(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden warned Democratic donors of the high stakes in the midterm elections this November, predicting “a really difficult two years” if Republicans retake the House and the Senate.
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“I don’t want to start from scratch,” he said in a speech at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Boston on Monday night. “We can’t afford to lose this off-year election.”
Biden has stepped up his public appearances as he maneuvers to capitalize on recent legislative and policy victories and translate them into gains for Democrats at the ballot box come November. He has also turned up the rhetoric against former President Donald Trump and his supporters, calling the midterms a referendum on democracy.
“Extreme Republicans are going to take us backwards, MAGA Republicans full of hate,” Biden said, a reference to the former president’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.
Biden also assailed Trump in an address at a DNC meeting last week for promising pardons for rioters who attacked the US Capitol, if he were re-elected. Biden refused to name Trump in that speech, instead calling him “the last guy.”
Trump has said he would issue pardons and apologies for people convicted of crimes over the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection. He also continues to assert that he won the 2020 race and has endorsed candidates in Senate and House races who have repeated his false claims of election fraud.
Read more: Biden Rallies Democrats With Attack on Trump and His Supporters
With less than 60 days until the midterm elections, the current and former presidents have been battling it out as if they were on the ballot this fall. Trump has shadowed Biden’s appearances in Pennsylvania and is holding a rally in Ohio on Saturday, following Biden’s visit to the state last week.
The 2022 election season kicked off with Republicans poised to take control of at least the House thanks to voter outrage over high prices. But it’s instead becoming another contest between the two men.
Biden’s sharp attacks on Trump and his supporters, who he accuses of threatening American democracy, have broken through with an increasing number of voters, even as some vulnerable Democratic incumbents have occasionally fretted about the president’s tone.
Roughly two in 10 registered voters in an August NBC News poll named “threats to democracy” as the most important issue facing the country, more than the 16% who named cost of living. It’s an improbable turn of events, as economic issues are typically top of mind for voters.
Read more: Biden, Trump Battle Like It’s 2020, Shaking Up Midterm Campaign
The federal investigation into classified documents kept at Trump’s Florida estate and his impending decision on whether to seek the 2024 Republican nomination have also riled Democratic voters.
Still, the White House has to confront the issue of inflation, which is at a 40-year high. And the shift in political dynamics does not mean Democrats will keep control of either congressional chamber.
The Cook Political Report, an election-forecasting publication, still rates the Senate a tossup and projects Republicans taking a narrow majority in the House. Pluralities of voters in opinion polls continue to rank the economy and inflation among their most important concerns.
The Monday evening fundraiser, which was hosted by Jonathan Lavine, co-managing partner of Bain Capital, raised $2 million for the DNC and the Democratic Grassroots Victory Fund, according to the DNC.
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