Posted 113 days ago
President Joe Biden's New Year's resolution to focus on the 2022 midterm elections will not be universally welcomed by Democratic candidates as the party tries to buck history and hold on to congressional power.
Biden, who prides himself on being a skilled, empathetic campaigner, will be "a liability" for Democrats this midterm cycle, according to political commentator Darrell West.
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“His poll numbers have dropped, and his base is dispirited because of his inability to pass Build Back Better and voting reforms,” West told the Washington Examiner of Biden. “Republicans are virtually united against him.”
Republican strategist Alex Conant agreed Biden was poised to hamper Democrats contesting competitive districts, particularly among independents, who seem to be tiring of the president.
“The last president to actually help his party’s candidates in the midterms was George W. Bush in 2002,” he said. “Presidents have difficultly translating their political capital to midterm candidates, but the candidates can nevertheless be weighed down by unpopular national policies.”
On average, 40% of the public approves of the job Biden is doing as president, while 55% disapproves, according to RealClearPolitics.
A recent Gallup poll reflects roughly the same approval and disapproval ratings, yet only one-third of independents back Biden compared to the first six months of his administration when a majority endorsed him. Gallup researchers cited the pandemic and the deadly withdrawal of U. S. troops from Afghanistan as possible catalysts for the opposition.
Biden also lost 10 percentage points among Democrats in the Gallup poll, plummeting from 90% in December to 80% in January. Researchers referenced inaction regarding social welfare, climate, and voting reforms as potential explanations for the shift.
For West, a Brookings Institution governance studies scholar, Biden’s top priority over the next 10 months should be addressing the public health and economic problems created or exacerbated by the pandemic.
“Biden needs to get COVID and inflation under control for Democrats to have any shot in November,” he said.
Biden has already clashed with nervous and annoyed Democratic candidates in a nationalized political environment.
Former Virginia gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe acknowledged Biden’s spiraling popularity during what he thought was a private phone call last year. Biden won Virginia by 10 percentage points in 2020.
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