Dems Reportedly Fearful Biden's Tough Summer Might Result in Devastating Midterm Defeat in 2022
The Democrat's administration has faced several major challenges simultaneously, with Republicans never missing a chance to question the president's ability to effectively deal with them and keep the country's best interests in mind.
The Democrats, as well as pollsters and party strategists interviewed by Politico
, are concerned how the turbulent summer of 2021 might affect the midterm elections
next year. Some are drawing parallels with the two previous Democratic administrations, who struggled with challenges in their first two years and supposedly brought their party heavy defeats in the first midterm elections.
The Democrats lost 54 seats in the House and eight in the Senate, ceding the entire Congress to a GOP majority in 1994 – just two years into Bill Clinton's first term. At the time, this was the first Republican-dominated Congress in 40 years. The party suffered an even more bitter defeat in the "shellacking" of 2010 after Barack Obama's 2008 victory. The Democrats lost 63 seats in the House, losing it to the GOP, and six seats in the Senate, retaining a razor-thin majority of 51.
In both instances, Democratic presidents struggled in the first portion of their first terms. Now, Biden is seemingly following the same trajectory, with the chaotic evacuation and withdrawal from Afghanistan, rising COVID-19 cases, stagnating vaccination rates, raging wildfires, the destructive march of Hurricane Ida, and other problems. The president's current approval ratings only strengthen the analogies because they've fallen to around 45% - similar to Clinton and even lower than Obama ahead of the 2010 midterms.
"There's no good news here. This is all on his watch. You can argue what he's doing or not doing, but it's almost irrelevant. If things are chaotic and wrong, it ain't going to help him".
The Democrats, who recently met at a meeting of the Democratic Governors Association in Aspen, Colorado, have already started estimating potential losses in 2022, Politico
reports. But it is not like the Democrats can afford any. They hold a nine-seat majority
over the GOP in the House, and are only controlling the Senate thanks to the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris.
They reportedly ascribe potential losses in the midterms to the shortcomings of Biden and his administration, specifically the pandemic and Afghanistan pullout because US presidents and their performance has historically affected the party's results in the election. One Democratic strategist question by Politico pointed out that it is not just COVID-19 or Afghanistan that will be affecting the party, but that Democratic voters expected more of Biden:
"When Biden was elected, it was supposed to be, 'Oh, the adults are back in the room to take charge'. It turns out, we can't do anything. Any Democratic strategist who thinks this is not going to impact the midterms or impact Biden being re-elected, clearly they don't know what the f**k they're talking about".
This notion is supported by the polls, which indicate that the number of people who think the country has "seriously gotten off on the wrong track", jumped to over 60%. The change happened over the past two months. Over this period, the Biden administration had to deal with: weak economic reports in August, wildfires in the Lake Tahoe region and in California, floods, destruction, and power outages caused by Hurricane Ida, and the Afghanistan withdrawal.
And all this took place while the White House is struggling to stop the continuing wave of the Delta variant of COVID-19 and promote vaccinations. One Democratic strategist suggested in an interview with the media outlet that Biden's ratings are essentially suffering from bad luck rather than the administration's shortcomings.
"The guy can't catch a break. Nobody could criticise him for those things, but they have a way of infecting the overall political environment. What it does is, it sours people's attitudes, and if you're the guy in charge, people sort of take it out on you, their frustrations, their anger, whatever it is".
Some, however, disagree with this assessment and put the blame on POTUS. The Republicans are readily utilising the administration's fiascos against the president. Their criticism might resonate with some voters no thanks to Biden's own words and promises, Democratic pollster Maslin pointed out.
"He sold himself on competence […] the fact that he said it will never be like Vietnam, you'll never see the helicopters, and it all happened, and it all happened in two weeks, I think that obviously raises questions about the very thing that he's supposed to be best at".
Still, some of the Democrats interviewed by Politico
believed in a chance for the Democratic Party to recover from the blows
sustained by the administration in the summer of 2021. With the withdrawal over, the Biden administration should refocus on domestic issues, namely on passing the infrastructure bill, the Democrats suggest. Additionally, there are hopes that the Delta COVID wave may be reined in and the economy will be growing rapidly by the time of the elections, the party reportedly hopes.
28 August 2021, 14:00 GMT
With one year before the election, Biden and his administration still have time to bounce back, William Owen, a Democratic National Committee member suggested. However, until it is done the GOP will be working on winning the votes of those disappointed with Biden on current and more ongoing issues, such as immigration, taxes, and government spending.