WASHINGTON — The Biden campaign is preparing to target Republican economic positions, views it expects to play a large role in the second Republican presidential debate in California on Wednesday.
President Joe Biden has frequently touted "Bidenomics" — the word the administration embraced that encompasses his economic agenda — but more recently he has highlighted what he calls "MAGAnomics," having used the word for the first time, according to a senior White House official, to target Republican economic policies this month. The term is a play on "MAGA," the abbreviation for Trump's "Make American Great Again" slogan, which his followers have embraced.
The Biden campaign plans to portray "MAGAnomics" as harming middle-class families, senior citizens and American manufacturing, all while helping the "super wealthy," "Big Pharma" and China, according to campaign advisers.
The willingness of "MAGA Republicans" to force a government shutdown "unless Donald Trump gets his way, shines a brighter spotlight on economic impacts of the extreme MAGAnomics agenda," campaign advisers said in an email last week. "On the debate stage, Republicans will have to answer whether they’re on the side of the MAGA shutdown or with the American people."
In a call Wednesday with reporters, a Biden campaign National Advisory Board member, Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., argued that "MAGAnomics" would be "devastating" to Nevadans.
"There's no question that Bidenomics is working for Nevadans. They can feel it in their everyday lives," Titus said. "They talk about it at the supper table, and they certainly don't support the MAGAnomics of getting rid of these benefits that have helped them to recover."
But polling shows high dissatisfaction with the economy. A NBC News poll this month found that 59% of voters disapproved of Biden’s handling of the economy, a number that has remained relatively consistent over the past two years. A slightly lower 56% of voters disapprove of his overall job performance.
In a call with reporters Monday, Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison said in response to a question about Biden’s polling numbers that Democrats must not only “educate the American people about what we have done to deliver for them” but also “give the American people a sense of the other side, what they have failed to do in order to create and deliver more jobs, what they have failed to do in order to fill potholes and to build infrastructure.”
In a call with reporters Wednesday, a campaign co-chair, Rep. Verónica Escobar, D-Texas, said in response to a question about Biden's polling that polls are "a quick snapshot in time" and that the country is still "quite a ways off" from the 2024 election.
Titus said: "You talk about infrastructure, people's eyes glaze over. That's why we've got to go out there, — and the president is doing a good job of that, and we all did it in our districts throughout August — and say, 'This bridge was created, this road was paved, this water purification system was set up, all using those recovery dollars.'"
The debate comes mere days before a possible government shutdown, and the campaign has already seized on a social media post in which the Republican front-runner, former President Donald Trump, wrote in all caps, "Unless you get everything, shut it down!"
Biden campaign spokesperson Kevin Munoz said the post showed Trump directing the GOP to "kneecap essential services hardworking Americans rely on every day" because he thinks it will benefit him politically.
"House Republicans are gleefully letting Donald Trump function as their chief political strategist at the expense of American families," Munoz said in a statement. "Trump’s behavior is shameful, but unsurprising from someone who has demonstrated he couldn’t care less about the American people."
The debate also comes on the heels of back-to-back visits to Michigan, where United Auto Workers union members are striking — Biden on Tuesday and Trump on Wednesday. Biden became the first sitting president to appear on a picket line during his visit, and he frequently asserts that he is the most pro-union president in U.S. history.
The DNC criticized Trump in a news release the day Biden visited the picket line, saying his “strong record of delivering for auto workers will stand in stark contrast with former President Donald Trump’s string of broken promises, shuttered factories, and lost jobs.”
The DNC is also running billboards Wednesday and Thursday in metro Detroit criticizing Trump's economic policies, and it argued in a news release that Trump failed autoworkers.
“What did Trump say should have happened to the car industry in 2008-2009,” said a billboard with a picture of Trump. “‘You could have let it go bankrupt.’” Another billboard refers to the former president as “Donald ‘Hoover’ Trump.”
Trump has shot back at Biden’s visit to the UAW picket line, calling it a “stunt” to “distract and gaslight the American people from his disastrous Bidenomics policies that have led to so much economic misery across the country.”