On key issues, a struggling Biden embraces Trump

Former President Trump’s remarks at a recent rally in Florida weren’t so much ideological as they were simple common sense. 

“We need to secure the border and fix the immigration system. It’s not only the right thing to do — it’s the economically smart thing to do. Let’s get it done once and for all!” 

“Our schools are open. Let’s keep it that way. Our kids need to be in school.”

“We should all agree the answer is not to defund the police. It’s to fund the police. Fund them! Fund them! Fund them with the resources and training — resources and training they need to protect our communities!”

“There’s something happening in America. Just look around, and you’ll see an amazing story — the rebirth of pride that comes from stamping products ‘Made in America,’ the revitalization of American manufacturing.”

“Companies are choosing to build new factories here when just a few years ago, they would have gone overseas. That’s what is happening.”  

It’s hard to see how there can be much partisan division about those remarks. Who isn’t for fixing the border and immigration system? More than two million migrants entered the country illegally in 2021. Border officials are overwhelmed. This cannot continue.  

On schooling and educating our children, it’s obvious that kids need to be in class in person. Many teacher unions opposed reopening for the better part of 2021, even after it was scientifically proven that schools harbor some of the lowest rates of COVID-19 transmission and are safe as a whole for students and teachers alike. Remote learning has had devastating effects on kids’ learning, particularly at younger levels. Let’s hope we never have to return to such a scenario again.  

Fund the police? Absolutely. That’s simple pragmatism. Murders hit a 25-year high in 2021. Sixteen cities set homicide records. Defunding is not an option, nor is “reallocation.” Just ask New Yorkers, who saw then-Mayor Bill de Blasio reduce funding for their police force by $1 billion. In a related story, major crimes are up 38 percent thus far this year. 

And who isn’t for a pro-America manufacturing policy? That’s a staple from Trump’s 2015-2016 campaign. Given China’s increasing influence, building products here at home is as important as ever.  

But as much as these statements about fixing the border and opening schools and funding the police and bringing manufacturing jobs back home sound like Trump, they actually belong to President Biden.

Biden 2.0 made his debut at the State of the Union on Tuesday. 

It was this Biden, currently stuck in the high 30s and low 40s in recent approval polls while the insidious Russian invasion and the resulting catastrophe in Ukraine dominate the headlines, who finally broached the idea of funding the police after remaining silent on the issue during last year’s address to a joint session of Congress and at his inauguration. But fixing lax bail laws or pressuring district attorneys to enforce the laws on the books don’t appear to be on the docket. 

He also went full-Trump about fixing the border, albeit without reinstalling a crucial “remain in Mexico” policy (which requires that asylum seekers be sent back to wait in Mexico while their cases are processed in the U.S.). 

The 46th president also talks about keeping schools open. This should have happened a year ago. Biden and Democrats are proving beyond a reasonable doubt that they can read polls and election results, especially Glenn Youngkin’s unlikely win in Blue Virginia, when the rookie candidate won in no small part because of his support for parental choice in education.

“Made in America” is also something most Americans support, but Biden’s solution around inflation was really one for the ages. 

“We have a choice,” he said during the State of the Union. “One way to fight inflation is to drive down wages and make Americans poorer. I have a better plan to fight inflation. Lower your costs, not your wages.” 

Wow. Why didn’t any American companies think of this solution sooner? Of course, Econ 101 teaches that costs and wages go hand in hand. If inflation is high, as it is now, many companies have no choice but to pass the cost back to consumers or to cut wages or employees.

This president has never run a business. It clearly shows. So this appears to be the pivot by the president and by Democrats, at least rhetorically, that this party will attempt to make heading into the midterms. Their plan is to sound like Trump on crime, the border, schools and manufacturing.  

But the American people aren’t suckers. They know empty rhetoric when they hear it. 

In a related story, Republicans lead Democrats by 7 points on the generic ballot in a new ABC News-Washington Post poll. The last time a Democratic president faced that kind of deficit in his first term was Barack Obama in 2010. He was polling much higher at the time (52 percent) than Biden is now (41.6 percent in the RealClearPolitics average) and still lost 63 seats.  

Republicans need to flip just five seats to take back the House and win a net-gain of one in the Senate to regain power in both chambers. 

And if you think the Squad wing of the Democratic Party will accept all this fund-the-police talk, think again. Here’s Rep. Cori Bush’s (D-Mo.) logic on the issue. “Defund the police. Invest in our communities,” was her message after the State of the Union. 

Biden’s rhetorical move to common sense is a matter of too little, too late. But the decision to echo Trump, the man he defeated in 2020 by claiming to be his opposite, is a plot twist few saw coming. 

Joe Concha is a media and politics columnist.

Tags Barack Obama Bill de Blasio Cori Bush defund the police Donald Trump Glenn Youngkin Glenn Youngkin Joe Biden Presidency of Donald Trump Presidency of Joe Biden state of the state address trumpism

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