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Friday Talking Points -- Dark Brandon Rips Into MAGA Republicans

[ Posted Friday, September 2nd, 2022 – 15:43 UTC ]

The White House seems to be having just a wee bit too much fun with the whole "Dark Brandon" meme. Because they actually set the stage for it last night, in Philadelphia.

For those of you who have no idea what we're talking about, from the original "Let's go Brandon!" insult (the NASCAR crowd was actually chanting something quite a bit ruder...) sprang a pushback character called "Dark Brandon." The character looks like he was created for a graphic novel, but neither the graphic novel or the character actually exist in any meaningful way, they are merely a theme. Joe Biden is transformed into "Dark Brandon," often pictured with ruby-red glowing eyes that occasionally shoot laser beams at his opponents. The whole thing is reminiscent of Dwayne Johnson's hilarious parody of a "larger, and more violent" Barack Obama on Saturday Night Live -- "The Rock Obama."

Last night, President Joe Biden gave a speech where the backdrop -- Independence Hall, in Philadelphia -- was lit with rather ominous red, white, and blue lighting, but the only patch of lighting seen in most of the video backgrounds was what can only be called blood-red.

Biden eyes did not, in actuality, glow red at any point. Nor did he fry anyone with laser-vision. But it was impossible not to make the connection, for anyone who has come across the Dark Brandon meme.

All of this was, however, quite appropriate. Joe Biden gave the most forceful speech of his entire presidency last night, which (for some reason) none of the broadcast networks aired live. Which was a shame, since it was such a good speech.

Biden laid out, in no uncertain terms, the fact that what he called "MAGA Republicans" are a dire threat to American democracy. Which is true, since they are. Here is how Biden defines who he is talking about:

MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution. They do not believe in the rule of law. They do not recognize the will of the people. They refuse to accept the results of a free election. And they're working right now, as I speak, in state after state to give power to decide elections in America to partisans and cronies, empowering election deniers to undermine democracy itself.

All of which is undeniably true. But it was astonishing to hear Biden call them out on their anti-democratic and pro-political-violence positions. But we're going to have much more on the speech later in the program, so we'll just end here with a hearty recommendation to take the 24 minutes and watch Biden's full speech -- it's definitely worth it.

It should be noted that Joe Biden is on the upswing. His poll numbers, while still in the low-to-mid 40s, have improved roughly five percentage points over the past month or so -- which is a pretty steep upward climb. The Democrats' chances for actually picking up seats in the Senate are good, and they're now even getting their hopes up that they can retain control of the House, too.

But the poll that probably spurred Biden to give the speech, though, was one from NBC which showed "Threats to democracy" was the top voter concern heading into the midterms. This came in ahead of "Cost of living" and "Jobs and the economy."

Biden's choice of venue was no accident, and not just because of the historical significance of Independence Hall to American democracy, or because it is a favorite site for Biden to speak at. He's paying a lot of attention to Pennsylvania, because the GOP candidates for governor and U.S. Senator there both fit (for different reasons) into Biden's MAGA Republicans definition. Mehmet "Dr." Oz is so unqualified it's laughable (not to mention the whole carpetbagger thing), and Doug Mastriano could best be described politically as "somewhat to the right of Torquemada." Pennsylvania is key to both parties' hopes not just for 2022 but also for 2024. Donald Trump will be stumping for the two candidates in Pennsylvania tomorrow night, and Biden is going to make his third recent appearance in the state over the Labor Day weekend, in Pittsburgh.

While Republicans are rending their shirts and decrying Biden for being "divisive" (which is perhaps the most ironic accusation imaginable), none of them have even tried to contradict Biden's basic formulation: MAGA Republicans are anti-democratic. Election-deniers are indeed on the ballot in multiple states, running for offices that would put them in charge of running the 2024 presidential election. That is a threat to democracy, right there.

Senator Lindsey Graham predicted there would be "riots in the streets" if Trump is prosecuted. He notably did not say anything negative about such riots. He didn't condemn them, he didn't say "which of course shouldn't happen" or anything similar. Adapting his capo's mob-boss style, he just mentioned in passing that, you know, if Trump's arrested... riots will happen. Nice democracy you got here... be a shame if anything happened to it....

