"No billionaire should pay less tax than a firefighter!" Joe Biden, campaigning without really being campaigned for 2024, continued Monday to grind a social discourse supposed to seduce the white and popular electorate that he missed in 2020.
Since the beginning of his term, the 80-year-old Democrat has told the same anecdotes of his childhood in a middle-class family in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
But since his State of the Union Address to Congress on February 7, interpreted as an informal campaign launch, Joe Biden has driven the point home.
The course of his speeches -- like Monday before a meeting of the first union to support him in 2020, the International Association of Fire Fighters -- is now almost immutable.
First there is the obligatory reference to his father, presented as the voice of hard-working and proud America, who told him: "Joey, a job is more than a pay slip, it's a question of dignity", recalled the president Monday in front of an audience conquered in advance.
"It's being able to look your child in the eye and tell him, without lying: Everything is going to be fine, my darling", he had summed up before Congress, again a formula that has been repeated many times since.
Also often comes the description of the no-frills house of his childhood, three bedrooms for the parents, the four children and the grandfather, brandished as a certificate of belonging to the middle class.
In his speeches, Joe Biden now insists on tax justice, with a mandatory reservation in the land of free enterprise: "I'm a capitalist, you want to make a lot of money, go ahead, but pay something" to the taxman, he said on Monday.
"You know what the tax rate is (billionaires, editor's note)? Three, T-R-O-I-S percent. Poor people," then quipped the president, who will present his draft federal budget on Thursday, promising once again to raise taxes on the very wealthy.
The Democrat, who "intends" to seek a second term but who is in no hurry to officially launch his campaign, has a specific electorate in mind: the white working class, those who have not studied superior.
Joe Biden, elected in 2020 thanks to the support of the African-American electorate and educated America, knows he has a lot to do. A recent Washington Post/ABC poll shows that only 31% of uneducated voters are happy with his economic policies, compared to 50% of educated voters.
In 2016 as in 2020, about two-thirds of white, non-educated voters voted for Donald Trump -- who is already campaigning for 2024.
The Democratic president is therefore now emphasizing the most concrete subjects to try to reverse the trend a little.
To Americans who find it difficult to understand his major infrastructure reforms, support for purchasing power or energy transition, the most powerful head of state in the world speaks at length about the state of the roads, the bank overdraft fees and the cost of insulin.
Aware that for nearly 20 years, older white voters have voted Republican, Joe Biden also emphasizes the old-age insurance system (Social Security), the health insurance plan reserved for seniors (Medicare) and about his plans to fight cancer.
He regularly accuses the right of wanting to cut into these social systems, embarrassing a Republican party historically hostile to state interventionism in the economy, but which sees the danger for its electoral base coming.
Donald Trump felt it. Saturday, before the annual high mass of American conservatives gathered near Washington, the former president did not dwell on economic and social subjects, sticking to his speech on the decline of America, that he would be alone able to stop.
But the former businessman now presents himself as a defender of old-age insurance and senior health insurance schemes, which allows him in the process to crush certain competitors for the Republican nomination, supporters of a line more liberal economy.
07/03/2023 07:23:00 - Washington (AFP) - © 2023 AFP