The midterm election doomsday scenario for Democrats becomes clearer, scarier, and more realistic as inflation and gas prices remain high and dissatisfaction with President Biden is on the roof.
Democrats see their chances of keeping the House slimmer than ever, with both history and the bleak political environment working against them. In the Senate, where the party hopes strong swing state candidates can help save the majority, fears are also growing.
It seems everywhere voters look, things are bad in Biden’s Washington – and getting worse.
“Democrats haven’t done the things they promised,” said Connor Farrell, a strategist who founded progressive consultancy Left Rising. “In this environment, the best candidates in the general election will be brave [ones] who can distinguish themselves from what we get from the White House.
High national anxiety – which many lawmakers, operatives, and activists openly acknowledge as a problem – was further laid when a poll released by the New York Times found that only 13 percent of voters surveyed thought that the country is on the right path. More notably, 64 percent of Democratic voters want someone other than Biden as their nominee in 2024.
The high price of everyday essentials, a dark analysis of what’s happening across the country, and the prospect of more upcoming losses are leaving Democrats even more confused. worried about their possibilities in November.
“Democratic leadership shouldn’t look any further than the fact that they need to wake up and climb the plate,” said Jon Reinish, managing director at political strategy firm Mercury.
While it’s not new to the idea that Democrats need to prepare for a potential fallout, Monday’s poll highlights a trend that many see as particularly disastrous – most registered Democratic voters are dissatisfied with the general direction of the US under the leadership of Biden and them. has not ridden in another four years of it.
Sixty -three percent of Democrats surveyed said the country was heading in the wrong direction, while only 27 percent said it was on the right track.
“They’re not just losing the Independent or you know, Never-Trump Republicans,” Reinish said, referring to the two blocs that helped Biden form a diverse coalition by 2020. “They’re losing their own voters. Democratic voters don’t feel as if their leaders are hearing their concerns.
That mindset adds to what many already fear is an uphill midterm battle. However, a Politico/Morning Consult poll conducted last month found that registered voters would be equally divided on the general congressional ballot if the election were held on that day.
But the party does not appear to be concerned, arguing that Biden’s waning approval will not put candidates dropping on the ballot in doubt.
“Frontline Democrats remain untied from President Biden’s approval rating and continue to perform ahead of the general ballot despite the global challenges we face as Democrats defend the right to abortion, he said. of record high job creation and infrastructure investments that voters have been demanding for years. , ”Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Chris Taylor said in a statement.
Despite the sad bird’s view, there are some granular differences that add to frustration within the party and confusion among voters. The ongoing debate about the party’s direction, particularly felt in the battle for the House, is not over, say some progressives and moderates.
Although some ideological debates have been put on the back burner to focus more on Biden, there are regular disagreements about the types of candidates who can win elections and who is eligible to stay in their elections. seat.
Liberals think newer and more progressive candidates should enter during the general election and have worked to defeat some Democrats they believe represent the old guard. A recent example came in Oregon, when rebel Jamie McLeod-Skinner, a lawyer, fired Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), A rare endorsee of Biden, to face a Republican in the coming months.
“We think our progressive candidates are best positioned to survive the crosswinds,” Farrell said. “They are the strongest in advocating for what Democratic voters really want – strong leadership.”
But even that has caused resentment, which adds to the perception that the party lacks unity and direction over all their other problems.
And while some moderates are generally willing to jab progressives they believe will not win the general election, others are now wary about bringing Biden into the conversation as a leader to emulate. That reluctance further blurs the lines of the perfect prototype a Democrat can win.
To that end, some prominent centrists have appeared to be moving away from Biden in recent weeks. The latest came from Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), Who is usually outspoken about the dangers of moving too far to the left before election time.
He recently gave a speech at Woodbridge in which he failed to offer even a tacit nod to the commander-in-chief. And Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), one of Biden’s close personal friends running for the Senate, also decided not to show up at an event held by the president in Cleveland.
“You will probably see moderates like [Spanberger] cold shoulders to Biden and progressives pushing him to do more, ”Farrell said.
In the Senate, the outlook is more up-in-the-air. With the current chamber split at 50-50, it’s anyone’s game.
Reinish said he was not surprised by the numbers in the Times poll because they reflect the growing frustration Democrats feel with 79-year-old Biden and top congressional figures in the party who have served in those positions. in leadership for decades without indication of resignation. .
“Democrats are angry, frustrated, dissatisfied and discouraged,” he said, responding to the data. “And that doesn’t surprise me.”
While social issues remain important to activists and others in Democratic circles, economic issues top the list of topics voters care about more than anything else, forming a trend that is endured every cycle. .
Twenty percent of registered voters said the economy, including jobs and the stock market, is the most important problem facing the country today, which is the highest number received by any issue. Inflation and the cost of living came in second with 15 percent.
With all the bad news, a newly released employment report has given the White House little comfort in finding more than a simple narrative tweak.
“In the second quarter of this year, we created more jobs than any quarter under any of my predecessors in the nearly 40 years before the pandemic,” Biden said in a statement announcing optimistic numbers on last week.
“We have more Americans working in the private sector today than ever before during Donald Trump’s presidency – more people than at any time in our history,” he said, carefully calling his predecessor what many believe explores the idea. of a rematch.
The White House is also working to point out that gas prices are seeing even the slightest decline.
Thus, Democrats see another potentially bright spot on the horizon, if not for 2022, but two years later.
So far, Biden still beat Trump in a hypothetical head-to-head match up in 2024. The edge is narrow and on the margin of error-44 percent to 41 percent-but it’s something they can do, he said. of some.
“Republicans can’t teach anything that’s really for them. The only thing they can tell you is they’re against what’s for us,” said Antjuan Seawright, a South Carolina -based operative. “And if anything, they should be afraid that we will hold them accountable between now and November about how high the stakes are, and what can and cannot be done between their party and ours.”
Updated 6:16 pm