While longer and longer sentences (the highest being 10 years in prison, to date) are being handed down to the violent January 6th insurrectionists, Donald Trump is out there promising he won't just pardon them but also apologize to them as well. No, really. Trump said: "I will tell you, I will look very, very favorably about full pardons if I decide to run, and if I win. I will be looking very, very strongly about pardons. Full pardons." He's said that before, but this time he went further (during a recent interview):

"I mean full pardons with an apology to many," he told conservative radio host Wendy Bell on Thursday morning. Such a move would be contingent on Trump running and winning the 2024 presidential election.

. . .

Trump, during his conversation with Bell on Thursday morning, also said that he met with some Jan. 6 defendants in his office this week and that he is helping some financially.

"I am financially supporting people that are incredible and they were in my office actually two days ago, so they're very much in my mind," Trump said. "It's a disgrace what they've done to them. What they've done to these people is disgraceful."

A spokesman for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment about how the former president is financially supporting the rioters.

. . .

"They're sick, they don't mind," Trump said. "Some of the legal people on the other side, they're the most coldhearted people. They don't care about families. They don't care about anything."

The former president then launched into a plea that "contributions should be made" to defendants' legal funds, though he did not promote any specific giving channel.

"I'm looking at it very carefully... I've studied cases," Trump said. "We have to do it, because they have some good lawyers, but even [with] the good lawyers... you get some of these judges that are so, so nasty and so angry and mean."

Oh, boo hoo. Let's all have a pity party for the put-upon violent insurrectionists who have to face judges who are "coldhearted" and "so, so nasty and so angry and mean." This too is a direct threat to democracy -- offering pardons to those who have already committed political violence. Biden's points all ring true, don't they? Which is why Republicans want to change the subject from Biden's actual accusations to just about anything else.

One final note on Biden's speech. He seems to have scrapped his initial label for who he is fighting, which we have to say we approve of (since "ultra-MAGA" just didn't really work the way it was supposed to). Simplifying it to "MAGA Republicans" seems like it'll be a better fit.

But since he's already snuck into the story, let's take a quick look at the three-ring Trump Circus this week, before we move on to the awards and a pre-empted talking points segment.

This week, Trump's legal woes got a lot more acute. It's worth remembering, just for the record, that if Trump himself hadn't filed a meaningless lawsuit (designed to do nothing more than stall the process, as Trump is oft wont to do in courtrooms) that none of this week's revelations would have even happened. Trump is suing to have a "special master" appointed to comb through the documents hauled away from his Florida resort, to look for any that are covered by attorney-client privilege and also any that are fancifully covered by the non-existent executive privilege as well (non-existent because he is no longer president and because the documents are moving within the executive branch, while executive privilege has always been used when one of the other two branches of government want to see something).

First, the redacted affidavit used to get a search warrant signed by a federal judge was revealed. It was pretty damning, because it showed everyone exactly how bad the situation had gotten -- Trump had kept hundreds of classified documents that he had stolen on his way out the door, he refused to produce them when asked politely, he refused to produce them even after being subpoenaed, and his lawyer lied that everything had already been returned. So much for his "they could have had them back any time, if they had just asked" defense.

Notably, Trump's Republican apologists got a lot quieter when the affidavit was released, as many obviously realized how serious the situation actually was.

The F.B.I. told the court that a special master was kind of a moot point, since they had already completed their examination of Trump's files -- his lawyers waited too long to file the suit, in other words. Then midweek the Department of Justice filed its responses to Trump's claims, and they were even more damning than the affidavit -- complete with a photograph that is worth at least 1,000 words. Serious lawyers agreed on how damning this all could be for Trump. A few of Trump's former aides helpfully pointed out that this likely wasn't even all of it, that Trump could easily have carted more classified documents to his various other properties (only the Florida resort was searched).

Throughout it all, Trump threw tantrum after tantrum after tantrum after tantrum on his very own social media network. Boo hoo! Let's all have a yuge pity party for the poor, misunderstood Donny!

