Dem pollster's bad news for Democrats: Avoid publicity if you attend Nerd Prom

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Joe and Jill Biden plan to attend the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner this weekend. When questioned about the health risk that may be present for the 79 year old leader of the free world at such a large gathering, White House Press Secretary said, don’t worry, he’s not going to participate in the actual dinner part of the evening. He’s just showing up to give his speech and enjoy Trevor Noah’s roast of him and others. The question is, according to former Obama top advisor David Axelrod, why is Biden going in the first place? Why is anyone going?

Good question. As Ed wrote about yesterday, Dr. Fauci isn’t going to attend the event though he was invited by ABC News to be their guest. It’s sure to be a super spreader event just like the Gridiron Dinner. A Democrat pollster conducted a focus groups of voters Tuesday night and the results for Democrats wasn’t good.

Celinda Lake, a longtime Democrat pollster, found that Americans aren’t in the partying mood. That should be obvious to anyone paying the slightest amount of attention to life today, yet the WHCA thinks the Nerd Prom must go on. Washington insiders, politicians, and their celebrity guests are completely out of touch with regular Americans. As pointed out by the Playbook author of a piece (and White House correspondent) about Lake’s findings, Biden’s approval rating is 42%, Congress’ is 24%, and trust in the media is at 36%. That’s bad news for all of them. Why put on a fancy shindig in a ballroom in Washington, D.C. and confirm how tone deaf they are to the lives of the very people they are supposed to serve?

Lake’s focus group was comprised of “a group of “high-information” Democrats from across the country. The Zoom call was monitored by the Playbook writer. He described the group as “one of the more financially well-off focus groups we’ve seen this year.” However, they are defined for their level of disgust.

It’s a party weekend in D.C. The WHCA dinner is the centerpiece of a weekend that consists of cocktail parties, weekend brunches, and house parties attended by Washington insiders and their guests. At a time like this, with Americans nervous about the future and angry about everyday life with high inflation and all the other woes brought about by Biden’s ineptness in office, Celinda Lake concluded that Democrats attending the black-tie dinner should avoid publicity about their participation. That’s pretty funny. The whole purpose for going to such an event is to be seen. For heaven’s sake, they have a red carpet event before the dinner. Guests arrive and the press covering the dinner form a rope line to do quick interviews with celebrities and notable public officials. It’s Hollywood on the Potomac. Politicians and the press look forward to patting themselves on the back and enjoying a night out together as the cool kids.

Most of America pays no attention to such shows of obnoxious self-congratulations. The pandemic has waned enough that such yearly spectacles are being brought back. Lake put her finger on the pulse of the focus group participants and got an earful. The Playbook writer described the results as being “hit hard” and that tells us all we need to know of how little awareness there is among D.C. reporters about what their readers are interested in and feeling during the Biden administration. Anxiety levels are high.

When asked the first word that popped into their mind about how things are going in the country, here’s what they said: “frustrated,” “disbelief,” “aggravated,” “discouraged,” “unsure,” “worrying,” “resigned,” “frightened.” The only positive words offered were “better” and “OK.”

One Biden voter who thought things would improve after Donald Trump said he now knew that may never happen. “There’s just gonna be sucky things out there all the time,” he said. “So I’m resigned to the fact that that’s going to be life.”

When asked if they personally have experienced sticker shock when going out to buy something, every single participant raised their hands.

Their views of Biden were lukewarm. On the positive side, they viewed him as “decent,” “unifying” and one said that they “personally like him.” On the negative side, they said he was “unrealistic,” “hasn’t really delivered on his promises,” “needs to be stronger,” “gives in too easily” and is “old, slow, and misspeaks a lot.”

Only a loyal Democrat would say at this point that Biden is a unifer or even a decent man. Biden consistently slams Republicans in his speeches and remarks to the press, blaming them for his failures, and reverting to name calling. He’s called Republicans in Texas “Neanderthals”, for example. That unity thing was never going to happen. He just said that on the campaign trail because he wanted voters to think he could work with everyone. He can’t, as we’ve seen time and time again. He can’t even work with moderates in his own party.

Lake asked the group to name an animal that comes to mind when they think of Democrats and Republicans.

The Democrats were described as sheep, cats, weasels, “skittish mice,” chickens and bears (because they are “a little bit more slow moving”). “The Democrats tend to get characterized by weak animals,” Lake said. “And the Republicans tend to get characterized by aggressive predators.”

I’ll take “aggressive predators” against this administration any day.

So, that’s why Lake tells Democrats to lay low and not go for the publicity of attending the dinner. She’s looking for ways to motivate Democrat voters to get out and vote in the midterm elections. She’s concerned about independent voters, as well she should be. They have fallen away from supporting Biden in a spectacular way. Incumbent Democrats will feel the frustration of voters in November.

Lake advises Biden to do something to prove he’s working on big problems, even it if means using executive actions and even if they are overturned in court. The point is to look like he’s doing something. She said there needs to be better communication coming out of the White House, too, because voters don’t understand big pieces of legislation. The administration should go for smaller bills and be clear on what they mean to people. She doesn’t blame the likelihood of a Democrat shellacking in November on culture wars but on a lack of a clear economic message.

Anyone think Democrats are listening to Celinda Lake and taking her advice? I’m willing to bet the weekend partiers will be expecting full publicity for their activities and relish the attention. Look no further than Joe Biden himself. He’s only going to give his speech and yuk it up at Trevor Noah’s jokes. Those are the things that a president gets publicity over. Plus Biden wants to prove he’s one of them, unlike Trump who refused to go to the dinners while he was in office. Remember when Sarah Sanders was White House press secretary and was sitting at the dais when the guest speaker mocked her on a personal level? She ripped her for her eye makeup, of all things. Anyone think this year’s speaker will tear into Jen Psaki? Don’t hold your breath.