Freddy Gray Freddy Gray

How the Democrats went from hope to fear

Kamala Harris, vice president of the United States (Credit: Getty images)

‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself,’ said Franklin D. Roosevelt, famously. The Democrats of 2024 have a rather different message for the world: Be Very Afraid!

‘I’m scared as heck,’ said vice president, Kamala Harris, yesterday, as she discussed the ‘crazies’ who might put Donald Trump back in the Oval Office. Not for the first time, Harris was echoing the sentiments of Michelle Obama, the former First Lady: ‘I am terrified,’ Michelle told a podcast last week. ‘We cannot take this democracy for granted.’

We’re a long way from 2008, when Michelle’s husband won the White House by appealing to the opposite emotion. ‘We choose hope over fear,’ said Barack Obama, back then. Today, his party opts for anxiety over optimism.

Biden’s latest speeches have been full of dire prophecies about what four more years of Trump might bring

In the summer, Obama reportedly told Joe Biden over lunch that the White House was not nearly anxious enough about the very real possibility that Trump might win again. Biden appears to have taken the point on board. Rather than trying to convince Americans that, despite the rising cost of everything, they were all much better off, he went back to his 2020 modus operandi: warning the public that Trump is a wannabe dictator who wants to kill democracy. His latest speeches have been full of dire prophecies about what four more years of Trump might bring. The Donald ‘will fundamentally alter the character of our nation,’ he says. 

Trump dabbles in dread, too, of course. In fact, as the increasingly inevitable Biden vs Trump 2024 rematch shapes up, both campaigns are essentially making the same pitch: vote for me, or the country and the world are finished. 

‘I don’t know if you feel it,’ said Trump in December.

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