Meanwhile, conservative media personalities seem to be souring on Trump (which we wrote about earlier in the week). Even Fox News host Steve Doocy was forced to commit an act of journalism this week, when he asked South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem the following:

Ultimately comes down to what [Donald Trump] had, all that secret stuff at Mar-A-Lago. I know his team said that they've declassified it, but that's news to the agencies that those documents belong to and, governor, he had apparently three classified documents in his desk, and as Brian [Kilmeade] detailed, the stuff on the floor, it shows five yellow folders marked top-secret and another says secret SCI, which means sensitive compartmentalized information. Those are the biggest secrets in the world....

Apparently the former president went through them in January. Why wouldn't he say, "You know what? I need to turn that back over." Why would he have all that stuff at Mar-A-Lago?

Why indeed.

That is indeed the big unanswered question.


Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week

Before we get to this week, an update from last week is necessary. Last Friday, we awarded the MIDOTW to an unknown person. We now seem to have a name, so we've got to give credit where credit is due:

The White House also recently hired Megan Coyne as deputy director of platforms in its Office of Digital Strategy. Coyne garnered widespread attention among Democrats for bringing humor and punchiness to a New Jersey state-run account with tweets that went viral.

It was unclear whether she was behind Thursday's tweets, but on her Twitter account Thursday she shared a screenshot showing "The White House" was a top trending topic on Twitter with a smiley face.

Other news outlets don't run the caveats and just state that Coyne was the one responsible for those "The White House" tweets that skewered hypocritical Republicans on their opposition to student loan relief. Which is good enough for us. Belated congratulations, Megan Coyne!

OK, on to new business.

You would think, with all the other praise we're heaping on him today, that President Joe Biden would be the shoo-in for our Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week, but in the end we decided to just give him an Honorable Mention, because there was one Democrat who was clearly more impressive than just one speech (no matter how Dark Brandon-ey it was).

Representative-Elect Mary Peltola won her race (obviously, from that honorific) for the lone House seat from Alaska. And she beat Sarah Palin to do it.

That's not just impressive, that is downright stunning. This seat hasn't been held by a Democrat in 50 years. And the Republicans really should have held onto it.

But they didn't. In a race that seems destined to become a poster child (or, at the very least, "the definitive textbook example") of the concept of ranked-choice voting, Peltola beat Palin by three points (51.5 to 48.5) due to picking up just enough of the second-choice votes from the other Republican on the ballot, Mark Begich. Peltola led Palin by nine points in the first round of voting, but fell far short of the 50-percent-plus-one majority she needed. So Begich was dropped, and his voters' second choices were tallied. Palin got around half, about one-fifth didn't vote for anyone as second choice (and were thus not counted in this round), but the rest went to Peltola. She got just enough of these crossover votes to emerge the victor.

I say this is a "textbook case" or "poster child" because it proves the theory the proponents of ranked-choice voting have long adhered to: the system allows moderates who normally wouldn't have a chance to beat political extremists. That is exactly what happened. Palin was really the original MAGA personality, after all. She made ignorance popular in the Republican Party, thus paving the path for Donald Trump to follow. But because she is so extreme, a huge number of Republican voters chose a Democrat rather than vote for her. The system worked precisely as designed.

The Washington Post had a good rundown on the significance of this victory:

Crucially, it's a pickup for Democrats, given the seat was previously held by the late longtime Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska). Democrats have also now overperformed their 2020 margins in all five special elections held since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June. And Peltola's overperformance is the biggest yet.

Peltola turned a state Donald Trump won by 10 points in 2020 into a three-point win -- a shift of 13 points. That’s more than Democrats' previous biggest special election overperformance, in Nebraska’s 1st District shortly after the Roe decision.

And while there are some caveats, this one stings due to one specific characteristic: It was a trial run for a dynamic Republicans are confronting in the general election -- divisive and extreme candidates who might alienate moderate voters. This is a particular problem in key Senate races in Arizona, Ohio and Pennsylvania, where Trump-backed nominees are far underperforming where they should be in what appear to be relatively neutral environments.

