‘He’s been sucking up to dictators all over the world’

The question isn’t whether Democrats in Georgia will vote for President Joe Biden, either on Tuesday or in November. It’s how many.

Biden swung through Georgia on Saturday to collect the endorsements of political action committees representing Asian, Black and Latino voters, another stop on the march to the Democratic nomination.

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Biden opened with a swing at Donald Trump, using Georgia congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene as the bat, noting how he had kicked off his campaign here in her company, along with that of dictatorial Hungarian prime minister Victor Orbán.

“He called him a fantastic leader. Seriously,” Biden said. “He’s been sucking up to dictators all over the world.”

Biden’s only meaningful competition in Georgia for the nomination is ennui and “no preference”. But Biden is likely to clinch the nomination not in Georgia, which holds its primary on Tuesday, but in states voting on 19 March. Nonetheless, the pivot to the general election has already begun.

“He’s building on the momentum from the Thursday speech, which was a grand slam home run,” said David Brand, a Democratic operative and Atlanta political figure. “Republicans are in a pure panic. They can’t attack him on issues. So, they’re now making up lunacy about him being, you know, on Red Bull or something. That’s their best attack line: because he drinks a Red Bull. That puts him in line with every law school student in the country.”

Biden, accompanied by his wife Jill and both of Georgia’s Democratic senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, held the rally at the trendy Pullman Yards facility on Atlanta’s east side before a crowd of about 500 people. The assembly was composed mostly of party insiders and Democratic elected officials. The location of the rally was closely held before the event, ostensibly to avoid disruptions by protesters. One man was escorted from the room as he shouted pro-Palestinian slogans.

The president’s address continued themes raised in the State of the Union address, calling for reinstating Roe v Wade as the law of the land on abortion, increasing taxes on billionaires and a call for civic values.

“We see a future where we define democracy and defend it, not diminish it,” Biden said. “We must remain the beacon of the world.”

Biden said nothing about the war in Gaza, nor did he raise the question about funding for Ukraine’s resistance to Russia.

His supporters and endorsers regularly juxtaposed the consequences of a Trump win in 2024, trying to evoke the political intensity that led to surprise wins in Georgia in 2020 and 2022.

Ossoff regularly name-checked DeKalb County, the location of Pullman Yards and the locus for the political changes that swept him, Warnock and Biden into power. “The stakes could not be higher,” Ossoff said. “The future of voting rights, and civil rights and women’s rights is on the line.”

Three political action committees offered their endorsement to Biden on Saturday: Collective PAC, which backs Black candidates; the Latino Victory Fund; and the AAPI Victory Fund, a political action committee for empowering Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.

“They must be re-elected. Failure is not an option,” said Shekar Narasimhan, chairman and founder of the AAPI Victory Fund. “We will do everything in our power to make this happen.”

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