Some Democrats are embracing sky-high gas prices because the energy crisis is giving Democrats a “villain” they can blame to distract midterm election voters from Democrats’ own policies.
What are the details?
Democrats have their work cut out for them in the 2022 midterm elections. Between historic inflation, skyrocketing gas prices, failed legislative maneuvers, and the botched Afghanistan withdrawal, polling consistently shows Republicans with a comfortable generic ballot lead over Democrats.
But one Democratic pollster recently let the cat out of the bag. For Democrats, the gas price crisis is not all bad news.
Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster who worked for President Joe Biden’s campaign in 2020 and continues to poll for Biden-aligned groups, told the Washington Post that Democrats can coalesce around a message blaming high gas prices on Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“The good news is we now have a very specific reason for rising gas prices and a specific villain,” Lake admitted. “Before, it was kind of ambiguous: What’s going on? Why are gas prices going up?”
The Biden administration has taken that message to heart.
In fact, Biden said Tuesday that gas prices will continue to increase, and he denied that he can do anything about it because “Russia is responsible.” The White House then released a video explaining why Biden is not responsible for the gas price hike, coalescing around the phrase “Putin’s price hike” to shed any responsibility for the growing crisis.
Democrats face another problem amid the gas price crisis.
The Biden administration is reportedly looking to Venezuela and Saudi Arabia to help supply America’s energy needs after cutting off Russian oil. But that is not going over well in Florida, where a significant Hispanic population rebukes any association with socialistic dictators, like Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro.
[Democratic] Rep. Val Demings, who is running for Rubio’s Senate seat, said she was “deeply skeptical” of the talks with Venezuela. Rep. Charlie Crist, who is running for governor, said he was “deeply concerned the wrong change to our policy would simply enrich Maduro’s brutal dictatorship and set back the fight for democracy.”
“If America was down to it’s last barrel and Venezuela was giving oil away for free, we still shouldn’t go to the Maduro regime for help,” said Democratic state Sen. Annette Taddeo, who is running for governor, in a statement.
Meanwhile, Democratic lawmakers are increasingly calling on the Biden administration to increase domestic oil production to help alleviate problems for Americans.