Of course, it may not turn out to be the harbinger it seems, since only two states (Alaska and Maine) have the ranked-choice system in place (although Nevada will vote on adopting the concept in November). And Peltola may not even last that long in the House, as the same three candidates are all on the November ballot for the election to fill this seat for a full term beginning in January (this was a special election made necessary by the death of Don Young). Republican voters, faced with the reality that their second choices do in fact matter a great deal, may decide on different strategies in the rematch -- Palin could still wind up sitting in that seat, in other words.

Even so, nothing can detract from the impressiveness of watching Palin get beat by a Democrat. Someone caught her unguarded reaction after hearing the news that she had lost, and it is deliciously schadenfreude-y:

The former governor questions whether second and third-place votes are "gonna decide who's gonna win?" and adds an indignant "Really?!"

"Alaskans want Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi?" she asks rhetorically (since neither of them was on the ballot).

It's a shame the "REALLY!?! With Seth And Amy" bit from Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update" isn't still around, to have some fun with that one.

(Ahem. Where were we?)

Mary Peltola's win was impressive. It can actually be measured, in a way. The amount of land that Democrats represent in the House just doubled. Alaska is reportedly 104 percent of the area that 200-plus other House Democrats currently represent (many Democratic districts are very small and densely populated, due to being in cities). Sure, it's a meaningless statistical bit of trivia, but it's still a fun one, you'll have to admit.

In any case, we join all other Democrats in welcoming Mary Peltola to the United States House of Representatives and congratulate her on beating Sarah Palin with this week's Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award.

[Since the results were only announced days ago, Mary Peltola does not yet have an official House contact page. But since the election results are now final, we instead can now link to her campaign website. So if you'd like, congratulate Representative-Elect Mary Peltola on her campaign contact page, to let her know you appreciate her efforts.]


Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week

It's been one of those glorious weeks where we simply could not find a single Democrat out there who disappointed us. Congress is still off on vacation, Trump's follies took up a huge chunk of attention, and throughout it all nobody got caught with their hand in the cookie jar or with their pants metaphorically down.

So unless someone's got a nominee we haven't considered (down in the comments), we're just going to put the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week back on the shelf for another seven days.


Friday Talking Points

Volume 675 (9/2/22)

Instead of attempting our own talking points this week, we're just going to print the full transcript of the Dark Brandon speech. It was officially titled: "The Continued Battle For The Soul Of Our Nation," but from now on we're just going to call it "the Dark Brandon speech" in the hopes it catches on.

A warning before you begin: this is a longish bit of text, so if you'd rather you can watch the video instead. But you should take the time to either read or watch it, because it is worth it. Biden pulls no punches and minces no words. We did attempt to cut this down into only the important paragraphs, but we got fully halfway through the speech without cutting a single paragraph, so we just gave up.

So here it is, Joe Biden's speech in front of a blood-red-lit Independence Hall. Or, y'know... the Dark Brandon speech.

[Editorial Note: Transcript taken from the official White House site, edited to remove a bazillion unnecessary paragraph breaks and to remove "(Applause)" notations. But all the wording (including Biden's occasional verbal stutters) has been left untouched.]


President Biden's "The Continued Battle For The Soul Of Our Nation" speech
-- September 1, 2022, in front of Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

I speak to you tonight from sacred ground in America: Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This is where America made its Declaration of Independence to the world more than two centuries ago with an idea, unique among nations, that in America, we're all created equal. This is where the United States Constitution was written and debated.

This is where we set in motion the most extraordinary experiment of self-government the world has ever known with three simple words: "We, the People." "We, the People."
These two documents and the ideas they embody -- equality and democracy -- are the rock upon which this nation is built. They are how we became the greatest nation on Earth. They are why, for more than two centuries, America has been a beacon to the world.

But as I stand here tonight, equality and democracy are under assault. We do ourselves no favor to pretend otherwise. So tonight, I have come this place where it all began to speak as plainly as I can to the nation about the threats we face, about the power we have in our own hands to meet these threats, and about the incredible future that lies in front of us if only we choose it.

