In a show of party unity, the Democratic National Committee jump-started its midterm campaign in the Washington, D.C. suburbs Thursday evening, showcasing gubernatorial nominee Wes Moore and some of Maryland’s political heavy-hitters alongside President Joe Biden.

Party members took the opportunity to celebrate the Biden Administration’s greatest hits, like his approval of the landmark Inflation Reduction Act and his recent action on federal student loan forgiveness, but didn’t miss a chance to lambaste Republicans, many of whom remain loyal to former President Donald Trump and his policies.

Here are five key take-aways from Thursday night:

Biden: ‘I don’t respect these MAGA Republicans’

Biden repeatedly targeted Republican opponents and former President Donald Trump’s brand of politics, at one point saying his wing of the party was akin to “semi-fascism.”

“What we’re seeing now, is either the beginning or the death knell of an extreme MAGA philosophy,” Biden said at Richard Montgomery High School. “It’s not just Trump, it’s the entire philosophy that underpins the — I’m going to say something, it’s like semi-fascism.”

The man who campaigned on his decades of experience and ability to bridge a gap between the White House and the Republican leaders in Congress lamented there “are not many real Republicans any more.”

He said he respects moderates like Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan as a “Republican you can deal with.”

”I respect conservative Republicans,” the president said. “I don’t respect these MAGA Republicans.”

One example he offered was around abortion access.

Biden told his Maryland audience Republicans will try to pass a nationwide ban on abortion if they win back the U.S. House and U.S. Senate.

”If MAGA Republicans win control of Congress, it won’t matter where you live,” Biden said, perhaps a reference to Maryland’s support of the right to an abortion. The state legislature last session expanded the number of health care providers who can offer the procedure. The state expects an influx of patients from states with laws against abortion.

Biden gets personal

More than 3,600 supporters showed up to the event in a county home to the largest voting block in the state — and one that gave Biden more than four times the number of votes it gave Trump in 2020.

With about 1,200 people spilling into two overflow rooms instead of making it into the gymnasium, Biden made surprise visits to both rooms.

“I just came down to say thank you,” Biden told one of the secondary crowds. “You’re very smart being in an overflow crowd because by the time I start to speak, you can leave.”

After a bit more back-and-forth with the audience, he posed for a group photo, bending down so everyone could fit in the frame.

After the main event in the gymnasium, Biden and Moore dropped down from the stage into the crowd and spent a while meeting voters and taking selfies as the crowd swarmed around them.


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Wes Moore onDan Cox: ‘A threat to the Constitution’

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Wes Moore drew a stark contrast between him and his opponent, conservative Republican Dan Cox — painting the race as one where not just policies, but also democratic norms, are on the ballot.

“He is a threat,” Army veteran Moore said after calling out Cox by name. “A threat to the Constitution that I swore to defend.”

The Democrat highlighted Cox’s strict anti-abortion views, his denial that the 2020 presidential election was fair and accurate, and his record of organizing buses to Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021 for President Donald Trump’s rally at the White House ahead of violence at the Capitol.

Patriotism, Moore said, is leading soldiers overseas in the military, as he did in Afghanistan — not attempting an insurrection. (Cox has said he did not participate in the violence at the Capitol.)

As he’s said since the day after he was named the Democratic nominee, Moore asked his supporters not to “underestimate” Cox even though many believe he stands little chance of winning over voters statewide in November.

“Maryland, this is our time. This is our decade. This is when Maryland is going to lead,” Moore said.

Here’s what still makes Biden angry

In his speech, Biden went on at length about the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) as he celebrated its provisions, while lambasting Republicans who all voted to oppose the bill.

He boasted about holding “big pharma” accountable, and he got visibly angry when talking about a provision eliminated at the last minute that would have capped all monthly insulin costs at $30 for diabetics.

“It affects thousands of people,” Biden yelled. “They ripped that out of the bill. But we’re coming back.”

Congressman Jaime Raskin quotes Frederick Douglass

U.S. Rep. Jaime Raskin, who represents Montgomery, Carroll and Frederick counties, gave an impassioned speech Thursday evening about the history and policy of the Democratic Party, receiving praise from Biden and U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. At points, applause from the audience was so loud parts of his speech were barely audible.

Raskin received national acclaim as he led Congress through Trump’s impeachment proceedings mere days after the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection and only weeks after the death of his son, Thomas Bloom Raskin. He currently sits on the House January 6th Select Committee.

Offering attendees a brief history lesson, Raskin noted that Frederick Douglass was born into slavery nearly an hour away from where he stood, and escaped to become “a great freedom fighter, a great abolitionist.”

Quoting Douglass, Raskin said, “If there’s no struggle, there’s no progress.”

“‘And the struggle may be moral, it may be physical — it may be moral and physical — but there must be struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand’ — a message to you from the 19th century from a great Marylander,” Raskin said to an explosive crowd.

©2022 Baltimore Sun. Visit Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

©2022 Baltimore Sun. Visit Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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