In a fiery primetime speech, President Joe Biden launched an all-out assault on former President Donald Trump and “MAGA Republicans,” saying they “pose a clear and present danger” to American democracy.

“It’s in our hands, yours and mine, to stop the assault on American democracy,” Biden said Thursday from Independence Hall in Philadelphia, urging Americans to reject fear and violence. “I believe America is at an inflection point, one of those moments that determine the shape of everything that’s to come after.”

Biden’s call for Americans to stand for democracy over extremists is the same message he ran and won on in the 2020 presidential election. The White House’s hope is that it will remain a winning strategy two months out from the midterm elections which will decide who controls the House of Representatives and Senate. The trip marks his second visit to the critical swing state in three days.

“For a long time, we’ve reassured ourselves that American democracy is guaranteed. But it is not,” Biden said. “We have to defend it. Protect it. Stand up for it. Each and every one of us. That’s why tonight I’m asking our nation to come together and unite behind the single purpose of defending our democracy regardless of your ideology.”

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on what he calls the “continued battle for the Soul of the Nation” in front of Independence Hall at Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia, September 1, 2022.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

Democrats’ odds of keeping their majority in both chambers have brightened in recent weeks despite the mixed economic signals, as Republicans continue to receive blowback from the Supreme Court’s abortion decision overturning Roe v. Wade and investigations into Trump persist. An NBC News poll released last week found a majority of American voters, 58%, disapprove of the Dobbs decision and nearly the same amount, 57%, believe the investigations into Trump should continue.

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 “MAGA forces are determined to take this country backwards,” Biden said. “Backwards to an America where there is no right to choose, no right to privacy, no right to contraception, no right to marry who you love.”

Since Trump entered office, Biden has said the country faces “a battle for the soul of the nation.” The significance of the threat to democracy is underscored by Biden’s choice of venue: Independence National Historic Park where the Constitution was penned. The same NBC News poll found that “threats to democracy” has overtaken the cost of living as the most pressing issue on voters’ minds.

Biden has amped up his criticism of Republicans recently, seeking to position Democrats as an alternative to a party led by extremists. Last week he referred to Republicans as “semi-fascist” for staying loyal to the former president. His remarks come against the backdrop of Trump’s legal woes following the FBI raid on his Florida home of Mar-A-Lago where the former president is accused of mishandling classified information.

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on what he calls the “continued battle for the Soul of the Nation” in front of Independence Hall at Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia, September 1, 2022.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

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