President Biden has borrowed a page right out of Vladimir Putin’s playbook. As someone who was raised in the USSR, I am all too familiar with the tactic of divisive, inflammatory rhetoric and scapegoating that the Soviet government used to foment hatred among its own citizens in order to keep permanent control.
As a former DIA intelligence officer who specializes in Russian affairs and Putin’s doctrine, I am stunned at how adept the Democrats have become at Soviet-style tactics.
Unable to control soaring inflation, skyrocketing gas prices and looming shortages of critical items such as baby formula — all the direct result of his administration’s socialist policies — Joe Biden has recently turned to labeling Americans with strong conservative views “ultra-MAGA.”
This new narrative is nothing but a tactic deployed to fracture the GOP’s already waning unity and blame Republicans for America’s economic woes, in the hope of driving more voters into the ranks of the Democratic Party ahead of the midterm elections.
“This MAGA crowd is really the most extreme political organization that’s existed in American history,” Biden said to journalists at the White House in early May. He then doubled down on his attack on conservatives by calling the policy proposal by Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), who runs the GOP Senate campaign arm, the “ultra-MAGA agenda.”
“It’s extreme, as most MAGA things are,” punctuated Biden, using a catchphrase coined by woke campaign consulting outfits that spent six full months searching for words that make Americans the angriest. Apparently, White House strategists have concluded that the “term ‘MAGA’ is repellent to swing voters.”
This is not the first time Democrats have employed anger, nastiness, and Soviet-style disinformation to sway American voters. In September 2016, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton infamously called Trump supporters a “basket of deplorables” as she was busy playing the FBI, through her campaign attorney, to create an “October surprise” by orchestrating a litany of false evidence that Donald Trump was compromised by the Russian government.
These tactics would make Putin and Stalin proud. The Soviets always stoked hatred among the Russians and people of other ethnicities who inhabited the Soviet Union. Jews were always the scapegoats for everything wrong in the USSR, which eventually collapsed under the weight of the utopian socialist idea of equality of outcome, no matter the individual effort.
Anti-Semitism then was so ingrained and condoned — and even encouraged — by the Soviet government that Russians were unaware they were being anti-Semitic. The same applied for hatred of other ethnicities. When my sister and I had spats growing up, her biggest insult to me was “Jewess” (Yevreyka) and mine for her was Kalbitka, a derogatory term for a Kazakh. Although our family is ethnically Russian, my sister and father look distinctly Asian.
Vladimir Putin recently revived the Stalin-esque idea of “enemies within,” amid his brutal war on Ukraine, to quash any anti-war and anti-government sentiment among the Russians. During his pro-war rally in March, the former KGB spymaster gave a shocking speech that harkened back to the Red Terror times of Russia’s history. Putin called for a “self-cleansing” of Russia from pro-Western “scum and traitors,” identifying those who don’t support his war as “the fifth column.”
Putin called out those Russians who prefer the Western lifestyle as likely traitors who must be turned over to authorities. Back in the USSR, those of us who were listening to the Beatles or surreptitiously reading Sidney Sheldon or George Orwell or lucky enough to wear Levi’s jeans, which cost our parents their monthly salary, were always on the KGB’s radar for possible “treason.”
But, just like the USSR collapsed and Hillary Clinton lost the election to the “MAGA King,” Donald Trump, Joe Biden’s cheap trick from Putin’s playbook will almost certainly backfire. Many patriotic, conservative Americans are proud to be “deplorable” and “ultra-MAGA,” and they will vote to prove it.
Rebekah Koffler is the president of Doctrine & Strategy Consulting, a former DIA intelligence officer, and the author of “Putin’s Playbook: Russia’s Secret Plan to Defeat America.”