Apr 3, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Dystopian split-screen: Trump claims "bloodbath" as Biden seizes on abortion

Trump

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

President Biden and former President Trump are painting increasingly dystopian portraits of their rival's second term, sounding the alarm over two issues — abortion and immigration — they each want to define the election.

Why it matters: Both Biden and Trump are deeply unpopular. But they boast decisive polling advantages in two of the country's most salient debates. This week, they're intensifying efforts to wage the 2024 campaign on their party's home turf.

  • For Trump, that means a relentless focus on "migrant crime" and new rhetorical stunts aimed at spotlighting the border crisis.
  • For Biden, it means a surge in messaging around Florida's strict new abortion law and Trump's potential support for a national abortion ban.

Zoom in: Trump's campaign appearances Tuesday underscored the degree to which illegal immigration has subsumed virtually every other policy issue in his platform.

  • In Grand Rapids, Michigan, Trump titled his campaign event "Biden's Border Bloodbath" and warned that the country will "cease to exist" if he doesn't win in November.
  • In Green Bay, Wisconsin, Trump claimed the Treasury "will be raped, plundered, and robbed bare to pay for welfare, free health care, housing, food stamps, Medicaid and countless other public benefits" for migrants.

The Trump-controlled Republican National Committee also launched a website Tuesday called BidenBloodbath.com that tracks crimes allegedly committed by migrants.

  • "Our favorite new term — 'migrant crime.' It's a new category of crime," Trump declared at his rally in Green Bay.
  • Many studies have shown that immigrants are less likely to commit violent crimes than U.S.-born citizens, according to AP.

Meanwhile: Biden and his top surrogates have mobilized in force after Florida's Supreme Court cleared the way Monday for a six-week abortion ban to take effect and green-lit an abortion rights measure for November's ballot.

  • After ambitiously declaring that Florida was now "winnable" due to abortion rights, the Biden campaign began airing a new ad highlighting Trump's history of boasting about his role in overturning Roe v. Wade.
  • "Donald Trump is directly to blame for the fact that abortion has now been effectively banned across the entire Southeastern United States," Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez told reporters Tuesday.

The big picture: It's no coincidence that immigration and abortion rights rank as two of the top issues for swing voters — especially suburbanites, who defected from Trump in large numbers in 2020.

  • Pro-abortion rights measures have won every time they've been on the ballot since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022, even in red states like Kansas.
  • Nearly 7 in 10 voters now disapprove of Biden's handling of the border, according to a March AP-NORC poll, with a growing number also voicing concern about undocumented immigrants committing crimes.

What they're saying: "You know, the suburban housewives actually like Donald Trump. You know why? Because I'm the one that's gonna keep them safe," Trump mused in Michigan.

Zoom in: Both sides have relied on emotional anecdotes to advance their political arguments.

  • In Grand Rapids, Trump campaigned on the killing of 25-year-old Ruby Garcia by an undocumented immigrant who had been deported during his administration.
  • First lady Jill Biden invited Texas mother Kate Cox, who was forced to leave the state to obtain an abortion for a non-viable pregnancy, as her guest at the State of the Union.

What to watch: Activists in two key battlegrounds — Arizona and Nevada —announced Tuesday they've exceeded the signature threshold necessary to get abortion rights measures on the ballot in their states.

Go deeper