Joe Biden’s midterm appearance is increasingly sharp and alarmist as he struggles to gain momentum in an election that is apparently slipping away from Democrats, and a Congress that could inflict two years of misery on his White House.
The president was on the road Thursday — not in one of the Senate’s most important swing states — but to boost semiconductor manufacturing in New York. The fact that he appeared in a state where he won by more than 20 points two years ago shows how his low approval rating limits his ability to help his party out of a hole.
Biden, at the same time, argued that the economy was in better shape than most Americans think and that if they win power next month, the Republicans will dismantle what they have proposed as a recovery and cut Medicare and Social Security.
His approach reflected the very testing electoral climate Democrats are experiencing, as their hopes of holding on to the Senate dwindle as they risk losing control of the House of Representatives.
Eleven days after the election, Republicans are aiming for deep blue territory that would allow them to build a wave that could translate into a significant majority in the House. Republicans need only a five-seat net gain to flip the chamber, and they can pick up enough seats to do so in the Empire State alone, CNN’s Harry Enten wrote Thursday.
And the races that will decide the fate of the Senate also seem to be shrinking, for example in Arizona, where Democratic Senator Mark Kelly once had a clear lead. Democrats were also rattled this week by a shaky debate performance by Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman, who is still dealing with hearing and processing problems after a stroke. The commonwealth is the party’s best chance of picking up a seat and could be critical to its hopes of 50-50 control of the Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting a tie-breaking vote. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, in an overheard interview with Biden and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Thursday, said he thought the Pennsylvania debate “didn’t hurt us too much,” but expressed concern about the high-profile race in Georgia. saying it’s a “going downhill” state.
The loss of both chambers could be disastrous for the president, his administration, the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the business affairs of his son Hunter Biden, who is facing Republican investigations aimed at his administration. Department of Justice
There is enough uncertainty in the polls after the last election that it is too early to properly judge the state of the race. But Biden’s speech on Thursday reflected the burden on Democrats in this election and suggested that the historic pattern of first-term presidents may be reasserting itself, after raising hopes that his party could buck the trend in the wake of the Supreme Court this summer. The Court ruled in Roe v. He overruled Wade.
Biden is basically forced to pay attention to the Americans, who polls show that they have a sour economy, that things are not as bad as they seem.
His speech demonstrated a political inability to highlight the undeniable positive aspects of the economy – including promising GDP growth figures released on Thursday and a historically low unemployment rate – when inflation is at a 40-year high.
Biden’s warnings of tough political battles with Republicans in a tussle over entitlements and raising the debt ceiling served as a foreshadowing of what could be tough years ahead in Washington if political control is divided between the parties.
The president warned that GOP control of Congress would set off a “ticking time bomb” under the economy.
“They’re coming after Social Security,” Biden said at the event in Syracuse.
“They will shut down the government, refuse to pay the bills of the United States of America to put America first for the first time in American history… unless we give in to their demands to cut Social Security and Medicare.”
“Nothing is going to create more chaos or do more damage to the American economy,” the president said, acknowledging that Democrats always charge that Social Security is at stake in elections, but also arguing for proposals by Republican senators Rick Scott of Florida and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. this time they really threaten the retirement program.
Biden’s speech proved that: when fully achieved, his policies will fix decades of decline in manufacturing and American industry. He argued that his signature bills passed in a flurry of legislation, including a bipartisan infrastructure measure, a law aimed at boosting US semiconductor production and another that builds a clean energy economy, would bring jobs and prosperity. He argued that the social spending measure passed this summer would make Americans more prosperous by reducing some long-term health care costs.
But the fact is that all these measures – if successful – will not be undone in time to be felt in this election. There’s a chance they could help Biden in 2024 if he decides to run for re-election, but for now, they’re bullish.
CNN/SSRS polls reflect the near-impossible political situation facing Democrats in the congressional and gubernatorial races in battleground states this week.
47% of voters in Wisconsin, 46% in Michigan and 44% in Pennsylvania said the economy and inflation were the most important issues affecting their votes. In every state, that more than doubled on the next topic: abortion. Democrats hoped the furor over the Supreme Court decision would neutralize their economic responsibilities ahead of the Nov. 8 election.
All available evidence beyond 11 days suggests that is not the case as Republicans turn to economic and crime messaging.
The latter has also made New York’s gubernatorial race – which hasn’t elected a statewide Republican in two decades – unexpectedly competitive. Biden was with Hochul on Thursday in Syracuse, which is also a competitive House race.
The president followed up with some unexpected good news in his day: The economy rebounded at an annualized rate of 2.6% in the last quarter, according to initial estimates. Biden pointed to the figures as “further evidence that your economic recovery continues to advance.”
The problem, however, is that the president was creating a vision for an economy that many Americans do not recognize. The disconnect between the two realities, the economy which according to the data is strong in many areas and the experience lived in the country, can condemn the Democrats.
This election is becoming a lesson in the pernicious political impact of inflation; a force that many American adults have never experienced since it last cast a dark shadow over everyday life in the 1980s.
When voters’ incomes do not match their costs, especially for the staples of daily life like meat, bread, eggs and gasoline, they are forced to look for scapegoats. And Biden, as the incumbent president, takes the blame.
Biden blames the rise in the cost of living on external factors, including Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, which also raised gasoline prices – though they are now easing – and the effects of supply chain disruptions during the pandemic. Republicans blame Biden for flushing the system of trillions of dollars in cash and sending the economy into a cycle of overheating.
In an interview with CNN’s Phil Mattingly on Thursday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen advised patience, as many of the measures the administration has taken to boost the economy will take time to kick in.
But he admitted: “Inflation is very high, it’s unacceptable and Americans feel that every day,” in an interview on “Erin Burnett OutFront.”
The president finds himself in the difficult position of trying to claim credit for the encouraging aspects of the economy while empathizing with the pain many Americans are feeling. When he was vice president in the Obama administration, the White House faced a similar problem. The economy was slowly coming back after the Great Recession, but many Americans didn’t feel it during a time of high unemployment. Barack Obama argued in the run-up to the 2010 midterm elections that handing over control of Congress to Republicans would be like handing the car keys back to people who took them into a ditch. But voters weren’t happy and Republicans took control of the House and made big gains in the Senate.
Now Biden must tread a similar political tightrope over the punishing cost of living.
“People are still struggling with inflation. I grew up in a community where my dad would say at the end of the month, if what you’re making doesn’t cover all your expenses, you’re in real trouble,” Biden said. A virtual fundraiser this week for Iowa representative Cindy Axne, who is facing a tough re-election bid.
“And even though inflation here is lower than in most advanced countries, I know that’s not comforting to someone sitting at the kitchen table trying to put food on the table,” the president said.
His comments showed that Biden has a keen understanding of the issue that will doom Democrats this election season. But in the short term he has nothing to do.