PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - SEPTEMBER 01: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers a primetime speech at Independence National Historical Park September 1, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. President Biden spoke on “the continued battle for the Soul of the Nation.” Alex Wong/Getty Images/AFP == FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==

Suddenly there is an election campaign. Yet again. It’s only been a year and a half since Donald Trump left the White House and Joe Biden moved in. And yet the two men are already fighting a kind of long-distance duel.

On Thursday evening, the US President appeared in Philadelphia, the city considered the birthplace of American democracy. For Biden, the perfect backdrop to talk with a lot of pathos about the dangers for that very democracy.

These dangers, he made clear, emanated from the increasingly extreme part of the Republican Party that is spreading the lie about the stolen presidential election. Biden, who was supposed to be there to bring the deeply divided country back together, is no longer beating about the bush hereabouts.

He accuses Trump and his “MAGA Republicans” of wanting to take the country back to a time when there was neither freedom of choice nor the right to privacy. They would endanger democracy and encourage political violence.

Nine weeks before the midterms, Biden sheds his bipartisanship and calls things by their proper name. This is important and probably overdue, but his attempt to exempt more moderate conservatives from this criticism is also correct.

He can work with them. “We (Americans) aren’t like that!” he says.

The truth is, a large portion of Republicans feel the same way these days. But not all of them. That’s why Biden hasn’t attacked all of the Republican Party’s 74 million voters, as right-wing conservatives are now claiming against their better judgment.

Further polarization would benefit no one but Trump. He will soon provide the President with an answer to his speech: 160 kilometers to the northwest, Trump will make his first public appearance since the FBI raid on Saturday – also in the swing state of Pennsylvania. The election campaign is on.