Monday 4 December 2023

Priebus Rejects ‘Democracy On The Ballot’ Attack on Trump

 The “democracy is on the ballot” line is a weak argument to use against former President Donald Trump, according to a former top GOP official who served in his administration.

Reince Priebus, a Republican National Committee chairman who became Trump’s first chief of staff, rejected the mantra embraced by President Joe Biden during a TV appearance on Sunday.

“I just don’t buy this democracy on the ballot and … all of this nonsense about Trump,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Pressed to explain his view, Priebus referred to Biden’s weak poll numbers ahead of a possible 2024 rematch against Trump, who is facing his own challenges — particularly with a bevy of criminal and civil cases — even as he maintains GOP frontrunner status.

“If democracy was on the ballot, the Democrats wouldn’t be sitting there with a candidate with the worst numbers since they’ve been taking polling,” he said.

Priebus asserted that Trump and former President Barack Obama also faced some “bad” poll numbers, but remained popular within their own parties. By comparison, Priebus noted, Biden is “in the tank” with fellow Democrats.

“How they can claim on one hand democracy is on the ballot and sit there with a historically weak candidate is unbelievable,” Priebus added.

Biden made headlines last year when he declared that “democracy is on the ballot” ahead of the midterm elections, hearkening back to the U.S. Capitol breach on January 6, 2021, and challenges to the 2020 election results by Trump and his allies. He has echoed that sentiment more recently in reference to his own re-election effort while casting his bid as a fight against “Trump and his MAGA Republicans.”

New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, another panelist on “This Week,” suggested the strategy could be sufficient to defeat Trump.

“There are enough independent and swing voters who are concerned about democracy being on the ballot,” she said.

Donna Brazile, a former head of the Democratic National Committee, argued that Biden would do well to keep contrasting himself to Trump.

“I’m glad that they’ve pivoted towards talking about Donald Trump and the future he has painted for all of us as Americans. I hope they continue to draw sharp lines because Joe Biden will need that,” she said.

But Priebus contended that making the focus about Trump is a “big problem” for the Biden team because there are a number of other candidates still in the mix.

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