Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech, like his entire presidency, was an astonishingly cynical performance. There were plenty of hollow boasts about things Biden hasn’t actually achieved, but he went further than the usual partisan spin. He conveyed, to a primetime audience, a Potemkin village version of his administration’s goals. While he did plug gun control and an anti-police bill, there were few mentions of identity or race. He mostly talked about economics. In fact, he presented himself as a champion of national revitalization.
The first rule of writing is to know your audience. Biden’s State of the Union, like all of his speeches, was nothing impressive rhetorically, but it likely succeeded in its basic goal, which was to mislead disengaged and uninformed white voters. Biden was far more candid about his agenda at a Martin Luther King breakfast last month, where he bragged breathlessly about all of the wonderful things his administration is doing to steer favors and tax money specifically to black voters.
“My Justice40 Initiative means 40 percent of all of the benefits in this infrastructure law, which is over $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years, those benefits of certain federal investments flow directly to disadvantaged and underserved communities,” Biden said.
If a politician were to talk this way about helping low-income whites, he would be called a racist. But Biden just kept going and going.
Biden can rile up his party’s black base like the best of the demagogues, and then get on a stage, like he did last week, and sound like George Bailey during primetime. How does he get away with it? Obviously, media bias is a big factor. Biden has never, since his 2020 campaign, received the scrutiny he deserves on a whole host of issues, from his age to his sleazy influence peddling. Remember the classified document “scandal?” But left-wing media bias is a built-in feature of American politics, and it hasn’t done much to help Kamala Harris or Pete Buttigieg, neither of whom has a realistic chance of replacing Biden in 2024.
Many on the Right, including myself, have clearly underestimated Biden’s surprising strength as a political force. Biden is not the brightest bulb, but he is a skilled liar. His rustic, “regular guy” shtick, which he continues to display even after getting rich from selling out his country to China, is an underappreciated asset for an increasingly elitist and deranged Democratic Party. And in an America that is rapidly becoming hostile to an aging, white population, Biden’s old and familiar visage is a useful tool to mollify and distract. No president in American history has done more to pursue racially based outcomes. But for many of Biden’s oblivious white voters, he evokes the dream of a prosperous, harmonious, and “color blind” America.
So, who is the real Joe Biden? He’s certainly no “nationalist,” as some commentators have been quick to concede. Biden’s superficial “nationalism” is inseparable from a racialist agenda that demonizes the country’s core population and which aims to redistribute their wealth. But Republicans can’t rely on the media to let voters know that. What do they plan to do about it?
If Biden is going to run as a fake nationalist, then Republicans would do well to embrace the one figure in American politics who has unapologetically championed American sovereignty: Donald Trump. It is Trump who put border security and deindustrialization on the radar, and it is Trump who sent Washington into a frenzy by rejecting the anti-white consensus that has reigned since the 1960s. There is still a winning formula there, if Republicans are bold enough to try.