Incumbent Leaders Biden, Macron, Sunak Go On Offense

President Biden is going on the offensive against Donald Trump, mirroring similarly hostile campaigns from incumbent leaders in Europe, analysts say. The President’s campaign team repeatedly refers to Donald Trump as a “convicted felon” and is increasing its rhetoric about the apparent threat he poses to American democracy. 

In a recent campaign ad, President Biden’s team invoked the January 6 riots under the caption, “Trump’s ready to burn it all down.” Similarly, a Democrat billboard in Arizona describes the former President as “out for revenge and retribution” and declares him “unfit to serve.” 

In France, President Emmanuel Macron is utilizing comparable tactics. Mr. Macron surprised the continent when he recently called a snap general election after Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party won huge gains in elections to the European Parliament. Ms. Le Pen replied saying she is ready to “exercise power” and “put an end to mass immigration.” 

Commentators say Macron’s campaign has focused on warning the French people to avoid a Le Pen Parliamentary majority rather than persuading them to back his policies. Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire even accused Le Pen of secretly holding “Marxist” ideas that would collapse the French economy. 

In Britain, where the ruling Conservative Party has collapsed in the polls, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told voters that opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer would take the country back to socialist chaos, as witnessed in the 1970s. The Conservatives, furthermore, claim that Starmer intends to abolish the British Royal Family, as well as the UK’s nuclear deterrent. 

During a televised debate, Sunak repeatedly claimed that Labour would raid people’s pensions and impose wide-ranging taxes. “Start saving,” he told the British public. 

Political commentators note that leaders who focus on the negative aspects of their opponents do so because they know they are unpopular and have failed to persuade the electorate of the merits of their policies. Mathieu Gallard of Ipsos says the tactic may backfire. “It doesn’t work well,” he stated.