What Does Biden Really Mean When He Says ‘Progressive’?

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On Monday, the campaign to reelect President Donald Trump launched an ad tying presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden to Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and to Venezuelan socialist tyrants Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro. The ad links Biden to Castro following news that Biden is considering tapping Congressional Black Caucus Chair Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) as his running-mate, despite her praise for Castro as recently as 2016.

“I’m going to be good to go down as one of the most progressive presidents in American history,” Biden says in a clip at the beginning of the Trump ad, while the Spanish translation of Biden’s quote appears on the screen.

Then the ad cuts to Chavez, who praises “our progressive government” in Spanish.

Then it cuts to Castro, who equates “progressive ideas” to “the ideas of socialism.”

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Then the ad plays footage from Gustavo Petro, a former M-19 revolutionary guerrilla and a former Colombian presidential candidate, who claimed, “This new progressive axis would have extremely powerful allies.”

After a brief Biden interlude, the ad turns to Maduro, the current dictator of Venezuela, who praises “progressives of the revolutionary left.” Then the ad shows Biden embracing Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

Text on the screen warns that “When they say progressive, they mean…”

Cut to Castro, who says, “A socialist revolution in … the United States.”

The powerful ad concludes with the powerful message “Progresista = Socialista” superimposed over an image of Biden shaking hands with Maduro.

The ad, almost entirely in Spanish, will run in Florida, the home of millions of Hispanics who fled socialist regimes like those of Castro, Chavez, and Maduro.

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In a press release explaining the ad, the Trump campaign argues that “Biden’s ‘progressive’ agenda is anti-Hispanic, and includes redirecting funding away from police departments, raising taxes on middle-class families, getting rid of charter schools, and returning to a failed U.S.-Cuba policy that enables the Castro regime to prop-up the dictatorship in Venezuela and Marxist guerrillas that terrorize Latinos in Colombia and other countries.”

“In contrast, President Trump stands on the side of freedom, supporting better schools for our children, and is holding the Castro and Maduro regimes accountable,” the campaign argues.

The ad comes as Biden is considering Bass for his running-mate. Bass traveled to Cuba in the 1970s as a leader of the Venceremos Brigade, an organization founded by members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and the Castro regime.

A Cuban Intelligence officer who defected in 1983 claimed that Cuban Intelligence officer Alfredo Garcia Almeida led the Venceremos Brigade. In 2010, FBI agents investigated at least 10 brigade participants. According to the Cuban exile outlet CiberCuba, the organization was “one of the Cuban regime’s most ambitious intelligence operations against the United States,” promoted “by Fidel Castro himself” and aiming to “recruit agents” in the U.S. and “penetrate” U.S. institutions. Bass reportedly led the brigade’s Southern California operations.

When Castro died in 2016, Bass put out a statement lamenting “the passing of the Comandante en Jefe” as “a great loss to the people of Cuba.”

She walked back this comment on Sunday, telling Fox News host Chris Wallace that she now understood Castro’s government “was a brutal regime.” She said she spoke with colleagues from Florida who raised concerns about her comments and she “would not do that again, for sure.”

“I absolutely would not have put that statement out,” Bass insisted.

As Marxist radicals engage in violent riots in Portland, Seattle, and elsewhere, Biden is teaming up with far-left ideologues like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and seriously considering a woman with disturbing ties to Castro for his VP. Biden may not want a socialist revolution, but it seems a socialist revolution wants him.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

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