In recent weeks, the mood of Democratic leaders at the state and local levels has darkened considerably. And it promises to get even darker in the weeks and months ahead as voters in every age group and every income bracket look to blame Joe Biden and the Democrats for the inflation.
And inflation is far and away the number one issue American voters will make their decision on whom to support this November.
The president’s approval rating has settled into the low 40s since January and shows no signs of rising. And my colleague Chris Queen points out it’s rare for a president’s numbers to improve substantially prior to midterms.
As of April 22, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has reported raising almost $200 million. Their candidates are going to be very well funded, but what exactly are they going to run their campaigns on?
No one cares about much of anything except inflation. And Democrats can’t credibly blame anyone but themselves for that.
Others use words like “horrible” and “debacle” to describe a political environment that has gone from bad to worse over the last three months. Many fault the White House for steering President Biden too far to the left as he sought to pass social spending legislation stuffed with progressive priorities. Some see the president as a wounded figure who has failed to establish himself as the unequivocal leader of his fractious party.
“It’s going to be a terrible cycle for Democrats,” said Doug Sosnik, a former political adviser to Bill Clinton. Democrats have only a matter of weeks, he said, to try to alter the contours of a race that will largely be determined by factors beyond their control.
Not all Democrats are quite as down about the party’s chances. In fact, some politicos are saying the Democrats have a chance to limit their losses because gains of dozens of seats by either party just aren’t feasible anymore.
What we’re seeing with the redrawing of district lines is a continuation of what’s been happening for forty years, according to this theory. The districts have become so gerrymandered and the ability of political parties to draw ever more concise lines has improved with the application of more and more sophisticated programs, that the number of “safe” seats has risen dramatically.
Even in a “wave election,” the number of seats that will turn over is limited. That’s the theory, anyway. It will certainly be put to the test in November.
“What you’re seeing is people feeling like it’s time to head for the lifeboats rather than trying to steer the ship,” said Robert Gibbs, a former White House press secretary who worked under Barack Obama.
A sense of fatalism is setting in among many, with discussions centering increasingly on how to limit the party’s expected losses rather than how to gain new seats. In Arizona, for example, some Democrats are losing confidence that they will be able to flip the State House, a major target for national party strategists this year.
Another sure sign of impending doom is the large number of Democrats deserting Biden on his decision to repeal Title 42 immigration restrictions. Democrats are running away screaming from the coming chaos at the border. It probably won’t do them any good.
As long as Republicans can continue to keep the focus on Biden and the economy, there’s a chance for a significant wave regardless of what some experts are saying.