Pete Riehm
Gloom and grift versus good and great
By Pete Riehm
May 29, 2024

More than a few folks complain that politics has become too polarized, and indeed it seems so as differences in conservative and liberal philosophies are practically incalculable and probably irreconcilable. Yet at the same time, Democrat and Republican policies are often almost indistinguishable, prompting allegations of a “uni-party” in Washington. Politicians can be aggravating and amorphous, but the two main party presidential candidates are presenting two distinctly different visions for America, and thereby offering two very different choices.

Both Joe Biden and Donald Trump have records as president that voters can compare, but both gave recent speeches that provide perhaps a deeper insight into their positions in their own words. Biden gave a dark divisive commencement speech at Morehouse College, and Trump gave a bright unifying speech at a rally in the Bronx. Their divergent views of America are quite telling.

Biden believes America is an intrinsically racist nation, stingily withholding democracy from black Americans. He questioned our democracy “if black men are being killed in the streets?” “If a string of broken promises still leaves black communities behind?” His insinuation is that racist Americans, specifically Republicans, want to oppress blacks, but ironically, it’s failed Democrat policies that damages black communities.

By contrast, Trump greeted a diverse crowd as all being patriots. Congratulating the assembled New Yorkers, he said, “We built this city.” He said we New Yorkers have “smarts, grit, and energy,” and he went on to say if New Yorkers can’t fix America, no one can. Trump recognized the people as capable and willing only needing a chance. He said together we can make New York better.

While Trump offered opportunities for all with safer streets, a secure border, and tax cuts, Biden told the Morehouse graduates he would give them more college debt relief, internet access, welfare, and rid them of lead pipes. Biden’s implication was blacks needed government to help them while Trump promised to get government out of the way, because he has faith in all Americans’ ability to succeed by their own hard work and ingenuity.

Biden blithely wielded shameless demagoguery: he insinuated Republicans reject blacks as Americans by claiming, “They don’t see you in the future of America!” While Biden was hyper partisan, Trump reached across the aisle. He said upon election, he would immediately call the Democrat Mayor of New York City and Democrat Governor of New York to offer his help to begin restoring New York City to its former greatness.

Despite having elected a black president twice, Biden insisted, “Blacks have to be ten times better to get a fair shot,” because of white supremacy and systemic racism. His message to the Morehouse graduates was they can’t succeed in America, so he stated, “My commitment to you, to show you democracy is still on the way.”

While Biden still sees blacks as outside the gates of citizenship, Trump told the Bronx rally, “It doesn’t matter what color you are; we are all Americans!” Trump wholeheartedly believes in all Americans. Extolling hard work, he talked about how we succeed together to make New York great again, and of course, America great again.

The juxtaposition of Biden’s message of division verses Trump’s message of unity was stark. Biden’s speech at Morehouse College was anachronism of an American sins abandoned to history. Biden is always looking backward, while Trump looks forward. Not denying the past, Trump said, “Learn from the past, but lean into the future.”

Biden’s remarks were divisive and negative, as he views minority voters as helpless and rudderless. His lack of faith in minority Americans is condescending and off putting. Pulling Americans back to our founding principles, Trump’s remarks were unifying and positive. Americans are optimistic and resilient—they only want opportunity, so Trump’s uplifting message resonates with average Americans of all races. That’s why Trump described his rally as a “love fest,” he genuinely loves Americans and America, so more and more Americans are loving him back.

“With upright heart he shepherded them and guided them with his skillful hand” (Psalm 78:72).

Pete Riehm is a conservative activist and columnist in south Alabama. Email him at or read all his columns at

© Pete Riehm


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Pete Riehm

Born to German immigrants, Pete Riehm grew up in Texas as a first generation American. Working his way through college, he enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve. After graduating from the University of Houston, Pete was commissioned into the United States Navy through Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island. He also earned a Master's Degree in National Security from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas... (more)


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