Earlier this month, Biden debuted the term while attacking conservatives broadly following the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that signaled the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
“This MAGA crowd is really the most extreme political organization that’s existed in American history, in recent American history,” Biden said to reporters on Wednesday, declaring a policy proposal released by Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., the “ultra-MAGA agenda.”
Biden renewed the “ultra-MAGA” messaging last Tuesday during remarks about the soaring inflation and at a big-money Democratic fundraiser on Wednesday.
During the “Overtime” segment on YouTube, Maher read a question submitted by one of his viewers about whether Biden’s new attack is an “effective messaging strategy.”
“He was saying it as a pejorative, right?” Maher began. “He was saying ‘ultra-MAGA.’ But ‘MAGA’ means ‘Make America Great Again.’ I could see how that wouldn’t be a great-“
“I thought it was a premium brand,” political scientist Ian Bremmer interjected with a quip. “You know, like in gas. You know, at four bucks and fifty cents a gallon, ‘Ultra-MAGA,’ that’s gonna work better, right?”
“I don’t think it works very well,” former Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., reacted.
“It sounds like a condom,” Maher told the panel. “‘Ultra-MAGA’ sounds like a condom. It does.”
Maher later acknowledged that “Make America Great Again” isn’t “Trump’s original phrase,” pointing to former presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan who also used the motto.
Biden’s new label for Republicans has quickly been embraced by the right from lawmakers to the former president himself.
But according to The Washington Post, the “ultra-MAGA” messaging came from a six-month research project from the liberal group Center for American Progress Action Fund and headed by top Biden aide Anita Dunn.
The polling and focus group research by Hart Research and the Global Strategy Group found that ‘MAGA’ was already viewed negatively by voters — more negatively than other phrases like ‘Trump Republicans,’” the Post reported Friday.
“In battleground areas, more than twice as many voters said they would be less likely to vote for someone called a ‘MAGA Republican’ than would be more likely. The research also found that the description tapped into the broad agreement among voters that the Republican Party had become more extreme and power-hungry in recent years.”
CAP Action Fund president and executive director Navin Nayak told the Post, “All of that extremism gets captured in that brand,” adding the “versatile epithet” applies to every political issue including abortion and climate change.
“We are not trying to create a new word. This is how they define themselves,” Nayak said.
The White House was quickly on board with the president’s new messaging with Psaki declaring it “the president’s phrase,” with Biden giving MAGA “a little extra pop.”
Psaki told reporters, “Whether it’s tomorrow or in days and weeks ahead… you will all continue to hear him talk more about his concern about ultra-MAGA Republicans and their agenda.”
Journalists were immediately skeptical by the new slogan, some even comparing to the Biden administration’s “Putin’s Price Hike” messaging attempting to blame soaring inflation and gas prices on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine despite how both were surging months before the conflict began.
Critics in the media suggested the “Putin’s Price Hike” push was not resonating with Americans as polls show voters placing more blame for the economic woes on Biden’s policies than Russia.