We must never forget: We, the people, are the true heirs of the American experiment that began more than two centuries ago. We, the people, have burning inside each of us the flame of liberty that was lit here at Independence Hall -- a flame that lit our way through abolition, the Civil War, Suffrage, the Great Depression, world wars, Civil Rights. That sacred flame still burns now in our time as we build an America that is more prosperous, free, and just. That is the work of my presidency, a mission I believe in with my whole soul.

But first, we must be honest with each other and with ourselves. Too much of what's happening in our country today is not normal. Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.

Now, I want to be very clear very clear up front: Not every Republican, not even the majority of Republicans, are MAGA Republicans. Not every Republican embraces their extreme ideology. I know because I've been able to work with these mainstream Republicans. But there is no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven, and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans, and that is a threat to this country.

These are hard things. But I'm an American President -- not the President of red America or blue America, but of all America. And I believe it is my duty -- my duty to level with you, to tell the truth no matter how difficult, no matter how painful.

And here, in my view, is what is true: MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution. They do not believe in the rule of law. They do not recognize the will of the people. They refuse to accept the results of a free election. And they're working right now, as I speak, in state after state to give power to decide elections in America to partisans and cronies, empowering election deniers to undermine democracy itself.

MAGA forces are determined to take this country backwards -- backwards to an America where there is no right to choose, no right to privacy, no right to contraception, no right to marry who you love. They promote authoritarian leaders, and they fan the flames of political violence that are a threat to our personal rights, to the pursuit of justice, to the rule of law, to the very soul of this country.

They look at the mob that stormed the United States Capitol on January 6th -- brutally attacking law enforcement -- not as insurrectionists who placed a dagger to the throat of our democracy, but they look at them as patriots. And they see their MAGA failure to stop a peaceful transfer of power after the 2020 election as preparation for the 2022 and 2024 elections. They tried everything last time to nullify the votes of 81 million people. This time, they're determined to succeed in thwarting the will of the people.

That's why respected conservatives, like Federal Circuit Court Judge Michael Luttig, has called Trump and the extreme MAGA Republicans, quote, a "clear and present danger" to our democracy.

But while the threat to American democracy is real, I want to say as clearly as we can: We are not powerless in the face of these threats. We are not bystanders in this ongoing attack on democracy. There are far more Americans -- far more Americans from every -- from every background and belief who reject the extreme MAGA ideology than those that accept it. And, folks, it is within our power, it's in our hands -- yours and mine -- to stop the assault on American democracy.

I believe America is at an inflection point -- one of those moments that determine the shape of everything that's to come after. And now America must choose: to move forward or to move backwards? To build the future or obsess about the past? To be a nation of hope and unity and optimism, or a nation of fear, division, and of darkness?

MAGA Republicans have made their choice. They embrace anger. They thrive on chaos. They live not in the light of truth but in the shadow of lies. But together -- together, we can choose a different path. We can choose a better path. Forward, to the future. A future of possibility. A future to build and dream and hope. And we're on that path, moving ahead.

I know this nation. I know you, the American people. I know your courage. I know your hearts. And I know our history. This is a nation that honors our Constitution. We do not reject it. This is a nation that believes in the rule of law. We do not repudiate it. This is a nation that respects free and fair elections. We honor the will of the people. We do not deny it. And this is a nation that rejects violence as a political tool. We do not encourage violence. We are still an America that believes in honesty and decency and respect for others, patriotism, liberty, justice for all, hope, possibilities. We are still, at our core, a democracy.

And yet history tells us that blind loyalty to a single leader and a willingness to engage in political violence is fatal to democracy. For a long time, we've told ourselves that American democracy is guaranteed, but it's not. We have to defend it, protect it, stand up for it -- each and every one of us. That's why tonight I'm asking our nation to come together, unite behind the single purpose of defending our democracy regardless of your ideology.

We're all called, by duty and conscience, to confront extremists who will put their own pursuit of power above all else. Democrats, independents, mainstream Republicans: We must be stronger, more determined, and more committed to saving American democracy than MAGA Republicans are to -- to destroying American democracy.

