Avlon Condemns ‘Gnashing Of Teeth’ After Biden Speech

News & Politics

CNN’s John Avlon approached Tuesday’s so-called reality check on New Day claiming to be a man of data as he defended President Biden’s recent speech denouncing “MAGA Republicans.” Yet, as Avlon lamented the “gnashing of teeth” from Republicans in response, Avlon again claimed Republicans are more extreme than Democrats.  

Avlon was not thrilled with a New York Times poll that showed that 69 percent of both parties believe democracy is in great danger. Such subjective polling questions are no substitute for data, “Really? Is the best we can do to find the facts the really the equivalent of an emoji shrug?”

For Avlon, history began in 2020, “Because for all our descent into partisan polarization over decades, our fundamental faith in American democracy as opposed to effectiveness or fairness was never really in question until we had a president who refused to recognize the reality of election results resulting in an attack on our Capitol.”

After citing another poll, this one showing that only 33 percent of Americans want Donald Trump to run again, Avlon shifted to Biden’s speech, “But somehow despite all of this, the outrage du jour was directed at President Biden’s speech on defending democracy in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Now, there was gnashing of teeth around the bizarre lighting and the presence of marines in the background, but the main GOP objection was that Biden was demonizing, quote, ‘half of America.’ Now, here’s what the president actually said.” 

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The clip showed Biden claiming that “not even a majority of Republicans are MAGA Republicans,” but Avlon naturally omitted the part of Biden’s speech were he also went after generic GOP policy, such as being pro-life. He also declined to call out his colleagues who have defended Biden by also seeking to expand the definition of extremist Republican to cover basic conservative policy.

Returning to the idea of extremists, the pseudo-scientific Avlon used the Washington Post’s Phillip Bump’s definition extremist Republican, “Now, here are the criteria, they reject the 2020 election results, embrace candidates who also reject the results, approve of the Capitol Riot, and finally, they’re willing to consider violence as a political tool … that’s just over 18% of all American adults.”

To find out how many Democrats are extremists, an honest fact-checker would ask how many Democrats reject some combination of 2000, 2004, and 2016 while approving of political violence.

However, Avlon is not an honest fact-checker, so he used DSA membership as his measuring stick instead, “as for that inverse perception of the Democratic Party being dominated by socialists, well, for what it is worth, the Democratic Socialists of America, the group which boasts Bernie Sanders and AOC, claims only 92,000 members, which translates to roughly .03 percent of America.”

The idea that only .03 percent of Americans are left-wing extremists is so absurd you have to wonder if Avlon actually believes it.

This segment was sponsored by Cadillac.

Here is a transcript for the September 6 show:

CNN New Day with John Berman and Brianna Keilar

9/6/2022

7:57 AM ET

JOHN AVLON: You don’t want to over index a single bad headline, but this one really got me: “Parties agree on U.S. crisis, but not cause.” Now, this front page article from New York Times went on to explain that 69 percent of both Democrats and Republicans agree that our democracy is in danger of collapse. That’s according to a new Quinnipiac poll. Now, this is a rare point of bipartisan agreement it would seem, but when it comes to establishing the reason for the widespread concern, well, that’s when the wheels come off. As the article states, “one side blames former President Donald J. Trump and his ‘MAGA Republicans’ while the other fingers President Biden and the ‘socialist Democrats.’”

Really? Is the best we can do to find the facts the really the equivalent of an emoji shrug? Obviously not. Because for all our descent into partisan polarization over decades, our fundamental faith in American democracy as opposed to effectiveness or fairness was never really in question until we had a president who refused to recognize the reality of election results resulting in an attack on our Capitol and the reason this isn’t in the rear view mirror, is because Trump’s election lies have metastasized inside a core portion of the Republican Party and Trump remains a favorite to win his party’s next presidential nomination. Even as Quinnipiac finds that just 33% of Americans overall would like to see Trump run. 

But somehow despite all of this, the outrage du jour was directed at President Biden’s speech on defending democracy in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Now, there was gnashing of teeth around the bizarre lighting and the presence of marines in the background, but the main GOP objection was that Biden was demonizing, quote, “half of America.” Now, here’s what the president actually said. 

JOE BIDEN: Not every Republican, not even a majority of Republicans are MAGA Republicans. Not every Republican embraces their extreme ideology… blind loyalty to a single leader and a willingness to engage in political violence is fatal to democracy… I’m asking our nation to come together, unite behind the single purpose of defending our democracy regardless of your ideology. 

AVLON: Now, what we need most and have least right now is perspective on our politics. And that’s why I was glad to see a typically thoughtful analysis from the Washington Post’s Philip Bump who set about trying to find exactly how many Americans fit the criteria for extremist MAGA Republicans. Now, here are the criteria, they reject the 2020 election results, embrace candidates who also reject the results, approve of the Capitol Riot, and finally, they’re willing to consider violence as a political tool. 

Now, we all have seen polling how 60% to 70% of Republicans believe the election lies, but here is one thing to remember, just 28% of Americans identify as Republicans according to a recent Gallup survey, so even if 66% of Republicans believe that Biden is not a legitimate president, as of July CNN poll found, that’s just over 18% of all American adults. 

And what about the 41% of Americans who say they’re independent voters? Well, even if you add in the one-third of independents who lean Republican, you’re still talking about a decidedly minority opinion. But, whichever way you look at it, support for the positions is small. Because even fewer folks say they would support election deniers or approve of the Capitol Riot or think that political violence can somehow be justified. 

Which leads you to the data driven conclusion this is not remotely half the country we’re talking about, it is more like 10% of the country that hold these kind of extremist positions. That’s still a lot, but they are decidedly outliers, far from the American mainstream and as for that inverse perception of the Democratic Party being dominated by socialists, well, for what it is worth, the Democratic Socialists of America, the group which boasts Bernie Sanders and AOC, claims only 92,000 members, which translates to roughly .03 percent of America. 

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