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Over the past week, Biden has repeatedly referred to his political adversaries as “ultra-MAGA,” referring to former President Trump‘s “Make America Great Again” 2016 slogan.
The label has quickly been embraced by the right from lawmakers to the former president himself.
But according to The Washington Post, the “ultra-MAGA” messaging came from a six-month research project from the liberal group Center for American Progress Action Fund and headed by top Biden aide Anita Dunn.
The polling and focus group research by Hart Research and the Global Strategy Group found that ‘MAGA’ was already viewed negatively by voters — more negatively than other phrases like ‘Trump Republicans,’” the Post reported Friday.
“In battleground areas, more than twice as many voters said they would be less likely to vote for someone called a ‘MAGA Republican’ than would be more likely. The research also found that the description tapped into the broad agreement among voters that the Republican Party had become more extreme and power-hungry in recent years.”
CAP Action Fund president and executive director Navin Nayak told the Post, “All of that extremism gets captured in that brand,” adding the “versatile epithet” applies to every political issue including abortion and climate change.
“We are not trying to create a new word. This is how they define themselves,” Nayak said.
Critics mocked the research that went into Democrats’ branding efforts on social media.
“‘Ultra Make America Great Again’ is supposed to help… Democrats?” Washington Examiner reporter Jerry Dunleavy asked. “Anyway, congrats to the consultants who were able to cash checks for this.”
“Psaki said yesterday Biden came up with this all by himself though,” radio host Dana Loesch pointed out, referring to comments outgoing White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said asserting the “ultra-MAGA” talking point was a Biden original.
“What is wrong with the Democratic establishment? They think every problem can be fixed by spending money on consultants and better messaging, while completely resisting substantive changes,” RealClearInvestigations senior writer Mark Hemingway reacted.
“If this took Biden 6 months it’s no surprise the Afghanistan withdrawal went as it did,” Free Beacon writer Drew Holden quipped.
“Maybe it would have been better if Democrats had instead spent those six months preventing American children from going hungry because we are out of formula,” former Trump aide Stephen Miller tweeted.
Last week, Biden debuted the term while attacking conservatives broadly following the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that signaled the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
“This MAGA crowd is really the most extreme political organization that’s existed in American history, in recent American history,” Biden said to reporters on Wednesday, declaring a policy proposal released by Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., the “ultra-MAGA agenda.”
Biden renewed the “ultra-MAGA” messaging on Tuesday during remarks about the soaring inflation.
“Look, the bottom line is this- Americans have a choice right now, between two paths, reflecting two very different sets of values,” Biden said.
“My plan attacks inflation and grows the economy by lowering costs for working families, giving workers well deserved raises, reducing the deficit by historic levels and making big corporations and the very wealthiest Americans pay their fair share. The other path is the ultra-MAGA plan put forward by congressional Republicans to raise taxes on working families, lower the income of America workers, threaten sacred programs Americans count on like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and give break after break to big corporations and billionaires just like they did the last time they were in power.”
He also used the focus group lingo at a big-money Democratic fundraiser in Chicago.
The White House was quickly on board with the president’s new messaging with Psaki declaring it “the president’s phrase,” with Biden giving MAGA “a little extra pop.”
Psaki told reporters, “Whether it’s tomorrow or in days and weeks ahead… you will all continue to hear him talk more about his concern about ultra-MAGA Republicans and their agenda.”
Journalists were immediately skeptical by the new slogan, some even comparing to the Biden administration’s “Putin’s Price Hike” messaging attempting to blame soaring inflation and gas prices on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine despite how both were surging months before the conflict began.
Critics in the media suggested the “Putin’s Price Hike” push was not resonating with Americans as polls show voters placing more blame for the economic woes on Biden’s policies than Russia.