We, the people, will not let anyone or anything tear us apart. Today, there are dangers around us we cannot allow to prevail. We hear -- you've heard it -- more and more talk about violence as an acceptable political tool in this country. It's not. It can never be an acceptable tool. So I want to say this plain and simple: There is no place for political violence in America. Period. None. Ever.

We saw law enforcement brutally attacked on January the 6th. We've seen election officials, poll workers -- many of them volunteers of both parties -- subjected to intimidation and death threats. And -- can you believe it? -- FBI agents just doing their job as directed, facing threats to their own lives from their own fellow citizens. On top of that, there are public figures -- today, yesterday, and the day before -- predicting and all but calling for mass violence and rioting in the streets. This is inflammatory. It's dangerous. It's against the rule of law. And we, the people, must say: This is not who we are.

Ladies and gentlemen, we can't be pro-ex- -- pro-ex- -- pro-insurrectionist and pro-American. They're incompatible. We can't allow violence to be normalized in this country. It's wrong. We each have to reject political violence with -- with all the moral clarity and conviction this nation can muster. Now. We can't let the integrity of our elections be undermined, for that is a path to chaos.

Look, I know poli- -- politics can be fierce and mean and nasty in America. I get it. I believe in the give-and-take of politics, in disagreement and debate and dissent.
We're a big, complicated country. But democracy endures only if we, the people, respect the guardrails of the republic. Only if we, the people, accept the results of free and fair elections. Only if we, the people, see politics not as total war but mediation of our differences.

Democracy cannot survive when one side believes there are only two outcomes to an election: either they win or they were cheated. And that's where MAGA Republicans are today. They don't understand what every patriotic American knows: You can't love your country only when you win. It's fundamental.

American democracy only works only if we choose to respect the rule of law and the institutions that were set up in this chamber behind me, only if we respect our legitimate political differences.

I will not stand by and watch -- I will not -- the will of the American people be overturned by wild conspiracy theories and baseless, evidence-free claims of fraud. I will not stand by and watch elections in this country stolen by people who simply refuse to accept that they lost. I will not stand by and watch the most fundamental freedom in this country -- the freedom to vote and have your vote counted -- and -- be taken from you and the American people.

Look, as your President, I will defend our democracy with every fiber of my being, and I'm asking every American to join me.

[A protestor disruption can be heard.]

Throughout our history, America has often made the greatest progress coming out of some of our darkest moments, like you're hearing in that bullhorn. I believe we can and we must do that again, and we are.

MAGA Republicans look at America and see carnage and darkness and despair. They spread fear and lies –- lies told for profit and power. But I see a very different America -- an America with an unlimited future, an America that is about to take off. I hope you see it as well. Just look around.

I believed we could lift America from the depths of COVID, so we passed the largest economic recovery package since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. And today, America's economy is faster, stronger than any other advanced nation in the world. We have more to go. I believed we could build a better America, so we passed the biggest infrastructure investment since President Dwight D. Eisenhower. And we've now embarked on a decade of rebuilding the nation's roads, bridges, highways, ports, water systems, high-speed Internet, railroads. I believed we could make America safer, so we passed the most significant gun safety law since President Clinton. I believed we could go from being the highest cost of prescriptions in the world to making prescription drugs and healthcare more affordable, so we passed the most significant healthcare reforms since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act. And I believed we could create -- we could create a clean energy future and save the planet, so we passed the most important climate initiative ever, ever, ever.

The cynics and the critics tell us nothing can get done, but they are wrong. There is not a single thing America cannot do -- not a single thing beyond our capacity if we do it together. It's never easy. But we're proving that in America, no matter how long the road, progress does come.

Look, I know the last year -- few years have been tough. But today, COVID no longer controls our lives. More Americans are working than ever. Businesses are growing. Our schools are open. Millions of Americans have been lifted out of poverty. Millions of veterans once exposed to toxic burn pits will now get what they deserve for their families and the compa- -- compensation. American manufacturing has come alive across the Heartland, and the future will be made in America no matter what the white supremacists and the extremists say.

