Some Democrats are giving those who oppose Joe Biden reasons to keep opposing him.
First published in November 2021.
While all the votes aren’t counted yet, it’s more than fair to say that Tuesday was a loud wake-up call for President Biden and the Democratic Party.
They lost an election in Virginia that they should have won and, at the writing of this post, the New Jersey election for governor is tipping toward the Republicans.
You can hear the alarms ringing all over the country.
For sure one thing that Tuesday in Virginia proves is that the Democrats are very bad at stealing elections. Maybe it will back off some Republicans from saying our elections are rigged (I know, keep dreaming).
Another sure thing is that while he promised he would do his best to end the gridlock in Washington, Biden hasn’t even been able to end the gridlock in his own party as Congress still has not passed two of his biggest promises to the American people.
Imagine if his Build Back Better plan had been passed a couple of months ago. Democrats in Virginia and New Jersey could have been touting for months the individual pieces of that bill that are so popular across the country, like childcare, or reducing (some) drug prices.
Instead, the thing many Americans know about that bill is that, thanks to two Democratic senators (one really) that proposal dropped from $3.5 trillion to $1.75 trillion. Not a platform to run on – “We’re not spending an extra two trillion dollars!”
Instead, the Virginia race turned on Republican Glenn Youngkin’s very well run campaign based on local issues (whether they are real issues or not. I’m talking to you critical race theory) and his credentials, while his opponent, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, chose to run against Donald Trump instead of Youngkin.
And those swing voters who went for Biden last year, went for Youngkin Tuesday.
Trump was in his sweet spot Tuesday. With Youngkin keeping Trump at arm’s length but gladly accepting his endorsement, Trump won either way: If Youngkin lost, Trump could say he refused MAGA help which undid him. If Youngkin won, he could take credit for his base winning it for him. Win-win. Oh, and Trump did take credit for his base winning the election for Youngkin.
Plus, McAuliffe ran a horrible campaign, especially for a former Democratic national chairman. Youngkin, a newcomer to politics, ran a very smart campaign.
Also, Trump’s ban from Twitter and other social media should be embraced by Republicans. Imagine how this race would have been affected if Trump was still tweeting every day? Hmm…maybe “loser Glenn Youngkin will lose his only election because he didn’t HUG ME IN PERSON!!” Tact is not one of Trump’s talents.
Biden’s numbers are sinking to Trump levels because he promised an end to gridlock, a reordering of American spending, and getting the pandemic under control. Instead, he can’t even get his bills passed by Democratic bare majorities in the House or Senate or convince a big chunk of the country to get vaccinated.
Even his infrastructure bill, which passed with a bipartisan majority, still is on life support in the Democratic House as progressives hold it hostage until his Build Back Better bill is voted on. Petty. Stupid.
Add on top of that the sloppy (at best) Afghanistan pullout, the pandemic still here and an economy that can’t decide on its future and Biden’s numbers are gasping for air.
This makes for an interesting political environment until the next election – the mid-terms next year when the entire House and a third of the Senate are on the ballot. And gives those who oppose Biden (even in his own party, it seems) reason to keep opposing Biden.
I wonder if those progressives in the House will wake up and see that they are blowing a golden opportunity for significant change. But you can’t get the whole package. Just as those right wingnuts who did the same years ago to Republican presidents.
Those swing voters that went for Youngkin yesterday and Biden last year? Clearly, no one can count on them.
You still have to earn them.
— AUTHOR —
▫ B. Jay Cooper, Former deputy White House press secretary to Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Also headed communications offices at the RNC, U.S. Department of Commerce, and Yale University.
GET THEM INVOLVED:
- Text: This piece was originally published in The Screaming Moderate and re-published in PMP Magazine on 3 November 2021, with the author’s consent. | The author writes in a personal capacity.
- Cover: Flickr/The White House/Erin Scott. - President Joe Biden in the Oval Office of the White House. | 19 August 2021. (Licensed under a United States government work.)