Rachel Maddow Advises Biden to ‘Absolutely Steal’ Nikki Haley’s Anti-Trump Tactics | Video

Those tactics didn’t work in the Republican primary, but that wasn’t material to the MSNBC host’s point

Rachel Maddow, Alex Wagner and Chris Hayes on the 2024 Election

Rachel Maddow had some surprising advice for President Joe Biden ahead of the general election. The MSNBC host said he should “absolutely steal” from Nikki Haley’s failed Republican presidential primary campaign.

No, she wasn’t arguing that Biden should start telling people that he agrees with her that he is a bigger threat to America than Donald Trump while also pandering to racists. What Maddow suggested is that Haley had some good ideas about how to spotlight how terrible Trump was as president, something she said Biden urgently needs to remind voters of if he wants to win in November.

The advice came during a a special edition of “All In With Chris Hayes” focused on the election, during which Hayes welcomed Maddow and fellow MSNBC host Alex Wagner to discuss.

Of course, one of the topics related to the general election is that Haley suspended her losing primary campaign on Wednesday after Trump’s decisive win in the majority of Republican primaries on Super Tuesday. And while her efforts didn’t work on GOP voters, the MSNBC hosts identified a few things they believe would work on other kinds of voters.

The line of thinking began when Wagner referred to her experience covering the Biden campaign in 2020.

“If you recall, I mean, I followed that. I was on the campaign trail with Joe Biden. There were a lot of really mediocre events, and then there were none,” she said, referring to how most forms of campaigning halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which erupted just as the Democratic primary was winding down.

“And he is not,” Wager said, “like, he is not a great campaigner. He’s been a really effective president.”

“Yes. That’s a good point,” Hayes interjected.

“And the sort of dissonance between those two things needs to be reconciled,” Wagner continued. “In a year when he’s got to be kind of good at — he’s got to be kind of a better campaigner, and he’s got to do something that is incredibly complicated, which is to get America to remember what life is like in the rearview.”

“We are not good at that in this country. We are really good at moving forward, not asking questions about the past, not reconciling the sins and transgressions and faults, and just, go West, young man,” Wagner added.

“But Nikki Haley’s campaign, for all its faults, one of the things she did was, like, cut montages of Trump time and time in Trump’s presidency,” Maddow replied. “To remind people what it was like. “She’s, I mean, I haven’t seen the Biden campaign do that. I did see Nikki Haley do that. She’s out as of today. But that is something they can absolutely steal from her.”

“Because she’s tried to remind people about what the chaos candidate was like and what the chaos presidency was like,” Maddow explained.

“Instagram Reels,” Wagner offered, “of Trump telling people to drink bleach, and just the CDC heads shaking their heads quietly in the press room.

“Yes,” Hayes concurred.

“I mean, it is staggering the mismanagement of the, of one of the most seismically dramatic events in modern American life,” Wagner said.

Hayes for his part said he was “torn” about this. In part, it’s because “we have extinguished 2020 from our memories in many ways because it was traumatic.” But Hayes also argued that elections should be about “the future.”

“And I do think that, like, to go back to what you’re saying about following him on the trail, like, I could tell you the Biden 2020 platform. It was to get COVID under control. It was to then begin bringing the economy out of the depths through investment in the middle class and through an infrastructure investment and to rejoin Paris and invest in clean energy and to restore our relationships worldwide,” he said. “Like, yes, that’s what they did. Like, they said they were going to do it. And they did it.”

“I can’t really tell you right now what the second-term Biden vision looks like yet. And I do think that’s, I mean, when you talk about, like, elections are about the future, right, Americans are very future-oriented people, that to me strikes me, particularly going to the State of the Union tomorrow, which is kind of unveiling,” he added.

Maddow, however, argued that this isn’t necessarily possible given the stakes, particularly the attacks on a whole host of civil and human rights by Republicans and by the conservative bloc on the Supreme Court.

“I think it makes the State of the Union really important, because I do think that it’s always in an election year kind of the kickoff of the incumbent president’s reelection campaign,” she said. “Hearing the positive vision, rather than the, here’s all the reasons you don’t want the Republicans back in the White House again. I think that’s what we’re going to get.”

“And so we will see. But it has to be said that it has been a remarkable few years of Republican policy, and particularly with the Supreme Court, like reproductive rights. Like, what’s the Democratic agenda on reproductive rights? To stop the Republicans from doing more of what they have been doing,” Maddow asserted.

“Really,” she continued, “it’s about trying to stop what the Republicans have done on reproductive rights and what they’re continuing to do, what the Republicans have done and what they’re continuing to do on democracy and the rule of law. But, I mean, there is a lot of stuff in terms of this very unusual Republican Party led by Donald Trump that the Democratic Party now exists to stop,” she said.

“And that’s,” Maddow interjected, “to say we don’t want to radically cashier who we are as a country to become a strongman authoritarian dictatorship.”

You can watch a part of the wide-ranging conversation below right now:


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