I made a bet on you, the American people, and that bet is paying off. Proving that from darkness -- the darkness of Charlottesville, of COVID, of gun violence, of insurrection -- we can see the light. Light is now visible. Light that will guide us forward not only in words, but in actions -- actions for you, for your children, for your grandchildren, for America.

Even in this moment, with all the challenges we face, I give you my word as a Biden: I've never been more optimistic about America's future. Not because of me, but because of who you are. We're going to end cancer as we know it. Mark my words. We are going to create millions of new jobs in a clean energy economy. We're going to think big. We're going to make the 21st century another American century because the world needs us to.

That's where we need to focus our energy -- not in the past, not on divisive culture wars, not on the politics of grievance, but on a future we can build together. The MAGA Republicans believe that for them to succeed, everyone else has to fail. They believe America -- not like I believe about America. I believe America is big enough for all of us to succeed, and that is the nation we're building: a nation where no one is left behind.

I ran for President because I believed we were in a battle for the soul of this nation. I still believe that to be true. I believe the soul is the breath, the life, and the essence of who we are. The soul is what makes us "us." The soul of America is defined by the sacred proposition that all are created equal in the image of God. That all are entitled to be treated with decency, dignity, and respect. That all deserve justice and a shot at lives of prosperity and consequence. And that democracy -- democracy must be defended, for democracy makes all these things possible. Folks, and it's up to us.

Democracy begins and will be preserved in we, the people's, habits of heart, in our character: optimism that is tested yet endures, courage that digs deep when we need it, empathy that fuels democracy, the willingness to see each other not as enemies but as fellow Americans.

[A protestor disruption can be heard.]

Look, our democracy is imperfect. It always has been. Notwithstanding those folks you hear on the other side there. They're entitled to be outrageous. This is a democracy. But history and common sense good manners is nothing they've ever suffered from.
But history and common sense tell us that opportunity, liberty, and justice for all are most likely to come to pass in a democracy.

We have never fully realized the aspirations of our founding, but every generation has opened those doors a little wider to include more people who have been excluded before. My fellow Americans, America is an idea -- the most powerful idea in the history of the world. And it beats in the hearts of the people of this country. It beats in all of our hearts. It unites America. It is the American creed. The idea that America guarantees that everyone be treated with dignity. It gives hate no safe harbor. It installs in everyone the belief that no matter where you start in life, there's nothing you can't achieve. That's who we are. That's what we stand for. That's what we believe. And that is precisely what we are doing: opening doors, creating new possibilities, focusing on the future. And we're only just beginning.

Our task is to make our nation free and fair, just and strong, noble and whole. And this work is the work of democracy -- the work of this generation. It is the work of our time, for all time. We can't afford to have -- leave anyone on the sidelines. We need everyone to do their part. So speak up. Speak out. Get engaged. Vote, vote, vote.

And if we all do our duty -- if we do our duty in 2022 and beyond, then ages still to come will say we -- all of us here -- we kept the faith. We preserved democracy. We heeded our wor- -- we -- we heeded not our worst instincts but our better angels. And we proved that, for all its imperfections, America is still the beacon to the world, an ideal to be realized, a promise to be kept.

There is nothing more important, nothing more sacred, nothing more American. That's our soul. That's who we truly are. And that's who must -- we must always be. And I have no doubt -- none –– that this is who we will be and that we'll come together as a nation. That we'll secure our democracy. That for the next 200 years, we'll have what we had the past 200 years: the greatest nation on the face of the Earth. We just need to remember who we are. We are the United States of America. The United States of America.

And may God protect our nation. And may God protect all those who stand watch over our democracy. God bless you all. Democracy. Thank you.

-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground


25 Comments on “Friday Talking Points -- Dark Brandon Rips Into MAGA Republicans”

  1. [1] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    What did Joe ever do to nascar?

  2. [2] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Yo, CW thanks for reprinting Biden's speech. I like video as much as the next policy wonk, but I prefer reading above all else.

    I like it that you found a transcript source that recorded Joe's verbal missteps. I regard his misspeaking as a good thing: the stuttering guy got so over himself he went and got himself elected ...

