President Joe Biden’s Wednesday speech at Union Station in D.C., where he warned of the perils facing U.S. democracy ahead of next week’s midterm elections, just wasn’t forceful enough, according to host Andy Levy on this week’s episode of The New Abnormal podcast.
In his speech, Biden made reference to the hammer attack on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul, last week, warning the country faces escalating threats of political violence. The president also criticized former President Donald Trump for his refusal “to accept the results of the 2020 election.”
But it wasn’t enough, according to Levy and guest host Josie Duffy Rice, who writes about prisons and prosecution at The Unnamed.
“The only quibble I would have with the speech is that it wasn’t forceful enough and I kind of feel like Democrats are not making this argument enough,” Levy says.
“The main thing wrong with this speech is it’s not enough. And the Democrats in general are not doing enough at sounding the alarm bells on this issue. We’re in a new abnormal, dare I say, and we have a party that doesn’t seem all that interested in democracy. We have a candidate in, is it Wisconsin, who is saying that if he wins, Republicans will never lose again in Wisconsin. [Levy is referring to GOP gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels.]
“You have to combat that rhetoric and you have to draw people’s attention to it,” Levy says.
Rice says Democrats have failed where Republicans have blossomed, claiming the speech “also highlights a fundamental problem with the Democratic Party.” Rice claims the right are “organizing, they are electing local public officials who are willing to overturn elections for their preferred candidate. They are mobilizing people to ‘monitor elections.’ I just don’t think narrative is a good enough foe for the war that we’re fighting. You can make the best speech possible, but they’re not occupying the same space you’re occupying. It’s just kind of a lost cause.”
Also on the podcast, Mike Isaac, a technology correspondent for The New York Times, discusses whether Twitter can survive under Elon Musk’s ownership.
“Twitter is probably the most influential social network used by the smallest amount of people on the planet,” Isaac says, citing a leaked internal document that said most people don’t tweet.
“The most active users on the platform tweet three to four times per week once a day. But it has a very outsize influence on society, and things that pop on Twitter trickle down to other networks, whether it’s Facebook, whether it’s Reddit, whether it’s television news, whether it’s radio, whether it’s podcasts.
“It’s in a real weird position where it’s incredibly influential and spreads to everywhere, but also not necessarily used by a lot of people all the time and doesn’t have a hugely active user base. It is both largely influential and also kind of not very important at the same time.”
Isaac said Musk’s attempt to turn Twitter into a subscription-based model “is really hard to do. People don’t like paying for things.”
Then, Matt Gertz, a senior fellow at Media Matters for America, discusses how Republicans twisted the story of Paul Pelosi’s hammer attack from a crime story to a national conspiracy: that the violent assault was the result of some sort of lovers’ spat or falling out.
“This is simultaneously a business strategy, right? It’s a great way to create and keep customers if you tell them that all of your competitors are in league with dark elite cabals. But it is also an effective political maneuver because it keeps you from having your base question the assumptions of the Republican Party and the right-wing movement.”
The Daily Beast