up.”
“Let’s finish this job, I know we can. Because this is the United States of America. And there is nothing, simply nothing we cannot do if we do it together.”
And it ends with “Let’s finish the job” written on screen.
Let’s finish the job… of gaslighting! And lying!
This is a lot of lying packed into three minutes.
“Let’s finish the job.” This ad is so slick that Biden says that phrase like he used to work in the auto factories in Pennsylvania and Delaware. When the truth is that for most of his life, “Let’s finish the job” for Biden meant passing bills and making speeches in D.C., buying a lot of nice houses and cars, enriching his extended family, and most importantly, getting re-elected.
So how does that phrase work?
This is an ad that’s based in Biden’s Scranton to Delaware roots, filled with a mid-Atlantic to Northeast sense of place. And this ad would only make sense if Biden was in fact standing for a working class who was oppressed by powerful forces, dealing with constant chaos and danger, and have found safety in the Biden administration’s policies.
But he’s not. The actually oppressed working class, the people who lost jobs when he cancelled Keystone, whose workplaces have become unbearable because of “equity” and endless racial politics, whose families are in danger because of illegal immigrants — are powerless.
This ad is simultaneously plucked from the imagination of the working class and talks over them, silencing them. They and Biden both know Biden caused these problems, and both also know they can’t do anything about it.
Fascism at its most mature.
The crucial part of this ad that allows it to make that overarching lie is Jan. 6, a source of embarrassment, endless legal troubles, and pain for not only MAGA and Republicans, but for this entire country. That’s why the Jan. 6 images were on screen so early, because that violence did happen, whether it was provoked or not.
That kernel of truth that what happened on Jan. 6 was bad, whatever the facts are, allows all the other lies to fall into place.
And that’s how Biden has co-opted Trump’s message with his first campaign ad for 2024.
Now imagine Trump saying these words instead:
“Freedom. That’s been the work of my first term. To fight for our democracy. To protect our rights. To make sure that everyone in this country is treated equally. And that everyone is given a fair shot at making it. But you know around the country, [liberal] extremists are lining up to take on those bedrock freedoms.”
“When I [was] president four years ago, I said we’re in a battle for the soul of America. And we still are. The question we face is whether in the years ahead, we have more freedom or less freedom. More rights or fewer. I know what I want the answer to be and I think you do too. This is not a time to be complacent.”
“That’s why I’m running for re-election. I know America. I know we’re good and decent people. I know we’re still a country that still believes in honesty and respect. And treating each other with dignity. That we’re a nation where we give hate no safe harbor. We believe that everyone is equal, that everyone should be given a fair shot to succeed in this country.”
“Every generation of Americans have gotten to the moment where they have to defend democracy. Stand up for our personal freedom. Stand up for our right to vote and our civil rights.”
“We, the people, will not be silenced.”
“So if you’re with me, go to [DonaldTrump.com] and sign up.”
“Let’s finish this job. I know we can. Because this is the United States of America. And there is nothing, simply nothing we cannot do if we do it together.”
Sounds a lot more truthful, doesn’t it?