There is almost unanimous consent among polling organizations at this point that Joe Biden’s support, even among members of his own party, has been “collapsing across the board.” It’s gotten bad enough that significant percentages of Democrats, to say nothing of Independents and Republicans, have told pollsters that the first year of Biden’s presidency has simply been a “failure.” But does that mean that it’s too late to turn things around? Not in the analysis of Douglas Schoen at The Hill. While not sounding overly optimistic, he does believe that the Democrats can still turn the ship around ahead of the midterms and restore the nation’s confidence in this administration and its ability to get things done. It’s a crazy idea to be sure, but maybe it’s just crazy enough to work. I’ll let Mr. Schoen describe it for himself before we dig into it a bit.
[T]he president is in no way fully at the mercy of these external forces, and his declining ratings are due in large part to the fact that Americans simply don’t feel that Biden’s and Democrats’ priorities align with their own.
Two-thirds of Americans say that Biden and Democrats are focusing on issues that they either don’t care about (39 percent) or only care a little about (28 percent). Just one-third say that Biden and Democrats are focusing on issues they care a lot about.
Thus, with just nine months until the midterm elections, Democrats must dedicate their focus to advancing centrist legislation that improves Americans’ quality of life and addresses their top concerns. Democrats should make a meaningful effort to work with Republicans on issues where compromise is possible, and push back on pressure from the far-left, whose policy positions alienate large swaths of the electorate.
If you find yourself at this moment slapping your forehead and crying out, ‘why didn’t I think of that‘ then you’re probably a progressive Democrat and a fan of AOC. This radical proposition from Douglas Schoen is that the Democrats in Washington should wake up to the fact that the majority of the progressive agenda in the eyes of nearly seventy percent of the voters is either unimportant nonsense or completely offensive. He describes many of the squad’s policy goals as tending to “alienate large swaths of the electorate.”
Ya think? Schoen’s prescription to cure these ills will surely sound equally insane to AOC and her friends. He suggests working with Republicans on issues that command at least some bipartisan support and just pass some bills, even if it means that most of Biden’s sweeping progressive agenda described in the BBB act winds up being left in the dustbin of history.
Personally, I’m not all that interested in seeing the Democrats take Schoen’s advice at this point, mostly because it seems fairly reasonable to assume that if the GOP keeps feeding the Democrats (particularly in the Senate) enough rope, they will wind up hanging themselves by November. If they can just manage to keep the lights on until the midterms are finished and handle the routine housekeeping, I’m sure the country will still manage to limp along as it always does.
Of course, any Democrats who read all of Schoen’s advice will come to a few specifics in his proposal that will probably wind up being problematic. He advises Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and the rest of their crew to focus on agenda items including, “passing fair and reasonable tax policies, improving immigration laws, and reforming criminal justice.” I’m not sure where the disconnect in Schoen’s game plan took place, but all of those are items that found their way into the BBB Act.
The major problem is that the Democrats’ definition of “fair and reasonable tax policies” means massive tax increases on those they perceive as having “too much money” and “redistributing” it. Schoen himself admits that wouldn’t work or garner bipartisan support later in the article, but that’s not a fringe left theory of taxation. That’s what a significant majority of Democrats want, with the possible exceptions of Manchin and Sinema.
When Democrats talk about “improving immigration laws,” they are thinking of open borders and amnesty for tens of millions of illegal aliens. Those ideas are neither bipartisan nor broadly popular. As far as “reforming criminal justice” goes, even though Nancy Pelosi rejected the idea of defunding the police this weekend, that’s still what comes to the minds of liberals when you talk about criminal justice reform. (Along with eliminating cash bail, emptying the jails, and punishing the police.)
The Democrats can’t “pivot” to focusing on those things because they’ve been trying to ram them through for the past year. So perhaps sitting back and munching popcorn is a better alternative than trying to dream up ways to help the Democrats realize that their radically progressive agenda just isn’t popular. They will probably at least begin to understand that nine months from now.