President Joe Biden wants to flip the Republican script by positioning himself as a defender of “freedom,” going on the offensive with a word and concept that conservatives have often invoked to pressure the President and his party.
Biden’s campaign launch video was titled “Freedom.” In that video, Biden referred to “freedom” or “freedoms” six times in three minutes.
The campaign’s first official announcement used those words seven times.
The President’s team is using the term aggressively to link Republicans, and particularly his political nemesis, former President Donald Trump, to the January 6 Capitol riot, which some GOP members were reluctant to condemn while highlighting conservatives’ efforts to limit abortions and squash dissidents in state houses.
One Democratic strategist opined that the strategy Biden’s team is using is “pretty clear,” noting that it was to show that the GOP is “coming after our freedoms and our ability to do X, Y and Z,” which the strategist acknowledged are typically Republican talking points.
The attempt puts Biden in direct competition with Trump, former Vice President Pence, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R), all of whom frequently speak of freedom even though their views on the country differ greatly from Biden’s.
Biden embraced the idea of freedom and presented himself in the early days of his 2024 campaign as the candidate most prepared to defend basic freedoms.
The President and his campaign have highlighted Republican attacks on reproductive rights through state-level abortion bans since the conservative Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The campaign spoke about the right of Americans to be free from gun violence and the threat of mass shootings — changing the administration’s perception that Democrats want to block individual gun rights.
To showcase Biden as a defender of the basic pillars of democracy, the President’s campaign commercial, which begins with footage of January 6, includes violent images of Trump’s supporters storming the Capitol to prevent Congress from taking the final step of confirming the 2020 election results.
Biden and his campaign are trying to define conservative culture wars like book bans and laws targeting sex-affirmation therapy as a freedom issue, believing it will resonate with Americans who believe the GOP-backed laws are overreaching.