    ... and keeps practicing effective premeditated politics against the fascist Repugs. No wonder Elizabeth Miller has been a Joe Groupie like, forever.

  3. [3] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:


    Notice how Michale beat feet? In the course of determining whence I discovered Weigantia (I have just entered my fourth year) I took a peek and he did the same thing most recently...

  4. [4] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Pulled a Jussie Smollett, said that we're all too mean to po' widdle Michale and disappeared before the Blue Tsunami of 2018.

    We won't see the fucker until 2024.

  5. [5] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Because we're about to enjoy an even bigger Blue Tsunami.

  6. [6] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    God love Donald Trump!

    I predict that he will "declare" in September, thus putting the question to Murica:

    Is Joe wrong?

    Do we want a Trumpian future rather than the Constitutional Republic future we've been rolling with?

  7. [7] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    No wonder Elizabeth Miller has been a Joe Groupie like, forever.


  8. [8] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Yes, with this many big wins on the cusp of an election season, one might even be led to conclude that uncle Joe kinda sorta knows what he's doing...

  9. [9] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    It's never a good bet to bet against Joe Biden!

  10. [10] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Tune in tonight for a special tribute to a great Vancouver blues rock musician who succumbed this weekend to COVID-19.

    We still need to be very careful out there and take good care of each other!

  11. [11] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Who's up for a little bluesy rock tonight!?

    I've got some from Hamish John A Macdonald, a much-loved musician from Vancouver who was taken too soon from his family, friends and fans as a result of COVID-19.

    But, when we lose musicians, one saving grace is that their music will live on ...

    Hamish And The Mac - River of Hope

    Hamish and the Mac - Love is a Hunger

  12. [12] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:
  13. [13] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    While listening to a tribute to Hamish A Macdonald earlier today, they played some Rory Gallagher tunes, a favourite artist of Hamish ...

    Rory Gallagher - Live at Montreux

    It has been said that when Jimi Hendrix was asked what does it feel like to be the world's greatest guitar player Jimi said I don't know, you'll have to ask Rory Gallagher.

  14. [14] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    More Hamish A MacDonald ...

    Rescue Me

    Daddy's Little Secret

  15. [15] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    What would a Sunday night around here be without an analysis video by Fil from Wings of Pegasus ...

    Rory Gallagher's Crazy Technique and Vibrato

  16. [16] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:
  17. [17] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Day-yam, Elizabeth I never expected you here last night, it being Labor Day weekend and such.

    So I'll check out your guided tour of the Ham Man, thank you very much.

  18. [18] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Thanks, Caddy.

    I listened to a Nanaimo radio show tribute to the Hambone, as he was affectionately called by some of his friends, but I couldn't find many of the tunes on Youtube.

    Since opening a facebook account during the pandemic lockdowns and becoming a member of the fb group, Vancouver Rock Groups from the 60s to 80s, I have discovered and continue to discover a LOT of great music.

    Vancouver was such a hot spot in the world for music during that era with really great bands playing high school dances and the like and the fabulous club circuit and festivals and be-ins. I often think now that I was born in the wrong province and just about a decade too late. :-)

  19. [19] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Album Samples - Hamish The Mac

    Despite the tune, Pandemic Lies, he was, apparently, fully vaccinated. Which is pretty scary.

  20. [20] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I just bought the cd! :)

  21. [21] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Just learned that the website might not be fully functional at this point as Hamish took care of the mailouts so, just in case anyone here might be interested in purchasing the cd, just hold off on that for a while ... will keep you posted.

  22. [22] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Happy Labour Day, everybody!

  23. [23] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:


    I feel ya on the wrong place (Detroit instead of California) and the decade too late thing. Although growing up across the river from a foreign country was kind of cool. And Motown was in Detroit.

  24. [24] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Well, Kitchener has the biggest Oktoberfest celebration outside of Bavaria ... so, there's that.

    Oh, yeah, and Kitchener Rocks!!!

  25. [25] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    So, there's that on top of that. Heh.

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